Venice: November 1531

Pages 291-307

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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November 1531

Nov. 2. Sanuto Diaries, v. lv. p. 64. 689. Return of the Venetian Ambassador from England.
On this day Lodovico Falier, knight, late ambassador in England, arrived at Venice. Including his journey out and home, and his residence there, he has been absent thirty-seven months and a half. He returned by way of Germany.
Nov. 4. Sanuto Diaries, v. lv. p. 67. 690. Report of England.
Lodovico Falier, knight, came into the College, having been ambassador in England. He was clad in black velvet for the death of his brother Hironimo. He said little, referring himself to the Senate. The King gave him a chain, worth 1,200 ducats, and to his secretary, Hironimo Moriani, a dish of the value of 300 ducats.
Nov. 6. Sanuto Diaries, v. lv. p. 111. 691. Letter addressed to the Duke of Mantua,
Nothing good from Germany. The Cardinal of Mentz begins to swerve from the good path, imitating the Bishop of Cologne, who seeks to render himself a temporal instead of a spiritual prince.
The fleet from Portugal and Spain has arrived, in number already seventy-four sail, all loaded with good spices, sugars, wines, and fruits, and the arrivals continue. It is stated as a miracle that four ships have come from Madeira to a port here in Holland in nine days (the distance being 30,000 leagues), so high was the wind. Other vessels have also had very quick passages, but these four are alone talked of as a miraculous thing.
Nothing more is said about the interview between these two Majesties [the Emperor and Francis I.], though some persons maintain that the Emperor is going to Tournai for this purpose; but the general opinion is that these persons are mistaken.
Last evening John Thomas Fugger arrived to pay the Italian troops (di quelle gente dillà) who, it is said, have not received a farthing since upwards of two months.
Last night the Abbate May died. It is said he had himself anointed for the French disease, and could not bear the violence of the ointments.
The King of England has received a declaration from Paris, that he is not bound to appear either personally or by attorney at Rome in virtue of the summons received concerning the divorce; which declaration he has accepted and pronounced it valid.
Brussels, 6th November. Registered by Sanuto 18th November.
Nov. 9. Sanuto Diaries, v. lv. p. 78. 692. Missive to the Signory from Henry VIII.
Letters read from the King of England to the Signory, mentioning the arrival of the ambassador Carlo Capello. He commends Lodovico Falier to the Signory. A very beautiful Latin letter.
Nov. 10. Sanuto Diaries, v. lv. p. 83. 693. Report of Lodovico Falier.
Report of Lodovico Falier, knight, late ambassador in England. He mounted the platform, and remained three hours, speaking in a low tone, and with a bad pronunciation; but he said some effective things about England and Flanders, the Courts of the Emperor and of the King of the Romans, about Ulm, and other Lutheran cities. He had been abroad 37½ months, and on his departure the King of England sent him a present of a gold chain, handsomely wrought, of the intrinsic value of 600 ducats. He praised his secretary, Hironimo Moriani.
When he came down from the platform the Doge commended him and said, “We will make a motion, that for your exertions the chain be given you.” Ser Lodovico then declined the motion. He did well, for it would not have been carried; a similar motion in favour of Ser Sebastian Giustinian, knight, late ambassador in France, having been lost.
Nov. 10. (fn. 1) Report of England. Venetian Archives. 694. Report of England, made to the Senate by Lodovico Falier.
Will divide his narrative into two parts: the one relating to his journey, the other to the great eminence (altezza) of Henry VIII., the mode of living in his kingdom, and its government, as he found it from 1528 to 1531.
Left Venice in the middle of September 1528, and by way of Savoy and Lyons proceeded to Paris, where King Francis told him that unless the Emperor condescended to fair terms of peace, he would wage war most briskly against him, and that he had already engaged many Swiss commanders.
Quitted Paris for England on the 10th of December. Was met at St. George's, five miles from London, by his predecessor, Venier, and many persons in the name of the King and Cardinal Wolsey, whose hand he kissed first (as always customary, such being his great authority), and immediately afterwards paid his respects to the King, addressing him in such form as written to the Senate.
The Queen is of low stature, rather stout (grassetta) with a modest countenance (di faccia onesta); she is virtuous, just, replete with goodness and religion; she speaks Spanish, Flemish, French, and English; she is beloved by the islanders more than any Queen that ever reigned; she is about forty-five years old, having lived thirty years in England, from the time of her first marriage. By the present Henry, she had two sons and one daughter. The eldest son died at the age of six months, the younger immediately after his christening; her daughter alone survives. She is sixteen years old; a handsome, amiable (graziosa) and very accomplished Princess, in no respect inferior to her mother.
The King has also a natural son, (fn. 2) born to him of the widow of one of his Peers; a youth of great promise, so much does he resemble his father.
