Venice: January 1529

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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'Venice: January 1529', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 4, 1527-1533, (London, 1871) pp. 181-196. British History Online [accessed 20 April 2024]

January 1529

1529. January. Sanuto Diaries, v. xlix. pp. 398, 399. 384. Martin Luther.—Copy of a Letter from Germany, dated in the year 1528–29.
Here ( ?) we are in peace and health, and there is bread but dearer than usual, though throughout Germany it is cheap; the whole country being quiet, with the exception of the Duke of Guelders, who is always at strife with some one, and his present dispute is with the Bishop of Wurtzburg; both parties have a strong army and are doing their worst. Between the Prince Elector, Duke John of Saxony, and his cousin, Duke George, there is a wish for war rather than war itself, because the former (?) and the Elector Frederick [his son?] favour Luther. Duke George is a good Catholic, and when able to catch a heretic he disposes of him without mercy, for from this Lutheran root six or eight diabolically heretical sects have sprung up, more opposed and hostile to each other than to the good Catholics. At Zurich in Switzerland there is one Zuingle, (fn. 1) who seduced Zurich, Berne, and Basle, where he found great firmness (ale qual ha veduto molto costanza), and chose to hold a disputation about certain articles. The controversy was attended by but a few persons; and when King Ferdinand and the other Cantons wrote stringent letters to the effect that it did not appertain to them to dispute or judge about faith, and they must persevere in that faith in which they and their ancestors were born, and whereby they swore to their confederation, they refused to do so, and remain in their errors.
The most important of the articles are as follows: —
That human precepts, not being based on the word of God, are not binding.
That Christ is the only redemption and atonement (satisfactio) for all sins, and to acknowledge any other is to deny Christ himself.
That the consecrated Host does not essentially contain the true body and blood of Christ.
That the mass which is in use is contrary to scripture, and a scandal to the atonement—an abomination to the passion and death of Christ.
That Christ alone is mediator between God the Father and man, and the intercession (suffragia) of the Virgin Mary and other Saints is to be abolished.
That to no class or condition of persons is matrimony forbidden.
There were also some other dogmas, so that at these disputations they proceeded from words to blows (de verbis devenerunt ad verbera); the magistrates (magistrati) withdrew, and the plague interrupted their controversies; they (the Reformers) remaining in great disrepute and hatred with these Cantons, and the others, which will perhaps cause the rejection of some of the articles.
That there is no purgatory, wherefore those things which are done for the dead (fiunt pro mortuis) are done in vain (frustra fiunt).
That the images of the Saints are to be abolished.
There is another heretical sect which increases greatly, notwithstanding their being violently persecuted everywhere, namely of Brethren and Sisters (fn. 2) who have everything in common, and cause themselves to be rebaptized.
The heresy maintained by them is that infant baptism is unnecessary, as children are pure, but adults being in sin, require it.
That original sin is removed by the death of Christ.
That the real body of Christ is not contained under the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
They do not acknowledge any other Sacrament.
They break the communion bread, without any regard for the Sacrament or the regulation.
They choose everything to be in common, and those who refuse are compelled to consent.
There are also others who maintain that Lucifer is not damned.
Others admit two principles, and two Gods, one good and one evil.
Others have no belief at all in our Lady or the Saints.
These sectarians multiply so that in many places they might constrain the others, but being all discordant, it may be expected instead that they will all dissolve, though in the meanwhile they might doubtless do some mischief, most especially those who, having wasted their own property, would fain consume in the like manner that of their neighbours, and therefore choose everything to be in common.
[Latin and Italian, mixed.]
Jan. 2. Sanuto Diaries, v. xlix. p. 301. 385. Lodovico Falier, Venetian Ambassador in England, to his brother Lorenzo “and the others.”
Could not obtain audience of the Cardinal until the 23rd ultimo. Presented himself with the Ambassador Venier. First they entered a hall (sala) hung with tapestry, at the extremity of which was a canopy of gold brocade. Were received by a number of dignified prelates and noblemen, and after waiting a short while, and then passing through another hall no less sumptuously decorated, entered a gallery, a walking-place (una, galaria, loco ambulatorio), lately built by his Right Reverend Lordship, and not yet completed, where there were many prelates in his company. After they had bowed to him, he moved forward, doffing his cap, and embracing them, and congratulated himself on his (Falier's) arrival. They then withdrew to a window, where the Cardinal having received and perused the ambassador's credentials, he (Falier) delivered a Latin oration, which was in the Cardinal's praise, and which by his gestures seemed to please him, he listening most attentively; and at its close the Cardinal answered word for word, in suitable form, also in Latin. Then communicated to him certain ducal missives, dated 2nd December, which he answered as by the public despatch.
