Venice: February 1527, 1-15

Pages 14-24

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 4, 1527-1533. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1871.

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February 1527, 1–15

Feb. 3, 5. Sanuto Diaries, v. xliv. p. 78. 21. Andrea Rosso to the Doge and Signory.
The King was hunting. The Duchess of Alençon had bedded (si era aletata) with the King of Navarre. Preparations were being made for entertainments, jousts, &c. The ambassadors appointed for England had not departed, and the King sent them orders to procrastinate to see if anything came from Spain.
Poissy, 3rd and 5th February. Registered by Sanuto, 23rd February.
Feb. 4. Deliberazioni Senato (Secreta), v. li. p. 126. 22. The Doge and Senate to Domenego Venier, Venetian Ambassador at Rome.
Had supposed that the Pope, on receiving information that the moneys sent him by the Kings of France and England were already on their way,—the relationship between the two Kings being also considered settled,—would have persevered in his just defence, which would in a few days have brought him to the close of the war.
Perceiving that he is inclined to make a truce on the terms proposed, cannot but declare that although his Holiness's object be good, and in accordance with that of his confederates, to obtain a valid peace, to remove the war from Italy, to pacify Christendom, and to free himself from expenditure, it is evident that this truce will kindle a greater war, from which they anticipate the ruin, not only of Italy, but of Christendom; and also that his Holiness and his money will have to defray the war's expenses, a result the contrary of that which he desires.
The Pope should consider that the most Christian King, invited and exhorted by him, not choosing to listen to the Viceroy's offers, made the alliance with the Signory, and sent his troops and the money to Rome, as is well known, whereas his Holiness now stipulates a truce with the Imperialists, without making the slightest announcement to the most Christian King; nor is there any doubt but that the latter and the King of England, who are one and the same, will have reason to resent this, and abandon the defence of Italy, which will remain a prey to the Imperialists. Do not comprehend what security the Pope can have, when the Imperialists insist on receiving from him not only the sum of money specified by his Holiness, but also Parma, Piacenza, and Cività Vecehia. This demand is of such great importance that the Pope should be cautious of endangering his dignity and that of the Apostolic See, and likewise his confederates and. all Italy, which will evidently be the result of the aforesaid truce. The most Christian King approved of an unpaid truce, (fn. 1) by reason of the arrival of the Lansquenets and the coming of the armada (“l'armata”) from Spain; but it was to include the confederates, and to be stipulated for a short term, so as to obtain rest during the winter, and in order that his Majesty might conclude his marriage with England, and, together with the King of England, continue the undertaking on both sides the Alps in the spring, which is now at hand. The Signory approved such a truce to be made with the assent of the confederates, and comprising them therein. But there having been proposed to his Holiness articles which not only do not comprise the most Christian King, but omit all mention of him,—the 6th article being hostile to his Majesty, as it stipulates the restitution of the places taken from the Genoese,—the Signory regrets the ambassador did not hint to the Pope their respect for the most Christian King, whose interest in the matter is most important, on account of his sons, and above all, the necessity for not infringing the confederacy between the State and him. This would cause his Majesty and the King of England not only to be displeased with Italy, but to bear her eternal enmity, a thing desired and sought above all by the Imperialists, who know that by separating France from Italy they may easily realize their projects for dominating her and the allies. Charge him, the ambassador, to beseech the Pope to be firm, for his own advantage and the dignity of the Apostolic See, and not rush headlong into what would be the manifest ruin of Italy and of Christendom.
Ayes, 220. Noes, 6. Neutrals, 6.
Feb. 4. Summaries of Advices, v. ii. p. 233, tergo. Venetian Archives, Library. 23. Marco Antonio Venier to the Signory.
