Venice: July 1522

Pages 253-260

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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July 1522

July 4. Contarini's Original Letter Book, Letter no. 174, St. Mark's Library. 492. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
Has received a letter of reproof from the State in reply to what he wrote from Bruges on the 20th of May about the articles which he had drawn up for an agreement between the Emperor and the Signory. Perceiving the quiet of the State to hang by a hair, was compelled to take an unusual course. When the Chancellor requested him to draw up articles of agreement, did not consent without making much opposition. Had he refused to draw them up, his sincerity would have been doubted, and the negotiation must have failed,—a result which, considering the news from England, and the events in Italy, appeared very injurious to the State.
Hampton, Thursday, 4th July 1522.
[Italian, 1½ page.]
July 5. Contarini's Original Letter Book, Letter no. 175, St. Mark's Library. 493. The Same to the Same.
Late last evening at Hampton, where he (Contarini) was preparing for his voyage to Spain, the Emperor issued a proclamation ordering everybody to embark immediately, as he purposed proceeding on his voyage to Spain with the first fair wind. On the same evening received letters from the Signory, dated the 16th June, addressed to himself and Surian. Was unable to obey the orders they contained, because the King and Cardinal Wolsey departed from the Emperor at Bishop's Waltham. With regard to offering the galleys for the Emperor's voyage to Spain, the Signory will perceive that he does not make use of them, and that they remain in England at the disposal of the King. Was also unable this morning to acquaint the Chancellor and the Bishop of Palencia with the cause of the delay of the Signory's answer to the proposal for adjustment, as they were much occupied with the Emperor at the Council board, and making arrangements for his departure.
Was informed by the Papal Nuncio, Caracciolo, that his new colleague, the Dominican monk the Bishop of Astorga, had audience on the morning before last, first of the King and then of the Emperor, and exhorted them both, in the Pope's name, to make peace or truce with France. The King replied that he had always been the most obsequious son of the Apostolic See, and desirous of union among Christians, but the King of France had committed so many outrages against him, all of which he enumerated one by one, that he would have neither peace nor truce of any sort with France, and chose to end the dispute sword in hand. While expressing himself thus the King was in a very great rage.
The same proposals made by the Nuncio to the Emperor met with a similar reply, his Majesty detailing the injuries received from France in like fashion as the King of England, but not so angrily, in accordance with his gentler nature. (fn. 1)
This afternoon acquainted the Chancellor (Gattinara) with the offer of the galleys, and with the cause of the delay with regard to the adjustment. The Chancellor replied that the Imperial ambassador had written the like from Venice, but the State was procrastinating.
Hampton Court, Friday, 5th July 1522.
[Italian, 1½ page.]
July 8. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta, v. xlix. p. 100, tergo. 494. The Doge and Senate to Gasparo Contarini and Antonio Surian.
By their letters, dated the 13th, 16th, and 19th of June, perceive what was notified to Surian, first by the Bishop of Durham and subsequently by Cardinal Wolsey, scilicet, that a general peace and league ought to be formed. This is very satisfactory. Expect to find the conditions fair and reasonable, as they will be devised and drawn up by Cardinal Wolsey, and the cordial affection of the King and Cardinal towards the Signory's interests is very notorious, and in perfect accordance with the State's respect for the King's ancestors, for his. Majesty himself, and for the Cardinal.
Assent to the proposal of Cardinal Wolsey and the Bishop of Durham that no special recognition or explanation should be made of all the towns belonging to the Empire now held by the State, in order to avoid entering into a chaos, and to arrive at a general conclusion.
Approve their reply to Cardinal Wolsey respecting the disbursement of money. Constant and excessive expenditure has been sustained by the Republic to secure her territory against the powerful military and naval armaments of Sultan Solyman, which are destined for the invasion of Christendom, as the accompanying newsletters will testify. It will le necessary for Venice to continue this expenditure, as the Sultan is young, very powerful, and extremely hostile to the Christian race. Have increased their fleet already to the amount of 50 galleys.
Hope that on the receipt of this letter the galleys will have returned, or else that the King and Cardinal will grant them speedy despatch.
Ayes, 180. Noes, 11. Neutrals, 3.
[Italian, 51 lines.]
July 10. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxiii. p. 350. 495. Antonio Surian to the Signory.
The Emperor and Contarini embarked for Spain on the 7th. The King of England has not yet dismissed the Signory's galleys, nor restored their guns. Still less will he allow Venetian subjects to export merchandise from England, unless first of all the State declare itself the enemy of France and prove its hostility by deeds. On this subject Cardinal Wolsey has spoken to him (Surian) at great length.
