Venice: May 1557, 11-15

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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'Venice: May 1557, 11-15', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 6, 1555-1558, (London, 1877) pp. 1041-1095. British History Online [accessed 11 April 2024]

May 1557, 11–15

May 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 882. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
My demands made of the King, the Constable, and the Admiral, for the restitution of Venetian property seized on board the Flemish cutter bound from England, were of no avail, the two chief obstacles being, that the grant of this favour to our subjects would have seemed very strange to the English Ambassador, who, by the Queen's order, insisted on similar restitution to many parties concerned, who by privilege, are citizens of London, being called Dantzickers? (Danesini); but as I clearly foresaw that their goods would not be released, I kept our suit as far apart from theirs as possible; and had the Dantzickers got back their effects the like must have been done by the Raguseans, who were also much favoured; but the true cause (of the refusal?) was the presence here of the Admiral [Gaspar Coligny Count de Chastillon], the Constable's nephew, and more than son to him (et più che figliuolo), who did his utmost to have the prize legalised, to favour his sailors and encourage them to fresh plunder, which, with this precedent, will be declared lawful, and the Admiral will also make much profit.
After the despatch of this business I had a visit from the English ambassador, (fn. 1) who greatly resented this decision, telling me he was certain his Queen would not put up with it, as it was too unfair and too prejudicial for the kingdom that the French should give law there with regard to the ships of other Powers; and that although similar seizures had been made heretofore they were either restored, or, by address, time was gained, but that never did he remember the passing of so definitive a sentence, and that he had given speedy advice of it to her Majesty that she might make such provision as shall seem fit to her.
La Ferté Milon, 11th May 1557.
May 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives, Second Letter.) 883. The Same to the Same.
On hearing the determination of the Queen of England to give assistance to her Consort, his most Christian Majesty determined to raise a fresh army for this part of Picardy and Champagne, especially from its being heard that besides the rumours in Germany musters of troops had been already commenced towards Luxemburg. He will therefore raise 60 bands (bande) of Frenchmen, 40 of which will consist of Gascons, and 20 will be recruited from other provinces, the number of men thus raised amounting to about 16,000 infantry. Commissions (patenti) have been already given to certain captains to go and raise their bands, so that they may be ready next month, together with the 12,000 Germans who will also be in marching order by that time; and besides this infantry there will also be 1,500 men at arms, and 2,000 light horse, and 1,000 Blacksmiths (fn. 2) (ferraroli), besides the “arrière-ban,” and the Royal household. The general of this army will be the King of Navarre. But the scarcity of victuals on both sides being very great, it is believed that the meeting of the armies (il metter insieme li esserciti) will have to be delayed for some time; in addition to which his most Christian Majesty will do his utmost not to give cause for greater strife in this quarter, both for the avoidance of farther expenditure, as also because there is nothing that alarms the French more than the invasion of their territory; and although the English are no longer so powerful nor so brave as of yore when they were superior to this nation, the forces of England having greatly diminished, much time also having elapsed since she made war, the country moreover having no ordinary militia whatever, this mere report nevertheless of her troops succouring King Philip, by calling to mind their ancient valour, causes great perturbation. (Oltra che sua Maestà Christma farà quanto potrà per non dar occasione di mover arme maggiori da questa parte, sì per non far maggior spesa, come perchè non è cosa che spaventi più li Francesi che assaltargli il regno; et con tutto che li Inglesi non siano di quella potentia nè valore che erano già quando sono stati superiori a questa natione, sì per esser diminuite assai le forcie di quel Regno, come per esser molto tempo che hanno fatto guerra, nè vi essendo in esso Regno militia alcuna ordinaria, però con questa sola voce che uscivano queste genti al favore del Re di Anglia, raccordandosi di quel antico valore, dimostrano grande alteratione.) The King is going post-wise to Paris with a few attendants to raise fresh pecuniary supply, as required by this fresh stir, but he will only remain there three or four days, and then return hither.
Your Serenity will have heard of the rebellion (moto) which Cardinal Pole's nephew, Stafford, proposed making in England, and the English here (questi Inglesi) say that it was by order of the most Christian King, who for this purpose gave him money and accommodated him with three of his ships; but at the Court it is said he went of his own accord, and that the ships in which he crossed belonged to his most Christian Majesty, and were conveying foot soldiers to Scotland.
The last advices from the Duke de Guise announce the capture of Accumuli? (Campoli), and that he was putting the artillery in position under Civitella to batter it; but it being heard that the Duke of Paliano's going to the army has almost entirely cooled, as likewise the coming hither of his son, although they said that the Marquis of Montebello would go thither, it seems to me that the suspicions and distrust of his Holiness are worse than before, most especially as ever since the entry of the army into the Neapolitan territory, it is not seen that the Pope has proceeded to deprive the King of England of the kingdom of Naples, as distinctly promised by him over and over again to his most Christian Majesty (si come tante et tante fiate ha chiaramente promesso a sua Maestà Christianissima). I am assured by a person who knows it for certain that this promise not only stipulates the deprivation of the kingdom of Naples as a fief of the Church, but that in virtue of it his Holiness would excommunicate the King, and also deprive him of the State of Milan (anci mi viene affirmato, da chi lo sa ben di certo, che non solo sta questa promessa de questa privatione del Regno come feudo della Chiesa, ma che Sua Santità devenneria ad escommunicare esso Re, et lo priveria, in virtù di quella, anche del Stato di Milano). None of these things having been done, not even the one which his Majesty holds in more account than all the rest, namely the promotion of Cardinals to his satisfaction, and not seeing the Duke of Paliano go to the army as was considered quite certain, nor any decision being made about sending hither his son, your Serenity may well infer that the suspicions increase in every quarter.
La Ferté Milon, 11th May 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
May 13. MS. penes me. 884. Report of England made by Giovanni Michiel, late Ambassador to Queen Mary and King Philip, to the Venetian Senate, on the 13th May 1557. (fn. 3)
Most Serene Prince, most Illustrious and most Excellent Senate. Being bound to make a “Relation” of the affairs of the Island and Realm of England, which in these present times are considered of so much the more importance, as it is requisite to give account of a kingdom by custom and nature very different from others, and of the qualities of two Princes whose recent accession induces much thought about themselves, and the position of other potentates; I feel that for the due performance of such an office in the presence of so many and such grave Senators a person would be needed of more judgment, experience, and physical force than I possess. The obligation, however, to which the Senate subjected me by my appointment, forbids me to fail in the performance of this duty; and the graciousness of your Lordships will pardon my insufficiency, as also my feeble constitution, which has been yet more impaired lately by rheumatic gout, brought on either by the many inconveniences of my journey or by change of air, and which has so harassed me since my return, that having no hope of speedy recovery I determined to pay my debt to the best of my ability, rather than in a matter so necessary to keep the Senate waiting any longer; and hoping that the goodness of my will and intention may be received as amends for the imperfection of my work, I will endeavour to restrict myself to what is most necessary, so as in part to spare your Lordships prolixity and weariness, and also to lighten my own fatigue and trouble.
England described. The kingdom of England is conveniently provided in every direction with harbours and rivers, and above all with a very temperate climate. It is not altogether level, but divided in part by such pleasant hills that when viewed from a distance they can scarcely be distinguished from the plain. In proportion to its inhabitants the soil is fertile, as it has abundance of all the necessaries, whilst with such things as are rather for convenience and luxury it is supplied by foreigners; but in exchange for their imports England gives more of her own produce, viz., wool, woollen cloths, to a great amount and of excellent quality, tin, lead, leather, coal, meat (carni) [salted meat?], and sometimes wheat, and every sort of grain, besides beer. The principal imports of England are spices, sugars, and all sorts of fruit from Spain and France, wine, oil, and what they call hops (obloni), the flower of the hop plant, and the “bruscandoli,” (fn. 4) needed for the brewing of beer; also cloths of gold and silk, the greater part of their linens, and every sort of mercery; as also woad, madder, and the like, for wove manufactures (testure). From these and other equally important sources of trade, and by reason of her convenient local position, England is frequented by all the nations of Europe, from Poland onward, and lately, even by Muscovy and Russia, and by the West Indies, that is to say by the country of “the Mine,” (fn. 5) by Brazil, and by the Guinea Coast; so it is considered commodious, delicious, and wealthy beyond all the other islands of the world. (fn. 6)
London. To the historian and the geographer it appertains to give account of the most remarkable maritime and inland places of the Island; and for me it will suffice to say a word about the City of London, the metropolis of the kingdom, and truly royal, being with reason regarded as one of the principal cities of Europe, whether it be from the abundance and convenience of whatever is required for the use of man, or from the amount of its population, estimated ordinarily, including the suburbs and the town of Westminster, which serves as a suburb, at 185,000 souls. It has handsome streets and buildings, especially the bridge, which has 19 arches, all of solid stone, over the river, and the cathedral church of St. Paul. But yet more beautiful is the site of the City, placed, as it is, advantageously on the banks of the Thames, from which, besides beauty, it derives great wealth (gran commodità), from the vast concourse of ships, of three and four hundred Venetian tons burthen, which enter the river from every quarter, being aided by the strong ebb and flow of the sea, although more than 60 miles from the city. Above all, London is most opulent, not only from her trade and great commerce with other countries, but by the many privileges enjoyed by all the inhabitants themselves, without exception, that is to say, by the commonalty (huomini populari), merchants, and artificers, from amongst whom some 25 persons, called “Aldermen” (elected from amongst the wealthiest and most monied amongst them) rule the city with supreme power, almost like a Republic, neither the King nor his ministers interfering in any way. I have used the term commonalty (huomeni populari), because the nobility, according to the custom of France and Germany, all live in the country remote from the city.
