Venice: May 1557, 1-10

Pages 1027-1041

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 6, 1555-1558. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1877.

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May 1557, 1–10

May 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 872. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
On Easter day (18th April) the ships from Spain with the 3,000 Spaniards bound for Flanders, passing along the coast of Brittany, landed the said troops on an island called Belleisle, which the King of France has commenced fortifying, and endeavoured to make themselves masters of it, but they having no artillery, and the garrison being better provided with ammunition and other necessaries than the Spaniards supposed, the latter, after doing as much damage as they could, re-embarked, and continued their voyage.
A few days ago, from these parts of Picardy, some 120 horse and foot in the pay of the King of Spain went forth to plunder, and fell into an ambuscade made by the garrison of St. Quentin, killing some and making others prisoners, from whom it was heard that the Duke of Savoy is not making any great preparation, but intent solely on his own affairs, and on creating suspicion where he can; so here they are more than ever convinced that unless some stir be made with this fresh Spanish reinforcement, affairs in these parts will proceed very quietly, and most especially as from England nothing more is heard than what I wrote on the 26th, although the most Christian King has had a proclamation for the “arrière-bandes” and the gentlemen of his household to be in readiness for the 8th of next month.
Since the departure of the Duke de Guise from Rome, there have been no further advices from him, and the intended re-enforcements have been suspended until there be greater need. The general hope of that army's obtaining any advantage is so small, that it could not be less, not only owing to the slight foundations in its favour visible in Italy, but also by reason of the disagreements here.
La Ferté Milon, 2nd May 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
May 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 873. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Since the suppression of the tumult narrated in my last of the 29th ultimo, a resolution has been formed about the succours (aiuti) for the war to be given to the King. This resolution met with many difficulties, both on account of the French as also to avoid subjecting the realm to cost and trouble, but they have all been removed by the authority of the Queen, together with the stimulant afforded by this accident, which has rendered the French more odious, they being said to have fomented it.
The substance of the resolution is to give the King 5,000 infantry and 1,000 horse, to be paid by the kingdom for four months, under the command of the Earl of Pembroke and Lord Grey, the Lord Warden (Milord Guardon—sic), (fn. 1) Lord Montagu, and some others; all of whom are considered good soldiers (hanno nome di boni soldati) except Montagu, who was appointed because he is very rich, and spends willingly on these troops, who are to serve the King in Flanders. Three thousand additional infantry will be raised to garrison the English fortresses on the other side of the Channel; and a powerful fleet is to be fitted out, carrying 6,000 soldiery, should such an amount be needed, one half to be paid by the King, and the other half by England; which many persons consider a strong foundation for the King making himself master of the army (della armata), and perhaps, in time, of the kingdom likewise.
The Government (questi signori) does not intend to break the peace with the most Christian King, as they say that the troops destined for Flanders are sent by virtue of the old treaty between this realm and those provinces, and solely to defend the King's States, but not to invade France; and that the other 3,000 are merely for the defence of Calais and its frontiers; the fleet (armata) being to secure the passage of the Channel, and not to attempt any aggression. No one, however, believes there will be peace with the French, who, suspecting a rupture, have already supplied all their places on the English frontier with ammunition, victuals, and soldiers. They have also sent 1,500 infantry to Scotland, which force, together with the Scots, as told me by the French Ambassador resident here, are sufficient not only for the defence of those frontiers, but also for an attack on this kingdom in that direction.
Since the aforesaid resolution, which was made on the 1st of this month, the Government is intent on providing money, military stores, and other necessaries, of which the King will have as much as they can give him; and it is said the troops will be in marching order . . . . . (fn. 2) or move probably next month.
This, in fact, is the first important provision that has been made for the war in these parts of Flanders, as respecting the talk about so many other measures nothing but words have been heard hitherto; whilst for the need of the Milanese, which, according to the advices thence, increased daily, no provision of any sort has yet been made here, save that they are expecting Don Luis Caravajal from Spain, but, although he set sail so long ago as the 3rd of last month, he has not yet made his appearance. He is bringing money, but not much, for the Count de Feria told me it would be about 250,000 crowns, though the Court reports it to be much more; and it is destined for the Milanese.
London, 6th May 1557.
[Italian, in cipher throughout; deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
May 6. Senato Terra, Vol. 41, p. 18. 874. The Doge and Senate to the Venetian Ambassador in France.