The King communicated to all the ambassadors the statement made by Don Juan Antonio de Mendoza, and, when speaking about the affairs of Italy, he turned towards the French ambassador, telling him that he perceived the most Christian King to proceed very coldly in this matter, and complaining that although it concerned not only the recovery of his children, but his kingdom likewise, and the honour and notable interest of the confederates, yet did his Majesty avail himself but slightly of his very powerful forces; so like a good brother and friend, such as he is to him, and no less anxious for his honour and advantage than for his own, he besought him to direct all his energy and power towards the very important Italian expedition, and not permit the incipient preparations of the Emperor to take effect, as it would then be more difficult to apply a remedy; and that whilst the Imperial forces are divided and feeble, he should not allow them to unite and gain strength, exhorting him to make an attack in the directions both of Flanders and Navarre by sea and land; and that the armada (l'armata) of the League, should endeavour not only to prevent the return to Spain of the ships which brought the Viceroy into Italy, but to go and set fire to them wherever they may be.
Don Iñigo has exhibited the mandate for negotiating and concluding truce and peace, whereby it is expressly stated that the other mandates in the persons of the Viceroy, the General of the Franciscans, Penalosa, and Cesare Feramosca are not to be considered revoked; and when the King asked him what the Emperor wished, he replied peace, and that to effect it they should first stipulate a three years' truce, with this condition, that the military forces in both the armies in Italy be sent into Hungary against the Turks, at the cost of all the powers, each paying proportionally.
His Majesty says that the Diet which was to be held by the Princes of Germany for the creation of a new King of the Romans has been prorogued, and the Emperor promises to attend it.
King Henry exhorts the confederates to be vigilant on this occasion, and not to await counsel from those whom the matter concerns less; coming to this conclusion, that they should be intent on benefitting their own interests, as his Majesty being aware of the Emperor's intentions, and seeing the course pursued by them, it will be of little use, or of none at all, if they take time to rouse themselves; and that with regard to himself, they may promise themselves all that can be desired from a Prince most friendly to them, and anxious for the common weal.
Whilst the King was at mass, Cardinal Wolsey, talking with Don Inigo about the donation which the Spanish Cortes were to give the Emperor for the Turkish affairs, inquired whether now that Hungary is pacified, the new King having been elected, (fn. 2) and Sultan Solyman having returned to Constantinople, they will give him the sum offered, and Don Iñigo replied positively that they would not.
London, 4th February.
Feb. 5. Lettere del Collegio (Secreta), File no. 10. 24. The Doge and College to Gasparo Spinelli, Venetian Secretary in England.
Have lately received letters from their ambassador at Rome, dated the 30th ultimo, whereby they learn that the Pope,—notwithstanding the great promises made him and their present performance, exemplified by the money sent to him by the most Christian King and by the King of England for his support, and the prompt assistance and favour received through the French and Venetian troops,—has nevertheless determined to make a truce with the Imperialists, being induced thereto by great timidity; for after agrecing to a suspension of hostilities, to terminate on the 8th instant, he in the meanwhile sent a summary of the articles of the treaty to the State, urging them immediately to return him their power to enable him to ratify the treaty.
The Signory, having thoroughly considered the contents of these articles, a copy of which they enclose, and not finding any mention of the most Christian King or their other confederates, nor yet of the King of England, the chief protector and author of this League, have answered their ambassador according to the accompanying transcript, which he (Spinelli) is to show to the King and Cardinal, telling them, moreover, that as before the League was concluded the Signory adhered to their sage suggestions, so now they will do nothing whatever without the express knowledge and consent of the most Christian King their confederate, and of the King and Cardinal. To request the King and Cardinal not merely to persevere in their protection of the liberty and safety of Italy, but, should the Pope without the assent or knowledge of his confederates conclude this truce, that they will then devise such means as possible for the preservation of the liberty of Italy. The Republic knows they have this end at heart, and that they foresee the action of the Imperialists, who, unable to obtain by force of arms universal monarchy during the present League, have sought to dismember and dissolve it by sending Feramosca to the Pope with letters from the Imperialists to bring his Holiness over to their side by promises of a general peace and other measures beneficial for Christendom. These promises being utterly at variance with notorious facts, he (Spinelli) is to inform the King and Cardinal that should the Pope stipulate the truce with the Imperialists without the assent of the allies, the Emperor's united forces will immediately attack those of Venice, which is unable single-handed to resist, as the Imperialists will number upwards of 30,000 infantry and a large body of horse, a multitude which the Signory's army alone could not withstand. To entreat the King and Cardinal not to fail acting for the liberty and welfare of Italy, and especially for the Republic of Venice, which entertains the greatest respect for his Majesty and the Cardinal. To assure them that the State will never swerve from its confederacy with the most Christian King, which they firmly support. Hope soon to hear that his most Christian Majesty's marriage with the Princess of England has been concluded, a result honourable for both their Majesties, apposite for the common weal of Italy and of all Christendom, and beyond measure desired by the State.
