Pages vii-xxxvii

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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The year 1527, with which the fourth volume of the Venetian Calendar commences, was ushered in by a magnificent entertainment at York House, at which the King was present, and Cardinal Wolsey's supremacy as yet gave no indications of decline. In France it was generally reported that Francis was on the eve of betrothal to the Princess Mary of England; and after the sack of Rome, on the 6th May 1527, the Prench and English ambassadors in Spain acted so heartily together at Burgos, that on the 21st January 1528 they, with their Italian colleagues, took leave of the Emperor, against whom on the morrow Clarencieux and Guienne made a formal declaration of war. In his reply, Charles V. reproached Henry VIII. with his injustice in attempting to obtain a divorce from Katharine, and his inconsistency in first tempting the Emperor to marry his daughter, the Princess Mary, whom he was thus stigmatising with the blot of illegitimacy. In conclusion, Charles V. attributed the hostilities of England to his refusal to satisfy the rapacity of Wolsey, or to secure for him the Papal tiara.

The Venetian correspondence during this eventful year, shows that it was the policy of the Cardinal to prevent the Cortes from giving the Emperor a donative, and also to induce the Electors to reject his brother Ferdinand and prefer one of their own number as a candidate for the title of King of the Romans. Wolsey, said Charles, had sworn to be revenged, and if war ensued, the blood must rest on the head of him who was the original instigator of it.

In the course of 1527 an opportunity presented itself to the Cardinal for rendering Charles V. unpopular. His troops had sacked Rome, and the Pope was besieged in the Castle of St. Angelo; fasts were solemnized for the release of Clement VII., and when Wolsey went to France to confer with Francis I. a pageant in Wolsey's honour was performed at Calais, representing him as the Saviour of the popedom and of Italy. At Amiens he was met by Ghinucci and Gregory Casal, Italian diplomatists in the English service, and it was then and there that, on the 26th of August, Wolsey gave Casal the “large commission” to form a league with the Duke of Eerrara, an act included amongst the misdemeanours laid to the Cardinal's charge at his disgrace in 1529. The commission having been exhibited to the Venetian Signory as a party to the Italian League, it was transcribed in the “Commemoriale,” where it is yet visible; and Casal having been invested with full powers by his King, the Republic admitted the validity of the document, and probably on good grounds, although at a later period it was disputed at home. In September 1527 we find the Senate charging the Venetian Ambassador in England to “beware of saying a word which could offend or censure Cardinal Wolsey, he being in such esteem and supreme favour as was well known.”

A fortnight before the French and English heralds declared war at Burgos, news reached England of the Pope's escape from the Castle of St. Angelo; and at a banquet given by Wolsey in honour of that event, the scholars of St. Paul's recited the Phormio of Terence, one of them delivering an oration in which the Emperor's soldiery were styled the most iniquitous men in the world, worse than Turks, ho himself being stigmatized as the cause of all the recent calamities to which the Apostolic See had been subjected.

Although in January 1528 Charles V. had already complained openly of the threat of Henry VIII. to divorce Queen Katharine, the Venetian letters, which on the 29th August 1514 alluded to the subject cursorily, do not return to it until February and March 1528; whilst the English State Papers from June to September 1527 show that, although then “a secrete affayre,” Charles V. became acquainted with it in the summer of that year; but on the other hand it is from a Venetian source that we obtain the first notice of the mission to England of the Papal agent Stafileo, who at a later period was reproached by Clement VII. with having been one of the chief abettors of Henry's design.

In April 1528, the Ambassador Surian in Florence giving the news of the day from Orvieto, where the Pope then resided, writes that the suit had been referred by him to three Cardinals, who were of opinion that the King's marriage ought not to be annulled; and in June, when the Papal Court had passed from Orvieto to Viterbo, we hear from the Venetian ambassador, Grasparo Contarini, of the appointment of Cardinal Campeggio as Legate to England. In conjunction with Cardinal Wolsey, he was charged by his Holiness to take cognizance of the suit for the dispensation of the King's marriage, which Contarini already foresaw would never be canonically dissolved; Clement VII. telling him moreover distinctly, that Campeggio was in the Emperor's confidence.

After a lapse of so many years, it is not to be expected that many new facts should be brought to light in illustration of so trite a subject as the repudiation by Henry VIII. of Katharine of Aragon; but the documents contained in the present volume record certain circumstances which perhaps deserve greater attention than they have hitherto ohtained.

In a letter to Henry VIII., date Rome, 11th February 1532 (fn. 1), Edward Karne informs the King that “all stondyth upon Cardinal Anchona, for as he woll, so every thyng shalbe, and otherwyse hyt can not be loyked for here.” This statement is fully confirmed by the Venetian ambassadors, who show that until his death, the Cardinal of Ancona was all powerful with Clement VII., and the staunch champion of the injured Queen.

The Cardinal of Ancona, by name Pietro Accolti, born at Arezzo in 1451, had been secretary to Pope Julius II., who created him Bishop of Ancona in 1505; and Cardinal, on the 10th March 1511. When Julius II. granted the dispensation for the marriage of Henry and Katharine, Accolti was the Pope's secretary, and he still maintained the validity of the act, at the age of 78, after a lapse of thirty years, thus showing himself consistent, conscientious, and courageous. Clement VII. informed Marco Antonio Venier, that it was the Bishop of Ancona who made him issue the Papal brief, dated January 1533, by which Henry VIII. was pronounced excommunicate, unless he restored the Queen to her place, and abstained thenceforth from all intercourse with Anne Boleyn, pending the issue of the trial. This was the last act of the Cardinal of Ancona, whose death is recorded by Venier in a letter dated Rome, 23rd April 1533.

