Venice: April 1513

Pages 96-101

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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April 1513

April 13. Sanuto Diaries, v. xvi. p. 131. 232. The Venetian Ambassador at Rome to the State.
Dated 8th April.
The main body of the English fleet had quitted for the invasion of France, having on board 12,000 infantry. The King in person would likewise cross.
April 18. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta, v. xlv. p. 115, tergo. 233. The Doge and Senate to the Ambassador at the [Papal Court.
Announce receipt of letters from their agents at Blois, dated the 6th and 7th, acquainting them with the truce between France and Spain, containing two essential articles. The first, that the truce will be ratified by the King of France, the King of Scotland, and the Duke of Guelders, the King of France guaranteeing the ratification by these two last; while the King of Spain, through the Bishop, his delegate, promises that the Emperor, the King of England, and the Queen of Castile will join the truce in two months; the truce being concluded and signed for one year. The second article stipulates expressly, that these truces are to take effect on that side the Alps, and not in Italy.
Ayes, 186. Noes, 1. Neutrals, 0.
[Italian, 47 lines.]
April 18. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta, v. xlv. p. 116, tergo. 234. The Doge and Senate to Andrea Badoer, Ambassador in England.
Express conviction of the justice and goodness of the King. Have always gratefully accepted his suggestions and done their utmost to carry them into effect; and although—as known to the King through the Cardinal of York and his (Badoer's) own statements—the treatment received by them from the late Pope and from the ministers of the King of Spain was in direct violation of the confederation, yet the Signory, being most anxious for a reconciliation with the Emperor, as advised by the King (of England), consented that the Spanish ambassador resident at Venice should go to Germany to negotiate terms of peace, according to his promise.
Understanding, however, that the ambassador has settled nothing, but that the Emperor perseveres in his extreme harshness towards the State, and is in close negotiation for an agreement with France, which agreement the King of Spain approves, and perceiving, moreover, that they obtain nothing but words and procrastination, they have been compelled, in order to recover their own, to come to an arrangement and understanding with the most Christian King, concerning the affairs of Italy.
Badoer to confer with the King, to justify the course adopted, to assure him their good will is unaltered, and by all means to keep him well disposed towards the Republic.
Ayes 174. Noes 2. Neutrals 0.
[Italian, 28 lines.]
April 23. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta, v. xlv. p. 118. 235. The Doge and Senate to the Secretary Giovanni Pietro Stella, accredited to the Swiss Cantons.
The truce between Spain and France contains two essential clauses:
First, the most Christian King engages that the King of Scotland and the Duke of Guelders will ratify the truces, the King of Spain doing the like in the name of the Emperor and the King of England; their adhesion to the truces to be given within two months.
Secondly, the truces relate solely to the other side the Alps, and not to the affairs of Italy.
Ayes 177. Noes 2. Neutrals 0.
[Italian, 81 lines.]
April 23. Senato Mar, v. xviii. p. 4. 236. Decree of the Senate concerning Trade with England.
Motion for prolongation of the terms assigned for the importation of wools, cloths, and tin from England, Flanders, and Brabant. Reasons assigned for it. That although the term has already been extended to the close of February 1513, the result has fallen short of what is required, especially with regard to Frankish wools, as evident from official returns, showing that in 14 months not more than from 30,000 to 35,000 weight has been imported; whereas the annual amount required by the manufacturers exceeds 400,000 weight. That this failure has been caused by the insupportable tax of the half freights to which the importers are subjected, they being also in suspense concerning payment of the tenths. Therefore, for the support in Venice of the wool trade, by which a great part of the population lives, and whereas of 80 manufactories formerly in existence, only eight are now at work, there being but 50 bales of wool in Venice, a supply scarcely sufficient for from 15 to 20 days, and moreover of the worst quality and refuse, although fetching a high price; and lest the poor people be compelled to abandon Venice, as many have commenced doing, to the serious loss and detriment, not only of individuals, but yet more of the State, opportune and speedy provision being requisite,—Put to the ballot, that for the next eight months, all persons be allowed to import into Venice, by land and sea, western wools from any place soever; being bound to pay all the duties and customary entry dues, with the exception of the half-freights to the arsenal and the tenths.
Ayes 167. Noes 2.