Not content with what we wrote to you on the 29th ultimo about the Flemish cutter (la scuta Fiamenga), the chief part of whose cargo consisted of goods belonging to our noblemen and citizens, which, having left England on its passage to Flanders, was taken by French corsairs, we further charge you at any request from our nobleman M. Antonio Foscarini, one of the parties interested, or anyone else commissioned to act in this business, to endeavour both with his most Christian Majesty and the Constable, and all other persons requisite, to obtain the free release of all the goods of all our aforesaid noblemen, citizens, and subjects, in accordance with justice and our friendship with his Majesty.
De literis 162.
De non 0.
Non sync. 0. 1557, die 6 Maij, Lectæ Coll°.
May 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 875. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I have written several times my opinion that the original good understanding between the Pope and his most Christian Majesty had come to an end; but as my advices were derived from the results of this misunderstanding rather than from its causes, I have endeavoured minutely to investigate the truth, and on the best authority have heard what follows, and give the particulars.
When Cardinal Caraffa [on the 27th November 1556] prolonged the truce with the Duke of Alva, (fn. 3) I understand that articles of peace were in fact concluded between them, their ratification being reserved to his Holiness and the King of England. The chief articles were that his Holiness should restore the Colonnas to their State, and that on the other hand his Majesty would give the Duke of Paliano Sienna, with such parts of that State as are in his hands; and the King, moreover, promised to make the Duke of Florence give his daughter in marriage to the Duke of Paliano's son; by which means coming to a still closer understanding together, they seemed to hint, that should the most Christian King refuse to give the fortresses held by him in the Siennese to the Duke of Paliano, it would not be difficult to take them from him by force; and the Duke of Alva and Cardinal Caraffa promised each other reciprocally to announce the decision of their princes within a certain number of days. The Cardinal reported the negotiation to the Pope, but his Holiness distrusting the Duke of Alva, and fearing lest, if the French heard of this treaty (trattatione), the Duke de Guise, who had already crossed the Alps, would halt in the Milanese, and lest he (the Pope) should thus run the risk of losing sure friends, without well securing those who were uncertain, he cooled the negotiation but did not dissolve it, and wrote to the King of France, that the Duke of Alva had offered him the aforesaid compact, of which if his most Christian Majesty approved, and if he were at the same time content to give him also on his part, the fortresses held by France in Tuscany, that he would accept it. Having written this despatch, the day arrived on which Cardinal Caraffa had promised the Duke of Alva to let him know the decision of his Holiness, and he not doing so, his Excellency wrote a letter to the Cardinal, enclosing another for Cardinal Pacheco, which letters, their bearer being made prisoner, passed into the hands of the Duke of Soma, who was commander at a certain pass. He opened and read them, and found that the Duke of Alva complained to Cardinal Caraffa because the time he had appointed for letting him know the Pope's will had expired without his sending any message, whereas he the Duke had already received a reply from his King, who readily accepted the treaty agreed to between them. On seeing this, the Duke of Soma, after copying the letters, showed them to the Pope, who, having read them, said, “This then is the way in which these nephews of mine (questi miei) treat me? I will provide for them well;” and in his presence he made the Duke of Soma burn the said letters. The Duke did not communicate this to the Cardinal, whose suspicion of his having told the story to the Duke de Guise, was the cause of the disagreement between them, of which your Serenity must have heard. Whilst what is aforesaid was being negotiated, the Duke de Guise with the army arrived at Reggio, and the Pope choosing by all means to make sure of being able to dispose of the French forces, insisted at any rate on their passing into Romagna; yet he did not wish to relinquish (disabbracciare) the negotiation with the King of England, but to benefit himself as much as he could by delay; for which purpose King Philip was informed by Fantuccio, in his Holiness' name, that he was ready to conclude the agreement, but that he would not negotiate with the Duke of Alva.
