Venice: March 1533

Pages 384-391

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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March 1533

March 7. Sanuto Diaries, v. lviii. p. 18. 861. The Same to the Same.
On the 26th ult. visited the French ambassadors, Mons. de Langes and Mons. de Beove [Beauvoir], who have departed for France.
They charged me to thank the Signory for having refused to make the new League, which they call, “a desire to occupy Italy and place her in servitude.”
Langes tells me he has been in Scotland, whose King will not do anything to displease his most Christian Majesty; and Beove [Beauvoir] says he saw the Scottish army, which is equidistant from the two kingdoms 1½ day's march, and comprises 12,000 cavalry, well nigh all gentlemen, armed in the Burgundian fashion, without any stipend, and who fight as volunteers, from the wish to come to blows with the English. They have also 500 harquebusiers trained in the wars of France and Italy. The English army is of about the same force; part cavalry with short spears (lanzeti) and part infantry with bows; troops which, in his opinion, are not so experienced in war, but their number increases daily, and the King is constantly sending money into the camp. But Beove [Beauvoir] hopes an adjustment will be effected through the mediation of his most Christian Majesty, and says that the Emperor is negotiating a marriage between the Kins; of Scots and his sister's daughter (fn. 1) by King Christian, now a prisoner in Denmark; and the Scottish King answered him he would not do this without the consent of the most Christian King; and that he was ready to make peace, and to have the King of England for his father, provided the territory held by him be in no way diminished, in which case he would peril all he has, even to his life. Beove [Beauvoir] added, that should peace not ensue, his most Christian King must break either with England or Scotland; and that if he remains neutral, the Scottish King will throw himself into the arms of the Emperor, who will endeavour to effect the release of his brother-in-law, in which case King Christian will cross over to Scotland with a good number of troops to assist King James.
The Scottish ships lately attacked five English merchantmen, and captured two of them. It is understood that till now the Scots have a fleet of some twenty sail. The origin of this fleet was that some months ago they purchased five ships in Britanny, and then two in Normandy; all the rest were prizes, which they subsequently armed.
With regard to his Majesty's marriage, it is said publicly that in a few days the divorce case will be decided (si terminerà) in Parliament, (fn. 2) and they merely await from Rome the bulls for the Archbishop of Canterbury, which will arrive after Easter; and his Majesty will espouse the Marchioness Anne.
Letters have been received here by the Germany purporting (as written by me) that the city of Minister expelled its Bishop, and placed the Imperial Signory (la Signoria Imperiala) under the government of the nobility, to whom they say that this supremacy in the olden time appertained; and it is rumoured that Cologne and other cities whoso government is in the hands of the ecclesiastics will do the like.
London, 7th March. Registered by Sanuto 14th April.
March 12. Sanuto Diaries, v. lvii. p. 475. 862. Marin Giustinian to the Signory.
The King and the whole Court left Paris for Picardy; so that nothing can be negotiated with his Majesty until after speaking with the Lord Steward. Went to Chantilly, and acquainted him with the contents of the letters from the Senate dated the 16th ult. His Excellency was not much pleased to hear of the Signory's wish for the peace and quiet of Italy. He said that the Duke of Eerrara had joined the League. Replied that of this I had heard nothing; and then, as his Lordship was going out hawking, took leave. After this, proceeded to . . . . . . an abbacy belonging to the Bishop of Paris, where the King was, to whom narrated everything. He thanked the Signory greatly, and said he would always be their greatest friend; adding, “With regard to the peace and quiet of Italy, and the peace of Christendom, I will never undertake any enterprise unless I know it to have the Signory's approval and consent; and I tell you that I delight in the peace of Italy—in the peace of Christendom.”
All the other ambassadors have remained in Paris; I alone came hither to be near the Court.
No news from England save that the ambasssador Mons. de Montpezat has arrived thence, and the English ambassador says that the English have entered Scotland, and burnt many places, and taken one of their commanders.
