Venice: March 1522

Pages 210-218

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.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


March 1522

March 1. Senato Mar. v. xx. p. 1. 418. Embassy to England.
Motion made in the Senate for payment of the following sums to Ludovico Falier, ambassador elect to the King of England.
Four months' salary for his own expenses and those of his attendants, at the rate of 120 ducats per month, according to the decree whereby he was elected ducats 480
For horse furniture and trunks ” 30
For the purchase of 11 horses, according to the decree ” 150
For two couriers ” 40
Gift to the secretary as usual ” 30
Ducats 730
Ayes, 166. Noes, 6. Neutrals, 0.
[Italian, 8 lines.]
March 1. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta, v. xlix. p. 69. 419. The Doge and Senate to the Captain of the Flanders Galleys.
Have desired the Ambassador Contarini to obtain letters from the Emperor for the release of the galley and ship detained in Biscay, and furnished him with a letter from the Procurator, Alvise Pisani, who thereby gave security in Flanders. Authorize him (the captain) to disburse in this affair from 1,500 to 2,000 ducats, to be passed to the account of average on the merchandise and freights of the galley and ship. Should the security given by Pisani not be for the full amount required by the Emperor, the Venetian merchants in England are to supply the deficit, the goods and freights of the Donata galley and ship being held accountable to those who give the security.
Ayes, 185. Noes, 6. Neutrals 3.
[Italian, 20 lines.]
March 1. Contarini's Original Letter Book, St. Mark's Library, Letter no. 135. 420. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
The Emperor returned from Mechlin to Brussels on Wednesday. As it is now carnival time, he devotes himself to the pleasures of the season. He has ordered the performance on Sunday of a joust, in which he and the Infant will take part. Nothing more is said about his journey to England.
Brussels, 1st March 1522.
[Italian, 1 page.]
March 5. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxiii. p. 55. 421. Tomaso Contarini to Giustinian Contarini.
Yesterday letters were received from Spain from the new Pope, dated the 26th ultimo. He will accept the dignity, and endeavour to adjust the affairs of Christendom. He has confirmed the Marquis of Mantua as gonfalonier of the Church. The affairs of Spain are quieted and in a fair way. The Emperor's journey to England is doubtful.
Brussels, 5th March 1522. Registered by Sanuto, 18th March.
March 5. Contarini's Original LetterBook, Letter no. 136, St. Mark's Library. 422. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
Being yesterday with the Nuncio [Caracciolo] in the company of the English ambassadors [Sir Robert Wyngfeld and Sir Thomas Spinelli], was shown by them a letter from the English herald, dated Zurich, the 25th ult. This letter, however, they did not read, but they stated that the Switzers had received a protest from the Princes of Germany, to the effect that Milan was an Imperial “chamber,” and therefore the Switzers must beware of what they are about. The English ambassadors also said that a Diet which had been convened was put off until the arrival of the English ambassador,—whose passage through Brussels he (Contarini) had already mentioned,—and that the Switzers who marched in favour of the French had returned home.
Last Sunday the Emperor jousted. On one side was his Majesty with eleven lords and gentlemen dressed in white, and on the opposite side the Infant [Don Ferdinand] with eleven others dressed in tawny. The Emperor excelled all his competitors, nor was there any one who came at all near him. (fn. 1) Such was the opinion of all present.
Yesterday they held a tournament, fighting in the Albanian fashion, first with spears and then with swords. In this encounter the Emperor likewise bore the palm, so that assuredly in his own person, whether in sitting his horse or in the use of his weapons, his Majesty did all that could be expected from an accomplished cavalier.
Returns thanks for having been appointed Sage for the Main-land. (fn. 2)
Letters have been received from Spain, but they make no mention of the Donata galley detained in Biscay.
Brussels, 5th March 1522.
[Italian, 5 pages.]
March 10. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxiii. p. 128. 423. Antonio Surian to the Signory.
Conversations with Cardinal Wolsey, who hopes to conclude the truce, but the King of France would fain have the duchy of Milan. The Cardinal is negotiating for things to remain as they are, and the other matters to be discussed, as it will be easy to arrange about the Milanese.
London, 8th and 10th March. Registered by Sanuto, 11th April.
March 10. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxiii. p. 113. 424. Antonio Surian, Venetian Ambassador in England, and Vicenzo Priuli, Captain of the Flanders Galleys, to the Signory.
Concerning the galley detained in Biscay, when Surian spoke about its release, Cardinal Wolsey told him he would not write letters for its release because (fn. 3) he had been desired to say nothing more about it, adding that the Signory need no longer send galleys on that voyage, as they come so poorly loaded that no profit is made thence in England as formerly. He also complained of the Signory for aiding the King of France to maintain the war against the Emperor. In reply justified the Signory's proceedings.