In the meanwhile there arrived from France the reply to the proposal about Sienna, which not having pleased his most Christian Majesty, he answered irresolutely, but the Pope comprehended his dissent, which mortified Cardinal Caraffa, who was already inclined towards the agreement, considering it beneficial for himself and his family; and finding the Pope averse to it, unless it had the approval of the King of France, he vented his wrath in violent language against the Constable as the author of this decision formed by his most Christian Majesty. Amongst other words uttered by him in anger against the Constable, were the following, that he would perform such offices against his Excellency with the King of France, that his Majesty would have him beheaded; which words were subsequently repeated here to his Excellency, and inspired him not only with anger but perhaps even with hatred towards the Cardinal. The result of this determination on the part of the most Christian King was, that the Pope, seeing he could not dispose of him in his own fashion, would not make the promotion of Cardinals according to his Majesty's wish, and according to report he in like manner, to injure the Constable, did not choose to give the dispensation for the marriage of his son, hoping thus to render one and the other more propitious to his will. Whilst things were passing thus, and the Pope was undecided, being drawn in one direction by his desire for the Neapolitan expedition, which forbad him to detach himself from France, and being urged towards the other by the Cardinal and his other nephews, who for the security of their family wished him to make peace with the King of England, there arrived at Rome a person from his Majesty soliciting the Pope to conclude the agreement; and if he would not negotiate with the Duke of Alva, his Holiness was to appoint some person more agreeable to him, to whom King Philip would send the commission to conclude. This, adding to the Pope's indecision, compelled the Duke de Guise to remain idle at Rome for so many days, but little to the honour of the army, and at length when he determined on marching towards the kingdom of Naples, he not only failed to diminish the Pope's suspicion and distrust, but increased it, so that coupling this with Cardinal Caraffa's disposition towards the agreement with the King of England, it is supposed that the Pope may at length consent.
Such is the doubt about the Neapolitan expedition that the Cardinal of Lorraine is doing his utmost with the King of France to make him recall the Duke de Guise and appoint the Duke d'Aumale in his stead; besides which I have heard that a few evenings ago the Constable, when discoursing in his own chamber, said, “The Pope believes that we do not see him, and that we are ignorant of what Fantuccio did at the Court of the King of England, and of the consequences of his having detained our army so long without performing any feat. Neither he nor the Cardinal hold me in account (mi stimano), and I will let them see what I am able to do.” These words and others even more ample (più large) about the inclination evinced by his Excellency to come to some adjustment having reached me from several quarters, I did not fail to inquire whether there was any commencement of negotiation to that effect, but as yet have I been unable to learn anything else, except that messengers have passed twice between the Admiral [M. de Chastillon] on this side, and the Count de Lalain on the other, which two personages as your Serenity will remember concluded the last truce at Vaucelles. (fn. 4) Nevertheless since the arrival of the advices of these victories in Piedmont I think I perceive that this inclination towards agreement is certainly cooling, it being wished first of all to see what progress M. de Brissae shall make. In addition to this, by the last advices from Rome, dated the 16th April, it is heard that the Pope shows himself by deeds more warm in favour of the undertaking than he seemed to be at first, and that to secure everything the Pope was sending hither to the Court the son of the Duke of Paliano; and moreover that the Pope having heard that the most Christian King was so dissatisfied with the promotion of Cardinals, he offered to make another one at his Majesty's request.
La Ferté Milon, 6th May 1557.
[Italian, in cipher throughout, deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
May 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 876. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
To-day a Switzer, one Walter Rollo, came to dine with me. He seems to be a man of spirit, and very intelligent; and conversing with me apart about the great esteem in which his nation, and especially his canton and family, hold your Serenity, saying that he is still enjoying the benefits conferred by your Serenity on his late father, by name Peter Rollo, who was in your service; he said it greatly surprised him, considering the nature of these present times, which are so important, that you should not try to have some particular understanding with his countrymen, so as in any case of need to have as many of them as you wanted, even for offensive warfare. I told him that your Serenity considered the cantons so friendly and trusty that in any case of need they would not fail to give you any amount of troops you required, wherefore it was unnecessary to attempt any closer understanding, most especially as you were now at peace with all the powers, and had no occasion either to attack others or to dread their hostilities; and that your territory is now so strong and populous, and replete with other conveniences, as by the grace of God to enable you to defend yourself single-handed against any adversary.
He rejoined, making a prudent and very sensible discourse, alluding submissively, like a man of experience (come homo pratico), the need your Serenity might have were one of these two Kings to overcome the other, or unite together; and that for self-defence in open war it does not suffice to hold one's own, but is requisite to attack that of others to damage the enemy and divide their forces; and that although your Serenity has the means of garrisoning your fortresses, it nevertheless would not he so easy for you to put a large army in the field, without which it is difficult to defend States, nor can they be truly called powerful unless they have forces to attack others, which would be easier for your Serenity than for any 'other prince, if allied with his nation, which, being near your Serenity, might in eight days pour into your territory any amount of troops you required; and having this King for your neighbour, and France likewise, you would thus be enabled to attack both of them. He then added that it was a wise act of prudence not to attempt a closer understanding with all the cantons at present, but that your Serenity might obtain your intent without causing suspicion to anyone by conferring a moderate gratification (as you do to many others who are not more useful than these would be) on some of the leading Switzers; nor would the expense be great, as 500 ducats annually, or a little more, for each individual would suffice; and that a good commencement might be made at present by taking one, two, or three of them.
