Venice: April 1527

Pages 48-56

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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April 1527

April 1. Sanuto Diaries, v. xliv. p. 232. 85. Audience in the Venetian College Hall.
The English ambassador exhibited letters from his brother, Sir Gregory Casal, at Rome, with advices in conformity with those received by the Signory. He wishes a general peace to be made. The Doge agreed with him.
April 1. Sanuto Diaries, v. xliv. p. 233. 86. Perusal of Letters in the Venetian Senate Hall
The Senate sat in the afternoon, and amongst the letters read was one dated 28th March from Rome about events there, written by Sir Gregory Casal to his brother the Prothonotary, both English ambassadors.
Sir Gregory, together with Sir John Russell, had spoken to the Pope, complaining of two things,—one, that the Cardinal Triulzi had been taken as a hostage to Gaeta, a place held by the Viceroy; the other, that the Pope had given the Viceroy 50,000 crowns, promising a further payment, whereas the King did not wish any money to be disbursed.
The Pope replied that Cardinal Triulzi went to effect the restitution of the towns taken in the kingdom of Naples, and to get the fleet recalled from the Neapolitan territory, on accomplishing which he would return to Rome. With regard to the presents, the Pope had them given in the name of Filippo Strozzi, and his Holiness said that this would be the commencement of peace.
April 2. Navagero Despatches, Cicogna Copy, in the Correr Museum. 87. Andrea Navagero to the Signory.
Acquaints the State with the negotiations of Paolo d'Arezzo sent to the Emperor by the Pope on a secret mission. He was to negotiate the Pope's coming to Spain, (fn. 1) should it be desirable. Discussed the matter with the Nuncio, who disapproved the measure utterly. He said it was proposed by the Pope, one or two days after the Colonna faction had blockaded him in Castle St. Angelo. (fn. 2) when he capitulated with Don Ugo [de Moncada] under compulsion. Subsequently Paolo d'Arezzo remained a long while in France, and affairs in Italy were completely changed. The Nuncio therefore inferred that the Pope had changed his mind, and was of opinion that if the Pope wished to come, the other Christian powers would not allow him to do so.
Paolo d'Arezzo persisted in his own opinion. He said he well knew what the Pope wished, having heard it from his own lips; that were the promise made he knew for certain that on his return to Rome he should bring the Pope to Spain, wherefore he chose to make this promise and did so (“perciò che voleva far questa promissione, et così fece”) The Nuncio would make no promise whatever, and laid the whole responsibility on Paolo d'Arezzo. The business was conducted with very great secrecy, and the Emperor wrote an autograph letter to the Pope, and sent orders to the Viceroy, desiring him, should the Pope set out for Spain, to withdraw all his troops into the kingdom of Naples, and in no way to molest the Papal territories; a similar command being given by him likewise to the Colonna faction.
In order that the thing might not be known to so many persons, they did not announce it distinctly to the Duke of Bourbon, but merely desired him to obey the commands given him by the Viceroy in the Emperor's name, with regard to a matter which his Majesty chose should take effect in Italy; and the Viceroy was to command him likewise to abstain totally from interference with the affairs of the Church. (fn. 3)
This Don Paulo was himself the bearer of these letters to Rome, and departed with the belief that he should certainly be able to accomplish this business.
He had no hope whatever of peace, because he believed the Imperialists to be averse to it. The Emperor promised him not to say anything about the matter, not even to the Chancellor. This promise was not kept, for on Don Paulo's departure Gattinara said that he would not let him depart in error, and with the belief that the Emperor did anything without his (Gattinara's) knowledge, and then acquainted him (Don Paulo) with all that he had negotiated.
Perhaps Don Paulo acted thus to gain favour with the Emperor, hoping for great reward should he realize this project. Little can be done by him in a matter so contrary to all reason.
Valladolid, 2nd April 1527.
April 2. Ibid. 88. The Same to the Same.
The Chancellor [Gattinara] departed hence on the 30th ult., very dissatisfied. The Emperor gave him leave for three months to go and fulfil a vow at Monserrato, though Gattinara made the demand for the purpose of proceeding subsequently straight to Italy, where, as always said by him of late, he means to withdraw to his own home, and he has taken with him all his effects with the intention of not returning. Many persons expect the Emperor to recall him, and that if recalled he will return. Does not know what he will do, nor whether he will be recalled, because the Emperor's character is such that he never chooses to let it appear that he has need of any person. It is certain that the Chancellor departs very dissatisfied, and besides many other reasons he went away because he received no present whatever from the Emperor. He spends much, and daily contracts fresh debts, so that he can no longer defray such vast expenditure. His debts are estimated at 24,000 ducats. He will be a great loss to the Court.