The French fleet is near at hand. The King is much irritated against France. He has prepared 13,000 infantry, and will send them across to Calais to invade France as soon as the French fleet is at a distance.
London, 10th July. Registered by Sanuto, 31st July.
July 12. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxiii. p. 396. 496. Giovanni Badoer to the Signory.
Told by King Francis that 10,000 English have crossed over to France, but as yet they have performed no exploit. The Emperor had arrived in Spain, and was mustering all his forces, with the intention of attacking France at Fonterabia. King Francis is intent on reinforcing the place, and has no thought for the affairs of Italy; so that he (Badoer?) finds himself in great trouble.
Dated 12th July. Registered by Sanuto, 11th September.
July 14. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxiii. p. 360. 497. Giovanni Badoer to the Signory.
King Francis is on the eve of departure for Blois, and has received intelligence through certain fishermen that the English crossed over to France, and encountered no small defeat at the hands of the French. Narrates his conversations with the King, who seems much to approve of the Signory's proceedings, and also of what was written to England.
Lyons, 12th and 14th July. Registered by Sanuto, 4th August.
July 17. Contarini's Original Letter Book, Letter no. 176, St. Mark's Library. 498. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
Wrote from Hampton on the 5th that the Emperor had ordered the whole court to embark in the course of that day. His commands could not be executed. In the evening, while he (Contarini) was at supper with the captain of the Flanders galleys, the Emperor made his appearance at the waterside, and the captain, the masters, and all the Venetian noblemen put ashore from the galleys and presented themselves.
The captain and masters having kissed the Emperor's hand, he (Contarini) delivered the message contained in the Signory's letter of the 17th ult., offering the galleys for his voyage to Spain, and inviting him to inspect them immediately. The Emperor appeared pleased with the offer, and said it was too late to see the galleys then, but he would come on the morrrow. Arrangements were made to do him honour, confections prepared, &c., but the Emperor did not keep his appointment, for he communicated next morning (the 6th), and embarked immediately after dinner. All his followers did the like, according to proclamation.
Throughout that day and night the fleet remained close to the town, and then on the 7th, with the ebb tide, dropped down to the harbour's mouth, and set sail with as fair a wind and as smooth a sea as could be desired. Last evening, the 16th, we entered the harbour of St. Ander. The Emperor landed instantly, but the whole court remained on board until this morning. The Emperor is expected to remain at St. Ander until the horses are landed and the passengers recover from the effects of the sea voyage. He will then proceed towards Castille.
The Pope is said to be at Taragona. It is not yet known whether he will have an interview with the Emperor.
Has heard from the English ambassador, the Florentine Spinelli, (the King of England having now no other ambassador resident with the Emperor,) that on the voyage he spoke a vessel termed by them a pinnace, which was conveying letters to his King from the Admiral [the Earl of Surrey] and Sir Richard Wyngfeld, who are on board the English fleet. The information received by Spinelli purported that they had taken two places in Britanny, one of which numbered 2,000 hearths [Morlaix?], and that they had advanced eight leagues, doing much mischief, and meeting with no resistance. This intelligence greatly rejoiced the Imperial court.
St. Ander, 17th July 1522.
P. S.—This letter has been detained until the 18th. Had audience of the Emperor, and congratulated him on his safe arrival in Spain, and on his success, which was communicated yesterday to him (Contarini) by the Chancellor.
The Emperor returned thanks, and then said, “I have news that the King of France has recalled his troops from Italy, and considers his affairs there hopeless. I trust in God everything will go well.”
Before quitting England the Bishop of Palencia had a slight attack of fever, and is not yet convalescent.
[Italian, 5 pages.]
July 18. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxiii. p. 334. 499. English Invasion of France.
This morning, in the College, the Frenchman, Mons. de Montmorency, showed a letter he had received from the King of France, stating that his troops had gained a victory over the English, who entered the French territory, and that—were killed. The members of the College do not credit this; it is French gossip, to benefit their affairs.
July 21. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxiii. p. 338. 500. Pope Adrian VI.