On taking leave of Wolsey, went to visit the Cardinal Legate Campeggio, presenting the letter of credence, and paying suitable compliments, which were reciprocated as by Falier's despatch to the Signory.
Then returned to his lodging, for which he pays 100 ducats rental, and has spent 250 ducats in furnishing it, exclusively of the parlour (il parlatorio).
The 29th December, the festival of St. Thomas of Canterbury, which in England is celebrated more than any other day in the year, was appointed by the King for his audience, and all the great prelates, dukes, barons, and noblemen assembled at the Court at Greenwich, with numerous followers. On that morning, one hour after daybreak, a prelate, Dean of the King's chapel, accompanied by a knight, a nobleman, came to his house with many people, to conduct him, and having taken to horse, rode towards the harbour, where they embarked in the barges prepared for them, (fn. 3) and proceeding down the Thames, arrived in an hour at Greenwich, where a multitude of persons was assembled, having preceded them on foot, the royal palace being full of barons sumptuously clad. The hall into which they were ushered was very well decorated, and after they had remained there a short while, the King entered it from a chamber. In advance of him walked a baron, bearing the sword, another carrying a cushion. They bowed to his Majesty, who came to meet them, and cap in hand embraced them, congratulating himself on his (Falier's) arrival. His Majesty then placed himself under a canopy of cloth of gold, and stood there, being dressed in a doublet of cloth of gold with a raised pile, and having at his side a dagger (una spanticha), on which he kept his hand the whole time. He wore a gown of gold brocade, lined with very beautiful lynx's skins; which apparel, combined with an excellently formed head and a very well proportioned body of tall stature, gave him an air of royal majesty, such as has not been witnessed in any other Sovereign for many years. Having presented the credentials to the King, and after their perusal by the Bishop of London, he (Falier) commenced a Latin oration in praise of the kingdom, of the former Kings of England, and of his present Majesty, by reason of their royal feats. Demonstrated the extreme observance of the noble Senate towards his Majesty, to whom it was much indebted. The King listened so attentively that he never stirred, nor did any of the others; the hall being filled with an infinite number of dukes, marquises, prelates, barons, lords, and others. The oration being ended, the King called to his side the Magnifico, the LL.D. and Knight, Sir Thomas More, desiring him to reply, as he did, learnedly; but first of all, chose to have the copy of the oration which Cardinal Wolsey asked for, when he (Falier) had audience of him; so he was obliged to give it. At the close of the reply, they accompanied his Majesty to the mass, which in celebration of the festival, and from the great concourse of nobility, was most grandly sung, and delighted him (Falier) much. After the mass, they sat down to dinner, the King and Queen being alone in one hall, and the ambassadors, with the Dukes of Suffolk and Norfolk, and a cousin of the King's, in another; the rest of the company being distributed in the remaining apartments. The banquet was sumptuous, both by reason of the exquisite viands, and the great number of guests. After dinner the King rose, and approaching the ambassadors (Venier and Falier) they, with the secretaries, placed themselves alone at a balcony. Communicated his special commission to the King, and having remained a good while together, discussing at great length the affairs of the world, as stated in the public letters, took leave of his Majesty, who is a most gracious and benign prince. After sunset, having embarked in the barges with the same company which brought them, returned very rapidly with the flood-tide to his abode in London.
Has been unable as yet to see the Queen or the King's sister. Will give daily notice of all that occurs.
London, 2nd January, Registered by Sanuto, 27th January.
Jan. 2. Sanuto Diaries, v. xlix. p. 31. 386. Hironimo Moriano, Secretary of Lodovico Falier, Venetian Ambassador in England, to—.
Arrived there on the 17th December, and were met at a good five miles distance from London, in the names of the King and Cardinal, by an honourable knight and an eminent doctor of laws, by the French, Milanese, and Ferrarese ambassadors, by the Prior of St. John's [Sir William Weston], and by the ambassador Venier and all the Venetians; so they made their entry into the city with an honourable company, which caused admiration, and proceeded thus to their lodging.