Amongst other able and zealous supporters of Queen Katharine at the Papal Court (besides Francisco Quiñones, Cardinal of St. Croce), the Venetian ambassadors make special mention of a gentleman of Barcelona, named Don Michael Maj, who had studied at Padua, of Gabriel Merino, Archbishop of Bari, and of the Count of Cifucntes, all Spaniards accredited by the Emperor to Clement VII. On the 25th June 1533, Marco Venier writes that in a Consistory, held two days before, the Papal law officers commenced reading the process, an operation which was not concluded until the 25th, as the process contained the depositions of 150 witnesses. Sonic of these attested the impotency of Prince Arthur, others declared that Henry VIII. was heard to say he had found the Queen a virgin. It is much to be regretted that we have no list of the witnesses, as their names might serve to test the validity of the evidence produced on both sides.

The gradual decline of Wolsey's supremacy may be traced as follows:—On the 1st July 1527 he wrote to Henry VIII. that he was “not a little troubled in his mind, lest the King should doubt his zeal in advancing the secrete matier;” (fn. 2) and within twelve months from that time we hear from Italy, where Campeggio was preparing for his journey, that Wolsey's colleague was a notorious Imperialist. At that moment (June 1528) Henry VIII. sent Gardiner from Viterbo to Venice, charging the Signory to restore Ravenna and Cervia to Clement VII.; but in July 1529 Wolsey told Ealier in London that the Signory would do well to place strong garrisons in those cities,—a change of policy which is accounted for by the Pope's letter to the King, dated 29th April 1529, informing him that it was not in the power of the Apostolic See to annul the dispensation granted by Julius II. (fn. 3)

On the following 16th of June the Legatine Court met in the Parliament chamber at Blackfriars, and Ealier gives a minute account of its proceedings, which were also narrated to Gasparo Contarini by the Pope himself, who added that Queen Katharine had written to him, repeating under oath her declaration, made in public to Wolsey and Campeggio, that “no other husband than the present King had consummated marriage with her.” On the 29th July the Legates in England prorogued their Court, although the papal brief removing the suit to Rome had not yet arrived. After being delayed at Dover by contrary winds until the end of October, Campeggio crossed the Channel, and already in August the fall of “Wolsey was foreshadowed at Venice by the refusal of the Senate to grant his demand for “a remnant of tawny coloured damask.”

On the 18th of October the Cardinal was deprived of the Great Seal; and the breach which divided Rome and the Empire from England was daily widened, notwithstanding the general peace between Charles V., Henry VIII., and the other great Powers, proclaimed in London on the 28th August.

On the 5th November, the Emperor made his entry into Bologna, and Gasparo Contarini gives a minute account of the ceremony, showing, in contradiction to the assertion of Burnet, that Charles V. kissed the Pope's foot.

I have calendared what I believe to be the last letter written from Windsor Castle by Katharine of Aragon; it is one of kindness, in favour of her surgeon Balthasar Guercius, addressed to the Duke of Milan, dated the 15th July 1531. In the second week in August, Savorgnano was admitted to her presence at the More in Hertfordshire, after having previously presented himself to the King at a hunting-lodge in Windsor Eorest. Whilst at Richmond, Savorgnano saw the Princess Mary, who was accompanied by her governess, the Countess of Salisbury; and he shows how at that time the court of the heiress of England was such as became her high station.

A few days after Savorgnano's departure, the Ambassador Falier took leave of the King, with whom he had resided nearly three years; and having returned to Venice on the 2nd November 1531, he presented himself on the 10th to the Senate, and made his report, of which a copy exists in the Venetian Archives. A summary of its contents will be found in the present volume. It commences with a family portrait, and alludes to the baldness of Henry VIII., which may account for the reason why no painter ever dared to represent the King without a bonnet. Falier declares that the King had already become avaricious, and that his popularity was on the decline; “the Queen being so loved and respected, that the people already commence murnuring; and were the faction to produce a leader, it is certain that the nation would take up arms for the Queen; and by so much the more, were it arranged for him to marry the Princess Mary, although by English law females are excluded from the throne.”

Whilst Margaret Plantagenet was at Richmond with the Princess, her son, Reginald Pole, resided at Avignon, where a letter was addressed to him from London, by Edward Wotton, and is now preserved amongst the Contarini MSS. in St. Mark's Library, Of direct notices of Pole during his stay at Avignon (which lasted but a few months), I have, met with no other. To account for the present destination of this letter, I may mention that on quitting Avignon, Pole went to Venice, and his intimacy with Gasparo Contarini may have been the reason why this letter formed part of the donation made by the late Girolamo Contarini to St. Mark's Library. In this document Edward Wotton exhorts Pole to he economical, laying before him the state of his limited income. The political intelligence contained in the letter reduces itself to news of the rupture with Scotland; of the King's progress to Nottingham; and of the appearance of Thomas Ahell's hook, confuting Cramner's arguments in favour of the divorce. A reign of terror was commencing, and Wotton did “not dare he so curyouse about gettyng off yt” [the book] “be cause yt ys prynted owt off England.” Abell's book was entitled—

“An answer that by no means it may be lawful for the King to be divorced from the Queen's Grace his lawful wife;”

and its author, the Queen's chaplain, was burnt in Smithfield in 1540, at the time when the post of Treasurer at Calais was held by this same Edward Wotton, whose grandson Henry was afterwards English minister at Venice for eleven years in the reign of James I. The notices of his negotiations, still preserved in the Venetian Archives, will serve hereafter to illustrate the intercourse between England and the Republic in the first half of the 17th century.

The letters of the Milanese envoy, Scarpinello, contain still more minute information about the disgrace and death of Cardinal Wolsey than is to be found elsewhere. He also tells us, that in the year before the appearance of Abell's book, three thousand copies of Tyndale's “Practyse of Prelates” had been circulated over London by the author's brother and others. The delinquents were paraded through the streets with pasteboard mitres on their heads; whilst from their necks were suspended copies of the heterodox pamphlet which the public executioner cast into the flames before St. Paul's Cross. With this example before his eyes, Edward Wotton acted prudently in not forwarding Abell's book to Reginald Pole. But though Abell and Tyndale held religious opinions directly opposed to each other, they both suffered the same dreadful death. Abell, as I have said, was burnt at Smithfield, Tyndale at a place near Brussels, in September 1536, the Catholic Governor of Brabant admitting that he was “learned, godly, and good.”