In this eighth Henry, God combined such corporal and mental beauty, as not merely to surprise but to astound all men. Who could fail to be struck with admiration on perceiving the lofty position of so glorious a Prince to be in such accordance with his stature, giving manifest proof of that intrinsic mental superiority which is inherent to him? His face is angelic rather than handsome; his head imperial (Cesarina) and bald, and he wears a beard, contrary to English custom. Who would not be amazed when contemplating such singular corporal beauty, coupled with such bold address, adapting itself with the greatest ease to every manly exercise. He sits his horse well, and manages him yet better; he jousts and wields his spear, throws the quoit, and draws the bow, admirably; plays at tennis most dexterously; and nature having endowed him in youth with such gifts, he was not slow to enhance, preserve, and augment them with all industry and labour. It seeming to him monstrous for a Prince not to cultivate moral and intellectual excellence, so from childhood he applied himself to grammatical studies, and then to philosophy and holy writ, thus obtaining the reputation of a lettered and excellent Prince. Besides the Latin and his native tongue, he learned Spanish, French, and Italian. He is kind and affable, full of graciousness and courtesy, and liberal; particularly so to men of science (virtuosi) whom he is never weary of obliging.
Although always intelligent and judicious, he nevertheless allowed himself to be so allured by his pleasures, that, accustomed to ease, he for many years left the administration of the government to his ministers, well nigh until the persecution of Cardinal Wolsey; but from that time forth he took such delight in his own rule, that from liberal he became avaricious, and whereas heretofore no one departed from his Majesty without being well rewarded, so now all quit his presence dissatisfied. He appears to be religious; he usually hears two low masses [daily?], and on holy days high mass likewise. He gives many alms, relieving paupers, orphans, (fn. 3) widows, and cripples; his almoner disbursing annually ten thousand golden ducats for this purpose.
[Then follows an account of the geographical position of England, Scotland, and Ireland.]
The climate is neither warm nor cold, but very damp. In the northern parts [of England] the longest day is of nineteen hours, and of sixteen and a half to the southward.
The language of the English, Welch, and Cornishmen is so different that they do not understand each other. The Welchman is sturdy, poor, adapted to war, and sociable (conversevole); the Cornishman is poor, rough, and boorish (selvatico); and the Englishman mercantile, rich, affable, and generous (nobile). The men are for the most part tall of stature and robust, and far above all, the Welch.
The island is not mountainous but level, and merely girt by many hills, winch yield no fruit, but a quantity of lead, tin, silver, gold, and other metals; and were they to smelt the minerals more carefully the product would be greater.
The soil is reddish, and sufficiently cultivated for their maintenance, with wheat, barley, and spelt (spelta) [rye?], the rest is laid out in very beautiful (bellissime) meadows and most profitable pasturages for cattle and innumerable flocks of sheep, which remain the whole year in the open air; so that the English are extremely well supplied with the best wool, which they convert into every sort of superfine cloth; and their amount of hides is incredible.
The olive and the vine have, however, been denied them, instead of which they use malt liquor, made with crab-apples and hops, and other ingredients, from which, by boiling them, they obtain a drink as intoxicating as the strongest wine.
The island is ennobled by 22 cathedral cities; 50 towns, some walled and some open; and 1300 (sic) villages, the whole being divided into 35 counties.
Four times a year, the King sends into each of the counties three judges in ordinary, for civil and criminal causes, with appeal to his Majesty's Council.
The first and most honourable office in the kingdom is that of Lord High Constable, which on account of its pre-eminence has not been conferred on any one [since the execution of the last High Constable, the Duke of Buckingham, in 1521], and remains in the gift of the King.
There were formerly twelve Dukes, but in consequence of disobedience and rebellion, nine of the duchies have been annexed to the Crown, and three remain—that of Richmond, conferred on his Majesty's natural son, who is Lord High Admiral, with a revenue of 10,000 ducats; that of Norfolk, who is Lord High Treasurer and his Majesty's chief vassal, with a revenue of 20,000 ducats; and the third duchy, that of Suffolk, in the person of the Lord Marshal [Charles Brandon], with a revenue of 30,000 ducats. He is 61 years of age, very robust, and although not of very noble lineage, yet as he has for wife his Majesty's sister, widow of King Lewis of France, much honour and respect are paid him; and he has the second scat in his Majesty's Privy Council, which he rarely enters, save for the discussion of matters of a certain importance, passing his time more pleasantly in other amusements.
His Excellency the Duke of Norfolk [Thomas Howard, third Duke of Norfolk] is of very noble English descent. His Majesty makes use of him in all negotiations more than any other person. Since the death of Cardinal Wolsey, his authority and supremacy have increased, and every employment (tutti gli ufficij) devolves to him. He is prudent, liberal, affable (piacevole) and astute; associates with everybody, has very great experience in political government (è pratichissimo dell' amministrazioni regali) discusses the affairs of the world admirably, aspires to greater elevation, and bears ill-will to foreigners, especially to our Venetian nation. He is 58 years old; small and spare in person, and his hair black. He has two sons.
The Lord Great Chamberlain, Captain of the Island (Capitano dell' Isola) the Earl of Oxford [John de Vere, 15th Earl of Oxford], is a man of valour and authority, with a revenue of 25,000 ducats, and it is his custom always to cavalcade with 200 horse.
There are also two marquises. One of Exeter [Edward Courtenay] with an annual revenue of 20,000 ducats; thirty years old, the King's cousin-german, being descended from the sister of his Majesty's mother, and next in succession to the Crown.
The other is the Marquis of Dorset, a youth eighteen years of age, with a revenue of 15,000 ducats. He is under charge of the Court of Wards, which requires feudatories to remain dependent on his Majesty, if orphans, until their twentieth year, after which age no one can prosecute them (nessuno può dimandar li in giudizio).