I replied kindly, but in general terms, not choosing either to give him hope nor yet to deprive him of it, but rather to communicate the whole to your Serenity.
This Rollo is a bold man, and told me he was free and not bound to anyone. He spoke about the method to be observed whenever levies were required, and knows the advantages attainable both with regard to the quality of the soldiers and their cost, all which it would be long to write, and perhaps unnecessary. He was much honoured and favoured by his Majesty and the personages of this Court, and especially by the Councillor Damon (sic) (fn. 5); and the most Serene King, that he might depart satisfied, knighted and gave him 2,000 crowns. He was supposed to have come hither to offer his Majesty Switzer troops, but as yet of this there is no confirmation, and when I hinted it to him he rather denied than affirmed, and by his discourse he did not seem to hold this Court in great account, saying that the King allows himself to be ruled in everything by his ministers, in whom Rollo perceives dilatoriness and a lack of judgment throughout.
London, 7th May 1557.
[Italian, entirely in cipher; deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
May 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 877. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I asked his Majesty if he had any news, and he said he had heard the particulars of the affair of Chierasco, which he narrated to me, greatly commending Marshal de Brissac, adding, with regard to the Duke de Guise, that his army was well provided with good troops and artillery, and that he (the King) would send a reinforcement of 3,000 infantry, and that by the next letters he expected to hear that he had entered the Abruzzo. I then asked his Majesty if it was true that the Duke of Paliano's son was coming hither, and he said, “Yes, he will come assuredly with the Archbishop of Vienne, and they will travel by sea;” adding spontaneously, “O! of the Pope there is no longer any doubt.” I then inquired what news his Majesty had from England, and he replied, “The Queen has determined to give her husband 6,000 infantry and 1,000 horse, their captains having been already appointed, and the Earl of Pembroke will cross the Channel with them, they coming under pretence of defending Flanders, but from defence to offence the passage is soon made, though, in truth, I never expected her to come to any other determination but this. Still she will not find us unprovided, for the Admiral informed us just now that our fortresses in Picardy are in as good a state as possible.” I then asked his Majesty if he had heard of any stir in that kingdom about a fleet. He said, “Yes, they are also assembling some ships, and I have done the like, having written to Normandy and Britanny to fit out a good number.” I inquired if he was making any preparation for Scotland, and he said he had already reinforced the garrison there with about 3,000 infantry, and in case of need he hoped the country would not fail to assist him. He added that some ships from Spain lately made a landing at Belle Isle, and that, being unable to take the small fortress there, they burned what they could, and that although at first they were supposed to be Spanish troops bound for Flanders, they were known subsequently to be men of bad character who went robbing at sea. I asked how things were passing on these frontiers, and he replied, “As yet there is no innovation whatever, but mere suspicions, save that on the other side they have mustered a certain amount of troops, drafted from the garrisons (dalla guarnisone), and on the day after to-morrow the Admiral will depart, so as to be ready.” I asked if his Majesty was making any fresh levy of Switzers, and he said, “To tell you the truth, I have still the means for raising 6,000 which have been promised me, but I shall first make use of these 12,000 Germans, to whom I have given earnest money, and then do by the Switzers according to time and need.”
It seems that this coming of the Duke of Paliano's son has greatly comforted everybody (molto sollevato ciascuno), although no advices have been received of his having yet left Rome, and it seems that this arrangement renders his most Christian Majesty better satisfied with the Pope's will, so that the hopes of the Neapolitan expedition are higher; and they talk of sending the Ferrarese ambassador resident here to his Duke, to ask him to lend a certain sum of money to the Duke de Guise, and to accommodate him with such other things as he requires. His most Christian Majesty is hotter about the invasion of the kingdom of Naples since he heard of this resolution on the part of England, which, to say the truth, was unexpected, and of great moment, and when the King communicated it to me, I knew by his gestures that it troubled him.