In November 1531 the Signory heard officially from their ambassador at Rome, that the Excusator Karne represented himself as sent to the Consistory not as agent from Henry VIII., but from the kingdom and people of England; the King's ambassadors at Rome opposing his admission, a fcint which is alluded to in the State Papers (Vol. VII. pp. 281, 283). Whilst these matters were passing at the Papal Court, the Government in London vented its wrath on the Flanders galleys. The Duke of Norfolk, “the small man with black hair who bore especial ill will” [as Falier said] “to our Venetian nation,” complained of the Signory's ingratitude, and an order was signed by the King, forbidding the despatch of any other galleys from Venice to England, because there was no wool. The Ambassador Capello heard on good authority, that the prohibiton was caused by a letter from Pope Clement, informing Henry VIII. that the Council of Ten forbad any doctor of law to quit the University of Padua for the purpose of stating the King's rights in the divorce case.

It appears in the seventh volume of the State Papers (p. 347), that a copy of Karne's conclusions was sent to England in his letter dated Rome the 11th February 1532; but as a foot-note informs us that they had not been found, I thought it my duty to translate the document from the transcript in the copies of Sanuto's Diaries, sent from Venice to Vienna in the year 1869, in exchange for the original volumes, in which I was unable to find the “conclusion;” the sheet on winch they were written, or printed, having evidently been cut out, but when, where, or by whom is uncertain. The translation has therefore been made without the possibility of collating it with the original, but, for the reason already assigned, I was loth to omit it; and with the assistance of Professor Rinaldo Fulin, I have made the most I could of the document.

A few months before the entries in the present volume commence, Polydore Vergil published in London his treatise “de Prodigiis,” In September 1531, the Venetian ambassador in London announced to the Signory the appearance there of the comet, to which in 1682 one of the greatest astronomers of England (Halley) gave his name.

I do not know what contemporaneous English notices may be found of this comet of 1531, but in October the following year, at the moment when the King and Anne Boleyn were on the eve of departure for their interview with Francis I., Ealier's successor, Capello, tells of another comet which had been seen in England for three weeks. According to astronomical registers it was visible from the 23rd September to the 20th November. The following is the only notice I have ever met with of its appearance to the naked eye in London.

The paragraph commences with the story of a whale ninety feet long, which was stranded on the Northumberland coast apparently in September, the ambassador adding that Polydore Vergil, who was in London in October, had received a letter from Tynemouth (which was sent to Venice), with a woodcut of the monster (“etiam la effigie di quello stampata”), and then comes the account of the comet, and of another prodigy, thus—

“Twenty days ago a comet appeared here, and is still visible in the east two hours before daybreak; its tail, which is five yards long and stretches towards the south like a long beard as it were, is of a bright silvery hue. (fn. 4) The people declare that on the morrow of the King's departure from Greenwich (fn. 5) the tide flowed during nine hours, the water rising even to Greenwich chapel, a thing never seen or heard of before, and these events they consider prodigies.” (fn. 6)

Of whales in the Thames there had been a previous notice on the 24th May 1532, the day of Queen Katharine's removal from the More to Bugden, when in like manner they were considered prodigies of evil omen, especially because at that time fourteen persons committed suicide by drowning themselves in the river.

Nor did Polydore Vergil's dialogues and attacks upon Divination eradicate the “vulgar errors” of the English, for on the death of Oliver Cromwell, in September 1658, it was said that the event had been presaged three months previously by the capture near Greenwich of a whale, whose dimensions are registered in Evelyn's diaries, and it was then inserted in our national annals—“take notice that the unusual appearance of a whale so far within land has always prognosticated some mighty change.” (fn. 7)

The Venetian ambassador at the Court of France shows that, notwithstanding the comets, the whales, and the high tide, Henry VIII, and the Marchioness of Pembroke, with twenty maids of honour, arrived safely at Calais on the 11th of October. In an anonymous account of the interview, preserved by Sanuto, it is said that Madame Anne was not one of the handsomest women in the world. He describes her as being of middling stature, with a swarthy complexion, a long neck, a wide mouth, and a flat bust, in fact, she owed her position to the King's sensual appetite and to her eyes, which were black and beautiful, and had taken great effect on the renegade servants of Queen Katharine, at least such is, I believe, the correct translation of the concluding paragraph, which in the original runs thus: “et li ochj che sono neri et belli et che ha grande modo de l' intertenimento di servi tori avesse la Regina quando era in salute. Perhaps allusion is here made to those three members of the Privy Chamber, Brereton, Norris, and Weston, who were subsequently accused of being Anne's paramours.

The Venetian ambassador gives an account of the King's return from the interview in November, and of the promises obtained by him from Francis with regard to the divorce. In the following year he tells us how Cramner was consecrated on Monday the 31st of March, convocation sitting throughout that week, and apparently on Palm Sunday. On the Monday in Passion Week (the 7th of April), convocation pronounced the divorce; on Wednesday the 9th, Norfolk, Suffolk, and the Marquess of Exeter went to Ampthill to notify the resolve to Queen Katharine, whose reply is given in detail. Capello writes:—

“On this morning of Holy Saturday”(Easter eve, 12 th April 1533), “the Marchioness Anne went to high mass with the King, as Queen, and with all the pomp of a Queen, clad in cloth of gold, and laden” (“carga”) “with the richest jewels; and she dined in public, although they have not yet published the decree of the Parliament, and it has been told me on good authority that they await the conclusion of the peace with Scotland. I am assured that his Majesty married her some months ago, and that she bore him a son who is a few months old.” (fn. 8)

On the Wednesday in Easter week Capello went hy Royal invitation to dine with the Court at Greenwich. His fellow-guests were the Lord Chancellor, the Duke of Norfolk, the Earl of Wiltshire, and Lord Rochfort, with whom, after the banquet, he entered the King's apartment, and found him with “the Queen Anne and many lords, ladies, and damsels.” He congratulated the King in general terms, hut says nothing of any compliments paid by him to Anne Boleyn until the 24th June, when in reply to a civil message from the Signory, she said that she acknowledged everything from God, who had inspired the King to take her, and that he might have found a greater lady, but not one who bore greater goodwill and love to the Republic than she did.