The counties and baronies yield 214,000 ducats; and as the King disposes of all the above-named dignities at pleasure, they render his Majesty very powerful.
To proceed now to the order of prelates, which has always been wealthy and revered,—there are twenty-two sees in England, comprising the two archbishoprics. The Primate, Archbishop of Canterbury, has an income of 25,000 ducats, and it is unlawful for any one to appeal against his decrees to Rome. The other, the Archbishopric of York, held lately by Cardinal Wolsey, yields 18,000 ducats, and according to the statutes is now in possession of the Crown, and will remain thus at least for one year after his death, according to custom.
The other twenty bishoprics yield, one with another, 40,000 ducats (sic). There are three priories of St. John's of Jerusalem [Knights of Rhodes], with a revenue of 25,000 ducats.
The religious orders of St. Austin and St. Bernard, including three Carthusian monasteries, have in all an income of 150,000 ducats.
It is also marvellous to see throughout the island 38,000 churches, excellently endowed with an infinite number of priests, the collation of all which offices and benefices appertains to the Crown alone, being reasonably conceded and confirmed by the Pope.
[Then follows an account of the origin of the payment to Rome of Peter's Pence, ending thus:—]
The annual tribute to the Church of Rome is still levied by his Holiness's collector. The English call it “Peter's Pence” and for this reason, as feudatories, they receive investiture from the Roman Pontiffs.
The very fortunate (felicissimo) kingdom of England has never lacked good laws; her most enlightened (virtuosissimi) sovereigns, for the introduction of scientific literature (buone lettere) having built two universities, one at Cambridge, and the other at Oxford, where 3,000 students are constantly instructed by most excellent masters, in every literary science, free of all expense, until they take their doctor's degree. These universities have produced many excellent and illustrious men, and hence it comes that many English speak Latin (latinamente) and annotate holy writ, on which they are now not a little intent, entertaining opinions totally opposed to the Roman Church; and their number would increase daily, were they not purged with fire and sword—antidotes which the prelates administer frequently.
The city of London has a most noble bridge, on which are lofty edifices, with shops containing goods of all sorts, and in its centre a most beautiful church, to be seen rather than described.
The Tower, although washed by the Thames, and surrounded by walls, is not a strong fortress. The King keeps his artillery and ammunition there; and there he coins his money, which is of much lower standard than it used to be. The Tower is garrisoned by a captain with a few foot soldiers, and their retainers (è la loro famigliuola). All criminals of importance are confined there. The English say that the castle was built by Julius Caesar, and on this they pride themselves.
The whole city is divided into 26 wards, and 86 parishes, with a population of 70,000 souls.
The government of the city of London is exercised by the Lord Mayor, who is elected by 24 aldermen; who, after having served as apprentices, and having by industry and ability become rich and freemen, are made electors, and called aldermen.
Immediately on his election, the mayor goes in great state to the King, who knights him, and he is presented with the Sword of Justice, which he is bound to have carried before him whenever he rides processionally. The dignity is apparent rather than real, and very expensive.
The law courts, five in number, sit in a hall of the King's palace at Westminster, each court making its own awards separately.
At the first, which is called “the King's Bench,” the most just and virtuous Chancellor More presides, a most eminent and lettered (letteratissimo) doctor of laws, adapted to any intricate (ruginoso) negotiation whatever; a man replete with goodness and religion, so that the sentences of the other courts are deservedly judged and ratified aright by his excellency.
At the second [Court of Common Pleas], audience is given by the coif doctors, who take the name from the cap worn under their bonnets.
At the third [Court of Exchequer], disputes about customs, duties, and gabels are decided.
The fourth [Court of Chancery] is that of the senior master, (fn. 4) who acts rather for the despatch of litigants than as judge.
All are judges for life (perpetui) each receiving a salary of 500 ducats from the royal treasury.
In criminal causes, speedy and vigorous justice is done, and of the four law terms (which are held annually), it is certain that not one passes without the condemnation to death of some 25 or 30 men.
The Lord Chief Justice [of the King's Bench], who is charged with the criminal legislation, is bound to proceed thus: after the arrest of the culprits, his excellency goes to the prison, and having them brought before him, appoints 12 jurymen (giudici) for their despatch, against whom there is no appeal.
When the King requires pecuniary supply or any other assistance concerning all his subjects, he assembles the general Parliament of the chief personages of the island, in number 400. On their meeting, after celebrating the mass of the Holy Ghost, his Majesty's Privy Council goes to the Upper House and proposes his demand, concerning which any member is at liberty to state his opinion freely, for the general benefit of the realm; and after the debates, each member is bound to give his vote and decide the matter proposed.
In this Parliament many things have been determined on several occasions; and, amongst the rest, eight years ago, under the name of a loan, his Majesty obtained about a million and a half of gold, with which to make war on France. The Parliament also decreed that his Majesty was supreme spiritual judge, (fn. 5) he delegating his authority to the Archbishop of Canterbury [William Warham], It was, moreover, declared that many prelates had infringed the statute [of prœmunire] which confiscated all their property to the Crown in case of disobedience, but the delinquents were exempted from the penalties incurred by them, on payment of 500,000 ducats.