Merchants. In order to say something of their riches, it is estimated that in the two companies of Adventurers (those who by special privilege can alone import goods from Flanders into England, and from England into Flanders), and of the Staplers (those to whom the exportation of wool is exclusively conceded), there are many individuals possessed of from fifty to sixty thousand pounds sterling, all or the greater part in ready money, which, according to the present course of exchange, makes more than two hundred thousand gold ducats; besides an endless number of others of various companies, such as dealers in tin, in spices, and other grocery wares (et altre cose grosse), who are called grocers (chiamati grossieri), and, which will appear incredible, the company of those who deal in salt fish, they being extraordinarily rich, either to the amount aforesaid, or to a greater sum; so that it may be said with truth that that city may doubtless stand comparison with the wealthiest in Europe.
The Navy. But passing over this part, and to speak first of the maritime forces, which must be principally considered, the kingdom being insular, the Crown, in the times of King Henry the Seventh and King Henry the Eighth, possessed more than a hundred ships, all ready appointed and provided with officers who received constant pay, that they might be ready to put to sea on the sudden, and go on any expedition. At present the number of ships scarcely amount to forty, either from neglect or necessity, in order to save the expense, part having been sold, and part having become unseaworthy (sono fatti innavigabili.) Yet these few remaining ships (when joined with those of private individuals, his subjects, of which the King makes use on all occasions as if they were his own, giving them pay, doing the like also in case of necessity by foreign shipping), are not only sufficient for defence, but if required would form a considerable force for offensive operations; for it is said that there are scattered in the different ports of the kingdom large vessels, and of all other sorts, but equally fit for service, and to act against an enemy, so great a number that if they were united together (which in time of need could easily be done by the King's command), they would form an extraordinary amount of many hundreds—the English say upwards of 200,000—we say, that were they of a middling number, it would doubtless be such (arrivariano a una quantità estraordinaria de molti centinara, meglio di m/200 (sic–12,000?) dicono gli Inglesi; diciamo noi, che fusseno unnumero mediocre, tale senza dubio) that by arming part of them with soldiers, artillery, and other necessary things (which, when occasion required, might be done without trouble, as in point of artillery, and every sort of ammunition and arms for their outfit, of which store is made constantly with all diligence, England has no cause to envy any other nation, even those the best provided), were they not to attack, they would at least have no fear of being unable to defend themselves against any force, however great (se non si opponessero, almanco non temeriano, mettendosi su la diffesa, qual si voglia maggior forza).
The Army. With regard to the land forces, speaking first of the infantry and footmen (fantarie e genti da piedi), these would indeed be innumerable were all those taken into account who, in case of need, ought to rise (uscire) as they are bound for the defence of the kingdom; for in one county alone of the 39 into which the kingdom is divided viz., that called York, it is said that for this service are enrolled 70,000 men and more, the vulgar rating them at 100,000; but not speaking of these, but only of men of deeds (huomeni da fattione) who would voluntarily and without compulsion come forward to serve as soldiers within the kingdom and abroad, these likewise would be in great number; and it is thought by competent judges that on coming to the proof, and making a general effort, a body of 20,000 or 25,000 would be found, who might all be armed with breast-plates (corsaletti) and steel weapons (arme bianche) by the Court. To these forces were there to be added those of the Lords and of private gentlemen (quelli dei Signori, e particolari baroni), for there is not one of them (however insignificant) who, in proportion to his retinue and rental, has not a store of arms for a considerable number of people, it being said that some of the chief of them, such as the Earls of Derby, Shrewsbury, and Westmoreland, and above all the Earl of Pembroke, could arm thousands. These troops, although armed, not being experienced and trained soldiers (because there would be few among them who would know how to move under arms, and to handle the pike, harquebuse, or other sort of weapon, it not being the custom in that kingdom for the inhabitants to perform any sort of exercise with similar arms (non usandosi in quel regno alcuna specie d'esercizio di simil sorte d'aroni), yet having veterans for their comrades, and many of the English themselves being experienced soldiers, as like other nations they go abroad and take part in one war and the other, they, at any rate, would produce great effect, and make a stout defence, from their natural disposition and tendency as common to them all, for which reason the recruits in like manner would stand firm, as everybody knows there is not a nation in the world that fights with less regard for danger and death than the English (non essendo, come ogniun sa, natione alcuna nel mondo, che combatti con stimar meno il pericolo, nè la morte delli Inglesi).
Weapons. This much concerning the infantry; nor will I omit to notice that among their offensive weapons in those parts they use certain long poles of the height of a man, thick, and armed with certain iron spikes at the head, three inches in length, issuing from all parts, which are very perilous weapons, calculated to smash and break the hardest substances (atte a spezzare e rompere qual si voglia duro incontro). But above all, their proper and natural weapons are the bow and arrow, of which so great is the number, owing to the general use made of them by all sorts of persons, without distinction of grade, age, or profession, that it exceeds all belief. This does not proceed merely from choice, but also from the obligation imposed generally on all heads of families to provide each individual of his household with them, including the little boys when they come to the age of nine years (et i putti piccoli come arrivano alli 9 anni); all for the sake not only of suppressing (rimover) every other exercise, but with all diligence to increase this one, in which the English place all their strength and all their hope, they, to say the truth, being most expert archers, so that they would not yield to any other people more trained and experienced than they are; and such is their opinion of archery and their esteem for it, that they doubtless prefer it to all sorts of arms, and to harquebuses, in which they trust less, feeling more sure of their bows and arrows; contrary, however, to the judgment of the captains and soldiers of other nations. They draw the bow with such force and dexterity at the same time, that some are said to pierce corslets and body-armour; and there are few among them, even those that are moderately practised, who will not undertake at a convenient distance, either aiming point-blank, or in the air (as they generally do, that the arrow may fly farther), to hit within an inch and a half (un mezzo palmo) of the mark. Such, for the most part, are their offensive arms.
Armour. As to defensive armour they have nothing of importance, either because they do not think about it, or that they hold it in no account, as whether on foot or on horseback when fighting against each other they prefer being nimble (expediti) and active, in order to be able to move forward and backward, and to run and leap, rather than to weight themselves with armour, which would impede their movements, though their persons would be much more secure; so generally for the defence of the head they use nothing but certain light sallets (alcune cellade leggieri) like ordinary skull-caps, rather than morions or anything of greater importance; and for the body they either use some sort of breastplate (qualche petto di corsaletto) which guards the forepart, although indifferently, or else more willingly (especially those who have the means) some jack (zacco) or shirt of mail; but what they usually wear are certain canvas doublets, quilted with many layers, each of which is two inches or more in thickness; and these doublets are considered the most secure defence against the shock of arrows. Upon their arms they place plates of mail, put lengthways, and nothing else.
Cavalry. As to the cavalry (I speak of light cavalry) if it were but of a good description it might be very numerous (questa se fosse buona saria certo infinita), as that island produces a greater number of horses than any other region (regione) in Europe; but the horses being weak and of bad wind, fed merely on grass, being like sheep and all other cattle kept in field or pasture at all seasons, the mildness of the climate (la temperie del aere) admitting of this, they cannot stand much work, nor are they held in much account, but nevertheless, as they are mettlesome and high couraged, most especially if they chance to be Welch, when in the field, they are said to do fairly (according to their small strength) for reconnoitering and foraging, and to harass the enemy, and they would do much better were they better fed. With regard to heavy horse, good for men-at-arms, the island does not produce any, except a few in Wales, and an equally small amount from the Crown studs; so the country cannot have any considerable quantity of heavy horse. The need of this sort of cavalry being by degrees ascertained, and as all the lords, barons, and prelates are bound to keep a certain amount of them for the defence of the kingdom and for the service of the Crown, all those who have the means, finding it more advantageous, endeavour to form studs of their own. The heavy horse, therefore, now seen are all foreign, imported from Flanders, the Queen having chosen all persons to provide the amount assigned them, lest from want of horses the thing should fall into disuse, as it was doing. Now, if all the forces which exist of this description were brought together at a general muster, accompanied by those of the “Pensioners,” and of the gentlemen called servants, (fn. 7) and of the archers of the Court, who are all bound to serve on horseback in armour, they would form a body exceeding 2,000 men, a considerable force to have, all excellently armed as “men-at-arms,” most perfectly, (fn. 8) and many of them having barbed horses, enabling them to serve in any conflict.