Return of the courier who went to the Pope with the letter from the Signory. He brings a very bland reply dated—,—miles from Vittoria, 3rd of July. The Pope thanks the State for the offers made to him. He has determined not to quit Spain until the spring, because the plague is in Rome, though be wishes to be there in order to arrange the affairs of the world. He had sent an ambassador to the King of England, exhorting him not to make war on France, and had done the like by the Emperor. They answered him that for fitting causes they could not do otherwise. The Pope writes that many potentates do not care to keep back the Turks, whom he urges the Republic to resist, for the welfare of Christendom. He praises the Signory greatly.
July 22. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxiii. p. 371. 501. Antonio Surian to the Signory.
It is hoped the Signory's galleys will be dismissed. His barber has died of the plague.
Dated 22nd July. Registered by Sanuto, 18th August.
July 23. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxiii. p. 338. 502. The Flanders Galleys.
On the morning of the 23rd the Doge was not in the College, and several letters were read from the ambassadors Surian and Contarini, the last dated London, the 6th instant. The Emperor had not yet crossed over to Spain, but was to go on the 7th, as his fleet was all ready. The King had made all the Venetian galleys unload, and taken their guns, which he intended to place at a point where the French fleet was expected to land. The forces of the King of England were on the point of crossing over to Calais, in number 15,000 foot and horse. Vincenzo Priuli, the captain of the Flanders galleys, refused to deliver the guns, as they belonged to the Signory, and he had no commission to that effect; so the English seized them, promising that they should be restored on the departure of the French fleet.
July 24. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta, v. xlix. p. 107, tergo. 503. Florentine Manufactures for Henry VIII.
Motion in the Senate, that whereas the reverend ambassador of the King of England resident at Rome (fn. 2) has made an carnest demand of the Signory's ambassador there for free transit through the Venetian territory, without payment of any duty, for the under-mentioned pieces of cloth of gold and silk, which the King has had wrought in Florence for his own use; and whereas it would be advantageous to the Signory, especially in these times, to gratify his Majesty:—
Put to the ballot, that by authority of this Council, Zuan Cavalchante, or any other legitimate agent of the said King, be allowed to convey through the Signory's territory, and even through the city of Venice, duty free, the pieces of cloth of gold and silk specified in the list transmitted by the Signory's ambassador aforesaid; and that letters patent be made out accordingly.
Ayes, 148. Noes, 8. Neutrals, 0.
[Italian, 16 lines.]
July 28. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta, v. xlix. p. 109. 504. The Doge and Signory to Antonio Surian, Venetian Ambassador in England.
Received letters from him and Contarini, dated 26th and 29th June. By his letter of 5th July are made acquainted with the reason which prevented the delivery to Cardinal Wolsey of the Signory's missive dated 17th June. Wish to hear what has been done by the Cardinal, who has doubtless given him (Surian) the form of the articles according to promise. The Reverend [Richard] Pace, by whom the Cardinal intended to send them, is on his way hither from Rome. Are anxious to receive them, having heard from Contarini that the Chancellor [Gattinara] had accused the State of procrastinating.
The Signory is awaiting the articles in order to be enabled to reply to the proposal for a triple league. Is to represent this to the Cardinal. Hope that the King and Wolsey will offer them reasonable terms. The quiet and maintenance of the Venetian Republic will be advantageous to Christendom.
Is to tell Cardinal Wolsey that the Chancellor [Gattinara] complained that the State was reinforcing her army, at the suit of the King of France, and urging him to come into Italy. The complaint had no ground of truth, The Signory sent all her cavalry some time since into their usual quarters, the infantry garrisoning the cities according to custom, and no reinforcements have been made. Have, moreover, given leave to their Proveditor-General, Gritti, to return home.
Ayes, 188. Noes, 4. Neutrals, 2.
[Italian, 45 lines.]
July 28. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta, v. xlix. p. 109. 505. The Same to Gasparo Contarini, Venetian Ambassador with Charles V.
Have not yet received the articles of agreement between the Emperor and the Signory which Cardinal Wolsey promised to draw up. Suppose this delay to proceed from the Cardinal's having been occupied with arranging other matters between his King and the Emperor, prior to the departure of the latter for Spain.
Ayes, 188. Noes, 4. Neutrals, 2.
[Italian, 42 lines.]
July 28. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta, v. xlix. p. 110 tergo. 506. The Doge and Signory to the Captain of the Flanders Galleys.
Received his letters of 21st June. Grievous loss and expense will be incurred by the “masters” and the merchants of Venice if the stay of the galleys in England be further prolonged, as is to be feared. Have therefore written to the King of England and Cardinal Wolsey to allow the immediate departure of the galleys. On obtaining this permission the captain is instantly to reload the goods, and as there will probably be more wools than the galleys can hold, the following regulations are to be observed.