In all its acts (disposizioni) the Parliament never departs from the will of the King and his Privy Council, which manages everything as he pleases.
The members of the Privy Council are the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk, the Earl of “Wiltshire (the favourite's father); the magnifico Fitzwilliam, the treasurer of the household; (fn. 6) the Earl of Shrewsbury, lord steward [of the household]; the comptroller general [or Chancellor of the Exchequer?], Lord Darcy [?] K.G., (il maggior Contarvolo Ary (sic) cavaliere dell' ordine); Thomas Cromwell, and Doctor Stephen [Gardiner], his Majesty's secretary.
His Majesty's rule also extends to the island of Ireland, where he possesses the sea coast (le maritime parti estreme) and is master there. The island is large and populous, the natives warlike and wild, especially inland, where under the doublet (corsetto) they wear a shirt steeped in saffron (zafferanata) on account of the lice, and half-hose from the knee downwards. The government used to be in the hands of prelates, so that well nigh the whole island is divided into abbacies and temporal bishoprics, and the Pope even now has his collector there.
In Picardy his Majesty possesses Calais and Guisnes, and Grave-lines near Flanders.
Such, in short, is the entire kingdom of the English Crown, whose wealth depends on England alone, which abounds in sheep, rabbits (conigli) oxen horses, lead, tin, iron, and gold and silver, as aforesaid.
The exports of the island amount to two millions of gold, and the imports are of the same value.
His Majesty's ordinary revenue is 525,000 ducats, derived from the following sources:—
From the Crown Ducats 190,000
From the customs 150,000
From vacant benefices 40,000
From the seal 10,000
From rebels [property confiscated?] 50,000
From towns on the continent 10,000
From fines [?] (dal madeficio) 25,000
From the Court of Wards 50,000
Although it is difficult to know what ready money the King has, I nevertheless heard from a trustworthy person that the sum amounts to about a million of gold; he having already spent the six millions left him by his father, in the wars against France, Flanders, and Scotland.
From his most Christian Majesty there is due to King Henry 800,000 ducats for arrears on account of the annual pension of 50,000 ducats for Brittany; and 400,000 for money lent.
By means of imposts, and taxes extraordinary, the King can raise two millions of gold whenever he chooses.
His Majesty spends in ordinary 425,000 ducats for his Court, which consists of 500 men; namely, twenty-six gentlemen of the chamber (camerieri) one of whom is treasurer of the chamber; the lord steward, the chamberlain, his substitute, who carries a white stick to mark his office; the treasurer of the household (il tesoriero generate) who disburses the money; the comptroller general [?] (il contarvolo) who distributes it; the cofferers, who spend it; the master of the horse (gran scudier) who has charge of the horses, in number 300, including Barbs, Turks, coursers (corridori) hackneys, geldings, and chargers; and there are eight chaplains, one of whom is almoner; besides other gentlemen.
His Majesty has also in his pay three hundred halberdiers, ten of whom mount guard every night in the hall adjoining the King's chamber.
The particulars of his Majesty's personal expenditure are as follows:—
For the maintenance of his Court Ducats 100,000
For presents 120,000
For the cavalry 20,000
For parks and game preserves 50,000
For soldiers in the fortresses and at the passes 30,000
For his Majesty's chamber Ducats 30,000
For buildings 10,000
For alms 10,000
For ambassadors and couriers 40,000
For the expenses of the Queen and Princess 30,000 (fn. 7)
The utmost military force which his Majesty could bring into the field would be 4,000 light cavalry and 100 spears. He might muster 60,000 infantry, who, although they fight in the old fashion, with bow, sword, buckler, sallet (celata) and a two-pronged iron stake to resist a charge from the enemy's horse, yet are they beginning to use harquebuses and artillery, nor do they fear death. When in the field, they endeavour to give the enemy battle instantly, as they cannot hold out (non si sanno trattenere) and when hostilities are protracted, they surrender. By so much the less as they fear the French, by so much the more they fear the Scots. They are always bound to serve without pay forty days, and then receive 3½ crowns (scudi) on the expiration of each month's service [?] (a paghe servite). (fn. 8)
By sea, his Majesty could arm 150 sail. He has six large ships in the island, a galleon, and two galleys, which were built during the war with France.
It merely remains for me to discuss the friendly relations between foreign powers and his Majesty, to state my opinion concerning the probable result of the divorce, and to say a few words about Cardinal Wolsey, with which this my report will conclude.
To commence with the Pope, the King holds his Holiness in small account, because he has not chosen to grant him the divorce; and God grant that the consequence may not prove profitable to the English Crown, and injurious to the Roman Church, from which his Majesty seems evidently bent on detaching himself and annexing, the [ecclesiastical?] revenues to the Crown, which would enrich him to the amount of six millions of ducats annually.
The Emperor has cause not only to hate the King of England, but to be his perpetual enemy, on account of the Queen, his aunt.
This same reason has obtained for the King of England the enmity of Ferdinand, and of the King of Portugal; the one the brother, the other the brother-in-law of the Emperor.
Between Poland and England there is no understanding whatever.
With Denmark, although the kingdom belongs to King Christian, the Emperor's brother-in-law, the two countries are nevertheless joined together by neighbourhood and fear, and, in my opinion, they will always remain so by reason of existing circumstances.