Of this sort are the forces of the English, capable, as is evident, to resist any invasion from abroad, provided there be union in the kingdom; to which might also be added any amount of auxiliary soldiers from the kingdom of Ireland, a wild set of men (huomini selvaggi), subject to the Crown of England, who without impediment would be sent, after a passage of one day, or in some places of only eight or ten hours, as has been done on former occasions, when, according to report, they acted fairly well. (fn. 9)
Defences.; Beacons. Besides these defences, the kingdom is strong in itself, from what nature has provided it with, having placed it on an island surrounded by a sea exhibiting phenomena quite different to those of all the seas hitherto discovered, as on no other shore in the east or west, except on that coast and on the opposite one of Britanny, is such a strong tide to be found, with so remarkable an ebb and flow that the ordinary high-water mark exceeds that of low-water by 12 or 15 fathoms (di 12 fin 15 passa), which is the reason that, as the kingdom may be considered as one general fortification, the sovereigns have paid but little attention to fortifications in detail, deeming the latter superfluous either with regard to domestic or foreign enemies. For, as to the former, the point always was, and still is, to gain the field, of which whosoever is the master, has been, is, and always will be, the master of the kingdom; and he will reduce the enemy (were he to retire to a fortress) to consume himself, and perish, without relief, by famine; such is the nature of the island. As to foreign enemies, since these could not act except by means of fleets, the system has been, and continues to be, to prevent them from approaching any part of the island except with risk and danger. With this view, therefore, in suspicious times, guards are stationed round the island, and along the coast on eminences, to give notice by means of signals, as is done in the Levant when apprehensions are entertained of the corsairs (in the day-time by smoke (con il fumo), and in the night by fires), thus giving notice to the whole kingdom of the unexpected approach of vessels, so that the country people, apprised by these signals, may hasten immediately to the point which is threatened, as they are bound to do (all heads of families being answerable with their lives) with an armed force, and provisions for four days at least. By these, together with the guards, and stores of arms, artillery, and ammunition with which the ports are usually furnished, the defence is secured; for the forces thus mustered can never be so few nor so feeble as not to be able to oppose any sudden attack, and with the succour that would hourly reinforce them, to maintain a good defence and avert the danger, so much the more as on the part of the enemy the invader would be at the mercy of wind and tide in attempting to approach the ports, which cannot be entered except at high water, or with so very fair a wind as may be able to overcome the force of the tide. The example afforded by Cæsar and others, whose expeditions (armate) miscarried (andate a traverso), discourages all invaders from venturing to remain off the coasts, which are very dangerous, and the winds most changeable, so that from the sea no sudden attempt can be made on the kingdom without great danger and inconvenience.
The Scottish Borders. On the land side it is only the northern provinces, towards Scotland, that require garrisons. The Scots might otherwise at any hour make inroads and commit depredations, stimulated not only by the hope of plunder (a great temptation, as they inhabit a barren and consequently a poor country), but also by the hatred which neighbouring nations generally entertain one towards another, which is increased, in this instance, by constant wars, old quarrels, and disputes about confines. This frontier is secured by a force of 1,500 soldiers, distributed in four places; the greater part in Berwick, the frontier to the east at the mouth of the Tweed, a strong town, and which has a great trade from the salmon fishery; it was taken from the Scots in a war long ago, and never either restored to or recovered by them. Another garrison is in the city of Carlisle, the frontier town to the west. The remainder are stationed in two other towns of less importance, situated between the former, viz., one called Norham, the other Wark, besides the city of Durham, a place in very great renown among the English. Though in this city no soldiers are commonly kept and paid, yet, being very populous, it has always been reputed one of the chief bulwarks against the inroads of the Scots, of whose disposition towards the present Queen I will tell hereafter, when speaking of that of other sovereigns.
Calais and Guisnes. Another frontier besides that of Scotland, and of no less importance for the security of the kingdom, though it be separated from it, is that which the English occupy on the other side of the sea, by means of two fortresses, Calais and Guisnes, guarded by them (and justly) with jealousy, especially Calais. For this is the key and principal entrance to their dominions, without which the English would have no outlet from their own nor access to other countries; at least none so easy, so short, and so secure; so much so that if they were deprived of it they would remain as it were (being on an island) separated from the mainland, and thus quite shut out from the commerce and intercourse of the world. They would consequently lose what is essentially necessary for the existence of a country, and become dependent on the good pleasure of other princes in availing themselves of their ports, besides having to encounter a more distant, more hazardous, and more expensive passage; whereas by way of Calais, which is directly opposite (opposita per diametro) to the harbour of Dover, distant only about 30 miles, they can at any time, without hindrance, even in spite of contrary winds, at their pleasure enter or leave the harbour (such is the experience and boldness of their sailors (tanta è fatta la pratica, e l'ardire di quei marinari), and carry over either troops or anything else for warfare, offensive and defensive, besides causing jealousy and suspicion, as Calais not being more than two (sic) (10?) miles from Ardres, the frontier of the French, and the same distance from Gravelines, the frontier of the Imperialists, they can promise to join either the one or the other as they please, and to unite their forces to those of him with whom they are at amity, in prejudice of the enemy. For these reasons, therefore, it is not to be wondered at that, besides the inhabitants of the place, who are esteemed men of most unshaken fidelity, being the descendants of an English colony sent to reside there shortly after its first conquest, it should also be guarded by one of the most trusty (confidenti) barons in the King's service, with the title of deputy, with a garrison (una guardia) of 500 of the best soldiers, besides a troop (una compagnia) of 50 horsemen. It is considered by everyone as an impregnable fortress, on account of the inundation with which it may be surrounded, although certain engineers doubt that it would prove so if put to the test. For the same reason Guisnes is also reckoned impregnable, situated about three miles more inland, on the French frontier, and guarded with the same care, though being a smaller place, only by 150 men, under a chief governor. The same is done with regard to a third place, called Hammes, situated between the two former, and thought to be of equal importance, the waters which serve to inundate the territory stagnating there (stagnando di là). So by these fortresses, besides the forces which I have described, the kingdom is secured. (fn. 10)
Laws. With regard to the government of the realm, it is very different from that of other kingdoms, for in judicial affairs it is not ruled by civil and imperial laws like other Christian countries, but by municipal ones, like this Republic (Havendo detto a sufficienza delle forze e fortezza del Regno, resteria, ch' Io dicessi della forma del Governo, perchè fusse conoseiuta la molta diversità di quello alli altri regni e provincie Christiane, non governato da leggi civili et imperiali, ma da municipali, come questa Republica); which code having been instituted by William of Normandy, “the Conqueror,” it is no wonder that they should tend to the King's advantage, and but little to that of his subjects, and that they should abound in contradictions, intricacies (intrighi), and doubts, having been instituted by the Norman nation, than which there is none in the world more versed (più istrutta) in the fallacies and delays of litigation. These laws are observed inviolably in all their rigour when sentences are passed; and in the Inns of Court in London (nelli collegij di Londra) they are read in the Norman tongue, in which, a few years ago, law-suits were conducted, all legal deeds performed, and all public documents written; and, what will seem strange in these same laws, they confer the degree of doctor (a custom quite peculiar to England), and, besides that, they give the doctorate in civil and canon law, as at the Italian universities.
The monarchy.; The Privy Council.; Officers of State.; Parliament. With the exception of judicial matters, the government of the kingdom, and the affairs of state likewise, all depend on the will of the kings, they having made themselves, as they are, masters and absolute lords; so either from indolence, or for their convenience, or for their additional grandeur (per maggior grandezza) (following in this respect the custom of the Grand Turk), they do but rarely give ear (admetter) to business or negotiations, and have formed a Council similar to that of the Bashaws, composed of the chief personages, viz., the most confidential ministers they have, who almost in the same fashion as the Bashaws assemble together, and, following the King's person (for which purpose they have board and lodging at court, and are served with great pomp and respect), they ease the King of the fatigue and inconvenience of governing, and they are applied to, not only by their Majesties' subjects and the public servants, but by the ambassadors of crowned heads, so that it may be said they are the ears, the person, and the voice itself of the King. Into this sort of council, called the Royal Council, are usually admitted the three or four principal officials of the realm, the Chancellor, the Treasurer, and the one styled by them Privy Seal, that is to say, the Keeper of the Privy Seal, and the Admiral, besides the principal officials of the Court and of the King's Household, such as the Steward, whose office corresponds to that of Grand Master in France, and maggior-domo maggiore in the Emperor's court, and the Comptroller, who has the particular charge of the expenses and provisions of the Court. All of them are usually chosen from amongst the chief nobility, though not from obligation nor of necessity, but by the King's will, though it is presupposed that the principal charges and offices of the realm and of the Court can only be conferred on great personages, and above all on such as are in the confidence of the sovereign, who, never limiting himself to any certain number, also admits others into it, regardless of nobility or ignobility (senza riguardo di nobilità ò d'ignobilità), either of ecclesiastical or secular grade, such persons, in short, as are most to his taste; and in this matter likewise fortune and favour often prevail over merit. By these individuals the kingdom is governed in all circumstances under the pleasure of the King. But inasmuch as occasionally certain public matters occur concerning either the benefit or detriment of the realm or the subjects, such as passing new laws, revising or amending old ones, making provision of money for any intended war, or for other public necessities, in such and similar cases the kings, from discretion (per modestia), continue the ancient custom of calling Parliaments, assembling in them the three estates and orders of the realm, viz., the clergy, the nobles, and the commons, in order that, the necessary matters being investigated and decided by them, their kings may then either confirm or reject the Parliaments' decrees. It is certain that at the beginning, when the Parliaments were ordained, and for many subsequent years, their licence and security were so great that the most insignificant members seated in them (etiam il minimo di quelli, che vi intervenivano) might without any danger (even had he spoken against the King's person) have said freely whatever he thought most becoming patriotic zeal and the common weal, as to say the truth, in those times the kings were civil and political chiefs, rather than lords and monarchs, as they now are; so that whereas at the beginning the power of the kings appeared, as it really was, depressed by the Parliaments, by so much the more, on the contrary, since the time of Edward III., who reigned in 1327, and subsequently, owing to the potency (potentia) of the kings, the power (podestà) of the Parliaments was greatly diminished, there remaining in existence at the present day their ancient form rather than any of their original authority and liberty. The kings now make use of them more to cloak, by this appearance, their own desires and appetites, and to rid themselves of fatigue and inconvenience in consultations on doubtful and detrimental matters concerning perilous affairs, rather than to resign any of the power which they possess, for nothing determined upon in Parliament is valid unless confirmed by the King, nor can Parliaments of their own accord (da loro) pass any act or decree, nor even assemble unless called by the kings, who by a variety of means keep out and bring in (if they have a mind to do so, and if it answers their purpose) whomsoever best pleases them, and on whose will they think they can most rely, they having now rendered themselves so formidable and powerful that they “can what they will” (che possono ciò che vogliono), as no one either in or out of Parliament, save to their grievous injury and utter ruin, dare, not merely to oppose their will, but to make the slightest sign against it, so that in like manner as the members returned are servants and subjects, so are the acts of the said Parliaments servile and submissive (fn. 11) (in modo che si come servi, e sudditi son quelli, che vi intervengono, così serve, e suddite sono le attioni che si trattano in essi).
