Venice: August 1554, 21-31

Pages 567-571

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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August 1554, 21–31

Aug. 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 941. Marc' Antonio Damula to the Doge and Senate.
Narrative of the sequel of the war in Flanders (in cipher.)
A courier addressed to the Queen of England has arrived from Valladolid, and on passing through France was detained eight days at Paris, his bag and everything else being searched for letters addressed to the King of England, but when it was ascertained that he was merely conveying despatches to the Queen, they set him at liberty. He brings word that 300,000 crowns now due to her Majesty from Spain, could not be obtained so immediately, because the bills of exchange (le lettere) had not arrived in time for the fair [of Medina de Campo], (fn. 1) so the money will be longer [on its way], (et però li danari seranno più lungi), but it is certain that in Spain there is a great scarcity [of money] ; and therefore the Queen is now taking on [bills of] exchange (a cambio) at Antwerp about 150 thousand crowns, with which her agents say she purposes paying off a debt of 110,000 contracted by her at Antwerp last October; but from what I hear through another channel, her Majesty intends to make use of this sum in England, where the King has been compelled to incur great expense, which still continues, and a great quantity of money w as spent on his passage with so large a fleet, and troops of so many sorts, so that the greater part of the money brought by him has remained on the other side of the Channel, and the Emperor could only use a small part of it; so, as written in my last, he made the request of the States, and insists at any rate on having the money in October, the belief being that it will be paid, most especially should he make war in the quarter where he now is.
The Marquis of Pescara will go to Naples in the new King's name to take possession of the investiture and administration made and conceded him by the Emperor, his father, and to make all the members of the Government and warders take the oath, for which same purpose Don Juan de Cordova will in like manner go to Milan, and every day of late the Emperor has been attending to the despatch of this business (a questi spazzi).
Although this [affair] of the administration of the Milanese for the Prince, his son, is not yet completed (fn. 2) it is as good as made, because, as your Serenity knows, the investiture was given him as long ago as the year 1549, (fn. 3) the oath of fealty having also been tendered to the Milanese magistrates in favour of such person as the Emperor might be pleased to nominate, (fn. 4) and this, I believe, was written to your Serenity and the other Italian potentates. It is not yet known who are to be the Governors of Naples and of Milan, but the Duke of Alva is talked of for the one, and the Count de Feria for the other; and it is said that Don Ferrante Gonzaga has had leave to go and kiss the hand of the King of England.
The English Ambassador with your Serenity [Peter Vannes], has written hither that Peter Carew, who was the leader of the Cornish insurrection, is in Venice, and that he often wished to speak to Vannes, who always refused to listen to him, nor does he [Vannes] know how to comport himself (et non sa come governarsi), as Carew is a rebel to the Queen. To Sir John Masone, who spoke to me about this, I said that in no place could Peter Carew do less mischief than in that noble city (quella inclyta città), where he might learn obedience and quiet, and repent himself, which Masone admitted, and seemed glad of it, as I added, that the least harm Peter Carew might have done [in England?], would have been to turn corsair, like the others, and plunder English subjects.
Mons. de la Chaux [Jean Poupet] (Mons. de Lasciao) has been sent by the Emperor to the King of England to give him account of the events of the war, and perhaps for some other cause likewise. The Duke of Savoy also is sending his Majesty an ambassador, who came to salute and compliment me in the name of his master, who has done the like by me through several other gentlemen in his service, whose narratives of events in the camp since his departure hence differed but little in many particulars from the true information already transmitted by me.
For the instruction of the Ambassador Michiel in England, I have communicated to him my conversation with Sir John Masone, as mentioned in my letter of the 19th.
I hear on good authority that amongst the Strozzi papers captured in the Siennese territory, were letters from the French Ambassador resident at Rome, purporting that the Pope had promised him victuals, to be conveyed by the French fleet in Porto Venere, for the succour of Sienna; so here they have suspended the export permit for grain from Sicily, which had been already despatched at the request of his Holiness; and consequently, six days ago, the Nuncio sent his Auditor to the Emperor, nor has he yet returned, for which cause there is a difficulty about expediting the business.
Gives further particulars of the war in Flanders.
Brussels, 26th August 1554.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Aug. 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 942. Marc' Antonio Damula to the Doge and Senate.
Many persons say that Mons. de Segni, who in the skirmish of the 13th was captured by the French, has been set at liberty, and is come to the Emperor with articles of peace and terms from the King, more ample (più larghe) than any that have been offered hitherto.