With your Serenity the King seems to remain on friendly terms, from which he might easily swerve, because you did not assent to his request about the divorce, as amply stated to the Signory by the English ambassadors.
With the Dukes of Milan and Ferrara and the Florentine Signory and other Italian Powers there are no relations; nor have they the means of benefiting each other mutually.
With France, King Henry has formed a close friendship; enmity on account of his imprisonment, ancient rivalry, and former injuries, taking much more effect upon King Francis than his recent marriage to the Emperor's sister. The English sovereign is compelled to make this alliance on account of the divorce, which he is determined to effect, wishing beyond measure for a legitimate male heir; and having lost the hope that one should be born to him by Madame Katharine, so the marriage with his favourite, the daughter of the Earl of Wiltshire, will doubtless take place, and speedily.
This event might easily prove a source of trouble to the King, should the Queen's faction rebel; her Majesty being so loved and respected, that the people already commence murmuring; and were the faction to produce a leader, it is certain that the English nation, so naturally prone to innovation and change, would take up arms for the Queen, and by so much the more, were it arranged for the leader to marry the Princess [Mary], although by English law females are excluded from the throne.
The close of this my report will consist of a brief biography of Cardinal Wolsey, who, born in an insignificant place (in loco basso) and of mean parentage, applied himself to classical studies, in which being fully instructed he on various occasions took service as pedagogue in the families of great personages, (fn. 9) through whose means he obtained a priest's benefice, (fn. 10) and frequented the Court, where, having renounced schooling, he convinced himself that he should at length succeed, following it actively, (fn. 11) and managing so well (et tanto seppe fare) that through his ready wit he became chaplain and almoner to Henry VII. of blessed memory, and had such success with Henry VIII. that he was made Bishop and Cardinal, with papal power. Having achieved so high a position, the King and kingdom were in his sole hands, and he disposed of everything in his own fashion as King and Pope. Very great respect was therefore shown him by all the Powers, whose affairs were always negotiated with his right reverend lordship.
His ordinary revenue amounted to 150,000 ducats, besides the many presents received both from the native English and from foreign sovereigns, especially from France, with whom he maintained a very close friendship. His court was far more magnificent than that of the King; he spent his whole income; was supremely proud (superbissimo) and chose to be adored as God, not [merely] honoured and revered as a Prince [of the Church].
At the peace recently made with France, the French ambassadors, by his advice, whispered to the King that by cohabiting with his brother's widow, he was living in mortal sin and contrary to the Christian religion. The King giving ear to this, bethought him of many things, which he communicated to the Cardinal, who, having treated to give him the most Christian King's sister, now married to the King of Navarre, greatly commended his opinions and confirmed him in them, promising to prevail upon the Pope to annul the marriage; and having written to Rome accordingly, his Holiness, by reason of the discord between the Emperor and the Church, sent Cardinal Campeggio to England with full papal authority, so that either conjointly with Cardinal Wolsey, or alone (et soli) he might pass sentence definitely.
The Cardinals having given several audiences in public to the advocates of the King and Queen, in the presence of their Majesties, who attended the debate, deferred the sentence so long that peace was made between the Emperor and the Pope; whereupon his Holiness, having cooled, recalled Cardinal Campeggio, and Wolsey perceiving that were judgment given in favour of the King, his Majesty would marry his favourite Madame Anne, niece of the Duke of Norfolk, who together with the Earl, her father, would oust him from the government, he in like manner changed his original purpose, feeding the King with words, until the arrival from Rome of the letters of suspension (le lettere delta suspensione) so that everything remained incomplete; and his Majesty being thus duped, commenced most wrathfully persecuting Wolsey, whom he deprived of the prime ministry, and confined him to his diocese of York.
The Cardinal having had such a fall, and being brought so low, commenced plotting with the Pope against the Crown, and was therefore condemned to perpetual imprisonment in the Tower. On his way to that place he died in misery, of a broken heart, abandoned by all men.
Nov. 11. Senato Mar, v. xxii. p. 79. 695. Flanders Galleys.
Motion made by the Chiefs of the Forty, sages of the Council and of the mainland, and sages for the Orders.
The captain of the Flanders galleys demands prolongation of their stay (muda) in England, because the King has forbidden the merchants to purchase wools, and the repair of the galleys will require time. The Signory's ambassador hopes to obtain the wools in time.
Put to the ballot,—That in case the ambassador obtain the export permit for the wools (la muda delle lane) the period of departure be prolonged (sia prolongata la muda a quelle) (fn. 12) to the end of January next; or should the ambassador not obtain said export permit for the wools (essa muda, di lane) that the period of departure be prolonged (sia prolongata la muda) until the 16th of March next.
As by the auction contract it is stipulated that their masters are to receive full freight for all English wools brought to Venice by sea or land, until their return and for one year afterwards, (fn. 13) minus the period of the departure from this city of the next galleys (fn. 14) bound on this voyage, the prolongation of the departure of the galleys now in England, whether to the end of January or to the 15th of March, to be included in the account of the year, commencing with their arrival at Venice; with this in addition, that should another fleet of galleys (un' altra muda di galie) be put up for the Flanders voyage, the benefit derived from the freights of English wools, brought to Venice by land or sea, be placed to their account, commencing with the day of their departure.
