Venice: June 1512

Pages 64-70

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 2, 1509-1519. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1867.

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June 1512

June 4. Sanuto Diaries, v. xiv. p. 267. 170. Reading of Letters from the Ambassador Andrea Badoer, in England, taken out of cipher, dated 23rd and 29th April, and 1st and 5th May, received by way of Germany. Announces the preparations making by the King for a descent in France. Will have 270 ships including his own and those of Spain, but many would be loaded with provisions. Had sent the infantry on board to cruise, and meant to embark the rest, these footsoldiers being destined to join the army of Spain for the attack on Fonterabia.
The Spanish ambassador in England had told the King that the rout of the Spaniards at Ravenna was caused by the Venetians not having sent their troops to make a diversion towards Ferrara, and that the loss of Brescia was not owing to the Spaniards.
Writes also that he had obtained 400 ducats from the Prior of St. John's on a bill of exchange, without loss to the Signory; would otherwise have lacked the means of subsistence, &c, &c.
June 4. Misti Consiglio X. v. xxxix. p. 32. 171. Decree of the Council of Ten and the Junta, that the bank or banks which shall disburse the moneys required for the despatch of the ambassadors appointed to England and Spain, namely 750 ducats for each, have payment secured to them on the moneys of the 30 and 40 per cent. in rates, namely, 400 ducats per month, until the entire repayment; the treasurer of that chest not to dispose of said moneys until after said repayment under the criminal penalty.
[Latin, 8 lines.]
June 8. Sanuto Diaries, v. xiv. p. 267. 172. Contents of a Letter seen by Marin Sanuto, from “that” Friar Angelo, dated Rome, 31st May and 1st June. Arrival there of a courier from England who had passed through Yenice. Said there were 50,000 combatants on board 50 ships, for conveyance across, and that the King was at Hampton speeding the expedition. Report at Rome on the 1st June of the arrival at Naples of 3,000 Spaniards, and that “the Great Captain” was expected daily. That the King of England had offered a considerable amount of troops to the Pope, besides those given by him to Spain. Current rumour that the King of France had exalted a certain individual, son of the deceased sister of the King, who was killed by the late King of England, (fn. 1) it being said that he purposes sending him to England, and helping him to the crown. On the preceding day, Friar Angelo had seen a letter addressed by the secretary of the King of England to Turand (sic), purporting that unless the Almighty take up arms for the French it is impossible for the latter to avoid ruin.
June 8. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta, v. xlv. p. 5, tergo. 173. The Doge and Senate to the Ambassador at the Papal Court.
Have been very much pleased with the news from England, and expect hourly to hear yet better. According to his suggestion send letters for the Cardinal of York, and also to the other Cardinals.
Ayes, 166. Noes, 1. Neutrals, 0.
[Italian, 47 lines.]
June 17. Sanuto Diaries, v. xiv. p. 300. 174. Extracts from Letters dated London 27–29th May, 1512, received at Venice on the 14th June, written by Lorenzo Pasqualigo to his brothers Alvise and Francesco.
Had been to the court about “that business,” and talked with the King, who said to him—“I marvel that the Signory should never have written me a letter, seeing what a friend I am for her, as for her sake I shall wage this war on France, so that she may recover her territory, and for this she ought to thank me.” Reply of Pasqualigo, that thanks had been returned by the ambassador, and admission of the fact by the King, who however continued, “Yet would a letter from the State produce a different effect, for I should have it read to my Council. It would be to my satisfaction, and to the Signory's advantage, with so many lords and counsellors; and thou seest that had it not been for the apprehension of my power entertained by the King of France, he would at least have sent into Italy the 1,000 spears and 12,000 infantry whom he keeps at Asti; and had they taken the field before the march of the Switzers, he would have been victorious.” Apologies, to the best of his ability, made by Lorenzo Pasqualigo, who stated —“On quitting his Majesty, I went to the Friend, who is now one of the chief members of the King's council, and loves the Signory and the Venetian nation greatly, and after much discourse about this war with France, both in Italy and here, he said to me he was surprised that for so long a while the Signory should never have written to the King to thank him for having undertaken this expedition against the French, because if he went it was for love of us; and by reason of the love borne by him and his forefathers to the Signory, France was prevented doing what she wanted in Italy against the State and others; and although many thanks had been given through the ambassador, yet did the Signory's omission seem very strange to the whole Council, for there are always those who cause irritation. The Friend had told him to let the Doge know that it would be well to write a very bland letter to his Majesty, making it appear that they acknowledge all his acts, and also to thank his Council; and that for this once, they should give the King notice how matters are proceeding, and address it to the ambassador for delivery, that the King may be yet more confirmed in this good resolve of doing what he can against those who are excommunicated, and not give ear to the gossip of many, who are constantly putting new projects into his head; so do this by all means.” Thanks given by Lorenzo Pasqualigo to “the Friend,” whom he told that the Signory, and all the nobility of Venice, well knew that he was the State's good protector.