Dated London, 10th March, and Hampton, 17th March. Registered by Sanuto, 6th April.
March 13. Contarini's Original LetterBook, Letter no. 138, St. Mark's Library. 425. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
During the last four or five days there has been no further talk of the Emperor's departure for Spain. Don Ugo de Moncada and the Master of the Horse departed hence on the 11th for Zealand, to inspect the fleet there and have it put in order.
The Chancellor, Gattinara, said the Emperor intended to be at the seaside on the 10th of April, but left it doubtful whether he would embark in Zealand or at Calais.
The Count of Nassau went lately to Antwerp to raise money for the payment of the two quarters' salary (2 quartironi) due to the gentlemen of the Court. The people of Antwerp offered him 70,000 florins, equal to 35,000 ducats.
Has heard on good authority that the Emperor in this his need asked the King of England for a loan of 200,000 ducats, reducing his demand subsequently to one-half of that amount. The King required security of some sort or another, the particulars of which were unknown to him (Contarini); but the result was that the Emperor declined doing anything further in this matter. The union therefore between these two sovereigns appears to be less close than is reported at Brussels.
Brussels, 13th March 1522.
[Italian, 4 pages.]
March 17. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta, v. xlix. p. 69. 426. The Doge and Senate to Antonio Surian, Venetian Ambassador in England.
Received his letters dated 18th and 24th January and 3rd February, addressed to the Council of Ten, acquainting them with the league proposed by Cardinal Wolsey. Thank the King and Cardinal for their proceedings in favour of the State. For many years the link between England and the Signory has been equal in strength to that which bound them to any other sovereign.
Their truce with the Emperor is maintained inviolate, and they desire to make peace with him. During the present disturbances they have taken no steps at variance with the truce.
Have always acted towards the King of France as bound by their confederacy, according to the articles, of which they enclose a copy for the ambassador's use.
Abhor strife and discord between the Princes of Christendom, and hope therefore that the Cardinal, who has undergone incredible fatigue and vigils in order to make peace between the Emperor and the King of France, will now bring the negotiation to an auspicious close, the times being now changed, and Pope Leo, who perhaps thwarted it, (fn. 4) having died. Wolsey can do nothing that would contribute so much to the glory of the King of England and himself. Christendom would then be preserved from its powerful and formidable enemy, Sultan Solyman.
Ayes, 151. Noes, 29. Neutrals, 10.
[Italian, 41 lines.]
March 17. Misti Consiglio X., v. xlv. p. 4, tergo. 427. Negotiations with England and France.
Motion in the Council of Ten and Junta for communicating to the Senate the letters of the ambassadors in England and France to the Council of Ten, and all other letters relating to this matter.
Ayes, 26. Noes, 0. Neutrals, 0.
[Italian, 11 lines.]
March 18. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta, v. xlix. p. 70, tergo. 428. The Doge and Senate to Giovanni Badoer, Venetian Ambassador in France.
Have made answer to their ambassador in England with regard to the league proposed by Cardinal Wolsey, that so great was their respect for the King of France, that they consider themselves allied with him as much as with any other prince, and purpose remaining thus perpetually; that they observed their truce with the Emperor, &c. (as in No. 426).
Ayes, 175. Noes, 18. Neutrals, 11.
[Italian, 61 lines.]
March 18. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxiii. p. 48. 429. The Signory to the Venetian Ambassador in France.
(Proposed by the Sages.)
The ambassador in England has written to the State, in date of — January, that Cardinal Wolsey told him it would be well for the Republic, besides the truce now current with the Emperor, to make peace. The Senate replied they were content to make peace, such as existed before the war with the late Emperor Maximilian.
All this to be communicated by the ambassador to the King of France.
March 19. Contarini's Original Letter Book, Letter no. 140. St. Mark's Library. 430. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
According to a statement made by the English ambassadors [Sir Robert Wyngfeld and Sir Thomas Spinelli] the ships of their nation have taken certain French vessels in the seas of Flanders, and when the French ambassador remonstrated, that this was an act of war, the King of England replied that if he purposed war, he should adopt another fashion, and that the ships had been captured for the freedom of navigation, as they belonged to corsairs, whose outrages in those harbours and seas were said not to have the consent of the King of France.
The King of England assumes the protection of the towns in Burgundy and Flanders, and promises to defend them against the King of France in case the Emperor goes to Spain; though at any rate it is said his Imperial Majesty will pass his Easter at Bruges.
Brussels, 19th March 1522.
[Italian, 2 pages.]
March 20. Contarini's Original Letter Book, Letter no. 141. St. Mark's Library. 431. The Same to the Same.
Has received a missive from the State concerning the “Donata” galley detained in Biscay, desiring him to obtain fresh letters for its release, or to send duplicates and triplicates of the old ones.