Queen Mary. As known to your Serenity, England is now ruled by Queen Mary and by her husband, Philip of Austria, King of Spain. To commence with her, as mistress of the kingdom, she was born (of Henry VIII. and Katharine of Aragon, daughter of King Ferdinand the Catholic, his first and legitimate wife) in the month of February 1516, so she entered her 43rd year last February. Besides her noble descent, she in our times is a very great and rare example of virtue and magnanimity (di virtà e di valore), a real portrait of patience and humility, and of the true fear of God, by whom (it may be supposed) she was miraculously reserved (riservata), after so many troubles and perils, for (fn. 12) no other cause than to be raised to so high a grade from one so very abject (to use that term) and very vile (vilissima) in which she was kept for so long a course of years. Few other women in the world of her rank ever lived more wretchedly, as must be known to your Serenity and to every one, not only owing to the divorce, which, with such great impiety, solely from violent and rabid lust, she saw her father effect from the Queen her mother, after she had lived with her husband for 20 years, and borne him, besides herself, a son, who died three months after his birth, but from seeing herself, with the same impiety, disinherited and declared a bastard, instead of legitimate, and only daughter, and heiress of the kingdom, as she was. But yet worse treatment awaited her, for with very great indignity she had to serve as her mistress (come a patrona) a public strumpet (una publica meretrice), her father's concubine, that famous Anne Boleyn, whom she saw not only succeed to her mother's place, but also, during that mother's lifetime, raised to the crown of England. Besides this, and to the degradations, the injuries, the threats, and the affronts endured by her after the change of the religion and the spoliation of the churches and their final ruin, from her never having chosen to apostatize, nor to adhere to the heretical opinions of those who ruled in the time of her brother King Edward, her life having then been often in danger, she subsequently, on his death, saw herself excluded from the succession by the act of one of her own subjects, that no less daring than impious Duke of Northumberland, she being also abandoned by everybody, and miserably put to flight, together with her forces (con gli eserciti), her enemies intending to annihilate her completely; and, last of all, after her coronation [1553, September 29] from the insurrections to which during three years she has several times been exposed, it is evident that from the commencement of her life until now she has never been free since sorrows and dangers (non è mai uscita di affanni e pericoli), against which it seems impossible for her to have been able to struggle had she not been assisted by some great favour from God, and by some especial care which He has of her innocence.
The Queen's personal qualities. She is of low rather than of middling stature, but, although short (piccola), she has no personal defect in her limbs, nor is any part of her body deformed (offesa). She is of spare (magra) and delicate frame, quite unlike her father, who was tall and stout; nor does she resemble her mother, who, if not tall, was nevertheless bulky (masiccia). Her face is well formed, as shown by her features and lineaments, and as seen by her portraits. When younger she was considered, not merely tolerably handsome, but of beauty exceeding mediocrity (non pur tenuta honesta, ma pià che mediocremente bella). At present, with the exception of some wrinkles, caused more by anxieties than by age, which make her appear some years older, her aspect, for the rest, is very grave (adesso cavate qualche crespe causate più dalli affanni, che dalla età che la mostrano attempata di qualche anni di pià nel resto molto grave). Her eyes are so piercing that they inspire, not only respect, but fear, in those on whom she fixes them, although she is very shortsighted, being unable to read or do anything else unless she has her sight quite close to what she wishes to peruse or to see distinctly. Her voice is rough and loud, almost like a man's, so that when she speaks she is always heard a long way off. (fn. 13) In short, she is a seemly woman (una donna honesta), and never to be loathed for ugliness, even at her present age, without considering her degree of queen. But whatever may be the amount deducted from her physical endowments, as much more may with truth, and without flattery, be added to those of her mind, as, besides the facility (facilità) and quickness (accortezza) of her understanding, which comprehends whatever is intelligible to others, even to those who are not of her own sex (a marvellous gift for a woman), she is skilled (instrutta) in five languages, not merely understanding, but speaking four of them fluently, viz., English, Latin, French, Spanish, and Italian, in which last, however, she does not venture to converse, although it is well known to her; but the replies she gives in Latin, and her very intelligent remarks made in that tongue (et con gli propositi che tiene intendentissimamente) surprise everybody. Besides woman's work, such as embroidery of every sort with the needle, she also practises music, playing especially on the claricorde (manicordo) (fn. 14) and on the lute so excellently that, when intent on it (though now she plays rarely), she surprised the best performers, both by the rapidity of her hand and by her style of playing. Such are her virtues and external accomplishments (ornamenti). Internally, with the exception of certain trifles, in which, to say the truth, she is like other women, being sudden and passionate (subita e sdegnosa), and close and miserly (streta e miscreta), rather more so than would become a bountiful and generous queen, she in other respects has no notable imperfections; whilst in certain things she is singular and without an equal, for not only is she brave and valiant, unlike other timid and spiritless women, but so courageous and resolute that neither in adversity nor peril did she ever even display or commit any act of cowardice or pusillanimity, maintaining always, on the contrary, a wonderful grandeur and dignity, knowing what became the dignity of a sovereign as well as any of the most consummate statesmen in her service; so that from her way of proceeding, and from the method observed by her (and in which she still perseveres), it cannot be denied that she shows herself to have been born of truly royal lineage. Of her humility, piety, and religion it is unnecessary to speak, or bear witness to them, as they are not only universally acknowledged, but recently blazoned by proofs and facts which fell little short of martyrdom, by reason of the persecutions she endured; so that it may be said of her, as Cardinal Pole says with truth, that in the darkness and obscurity of that kingdom she remained precisely like a feeble light buffetted by raging winds for its utter extinction, but always kept burning and defended by her innocence and lively faith, that it might shine in the world as it now does shine. It is certain that few women in the world (I do not speak of princesses or of queens, but of private women) are known to be more assiduous at their prayers than she is, never choosing to suspend them for any impediment whatever, going at the canonical hours (di hora in hora) with her chaplains either to church in public or to her private chapel, doing the like with regard to the communions and fast days, and, finally, to all other Christian works, precisely like a nun and a religious (apunto come una monaca, et una religiosa).
The Queen's reliance on Cardinal Pole.; Insurrections against her. Respecting the government and public business she is compelled (being of a sex which cannot becomingly take more than a moderate part in them), according to the custom of other sovereigns, to refer many matters to her councillors and ministers. The truth is that, knowing the divisions which exist amongst them (che conoscendo le divisioni che sono tra loro), her Majesty, in order not to be deceived, and for the prevention of scandal, willed (with the King's consent) that Cardinal Pole should hear and have everything referred to him, it being evident that, whilst showing the utmost confidence in him, she distrusts almost all the others; and she says freely that in government affairs, most especially in cases of conscience and of offence against God (about which she shows herself beyond measure sensitive) (sopro modo gelosa), she refers herself to the Cardinal, protesting that should errors be committed they will be attributed to him. In this she is most judicious and most fortunate, God having provided her with a minister so much in conformity with herself, and of such great qualities (as your Serenity will hear in full when I come to speak of him), that she might live with her mind at ease, and quite consoled, were she likewise undisturbed by her own thoughts and passions, both public and private, which often subject her to a very deep melancholy, much greater than that to which she is constitutionally liable, from menstruous retention and suffocation of the matrix (per la retentione de' menstrui, e soffocatione della matrice), to which for many years she has been often subject, so that the remedy of tears and weeping, to which from childhood she has been accustomed, and still often used by her, is not sufficient; she requires to be blooded either from the foot or elsewhere, which keeps her always pale and emaciated (pallida e macilente). Amongst her afflictions, what she chiefly laments is the fruitlessness of her marriage, and consequently the dangers which threaten the restoration of the Catholic religion and of the obedience of the English Church, both of which she sought with so much zeal and ardour. These now doubtlessly prevail (prevagliono) because they are sustained (sustentate) by her authority and presence, but were she to die, their utter failure is apprehended, as your Serenity will hear when I come to speak of the religion. Besides, she is also greatly grieved by the insurrections, conspiracies, and plots formed against her daily, both at home and abroad, and although hitherto, by the mercy of God, they have not caused any damage or detriment, but have resulted auspiciously for her and inauspiciously for their authors, yet nevertheless, it being necessary, on such occasions, to proceed to capital punishment or confiscation against one person or another, sometimes for crime and sometimes on suspicion, she knows that by these means the hatred and indignation she inspires are increased, the delinquents being not only excused almost by everybody, but the causes, such as the expulsion of foreigners (who are most odious to the English on account of the Spaniards), or the religion, or both together, assigned by the conspirators for their movements, being tacitly approved of.