However this may be, there can be no doubt the Emperor and the King wish for peace, as according to report, both one and the other lack money; but my own opinion is, that the Emperor's hope and reliance rest on the money voted by these States, amounting to 800,000 crowns, more or less. From Spain, they have only received the 300,000 crowns, about which I wrote, and the Queen of England has well nigh stipulated (ha come concluso) a loan for 240,000 crowns, the money to be disbursed in Antwerp, I know not at what rate of interest, but with the crowns they give her a quantity of fustian (ma tra questi, le danno una quantità di fustagni), the sum to be repaid within a year; and the Emperor, most especially should he attack Ardres, as is told me, would greatly benefit the English, and it is certain that his Majesty purposes making an expedition this year, as both from Arras and other places, they are bringing a very great quantity of heavy artillery to his camp, besides the 40 pieces which have already arrived from Mechlin. The number of pioneers has also been doubled, and waggons for the conveyance of ammunition and victuals have been ordered from all parts, and another infantry regiment was lately sent for from Germany, in like manner as was done for the one from Swabia, about which I wrote Heretofore. Everything, in short, indicates a speedy and vigorous attach, and heavy cannonading. Borne persons counselled the Emperor to attack Abbeville, and employ these forces against a much more important fortress than Ardres; but if it were well garrisoned and provided (munito), it might make great resistance, and withstand a long siege.
The Spaniards have landed on this coast from England, and were yesterday about three miles from St. Omer.
The Governor of Arlon, an Imperial fortress of Luxemburg, having heard lately that some French horse, with about 200 foot, had quitted their fortresses and were going towards Thionville to plunder, attacked them on the sudden, and routed them, killing and capturing almost all the infantry.
This evening, the Auditor of the Papal Nuncio returned from St. Omer, where he complained to the Bishop of Arras, not so much because the export permit for grain from Sicily, as demanded by the Pope, had been stopped, but because this indicated some distrust on the part of the Emperor, with regard to the Pope's good-will towards his Majesty, although he knows what tricks the French play, and ought not to trust them, having seen with his own eyes the letters written by them occasionally to the Princes of Germany, accusing him of wishing to subjugate Germany, and make his son, the Prince, hereditary lord of it; and that the French Ambassador may have written to Strozzi to feed him with hope of assistance from the Pope, who is so far from giving victuals to the French, that they have occasionally bravadoed about making the Turkish fleet come in those waters, as also of withdrawing the obedience of France from the Roman See. In short, after much discourse, which it would be long to write, the Bishop of Arras despatched the Auditor with very fair words and promises of sending the export permit to the Imperial Ambassador for presentation to the Pope, but did not choose to send it to the Nuncio, perhaps that he might apologise, or else avail himself of this opportunity for confirming him in his friendship, and yet more probably take, perchance, occasion hence to ask for half of the ecclesiastical fruits of Spain, a demand which, upwards of a month ago, the Emperor caused his Ambassador to make of the Pope, without ever saying the least word about it to Cardinal Pole, or to the Nuncio; and as the measure encounters much difficulty, they hope thus to facilitate it.
Brussels, 28th August 1544.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Aug. 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 943. Giovanni Capello, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Signory.
Many persons here disapprove of the determination so speedily to disband the greater part of the army.
I have been told that the Papal Nuncio proposed to these Lords (a questi Signori) that as they had taken Marienburg, built by Queen Maria, who prized it greatly, it might be inferred that were it proposed to restore it, both she and the Emperor would consent to a cessation of hostilities, and that the most Christian King should consent to make this restitution in order to obtain a truce, which would prove very convenient to him, as he had given Cardinal Pole to understand; but many days having elapsed without a reply, the Nuncio departed. I now understand that a Burgundian nobleman, in great favour with the Emperor, who was captured lately in the engagement under Renti, offered to find a means of making a truce between them, provided he could go and negotiate it; whereupon these Lords released him on his parole (su la fede sua) to return in a few days, and he returned last evening, but it is not yet known what answer he brings.
Compiegne, 28th August 1554.
[Italian, in cipher, deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]


  • 1. Two of the principal exchange fairs in Spain were held at Seville and Medina de Campo, and by the late Mr. Turnbull's Calendar, date Seville, 30 November 1554, entry No. 297, pp. 141, 142, it is shewn that the English merchant Thomas Gresham was then negotiating in person at both those marts.
  • 2. Benchè questo della administratione dello stato di Milano nel Principe suo figliuolo non sia anchor spedito, etc.
  • 3. According to L'Art de Verifier les Dates, the Emperor gave the investiture of the Milanese to his son Philip on the 11th October 1540.
  • 4. Et fu dato etiam il iuramento di fideltà a quelli del stato di Milano, in quella persona che piacesse a Cesare nominare.