Venice: September 1522

Pages 271-279

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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September 1522

Sept. 1. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxiii. p. 380. 541. Negotiations with England.
The Senate sat in the afternoon, and the letters from the Signory's ambassador in England were read with the strictest injunctions to secrecy.
Motion made by the Sages, and carried, for a letter of reply to the ambassador in England, that with regard to the investitures he is to tell Cardinal Wolsey that the State, although liable to heavy expenditure, is willing to give the Emperor as much as 300,000 ducats, and send Surian a power (synichà) accordingly. Should the Emperor choose to prolong the truce for seven years, as proposed heretofore, the State would give him 50,000 ducats, for the sake of being able to attend to the Turkish affairs and to the welfare of Christendom.
Amendment proposed by the Sage of the Council, Polo Capello.—Surian to be authorized to stipulate payment of 400,000 ducats in instalments. (fn. 1) (Note by Sanuto, that the original motion in like manner stipulated payment in instalments.)
Original motion carried, and the greatest secrecy enjoined.
Sept. 1. Contarini's Original Letter Book, Letter no. 181, St. Mark's Library. 542. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
On the 25th the Emperor quitted Palencia, and arrived at Valladolid on the following Tuesday. Encloses letters from the ambassador Badoer in France, showing that the report of the rout of the English in Britanny was untrue. Has been told by the Governor of Bresse that they have already disembarked at Calais, after taking a castle belonging to the King of France.
The English ambassador, the Florentine Spinelli, fell sick of flux some days ago at Palencia, caused himself to be conveyed to Valladolid, and expired there on the day before yesterday. He was of a very sinister and imprudent nature, and a most bitter enemy to the Signory.
As yet nothing is known of the two other English ambassadors, who are coming to reside at the Emperor's court. Since the Emperor's arrival in Spain nothing has been heard from England. Is surprised he has received no letters from Surian.
Valladolid, 1st September 1522.
[Italian, 2½ pages.]
Sept. 1. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxiii. p. 423. 543. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
The Emperor has mustered a large army, and no longer intends following up the attack on Fonterabia, but will send it to join the English forces in France, and attack Picardy. (fn. 2)
[Valladolid?], 1st September. Registered by Sanuto, 6th October.
Sept. 1. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta, v. xlix. p. 120, tergo. 544. The Doge and Senate to Antonio Surian, Venetian Ambassador in England.
An account of their negotiations with Pace and the Imperial ambassador. Send copies of their replies, for communication to the King and Cardinal. Enclose a missive to the King.
Give him, in accordance with the King's demand, full instructions respecting the five articles drawn up by the Imperial Chancellor. To procure a truce for the longest possible period,—for ten years at least,—with the disbursement of from 10,000 to 15,000 ducats per annum. Send him a power of attorney (syndicato) to conclude it on the conditions mentioned in their instructions. Will not be bound to attack France, but only to refrain from assisting her.
The consent of Archduke Ferdinand is to be obtained for such matters as concern him.
P. S.—Have received his letters dated from 27th July to 11th August, alluding to a letter of the 4th, which they have not received. As it is of importance, desire him to send a duplicate. Have read the account of his conference with Cardinal Wolsey, about the peace with the Emperor. Are quite contented that the Cardinal, according to his desire, should be the negotiator (compositor) of this adjustment (appunctamento). Wolsey may promise himself anything that lies in the power of the State. Enclose a letter for him.
Rejoice at the King's successes. To congratulate his Majesty and the Cardinal thereupon.
Ayes, 128.
Proposed amendment to the foregoing letter:
Should the ambassador be unable to stipulate the peace for 200,000 ducats, let him offer by degrees 300,000 ducats. If that sum do not suffice, he may raise it to 400,000 ducats, payable by instalments, at the most remote periods possible.
Ayes, 68. Noes, 15. Neutrals, 8.
[Italian, 5 pages.]
Sept. 1. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxiii. p. 392. 545. Alvise Gradenigo to the Signory.
Account of the coronation of the Pope [Adrian VI.], which took place in St. Peter's on the 1st.