Sivry, 12th March. Registered by Sanuto 31st March.
March 13. Sanuto Diaries, v. lvii. p. 475. 863. The Same to the Same.
The ambassador from Ferrara has heard from Mons. de Beuevoeijs (sic) [Beauvoys, or Beauvoir], (fn. 3) who came from Scotland, whither he was sent by the most Christian King from Boulogne (at the time of the conference with the English King), and is now going to his Majesty at La Fere, six leagues hence—that twenty days ago, the King of Scotland cut to pieces upwards of nine hundred Englishmen, and for the last five months has made forays in England, having marched thirty leagues beyond the borders, burning, and putting to the sword, sparing neither sex, age, nor edifices; and he has an army of 20,000 men, very fine troops, who fight to the utmost advantage, and can easily advance into England as the country is open and without a fortress; whereas Scotland is very strong by reason of mountains, which secure the army in case of invasion He says the King of Scotland is assisted both by the Emperor and the King of Denmark, each of whom had an envoy with him, and promised him a large infantry force; and they are still there. Also that the English King is not popular with his subjects, chiefly on account of his intention to divorce his wife, who is much loved, and they hold her daughter in very great account. Also that the Scottish fleet took by force six great vessels and a large Portuguese ship loaded with spices; and that the Scots daily do great hurt to England both by sea and land. The English King's forces are small.
This Monsieur de Neauvesis (sic) [Beauvoir ?] quitted Scotland a fortnight ago, and passed through both camps, at great risk.
Sivry, 13th March. Registered by Sanuto 31st March.
March 15. Sanuto Diaries, v. lviii. p. 19. 864. Carlo Capello to the Signory.
On the 22nd February received the Signory's letters, and as the King was occupied, went to the Duke of Norfolk and communicated their contents to him. He was much gratified, and showed me a letter from Prothonotary Casal, his Majesty's ambassador at Venice, acquainting him with the Signory's reply to the Pope and the Emperor, refusing to join the new League. His lordship evinced great pleasure thereat.
An envoy has arrived here from the Dukes of Saxony and Bavaria, and from the Landgrave of Hesse and others, representing in all eighteen princes of Germany, as also the greater part of the Free Towns, and a good part of the Switzers. I hear on good authority that this envoy brings a writing signed by the princes, urging King Henry to join their League, and to persuade the most Christian King to do the like; saying they sent two ambassadors to Bologna to the Emperor to obtain the Council, and demand the restitution of the territory of the Duke of Wurtemberg, which is held by the Emperor's brother, the King of the Romans, and that he release said Duke's son, who was taken from Germany to Bologna. The envoy then exhibited letters from the Emperor to the Council of the Princes of Spain (Consiglio di Principi di Spagna) at Barcelona, saying he should soon return to Spain to crown his son King of Spain, and that he will then attend to the affairs of Christendom (alle cose Christiane). The Emperor also said to the two abovementioned German ambassadors, “I am not a Spaniard, I am a born German; I purpose coming back from Spain.”
Whilst the ambassadors were at Bologna, the Duke of Wurtemberg's son escaped to Germany through Switzerland, one hundred horsemen waiting for him on the borders. The Emperor complained of this to the ambassadors, saying he had brought him with him to do him honour, and that he was his relation. They replied that he went away of his own accord, and from natural instinct, which teaches all men to be free; and that if possible they would have carried him off upon their backs. He had been taken to Bologna by an escort of 100 cavalry; and his mother—the sister of the Duke of Bavaria—died of grief, a catastrophe much lamented by the whole of Germany. Concerning the Council, they were answered in general terms; and their princes, being aware that the Emperor and his brother would do the like by other States as they had done by Wurtemberg, have agreed together not to endure it, and insist on the free Council, and that two persons be elected, one for the Pope, the other for them—the princes—the same to elect impartially those who are to decide about the Council; but first of all they will that five Christian Powers, including the most Christian King and the King of England, acknowledge the said persons elected to be free from suspicion (fn. 4) King Henry answered him that he must go first to the most Christian King, and then return here, when he will give him a suitable reply; and on the day before yesterday this envoy departed for France.