Having heard from the captain of the Flanders galleys that he had forwarded the original letters to Biscay, it seemed desirable to await the reply, because in the present state of affairs between the Signory and the Emperor any steps taken would be fruitless. The most he could obtain would be duplicates of the original letters; nor could they be transmitted otherwise than through England, as the road by land is closed. The English ambassadors [Wyngfeld and Spinelli] have received no orders respecting the galley.
Brussels, 20th March.
[Italian, 5½ pages.]
March 22. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxiii. pp. 162. 432. Antonio Surian to the Signory.
King Henry is raising troops with all his might (a furia), and intends to invade Scotland.
London, 22nd March 1522. Registered by Sanuto, 22nd April.
March 23. Contarini's Original Letter Book, Letter no. 142. St. Mark's Library. 433. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
The Ambassador Surian forwarded to him from England the accompanying letters from the captain of the Flanders galleys, who also wrote to him (Contarini) detailing the actual state of the “Donata” galley detained in Biscay. Therefore, contrary to the intention announced in his despatch of the 20th, he determined to discuss the matter with the Bishop of Palencia. Yesterday narrated to him the seizure of the wines and other merchandise, and how much the trade of Venice was injured by the detention of the galley at St. Sebastian's. Requested him to obtain peremptory letters from the Emperor to the officials in Biscay. The Bishop replied that the Emperor was not accustomed to write a second time to any of his subjects until after the receipt of their replies to his first letters, but requested him (Contarini) to draw up a memorial for the pardon of the pilots who accompanied the galleys, and who had been banished for life from their native towns on pain of hanging. The Bishop said it was true that owing to the disturbances in Biscay there might be some difficulty, but he believed the Emperor's letters would be obeyed. Perceiving that the Bishop considered the result doubtful, wrote to Surian that the King and Cardinal might greatly aid the matter by writing warmly about it to the Emperor, and giving orders in conformity to their ambassadors at Brussels.
The Bishop said the Emperor's departure would take place speedily, that his voyage to Spain was quite settled, that he would keep his Easter at Calais, or perhaps in England, and that Contarini must prepare for the Spanish voyage, offering him a ship for himself, and every other necessary convenience.
Brussels, 23rd March 1522.
[Italian, 3½ pages.]
March 23. Contarini's Original Letter Book, Letter no. 143. St. Mark's Library. 434. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
After receiving the reply about the “Donata” galley from the Bishop of Palencia proceeded to the Chancellor [Gattinara]. Told him what had been done by the Biscayans, and requested his advice how to obtain strong letters from the Emperor.
Announced that he had received the security for 3,000 ducats from the Procurator Alvise Pisani. The Chancellor said the security must be for appearance on trial and payment of the award, and that the galley was worth more than 3,000 ducats. Replied that the value was less than Gattinara supposed, but the loss greater on account of the rotation (muda), and of the performance of the voyage at a bad season. The Chancellor insisted that the security must be such as he had stated, and inquired how he (Contarini) could expect him to advocate the Signory's cause at the Imperial Council board after the obstacles raised by the Republic to the passage of the lansquenets through Valcamonica.
Brussels, 23rd March 1522.
[Italian, 2 pages.]
March 24. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxiii. p. 134. 435. Antonio Surian to the Signory.
Including ships and galleons, King Henry has fitted out 32 sail to meet the Emperor, who, it is said, means to cross over to Spain, and will come to confer with the King of England.
London, 21st and 24th March. Registered by Sanuto, 14th April.
March 27. Contarini's Original Letter Book, Letter no. 145. St. Mark's Library. 436. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
Yesterday letters arrived from Italy, written by the Duke of Milan, in date of Piacenza the 15th, announcing that the French and Switzers were posted between Pavia and Milan; that he was expecting Janin de' Medici, (fn. 5) then on the march with 100 spears and 2,000 foot; and that on the arrival of this force the Duke purposed going out of Pavia (sic) and attacking the French camp, which was said to comprise the troops of the Signory, although, according to the last advices, they had made a show of crossing the Adda.
This the Imperialists took much amiss, and they were yet more disturbed by the contents of an intercepted letter, brought to them by this same post, from the King of France to the Signory, dated the 26th [February], returning thanks to the State for the loan of 25,000 crowns, and asking for as many more in the course of the present month, and also expressing his intention to follow the advice given him by the State to come into Italy.
This intercepted letter was received by the Papal Nuncio [Caracciolo] at Brussels, and read this morning at the Imperial Council board.
In consequence of these advices his secretary, when at the palace this morning, was pointed at by everybody, and could scarcely show his face. Prays God that the result be good, most especially at this moment on account of the Flanders galleys. (fn. 6)
It was reported this morning that the Emperor had determined to depart hence next Thursday, the 3rd of April, and is sending Don Ugo de Moncada back to Zealand with money to pay the masters of the ships, and to make the other necessary arrangements respecting the fleet.