The sons of the King of France were not taken to Segovia as reported, but are still at Villa Lapando (sic), distant eight leagues from Valladolid, a place belonging to the Constable [of Castile], who has charge of them.
Valladolid, 2nd April 1527.
April 6, 7. Sanuto Diaries, v. xliv. p. 338. 89. Marc' Antonio Venier to the Doge and Signory.
The betrothals have been concluded, and two ambassadors are to be sent, one from France and the other from England, to the Emperor, to demand the release of the French Princes on payment of a fair ransom; in case of refusal the ambassadors will declare war. Cardinal Wolsey moreover desired him (Venier) to write to his colleague in Spain [Andrea Navagero] to join them in this office, and told the Papal Nuncio in London to give similar instructions to the Nuncio with the Emperor.
London, 6th and 7th April. Registered by Sanuto, 29th April.
April 11, 16. Sanuto Diaries, v. xlv.p. 39. 90. Marc' Antonio Venier to the Doge and Signory.
The marriage is being negotiated, and the articles are in. the hands of the French ambassadors for revision, so that in two or three days they will be signed, which being clone, the ambassadors will be sent to the Emperor; namely, on behalf of the most Christian King, the Bishop of Tarbes, now in London; and for the King of England, Figuglielmo. (fn. 4) They are to announce the conclusion of the espousals, demanding the release of the French Princes for a fair ransom, and that the Emperor leave Italy quiet and free. Twenty days to be given for his decision, on the expiration of which term, should he not accept the conditions, the two ambassadors are to declare war. The English say they will act, and send troops and money. Nobody expects the Emperor to join the Italian League. The Kings of England and France are to have an interview on the other side of the Channel (“di Ià dil mare”), both for the conclusion of this marriage, and for his English Majesty's cession of the title of King of France. England has obtained that, after the death of the present King of France, France is to pay annually and for ever (“in perpetuo ogni anno”) to this present King of England 10,000 crowns of the sun, and a pension of 40,000 crowns, to commence on the birth of the Princess of England's son, for his use; the payment not to be made unless she have a male heir. The decision about the marriage has been effected sooner than was expected, and the Pope's surrender accelerated it, the King of England suspecting that the Signory would give way likewise. Should affairs be such as they are represented, there is a fair hope of success.
This letter having been detained until the 16th, announces that it has been determined to sign the marriage articles on the morrow; and on the octave of Easter, at Greenwich, Cardinal Wolsey will sing mass, and the agreement will be published with solemnity and rejoicing, the like being done in France.
The interview between the two Kings will be effected with fewer persons than on the last occasion, for the avoidance of expense.
London, 11th and 16th April. Registered by Sanuto, 7th May.
April 13. Sanuto Diaries, v. xlv. pp. 276, 277. 91. Soardino to [the Marquis of Mantua?].
Bourbon urges the Emperor and entreats him to make peace with France on such terms as he can. Bourbon is not aware of any other remedy for the Emperor's affairs in Italy.
Letters have been received from the King of England to his ambasadors, (fn. 5) desiring them to tell the Emperor that the French urge him greatly to give his daughter to the most Christian King; but he answered, he must ponder the matter well. Also that as the Pope, France, and the Venetians have lately sent him ample powers to his satisfaction, referring themselves entirely to him for the stipulation of peace, he therefore requests the Emperor to send him similar powers, that it may be known that he does not fail to further the conclusion of peace. The ambassadors have spoken to the Emperor, but were unable to obtain one word to warrant a hope of peace. Possibly the Emperor will reply in another form at the second or third audience, and will perhaps await news of Bourbon's having joined the Viceroy, hoping that when united they may yet perform great results. In the meanwhile it is published by both great and small (“grandi e piccoli”) that the Cortes now sitting will not give the Emperor money, so he will obtain none. He is ill-disposed towards the Grandees, who, on their part, are still more dissatisfied with him, and this animosity is universal throughout Spain, and the Emperor reciprocates it.
[Valladolid?], 13th April. Registered by Sanuto, 22nd Jane.
April 13. Navagero Despatches, Cicogna Copy, in the Correr Museum. 92. Andrea Navagero to the Signory.
The English ambassadors have lately received a courier from their King, and had audience of the Emperor, to whom they announced all the negotiations in course between England and France, to prevent him from entertaining suspicion, especially with regard to the marriage of the Princess Mary, whose hand has been asked for by the King of France.
The Auditor [Ghinucci] informed him (Navagero) that they had told the Emperor he should now determine about this general peace amongst the Christian powers, his resolve being alone wanting, all the other allied sovereigns having evinced their good will, of which the King of England entertained no doubt, because he had inspected the powers sent by each of the sovereigns for the negotiation of this peace, and found them most ample and indicative of the good will of all of them.