Whilst the King and Anne Boleyn were preparing for their visit to the French Court, the Edinburgh ascetic, John Scot, to whom a reference is made in a Papal bull, printed in Rymer (vol. vi., part ii. p. 176), presented himself to the Venetian Signory, being then bound for Jerusalem. On his return from pilgrimage, “he appeared at Paul's Cross, an evident saint and apostle, cursing the King and his divorce, denouncing his apostacy, and threatening the anger of Heaven.” (fn. 9)

Scot was presented to the Doge by Michiel Morosini, to whom he had Drought a letter of introduction from Cardinal Pisani. The Doge passed him on to the Chiefs of the Ten. He presented various well-authenticated certificates of his feats in fasting, which did not seem to have impaired his constitution, for Sanuto represents him as being “about fifty years old, with long hair, red face, fattish” (“grasuto”), “with a red beard.” He was wrapped in a sorry plaid. He carried a Mass book (“un officio”) in his hand, on which his eyes were always bent, and speaking nothing but his own language, he was unintelligible to everybody; but possibly his companion, also a Scot, interpreted for him. At any rate the Chiefs of the Ten were hospitable, and they sent for the cellarer of St. Giorgio Maggiore, and desired him to provide for St. Ninian's devotee and his companion in the Benedictine monastery on that island during ten days, at the expiration of which they were to go to the island of San Spirito. Thus passing from one friary to another, the two pilgrims had board and lodging found them until an opportunity offered for safe passage to Jerusalem. Meanwhile all Venice went to look at John Scot, whose visit to the Signory preceded that of James Crichton by about half a century. (fn. 10)

Scarcely had Charles V. arrived at Barcelona from Genoa, when he heard what had taken place in England in Passion week, and immediately gave orders to Count Cifuentes, his ambassador at Borne, to urge the Pope to take proceedings against Henty VIII. Clement VII. replied that the King had violated the laws of God, and of the Apostolic See, and the ties of blood by which he was bound to the Emperor, so that it would be well to ponder the matter, and then act together spiritually and temporally: the Emperor as the champion of the Apostolic See, being bound to defend it, sword in hand; the Pope in like manner employing spiritual weapons. But he urged that, in the event of having recourse to arms, it should be remembered that they must also be turned against the King of France by reason of his close friendship with England, and therefore as the conflict might prove detrimental to the Christian religion, the Pope advocated procrastination, objections which were constantly combated by Cifuentes and the other Imperialists at Rome.

Three days after Anne Boleyn's professions of regard for the Republic, another comet made its appearance, and as, according to the common astronomical registers, it was not generally visible until the end of July, I translate the ambassador's words from his despatch, dated London, 21st July 1533.

“Some twenty-four days ago, there commenced appearing there, at about the second hour of the night in the E.N.E., a star with a mane (una stella crinita) like a horse's tail, which to the [naked] eye, seemed ten yards in length, its summit traversing the Milky Way; and whereas at first it stretched towards the south-west by south so now does it seem to have declined towards the south-east by south.” (fn. 11)

Sanuto closed his diary with the end of September 1533, nor can I take my leave of the diarist otherwise than I would of a valued friend and companion, with whom I have communed now for more than 37 years. In June 1833, my good friend the late Don Pietro Bettio, then Librarian of St. Mark's, introduced me to the first of the 58 folios, which detail the events of those momentous years with less passion and prejudice than any other known work. Sanuto was a scholar and antiquary; editions of the classics were dedicated to him by Aldus Manutius, and his own lives of the Doges illustrate his passion for history. The occupation brought with it its own reward; and for the rest, the Diaries relating solely to events with which his contemporaries were well acquainted through a variety of other channels, he may he said to have laboured exclusively for future generations. Very little notice is to he found of himself, and that little is too often painful, for it shows that he was a poor, unfortunate, and disappointed man, not without some amhition for posthumous fame. When delivering his volumes for safe custody into the chamber of the Council of Ten, he wrote to the historian Bembo, that he did so “acciochè le mie fatiche siano sempiterne” It is satisfactory to think that his wish has been gratified, for at the present day, throughout Italy, as also in England, France, Germany, Russia, Hungary, and Croatia, the annals of those countries are daily enlarged by extracts from the Diaries of Marin Sanuto.

Where his remains rest I know not. In his will he gives directions for a monument; but a codicil informs us, that, as it could not be erected, his tombstone was to bear the following inscription:—

nec tu hoc despice quod non vides sepulchrum,
seu sis advena, seu urbanus,
ossa sunt hic sita
marini sanuti leonardi filii
senatoris clarissimi,
rerum antiquarum indagatoris,
historie venetorum ex publico decreto
scriptoris solertissimi.
hoc volui te scire, nunc bene vade,
vixit annis . . . mensibus . . . diebus . . .
obiit anno (sic.)

The reason why the monument was never erected may be inferred from a clause in the codicil, written three months before the testator's demise.

“I also cancel the clause about the case of books left conditionally to Marin Sanuto, son of my brother Lunardo, and choose it to be annulled together with the article about the rest of the books.”
“As to my library (studio), having dispersed it, in part by the sale of books, and partly in payment of creditors, I therefore choose the clause of the will about the books of my library to be cancelled.”