On the 23rd paid their respects to Cardinal Wolsey, who gave them good greeting, and then on the 29th presented themselves to the King. The ambassador made a fine, elegant, skilful, and much praised oration, to which his Majesty listened with the utmost attention, standing immoveable under the canopy, with his eyes always fixed on the ambassador's eyes and countenance, so that he seemed very much delighted both with him and his fluent discourse. Falier having finished haranguing, his Majesty desired an LL.D. called “the Moor,” (fn. 4) to reply, as he did, commending the ambassador in so fine, learned, eloquent, and well devised a discourse, that greater praise could not have been desired, so that everybody was satisfied; and he likewise alluded to the other points (a le altre parte.) This being ended, the King commenced discoursing very familiarly with the ambassadors, Venier likewise being present; and during the conversation, the Dean of his Majesty's chapel came to invite him to the mass, to which the ambassadors accompanied him; and after “the Belief” the King went to make his offering at the altar, accompanied by all the princes, barons, and noblemen of his kingdom, all richly and superbly clad. After his Majesty had offered, the Queen did the like, being accompanied by her handsome and virtuously-educated daughter, (fn. 5) and by many other ladies all much adorned, but who were less handsome. After divine service, all went to the royal banquet, the viands being so plentiful and of such various sorts, that from lack of memory he does not describe them. After dinner, the ambassadors again conversed with the King; so he (Moriano) having nothing else to do, remained contemplating the physical beauty and perfection of his Majesty, for he can declare that never in his days did he see any—he will not say sovereign, the number of whom is small, but—man handsomer, more elegant, and better proportioned than this King, who is pink and white, fair, tall, agile, well formed, and graceful in all his movements and gestures (acti et gesti). Chooses to believe that nature, in producing this prince, did her utmost to create a perfect model of manly beauty in these times.
The ambassadors then took leave, and returned to their lodging; he being unable to abstain from discoursing about what he had seen, and most especially with regard to so glorious and admirable a Sovereign, in favour both with God and man.
London, 2nd January 1529. Received on the 29th (sic). Registered by Sanuto, 27th January.
Jan. 2. Sanuto Diaries, v. xlix. p. 343. 387. Anonymous Letter from London.
On the 11th February 1529, there was read in the Senate a letter brought for the Doge's inspection, by the secretary of the Hungarian ambassador, dated London, 2nd January.
The King of England will give pecuniary assistance to King John [Zapolsky, Vaivod of Transylvania] of Hungary; and it is heard from Germany that the free towns purposed holding a Diet, and the greater part of them coincided with the Duke of Saxony. At the Diet about to be held at Augsburg [query, Spires], three promises made by the Emperor at the Diet of Worms, and which he has not kept, are to be discussed. First, the repayment of the money lent to him for his coronation. Secondly, when he went to Spain, he promised to return to Germany at the end of two years. Thirdly, he promised to convoke a Council-general, to reform the Church, which he has not done, so that the Lutheran sect has greatly increased.
The Hungarian barons who held for the Archduke have apparently formed a friendship with King John, so that he (the Hungarian ambassador) hoped the affairs of his King would prosper.
Jan. 3. Original Letter Book, Letter no. 99, St. Mark's Library. 388. Gasparo Contarini to the Council of Ten.
Informed today by the Cardinal of Mantua, that the Emperor earnestly exhorts the Pope to go to Spain, and that the Cardinal had spoken to him about it, and found him very ready to do so. The Cardinal understands that the most Christian King also gave similar advice, promising to have an interview with his Holiness at Marseilles, after which he could proceed to Spain.
Has been told by the Pope's house steward (il Rdo. Maistro di Casa) that the Kings of France and England are extremely desirous that peace should be made through the Pope. The steward added, “I do not know whether they act in concert with you or not.” He also said that England and France made no difficulty with his Holiness about the restitution of Ravenna and Cervia.
Rome, 3rd January 1529.
[Italian, 1¼ page.]
Jan. 4. Original Letter Book, Letter no. 100, St. Murk's Library. 389. The Same to the Signory.
The Pope said to me, “You tell me to be the means of making this peace, &.! I have received letters from France informing me that the King of England sent to tell the most Christian King that a general peace ought to be negotiated, and through my medium; requesting King Francis to assemble all the ambassadors of the League, and notify to them this mutual opinion of the two kings. Thus did the King of France do. Your ambassador [Sebastian Giustinian], who was the first to reply, made answer that he approved of negotiations for peace, and that he believed the Signory would be of this opinion, though it did not appear to him that the matter should be treated by me, but that ambassadors should be sent to the Emperor, and the peace be treated at his Court.”
On hearing this from the Pope, expressed surprise, and said that ambassadors are often not well acquainted with their masters' intentions, and answer according to their own views; and added, “Does not your Holiness remember that a few days ago, I told you quite the contrary nomine Senatus, from whom I had received a missive on the subject; so your Holiness must abide by what the Senate announces to you, and not by what an ambassador at a distance says of his own accord.”
Rome, 4th January.
[Italian, 13 page.]
Jan. 8. Original Letter Book, Letter no. 103, St. Mark's Library. 390. Gasparo Contapjni to the Signory.