The Imperialists say that the troops which left Milan had crossed the Po, and that the Lansquenets who lately entered Italy had re-crossed the Trebia, and were approaching Piacenza, threatening to attack it.
The Signory's forces with the Captain-General have crossed the Po, and in conjunction with those of France will be guided by the proceedings of the Imperialists.
Feb. 6. Summaries of Advices, v. ii. p. 234. Venetian Archives, Library. 25. Marco Antonio Venier to the Signory.
Cardinal Wolsey tells all the ambassadors that he has written to his ambassador in Spain, instructing him how he is to act to impede, if possible, the donation which the Cortes are now about to give the Emperor; having in like manner written to Germany to certain English partisans (servitori di quella Maestà), to persuade the Electors to elect one of themselves as the new King of the Romans, promising them the favour and assistance of the King of England. The Cardinal caused to be read to Venier the copy of the mandate given to Don Iñigo [de Mendoza], dated the 3rd of December, which is very ample, and contains the clause about the powers of the Viceroy and the others, saying it was beneficial for the Emperor, and detrimental for the contracting parties, which should be borne in mind.
He also said that Don Iñigo has written to the Lady Margaret to send him an experienced doctor of laws to draw up articles, he being unskilful in that art; and having to enter on the matter, it would he well for the French ambassador to mention, first of all, what the most Christian King intends to offer for the release of his sons.
London, 6th February.
Feb. 6. Sanuto Diaries, v. xliv. p. 83. 26. Marco Antonio Venier to the Doge and Signory.
The King is inclined to war with the Emperor, and, should the marriage with France be concluded, will declare himself. It is suspected that the Emperor will carry on the war in Italy with the money which they say he will get for the war against the Turk.
The King of England exhorts the Signory to favour the Vayvoyd [of Transylvania], that he may make a violent attack on the Turk; and to try and burn the Emperor's fleet.
London, 6th February. Registered by Sanuto, 25th February.
Feb. 6. Sanuto Diaries, v. xliv. pp. 99, 100. 27. Pelegrin Bragadin to his brother Nicolo.
An ambassador has arrived here from the King of England with 40,000 ducats, and letters of very great importance. Today he departed for Rome with the magnifico Messer Andrea Doria. (fn. 3)
Civita Vecchia, 6th February. Registered by Sanuto on the 28th.
Feb. 9. Summaries of Advices, v. ii. p. 234, tergo. Venetian Archives, Library. 28. Sebastian Giustinian to the Signory.
The English gentleman [Osborne Eihingham ?], who was sent to the Emperor with the protest in the name of his most Serene King, has returned; D. Paulo da Renzo (sic) having in like manner arrived from Spain.
Poissy, 9th February.
Feb. 9. Sanuto Diaries, v. xliv. p. 37. 29. Domenego Venier to the Doge and Signory.