In September 1533, when Sanuto made his will (which preceded the codicil by more than two years), he says that his printed books, “in the large library on the ground floor,” and the manuscripts in the bookcases in his own room, numbered more than 6,500, and that Egnazio, the tutor of Leo X., and Antonio di Marsilio, on seeing the catalogue, would know that many of them were valuable. The residence of Sanuto where these literary treasures were preserved bears an inscription in honour of the diarist. The official notice of his death in the “Necrologio,” preserved at the Archives, is thus worded briefly,—

“Avogaria del comun
Necrologio dei Nobili
1536, 5 April (fn. 12)
Messer Marin Sanuto
San Jacomo dalorio.”

As this volume contains the last mention of Gasparo Contarini, a statesman who has furnished us with many valuable notices for the history of our country, and of whom Reginald Pole affirmed “that he was ignorant of nothing that the human intellect could by its own powers of investigation discover, and that nothing in him was wanting that the grace of God has revealed to the human soul,” (fn. 13) I may be excused for adding that Gasparo Contarini was first made known to the English public in the year 1598, by Lewis Lewkenor, who then translated his treatise on the “Government of Venice,” dedicating it,—

“To the Right Honourable and most vertuous Lady, the Lady Anne, Countess of Warwicke.”

Lewkenor praises Contarini's work, giving him his title of Cardinal, received from Paul III. at the time when the same grade was conferred on Queen Katharine's virtuous supporter, the Bishop of Rochester; hut the future master of the ceremonies makes no allusion to the diplomatic remains of “Gasper Contareno,” which throw no less light on the Government of other countries, than on that of Venice.

In our own times, the reports of Gaspar Contarini, Marin Giustinian, Antonio Surian, and Ludovico Falier, have all been published in Italy; but for the English reader their letters have a far greater interest, and on this account I have extracted largely from them.

In May 1529 Contarini, writing from Rome, laments the last illness of his successor at the Emperor's Court, Andrea Navagero, whose despatches have also enabled me to fill up some voids in the correspondence of our envoys in Spain, as published in Vol. VI., part V., of the State Papers. Navagero combined horticulture with classical studies and diplomacy, and whilst in Spain, he kept a diary, in which there is an entry dated Seville, 15th May 1525, detailing the recent importations there from the West Indies, and one of the items gives a clue to the etymology of the English word “potato” thus, “In Secilla vidi Io molte cose dell' Indie, ed ebbi di quelle radici che chiamano 'BATATAS,' e le mangled, sono di sapor di castagne.”

Dr. Johnson supposed the word to he American, hut its orthography was apparently unknown to him.

In the seventh volume (p. 232) of the State Papers, there is a letter from John da Casale to the Duke of Norfolk, dated Venice, 5th April 1530, concerning counsel's opinion demanded there on hehalf of the King from Francesco and from two Jews, “quorum alteram jam Dominus Crocus allocutus est, alter rero est mihi amicissimus de quo alias scripsimus ex Bononia, qui est doctissimus, et Romæ pro Pontifice et Episcopo Veronensi quasdam partes Veteris Testamenti, ex Hebreo in Latlnum traduxit

With regard to these opinions from the University of Padua, ahout which the Venetian ambassador in London wrote to the Signory on hehalf of the King, the matter was referred to the Council of Ten, whose decrees on the subject show that the Republic stood more in awe of Charles V. than of Henry VIII.

Of the persons mentioned in John da Casale's letter, Brother Prancis was a Venetian nohleman hy birth and a kinsman of Marin Sanuto; he is generally considered one of the ablest writers in favour of the divorce, and that his opinions were disinterested was proved long ago by Gilbert Burnet; but (as mentioned in my last preface, p. xvii) Gasparo Contarini confuted them in a work, entitled “Responsio ad Apologiam Prancisci Georgij.” Georgio was a Pranciscan friar, and it seems that in the spring of 1530 he composed his “Apology,” or “Votum pro Henrico VIII.,” which was burnt by some orthodox bishop, and Sanuto (fn. 14) records a demand from the King to the Signory to have it “remade.”

One of the two Jews, mentioned anonymously by Casale as “his very great friend, and a most learned man,” is seen by entries in this volume (pp. 203, 204), to have been a Spaniard, by name Jacob Mantino, and in date March 4, 1531 (p. 277), we also learn that one Marco Rafael, who had renounced Judaism and been employed by the Signory as a secretary in the cypher department, was then resident in England, and in great favour with the King for having written against the dispensation granted by Julius II.

Marco Rafael had also been professor of the Hebrew tongue in Italy, and amongst his scholars was Marco Savorgnano, a distinguished military engineer, who, when making a tour in England in the summer of 1531, renewed acquaintance with his language master, and through his friend at the English Court obtained a glimpse of the Royal family.


The first appendix in the present volume contains a variety of documents with which I was unacquainted until the work was advanced thus far, and amongst these additions are some certificates which now enable me to show the rate of exchange between London and Venice in the year 1410; whereas the earliest protest, previously discovered by me, was for non-payment of a bill drawn at Venice on the 26th September 1442, and dishonoured in London on the 31st December following.

A glance at the lists of protests in Vol. II. (p. lxxiii.), will therefore show that the Venetian Calendar now gives the rates of exchange between the two countries during upwards of a century, and as the sequin, or golden ducat, never varied in standard or weight from its first coinage in the year 1284, until the fall of the Republic in 1797, we see at once how the standard of the English silver penny was gradually and systematically debased.

In 1410 the sequin was sold at Venice for 30½ d.; in 1512 it could not be bought there for less than 51½ d. The Venetian merchants easily circumvented the attempt to circulate false money at the price of pure metal, but the repute of the English silver standard, through fraudulent acts for which the Crown was held accountable, was lowered abroad, whatever benefit may have accrued to the Government at home.