Paulo Casal has heard on excellent authority that the Pope has been ill of continual fever and tertian ague, and he represents the case to me as dangerous.
Rome, 8th January.
[Italian, 15 lines.]
Jan. 8. Original Letter Book, Letter no. 104, St. Mark's Library. 391. The Same to the Council of Ten.
The person who acquainted Sir Gregory Casal with the Pope's indisposition is D. Jacopo Salviati.
Rome, 8th January.
[Italian, 4 lines.]
Jan. 9. Deliberazioni Senato (Secreta), File 8. 392. The Doge and Senate to Sebastian Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France.
Understand by his letters that his most Christian Majesty, at the request of the King of England, has sent a mandate to Rome for the negotiation of the general peace. This mandate has not yet arrived.
To inform his most Christian Majesty that on hearing its contents, we will draw up a power for our ambassador at Rome, to proceed in perfect uniformity with his Majesty. Share the King's opinion, that with difficulty can the peace be accomplished by the Pope.
Ayes, 181. Noes, 2. Neutrals, 1.
Jan. 12. Sanuto Diaries, v, xiix. p. 345. 393. Lodovico Falier, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Signory.
The ambassador Venier departed on his way home on the-.
An ambassador had arrived in London from King John of Hungary, to ask pecuniary assistance of the King.
He (Falier) has visited the Queen.
London, 12th January. Registered by Sanuto, 12th February.
Jan. 12. Original Letter Book, Letter no. 105, St. Mark's Library. 394. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
Sir Gregory Casal has sent the accompanying packet addressed to his brother, the ambassador with your Highness, requesting you, as it is of importance, to deliver it into his own hands.
Rome, 12th January.
[Italian, 2¾ pages.]
Jan. 13. Consiglio X., Parti Secrete. Filza 2. 395. The Council of Ten and Junta to Gabriele Venier, Venetian Ambassador with the Duke of Milan.
Have received his letters of the 20th ult. and 1st inst., narrating what the Duke said to him about the present undertaking, that it must be completed by the allies, either by a brisk war or peace. Delayed their reply, awaiting letters concerning the peace from the most Christian King to the Bishop of Avranches, his ambassador at Venice, which arrived lately, dated St. Germain, the 17th ult. Their contents will have been communicated to the Duke through his ambassador Taberna in France. On the arrival at the French Court of the English ambassadors, Sir Francis Brian and Master Peter Vannes, (fn. 6) on their way to the Pope,—being also commissioned to treat the peace with the Emperor, who in like manner was sending a power to Rome for the Cardinal General of the Franciscans, (fn. 7) as the King of England had been informed by the Pope,—his most Christian Majesty, at the suggestion of the English ambassadors, determined to do the like, and through them sent to his ambassadors at Rome a power to treat the peace, provided it be on good, fair, and reasonable terms, and by the will and consent of all the confederates, naming the Duke of Milan and the Signory; and he declares that he will not enter into any negotiation unless it be to the satisfaction of the allies, exhorting us to send a power to our ambassador at Rome, as we intend to do. Believe the Duke will do the like, and give orders to treat conjointly with the ambassador from France, and with those from the other confederates, according to his Majesty's request.
Jan. 13. Lettere del Collegio (Secreta), File no. 11. 396. The Doge and College to Venier and Falier, Venetian Ambassadors in England.
Send summaries of news from various quarters for communication to the King and Cardinal. The Signory is intent on reinforcing their army and navy, in order both to harass the enemy, especially at this present, in Lombardy, and to finish that undertaking, so as to be ready for any event.
When opportunity offers, to exhort the King towards the general peace, which the State desires above all things.
The Reverend Ambassador of the Archduke [Ferdinand], resident with the Signory, has acquainted them with the order received from his master to return. He has therefore taken leave, and will depart in eight or ten days.
Jan. 15. Deliberazioni Senato (Secreta), Filza 8. 397. The Proposed General Peace.
Power from the Doge and Senate for Gasparo Contarini, Venetian ambassador at the Papal Court, authorizing him to negotiate the general peace, they having been informed by the King of France that at the request of the King of England he has sent an ample mandate to the like effect to his agents at Rome.
Jan. 18. Original Letter Book, Letter no. 108, St. Mark's Library. 398. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
On the night of the 15th, when the accompanying letter was written, anticipated having to add a postscript with the announcement of the Pope's death, which news was expected hourly; and, indeed, until the following morning, the majority believed him to be already dead, but that his adherents kept the fact secret, to provide for their own interests; so all Rome was in great fear and perturbation, especially as it was also understood that Ascanio Colonna was at one of his castles, ten miles off, and the Cavalier Colonna in another place at no great distance. All persons therefore endeavoured to clear their houses, and arm for self-defence, getting in some small supply of bread, of which there was, and still is, extreme scarcity. But after all, the Pope's malady took a turn, contrary to the general expectation, as on that very night of the 15th he improved, and thenceforth continued doing so until today; so unless he have a relapse tonight or tomorrow, which is the fourteenth day, he may be considered out of danger, provided no fresh and unexpected ailment supervene.