Of these powers the English ambassadors had received copies, which they read to the Emperor, requesting him now to decide. The Auditor says the reply was so cold that he is at last convinced the Emperor does not intend to make peace; that previously he (Ghinucci) always suspected that they were being cajoled with words, and that the Emperor did not mean what he said, but that he is now quite sure of this; that all their efforts to make him form any resolve were vain, so that he (Ghinucci) despaired of peace, though his colleague [Lee] was so credulous a person (“si buona persona”) that he still allowed himself to be deluded, and would not be undeceived; and that this would perhaps somewhat delay the despatch of their courier to England, as his colleague still wished to await another reply from the Emperor.
Valladolid, 13th April 1527.
April 16. Deliberazioni Senato (Secreta), v. lii. p. 15. 93. The Doge and Senate to Domenego Venier, Venetian Ambassador in Rome.
That his Holiness should not resume the war causes the Signory heartfelt regret. Cannot believe the Pope will not rather exterminate the Imperialists than abandon his own cause.
To declare to the Pope the firm and excellent will entertained by the Signory towards his Holiness, and the express order given by them to their Captain-General to advance for the defence of the Pope and the Florentines.
To communicate the present despatch to the French and English ambassadors.
Ayes, 189. Noes, 5. Neutrals, 2.
April 16. Deliberazioni Senato (Secreta), v. lii. p. 15 tergo. 94. The Doge and Senate to Sebastian Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in France.
As regards the proposed restrictive clauses of the confederacy, are of opinion that any further addition is unnecessary. The Signory authorize him, the ambassador, to ratify the restrictive clauses and the articles. To request his most Christian Majesty to send aid speedily, the State being in manifest peril. Were pleased to learn his intention of attacking the Emperor in Flanders, and that the Duke of Guelders should do the like. The King of England will join the attack after the marriage, which they hear was considered settled by his most Christian Majesty.
April 16. Deliberazioni Senato (Secreta), v. lii. p. 17 tergo. 95. The Doge and Senate to Marc' Antonio Venier, Venetian Ambassador in England.
On the 21st ultimo the Signory heard of the truce. Determined not to give any answer until acquainted with the French King's intention, as they act in accordance with him. Therefore, having been informed that his Majesty will not become a party, and requires the Signory to render their confederacy with him more stringent, as after the agreement between the Pope and the Imperialists all their forces will be directed against the Signory, have made a reply to the articles proposed by the most Christian King, and desire their ambassador in France to transmit it to him (Venier), that he may submit it to the King of England and the Cardinal.
The ambassador to expatiate to the King on the peril to which Italy is exposed. The Pope has deserted his confederates, especially England, by making terms with the Viceroy. He now finds himself not only deceived by the Imperialists, but in the depths of despair. He sees his territories in the Bolognese and Romagna laid waste; and himself compelled to disburse 200,000 crowns through the Strozzi and Salviati banks, as reported, whereas they had at first promised to make the agreement for 60,000 crowns; and he is under the fear lest, after payment of the money, the Spaniards keep him under greater subjection than ever.
The only remedy is that the Kings of France and England should provide for the Signory, which does not fail exhorting his Holiness to resume hostilities and not to purchase his own slavery with his own money, and throw himself into the arms of those who have so often completely betrayed him, but rather to avenge Italy, and save his country from such imminent bondage.
The Signory's army has already crossed the Po, and advanced into the Bolognese, with the intention of proceeding further according to the movements of the enemy.
Feel confident that having the King of England, with his wisdom and power, in their favour, the result cannot fail to be prosperous.
To beseech the King and Cardinal now to uphold the safety and liberty of Italy, by joining the Signory's confederacy forthwith.
Ayes, 164. Noes, 1. Neutrals, 1.
April 17. Sanuto Diaries, v. xliv. pp. 337, 338. 96. Sebastian Giustinian to the Doge and Signory.
On the conclusion of the marriage with England, which is considered settled, the French and English Kings will meet at Calais or Boulogne before the day of the Ascension, when everything will be ratified.
Poissi, 17th April. Registered by Sanuto, 29th April.
April 23. Sanuto Diaries, v. xlv.p. 39. 97. Sebastian Giustinian to the Doge and Signory.
Had succeeded in prevailing on the French King to send pecuniary and military succour to Italy. Perceiving by the Signory's advices that the enemy was prospering, went to his Majesty, setting forth the need, and exhorting him to make valid provision. Expatiated on the nature of the war in Italy, a war not waged against an Emperor, but against the Duke of Bourbon, the King's most bitter enemy—a fugitive, pauper, exile, without either territory or domicile, to the shame of the Apostolic See, of his Majesty, and of the Venetian Signory, as well as of all Italy; so that his Majesty should do his utmost against the invaders. This language moved the King so much that he immediately desired remittances to be made, and wrote to the Switzers to descend instantly, &c, saying that he would not fail.