The captain of the Flanders galleys, in case the masters should not have funds to provide for their paying the crews two rates of pay, according to their auction contract, to pledge the galleys as security.
Ayes, 143. Noes, 5. Neutrals, 2.
Letters made out to the captain of the Flanders galleys, 12th November 1531.
The kinsmen of the masters, their securities and partners made to withdraw (expalsi).
Nov. 14. Sanuto Diaries, v. lv. p. 151. 696. Zuan Antonio Venier, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
The King has not yet departed to accompany the Queen to Notre Dame de Lyens (sic) [de Liége ?] between Picardy and Flanders. Another messenger has come from the Warder of Mus to ask assistance from the King, who will dismiss him as he did the other.
The King of England is urging his Majesty to make war on the Emperor, the Duke of Saxony doing the like; and the King of England promises his most Christian Majesty troops and money, etc.
Compiegne, 14th November. Registered by Sanuto 14th Dec.
Nov. 16. Sanuto Diaries, v. lv. p. 193. 697. Carlo Capello to the Signory.
Yesterday Dom. Giovanni Lachau (Gioam Lasiao), the Emperor's secretary, arrived here, and remains. The Earl of Angus has also arrived; he has been expelled by his wife the Queen of Scotland, sister of the King of England. The King has received him kindly, has made him presents, and he resides with his Majesty.
London, 16th November 1531. Registered by Sanuto 31st Dec.
Nov. 20. Sanuto Diaries, v. lv. pp. 116, 117. 698. Marco Antonio Venier, LL.D., to the Signory.
News received by the Pope in a letter from Cardinal Campeggio, dated Brussels the 6th instant, that the Duke of Saxony has recanted and become a good Christian. (fn. 15) This greatly pleased his Holiness, who remarked that it was a good beginning for the Christian religion, and said,” The Emperor purposes assisting the five Swiss cantons and will give them 10,000 ducats, having written to the kingdom of Naples ordering the sale of estates in order to raise a considerable sum of money, which is to be sent thence to the cantons.” The Pope then added, “The Signory is sage, prudent, and religious, and ought not to fail acting in like manner, and might do so secretly in our name; the King of the Romans is very ready to aid them, as I am assured by his ambassador, Dom. Andrea del Borgo.”
The King of England has urged the members of the “Rota” not to receive the agent who presented himself as one on behalf of the kingdom (tamquam unus e regno) as he is an unqualified (inhabile) person, and opposed by the English ambassadors, whereas he hoped to obtain repute. (fn. 16)
Rome, 20th November. Registered by Sanuto, 23rd November.
Nov. 20. Lettere del Collegio (Secreta), File no. 12. 699. The Doge and College to Carlo Capello, Ambassador in England.
There is an ambassador at Constantinople from King John, (fn. 17) who has come to let Sultan Solyman know that the Lutheran Princes of Germany, at the Diet of Spires, wish King John to attend it, and he requests permission to send his ambassadors thither.
By enclosed copy of letter from the Venetian consul at Alexandria Capello will learn particulars about the Indian fleet, and how intent the Bashaw of Cairo is on fitting it out. To communicate these advices to the King.
Concerning the armies of the Switzers, since the first battle, in which the Catholics were victorious—the two camps remaining near each other—the Catholics on the 23rd ultimo made a second attack, suddenly and by night; and the Lutherans were so terrified that they were routed without much difficulty, losing many more men than on the former occasion; and the Catholics captured eleven pieces of artillery, and twenty-four flags of the chief leaders, so that the negotiation for an adjustment, which had been commenced, will apparently not proceed further.
The King of the Romans is holding a Diet of his own subjects at Inspruck.
Nov. 22. Sanuto Diaries, v. lv. p. 170. 700. Zuan Antonio Venier to the Signory.
The King is to depart tomorrow, leaving the Court here, whilst he goes to Notre Dame de Liege, and thereabouts, for his diversions; he will return hither in a few days. Nothing is said about the interview, of which the English ambassadors here evince fear.
La Fere, 22nd November 1531. Registered by Sanuto 18th Dec.
Nov. 24. Sanuto Diaries, v. lv. p. 168. 701. Advices from France, received by the French Ambassador in Venice.
On the day of All Saints the King gave most gracious greeting at Compiegne to the Vice-Chancellor (Vice gran Canzelier) of England, who was accompanied by Sir Francis Bryan. On the morrow of All Souls the King went out of mourning for his mother, as did the princes, lords, and gentlemen. The Queen and the King's children did not put themselves into mourning. The Queen of Navarre and the children of the King [of Navarre] wore it from beginning to end, spontaneously. The King chose to have an exact list of all the lords, gentlemen, officials, and servants of his mother, and has provided for all of them, from the highest to the lowest, giving them the same amount of salary as they received from the deceased; placing some in his own household, others with the Dauphin and his brothers, the rest in the household of the Princesses, his daughters. The ladies of his mother's household are placed in that of the Queen, and the maids of honour with his daughters. The act was that of a magnanimous prince, such as he is.
On the 5th instant the Bishop of Bayonne returned to the Court from England, and says that the King, on hearing of the death of the late most illustrious “Madame,” made all the English princes and great lords go into mourning; and when the Bishop told this to the Legate, there was present the Emperor's ambassador, who declared that his master had done the like, which is a demonstration of great friendship.