On the day before yesterday the two ambassadors from England, namely, the Rev. D. Peter Vannes and Master Brian, Gentleman of the King's Chamber, arrived. They are lodged in the house of Sir Gregory Casal. Went yesterday to visit them, and after the usual compliments, Master Brian having quitted the chamber, the Reverend Peter Vannes, whom I had met at Bruges, and subsequently in London, and who is really a most amiable person, and partial to the Signory, being a Lucchese, (fn. 8) drew me aside, and told me that his King had given him a commission about the “general” peace, having understood from the Pope that the Cardinal of Sta. Croce (fn. 9) was the bearer of a commission from the Emperor [to that effect], as by no means would his Majesty hear talk of a particular peace (pace particular), and had clearly explained this point to the Imperial ambassador in England, writing also in the like sense to the Almoner, his ambassador in Spain. (fn. 10)
Then, with regard to the commission which he brought for the general peace, he told me that his King chose to know whether the Emperor was content with the conditions of peace proposed to him heretofore; and that if not satisfied with them, he would hear the terms proposed by the Emperor, and if reasonable, counsel the confederates to accept them, the King on his part doing the like. In the event of the conditions being unreasonable, or should the Emperor seem to cajole his Majesty and the confederates with words, for the sake of impeding or checking the preparations destined for the spring, in that case his Majesty would take such procrastination on the part of the Emperor as a reply, and then make such provision as would cause him to repent of his resolve.
Such was the communication made to me by Peter Vannes, who added that as soon as they could transact business with the Pope they would not fail to make this statement to him, and learn what proposals had been brought by the Spanish Cardinal.
I thanked him for this loving communication, praising the determination of his King, as it was most sage, and in accordance with his goodness, to reject the “particular” peace, which the Emperor evidently attempts for the sole purpose of annihilating each of the allies singly, and obtaining for himself the monarchy of the world. Concerning this, I told Vannes that the Signory was most firmly determined not to listen to one word about “particular” peace, and that I had recently announced this clearly to the Pope and some of his councillors or intimates, and that he (Vannes) must first of all endeavour to persuade the Pope that, should he choose to be the medium for negotiating this “general” peace, it is necessary for him to be neutral, and not adhere to one side more than to the other for the sake of any personal interest of his own, as by adhering to the Emperor, or showing himself opposed to any one of the confederates, it was impossible that he could be a confidential mediator to negotiate this “general” peace. To this Vannes assented, using many bland expressions, both on behalf of his King, with regard to your Serenity, as likewise in his own name, saying he was your good servant by reason of the affection always evinced by the State towards Lucca, his country; and with this I took leave of him.
Rome, 18th January.
[Italian, 4 pages.]
Jan. 19. Sanuto Diaries, v. xlix. p. 297. 399. Zuan Maria dalla Porta, Envoy from the Duke of Urbino, to his Ambassador in Venice, Zuan Jacomo Leonardo.
Some new English ambassadors have come to the Pope, for the purpose, it is supposed, of hastening the divorce, about the despatch of which it seems that Cardinal Campeggio proceeds very coldly.
Rome, 19th January. Registered by Sanuto, 26th January.
Jan. 21. Lettere del Collegio (Secreta), File 11. 400. The Doge and College to Lodovico Falier, Ambassador in England.
Acquaint him with the death of the Pope, as heard by them through their Captain General [the Duke of Urbino], dated Pesaro, the 19th instant, as by the enclosed copy.
To communicate the news to the King and Cardinal.
Jan. 22. Original Letter Book, Letter no. 110, St. Mark's Library. 401. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
Informed the French ambassador that on the Signory being acquainted with the opinion of the most Christian King, formed at the instigation of the King of England, to the effect that on the arrival of Cardinal Sta. Croce the “powers” of the confederates should be sent to Rome for the negotiation of the general peace, the Signory's “power” was transmitted to me, so that, with his Lordship and the English ambassadors, we might see what this Cardinal had brought touching the general peace, and what terms he offered.
He replied that the English ambassadors [Vannes and Brian] brought him letters from his King, and the “power,” though he had not yet read it; and that when the Pope should be able to negotiate, we were to consult together and act in concert, although he had no hope of any means whereby to treat the general peace here at Rome; and he speaks the truth, as this Cardinal [Quiñones] has merely a commission concerning the peace between Italy and the Emperor; and with regard to the general peace he is urging the Pope to go to Spain, telling him that on speaking with the Emperor he will obtain everything.