Advices from England, dated the 16th (April), state that the marriage of the Princess to his son has been concluded, as will be declared at the conference to be held between the two Kings, each of whom has appointed an ambassador to the Emperor, to demand peace and the release of the French Princes. If these be refused, they are to announce war to him; the terms being, that the King of England is to attack Flanders with 10,000 infantry, 1,000 light horse, and such artillery as necessary, together with a very powerful fleet, carrying 10,000 infantry paid by the King of England, and 1,500 by the most Christian King; the attack to take place at the beginning of next June. The most Christian King will invade from the French side, entering the Flemish frontier (fn. 6) with 2,000 spears, 20,000 infantry, and such ordnance as requisite.
The two Kings will have an interview before Whitsuntide, either at Calais or Boulogne, according to such arrangements as shall be made by them. The articles have been signed by the King of England and the French ambassadors, who transmitted them for ratification, which has been effected in ample form by his most Christian Majesty; and this confederacy and marriage is to be published in England on the Sunday of the Apostles [Saint Philip and Saint James's day, 1st May]; the like being done on the same day here, in Paris, provided the ratification from England be received previously. This act will be performed with every mark of rejoicing.
All the Flemings have been expelled and banished England, so that they are prevented trading and are unable to export merchandise of any sort from the island.
Had received the Signory's letters concerning the truce made by the Pope with the Imperialists, and desiring him to inquire whether the King was inclined to be a party to it. Being aware of his Majesty's bias, did not make the communication, knowing that nothing could displease him more than to hear about the truce; and had he (Giustinian) made the proposal, all the provisions for the war, made by his Majesty for the Signory's advantage, would have been delayed.
Paris, 23rd April. Registered by Sanuto, 7th May.
April 24–27. Sanuto Diaries, v. xlv. p. 72. 98. Marc' Antonio Venier to the Doge and Signory.
The King has appointed one of his gentlemen, Monsignor Paris (sic) [Sir Francis Poyntz], (fn. 7) to go with two heralds and the Bishop of Tarbes to the Emperor to declare war against him; and has determined to invade Flanders with 30,000 infantry, 10,000 on his own account and 20,000 to be paid by the most Christian King, in addition to which there will be the fleet.
The proclamation [of the marriage, etc.] cannot be made on Sunday, Cardinal Wolsey being indisposed; so the ceremony is deferred.
London, 24–27 April. Registered by Sanuto, 15th May.
April 26 to May 4. Sanuto Diaries, v. xlv. p. 72. 99. Sebastian Giustinian to the Doge and Signory.
The King of England will send two heralds with the ambassadors to the Emperor with orders, should the Emperor refuse to admit them into his presence, that the act be considered a declaration of war. The commanders of the armies have been already appointed, and the proclamation of the agreements will be made on the Sunday of the Apostles.—Paris, 26th April.
The two ambassadors, the Englishman [Sir Francis Poyntz] and the Frenchman [Bishop of Tarbes], had departed post [from London?] for France, on their way to the Emperor in Spain with the orders already mentioned; and the Bishop of Bayonne and Dom. Gaspar Tormano are to leave shortly for Germany, to thwart the election of the Archduke Ferdinand as King of the Romans.—1st May.
In these waters (“questi mari”) the most Christian King had a ship of 2,000 butts and six galleons, the King of England having an equal naval force; with which and with the vessels of the fleet (“dil' armata”) they will infest the enemy's entire line of coast.—Paris, 4th May.
Registered by Sanuto, 15th May.


  • 1. This proposal is but slightly alluded to by Guicciardini (vol. 4. p. 182, Ed. Friburgo, 1776). The Pope was to go by sea, and to meet the Emperor at Narbonne. The measure was of such great political importance that the particulars given by Navagero appear to me worth recording.
  • 2. On the 20th of September 1526. (See Sanuto Diaries, vol. xlii. p, 512.)
  • 3. “Totalmente si astenesse dalle cose della Chiesa.”
  • 4. i. e. Fitzwilliam; but it was Sir Francis Poyntz who was sent with the Bishop of Tarbes to the Emperor.
  • 5. Lee and Ghinucci.
  • 6. In the original, “questo Re romperà di qua. a li confini di la Franza” (sic). Evidently a mistake for Flanders, and I translate accordingly,
  • 7. See “State Papers,” vol. 6, part 5, pp. 585, 588.