Says he took his leave of “the Friend” thus. Adds that all the troops were embarked. The 15,000 infantry in the Isle of Wight, very fine men, well supplied with everything, will invade Gascony. Letters from Spain announce that they would be joined by a considerable force at Fonterabia. In a few days 6,000 more were to embark for the same destination, the muster proceeding with all speed. The Kings steward would also cross over to Calais with 20,000 men, whom he was raising with the greatest possible haste; and his Majesty in person was moreover going shortly with 20,000 more, commanded by the Captain Thalabet (sic), all in readiness as if they were to cross on the morrow. Nothing thought of but arms and war; and so much artillery and other camp-furniture had been wrought, that the sums expended and in course of expenditure, would fill a well of gold; and ammunition-hoys (scuti de monition) arrive daily from Flanders and Upper Germany; wherefore Pasqualigo desires his brothers to rest assured that “with God's assistance the English will make these French dogs cry mercy, as they have done many times of yore; though this present war will commence first in Gascony.”
In the Channel there were 30 large ships armed by Englishmen, which do not allow so much as a French fishing boat to put to sea without taking it. Report that some French vessels were fitted out, but did not dare show themselves. Certain ships from Scio and Candia were expected with goods belonging to the Genoese and Florentines, which, if fallen in with, would be plundered, as was the case on former occasions when they made prizes, and would give back nothing.
Says in conclusion, “These foreigners remain here in great fear, and keep their tongue within their teeth, for they dare not speak ill of the League; but if they do give utterance, it is to abuse France, perhaps unwillingly, as were they to do otherwise, their heads would be well broken. They have had much fair weather. God be thanked it is our turn now!”
June 22. Library of the Venetian Archives, Miscell. no. 51. 175. Protest of a Bill of Exchange for 1,500 ducats.
Drawn at Venice at usance plus one month on the 22nd June 1512, by Polio di Priolli, son of the late Dominico, on Nicolo Duodo and Company in London, payable to Lorenzo Pasquaglio, at the exchange of 54½ sterlings per ducat. Protest registered by the notary public (by holy apostolic and imperial authority) John Devereux, at his dwelling in Lombard Street, parish of St. Mary's Woolnoth, on the 29th October, 1512; the bill-broker, Luca Antonio de Albizzi, certifying that on that day in London the ducat was worth 51¾d. sterling.
June 26. Sanuto Diaries, v. xiv. p. 301. 176. Receipt of Letters from the Venetian Ambassador in Rome, dated 21st and 22nd June.
How in consistory letters had been read from the King of England to the Cardinal of York, as also his Majesty's answer to a letter received from the Emperor, urging him to make a universal peace, and to march against the Infidels. Sage reply of the King, that he neither can nor will make peace without the consent of the League. Of these letters transmits copies. Gives also other details, and acquaints the chiefs of the Ten with conversations held between him and the Pope, &c.
June 26. Sanuto Diaries, v. xiv. p. 332. 177. Henry VIII. to Cardinal Bainbridge, English Ambassador at Rome.
Has lately received letters from the Emperor earnestly exhorting him to consent to a general and universal peace to be settled amongst all Christian powers, so that an expedition may be undertaken against the Turks and Infidels.
Is aware that this exhortation proceeded from the King of the French, through his ambassadors then at the court of the Emperor, and that, under this pretext of a peace which he had no intention to realize, he would endeavour to recruit and augment his forces, so as to take revenge on those who hindered him from obtaining his wish and desire against the Church of God, and from persecuting the Pope.
Has answered the Emperor, as the Cardinal of York will comprehend by the accompanying copy, which he is to communicate to the Pope, assuring him that the English ambassadors have already arrived in Brabant, and are now with the Emperor for the purpose of discussing such matters as may most conduce to the defence of the Church and of the Pope. Trusts that the Emperor, being the head of all Christian princes, and it appertaining especially to his office to defend the Church, will now enter the most holy alliance.
Will transmit the Emperor's reply by the next courier to the Cardinal, whom he desires to inform the Pope that the King of Scots, at the instigation of the King of the French, has written to him to arrange this peace, and consent that he (the King of Scots) should negotiate the matter with the Pope and the Kings of Spain and France; the English ambassadors at his Court being also urged by him with all his might to write earnestly to their King on the same subject, and induce him to incline towards this universal peace.
Has given nearly the same answer to these solicitations of the King of Scots as to the Emperor, showing that he would willingly adhere to so pious a project, if it could be realized consistently with his honour; but as by the alliance between England and Spain he is bound not to make peace with any other power without the consent of the Pope, he has therefore requested the King of Scots to take this excuse in good part, assuring him that he neither could nor would break faith with his confederates.
Desires the Cardinal, should application relative to this peace be made to the Pope, to request him to observe the articles of the holy alliance, as the Pope and the King of Spain have now recruited their army in Italy, as the Switzers have declared their intention of invading the duchy of Milan, and as his (the King's) own army has quitted England for Guienne and Gascony, to join another powerful host mustered by his father Ferdinand the Catholic; the Venetian Signory's forces also being in perfect readiness.