On quitting the French ambassador, went to Vannes and his colleagues [Brian and Sir Gregory Casal], The Rev. Peter Vannes said that when able to negotiate with the Pope they would ascertain from him what he had heard about this peace, and then communicate the result to me, so that we might proceed according to the general “power.” Rejoined that although this Cardinal [Quiñones] had no commission for a general peace, and that I therefore did not believe my “power” would have to be used, yet was it well adapted to encourage the Pope not to rush headlong into the arms of the Imperialists, but to maintain his position as common Father, and seek the general peace, because, perceiving the promptitude with which the confederates on his invitation had sent the “powers” to their ambassadors, it was impossible for him, unless utterly devoid of shame, to detach himself from the League and adhere to the Imperial party.
They all assented, and Yannes and Brian having then withdrawn, I remained alone with Sir Gregory Casal, who told me that he had strong letters from his King to your Highness about the restitution to the Pope of Ravenna and Cervia, written he believed by Dr. Stephen [Gardyner].
Replied that I was surprised that the King of England and Cardinal Wolsey, who are most sage personages, should at so unseasonable a moment attempt such a matter, which, if accomplished according to their demand, would cause the greatest possible detriment to the affairs of the League, the course pursued by the Pope being such as it is. Sir Gregory went on to say, “Believe me the King of France will send Zuan Joachino [Passano] about this same matter; and the two crowns do not require the Signory to restore those cities to the Pope, but to deposit them in their hands.” Replied that this other mode surprised me yet more, because choosing to have them as a deposit, and being in their hands, the two Kings placed themselves under the necessity of restoring them, being no longer able as at present to throw the matter on the Signory's shoulders; wherefore at the slightest demonstration and demand from the Pope it would behove them to make the restitution, and thus incur the loss and peril which I explained to him.
To this Casal answered, “Do not suppose that the King of France will restore them, unless he first gets back his sons, whose recovery he desires above all things.” I then said to him, “With you, Sir Gregory, I can speak freely; solve me one little doubt. Your King of England, for his private affair of the marriage, depends, as you perceive, upon the Pope; to avoid displeasing him he cannot deny his requests, and thus what I have told you will inevitably come to pass. “Casal replied,” I do not believe the Pope to be so disposed towards that affair of the marriage as to expedite it any further. (fn. 11) I have written to England that this Cardinal [Quiñones] has only brought conditions for peace with Italy alone, and most especially with the Signory, and that although I was certain Venice would do her duty, yet was it unfit to keep the Republic dissatisfied, considering the nature of the times; and really, in my opinion, they do not view the matter as it appears to me it should be viewed.”
Do not believe that Sir Gregory Casal fails to use his good offices, for in truth all those brothers are real gentlemen.
Rome, 22nd January.
[Italian, 6 pages.]
Jan. 22. Sanuto Diaries, v. xlix. p. 288. 402. Audience in the Venetian College Hall.
The English ambassador, Prothonotary Casal, who went to Bologna, and from thence to Rome, having now returned, came and said he went to Rome on private business of his own.
Jan. 25. Original Letter Book, Letter no. 111, St. Mark's Library. 403. Gasparo Contarini to the Council of Ten.
Place no hope in the French ambassador; although a good man (una buona persona), he is as cold and ill adapted to business as possible. Though he had received from his King the letter containing the “power” to negotiate this general peace together with these English ambassadors, some eight or ten days before I spoke to him on the subject, yet he had not read his “power” or scarcely looked at it, having perhaps treated the missive of his King in like manner; nor did he mention the matter to any of the English ambassadors, although King Francis wrote to him that he had sent the “power” for the sole purpose of satisfying the King of England; so your Serenity perceives what sort of a man he is.
Sir Gregory Casal, through his brother Master Paul, showed me the copy of the letter from the King of England to your Highness, about the restitution of Ravenna and Cervia. It is a long letter, and full of great threats should this surrender not be made. Indeed, it says at the close that as his prayers are of no avail with the State he shall be compelled, when requested, to aid the Pope to recover his own by force of arms; and, in short, it is a very sharp letter. Sir Gregory has, however, determined not to send it for the present, and will write to England that on account of the Pope's illness he defers executing the commission.
Really, in like manner as the proceedings of Giovanni Gioachino [Passano] about your Serenity's affairs dissatisfied me, so, with regard to these Casals, I can but express gratification and praise, as they appear to me honourable gentlemen, such being also the general opinion of them at this Court.