La Ferté Milon, 7th May 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
May 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 878. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Giovanni Toraldo has arrived from Civitella to ask these Lords to send to the Duke de Guise the ammunition and troops promised him. He was subsequently followed by the Marquis of Montebello, who dismounted at the garden where his brothers, Cardinal Caraffa and the Duke of Paliano, were dining with Cardinal Sta. Fior. On his arrival they were seen to burst into passion (furono veduti alterarsi). The Duke mounted on horseback and went to the Pope, the Marquis remaining with Cardinal Caraffa. Montebello's coming hither has caused much comment, and yesterday Leonidas Malatesta, who accompanied him, dined with me, and said that the Marquis had departed, not merely dissatisfied, but enraged with the Duke, the causes being that Guise chose to have the plunder (preda) of all the places which had surrendered to Montebello for his own Frenchmen; that he had made M. de Tavannes quartermaster-general; that he often dislodged the Marquis's Italian horse and foot to give their quarters to his own troops, and would not give them their pay, as he was bound to do, so that almost all the Italian infantry had disbanded; and that the Duke had not chosen to listen to him at the council board, nor to show him any mark of deference. Montebello's brothers resent his departure, especially the Cardinal, as they would have wished him to show more patience and greater dissimulation. Malatesta added that the Marquis's nature is such that he cannot long restrain his feelings; and he then told me that the French army consisted of 8,000 infantry only, more than one half being Switzers and the rest Gascons; that Civitella was very strong, from its position, the possibility of taking it by storm being very doubtful, as, although they are battering it with 13 guns, yet, to make the assault, they will have to ascend its valley, and the garrison consists of 800 paid infantry and 1,000 of the inhabitants; and that as the Switzers, according to their custom, do not choose to give assault, but to remain in battle array (ma di star in battaglia), he does not see how, with merely 1,800 Gascons, they can carry the place by storm, the enemy having the advantage of the citadel and of their position.
M. de Sipierre has been sent to the Pope by M. de Guise to confute the charges brought against him by Marquis Montebello, the French saying that he chose to do many things in the army of his own accord without awaiting the orders of the Duke de Guise, who is commander-in-chief, and that at Civitella he raised a private battery (una particolar battaria), and then made an assault with the Italian troops. The said Marquis is, in short, very dissatisfied with the French, and he told my secretary, whom I sent to visit him, that their discipline (governo) is bad, and their mode of proceeding very insolent, for on entering the kingdom of Naples they exasperated the inhabitants, instead of treating them kindly. He also added, “The Duke de Guise did not choose to give ear to me about anything, and if he had he would perhaps have made some progress, as I recommended that the army should encamp under Atri, which could have made no defence, saying that that place being taken, Civitella would have surrendered on being surrounded, whereas, by going under Civitella, they would repeat what took place in Tuscany, where, by attending to Montechiello, time was given to fortify Mont' Alcino. The Duke rejected my advice, and having invested Civitella, the Imperialists fortified and garrisoned Atri, so that it is now safe. When at Civitella I said that the spade and pickaxe should be used beneath the principal bastion. The Duke chose to employ the artillery, and on the first of this month the battery opened, but produced little effect, the distance being too great, &c. &c. On that evening I departed, having broken with the Duke de Guise, being unable any longer to tolerate his insolence, and the wrong he did me, principally by failing to give my soldiers four rates of pay, so that they disbanded, and the army remains with only 6,000 infantry. Whilst I was there advices were received of the Duke of Alva's approach, and that he was already at Pescara with 12,000 foot and 2,000 horse, so that, to speak freely with you, unless news come in the course of Monday next that Civitella is taken, rest assured that they never will take it, and that the Duke de Guise will be compelled to retreat. God knows that I have always disapproved of this war, but could not be unfaithful to the Pope, foreseeing the ruin of Italy unless a resolution were formed; and I am come to let his Holiness know the state of affairs rather than for any other purpose, so that he may open his eyes and make such honourable agreement as he can, for if he does not the two kings will, and the Pope will be compelled to receive the law from them. We have a recent example of his inducing them (li condusse) to make the truce, and now in like manner he might lead them (condurli) to the peace.”
Rome, 8th May 1557.
May 8. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. (2nd letter.) 879. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Duke of Florence has written to his ambassador that the French troops, on quitting Elba, landed and sacked a certain castle (fn. 6) (plundered formerly by the Turks, when they took the island), where the women, having taken refuge in a church, the soldiers profaned it by violating them there and taking away the chalices and sacerdotal ornaments, doing worse than the Turks would have done. The Duke desired the ambassador to tell this to the Pope, not because he supposes it to have been done by order of their general, who was not present, but that his Holiness may see with what sort of troops he has to do (con che sorte di gente si ha a far). The ambassador says that the Pope waxed wrath, and promised to complain to the Baron de la Garde, who was then here.