Her debts.; Her love of King Philip. The consequence is that as until now the plots have been set-on-foot (mosse) by the commonalty and persons of mean extraction (da gente bassa e populare), so from the fickleness of that nation (per la inconstantia di coloro), were they excited (mosse) by some personage (signore) or nobleman of importance, there is no doubt they would create a great revolution throughout the realm; much to the personal danger of the Queen, and of her life; the kingdom being still full of humours and discontent, and the country (gli animi) showing a greater inclination and readiness for change than ever, provided it had a leader. Besides these and many other distresses the Queen witnesses the daily increasing decline of the affection evinced towards her universally at the commencement of her reign, (fn. 15) which in truth was such and so extraordinary that never was greater shown in that kingdom towards any sovereign; and she is also harassed by the poverty in which she sees the Crown, owing not only to the past debts and disorders but to the many expenses and to the wants incurred in her own time, which prevent her from showing courtesy and liberality such as become a sovereign, either to her own subjects or to others. She is compelled on the contrary (there being no other remedy) daily to repeat her demands for loans and subsidies, which have now become such a grievance, and so much the more odious to the people (alli populj), as notwithstanding all the subsidies the creditors remain unpaid, the majority having arrears due to them for entire years, so that their clamours and complaints being redoubled, the hatred of all the other malcontents increases proportionably. These and many others are the public causes of the Queen's distress, and although they are held by her in great account, she nevertheless feels them less painfully than certain others which affect her personally, as respecting those already mentioned by me, she comforts herself with the hope of their being remedied in the course of time by the counsel and diligence of some of her ministers, especially Cardinal Pole, through the care taken by them to investigate and retrench superfluities and abuses, and thus with the aid of parsimony getting out of debt, as she expects to do shortly, so as then to be enabled to use liberality, confer favours and rewards, and relieve those who are in want. For those distresses she consoles herself, but for these others of which I will now tell she has no remedy, and but little or no consolation. They arise from two causes, or rather from two contrary effects, viz., from love and from hatred. From love proceeds her being enamoured, as she justly is (so far as could be known whilst they lived together), (fn. 16) of her husband, and of his character (natura) and manners, which are such as to captivate any one, and above all a person who had such good companionship and good treatment as she enjoyed with him, for in truth no one could have been a better husband to her, nor so good a one; and now to think of losing him, as they can only meet by accident, he unfortunately being from necessity always in motion and always travelling, leaving her bereaved, not only of that company, for the sake of which (besides the hope of lineage) marriages are formed; this separation, which to any person who loves another heartily, would be irksome and grievous, is assuredly so to a woman naturally tender (ad una donna tenera di natura). From this fear and violent love for him (martello) she may be said never to pass a day without anxiety; and if besides the violent love (martello) there were to be added jealousy, which as yet she is not known to feel, for if she does not hold the King chaste, I at least know that she says she believes him free from love for any other woman; were she, I say, jealous, she would be truly miserable; and this separation is one of the anxieties that especially distresses her.
Mary's hatred of Elizabeth. The other, which proceeds from hatred, is owing to her evil disposition (mala dispositione) towards her sister my Lady Elizabeth, which although dissembled, it cannot be denied that she displays in many ways the scorn and ill will (lo sdegno e la mala voluntà) she bears her; the Queen, whenever she sees her, fancying herself in the presence of the affronts and ignominious treatment to which she was subjected on account of her mother, from whom in great part the divorce from Queen Katherine originated. But what disquiets her most of all is to see the eyes and hearts of the nation already fixed on this lady (sopra costei) as successor to the Crown, from despair of descent from the Queen, to whom the demonstration and the thought are by so much the more bitter and odious as it would be most grievous, not only to her but to any one to see the illegitimate child of a criminal who was punished as a public strumpet, on the point of inheriting the throne with better fortune than herself, whose descent is rightful, legitimate, and regal. (fn. 17) Besides this the Queen's hatred is increased by knowing her to be averse to the present religion, she having not only been born in the other, but being versed (dotta) and educated in it; for although externally she showed, and by living catholically shows, that she has recanted, she is nevertheless supposed to dissemble, and to hold to it more than ever internally.
Lady Elizabeth. Of this sister of hers I must remind your Serenity that after the repudiation of Queen Katharine (the present Queen's mother) she was born of Henry VIII. and of his second wife Anne Boleyn, an Englishwoman and of noble birth, although two years afterwards she was beheaded for adultery. My Lady Elizabeth was born in September 1533, so she is now 23 years old. She is a young woman, whose mind is considered no less excellent (bello) than her person, although her face is comely (gratiosa) rather than handsome, but she is tall and well formed, with a good skin, although swarthy (ancorchè olivastra); she has fine eyes and above all a beautiful hand of which she makes a display (della quale ne fa professione); and her intellect and understanding (spirito et ingegno) are wonderful, as she showed very plainly by her conduct when in danger and under suspicion. As a linguist she excels the Queen, for besides Latin she has no slight knowledge of Greek, and speaks Italian more than the Queen does, taking so much pleasure in it that from vanity (per ambitione) she will never speak any other language with Italians. She is proud and haughty, as although she knows that she was born of such a mother, she nevertheless does not consider herself of inferior degree to the Queen, whom she equals in self-esteem; nor does she believe herself less legitimate than her Majesty, alleging in her own favour that her mother would never cohabit with the King unless by way of marriage, with the authority of the Church, and the intervention of the Primate of England; so that even if deceived, having as a subject acted with good faith, the fact cannot have invalidated her mother's marriage, nor her own birth, she having been born under that same faith; and supposing her to be a bastard (e posto che fusse bastarda), she prides herself on her father and glories in him; everybody saying that she also resembles him more than the Queen does; and he therefore always liked her and had her brought up (e fatta nutrir) in the same way as the Queen, and bequeathed to each of them 10,000 scudi per annum, and, what matters more, substituted her in the stead of the Queen as successor to the Crown, should he die without male heirs. She now lives upon this settlement (provisione) from her father, but is always in debt, and would be much more so did she not steadily restrain herself to avoid any increase of the Queen's hatred and anger, either by increasing the number of gentlemen and servants of her household, or by adding to her expenditure in any other way; and here I may add that there is not a lord or gentleman in the kingdom who has failed, and continues endeavouring, to enter her service himself or to place one of his sons or brothers in it, such being the love and affection borne her. When requested to take servants she always excuses herself on account of the straits and poverty in which she is kept, and by this astute and judicious apology she adroitly incites a tacit compassion for herself and consequently yet greater affection, as it seems strange and vexatious to everybody that being the daughter of a King she should be treated and acknowledged so sparingly (così miseramente). Since Wyatt's rebellion she may be said never to have been at liberty, for although she is allowed to live at a house of hers called Hatfield, 12 miles from London, the Queen has nevertheless many spies and guards in the neighbourhood who keep strict watch on all persons passing to and fro, nor is any thing said or done that is not immediately reported to the Queen, so she is obliged to act very cautiously (molto intertenuta).
Favour shown by Philip to Elizabeth. At the time of the Queen's pregnancy, Lady Elizabeth, when made to come to the court, contrived so to ingratiate herself with all the Spaniards, and especially with the King, that ever since no one has favoured her more than he does; for not only would he not permit but opposed and prevented the Queen's wish to have her disinherited and declared a bastard by Act of Parliament, and consequently ineligible to the throne, which, besides affection, implies some particular design on the part of the King with regard to her. (Il quale non solo non volse permetter, ma si oppose, et impedì, che non fusse, come voleva la Regina, per atto di Parlamento esheredata e dechiarata Bastarda, e consequentemente inhabile alla successione, il che arguisce oltre l'affeltione, particular dissegno che'l re ne habbi.) His Majesty also dissauded and prevented the Queen from sending her out of the kingdom, to Spain or elsewhere, as she wished to do. From this your Serenity can comprehend what the Queen thinks of her, for there is no doubt whatever but that had not her Majesty been restrained by the King, and by the fear of some insurrection she for any trifling cause (con ogni mediocre occasione) would gladly have inflicted every sort of punishment on her; so great is the effect produced by recollection, not only of past offences but also of present ones, for it unfortunately appears that never is a conspiracy discovered in which either justly or unjustly she or some of her servants are not mentioned. But the respects to which I have alluded hold the Queen's hand, and having no suitable cause to proceed against her she dissembles her hatred and anger as much as she can, and endeavours when they are together in public to receive her with every sort of graciousness and honour, nor does she ever converse with her about any but agreeable subjects (ne mai le parla se non di cose piacevoli). Such is the position of my Lady Elizabeth, of whose marriage and of what may be hoped about it, your Serenity will be better able to form an opinion when I shall have occasion to speak about the succession to the Crown (della successione del Regno).
