Venice: June 1521

Pages 130-136

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 3, 1520-1526. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1869.

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June 1521

June 3. Contarini's Original Letter Book, St. Mark's Library, Letter no. 17. 228. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
Understands from the Chancellor that the King of England is mediating strenously for peace between the Emperor and France; though the King has not yet heard of the attack on Navarre. The Chancellor trusted that, on being acquainted with it, England would declare for the Emperor against France, in observance of the league between the three powers, to the effect that whichever of them commenced war was to be attacked by the other two; a compact to which the King of England had frequently signified his assent.
Mayence, 3rd June 1521.
[Italian, 4¼ pages.]
June 3. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxx. p. 244. 229. Alvise Gradenigo to the Signory.
Was told by the Pope that the entry of the French troops into Navarre, and their blockade of Pampeluna, had been confirmed by his Nuncio in France. The King of England would now be unable to mediate between the Emperor and King Francis, because matters had advanced too far.
Dated 3rd June. Registered by Sanuto, 13th June.
June 4. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxx. p. 261. 230. Giovanni Badoer to the Signory.
Mons. d'Aubigni has arrived from Scotland, and Mons. de Marigny, late ambassador in England, has been replaced by Mons. de la Bâtie.
Dijon, 4th June. Registered by Sanuto, 19th June.
June 5. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxx. p. 216. 231. Embassy to England.
Yesterday morning Nicolo Tiepolo, LL.D., ambassador elect to England, announced in the College that as the motion for him to receive 120 ducats monthly salary in England could not be put, he declined the embassy.
June 6. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxx. p. 223. 232. Francesco Cornaro.
Report of England made by him in the Senate, on returning from his embassy to the Emperor Charles V.
On the 20th of May 1520 the Emperor embarked at Corunna with some 40 ships, crossed the bay of Biscay, and on the 27th landed at Dover, and conferred with the King and Queen of England. (fn. 1)
The reigning King is about 30 years old; has a very handsome face and a well-proportioned body, is sage, learned (virtuoso), gracious, and endowed with every excellent accomplishment (virtù). He has an only daughter, about five years old, who is married to the Dauphin, the son of the King of France.
The government is exclusively in the hands of the Cardinal of York, who is from 45 to 50 years old, hale, and of good presence, but proud and very choleric. He rules the entire kingdom, and may be considered King so far as its administration is concerned. (fn. 2)
The annual surplus revenue of the Crown exceeds 500,000 ducats, so the King is supposed to be very rich, and to have increased what was left him by his father, although he is said to have spent 3,000,000 of gold in the war against France, besides a considerable sum at the interview with King Francis. Notwithstanding, he is supposed to have more ready money than any sovereign in Christendom.
This is as much as I could learn of the kingdom of England during the few days of my stay there.
On the last day of May [1520] we quitted the island, and disembarked in Zealand on the 1st of June.
June 1–6. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxx. p. 293. 233. Antonio Surian to the Signory.
Arrival of Paiton [sic, Montpésat] from the King of France. Has spoken with him. He is returning to France, and says that King Henry had not taken amiss the capture of Pampeluna, but would mediate to prevent war. With this message he returns to France. The Emperor has empowered King Henry to make terms, but Cardinal Wolsey is dissatisfied, and the King has made no effort to induce King Francis to place himself in his hands, because he wishes to decide about the Emperor's coronation and his coming into Italy.
The truce with Scotland has been concluded and signed, on which account the ambassadors of Scotland are coming to London to negotiate the peace there. The French ambassador in England has promised not to give this charge (capitulation) to the French, in order that they [the Scottish ambassadors] may come, and thus give repute to King Henry.
Conversations with Cardinal Wolsey and the French ambassador about these disputes. The King would never endure war between the Emperor and King Francis, and would reconcile them. Mons. de la Bâtie is expected with the reply of King Francis.
Artillery is being shipped for conveyance to Calais. Beyond seas [i. e., at Calais] there are other movements, some say to do honour to the Emperor on his coming; others on account of Terouenne, it seeming indeed that there are Imperial troops in that neighbourhood.
London, 1st, 3rd, and 6th June. Registered by Sanuto, 27th June.
June 8. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxx. p. 261. 234. Giovanni Badoer to the Signory.