April 30. Sanuto Diaries, v. xvi. p. 174. 237. Antonio Bavarin, factor of the Pesaro firm in London, to the Pesari in Venice.
Dated London, 9th April.
In the holy week, 69 ships quitted the port of London, amongst which were 12 of from 600 to 2,000 butts, the rest of from 200 to 500. At Hampton there were ten other ships, which had joined the above, forming a total of 80. The English have also some long and low vessels like galleys, worked by a great number of oars, which all the Biscayan mariners in England consider better men-of-war for the Channel than galleys. Besides a double complement of sailors to work the ships, there was a body of 16,000 picked soldiers, well supplied with provisions and the like. The King had given a coat (una cota) of green and white damask, his own colours, to each of the captains; a coat of camlet to each of the pilots, pinnaces, and masters; and a coat of good woollen cloth, green and white, to each of the sailors and soldiers. Nothing more had been heard of the expedition since its departure. From France nothing was heard about a fleet but idle stories, so that it was supposed the French would not show themselves to the English, who were intent on expediting their land forces; and by the middle of May, or soon after, would be ready with an innumerable force. Were other powers to emulate the King, who is in earnest, the French would fare badly. The new Pope has written to the King, praying him to persevere in the undertaking, which was unnecessary, as the latter is more eager than ever.
Estimates the English army at 10,000 (sic) men-at-arms on horseback, Burgundians and Picards or others; a like amount of English cavalry—the greater part light horse, and the rest heavy and barbed; 12,000 English infantry archers, discharging arrows like darts; 6,000 halberdiers; and 12,000 with a weapon never seen until now, six feet in length, surmounted by a ball, with six steel spikes. They have even Switzers, and much ordnance, with a wagon train and other innumerable appliances. For the royal body guard, besides the cavalry, there are the King's own thousand men of the crown, in most excellent array. The King has also 14 well conditioned horses, with housings of the richest cloth of gold and crimson velvet, with silver gilt bells of great value, and so much other costly furniture that it would be too long to describe.
April 30. Sanuto Diaries, v. xvi. p. 175. 238. Henry VIII. to Christopher Bainbridge, Cardinal of York, Ambassador at Borne.
Has received his letters concerning the death of Julius II., and election of Leo X. Pope Leo's adhesion to the Holy Alliance shows that he greatly favours him (the King) and his father Ferdinand the Catholic. Encloses a copy of his congratulatory letter to the new Pope. “Whilst approving the Pope's exhortations as to peace, is unable to comply, on account of the hostile preparations made by him, and of his pledges to the Emperor and Spain. Refers to a papal brief urging the prosecution of the war, in preference to a dishonourable peace. To tell the Pope that the English fleet with 12,000 troops is now at sea, to invade the enemy, and that in May he himself will do the like in person. That his commander-in-chief with the royal forces and ordnance is crossing the Channel. Expresses his belief that, with regard to the Holy Alliance, the Pope will tread in the footsteps of his predecessor; wishes to receive from him a bond to that effect (fn. 1), and adjures him in the name of God to commence war with the common enemy. The late Pope often promised to send his army, in company with that of the Viceroy of Naples, into Provence, and to act against the common enemy; whereupon the Pope and all Italy would unite the sovereigns of Christendom against the Infidels. Observes on the other hand, that; were he now so suddenly to assent to peace, before thwarting the intention of the common foe to subjugate all Italy and enslave the Church, the Pope would be liable to no small peril.
Is also to ask confirmation of all the bulls given against the enemies of the Church, and amendment of some which do not satisfy him. Amongst other things beseeches his Holiness that the interdict of the kingdom of England may remain (ut interdiction regni Angliœ remaneat). (fn. 2) Has heard that the Schismatics (fn. 3) were doing their utmost to be reconciled to the Pope. Is of opinion that the Pope would disgrace himself exceedingly were he to reinstate such men. One of the Schismatics, if reinstated, might succeed to the papacy, when he would doubtless favour the King of the French. The Pope is bound not to make peace with any of the enemies of the Alliance. Understood lately, that the King of Scots, on hearing that Pope Julius had conceded to him (King Henry) the interdict of his kingdom, determined to send the Bishop of Murray through France to Rome, both to hinder its execution and prevent its confirmation.