The Queen's supposed pregnancy. Returning now to my first discourse about the Queen, I repeat that from the aforesaid causes and considerations, she the more distresses herself, perceiving daily that no one believes in the possibility of her having progeny, so that day by day she sees her authority and the respect induced by it diminish, nor is to be told how much hurt that vain pregnancy (quella vana gravidanza) did her; which, as I know that many persons interpreted it in a different sense to what it deserved, I therefore, to rectify the mistake of some of those who had a contrary opinion, assure your Serenity that there was neither deceit nor malice in the matter, but mere error, not only on the part of the King and Queen, but on that of the councillors and of the whole Court, which for a long while rendered their belief common to everybody, as besides all the other manifest signs of pregnancy there was that of the swelling of the paps and their emission of milk (perchè oltre tutti gli altri manifesti segni di gravidanza, non vi mancò quello dello ingrossarsi le tette, e mandar fuor del latte), although as known by the result, that likewise proceeded from the stoppage of her courses (retentione de' menstrui).
King Philip. Having spoken sufficiently about the Queen's qualities, whilst reserving for my conclusion what concerns her understanding with other sovereigns, it is well for me to tell briefly of those of the King, to make known the authority held by him in the administration of the kingdom, and in what way he exercises it, as everybody calls him King, and as such (precisely like the Queen) he signs all public acts; but I will not speak about his paternal forces and States, as they are foreign to the present subject, and would require a particular “report,” which your Serenity may expect, in a very ample form, from the most noble Messer Ferigo Badoer, in conformity with his charge and especial office. (fn. 18)
His personal qualities. King Philip is the very image and portrait of the Emperor his father, resembling him most perfectly in complexion, face, and features, his lip projecting more than the Emperor's, whose other qualities (qualità) are all common to him, but he is of lower stature, being short though very well formed and strong, as has been often seen at several sorts of tourneys when armed or disarmed, on foot, or on horseback. Besides being like the Emperor in appearance, in habits (costumi), and mode of life, he imitates (to commence with this) to the utmost his benign and gracious ways and actions (vie et attioni), maintaining also gravity; it being said that hitherto in these respects he is superior to his father, who although extremely grave (gravissimo) was nevertheless very gracious, and he has quite lost that haughtiness and sosiego as the Spaniards call it, which rendered him so odious the first time he went out of Spain. (fn. 19) The patience and facility with which he gives audience to all persons, however lowly their condition, cannot be exceeded, for not only at the usual audience hours (when no mediator is required) but whenever suitors please they can approach him freely, occupying his time with petitions and memorials without ever being repulsed or impeded, and even when he has retired either for business or convenience, the slightest medium suffices to obtain extraordinary audiences.
Philip's war with the Pope. Although his replies are limited and of few words, as he is also said to be in conversation, yet nevertheless in the despatch of business (which is tedious, according to the custom of the Spanish nation) he concedes much more than the intention announced by him verbally would imply. His ability is excellent, as he easily comprehends and remembers (fn. 20) what is said to him, and although he never departs from his maternal and native Spanish tongue, he understands and speaks Latin likewise, but not well (benchè debilmente), understanding Italian without difficulty, and French also it is said. Besides ability (ingegno) he is supposed to have fair judgment (honesto giuditio) I do not say for his age, (as having now entered his thirtieth year, he ought as a sovereign to know more than is known to other men at the age of 40) but with regard to his little experience; and his councillors narrate many cases and very striking examples of the same assiduity and patience displayed by him in business, as that with which he gives audience, for he does not disdain to attend the Council during four or five consecutive hours at a time. Respecting liberality, the chief attribute of a King, (were he not restrained by present penury owing to incessant wars) from the proof afforded by him of it, the greater his revenue, the more largely would be distribute his money. As for religion (which in a Prince is a chief consideration) no better opinion could be formed than from external appearances. He is assiduous and most punctual in his attendance at masses, vespers, and sermons, like a “religious,” much more so than many persons think becomes his station and his age. The like is said of him intrinsically, both by certain friars, theologians, his preachers, who are doubtless estimable men, and also by others who treat with him daily about cases of conscience, and do not desire any better or more pious intention than his; and although at present he seems to have lost much of this opinion through the war waged by him against the Pope, his Majesty having been the aggressor, yet must your Serenity know that he did not move of his own accord, nor without the counsel and opinion of all the theologians and doctors in the University of Louvain and many other places, he being jealous and most scrupulous in this matter. They assured him accordingly, that he was not acting contrary to piety, nor in opposition to the office of Catholic King (the title borne by him), because they said that moving war solely for the security and defence of his states, it is lawful in similar cases for the vassal, and yet more so for a son, to anticipate the attack which he sees is being prepared against him by his [spiritual?] father and by his prince; there being also some of them who spoke more freely, saying that it was lawful to disarm the frantic prince (che era licito levar le armi di mano al Principe furioso); so with the favour of these theologians, King Philip thought himself justified conscientiously both before God and man; nor have I more to say about his religion.
Comparison between Charles V. and King Philip. For the rest, as to his not giving promise of that magnanimity and spirit which becomes so powerful a prince, nor such ambition and desire for glory and domination as was displayed by the Emperor his father, taking a totally different course, namely that of quiet and repose; in this matter, I for my own part believe that as yet no positive opinion can be formed, for he only now begins to act and rule. Nor do I think it can be well known whether his present inclination proceeds from nature, from choice, or from necessity, owing to the many and great difficulties in which he is placed, but even were he thus inclined by nature, time, and the various accidents which may occur in the world from one hour to another, may make him change both his resolve and his nature. He has no want of enemies who believe him to be alert (svegliato) and will perhaps find him more so than needed, for to argue by a simile at his age, even the Emperor had scarcely stirred, and on the contrary everybody, or the majority, believed him to be stupid and sluggish (stupido e adormentato) (fn. 21), and then on the sudden and unexpectedly he showed himself so brisk, so daring, and so courageous, as is known much better to your Serenity than to me. It often happens that certain persons constitutionally tardy and quiet, and by nature placid and sluggish (dormentali), when roused and stimulated, at length wake up and easily turn the other way, most especially if some prosperous event befalls them from which they take courage, and become intrepid and terrible. But as the King until now has not taken part personally in any warlike expedition, his defenders, to exonerate him from the charge of timidity and cowardice, say that it did not proceed from his own resolve and disinclination for war, in which he often wished to take part, but from the Emperor's will, to which never was there a more obedient son. Being his sole male heir, and the King's constitution delicate, the Emperor would not expose him to fatigue and dangers, and even now his Majesty shows signs of becoming soon infirm and a valetudinarian, not only because he is naturally languid and taking but little or no exercise, but also from being subject to very frequent bowel-complaints (dolori colici) which daily harass him more and more. So the Emperor would not expose him to those fatigues and perils; besides which, to have removed him from Spain to keep him about his person, and to have made him his companion in the camp, would have prevented him from governing his kingdoms, which, as known to everybody, cannot remain without the presence of a ruler, independently of expense, &c.