Was told by King Francis he had received letters' from the King of England and the Cardinal, announcing their wish to arbitrate between him and the Emperor, and that the Cardinal would go to Calais to pass sentence.
Although the Emperor sent the power of attorney, King Francis would not make any compromise, having already proved his rights, though should the King of England choose to act as a friendly pacificator, he (King Francis) would be well satisfied. This reply he gave by word of mouth and in writing to the English ambassador [Jerningham], and said he rejected the mediation, because Cardinal Wolsey had said he would “pass sentence,” whereas no sentence was needed where matters are clear.
Was told by Madame [Louise of Savoy] that the English ambassador had spoken to her as above, and she referred him to King Francis, knowing he would not accept the arbitration.
Dijon, 8th June. Registered by Sanuto, 19th June.
June 10. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxx. p. 293. 235. The Same to the Same.
Mons. Poisam, (fn. 3) who was sent by King Francis to substantiate his charges against the Emperor to King Henry, has returned from England. He brings back word King Henry will mediate and has received the Emperor's assent to this effect.
Dijon, 10th June. Registered by Sanuto, 27th June.
June 13. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxx. p. 323. 236. Antonio Surian to the Signory.
Communicated to Cardinal Wolsey the letters relative to the agreement touching the affairs of the Friuli made through the intervention of Jacomo Florio. The Cardinal was glad such an agreement had been made, and that during this interval the Signory's subjects were secured against war. With regard to the news from Syria, he said he rejoiced to hear that Gazeli was resuscitated. Touching the disputes between the most Christian King and the Emperor, he said they were expecting the assent of King Francis to the appointment of King Henry as the arbitrator; that he (Wolsey) meant them to submit all their disputes, and the compromise to be general; and that the King of England will be hostile to the party which shall refuse to act thus.
The French ambassador told him (Surian) that King Francis will never assent; that he would indeed acknowledge the King of England as a friendly mediator, but not as an arbitrary judge.
Has spoken with Secretary Pace about the artillery sent by the King across the Channel. He said it was merely for the purpose of supplying the King's towns beyond seas.
The capture of Martin Luther has not proved true. The King is at Richmond, and will not come to Greenwich on account of the pestilential fever which is very rife there, and also here in London.
Beseeches the State to despatch his successor.
London, 13th June. Registered by Sanuto, 3rd July.
June 14. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxx. p. 293. 237. Giovanni Badoer to the Signory.
The most Christian King, on hearing the message brought by Mons. de Paitom [sic, Montpésat] from England, seems content to place himself in the hands of King Henry, not as a judge, but as a friend and mediator (amico compositor). He has despatched one of the English ambassadors who were here to the Emperor's Court (fn. 4) to see whether the latter is willing to grant three demands: the tribute due for the kingdom of Naples; homage for Flanders; the King of Navarre to retain his kingdom as stipulated heretofore. The ambassador departed with these instructions, and will return in ten days.
Dated 14th June. Registered by Sanuto, 27th June.
June 18. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxi. p. 12. 238. Antonio Surian to the Signory.
Sir William [Fitzwilliam], who went as ambassador to France, has returned with the announcement that King Francis will not grant any further power of compromise, but merely promises on his royal word to abide by what the King of England shall dictate.
The French ambassador likewise has been to Cardinal Wolsey on this business; they send Fitzwilliam back to France; and Mons. de Matregni [sic, Marigny], the French ambassador here, is also going, to put the finishing stroke to the conclusion of the compromise, for a considerable French force is in the duchy of Luxemburg, as likewise Imperial troops, and they would fain make truce between the sovereigns, but there are two difficulties,—France will not make truce, and continue to incur the present vast expenditure, nor has she assurance that the Emperor will be satisfied with the award of the King of England.
London, 18th June. Registered by Sanuto, 9th July.
June 19. Contarini's Original Letter Book, Letter no. 23. St. Mark's Library. 239. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
Congratulated the Chancellor on the reported retreat of the French from Navarre, as it might facilitate the adjustment between the Emperor and France.
The Chancellor replied,—“Such is my belief: and what makes us hope that the intelligence may be true is that, as you know, some days ago, so long back as when we were at Worms, the King of England sent an ambassador to the Emperor, requesting permission to mediate for peace between his Majesty and France.