Three congregations of the Inquisition have been held on extraordinary days, the cardinals being summoned by cursitors, but none of the ministers (ministri) were present. The Pope enjoined the strietest secrecy, for which no one gives his reason. Cardinal Puteo's familiars have seen him constantly studying of late, although he is very unwell, and in the midst of a purgative cure; (fn. 7) and from what I can elicit the Pope proposed to deprive King Philip, and it seems that it was proved to his Holiness that he cannot reasonably do so, not having first of all cited him by a monitory. It is said he will delay, though on this the cardinals do not much rely, as the Pope may be seized with a wish to make (di farla) and publish it on the sudden; and concerning this matter, a leading cardinal said that the Pope has three bulls already drawn up, and is about to publish them, one of the deprivation of King Philip (l'una della privation del Re Filippo), the second recalling the cardinals to Rome, and the third imposing a tax of one per cent.
On Wednesday, in the presence of his Holiness, there was congregation of the cardinals of the Inquisition, and of others, including many theologians, about the dispensation for Montmorency. Subsequently the Spanish Jesuits, Laines and Bobadilla, voted that it could not be given, to which opinion the Pope seemed to assent; and when the Master of the Sacred Palace (il maestro del Sacro Palazzo) wished to say that it might be done (che si potea dispensar) his Holiness got into a rage, and when the master insisted on repeating his opinion, the Pope drove him out of the congregation (lo scacciò dalla congregatione), using I know not what violent language, nor was anything settled. Many persons are confounded at seeing that a congregation had been summoned to revive a matter which caused the Constable to be dissatisfied with the Pope, who now refuses to hear those who speak in favour of the dispensation.
The agent here of the Cardinal of England has been heard to say that amongst many advices written to him thence, is the following expression: “Here we are apprehensive of not remaining quiet.” Yesterday Consistory assembled, and remained sitting until night, so that something was expected about the three bulls, but nothing was said concerning any of them. The audiences, however, were many and long. Some churches were expedited (si expedì), amongst which was one in England, (fn. 8) and I have heard that when Cardinal Morone, the vice-protector of that kingdom, asked leave to propose it, the Pope spoke very well of the Queen, but by so much the more evilly of King Philip, saying that he was a putrid member; that his Holiness was compelled to cut it off and separate it from the body (che era sforzata sua Santità a tagliarlo et separarlo dal corpo), but that he could not do otherwise, as the King persisted in his perfidiousness, and gave no sign whatever of amendment; adding “This schismatic makes us spend even our blood (ne far spender fino il sangue), and take money at interest, all which he will have to pay back eventually.”
Rome, 8th May 1557.
May 8. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. (3rd letter.) 880. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
I went to the Pope at 4:30 p.m. and found that he was in his chamber with Cardinal Caraffa and the Duke of Paliano, and in the audience chamber the French Ambassador and M. de la Chapelle were waiting, and presented him with a letter from the most Christian King, praying his Holiness to give leave to the Cardinal of Armagnac to quit Rome. The Pope in a long discourse showed how desirous he was to gratify his Majesty in everything, as the eldest son of this Holy See; he said he greatly loved the Cardinal, but that he had now on hand such work to do for the honour of God and for the dignity of his own grade (grado), that the cardinals in the most distant parts of the world ought to come to Rome instead of those already there departing thence; that he is about to recall the absentees, inserting such clauses in the summons as to enforce obedience; that he trusts the King and Cardinal will be content with what it is in his power to do for them, and that on his citing the absent Cardinals the King will permit his subjects to come, except those who are aged and impotent, for whom he will have regard, to please the King; so that his Majesty will know that he takes the good road to accomplish the undertaking on hand.
Having dismissed the two Frenchmen the Pope called me and said, “Come always gladly, for we see you willingly, and will always tell you what news we have; we are at work (noi travagliamo); the Duke de Guise has sent to give us notice of all the events; he is before Civitella; the undertaking is a difficult one by reason of the position, but he is determined and purposes taking the place by force. We believe he will succeed, for the enemy have not yet shown themselves; they made a demonstration against Sulmona, but I am told it is nothing of importance. We hope that God will assist us, or rather that He will aid His own cause, for those people (coloro) show no sign of amendment; His Divine Majesty knows that we should prefer peace to war, as the end of war is peace, nor will we allow any opportunity for obtaining it to escape us, provided it can be had without compromising the dignity of this See, because we cannot fail towards what Deus credidit nobis, et mandavit fidei nostræ; there remain adversaries who conceperunt universal monarchy et spe omnia devoraverunt; they consider all Italy as despatched (per spaciata); you remained as a salad (per una insalata); but they did not succeed in their plan, and they now find it difficult to obliterate (cancellar) the phantasies formed by them which they had placed in the cells (cellule) of their brain.