The certificates of the rate of exchange in the year 1410, were found by the Signor Luigi Pasini, whilst arranging certain documents appertaining to the Venetian Court of Common Pleas (Magistrato Petition.) From another official in the Archives I received a copy of a document (in the registers entitled sindicati), authorizing Leonardo Dandolo to negotiate an agreement for military service, with Sir John Hawkwood. The “power” is dated Venice, 8th of June 1376, but does not indicate the place where the conference was to be held, though from an entry in the first volume of the Venetian Calendar it may be inferred that Hawkwood was ravaging the Bolognese territory when Dandolo was there. At any rate it is certain that Hawkwood did not accept the offer thus made to him by the Republic.

I have frequently alluded to the existence, at Venice, of drafts of Papal briefs, and of original letters addressed to the Popes from foreign courts, both by their own Legates, and by others. My attention has lately been drawn by my friend Don Giuseppe Valentinelli, the librarian of St. Mark's, to a series of letters from the Papal Nuncios in England and France, supplementary to those already printed in my first volume. Both series serve to correct a mistake made by Lord Bacon in his life of Henry VII. concerning the Pope, by whom those able statesmen, Flores and Chieregato, were accredited to England and France,—a mistake recorded long ago by Francesco Biondi (lix. p. 141).

Lord Bacon writes that Lionel, Bishop of Concordia, was sent to France and England as Nuncio from Pope Alexander VI., “that he might fish the better; casting the net, not out of St. Peter's, hut out of Borgia's baric, &c.

The documents already published in the Venetian Calendar show that Mores and Chieregato were accredited to England, France, and Brittany, not by the Spaniard Rodrigues Borgia, but by the Genoese Giovanni Battista Cibo, Pope Innocent VIII., to whom the letters were addressed, and with regard to the present supplementary correspondence, it was given to the Marciana by the Council of Ten, a very few years before the fall of the Republic.

The collection was considered an authentic historical repertory, but more adapted to chroniclers of the past than to statesmen intent on the politics of their own day; and therefore it was transferred from the Archives of the Ten, to the Public Library, but without any explanation of the means by which the Signory of Venice obtained possession of what belonged by right to the Court at Rome. In one of the letters now published, Chieregato gives the names of the French diplomatists who were sent to Boulogne to negotiate peace with England. Amongst them may be found Gaguin the Prior of the Trinity, alias” Bons Hommes,” the object of whose order was to release Christian captives from slavery. The negotiations proved futile. Gaguin had previously been in England, and, as mentioned by Lord Bacon (p. 373), succeeded so ill there, “that more like a pedant than an ambassador, he dispersed a bitter libel, in Latin verse, against the King.” Gaguin did not mend matters at Boulogne; but his libel was well answered in Latin verse by the King's Latin secretary, the Venetian subject Carmeliano, of whom frequent mention has been made in the Venetian Calendar.

Although the letters of Chieregato and Flores were not transmitted to Alexander VI., the appendix contains a missive addressed to that Pontiff in favour of Perkin Warbeck, by Maximilian King of the Romans, at variance with the answer given by him to Sir Edward Poynings and Sir William Warham, as recorded by Lord Bacon (p. 397), “that for love of King Henry he would in no sort aid or assist the pretended duke,” etc. I am unable to ascertain the precise date of the answer given to Poynings and Warham, but on the authority of Lord Bacon and other historians it may, I think, be assigned to the autumn of 1495. The document now published, dated Worms, 22 September 1495, was communicated to me by Cav. Gar, and forms parts of the miscellany of State Papers removed from Rome to Venice apparently in the 16th century. There can be no doubt of its authenticity.

In the first appendix to the present volume, I have also calendared some of the news letters recently restored to the Venetian Archives by the Austrian Government. To illustrate the nature of such documents, I mention the following fact.

In Vol. IV. of the Venetian Calendar (No. 1249) there is the original draft of a letter from the Signory to the Venetian ambassador in England, of which Mr. Brewer lately found a copy, but with the omission of a certain passage, apparently suppressed by the secretary, who compiled the news letter for the inspection of Henry VIII. and Wolsey, apprehensive lest their vanity might take offence if they were plainly told, that some consideration was due to the Pope, as one of the chief parties to the League. So the Signory, or their diplomatists, thought it advisable to let the King and Cardinal believe that they alone ruled the destinies of Europe, and it was unnecessary to consult the wishes of Clement VII.

In this volume I have also printed (p. 570) Sanuto's version of a letter from Secretary Rosso, dated Angoulême, 19th June 1526; and in the appendix to Vol. IV. it will be found as it is transcribed in advices destined for Borne. In the latter instance, the paragraph concerning England has been altered; I infer, therefore, that Sanuto copied Eosso's words correctly, but that the scribes in the Ducal Chancery modified them, to encourage the Pope by assurance of strenuous support from Henry VIII.

But if the Signory's official news-letters were occasionally garbled for particular purposes, they nevertheless transmitted notices of England and of Englishmen to foreign parts, at a period when similar aacices comprised well nigh all that was known in the East of Western Europe. In the second volume of the Venetian Calendar (date May 1511), mention is made of the last Cardinal of England who could wield a “two-handed “sword” like “Beaufort the imperious churchman,” “Wolsey's predecessor in the see of York. In like manner Christopher Bainbridge wore armour, and led troops to an assault; and the place attacked by him was the Bastion of Genivolo, to which stronghold there are allusions in Ariosto's 3rd and 4th cantos of the “Orlando Eurioso.” In the Venetian “Advices” lately restored to the Archives, it is now known that an account of the English. Archbishop's military command was sent by the Signory to their ambassador at Constantinople, to be communicated to Bajazet II., and I have therefore inserted the paragraph in the present appendix.