In consequence of this last victory, (fn. 4) the Pope will apparently no longer concede the truce and pay money, and has sent Sir John Russell (the English envoy accredited to his Holiness) to tell the Viceroy that he will make the truce without [paying] money, but would prefer peace. The Pope would wish to attack the kingdom of Naples, and send the fleet to Gaeta with the infantry under Oratio Baglioni. The Pope said the Signory could now recover the towns held by them heretofore in Puglia, and should the most Christian King wish to take part in the undertaking he was at liberty to do so; if not, his Holiness and the Signory would attack the kingdom. But the Pope demands money from the State, leaving it to the Signory to specify the amount; and he awaits a reply to this proposal. The Pope is dissatisfied with the statements made to him by Monsr. de Langès on behalf of the most Christian King, who offered him the 10,000 ducats on the tenths, provided his Holiness would not make terms with the Emperor and follow up the present undertaking, but at length he gave him the money. The Pope has sent the mandate to his Nuncio in England, the Prothonotary Gambara, to negotiate a peace or truce there with the Emperor, saying that he could not do less than send it, as the other potentates have in like manner transmitted their powers. Has heard from a trustworthy person that the King of England wishes to give his daughter in marriage to the most Christian King, and, on receiving the powers to negotiate the agreement and peace with the Emperor, will contrive that Madame Eleanor become the wife of the Duke of Bourbon, leaving to Bourbon the Milanese. Sir John Russell and the General of the Franciscans are going back to the Viceroy to negotiate the truce without giving the money. The Pope desired the ambassador to write to the Signory not to divulge what he had told him, as everything was being stipulated at Rome.
Rome, 9th February. Registered by Sanuto, 12th February.
Feb. 11. Sanuto Diaries, v. xliv. p. 97. 30. Marco Antonio Venter to the Doge and Signory.
Had received the Signory's “power” authorizing him to negotiate the peace or truce with the Emperor, and conclude through the mediation of the King of England. Announced this first to the Cardinal, and then to the King, whom it gratified. The espousals are about to be settled. The French ambassadors who were expected have arrived at Boulogne, and will, it is supposed, cross on the Kith. The King has sent some gentlemen to meet them. The marriage will be made, and then the King will declare himself, and moreover wage war on the Emperor.
London, 11th February. Registered by Sanuto, 28th February.
Feb. 11. Summaries of Advices, v. ii. p. 235. Venetian Archives, Library. 31. Sebastian Giustinian to the Signory.
Some members of the [King's] Council have assured Secretary Rosso that they are very well disposed to wage brisk war on the Emperor, as they see no other way; and that with regard to the marriage between his most Christian Majesty and the daughter of the King of England, they no longer raised any difficulty about it, by reason of the large commission given to their ambassadors, who have been sent to England for this purpose.
The English gentleman who came from Spain is gone back to England to give account to the King of the news brought by D.Paulo.
Poissy, 11th February.
Feb. 12. Sanuto Diaries, v. xliv. p. 123. 32. Marc' Antonio Venier to the Doge and Signory.
The advices purport that the Emperor is fitting out a fleet in Spain, with the intention of coming on board of it to Italy.
London, 12th February. Registered by Sanuto, 7th March.
Feb. 12. Sanuto Diaries v. xliv. pp. 83, 84. 33. Sebastian Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Signory.
It is generally believed that the marriage of his most Christian Majesty with the daughter of the King of England will take place. The ambassadors destined by his most Christian Majesty (da questa, Maestà) for England have departed, and the marriage will be made; most especially because his most Christian Majesty (questo Re) has heard of the Emperor's intention to reject the peace.
Poissi, 12th February. Registered by Sanuto, 26th February.
Feb. 13. Summaries of Advices, v. ii. p. 235, tergo. Venetian Archives, Library. 34. Sebastian Giustinian to the Signory.
D. Paulo da Renzo (sic) has been despatched more speedily than was intended, owing to letters from England acquainting them with the ill-will borne by the King and Cardinal against the Emperor.
D. Paulo departed immediately post for Rome in great glee, the Papal Nuncio having told him that the most Christian King sent him to the Pope to give him courage, and make him act vigorously, as his Majesty is sending for him forthwith to Cività Vecchia the squadron of heavy galleys; and in a few days Mons. De Langès will bring him 20,000 ducats, not as part of the ordinary subsidy, nor on account of Christendom, but for his Holiness to use the sum as he pleases, either to embark troops on board the armada and send it into the kingdom of Naples, or to increase his army against the Viceroy; his Majesty promising that he will soon attack the Emperor from the French frontier (de li).
Was unable to obtain audience of his most Christian Majesty by reason of the marriage of the Lord Steward [Montmorency].