The Pope summoned all the ambassadors to a consultation about Turkish affairs and succour for Rhodes. The English ambassador said, “The Signory has 50 armed galleys at sea; she might accomplish this.” The Polish ambassador replied that the Signory alone, against so powerful an armada, is not sufficient. He (Gradenigo) also replied. Don Juan Emanuel, the Emperor's ambassador, said the Signory's ambassador spoke the truth, and this was confirmed by the Pope. Prior—, the ambassador from Rhodes, was present. The Pope called the Protector of the order, Cardinal de' Medici, and desired him to arm two ships with 1,000 men each, and to send them to succour Rhodes.
The Pope has at heart the welfare of Christendom, and wishes to reform (riconzar) the Church. He told the Cardinals in consistory that it was wrong to keep such “cavi” [hoards?]; that each of them should be content with 6,000 ducats rental; and that many of them were not learned; so he chooses them to lead a new life.
Rome, 1st September. Registered by Sanuto, 5th September.
Sept. 2. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta, v. xlix. p. 124. 546. Proxy or Power of Attorney for Antonio Surian.
As Henry King of England, &c (fn. 3) has offered himself as mediator for peace or truce between the Emperor and the Signory, the Doge and Senate appoint as their procurator, agent, factor, syndic, and negotiator Antonio Surian, their ambassador in England, causing the document to be furnished with their pendent leaden seal.
Dated 2nd September 1522.
[Latin, 44 lines.]
Sept. 2. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxiii. p. 391. 547. Pace at Venice.
This morning the English ambassador, Richard Pace, came into the College, the Signory having sent for him. He was informed of the decision arrived at yesterday in the Senate, and requested to announce it to the King and Cardinal, in order that they may stipulate the adjustment.
He was pleased with this, and said he would write in good form.
Sept. 2. Misti Consiglio X., v. xlv. p. 85. 548. The Council of Ten and Junta to Gasparo Contarini, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor.
Enclose papers relating to the negotiations of the English ambassador Pace, and the Emperor's ambassador with the Signory. Have empowered Surian to conclude the agreement.
Send him (Contarini) an ample mandate for the negotiation of peace or truce, but their intention is that the whole be conducted through the medium of the King of England.
Approve of the articles drawn up by him (Contarini), and revised by the Chancellor, except the words “that we may be enabled to attend to the right holy expedition against the Infidels, especially in these times.” Wish them to be cancelled, if an opportunity offer.
[Italian, 32 lines.]
Sept. 2. Misti Consiglio X., v. xlv. p. 85. 549. The Same to Antonio Surian, Ambassador in England.
Acquaint him with the substance of their instructions to Contarini.
Ayes, 20. Nues, 9. Neutrals, 0.
[Italian, 27 lines.]
Sept. 9. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxiii. p. 424. 550. Antonio Surian to the Signory.
King Henry has compelled the Flanders galleys to unload, and seized their cannon. He says openly that on no consideration will he release them until the Signory has made peace with the Emperor. The reply given to Pace has not reached London, where it is expected to arrive in two days.
London, 9th September. Registered by Sanuto, 6th October.
Sept. 14. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxiii. p. 398. 551. Pace at Venice.
The ambassadors have frequent audiences. The English ambassador has quitted Cà Dandolo, and is gone to reside in the Doge's house at Santa Maria Formosa. (fn. 4) He (Pace) is somewhat indisposed.
Sept. 16. Contarini's Original Letter Book, Letter no. 182, St. Mark's Library. 552. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
Ten days ago the Imperial cabinet received news through a spy from France that the English in Picardy, together with the Flemish foot and the 3,000 Spanish infantry lately sent thither, had encountered the French, and the loss was great on both sides, but the English were victorious, and subsequently took a good town belonging to the King of France. This intelligence has not been confirmed. No letters have been received from Flanders or England.
The Emperor sent lately to seize the Bishop of Zamora, one of the chiefs of the commons, who was in the hands of the Duke of Najera. The Bishop is now confined in a castle called -[Simancas], two leagues hence.