In the Preface to Vol. III. (p. xxxv), I alluded to the recent discovery of a letter from the Papal Governor of Bologna to the Council of Ten, contradicting the assertion made by Sanuto that Cardinal Adrian, Bishop of Bath and Wells, was never heard of after his departure from the Bernardo Palace at Venice in December 1521. The letter will be found at p. 187 of the present volume, and I can only add that in Eerri's “Biography of Cardinal Adrian, with Annotations by Simpliciano de Schreck,” published in 1837, it is conjectured that after quitting Venice in December 1521, he may have sought protection in Switzerland; a legend is added, implying that he presented himself at a house in some valley subject to the diocese of Trent. The last new fact recorded of this adventurous and unhappy prelate tells us no more than that he was still alive in May 1523, and was still persecuted by Cardinal Wolsey.

In the second appendix, some notices will be found relating to the first drafts of the Confession of Augsburg, and to the progress of Lutheran ism in Germany. Although no notice was taken at Augsburg of Henry VIII., the proceedings of the German Diets at that period are important as throwing light on the Reformation in England. The opening of the Diet and the mode in which the “Confession” was presented to the Emperor, is narrated in a letter from Marco Savorgnano, who in the following year visited England, as already mentioned by me. His account coincides with Sarpi's history of the Council of Trent, but contains some additional touches which serve to complete the historian's sketch.

Charles V. and his brother, accompanied by the Electors, by the Legate Campeggio, and the Ambassadors and others, went in state to the Cathedral of Augsburg on the 20th June 1530. After celebration of a mass of the Holy Ghost, the Nuncio Pimpinella, Bishop of Eosano, delivered an oration in which he demonstrated the necessity for suppressing all discords in Germany, and making valid defence against the threatened invasion of the Sultan Solyman, who, he said, was more powerful and his subjects more united than those of his opponents, because thev had a variety of creeds; and therefore the Nuncio urged them to renounce their heresies. Savorgnano was of opinion that this discourse gained much from the Archbishop's graceful delivery and action, implying that his rhetoric was better than his arguments. From the Cathedral the Emperor and the rest of the dignitaries proceeded to a palace belonging to the municipality, in the market-place. The “Diet was opened by a, long address in German from the Emperor to the Electors, apologizing for his protracted absence, and assuring them that he was now come with the intention of making great preparations against the Turks He desired their aid, and promised to devote to the unity of Christendom not only his royal, but also his personal revenues, and those of his brother Ferdinand. Not a word was said about the revolt of almost one half of the Germanic body from the Papal See; and the whole Diet, which expected him to adopt a much harsher tone, was so agreeably surprised, that the Elector Duke Joachim of Bavaria answered in their name most respectfully, assuring his Majesty of their especial love and devotion. From the 20th June to the 3rd July, the Princes often sat alone, debating various points which they subsequently communicated to the Emperor, who during that interval attended the Diet twice; his second appearance being caused by the Legate Campeggio, who had a Papal brief read, exhorting Germany to arm against the Turk. Campeggio then made a short speech, resembling in substance that of the Archbishop of Rosano. The Legate was met on his entry at the stairhead by the whole Diet, receiving the same compliment on his departure. Then the Lutheran Princes,—viz., the Elector Duke John of Saxony; George Pius of Anspach, cousin of Joachim I., Elector of Brandenburg; Philip Landgrave of Hesse; John Frederick son of Duke John of Saxony; Ernest Duke of Lunenburg; and Wolfgang Prince of Anhalt,—rose and presented the Emperor with a very long writing, now known by the name of “The Confession of Augsburg.” The Duke of Saxony, as spokesman, requested that as it concerned the faith, it might be read in public, but to this the Emperor would not consent; and desired them to bring it to him on the morrow. This was done, and Sarpi says it was then read in a hall in the presence of 200 persons. Savorgnano adds, that the writing contained upwards of fifty articles, of which he quotes the following:—That the Laity should be allowed to communicate sub utrâique specie; that priests should be permitted to marry and receive a stipend sufficient for the mere necessaries of life; that the service of the mass should be reformed. The Emperor and the Catholic Princes immediately determined on a reply. The task of wiiting it was assigned to John Faber, Eckius, and Cochlæus, but it was not completed when Savorgnano wrote on the 3rd July; and he says that the Lutheran Princes composed this document for the purpose of bringing about a disputation, and if possible a General Council, nor would they surfer any discussion for defence against the Turks to take place until their demands about the faith were adjusted.

The Ambassador Tiepolo adds that the Emperor had already soundly rated the Landgrave of Hesse. We learn from a young nobleman, named Pagin Erizzo, domiciled in the Venetian Embassy, that when Charles V. urged Philip of Hesse to renounce Lutheranism, and threatened to coerce him, the Landgrave replied that as war had been waged so many years in Italy, it was but fair that it should be transferred to Germany, and for this conjuncture the Lutherans wore not wholly unprepared, as they bad many of the free towns as their allies, two of which had sined the articles, which they were strenuously resolved to maintain.

In the first week in August the Emperor attended the Diet and presented the orthodox reply. After its perusal he turned to the Duke of Saxony, and requested him and the other Lutheran Prince to renounce their opinions. They demanded a written copy of it, but were refused; and the Electors appointed four theologians for each side, who should endeavour to effect an adjustment. (fn. 15)

On the morrow the Landgrave of Hesse quitted Augsburg, without taking leave of the Emperor, to whom he subsequently wrote a letter of apology assigning as a reason that his Consort Christina of Bavaria was dangerously ill. but that he would return immediately, regardless of any impediment, on receiving the slightest hint from his Majesty. Erizzo says the Landgrave was a vouth 22 years of age, verv violent in his words and actions, a usurper of his neighbours' goods, baring seized on all territories belonging to the Count of Nassau and the Cardinal of Mentz, accusing them of wasting the revenues of the Church. When reproached with the murder of his mother, Anna of Mecklenburg, who had reproved him about his religion, he replied that he put her to death for other causes. I do not know whether this charge against Philip the “Magnanimous” has ever been substantiated, but, with regard to his age, Erizzo erred by two years, as the printed genealogies show that the Landgrave was bom in the year 1504.