Brussels, 27th March 1522.
[Italian, 2 pages.]
March 28. Misti Consiglio X. v. xlv. p. 14, tergo. 437. Embassy to England.
Motion made in the Council of Ten and Junta, that, in conformity with the vote of the Senate passed on the 1st instant, 730 ducats be given to the nobleman Lodovico Fallier, ambassador elect to England, for his despatch thither, out of the fund set apart for the Signory's ambassadors.
Ayes, 25. Noes, 1. Neutrals, 0.
[Italian, 4 lines.]
March 30. Contarini's Original Letter Book, Letter no. 146. St. Mark's Library. 438. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
Yesterday the Chancellor Gattinara invited him to dinner, after which he reproached the State with her policy towards the Emperor, and produced three letters and an extract from a fourth.
The first was from the King of France to Doge Antonio Grimani, on parchment, with the royal signature, and countersigned by Robertet, dated the 27th of February, from St. Germain-en-Laye. Finding it inconvenient to remit money to Mons. de Lautrec at Milan, the King requests the Signory to send him 25,000 crowns, as in the course of March they should be repaid at any place appointed.
The King thanks the Doge for the good advice which Lautrec had imparted in the Signory's name, that his Majesty should go into Italy for the preservation and increase of the territories of France and Venice. In accordance with this advice, the King purposed departing from St. Germain for Lyons in six or eight days, and proceeding thence into Italy. On this advice, and on the allusion to increase of territory, the Chancellor laid much stress.
The second letter was from the King to his ambasador in Venice, charging him to present the first letter, and to do his utmost to obtain the 25,000 crowns.
The third letter, from the King to Lautrec, alluded to his having already supplied him with 25,000 crowns through Venice, and stated that he should receive 25,000 more through the same channel. He also mentioned his intended departure for Lyons. This third letter was dated the 28th February.
Finally, the Chancellor showed him (Contarini) a paragraph from another letter to Lautrec, informing him that his Majesty had supplied the Duke of Urbino and Renzo da Ceri with 22,000 ducats, which would yield good fruit in that direction, and therefore Lautrec, on his part, was to render them every assistance. This paragraph was on a separate paper by itself. The Chancellor said the rest of the letter had been sent to Rome, as it concerned matters there, that the paragraph quoted relates to a plan for revolutionising the kingdom of Naples, and that the Imperial Government was already acquainted with the plots and agreements in course between the Signory and the King of France.
Pretended that this was the first he had heard of these intercepted letters, and suggested that the French might have sent these letters for the express purpose of their being intercepted. With regard to the 25,000 crowns, said he did not believe in its grant, as the Signory unwillingly incurred her present expenditure for the troops furnished according to treaty.
With regard to the advice given to the King of France to come into Italy, said that Lautrec was anxious for this, and had probably written that such was the opinion of the Signory, but the presence of the King would prove disastrous to the State.
Touching the kingdom of Naples and increase of territory, told the Chancellor he would wager 100 lives against the Signory's ever having dropped the slightest hint of the sort, and that the Doge had pledged his head for the interests of the Emperor, and was content to hold in peace his actual possessions. (fn. 7)
The Chancellor replied that, if the King went into Italy, the Emperor also would appear there in person, or send a great number of troops; and that the Republic had declared in favour of the French more warmly than was necessary, and had made fresh levies.
Rejoined that the State did less than she was bound to do by the treaty.
The Chancellor then used these words: “I desire the welfare and quiet of Italy, but I suspect you will procrastinate until the French receive such a blow as may make you wish for what will then no longer be in your power, and then old stories will be revived.”
The Chancellor said the Emperor would quit Brussels for Bruges before Easter, but many persons doubt this. The preparations are small, and the gentlemen [of the Court] have not yet received any money.
Encloses letters from the Ambassador Surian, dated the 26th, and one from the captain of the Flanders galleys.
Brussels, 30th March 1522.
[Italian, 4½ pages.]


  • 1. “Ne fu alcuno che ad una gran zonta se li acostasse.“
  • 2. The appointment implied that the Republic was satisfied with Contarini. A similar compliment was paid to Giustinian whilst in England. (See his Despatches, vol. ii. p. 276, date London 28 June 1519.)
  • 3. “Li disse che 'l non volera far letere per la sua liberation perchè li era sta imposto silenzio più non parlasse di questo.“
  • 4. “Che forse la difficultava.“
  • 5. Giovanni de' Medici, delle bande nere.
  • 6. This extract and the following one contain particulars which were communicated by Contarini to Surian, as stated in date 22nd April; but as that letter itself does not exist in the Contarini copy book, its contents are given from the ambassador's narrative to the State.
  • 7. It is probable that this “increase of territory” signified the five ports of Trani Brindisi, Otranto, Pulignano, and Gallipoli, of which Venice was deprived in 1509.