“The Emperor made answer, that although he had been much outraged by the King of France,—who moreover favoured his enemies, such as Dom Robert de la Mark, whom he (the Emperor) meant to punish as a rebellious vassal,—nevertheless, to show the world his wish for peace, he was willing to accept the mediation of the King of England.
“The King of France made a reply at variance with that of his Imperial Majesty, for he told the King of England that the Emperor having proclaimed war against him (King Francis), he had raised an army of 40,000 foot and 4,000 spears, and did not think he could come to any agreement; saying, that if it were in his power he would deprive the Emperor of all his realms, expecting to find the Archduke of Burgundy in as lowly a plight as he was during many years. But now the King of France seems to have changed his mind, and tells the King of England that he is ready to make terms with the Emperor, urging Cardinal Wolsey to cross the Channel for a conference with his Imperial Majesty,—a proof that he has been disappointed in his projects.”
The Chancellor said there was no question of a meeting between the King of England and the Emperor; the latter was to confer with Cardinal Wolsey alone.
The Chancellor also said that the appearance of the Emperor's forces on the banks of the Tronto was caused by a statement which the King of France made to the King of England, implying an intended attack on the kingdom of Naples. The departure of the Emperor from Brussels for Ghent was to be delayed until the decision of the King of England should be known with regard to the mission of Cardinal Wolsey to the Imperial Court.
Brussels, 19th June 1521.
[Italian, 4¼ pages.]
June 23. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxi. p. 22. 240. Antonio Surian to the Signory.
King Henry and Cardinal Wolsey have sent Sir William Fitzwilliam again to France, but he did not depart until late yesterday. King Henry desires to mediate between the Emperor and King Francis, and on Fitzwilliam's return will send three ambassadors, namely, Dom. John —, the Rev. Agiense [Bishop of Ely ?], and the Lord Chamberlain [the Earl of Worcester], first to the Emperor, and then to King Francis, to induce them to come, the one to Gravelines, and the other to Gades (sic). Cardinal Wolsey is to cross to Calais, where he will endeavour to adjust their disputes, though of this the French ambassador [De la Bâtie] in London said nothing.
Should Cardinal Wolsey cross the Channel, will accompany him. Requests, therefore, that his successor may be despatched, to prevent the necessity for his own return to England.
The Bishop Avengiense [Silvester de' Gigli, Bishop of Worcester ?] is dead; his see, worth 2,000 ducats, has been conferred on . . . . . (fn. 5)
London, 23rd June. Registered by Sanuto, 10th July.
June 24. Contarini's Original Letter Book, St. Mark's Library, Letter no. 27. 241. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
The day before yesterday Sir Richard Wyngfeld departed on his way to England. Does not know the cause of so sudden a departure, but supposes it is to urge Cardinal Wolsey to come to the Emperor.
Brussels, 24th June 1521.
[Italian, 4¼ pages.]
June 26. Contarini's Original Letter Book, St. Mark's Library, Letter no. 29. 242. The Same to the Same.
Receipt of letters from England. Nothing is said about them,—a proof their contents disappointed the Imperialists. Had they good news or fair hopes from the King of England, they would be unable to keep such to themselves, but proclaim their intelligence for reputation's sake, as customary with them.
Brussels, 26th June 1521.
[Italian, 5 pages.]
June 29. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxi. p. 10. 243. Giovanni Badoer to the Signory.
Has visited King Francis, who was occupied with his usual field sports. His Majesty spoke about Monsr. Poinol [sic, Montpésat], who went ambassador to England and has now returned, as also has the English ambassador [Fitzwilliam], who had come to request the King to authorize King Henry to compromise the disputes between his Majesty and the Emperor. King Francis replied that he would not give any power to compromise, but that the King of England might adjust the disputes as a friendly mediator.
—, 29th June. Registered by Sanuto, 9th July.


  • 1. I omit the commencement of this account of England, because it corresponds with Quirini's report made to the Senate on the 10th of October 1506, which is printed in Alberi's Collection of Venetian Reports, series I. vol. I. p. 18; edit. Florence, 1839.
  • 2. Then follow paragraphs copied from Quirini, a proof that for the composition of similar papers the diplomatists of Venice condescended occasionally to use a “crib.”
  • 3. Anthony des Prez, Sieur de Montpesat. In “State Papers,” vol. VI., part r. p. 77, the name is written “Mountpeyssard.”
  • 4. The English ambassadors at this time in France were Sir Richard Jernegan and Sir William FitzWilliam. Neither of them repaired to Germany at this time, but they dispatched Richmond Herald to the Imperial Court with instructions for Sir Richard Wyngfield, the English ambassador there. (See Mr. Brewer's Calendar, III., No. 1,331.)
  • 5. De' Gigli died 16th April 1521. Cardinal Julius de' Medici was made administrator of the see by the Pope, and resigned that office in 1522.