“That individual (colui) [King Philip] is gone to England; we do not know what he will do; we are indeed of opinion that that kingdom would gladly remain at peace, because the English are not very easy to cook (perchè Inglesi non sono molti boni da cocer), nor can we believe that they will remain under the dominion of the Spaniards. In the next place the kingdom is not altogether quiet, there is also still much to do about their opinions, and however badly things may go, were they to rebel (si volessero mover), the King of France has Scotland, which is a scourge for England, nor is it credible how willingly the Scots pass into England, because being almost savages and poor (perchè sono quasi selvatici et poveri) they go joyfully with the hope of gain.
“The Queen's Ambassador, (fn. 9) who for a native of those regions is modest and very intelligent, has been to us in the name of the Queen and of the kingdom to pray me not to abandon them, but to remember that it has come lately to our obedience. We answered him that we love the Queen for her own sake, as she is good, and has done good works; for the sake of her mother, who honoured us extremely when we were sent to that kingdom by Leo, (fn. 10) and for the sake of her grandfather the late Catholic King, to whom we are much obliged for the love he bore us, and he was assuredly a worthy King, (fn. 11) nor could we ever have believed that his descendants would have degenerated so much as Charles and Philip (come questi Carlo et Filippo); but we told the Ambassador that we would willingly separate the Queen's cause from that of her—(we know not whether to call him husband, cousin, or nephew (nepote) and have her as daughter, bidding her attend to the government of her kingdom, and not to let herself be induced to do anything to our detriment, nor to that of our confederates, as for instance the King of France, for we would spare neither relations nor friends but include (involveremo) in our maledictions and anathemas all those who shall desert the cause of God. Even yesterday we had a letter from the Cardinal of England telling us that on the arrival of Philip in London he departed for his bishopric, and he did well, for he could not in honour remain there. He says that he visited King Philip in his own name, as he could not do so in ours, seeing that he has no commission to that effect, as we on the contrary have revoked the legations (le legatione) and recalled nuncios and all the ministers of the Apostolic See in the realms of that individual (di colui), to deprive him of the means for doing injury to God and to us. Cardinal Pole also writes that the said individual (esso) told him he would gladly be reconciled to us, and that he has provided for his realms so as to prevent their molestation. This reconciliation fails through him as induratum est cor ejus, and we believe that he will not reform (rivedersi) until his head has been soundly beaten (fino che non li sia dato bene su la testa). God knows that for nothing do we pray Him more earnestly than for our quiet, and that of all Christendom, which were He to grant us, we should close these eyes most contentedly.” I then said, “Your Holiness' entreaty will be granted, as you pray with so much ardour and for so holy a purpose.” He replied, “For the present we do not see the way owing to their obstinacy, nor do we know when it may come to pass; we are intent on doing our duty.”
In the course of my conversation to-day with the French Ambassador he said, “With these lords what is true to-day is untrue to-morrow; there is a great scarcity of money, and to obtain it they have recourse to chimerical projects, and I perceive that they do not tell the Pope the true state of affairs.”
Rome, 8th May 1557.
May 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 881. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I, this morning, made a fresh demand of the King to have the letter reformed that was written heretofore to the Viceroy of Sicily about the damage done by the Sicilian galliot in the waters of Zante, and in consequence of what the royal secretary said, as mentioned in my letter of the 12th ult., I enhanced my charge against the malefactors to his Majesty, saying that under pretence of attacking Infidels, and his enemies, they outraged his friends, plundered your Serenity's merchants and ships, and impeded navigation, which all just princes have always chosen to be free and secure; and that the many good orders and commands issued heretofore by the Emperor and his Majesty had been of no avail, not being enforced, as the malefactors never received the due punishment, so that the mischief is not remedied, to the loss of reputation on the one hand and increase of insolence on the other.
The King replied that his intention is to oblige your Serenity in everything, so far as regards himself, and that he therefore gave an express order for indemnity to be made, the delinquents punished, and summary justice done; but that my demand for justice to be done according to the information sent by your Serenity without further investigation could not be conceded so absolutely, as it concerned private individuals and an act of justice.