The ambassador from the Switzers will depart very well satisfied, and be followed by the Treasurer Morelet (sic) [Morette], with a considerable sum of money; nor does the Royal Council attend to anything but the war against the Emperor.
The marriage between the most Christian King's daughter, and the son of the Duke of Savoy is concluded, and the Duke's Ambassador has departed for the ratification.
Poissy, 13th February.
Feb. 13. Sanuto Diaries, v. xliv. p. 84. 35. Sebastian Giustinian to the Doge and Signory.
The English ambassadors have departed. In the Council nothing is spoken of but war.
Poissi, 13th February. Registered by Sanuto, 26th February.
Feb. 14. Sanuto Diaries, v. xliv. p. 53. 36. Domenego Venier to the Doge and Signory.
The Pope has sent Sir John Russell to protest to the Viceroy, in the name of his King, that unless he, the Viceroy, withdraw into the kingdom of Naples, and cease to make war on the Church, the King of England will declare himself the Emperor's enemy.
Rome, 14th February. Registered, by Sanuto, 17th February.
Feb. 14. Deliberazioni Senato (Secreta), v. li. p. 130. tergo. 37. The Doge and Senate to Marc Antonio Venier, Venetian Ambassador in England.
Cardinal Wolsey having urged him (Venier) to write to the Signory for the immediate transmission of a power authorizing him to conclude peace or truce in England through the mediation of his Majesty, to return thanks to the King and Cardinal for their communication. In addition to the power for concluding peace in England, transmitted recently through the secretary in France, they now send another power authorizing him to sign the truce, if necessary, according to the prudent intention explained to him by the Cardinal. Are convinced that the King and Cardinal will have regard for the State and the Signory's affairs, in accorda nee with that love which the Republic bears them. When the opportunity offers he (Venier) is to regulate his conduct according to such advices as he will receive from the Signory's ambassador in France with regard to the intention (mente) of the most Christian King, and proceed jointly with the French ambassador in London.
Enclose the summary of the success of the Papal army in the Campagna, for communication to the King and Cardinal. To add how advantageous and opportune the mission of Sir John Russell has proved, by reason of the 30,000 ducats consigned to his Holiness, and the efficacious counsel which he gave him to persevere in the League; the King moreover assuring the Pope amply, that he will not fail to supply him with money and all other assistance for the future. Are of opinion that this, in great measure, caused the Viceroy to retreat from Frusolone; and therefore the Pope changed his mind about the agreement with the Viceroy aforesaid, which stipulated the disbursement of a considerable sum of money and other iniquitous conditions, well known to the King and Cardinal. To beseech them, as this first aid reached Rome with so fortunate a commencement, to persevere therein. Have heard that the Pope has given orders to his Nuncio in England [Gambara] to pray and exhort the King and Cardinal to make provision so that in case of need his Holiness may have at Rome a certain good amount of money from the King, foreseeing that, besides supplying his wants, the fame of such a fund would cause his Holiness's enemies to be much more reserved in their attacks upon him. Should he (Venier) hear of such a demand made by the Nuncio, is to aid it; always expatiating on the excessive and unbearable expenses which the Signory is incurring for the Holy League, and chiefly for the support of the Pope and the Florentines, whereby the assistance of his Majesty is absolutely necessary.
The power which was to have accompanied this missive has been sent to their secretary in France, with orders for him to forward it, should the most Christian King approve.
Ayes, 182. Noes, 1. Neutrals, 9.
Feb. 14. Deliberazioni Senato (Secreta), v. li. p. 132. 38. Doge Andrea Gritti.
Power (syndicatus) to Marc' Antonio Venier, Ambassador in England, for proclamation of a truce and general peace with the Emperor, through the mediation of the King of England and the prudence and singular virtue of Cardinal Wolsey.
[Original draft. Latin, 50 lines.]
Feb. 14. Deliberazioni Senato (Secreta), v. li. p. 128. 39. The Doge and Senate to Domenego Venier, Venetian Ambassador at Rome.