The Emperor's confessor departed this life on the 14th, and leaves behind him the character of an excellent ecclesiastic. (fn. 5)
The Chancellor has acquainted him (Contarini) with the announcement made by the Imperial ambassador in Venice, concerning the delay of the Signory's decision until the arrival of Richard Pace. The Chancellor said, “Well! let the State trust to Cardinal Wolsey; they will see the result.” Gattinara then repeated his former assertion, that Wolsey would fain obtain a sum of money from the Signory and he did not seem to approve of this plan. Told him that the State wished for no other mediation than his own [Gattinara's], and waited for Pace's arrival only out of respect for the King of England.
Valladolid, 16th September 1521.
[Italian, 2½ pages.]
Sept. 16. Senato Terra, v. xxii. p. 117. 553. Embassy to England.
Motion made in the Senate. As Antonio Surian, LL.D. and Knight, having resided with the King of England upwards of four and a half years, desires to return home,—Put to the ballot, that Lodovico Falier, appointed to that legation, depart for England within 20 days after the arrival of the safeconducts expected from the Emperor.
Ayes, 170. Noes, 23. Neutrals, 2.
[Italian, 17 lines.]
Sept. 20. Contarini's Original Letter Book, Letter no. 183, St. Mark's Library. 554. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
On the 18th received letters from Surian, with missives from the State, desiring him (Contarini) to obtain a safeconduct from the Emperor for Lodovico Falier, ambassador elect to England.
Went to the Emperor yesterday, and acquainted him with the newsletters from Hungary. The Emperor inquired whether the State had come to a decision respecting the proposed league. Explained the causes of the delay.
Then asked the Emperor for the safeconduct, and for the release of certain ships. The Emperor referred him to the Chancellor.
Requests to be recalled.
Valladolid, 20th September 1522.
P. S., 24th September.—Death of the Bishop of Palencia.
[Italian, 3 pages.]
Sept. 23. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxiii. p. 427. 555. Antonio Surian to the Signory.
The Signory's reply has been received, and by no means will King Henry release the galleys. Has held conversations with the King and Cardinal Wolsey about the Republic's answer. The King insists that the Signory shall first attack France, after which the agreement or truce with the Emperor will be discussed, and that the State shall send to the King of France demanding the restoration of Fonterabia to the Emperor within a certain period, or otherwise the Republic will declare war on France.
Cardinal Wolsey also abused the Venetians grossly. He says they are promise-breakers, and the lowest of all potentates (e infimi di tutti i principi), and that if they refuse to act as they have been desired, his King and the Emperor will wage war on them.
Wolsey, moreover, does not choose anything to be exported from the island, not even in the name of [other?] aliens, lest the Venetians should avail themselves of the opportunity. Many sailors and galley-oarsmen have departed for Venice.
London, 23rd September. Registered by Sanuto, 12th October.
Sept. 24. Contarini's Original Letter Book, Letter no. 184, St. Mark's Library. 556. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
The Emperor has received the following news from the Indies (delle Indie).
Don Hernando Cortes, the Emperor's governor of the island of Cuba, discovered Yucatan some few years ago, and sent the Emperor presents from the natives, as a mark of homage, namely a golden sun and a silver moon, with other gifts, of which the State received notice at the time, in a letter from the ambassador Cornaro. (fn. 6)
Subsequently Don Hernando advanced farther, and found that Yucatan, which he had believed to be an island, was connected with the main land which stretches westward. He landed there, and, on penetrating into the interior, discovered various castles and cities, inhabited by a more civilized race than he had hitherto met with. At length he reached a city called La Scaltezza [Tlascala], (fn. 7) which governs itself in a republican fashion, and is very extensive. It was at war with a great potentate, of whom mention will be made hereafter. He claims jurisdiction over Scaltezza [Tlascala], whose inhabitants choose to be free.
On arriving at Scaltezza [Tlascala], Don Hernando easily persuaded the inhabitants to tender obedience to the Emperor and acknowledge his sway, the Spaniards telling them that his Imperial Majesty was Lord of this world.