I rejoined that what I demand is also justice, it being just to punish corsairs and robbers, and that the persons accused were corsairs and robbers was notorious; it having been also known before they put to sea that they were fitting out for no other purpose than to cruise (che per andar in corso), (fn. 12) so that were there no other complaints against them this would suffice for their condemnation; and I added that from the many appeals made by your Serenity's subjects I did not see what surer proof could be needed of the evil nature of the delinquents through any other channel; but that as to the quality and quantity of the plunder made by them, if there was any doubt about it, it could be cleared up through your Serenity's governors and ministers as trustworthy witnesses, which it would be impossible to do in Sicily, as those who might give evidence would not quit their homes to go thither for such a purpose; so unless his Majesty have the letter written to the Viceroy put into better form, neither justice nor the King's will would be done.
The King replied that he would consider the matter, that he wishes to comply with your Serenity's demands in whatever is possible, and that knowing you to regulate yourself in all your actions with justice and prudence he is certain you will be satisfied with what can be done equitably in this business.
I have chosen to write the whole of this discourse that you may see the state of the case, which would have been much bettered had the information given by your order to the Spanish Ambassador's secretary been so well founded as to leave nothing doubtful nor uncertain.
London, 9th May 1557.


  • 1. Sir Tho. Cheyne, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. (See Domestic Calendar, “Mary,” Index.)
  • 2. Corroded in MS.
  • 3. In a despatch from Giovanni Michiel, date London, 14th April 1556 (Venetian Calendar, vol. 6, p. 412,) a ciphered paragraph has been omitted, of the following tenour: “But should Clinton in France, or Paget at Brussels, have other matters to negotiate in those Courts, your Serenity will receive thence more certain intelligence, as there is less difficulty in concealing transactions, where they end, than where they originate.” The end was, to harass Queen Mary in England, by assisting the outlaws; and the negotiations between the Pope and the Duke of Alva in November 1556 had for object to circumvent France. Contrary to Soranzo's expectations his colleague, Navagero, at Rome, had not unravelled the plot, which having been directed against France, was first revealed by the Venetian ambassador there, who thus confirms Michiel's theory; and here I may add, that in July 1876, the ex-premier Minghetti, when reading in the Venetian Archives, Pasini's decipher of Michiel, thus, “potendo meno dificilmente ocultarsi le cose, in quelli lochi dove si finiscono, che là dove nascono et hanno principio,” paid great attention to this aphorism, and read it over several times, thus implying that it was a wise one, and coincided with his own views of statesmanship. Thinking, perhaps, that more was known about the Eastern question at St. Petershurgh than at Constantinople, he had therefore in April 1876 arranged the mission of Prince Umberto to the Czar.
  • 4. See a former letter of Soranzo's date 27 December 1555, and Foreign Calendar, Mary, 1556, February 5, Abbey of Vaucelles, p. 208.
  • 5. Simon Renard, Lieutenant d'Amont, Imperial Ambassador in France and England? (See Foreign Calendar, “Mary,” Index.)
  • 6. The Castle of Campiglia was sacked on Thursday, 15th April 1557 (see post).
  • 7. Jacopo Puteo was one of the most famous lawyers of his time, and Paul IV. employed him to examine and annul certain bulls of Paul II., alienating Church property. (See Cardella, vol. 4, p. 314.)
  • 8. Namely, Chichester. (See Foreign Calendar, Mary, p. 303.)
  • 9. Sir Edward Carne. (See Foreign Calendar, Mary.)
  • 10. As stated in former notes, Gian Pietro Caraffa was nuncio in England from Leo X., from February 1514 until the spring of 1516, when he went to King Charles of Spain in the Low Countries, and accompanied him to Spain in September 1517.
  • 11. In the 30th year of his age Caraffa was sent as nuncio by Pope Julius 11 to, to Ferdinand the Catholic at Naples, where the King remained from the 19th October 1506 until the 4th June 1507. I am unable to find any documentary evidence of Caraffa's having accompanied King Ferdinand to Spain, or of his having resided there during his reign.
  • 12. This proves the correctness of Dr. Johnson's interpretation of the word “Cruise, v.n. “To rove over the sea in search of plunder.” His etymology of “Cruise” given to “cruisers” because they bore the cross, and plundered only infidels, may be disputed. Corso in Italian signifies course; and the term, “andar in corso,” gives the etymology of “corsair.”