Rome, 25th January.
[Italian, 3 pages.]
Jan. 27. Original Letter Book, Letter no. 112, St. Mark's Library. 404. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
Today when speaking with Sir Gregory Casal about the report circulated at Naples by the Imperialists, that the Emperor had obtained the Crusade bull from the Pope, he told me that Cardinal Sta. Croce, through whose hands all similar grants pass, has most constantly assured him that the Pope had not conceded it, though with regard to profit derivable by the Emperor it matters little, as he farms the duty, and exacts it, although not conceded by the Pope, and in three years it yields 500,000 crowns; but the grant would be of importance as an indication that the Pope was inclining towards the Imperial party.
Have this day written to the Signory's ambassadors in France and England, informing them how much more disposed towards the general peace the Pope appears to be now than he was before he fell ill; telling them also that I had received the “power” from the State, and adding how undesirable it was under existing circumstances for their Majesties to urge the restitution to the Pope of Ravenna and Cervia, as it would doubtless disturb the negotiation for the general peace.
Rome, 27th January.
[Italian, 3 pages.]
Jan. 27. Original Letter Book, Letter no. 113, St. Mark's Library. 405. The Same to the Council of Ten.
I have been with Sir Gregory Casal and thanked him for having shown me the copy of the letter from the King of England to your Highness, and for the good office he intended to perform by delaying its delivery, proving to him that not merely on account of the Pope's illness, but also for the sake of the negotiation of the general peace (towards which the Pope was well inclined, as told me by the “Maestro di Casa “), it would be very unfitting to send such a letter to your Highness, and enter upon this question of the restitution of Ravenna and Cervia. Sir Gregory took the arguments adduced by me very well, and assures me that he had a very long dispute on the subject with the other English ambassadors, and at length persuaded them to suspend the letter until the result of the Pope's illness should be known. I am aware that they have discussed this matter with the Cardinal of Mantua, who was of the same opinion in favour of delay; and for the present thus is it settled.
It really seems to me that your Serenity has reason to be well satisfied with the proceedings of Sir Gregory Casal.
Rome, 27th January.
Note by the writer, that copies of this letter were sent to England and France.
[Italian, 1 page]
Jan. 26. Original Letter Book, Letter no. 114, St. Mark's Library. 406. Gasparo Contarini, at Rome, to Lodovico Falier, in London.
On the 24th received his letter from London announcing his safe arrival at the English Court, which good news he heard with such pleasure as becoming their reciprocal friendship. On the arrival at Rome of the Spanish Cardinal Sta. Croce [Quiñones], knowing that the Prince of Orange was authorized by the Emperor to stipulate a treaty,—to which effect he had written to the Pope, that according to his Holiness' wish, he was charged by the Emperor to restore to him the Cardinals who were in hostage, (fn. 12) and Cività Vecchia and Hostia, concessions made for the purpose of inducing the Pope to throw himself into the arms of the Imperialists, —I therefore determined, not officially as the Signory's ambassador, but as a private individual, loving the Christian religion and his Holiness, to speak to the Pope, and on the day before he fell ill, I stated to him in detail what utter ruin threatened Christendom, unless he who should be the common father interfered with his authority and assistance, in such wise as not to lean more to one side than to the other, and above all advocate the general peace. That by setting this good example to the Emperor and the King of France, and preferring the common weal to his own advantage, there would be a hope of its more easy accomplishment; whilst on the other hand that hope must vanish should they see his Holiness neglect the common weal for his own aggrandizement; adding such other remarks as seemed to me opportune and necessary, (fn. 13) the repetition of which would be tedious, but they may easily be imagined.
The Pope answered me, assenting apparently to the truth of what I had said, and admitting that to follow my suggestion would be the part of an honest man, but that there would be need of a mutual understanding. It seemed to me nevertheless, from what he said, that the discourse delivered by me, as his servant, impressed itself upon him; and I now hear on good authority that since this illness his Holiness, when speaking about the general peace, shows himself better inclined towards it than at first, which may God grant. I will not fail doing my utmost, most especially now that I have received the power from the Signory; it appearing to me that in no other way can Christendom be aided, save by a general peace, as it is very evident that the Emperor aims solely at disuniting the sovereigns, and rendering them one by one subservient to his wishes, for their destruction.
In order to obtain so necessary and desirable a result as this general peace, above all knowing that it was recommended by the King of England, the Signory, as I said, sent me the power, concerning which I have conferred with the ambassadors of France and England, that we may conjointly attend to this general peace. As soon as the Pope can give audience, the English ambassadors will advocate it, and we will proceed as shall be deemed expedient, although this Spanish Cardinal has no authority to negotiate a general peace at the Court, contrary to what was supposed before his arrival here. But should nothing else be done, the Pope will at least have proof of the good will of the Princes of the League.