It is said that more than seven weeks ago a mob of from seven to eight thousand women of London went out of the town to seize Boleyn's daughter, the sweetheart of the King of England, who was supping at a villa (in una easa di piacere) on a river, the King not being with her; and having received notice of this, she escaped by crossing the river in a boat. The women had intended to kill her; and amongst the mob were many men, disguised as women; nor has any great demonstration been made about this, because it was a thing done by women.
To prevent the exportation of grain from France a proclamation has been issued forbidding all millers, bakers, and usurious wheat merchants, any longer to raise the price of corn. No corn may be sold save at market, and no baker, miller, or corn merchant can purchase it two hours after the close of the market, so that the people may be enabled to buy their supply; and the granaries of Paris are to be inspected by competent and worthy men, who are to acquaint themselves with the number of persons forming the household of each proprietor, whether noblemen, councillors, citizens, or merchants, and the annual amount of grain required for their consumption; which being set apart, they will be bound to take all the rest to market and sell it to the people, by reason of the King's just fear lest the people of Paris lack the means of subsistence.
La Fère, 24th November 1531. Registered by Sanuto 18th Dec.
Nov. 24. Sanuto Diaries, v. lv. p. 193. 702. Carlo Capello to the Signory.
The [Imperial] Secretary came to arrange the entire dispute about immunities, which the King of England endeavoured to amplify, in Flanders; and on hearing his reasons, his Majesty was pacified. (fn. 18)
The King, having remained a fortnight at Greenwich, went yesterday to Hampton Court an account of the plague, which has now abated; but some days ago the deaths in London averaged weekly from 300 to 400.
Tomorrow here in London an English Benedictine friar is to be burnt alive as a heretic, because, after having been several times admonished according to the orders, he lately took a wife, and committed many other improprieties (inconvenienti).
London, 24th November, 1531. Registered by Sanuto, 31st Dec.
Nov. 27. Sanuto Diaries, v. lv. p. 121. 703. Flanders Galleys.
Motion made in the Senate, for a letter to Carlo Capello, ambassador in England, in reply to his of 20th October, concerning the complaint made to him by the King's councillors, that the galleys no longer bring spices, but glass and other things of no value (veri et altri imbrati); wherefore the Signory was not to send any more galleys to that island.
To be answered, that this is not the fault of the Signory, but of the change in the times; that the spices which used to come to Venice now go to Portugal; and that the galleys export wines, and load in return wools, tin, and cloths, to the profit of his Majesty; that the galleys incur great risk.
Nov. 27. Deliberazioni Senato (Secreta), v. liv. p. 96. 704. The Doge and Signory to Carlo Capello, Ambassador in England.
Have heard by his letters of the 17th and 24th ult. of his exertions to obtain—as he has obtained, to his praise—permission from the King to purchase wools for the galleys as usual. To return thanks for this fresh and recent proof of his Majesty's goodwill. As the Duke of Norfolk has stated in the Kind's name that he no longer chooses them to send galleys unless a previous convention be made concerning their cargo, and the quality of the goods, and the amount of ready money to be brought—complaining that the present galleys have brought nothing but merchandise of small value to England, whereas heretofore they brought both silks and spices, camlets, (fn. 19) and much ready money—to tell the King, cautiously, that they could not know beforehand who would charter the galleys; and, indeed, to enable their noblemen to assume this charge they give considerable subsidies for each galley, nor can these masters know either the quality or quantity of the goods they may have to take, as the merchants, being guided by various motives, do not choose their affairs and business to be known, or make their investments until acquainted with the period of the galleys' departure from Venice. Many merchants, 'moreover, send cash to Sicily and other places where the galleys touch, for the purchase of divers wares at their option. To tell the King that should he persist in this order, it will prohibit the Signory's galleys from making this voyage, which they can scarcely believe to be the will of his Majesty, as the trade is mutually beneficial to the two countries. With regard to the galleys being now less richly laden than heretofore, to assure his Majesty, that including what is brought by the galleys, and sent in bales through Flanders and by couriers, and remitted by bills of exchange, the ready money amounts to a very considerable sum; which the King will the more readily believe when he hears that the wools, tin, and cloths can only be obtained from England for cash, of the amount of which the King cannot now have such precise account as heretofore, because the Venetian merchants no longer send to England gold florins, which were exchanged at his mint for nobles, (fn. 20) but crowns, which are current in the island, as his Majesty knows; and, therefore, the vast sum of gold which is in reality sent does not become manifest.
If the galleys do not bring spices to England, it is because the great plenty received there from Portugal keeps them at a lower price than that which they cost at Venice, from whence their importation into England could but cause loss. It cannot be denied that the galleys bring to England a great number of pieces of camlets (zambelotti) the greater part being sent by Flemish and English merchants who trade in Venice; and as they pay a much lower import duty than the Republic's merchants, they take well nigh all the camlets, and are content with gaining the amount of extra duty to which the camlets are liable when imported by Venetian subjects. The King must also be aware of the great quantity of wines exported to England from the Republic's territories, to his Majesty's benefit and to the convenience of the whole island. He ought not to wonder at the small quantity of silk brought by the galleys, because as the nature of the times caused the Flanders voyage to be suspended for several years, the silks brought by the galleys from Sicily found other markets, but they will now resume their former course when the navigation is confirmed and established, as they trust will be the case. If the Venetian merchants be favoured and welcomed by his Majesty, the voyage will again be taken, and bring as much costly merchandise as heretofore, to the mutual profit of England and Venice.