Philip's abhorrence of war. Now that he is his own master and dependent solely on his own will, it will soon be seen what he will do, as it cannot be doubted from the provisions and preparations now being made, that (as reported) he will take the field this year; but even should he do so, I can say that it will be of necessity rather than from choice, as I have it on the best authority, that by nature he abhors war, though now inclined to wage it in person; nor would he ever bring himself to this except under constraint, as at present, for the sake of undeceiving the world, and especially his enemies with regard to their opinion of his being cowardly and spiritless (vile e di da pocco), and that he is incapable of resenting injuries and knows not how to do so. This was the cause which principally induced him to take up arms against the Pope, rather than any suspicion caused by the Pope's arming and negotiating leagues and confederacies (leghe et intelligentie) with other princes, against him and his States, these proceedings being less resented by the King than the contempt with which he was treated, and the Pope's mean opinion of him, expressed moreover in scurrilous language (con parole poco honeste). Apart, however, from the necessity for him to battle in person, I know that if compelled to wage war either offensive or defensive, he prefers the procedure of his ancestor the Catholic King [Ferdinand] (who had it made by his captains without going himself in person) to that of the Emperor his father, who chose to command his own armies; and in this opinion the King is confirmed by the Spaniards, and by his most intimate advisers, who tell him that the Emperor himself gained more, and was more glorious through the feats performed by Antonio de Leva, by the Lord Prospero [Colonna] and by the Marquis of Pescara [Ferdinando Francisco d'Avalos] and others, than by what he did with his own hand. By nature therefore and from choice, or from necessity, owing to the many difficulties and impediments in which he is left by his father, it may be considered certain, not only that he will follow the advice given him, but adhere to it more and more as he advances in life, even had he not the heavy responsibility of defending and preserving his realms, in which should he succeed he will have accomplished no slight achievement, the enemy being so powerful as he is, and the more daring as his forces are united and not dispersed, and he has good fortune, whilst on the other hand he knows how the Emperor left King Philip, not only with an exhausted exchequer, but overwhelmed with debts, (although at present this penury is common to both of them) the provinces being mortgaged (impegnate) and a good part of the ordinary revenues alienated and sold; so the King is compelled to have recourse to taxes and heavy impositions (taglioni) which have now become intolerable to his subjects, and very grievous to himself. He has no military commanders, and what matters more his councillors and ministers are all new men (huomini novi) and the greater part of them inexpert, and detested by the [Spanish?] nation. King Philip's nearest blood-relations envy him, and consequently he is hated by them also, so it is from no want of ill-will that they abstain from declaring themselves, and God knows what will take place after the death of the King of the Romans. (fn. 22)
Philip's relations with France. To all these troubles must be added this fresh one about the affairs of England, on which he is forced to keep his eye, by reason of their present threatening aspect, lest through the death of the Queen, or from some other accident, which owing to the nature of that kingdom may occur at any moment, he be not only deprived of it, but, what matters more, lest his enemies who aim at this should occupy England, or cause that realm to fall into their hands. By reason of these and other equally great difficulties, even were he naturally inclined to war, he would be compelled to abstain from it, there being no better remedy than repose, and the benefit of time, to repair the ruins and heal the wounds. On his first arrival in England he endeavoured by all means to effect some sort of adjustment between the King of France and his father, and was very dissatisfied when at the conference of Calais, which was attended by Cardinal Pole, and by the others on behalf of the Queen (con Vintervento del Cardinal Polo, e delli altri per parte della Regina), the Emperor would not allow a truce to be made, (fn. 23) although the French assented to it even then, as the Emperor did in like manner, but on worse terms, eight months later, induced by necessity, which King Philip foresaw long previously. He hoped through the truce, if not to pay all debts, at least not to increase them, disburdening the people in part and relieving and comforting them by acts of gratitude and liberality such as cannot be practised in time of war; and by showing and making himself known first in one, and then in the other of his kingdoms, to secure their possession (attender a stabilirsi); and by means of justice and religion, and his so great, not only goodness, but as the Latins say, evenness of mind, for as yet he is not known, either by word or deed, ever to have behaved strangely or insolently to any one, either his subjects, or to others, however lowly their condition, by these so great and especial virtues, and having no observable vice, not only to make himself loved, but by his power to inspire respect and fear (ma con le forze che ha, rispettare e temere). This was his object, but after the rupture of the truce, as he told me himself lately (ultimamente) when I took leave of him, (fn. 24) he could by no means trust the French unless he showed them his teeth (se non mostra loro il viso).
His authority in England.; His liberality. But to proceed to the authority exercised by him in England, let others say what they will to the contrary, your Serenity may rest assured that everybody is mistaken, for in all the affairs (tutte le attioni) of that kingdom (either public or private) of any importance, they gave him such share of all of them, submitting to him what they would were he their native English King. The reverence and respect borne him by the Queen is infinite, and her example is followed by Cardinal Pole, and consequently by all the other ministers; but until now he has derived little benefit from his marriage, having hitherto a mere temporary interest in the kingdom during the Queen's lifetime; and with regard to matters relating to the realm, being a new-comer (uomo nuovo), and consequently having but slight knowledge of them, he therefore with infinite modesty and judgment has always referred himself, as he does at present, to the Queen and Cardinal, leaving them to act (with the assistance, if it seem fit to them, of the other councillors and ministers), and ratifying all their decrees, knowing that they do nothing that can injure him or his affairs. By proceeding in this way he has won the whole Court, especially the chief nobility (gli grandi), by so much the more as he has made no alteration whatever in the style and form of government, nor has he departed a hair's breadth from the marriage contract, thus dissipating entirely the very great fear which was at first entertained that on taking possession he imperiously and despotically (e con la potentia) would give commands and dispose things in his own way, removing government officials and substituting them by aliens or others at his option. He has rendered himself yet more popular, not only by purposely dispensing with many pecuniary advantages and prerogatives, to which he had a personal right, but also because during his stay in England, (fn. 25) in order to show that he had not come from ambition to be King, he having so many crowns (abondando lui di tanti Regni), nor to avail himself of their kingdom, being too well aware of the Queen's helpless position (il stato e la impotentia della Regina), he always paid his own expenses (even for the merest trifles), and those of all his attendants, with the funds remitted to him from Spain and Flanders, having in this manner given such a profit to the country that it has not received the like for many years, for according to the computation of what he and his attendants, together with the other foreigners who came to England on his account, expended in little more than one year, the sum total amounted to upwards of a million of gold, the whole of which remains in the island. Besides all this, on his first arrival in England, under the pretence (sotto spetie) of acknowledgment and liberality, it seeming to him the office of a bountiful and beneficent Prince to remunerate some of those who had been faithful to the Queen on her accession, and at the time of Wyatt's rebellion, he gave to some of them pensions for life, to others salaries, and many were received by him into his household and service, at a cost exceeding from 53,000 to 54,000 ducats annually, which have always been paid, as is the case at this moment, nor has he ever availed himself of their friendship except for some conveniency (alcuna commodità). The King when in England, although according to his custom he receives petitions and memorials, does so as mediator and intercessor with the Queen (towards whom he shows deference in everything), rather than from any wish to be considered either master or lord-paramount (principal Signore), leaving to the Queen and the ministers the execution of sentences of confiscation or capital punishment, in order that he may obtain the royal pardon and clemency.
Hatred of the English towards the Spaniards. All these personal details show that he is not only popular (ben veduto) and universally beloved, but even longed for (ma anche desiderato), most especially if the Spaniards who surround him could be got rid of, as they are feared, and consequently hated, from the dread the English have of their altering the King's nature and custom, and turning him aside from his present mode of proceeding; but with all this, notwithstanding the detestation of the Spaniards, he is desired (desiderato) by good men, and by all who know the good effect (il frutto) produced by his presence. But in proportion to the King's popularity, and to the respect felt for himself, individually, is the impossibility of his remaining in England to his own dignity and honour, the customs there and the mode of governing differing so much from what he has been used to, for having his Court full of men of divers nations, Flemings, Burgundians, and Italians, besides the Spaniards, all being indifferently his subjects, the English do not brook (non patiscono) being treated as their companions, and when a dispute arises between any Englishman and one of them, justice is not administered as it ought to be, for as it is a question of a foreigner and an Englishman, their verdicts are so interminable, and there is so much cavilling, delay, and endless expense, that right or wrong the foreigner must succumb. Nor may it be supposed that the English will submit (like other nations) to an official of Spanish birth entitled “Alcalde de Corte,” who proceeds summarily against all persons, but according to the ways and terms of Spain (per vie peró e termini Spagnoli), they having their own law, from which not only will they not depart, but they moreover insist on its observance by all other nations. These wrongs and injustices the King cannot with dignity tolerate, and were he to choose to investigate and remedy them by fresh orders, it would turn the English constitution topsyturvy (saria un metter sottosopra la constitutione di quel Regno) and perhaps revolutionize the kingdom completely. Therefore his Majesty, who knows that the English choose to keep to themselves (che vogliono star da loro) and not to have communication nor participation with other nations, contents himself for the present by paying as a Christian what he owes his wife, and availing himself as much as he can of the friendship of England, being already certain that during the Queen's lifetime the country will not detach itself from him, though he may not be able to move and interest it at his own pleasure, as it may now be supposed he will attempt to do with all his might, though with what success is doubtful.
Little aid to be obtained by Philip from England against France. To state my opinion of the nature of England from what I observed during my stay there, although the Queen is absolute mistress, and may or may not move war, (fn. 26) I do not believe that she will be induced to attack, and that it is her wish to gratify her husband, as besides what will be told her but too clearly, she herself knows the character of her subjects and the great detriment they and the Crown would incur from the suppression of trade, with but little hurt to the enemy. The kingdom on the other hand is no less sufficient for its own defence than feeble for offensive operations, with the exception of plundering at sea (of which the French are always in dread from the English), and disembarking and burning a few villages; nor do I believe that France would be subjected to any other damage; whereas the King and Queen can only place limited trust in the good will of the English, as in case of war, should they have to fight, it will be with two hearts, their former ardour being quite changed, and especially as they are still enraged with the Queen for her marriage, and because she brought foreigners into England. With the exception, therefore, of a certain sum of money (it being reasonable for a wife to assist her husband), to which the Council would assent liberally, I do not think he will succeed in this; and also with regard to this money, my opinion is that the Queen will take great care not to impoverish herself to such an extent as not to know where to have recourse for funds, in case of insurrection at home or of invasion by the Scots at the instigation of France. She will also proceed with reserve in order not to increase the indignation of the kingdom, as under this pretext of her own security, and that of the realm, she lately obtained the last loan, and then saw how unwillingly it was paid, so that now by depriving herself of it to accommodate others she would not only increase the hatred borne her, but also lose all hope of future supplies. With regard therefore to the sum I do not believe it can be considerable, both because besides what she got from the loan and from the last subsidy (which sums fell due (maturorno) last March) she has no other money, but, on the contrary, is very deeply in debt. It must also be borne in mind that if she be obliged to raise fresh funds the country is much exhausted, above all the nobility and the commonalty (la moltitudine) who chiefly contribute to the subsidies, this penury being caused not so much by the scarcity (which for several years has been very great and still continues), as by the cessation of all sorts of supplies (provisioni) and salaries (trattenimenti) which the Court used to give, thus relieving many persons; and the only monied men are the merchants, and those (who take on lease the lands of one individual and another) whom they call farmers, and who, either to avoid envy, or from a feeling of insecurity, concealing for the most part their money, would not give great assistance. So, according to my judgment, the King will be unable to avail himself of any notable amount, though, for his own repute and that of the kingdom, it will be reported contrarily; but whatever he may get he will also hereafter find it necessary for his popularity to distribute it amongst the people themselves by taking a great body of them with him to the war, as otherwise I think he would render himself extremely odious to the whole nation.
