Venice: January 1535

Pages 13-15

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 5, 1534-1554. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1873.

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January 1535

1535. Jan. 1. Original Letter Book of Francesco Contarini in St. Mark's Library. 29. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador with the King of the Romans, to the Signory.
The affairs of Germany are now very quiet, though the understanding between some of these Princes and King Ferdinand might be better than it is, yet it is believed that they will all be pacified, but the affairs of “the Faith” are in great confusion, and in every place and city the majority are Lutherans, and would that there was nothing worse. In this city, which is the first in Austria, although the King does his utmost to make the inhabitants live Catholically, and although it is under a Catholic bishop, a man of worth, who has written more against this sect than anybody else, namely, John Faber, who is also his Majesty's confessor, and a very Catholic person, yet his Lordship assured me that the greater part of the people, and even of those who are not of the people, are Lutherans, and to use his own words, “But for his Majesty and myself all would be Lutherans, and worse” (Se non fusse la Mtà. del Be et Io, tuti sariano Lutherani et pezo). Concerning the free towns and such as are under the dominion of other lords it is impossible to exaggerate their condition, and unless the Council be held, or the Almighty make some provision, the whole of Germany will become Lutheran, if not something worse.
Before his departure the Papal Nuncio, (fn. 1) when I asked him what good he had effected in these matters hereabouts, told me amongst other things that he granted dispensations to friars daily, to renounce holy orders, their petitions purporting that they cannot show themselves without being hooted by the multitude, with shouts of “Wolf—wolf!” Nor can it be realised how the monastic orders are detested in all the places through which I passed; and were they not protected by the King, the like might be said of the priests, who are not held in too much esteem; so your Sublimity may comprehend the pass to which this nation—heretofore the most Catholic of any—has come.
Vienna, 1st January 1535.
Jan. 12. Original Letter Book of Francesco Contarini in St. Mark's Library. 30. The Same to the Same.
All the Bishops and Lords here are greatly surprised that the Pope and the Court of Rome should hold the affairs of the Faith in such small account and make no provision whatever, and they say openly that as his Holiness and the Cardinals do nothing, they themselves shall be compelled to apply a remedy, and that should the whole of Germany unite about this matter of the Faith, it is quite certain that Italy, her neighbour, will do the like; and they wish your Serenity to give the Pope notice of this through your ambassadors. These personages indeed had no idea that one single friar would suffice thus to excite this entire nation, but it may now be considered certain that the rest of the world will follow its example.
Vienna, 12th of January 1535.
Jan. 14. Deliberazioni Senato (Secreta), v. lvi. p. 70. 31. Motion made in the Senate concerning the Venetian Embassy in England.
Not to delay the despatch of the nobleman, Giacomo da Canal, appointed ambassador to the most serene King of England, his departure being strongly urged by the nobleman, Ser Carlo Capello, who has conducted that legation during four years, to the great detriment of his private affairs here.
Put to the ballot that 560 golden ducats be given to the aforesaid Ser Giacomo as subsidy for four months at the rate of 140 golden ducats per month.
Also for horses as a gift as usual, 150 ducats at the rate of six livres and four “soldi” per ducat, and for coverings and trunks 30 ducats. And to the secretary, 50 ducats as a gift, according to the motion of the Council of Ten, and for two couriers, at the rate of 20 ducats each, 40 ducats.
Also, that the aforesaid ambassador elect may take with him silver to the amount of 400 ducats at the Signory's risk, to be valued as usual by the officials for the “raggion vecchie.”
But that, as the family and private affairs of our said nobleman [Capello] do not admit of so much delay, after taking gracious leave of said most serene King, apologizing, however, for his departure on the plea of very urgent private business, he do return home, leaving in England his secretary (fn. 2) in charge there until the arrival of the aforesaid Ser Jacomo da Canal, receiving during that interval for his expenses—from the day of Capello's departure until that of his arrival here—50 golden ducats per month, without obligation to give any account of them to the Signory; he to keep two servants and four horses; the salary being the same as given to the secretary, Spinelli, when there at the time of the death of our late nobleman, Lorenzo Orio, LL.D. and knight, who was ambassador to that King.
Ayes, 22.
First amendment.
That the ambassador, Capelio, after taking gracious leave of that most serene King—but apologizing in the first place for his departure on the plea of his very urgent private affairs—do return home, leaving however in England his secretary, to whom be there given 50 golden ducats per month, without obligation to give account to our Signory; he to keep four servants and four horses, as did the most faithful Spinelli when he remained at that Court on the departure of the nobleman, Ser Antonio Surian, LL.D.
Ayes, 74. +95.
Second amendment.
That very important matters being treated, especially the future interview between the King of England and the most Christian King, the ambassador be despatched hence as aforesaid, he being bound to depart within the next two months.
Ayes 74 78
Noes 6 0
Neutrals 3 5
Jan. 18. Deliberazioni Senato (Secrete). v. lvi. p. 70, tergo. 32. The Doge and Senate to Antonio Surian, Venetian Ambassador at Rome.
Whilst anxiously expecting to hear from him that the Pope, (fn. 3) for the cogent reasons which ought to move him for the maintenance of the peace and quiet of Italy, had consented to the petition of the Duke of Urbino, their Captain-General, that his cause about Camerino may be decided by the ordinary civil tribunal, have this morning received his letters of the 12th, 13th, and 14th, with the Pope's reply, that in honour he cannot allow the matter to be treated otherwise than as an affair of State.
To acquaint the Pope with the firm intention of the Emperor and the Signory to prevent whatever may disturb the peace and quiet of Italy. Therefore beseech his Holiness to open well his eyes so that at this commencement of his Pontificate, war may not be kindled to the detriment of all Italy, and to his own regret, as becoming the Papal dignity. Should he persist in such perilous beginnings, (fn. 4) nothing else can be expected; considering the present disturbances not only in Germany and England but also in France, where, but for the firmness of the most Christian King and the strong measures adopted by him against the Lutheran sect, that entire kingdom would by this time have been infected by that detestable contagion, which, were war in Italy to commence, would have such force and stability, that to apply a remedy would then be either impossible or very difficult.
Ayes, 89.
Jan. 28. Deliberazioni Senato (Secreta), v. lvi. p. 78, tergo. 33. The Doge and Senate to the “Bailo” at Constantinople.
By letters received this day from their ambassador in France, dated the 5th instant, are informed that the Admiral has returned to the most Christian King from England, and brought back word that the interview between their Majesties will take place in April or May next, at the furthest.
Of this he is to give notice at Constantinople.
Ayes, 182. No, 1. Neutral, 1.


  • 1. Pietro Paulo Vergerio, who at a later period turned Lutheran. In a former letter, Contarini mentioned his intended departure from Vienna after Xmas.
  • 2. By entries of a later date in the Senate's Registers, it appears that the Secretary here alluded to was Hironimo Zuccato.
  • 3. Paul III. (Alessandro Farnese), elected 13th October 1534.
  • 4. In consequence of the dispute with the Duke of Urbino about Camerino, the Pope sent troops to blockade that city, which he had intended to confer on his natural son, but the Duke of Urbino having marched at the head of ten thousand men to defend the place, the papal forces retired. (See Dennistoun, vol. iii. p. 64.)