All the merchants are to load by “rate” such wools as they have collected.
As the wools laden in the first instance will have paid duty, and must necessarily be re-shipped, the shippers who failed to obtain their “rate” on board the two first galleys are to be allowed it in the third.
Each shipper loading contrary to these regulations to be liable to penalty of 50 ducats for each bale (balon) thus loaded, and 25 ducats for each poke (poca), besides the freights. Such penalties to be applied to the use of the Arsenal.
Having done this, the captain is to come straight to Venice without touching at any place except in Sicily.
As the controller (cantaruol) of Hampton, by order of the King, has taken the guns of the Signory's galleys, and had them conveyed to a place 12 miles off, for the safety and defence of a large royal ship which is lying there, if the guns be not already restored the captain is to make suit for their restitution, and if that be delayed, he is then to obtain other guns for the security of the galleys. Should this be impossible, he is to divide equally the guns which remain on board the galleys, and set sail immediately. Warn him, however, not to depart against the will of the King.
Ayes, 163. Noes, 6. Neutrals, 1.
[Italian, 45 lines.]
July 31. Contarini's Original Letter Book, Letter no. 177, St. Mark's Library. 507. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
The Emperor remained at St. Ander until St. Andrew's Day, the 25th. Last evening he arrived at this place. Discussed many topics with the Chancellor Gattinara on the way hither. The Chancellor informed him that the King of England intends to persevere in the war with France, and thus render himself master of Scotland, making that kingdom his fief, and trying to get his sister [Margaret] and her son into his own hands.
With regard to Cardinal Wolsey, the Chancellor said he was a man of little religion, (fn. 3) and that during the negotiations between the Emperor and England, Wolsey rejected a clause which had been inserted respecting the defence of Hungary against the Turk, saying, “Let us first expel these Turks here at hand,” meaning the French. The Chancellor also accused him of avarice, and stated that Wolsey was not ashamed to demand of the Emperor, for himself and some other personages of the English Court, an annual pension of twenty-two thousand ducats, saying that such was the amount received by them from France; to which terms the Emperor was compelled to agree, and he accordingly promised them this sum.
The Chancellor also said that Wolsey chose to meddle with the agreement between the Emperor and the Signory for the sole purpose of gaining a considerable amount of ducats from the Republic. And here Gattinara vituperated the embargo laid on the Flanders galleys by the King of England and the Cardinal, saying the Emperor would never have done such a thing. The Chancellor suspects that, were the slightest pretext afforded, they would seize the effects of the merchants, and appropriate to themselves the galleys likewise.
The Chancellor also stated that the Emperor was expecting two ambassadors from England, namely, Sir Thomas Boleyn—who together with the Grand Prior [Sir Thomas Docwra] was accredited to him last winter—and Dr. Sampson. On this he (Contarini) congratulates himself, as the Florentine, Spinelli, professes open enmity to Venice. Was told the other day by the Siennese ambassador, that during the voyage on shipboard Spinelli examined some Biscayans, from whom he elicited that the Signory's galleasses (not specifying whether they were those of Flanders or others) supplied the Infidels with iron. Spinelli drew up a precognition respecting this matter, and sent it to the King and Cardinal, that, in addition to other reasons, they might assign this one for the embargo laid by them on the galleys at Hampton. When at St. Ander Spinelli announced this to the Emperor, who answered him, “Verily the Venetians ought to pension you, in order to diminish the intense enmity you bear them.” Spinelli also requested the Siennese ambassador to acquaint him (Contarini) with these his good offices to the detriment of the State. Imparted them to the Chancellor, who appeared to know nothing at all about the matter. He answered, laughing, “Who commissioned him to draw up a precognition?” This proved that the Chancellor held Spinelli in small account. The whole court, moreover, estimates him in like manner, considering him a spy rather than an ambassador.
The Emperor will depart hence tomorrow for Palencia, and there appoint the place of meeting for the Cortes; but first of all he will go alone from Palencia to Tordesillas to visit his mother [Queen Juana].
Aguilar, 31st July 1522.
[Italian, 2¾ pages.]


  • 1. “Ma non con tanto sdegno, juxta la sua piu mite natura.”
  • 2. At the end of April 1522 Dr. John Clerk and Richard Pace were the English ambassadors at Rome. Pace remained there until August. (See “State Papers,” vol. vi. pp. 88–120.)
  • 3. “Che l'era uno homo poco religioso.”