They next advanced some 60 leagues inland, where they found a salt lake some 60 leagues in circumference, the water ebbing and flowing as in most seas. In the centre of this lake was a very large city, called Tenustitan, (fn. 8) said to number upwards of 40,000 hearths, whose Lord is the potentate claiming jurisdiction over Scaltezza [Tlascala]; and his territory has a circuit of 100 leagues. He is held in great veneration by all his subjects, who obey him implicitly, and are very civilized, save with regard to religion, being idolators; and they sacrifice human beings to their idols. They have also another cruel custom, that of eating all the enemies they kill in battle. Their dwellings are commodious and well decorated (ben ornate). Their garments and the hangings of their houses are of cotton cloth. They have abundance of gold, and although it is not in circulation among them as money, they nevertheless appreciate it and make use of it for various kinds of ornaments. All their contracts are made by bartering one commodity for another; but for the purchase of any trifles which they require, and which cannot conveniently be obtained by exchange, they employ as money a certain fruit, which is rare in those parts, and resembles the almond.
This city and its sovereign, on the arrival of the Spaniards, surrendered to them, but subsequently on the departure of the greater part of the Spaniards, they rebelled, and slaughtered those who remained, eating them according to the custom of the country. Thereupon Cortes sent thither a strong body of Spaniards, with cannon, and a band of natives of La Scaltezza [Tlascala], the rival city of Tenustitan [Tenuchtitlan], which was thus recovered, its sovereign resuming his allegiance to the Emperor. (fn. 9)
The inhabitants of these islands live on bread, made of Indian corn, and meat, their drink being a beverage resembling beer. They have no written alphabet, but indicate the most necessary objects by representations of animals and other things, after the fashion of the ancient Egyptians, though these characters do not serve for everything.
Such is the account given by the persons now arrived. Letters dated since their departure thence announce that the Spaniards who remained advanced so far that they reached the sea coast, though they do not explain whether it lay to the westward or southward.
On the 6th instant, there arrived at Seville one of the five ships [the Trinità?] (fn. 10) which three years ago the Emperor sent in quest of the Spice Islands, with certain Portuguese who made their escape from the King of Portugal.
By this ship the Emperor has received a letter, of which he (Contarini) encloses a copy, as likewise the Italian translation given him by the Chancellor.
Thereby the State will perceive that they went 54 degrees beyond the equinoctial line, that is to say, as much below the pole opposite to ours as England is below our own. Then on the right, to the westward, they found that strait of 100 leagues, (fn. 11) and they discovered those islands where every sort of spice grows [the Moluccas]. They returned by the same course as the Portuguese, namely, by the easterly track, so they have circumnavigated the world. They have brought 600 cwt. of cloves and nutmegs, and every other sort of spice. The “master” (fn. 12) is expected, and on his arrival he (Contarini) will transmit farther particulars.
The government is very sanguine about these spices, the superintendence of which has been assigned to the Bishop of Burgos. (fn. 13) They already talk of establishing the staple and trade at Corunna.
This circumstance is expected to kindle war between the Portuguese and the Emperor. The other day in Valladolid the government arrested a courier in the service of the King of Portugal, on his way to France. They seized the letters of certain individuals which were with the King's letter, but this last was left intact. Does not know whether the courier has been released.
Valladolid, 24th September 1522.
[Italian, 3 pages.]
Sept. 27. Capi Consiglio X. Letter Sottoscritte, File no. 5. 557. The Chiefs of the Ten to Gasparo Contarini, Ambassador in Spain. (fn. 14)
There arrived here the other day a certain Hieronimo de Marin de Busignolo, a native of Ragusa. On presenting himself to the Chiefs of our Council of Ten he declared he had been sent by one Sebastian Cabotto, who says he is a Venetian, and now resident at Seville, where he receives a salary from the Emperor as his “pilot major” for voyages of discovery.
On behalf of this individual the Ragusan made the enclosed statement. Although it is perhaps unworthy of much credit, yet by reason of its importance we did not choose to decline Sebastian's offer of coming hither to explain his project. We have permitted Hieronimo to answer him, as you will perceive by the accompanying letter.