The Confession of Augsburg is generally said to have been presented to the Diet on the 25th June 1530, agreeing with Savorgnano's letter of the 3rd July; but I find this entry in Sanuto's Diary,—

“May 31. Confessio opinionis sive resolutio intentionis Martini Lutheri impresenti Imperiali Dietâ Augustæ proponenda, decern et septem articulis comprehensa.”

Sanuto does not say through what channel he obtained this information; but supposing his date to be correct, it would imply that the Protestant manifesto was in circulation before the opening of the Diet. Considering its importance I have translated it from the Latin word for word.

Before the Diet opened, the Protestant Electors petitioned the Emperor not to interdict their preachers, as they preached nothing but the pure and manifest gospel, and, after their sermons, daily exhorted the people to pray for the whole Christian Commonwealth, and especially for God's grace to the Emperor and the Electors that the ecclesiastical and civil affairs, for which the Diet was convoked, might by their means be firmly established in peace and concord.

In the summer of 1531 the religious sects at Augsburg were three in number, namely, the Roman Catholics (termed by a Eranciscan friar “Papisti”), the Lutherans, and the followers of Ulric Zuingle, who were far more numerous than the Papists or the Lutherans. On holidays the new doctrines were preached in five different meetinghouses. The sermons were preceded by commentaries on the New Testament, bells were dispensed with, psalms (the friar says) were sung most melodiously; after the sermon alms were collected, the preacher exhorting his congregation to pray for all sorts and conditions of men, as also for the propagation of the gospel. The sectarians were frugal in their habits, both in regard to apparel, household furniture, and food. Daily lectures were delivered in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, and attended more than had ever been the custom formerly. The education of the young in learning and sound Christian morality was carefully regarded. The Evangelical preachers were in favour of Zuingle, whose death took place a few weeks after this account was written from Augsburg.

By a letter of the same period (September 1531) it seems that the “Anabaptists “were also styled “Dreamers” (” Somniatori”) They discountenanced preaching, because it was not enjoined by divine precept, and neither useful or necessary. The foundation of their faith was based on dreams and visions, which they styled “revelations.” They dissolved all conjugal ties, and did not believe either in the Eucharist or in Baptism. So the Senate of Nuremberg forbad all persons to consort with them under pain of death, forseeing that their aim was communism (“che con questo principio habbict ad venir alia commuione di tutte le cose”).

The Emperor closed the Diet of Augsburg on the 20th November 1530, without having succeeded in modifying the “Confession” in any way, but on the 2nd August 1533, his letters-patent, by a public decree, conceded liberty of conscience. At that time the forces of the Empire were assembled at Vienna to resist Sultan Solyman, and it was said that the Lutherans attended mass, by which act, however, they did not renounce any of the demands made by them at Augsburg in 1530. Indeed in June 1532, we find the Venetian ambassador, writing from Ratisbon, that at the “Transaction” which was then being effected at Nuremberg, the Lutherans insisted on the grant of all that was demanded in their “Confession and Apology” especially the right of preaching; and converting others to their creed; on which terms they consented to have no intercourse with the Zuinglians and Anabaptists. The Emperor agreed that the Lutherans should live in their own fashion, until the convocation of the Council,—a concession which caused the Princes, and the free towns of Ulm, Nuremberg, Augsburg, and Strasburg, to contribute more than their quota for the defence of Germany against the Turkish invasion, and as Strasburg had until then been Zuinglian, much surprise was caused when Bucer, and the other leaders of the sect, authorized their followers to receive the communion in both forms like the Lutherans, or in one, according to the dictates of their conscience. Still more important was the reconciliation of the new Duke of Saxony (John Frederick), and the Landgrave of Hesse with the Emperor.

Such are some of the particulars concerning the Confession of Augsburg, as recorded by Marin Sanuto. In concluding this volume I have to acknowledge, as before, the services rendered by Mr. R. E. G. Kirk, and I have to return my thanks to friends both in Italy and in England who have aided me in the compilation of the present volume.

Rawdon Brown.

Venice, 25th June 1871.


  • 1. “State Papers,” vol. vii., p. 5.
  • 2. “State Papers,” vol. i., part i., p. 94.
  • 3. “State Papers,” vol. vii., p. 161.
  • 4. “De qui già XX giorni de qui è aparso una cometa ch' ancor apare do hore inanzi giorno in le parti di Oriente e stende la coda sua verso mezodi, di longeza di braza cinque in forma quasi di una lunga barba d' arzento splendulo.”
  • 5. In the letter from which this extract is made, the ambassador writes that Henry VIII. quitted Greenwich for France on the 7th October.
  • 6. “Queste cose sono stimate da questi, prodigiose.”
  • 7. See “The Turkish Spy.” Letter dated “Paris, 5th of the 10th moon, 1658.”
  • 8. “Mi vien afirmato za più mezi questa Maestà averla sposata e aver uno fiol di qualche mese con lei.”
  • 9. See Froude's “History of England,” vol. i., p. 294.
  • 10. See vol. i. Venetian Calendar Preface, p. xcii.
  • 11. According to an Italian printed account, this comet was not very far from Perseus, and traversed (?) the constellations Gemini, Taurus, and Aries, “non molto lontano da Persco, retroeedendo i segni di Gemini, Tauro, ed Ariete.”
  • 12. The Notarial Act appended to the codicil of the will, shows that he was already a corpse on the 4th of April, which was probably the day of his death, although the fact was not notified to the “Avogaria” until the 5th.
  • 13. Hook's “Life of Pole,” p. 55.
  • 14. Venetian Calendar, p. 251, August 2, 1530.
  • 15. It appears by Sarpi that at first seven arbitrators were appointed for each side but subsequently the number was reduced to three Catholics and three Protestants. In Sanuto's Diaries the words are “et furono electi li “[da li?] 6 Excellmi. Electori, 4 per li Catholici et 4 per li laici.”