To request the King's permission for the Signory freely to send their galleys; and that he will not withdraw his protection from the Venetian merchants.
To do his utmost to obtain from the King a patent, authorizing Venetian subjects to purchase wools as usual during the coming year.
Ayes, 164. Noes, 0. Neutrals, 0.
Nov. 29. Sanuto Diaries, v. lv. p. 139. 705. Letter addressed to the Duke of Mantua.
Today in Consistory there was much debate about the divorce case of the King of England, who together with the most Christian King complain, lament, and protest, vapouring and threatening, saying that the Pope, at the request of the Imperialists, denies justice; instead of being listened to, they are maltreated, contrary to all right, a thing which ought not to be done; and on no account will the complainants allow one single “Auditor de Rota,” namely Messer Paulo Capisucchi, to hear the case, but insist that the ancient and usual forms be maintained as customary in great and important suits, such as this one; and that each of the parties, at one and the same time, be represented in the “Rota” by their advocates (advocati) and attorneys (procuratori); the case being debated in detail and point by point, as becoming the nature and quality of those sent; whereupon the auditors being well acquainted with it, to refer the matter to the Consistory, stating to that entire body what they consider is required by justice, without regard for any thing-else; and then the Pope and the Cardinals to pass sentence in favour of the party whose cause is just. The Imperalists wish judgment to be given abroad (che fora si sententiasse): the English wish it to be delayed, and insist on the forms above mentioned, as otherwise their King will clamour to the skies (cridarà al cielo) and will renounce obedience to the Church. They also protest that justice has been denied him, and appeal to the next Council; nor may the Apostolic See expect ever again to have England subject to her, nor friendly or obedient; and, indeed, they hint at becoming Lutherans, and worse than heretics. After much alteration and debate the affair remained suspended : it is as intricate a matter as possible (ragnosa al possibile) and food of very difficult digestion.
Rome, 29th November 1531. Registered by Sanuto 7th Dec.


  • 1. The date of the delivery of this report is derived from Sanuto's Diaries.
  • 2. Henry Fitzroy, natural son of Henry VIII. by Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Blount, knight, and widow of Gilbert, Lord Talboys. (See “Burke's Extinct Peerages” p. 207.)
  • 3. “Pupilli;” literally, wards or minors.
  • 4. “Degan Consigliero.” In Venetian “Degan” signifies “Senior.”
  • 5. “Protector and only Supreme Head of the Church and Clergy of England.” (See Froude, vol. i. p. 279, date February 1531.)
  • 6. Sir William Fitzwilliam, K.G., afterwards Earl of Southampton. (See “Burke's Extinct Peerages,” pp. 212, 213.)
  • 7. The total of this sum, 440,000 ducats, exceeds by 15,000 ducats the amount of 425,000, mentioned above.
  • 8. I believe that in this sense “paghe” signifies the period of service. In the year 1507 the pay of a German foot soldier was four Rhenish guilders per month. (See Report of Vincenzo Quirini.) I do not know the value of the “scudo,” quoted by Falier but I suppose it may be rated at four shillings. (See Ruding, vol. ii. p. 417.)
  • 9. “Si mise alla pedanteria in servizio dei primi Signori in diversi tempi.” The literal translation would be “took to pedantry.” Cavendish merely mentions his having been tutor to the sons of the Marquis of Dorset; nor until now did I know that Wolsey had been pedagogue in other families, but perhaps the fact was notorious in 1531.
  • 10. “Acquistò la pretaria.” (See also Cavendish, p. 2.)
  • 11. “Nella quale si persuase al fine di riuscire dove lasciata la pedanteria seguìla gagliardamente.”
  • 12. In this document the word “muda” has various significations. Ducange and Boerio suppose it to mean duty but in the present instance that word would not be intelligible.
  • 13. Namely, the Flanders galleys, destined for departure from Venice in the year 1532.
  • 14. “Et un' anno da poi, et tanto manco quanto le allre galie di questo viagio si partis-seno di questa terra.”
  • 15. “Il Duca di Saxonia esser tomato bon Christian.” John the Constant, who presented the evangelical confession to Charles V., at Augsburg in 1530, died 16 August 1532.
  • 16. As seen by a paragraph in” State Papers,” vol. vii. pp.281, 283, it was arranged by Benet, the Bishop of Worcester, Sir Gregory Casal, and Dr. Carne, that this last was to pretend to act solely on his own account, his colleagues ignoring him, a feint which the Venetian ambassador did not comprehend. The words in the original are, “Che quel commesso venuto tanquam unus e regno.”
  • 17. Zapolski, Vaivod of Transylvania and titular King of Hungary.
  • 18. Concerning a toll demanded at this period in Flanders. (See Hall.)
  • 19.
  • 20. The Senate infers that when the florins were exchanged, the mint master's registers showed from whom they were received, and the King thus learned the amount of gold florins brought to England by the merchants of Venice.