I am certain that you exert yourself most diligently with the King of England about Ravenna and Cervia, showing how inopportune it would be, under the present circumstances, to make farther change, or restitution of those two cities; and that we should attend solely to what is of the greatest importance, namely this general peace, according to what Sir Gregory Casal will, I am sure, have written to his Majesty.
I will now tell you, in a few words, the course of the Pope's illness. On the day of the Epiphany he came into chapel with a slight cold, accompanied, it was said, with fever. Then on the 9th he had a disagreeable paroxysm; so that on the 10th he determined to confer the grade of Cardinal on his nephew Hipolito, and on that day summoned the Cardinals to the palace in such haste as to cause great alarm and confusion in Rome. On their assembling in consistory, the Pope proposed his said nephew for the Cardinalate, and Cardinal he was by vote elected. To return to the Pope's illness. From the 9th to the 15th he had fits and paroxysms, and was so debilitated that in the evening of the 15th the physicians and others believed him to be dead. Then during that night he slept well, and is so much better as to be out of danger, according to the physicians, though not entirely free from fever.
With regard to the sword and hat [cap of maintenance?], which it is customary to bless on Christmas eve, they have been sent it as a present and mark of honour to the Prince of Orange.
The Cardinals Triultio and Gadi (fn. 14) have arrived, and from day to day we are expecting the Cardinal Pisani, who will travel in a litter, being ill of fever. Moreover the Imperial ambassador D. Michiel Mai is to arrive this evening, and this other, the Neapolitan Musetola, will depart.
Rome, 26th January.
[Italian, 3½ pages.]
Jan. 29. Sanuto Diaries, v. xlix. p. 369. 407. Taberna, Milanese Ambassador in France, to the Duke of Milan.
The French hope to arrange their affairs with the Emperor through the Cardinal Santa Croce, to whom Madame the Regent purposed sending a present of wrought silver.
Giovanni Gioachino [Passano] is conveying the commission for the captain-generalship of the Duke of Ferrara.
The English King is urging his most Christian Majesty to wage war on Spain.
Paris? 29th January. Registered by Sanuto, 15th February. Deciphered despatch.


  • 1. Zuingle fell in a battle, fought in the year 1530, between the Protestants of Zurich and their Roman Catholic compatriots, who drew the sword in defence of the old religion as opposed to the new one. (See Mosheim, Eng. Tr., vol. ii. p. 168.)
  • 2. The title “Brethen and Sisters,” would make it; appear that the first Anabaptists resembled the “Brethren and Sisters of the Free Spirit,” a sect concerning which, in the 13th and 14th centuries, see Mosheim.
  • 3. In the Trevelyan Papers (p. 144), printed for the Camden Soeiety, A.D. 1857, there is an entry showing the sum paid on this occasion “for conveying of the ambassadors of Venice from London to Grenewich, and to London again, with viii. ores. . . . viiis.”
  • 4. “Impose ad un Dotor che si chiama In Moro.”
  • 5. “Accompagnata dalla sua bella et nella virtù allevata et nutrita fiola.”
  • 6. See their instructions in “State Papers,” vol. vii., part v. continued, p. 117.
  • 7. Francisco de Quinones.
  • 8. The Lucchese were the first who established the manufacture of silk at Venice, and the subjects of their industrious Republic long continued to be the chief supporters of the Venetian silk trade, their heraldic shields carved in marble, being placed in the Signory's “silk office,” from which an entire series, from 1547 to 1622, was on sale at an antiquary's in Venice (in the month of January 1869).
  • 9. Namely the Spanish Cardinal (a Franciscan friar), by name Francesco Quiñones who arrived at Rome as envoy from Charles V., on the 30th December 1528. In a letter dated, Rome 26 January 1529, Sir Francis Bryan represents him to Henry VIII. as a “hortsun flateryng Fryer” (See State Papers, vol. vii., part v. continued, p. 149.)
  • 10. Edward Lee. (See State Papers, as above, p. 86.)
  • 11. “Io non credo il Pontefice così disposto a quella cosa del matrinionio che la sia per expedir più.”
  • 12. Cardinals Cesis and Orsino. (See Guicciardini, vol. iv., p. 274, ed. Friburgo 1776)
  • 13. A full account of the conversation between Clement VII. and Gasparo Contarini exists in letter No. 100; date, Home, 4th January 1529.
  • 14. Francesco Gadi, or Gaddi, was created Cardinal by Clement VII., in the year 1527.