Concerning the affairs of Scotland, there is nothing new. On the 9th instant, his Majesty's ships put to sea, and the land forces skirmish together daily. It is believed that, through the King of France, some adjustment will take place.
With regard to the divorce, it is considered certain, and said publicly, that his Majesty will espouse the Marchioness Anne; they are awaiting the bulls from Rome for the Archbishop of Canterbury, which will arrive in a few days.
By order of the King, the Queen was lately escorted (conduta) by 200 of his cavalry to reside 50 miles hence.
Yesterday the Imperial ambassador received letters dated Bologna the 3rd, and Piacenza the 5th, and having been to the King, he told him of the league concluded with all the princes and republics of Italy, without excepting our Signory. Of this I have received no hint save by letters from the ambassador Giustinian in France, which travel very slowly.
From private correspondents, have heard that Dom. Mafio Bernardo has been made over to the State Attornies' Office (all Avogaria); and I should have written ere now about unpatriotic citizens (cittadini non boni) because republics are maintained by two things—punishment and reward—but kept silence about his misdeeds, lest having 300 bags of wool in the names of Florentines, he should send them to Florence, and the Flanders galleys lose the freight. On the arrival here of Messer Maphio, Dom. Giovanni Gioachino, the French ambassador, Lord of Vaux, gave a dinner, to which I (Capello) was invited, as also the consul, Hironimo da Molin, my secretary, and Dom. Marco Raphael, and some Genoese and French gentlemen. Dom. Giovanni Gioachino greatly extolled Italy and Venice, but Ser Maphio spoke disrespectfully of our Government, and of the late most Serene Prince Grimani, and said that the members of the College were elected from the poorest noblemen and of the lowest condition, and that by robberies and extortions (robarie e magnaric) they quitted it wealthy; adding that the Prince Grimani was a base retail shopman, mad and ignorant (un ril bazarioto mato et ignorante). I rebuked him seriously, and Dom. Marco Raphael contradicted him. I made light of the matter, and attributed his abuse to drunkenness (crapula) but it proceeded from his evil nature. Then on the 5th of January 1532, when I went with the voucher to obtain the licence for the galleys to come hither, having frustrated his designs, (fn. 5) on my way home—on Greenwich bridge—he used strange and shameful language to me, saying I was la fece di homeni and that it was his business to negotiate these matters, and not the office of my secretary. I answered him that he was well known at Venice.
There are letters from the Emperor concerning the marriage, to the effect that should the King make a suitable marriage and not a love match, he will contrive (tenira modo) with the Pope and the Queen, to annul the one contracted Avith her Majesty. The Imperial ambassador has complained of the Queen's being sent under guard to a distance hence.
Have heard that a motion has been made in Parliament that with the consent of the Lords spiritual and temporal, the King may take to wife the Marchioness Anne. It was also proposed by a Londoner (da uno di Londra) that the judges be appointed in this Parliament, and that no application be made to Rome.
London, 15th March. Registered by Sanuto 14th April.
March 19. Sanuto Diaries, v. lviii. p. 42. 865. Marin Giustinian to the Signory.
The most Christian King, with the Queen and the Dauphin and his other children, came to this city; and the Lord Steward took me to dine with him, saying he had to talk to me about Scottish affairs. He said that Monsieur de Langes had returned from England, and Monsieur de Beauvoir from Scotland, reporting that both Kings had powerful armies, but the Scots were the strongest, and that they had captured five or six ships, because a Scot, having incurred loss at the hands of the English, obtained a licence from his King to attack them with—ships, and took the five abovementioned out of an English harbour; and the English King was fitting out a fleet. He also said that the affairs would be adjusted, and were referred to the most Christian King who would propose a compromise. Went to his most Christian Majesty, who said to me “The affairs of Scotland are not very serious; the Kings will place themselves in my hands. We have friendship with the King of England, and an ancient alliance with Scotland for eight hundred years and more, and this affair will be adjusted, if they accept my arbitration.”