Recently the King of Scots addressed the following words to the English ambassador at his court, the Dean of Windsor [Nicholas West]: “I shall appeal against the letters of execution.” The ambassador answered that it was impossible to appeal from similar acts, as the Pope had no superior; to which the King replied: “I shall appeal to Prejean the Pirate and to the apostleship of the aforesaid formidable King of the French.” (fn. 4)
Has received a copy of the letter sent by the King of Scots to the College of Cardinals, exhorting them to adjust a universal peace, and accusing him (King Henry) of denying passage to all the messengers despatched by the King of Scots to France for that purpose. Reproaches the said King with having asserted that when he sent to England a brief from Pope Julius de pace tractanda, he (King Henry) declared the Pope had changed his mind. Asserts in reply that a peace would enable France to recruit and return to Italy. That the Pope (Julius) was not at liberty to make peace without the consent of his allies. That he had written contradictory briefs, urging him to persevere in war; writing also in similar form to the King of Scots to follow his footsteps, and acquainting him with the well known treaty between Rome and the Emperor. The Pope having changed his mind, he (the King) modified his safeconduct for the Bishop of Murray accordingly, as otherwise he would, according to his fashion, have circulated a report of being authorized by him to arrange peace; but nevertheless offered the Bishop a safeconduct for Rome, should he choose to go thither to learn the opinion of the Pope.
With regard to the complaints of the King of Scots about damages inflicted by English ships, declares that, under colour of peace, that King and his subjects joined the French, and did more harm to England and Englishmen than they to him and his. Maintains that peace [with France] would not have been irksome to him, had he not been bound to abide by the Alliance. Wishes the Cardinal to narrate all this in his name to the Sacred College; and gives him in conclusion the following instructions:
“We know for certain that should the Bishop of Murray come to Rome, he would endeavour to negotiate many matters Contrary to our undertaking against the enemies of the Church, whereby we are bound to defend it. On this account it seems expedient both to us and to the Council, if it can be done, that on the road he be intercepted, lest he reach Rome to disturb our holy expedition; touching which matter, at our request, the ambassador of the Catholic King here resident with us has now written instructions to his colleague for the arrest of the said Bishop either by the Duke of Milan or by the Viceroy, so that Rome he approach not.” (fn. 5)
April 12, 1513.
[Latin, 4 pages.]


  • 1. “Ut Sanctitas sua hanc obligationem factam ad nos mittat.”
  • 2. See Mr. Brewer's Calendar, vol. i. p. 530. From the Harl. MS. no. 3462, f. 28, it would seem that the correct words in the original were, “ut interdictum regni Galliæ innovet.” The Latin in the copy of Sanuto's Diaries is often very faulty and unintelligible, not to say nonsensical.
  • 3. The Cardinals who formed the conventicle of Pisa.
  • 4. “Appellabo ad Petrum Joanem et apostolatum præfactum [sic; præfacti?] tremendi Regis Gallorum.” Père Daniel styles this naval commander Pregent de Bidoux. The English chronicler Hall shows that he was a knight of Rhodes, and calls him “Prior John;” showing moreover that on the 25th April 1513, the admiral of England lost his life in a seafight against him. The threat of the King of Scotland was an allusion to the naval renown of Prejean, for whom Lewis XII. had sent from the Barbary coast, where he was protecting the ships of Rhodes bound to Tripoli. (See Hall, p. 535.)
  • 5. The contemporary transcript of the foregoing letter in the Harleian MSS., no. 3,462 f. 28, (see Mr. Brewer's Calendar, vol. i. p. 531.), does not contain the closing paragraph' which records the King's order to intercept the Bishop of Murray, after having granted him a safeconduct, and which reads thus:—“Episcopus Muraniensis, si ad urbem veniet, multa certe scimus tractare conabitur contra nostram ad versus hostes Ecclesiæ expeditionem, qua Ecclesiam Dei defendere debuimus. Quare et nobis et Consilio expedire videtur, ut in itinere, si fieri posset, intercipiatur, ne Romam perveniat ad sanctam nostram expeditionem perturbandam; qua in re rogatu nostro orator Regis Catholici, hic apud nos agens, scripsit in præsentia ad collegam suum, qui instructus est ut præfatus Episcopus intercipiatur, vel a Duce Mediolanensi, vel a Vicerege, Romam ne accedat.”