Should the Pope warmly exhort said armies to do the work well, the Church would doubtless be freed from all persecutions, schism, and tyranny, and her enemies extirpated for ever.
Requests the Cardinal to advance this policy, and to inform the Pope that he (the King) is ready to risk his goods, life, and kingdom for the maintenance of his Holiness and of the Church; and in conclusion prays the Cardinal to let him know with the utmost speed all that is passing at Rome, and especially with regard to the extermination of the schismatics. (fn. 2)
29th of May, 1512. [No date of place.]
[Copy. latin, 72 lines.]
June 26. Sanuto Diaries, v. xiv. p. 334. 178. Henry VIII. to the Emperor Maximilian.
Has read the Emperor's letter, whereby he deplored the effusion ' within the year of Christian bloody and the recent loss of so many valiant men, (fn. 3) by whose aid not only might Europe have been wrested from the Infidel, but much gained even in Asia, where the dissensions of the Infidels among themselves afforded a favourable opportunity for successful action.
In reply to the Emperor's exhortation that he should undertake this expedition, and establish concord among the Christian powers, asserts his belief that no sovereign in Christendom was ever more ardently bent on such an attack than his late father who, with the King of Portugal, discussed the matter very seriously, and (as known by him, King Henry, for certain) would have effected something worthy of a Christian prince, had not the project been frustrated by the decrees of providence.
On his father's death, he derived from him this same ardour against the Infidels; he cherished it like an heir-loom, and at the commencement of his reign thought of nothing else, being confirmed in his intention by seeing his father-in-law with a numerous fleet steering against them. Whilst, however, the King of Arragon and himself were thus intent, the Pope's repeated complaints called their attention elsewhere, because they who should be the foremost to defend the Church and preserve its unity with all their might,—who moreover, choose to be styled “most Christian,—” then lacerated the seamless garment of our Lord Jesus Christ, snatched St. Peter's patrimony, took the cities of holy Roman Church, and fostered petty tyrants in them, threatening chains, dungeons, and everything most atrocious to the Pope himself.
On being acquainted with these facts, he, in union with the King of Arragon, remonstrated vigorously against such outrages, though their friendly and fraternal admonition was treated with contempt by the French, who shortly afterwards, in hatred as it were of England and Spain, commenced harassing the Pope more than previously, and showed a worse than Turkish cruelty, shedding blood, plundering and burning universally, slaughtering aged men women, and infants; violating virgins consecrated to God, and, —what the Gentiles of old and the most barbarous of men were wont most scrupulously to spare—profaning churches and altars with innocent blood. They promulgated more pertinaciously than ever that “most pestilent schism,” the affinity of which to heresy is well known to the Emperor. In short, they omitted no act of cruel impiety and nefarious villany. When these circumstances were made known to him, mindful of his duty to the Pope and most holy Roman Church, he renounced all other projects, and, together with the King of Arragon, decided to take up arms in defence of the Church.
Hoped thus to avenge the wrongs of the Church, being of opinion that this would prove as acceptable to the Almighty as if he actually fought against the Turks or Saracens, and that those who fell in this most holy and pious cause, would obtain the rewards of life everlasting. Now, at last, these foes of the Church, perceiving that their impious and nefarious crimes have caused a great part of Christendom to league against them, pretend, with their usual cunning and innate fraud, that they are seeking that peace which they have hitherto most insolently spurned, their object being to plot against the allies. They should be met with that war which they have sought. Professes himself not averse to peace, if it were just and free from fraud, especially when backed by the Emperor's paternal exhortations. With regard to himself, even if inclined to make peace with them, he is no longer at liberty to do so, being so bound to his confederates that, without consulting them, he can do nothing in the matter.
Believes that under pretence of this peace, much fraud and warfare are concealed, and is therefore so averse to condescend to it, that again and again does he request the Emperor, as the head of all Christian princes and the principal protector of holy Roman Church, to take up this most piteous case of that Church, and join the most holy league for the sake of requiting with the avenging sword the signal injuries (by no means few in number) inflicted by those enemies on the Pope in person, on holy Roman Church, and of yore on the Emperor himself; by which means he will purchase security for his most illustrious grandson, and glory and immortal rewards for himself individually.
[No date of time or place, but written apparently from London or Greenwich in May 1512. Copy, Latin, 94 lines.]


  • 1. The person here alluded to was Richard de la Pole, son of John de la Pole, by Elizabeth Plantagenet, sister of Edward IV. and Richard III. Richard de la Pole was killed at the battle of Pavia, in 1525.
  • 2. Namely the Cardinals and others who had assembled the Conventicle of Pisa.
  • 3. Allusion doubtless to the battle of Ravenna.