Subsequently Monsieur de Beauvoir came to dine with me, and assured me that 1,000 Englishmen had been killed, though he wrote 900, and that there were two ambassadors in Scotland, one from the Emperor, and one from the King of Denmark, who offered infantry and harquebusiers, but the Scottish King would not accept them, because the villages (li vilazi) of Scotland give him 1,200 harquebusiers, and the ecclesiastics 1,200, free of all expense, so that they have 2,400 harquebusiers. He said he had passed through the Scottish camp, which is not paid by the King, but serves at its own cost; the preda made by them being their sole perquisite, and of this they have abundance. The kingdom of Scotland is divided by the King into three districts, and each district sends 10,000 men into the field for seven weeks. The Scots have marched 20 leagues into England, and the dispute between the two Kings is about an island in the middle of a stream dividing England from Scotland, on which are thirty houses made of straw (30 case di paia) and each King says the island is his, and claims jurisdiction over it. England wished it to remain neutral, but to this Scotland would not consent. The matter is referred to the most Christian King, but the King of Scotland insists on keeping the island.
When in Paris, the English ambassador [Sir John Wallop], told me that the 110,000 crowns, sent by the King of France, was for the old debt, and on account of the prison ransom (rescato pregione) and Zuan Joachim [Passano] went as far as Calais to obtain the receipts.
The brother of the Marchioness of England came hither as ambassador from his King. I do not know the cause. (fn. 6) The Lord Steward tells me they will send a gentleman to England in three or four days.
I have also spoken with Mons. de Montpezat, who confirmed to me what I have written about Scotland.
Soissons, 19th March. Registered by Sanuto, 29th April.
March 24. Senato Mar, v. xxii. p. 160. 866. Vote by Ballot in the Senate for Three Masters of the Galleys bound to England.
The nobleman Lorenzo Dandolo:—Ayes 144; noes, 6.
” Giacopo Mar cello ” 143; ” 2.
” Angelo Alberti ” 144; ” 3.
March 30. Sanuto Diaries, v. lviii. p. 45. 867. Carlo Capello to the Signory.
In the Parliament of the Ecclesiastics [the Convocation of theologians and canonists ?] (fn. 7) they are attending daily with the utmost diligence to the affair of the divorce, and to deprive the Pope of his appeal and authority in this kingdom. It is supposed they will settle thus; and should his Holiness not assent to the divorce, they will withdraw their obedience. For this purpose the Marchioness's brother [George Boleyn Lord Rochford ?] went to France to have a Latin work printed about these, matters, and to urge King Francis likewise to withdraw his obedience to the Pope.
Tomorrow the Archbishop of Canterbury will be consecrated; and on the first Sunday after Easter (la domenica delli Apostoli) the Parliament [query, Convocation] will meet again, and settle the matter in a few days. (fn. 8) On the 24th, and yesterday, the Duke of Norfolk warned the Papal Nuncio here, that of necessity this must be done, as the Pope will not take heed for the salvation of this kingdom. (fn. 9)
It is believed that the affairs of Scotland will be adjusted. Five days ago, a Scottish lord named Stuart—of the family opposed to the Earl of Angus—arrived here, on his way to France for this purpose, and they are expecting Mons. de Beove [Beauvoir ?].
The Scots lately captured seven vessels, laden by English merchants with wines, wax, and other merchandise.
Four days ago, a Doctor, late English ambassador to the King of Denmark, [Frederick I. who died at Gottorp, 3rd April 1533] accompanied by a Danish Envoy, arrived here to confirm the peace and goodwill between the two crowns.