Have heard of the successes of the Papal army, of the succour given to Frusolone, and of the retreat of the enemy, who were returning into the kingdom of Naples in confusion, having suffered a notable rout. To congratulate the Pope on this victory. His Holiness's affairs cannot but have a favourable result, Sir John Russell having also arrived in Rome at that same moment, bringing him the money sent by the King of England, and assuring him of his Majesty's good-will and support. From Florence the Signory's ambassador writes that the Government there is desirous of continuing the undertaking. The Pope is with reason firm in his detestation of the negotiation for truce on the iniquitous terms proposed to him, and will act vigorously.
The Pope may rest assured that although he may have thought the most Christian King proceeded reservedly, yet this was caused solely by the words uttered to the French agents at the Papal court, and frequently repeated by his Holiness's ministers, perhaps more forcibly than becoming, though all for a good end. The most Christian King is well inclined to aid his Holiness, and he (the ambassador) may promise the Pope this. To assure his Holiness that the Signory never wrote to France censuring him in the least, but, on the contrary, ordered their secretary to favour the Pope's interests like their own.
Are certain that the most Christian King, on hearing of the Pope's determination to resist and re-enforce his troops, will be ready to aid him, and that the King of England will act in like manner. The Signory is now writing to France and England, ordering their agents there to exhort the two Kings to give the Pope pecuniary succour.
Have seen the copy of the power (mandato) sent by the Pope to England for the stipulation of a truce. Have already transmitted to France a power authorizing their ambassador in England to make peace, and have desired their secretary in France to forward the document to the ambassador in England when instructed by the most Christian King.
Feb. 14. Deliberazioni Senato (Secreta), 129, tergo. 40. The Doge and Senate to Andrea Rosso, Venetian Secretary in France.
The Papal army having recovered the castles seized by the Imperialists, and his Holiness having received the Signory's letters deprecating a truce, and Robodange and Sir John Russell having also opportunely arrived with the money from France and England, the Pope determined to continue the undertaking, provided he be assisted by the confederates. Such, in truth, has been the constant wish of his Holiness, and what took place to the contrary proceeded from fear and want of money. He therefore earnestly demanded succour, which, if granted, he would then take no steps, save such as the confederates approved.
The Signory's ambassador at Rome writes, that Sir John Russell, according to the orders received from his King, was to proceed to the Viceroy and request him to desist from hostilities against the Pope, and to stipulate a truce, without any payment. The General of the Franciscans determined to accompany Russell, hoping that the Viceroy would consent to this suspension of hostilities, to which the Pope was always inclined.
To inform his most Christian Majesty that the Signory is resolved never to accept any truce whatever, even without money, unless with his consent. Have notified this to their ambassador at Rome for communication to the Pope, and also to the Bishop of Bayeux [French ambassador in Venice], who will have informed his Majesty.
The Pope has determined to send a power to his Nuncio in England, authorizing him to negotiate a truce, and exhorts the Signory to do the like. They therefore enclose a power, in the name of the Ambassador Venier, to make a truce; the other, previously sent by them through him, the secretary in France, merely authorizing the negotiation of peace. This power the secretary is to forward to England, if necessary, in conformity with the order of the most Christian King, whom the secretary will assure that their ambassador in England is instructed to proceed conjointly with his Majesty's ambassador, as required by the indissoluble confederacy between France and Venice.
Ayes, 198. Noes, 3. Neutrals, 0.


  • 1. “II Christmo Re laudò le treugue senza danari, per il descender de li Lanzichinechi.”
  • 2. The Archduke Ferdinand was elected King of Bohemia in December 1526, and proclaimed King of Hungary early in 1527. (See L'Art de Vérifier les Dates, pp. 478–494. Ed. 1770).
  • 3. By a letter in “State Papers,” vol. vi., part 5, p. 563, it appears that Sir John Russell arrived at Rome on the 6th of February 1527, but no mention is made of his being accompanied by Andrea Doria.
  • 4. Concerning the battle of Frusolone, see Guicciardini, vol. iv. p. 206 (ed. Friburgo, 1776).