Contrive cautiously to learn whether Sebastian be at the Imperial Court, or expected there shortly, in which case you are to send for him, and give him the letter bearing his address. We have tied it up with another, directed to the secretary. Elicit as much as you can concerning his project. Should it seem well grounded and feasible, urge him to come hither. Should he not be at the Court, forward the letter to Seville through some safe channel, giving the person entrusted with it to understand that you received it from one of your private correspondents.
We send you summaries of letters from our captain-general, dated Candia, the 5th inst., with accounts of the affairs of Rhodes, to be communicated to the Emperor, the Grand Chancellor, and the Bishop of Palencia.
Julianus Gradonico, caput Consilii X.
Andrea Mudesco, caput Consilii X.
Dominicus Capello, caput Consilii X.
Sept. 27. Capi Consiglio X. Lettere Sottoscritte, File no. 5. 558. Order from the Council of Ten.
That the Treasurer of our Council of Ten be enjoined, from the moneys of the chest, to give a largess of 20 ducats to Dom Hieronymo de Marin, Ragusan, for reason good [i. e., on account of Sebastian Cabot].
Ayes, 16. Noes, 4. Neutrals, 0.
Sept. 29. Senato Terra, v. xxii. p. 121. 559. English Ambassador in Venice.
Put to the ballot,—that permission be granted to the ambassador of the King of England [Richard Pace] to bring into Venice, duty free, two kilderkins of wine, according to the terms of the auction.
Ayes, 110. Noes, 18. Neutrals, 0.
Permits were addressed to the office for the wine duties. (fn. 15)
[Italian, 3 lines.]
Sept. 30. Sanuto Diaries, v. xxxiii. p. 432. 560. Giovanni Badoer to the Stgnory. In a certain engagement the French have routed the English. Paris, 30th September. Registered by Sanuto, 20th October.


  • 1. The 50,000 ducats related apparently to the annual payment, which in the course of seven years would have amounted to 350,000 ducats. Capello proposed giving an extra 50,000.
  • 2. I am at a loss to comprehend this entry, as it does not agree with the contents of the despatch in the Contarini Letter Book, dated Valladolid, 1st September 1522.
  • 3. This is the first Venetian document in which the title of “Defender of the Faith,” conferred on Henry VIII. by Leo X. on 11th October 1521, is applied to him by the Signory.
  • 4. As during the reign of Doge Antonio Grimani, he and his family resided in the ducal palace, their own mansion was apparently let.
  • 5. He was a Franciscan; see the letter dated Ghent, 30th July 1521.
  • 6. The letter was dated Valladolid, 6th March 1520, and is copied in Sanuto's Diaries, vol. xxviii. p. 297.
  • 7. Concerning Tlascala alias Los Angelos and its republican institutions, see Busching's, vol. 32, pp. 98–99, ed. Venice, 1780, and Robertson's Geography, pp. 862–864, ed. London, 1831.
  • 8. The ancient name of Mexico was Tenuchtitlan. (See Robertson's History of America.)
  • 9. According to Robertson the final surrender of Mexico took place on the 13th of August 1521.
  • 10. The “Trinità” seems to have been commanded by Juan Sebastian del Cano. Robertson (p. 891) was mistaken when writing that the “Victory” arrived at S. Lucar in 1522.
  • 11. Magellan's Strait, discovered by him in 1519.
  • 12. The “master” here alluded to was, I believe, Magellan. He never returned, having been murdered by the natives of one of the Philippine Islands. A notice of his ship, the “Victory,” will be found post, date 8 February 1526.
  • 13. Concerning Fonseca, Bishop of Badajos, who was subsequently translated to Burgos, see Robertson's History of America.
  • 14. It will be seen hereafter, from these same archives of the Council of Ten, that whilst Sebastian Cabot was receiving pay and patronage from England in 1551, he made proposals to the republic of Venice, offering to act as unfairly by Edward VI. as he had been willing to do by the Emperor Charles V. some 30 years previously.
  • 15. The persons who farmed the duties were probably liable to certain restrictions, at the option of the State.