Advices have been received from Dantzic that King Christian, the Emperor's brother-in-law, has been fettered hand and foot, for having written to the Hollanders, to come and release and restore him to his kingdom; and the Danes were preparing for war, and had engaged a considerable band of Lansquenets from Guelders, against the Hollanders. All this proceeds from the most Christian King, and the stir made by the King of Scotland, from the Emperor.
London, 30th March. Registered by Sanuto, 29th April.
March 30. Sanuto Diaries, v. lviii. p. 45. 868. Marin Giustinian to the Signory.
The most Christian King has been lately at Guise.
The brother of the Marchioness [Anne Bolyn] came from England; spoke to the King; remained two days, and departed post with Mons. de Langes for Paris. The English ambassador resident here does not know the cause.
Rheims (Rens) 30th March. Registered by Sanuto, 29th April.


  • 1. Isabella of Austria, sister of Charles V., married King Christian of Denmark in the year 1515. Their daughter Christina was married by the Emperor to Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan, in the year 1533. The Duke died in October 1535, and in 1537, after the death of Jane Seymour, Henry VIII. offered his hand to Duchess Christina, who declined it, saying she “had but one head; if she had two, one should have been at his Majesty's service.” (See Ellis, Note to Original Letters, etc., 1st. series, vol. ii. p. 123.)
  • 2. Hall (p. 795) writes, “This question” (of the divorce) “was well handeled in the Parliament house, but muche better in the Convocacion house,” etc. etc. “Convocation” and “Parliament” sat at the same time, but in different apartments, and the Acts of the two Houses of Convocation (the upper consisting of the bishops, and the lower consisting of the deacons, prebendaries, archdeacons, and clergy), were apparently passed for ratification to the two Houses of Parliament, and therefore from February 4, 1533, until the 7th April 1533, the Venetian Ambassador frequently applied “Parliament” to Parliament and Convocation, as one sole body.
  • 3. See “State Papers,” vol. iv. pp. 641–648, vol. vii. p. 433.
  • 4. “Et conoscendo loro Principi la volontà di Cesare e dil fratello, che questo instesso fariano di altri stati, come quel di Vertinberg; si haveano concordato insieme, non volendo patir, et voleno il Concilio libero, et che siano electi do homeni, uno per il Pontefice, l'altro per loro; li quali elezi fuori di sospetto, quelli habbino a judichar il concilio; ma prima voleno che 5 Principi Christiani fra li qualli è il Re Christianissimo, e questa Maestà, conosca se li detti eletti siano fuora di sospetto. Questa Maestà. li ha risposto vadi prima al Re Xmo poi torni qui, et haverano conveniente risposta; il qual Nontio ozi 3zo zomo si partì, per andar in Franza.”
  • 5. By the entry dated 8th January 1532, it may be inferred that one of Bernardo's designs was to purchase wool and other merchandise from the staplers at Calais instead of taking it from the dealers in England. Capello's letter of the 8th January mentions his having been at Greenwich on the 5th of January 1532.
  • 6. The cause of Lord Rochford's mission is stated in the instructions given him as printed in vol. viii. “State Papers,” p. 427 and following.
  • 7. Concerning the contrast between Parliament and Convocation, see Froude, vol. i. p. 339.
  • 8. In the year 1533, the first Sunday after Easter was the 20th of April, and as it was not customary to transact important public business in Passion week or Easter week it had perhaps been originally intended to prorogue the “Convocation” and the Parliament until after the holidays, but on Monday the 31st March, the day of Cranmer's consecration, something occurred, causing the two Houses of Convocation and Parliament to continue their sittings during the 5th week in Lent, and to decide the divorce case on the Monday in Passion week, whereupon Parliament was prorogued until the 6th June, as seen by Capello's letter of the 12th April.
  • 9. “Poi che 'l Papa non vol avertir alia salute di questo Regno.”