This is all I have to say about the King's qualities, and the authority exercised by him in England; and concerning the means he has for maintaining himself there I will speak hereafter, it seeming to me necessary to say a word previously about the qualities of some of the chief Ministers, who, by reason of their counsel and authority in the Government, are in these times of the utmost importance (importano in questi tempi il tutto).
The new Council.; Cardinal Pole; his descent. I remember having written to your Serenity heretofore on the King's departure that he and the Queen had ordained a new form of Council, (fn. 27) almost in the fashion of a Council of State, to exclude from it any sort of members who had seats in the old and ordinary one, persons who, although of noble birth and true to the Queen, were, however, not considered either adapted to State affairs, or capable of treating them. These new councillors were nine in number, all chief personages, some temporal, and others spiritual, over all of whom, by reason of his grade and nobility, the Cardinal was appointed superior. As your Serenity well knows his descent and conduct, and how he arrived at his present dignity, as also what his religious principles (dottrina) and piety are (he being, as said by me repeatedly, the chief instrument in the realm), I will merely say that in the female line his nobility is great and ancient, for his mother was the legitimate daughter of George Duke of Clarence, the brother of King Edward IV., but his paternal descent was moderate, not to say low (as many do) rather than illustrious, for although his father Richard Pole was a Knight of the Garter, Lord Chamberlain of King Henry VII., and Governor of his son Prince Arthur, there is, nevertheless, no record of the nobility or greatness of any of his male ancestry, with the exception of his father, who was a Welshman and first cousin (cugin carnale) through a female (per via di donna) of Henry Earl of Richmond, who by chance (per sorte) became King with the title of Henry VII.; but he likewise was of very low origin (ma anco quel Re veniva di oscurissimi principii), his grandfather (avo) having been one Owen Tudor (ano chiamato Ouino Tideria), an individual of the lowest condition of any in the said province of Wales (delli pià infimi che fussero nella detta Provincia di Walia), who was put to death by a public decree for having dared to marry Queen Catharine, daughter of Charles VI. of France, widow of Henry V., and mother of King Henry VI.; (fn. 28) so your Serenity can see that by the father's side not even the present Queen descends from noble lineage, having been born of Henry VIII., the son of Henry VII.; but this does not matter in England, where antiquity and nobility are not held in account.
His early history. The Cardinal, therefore, both by the father's and mother's side, is the Queen's kinsman and uncle (zio), viz. (sic) second cousin of her father, by whom, in like manner as in his youth, by reason of the great hope he gave of himself, he was esteemed, beloved, and maintained (intertenuto) at the Universities of Paris and of Padua, (fn. 29) receiving stipend from the Crown (con publica provisione), so subsequently when the King began to think of the divorce, the Cardinal (who was then called the Lord Reginald), not having chosen to flatter him, nor to consent to his wishes, was persecuted; and after being made Cardinal his brother was beheaded, and shortly afterwards his mother likewise, she being then upwards of 60 years of age, of most exemplary life, and the present Queen had been educated by her; so that at the commencement of the King's anger it suited him to select for himself a voluntary exile (convene ellegersi esilio volontario), which lasted for 25 years until now.
His offices and personal qualities.; Pole's secret enemies. The Cardinal at present is in his fifty-seventh year, and on him rests the entire weight and government of the kingdom, both spiritual and temporal. Until deprived of the Legateship de latere, (fn. 30) he exercised his spiritual charge in virtue of that office, and subsequently as Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of the kingdom, with the perpetual title of “Legate born” (Legato nato), his temporal authority proceeding from his degree of Councillor-supreme (Consiglier supremo), in both of which capacities he has certainly not disappointed nor does he disappoint the expectation entertained of his integrity, sincerity, and great worth; so that the cause why he failed to obtain the Popedom heretofore (fn. 31) when so nearly elected is clearly manifested, God having reserved him for this other especial purpose, were it solely to bring back England to her obedience to the Church, and to relieve the country from schism; for in truth the result procured at his hands could not have been attained through those of any one else, it being the universal opinion that in the whole world no other person could be found with so many qualities as he possesses, for besides his dignity and station, his learning and goodness are so infinite; and what matters much to move those people, his nobility was so great; but then to gain the English entirely (and in this consisted everything) he was their countryman and spoke their language. In this joint pontificate and reign (in questo Pontificato adunque e Regno insieme) he therefore goes from day to day continuing his edification (la sua edification) with wonderful improvement, through the imitation and example afforded by his actions and by his life, which all who know him know to be utterly undefiled (incontaminatissimo) by any sort of passion or worldly interests, as in what concerns his office he is not influenced either by the authority of Princes, nor by the ties of blood, of friendship, or of any other sort, being most strict (severissimo) with everybody, and unparalelled. For these qualities, therefore, in proportion as he is beloved and revered by the King and Queen, and universally, so is he in secret envied and hated by some of those who rule, because they are no longer able to advance themselves by authority and favour as they were accustomed to do formerly, having to submit and refer everything to him, so that they are compelled to act with great caution, much more so than was their wont, as otherwise a mere hint given by him to the Queen about the misconduct of any one of them would suffice to deprive him of his authority and grade, and to have him severely punished according to his demerits. Such is the force of his testimony and the trust reposed in him. From this his so great and extraordinary authority it may with truth be said that he is both King and Prince, though he exercises it so graciously and modestly as if he were the least of them, not choosing in any way to interfere, not even in public affairs, unless in such as are especially assigned to him, referring himself for the others, and leaving them to those they concern; thus doing precisely the reverse of what is the humour and mode of proceeding of the English, who, when they have authority or public charges, endeavour also to meddle with those that do not concern them, so as to have themselves considered and held to be more than they are, choosing right or wrong to maintain the undertakings assumed by them, whether for the good or evil of the persons to whom they relate.
His reliance on Mons. Priuli. The Cardinal exercising his authority with so much respect and modesty causes those who negotiate with him to suppose that he is not only timid and submissive (rispettoso) but very cold, because they would wish him to do like the others, either in benefiting or injuring, and that he should demonstrate his power and authority in another form. In his personal affairs (nelle cose sue intime), most especially such as concern political business on account of the Legation and the Government, when he has occasion either to write to the King when he is absent or to the Pope and other Princes, he employs none but Italians; and whatever has to be done, either by the Ministers or by the Cardinal himself, he discusses it with Monsignor Priuli, to whom, as to his soul, he communicates all his thoughts, so great is his reliance on Monsignor Priuli's judgment, and on the love he bears him. Their mode of life, their doctrine, and their will, are in most perfect conformity (conformissimi), and their union is so close as to surprise the world, and to afford it an example, they being quite happy when they have leisure to enjoy each other's society. It is certain that were not Monsignor Priuli there to lessen his fatigue, above all that of writing, the Cardinal would fare badly, for being occupied from morning till night with perpetual audiences, besides his interviews with the Queen, who for the most part chooses to remain apart with him daily for two or three hours, the Cardinal, without the assistance of Monsignor Priuli, either would be compelled to resign, or would soon expire from over exertion. Thus Monsignor Priuli relieves the Cardinal, as the Cardinal does the Queen, and your Serenity [the Doge] may assuredly greatly congratulate yourself (fn. 32) (and be this said without flattery, and with the sincerity and reverence due to this Senate-hall) on having amongst your kinsfolk a personage so good and incorruptible (and I ought to add truly holy (veramente santo), but I omit the term from modesty), who is learned and discreet, adapted to any negotiation or important business, and, above all, most worthy of the favour and protection of your Serenity and of this most serene Dominion.
It is unnecessary to speak of the Cardinal's regard for your Serenity, as he demonstrates it clearly by all his acts, never omitting to commend the Republic, both in public and private, being most grateful and mindful of all the demonstrations received, so that he never tires of making them known to everybody; and he is accustomed to say openly that he considers Italy, and your Serenity's State in particular, no less his country than England, for he expresses himself thus:
Una me genuit, altera me excepit.”
The other Ministers. By reason of my familiar conversations held with them, I might narrate the qualities of all the other Ministers one by one, but as they are only slightly known to your Serenity it would weary you; so as the Republic, by the grace of God (Dei gratia) has no political business in that kingdom, it seems to me that information about its ministers is of no consequence, though otherwise, a knowledge of the humour and inclination of each of them might be desirable, in order to keep them well disposed, as the will of Sovereigns depends for the most part on their ministers. It will suffice therefore for your Serenity to know that although they are apparently all united, their opinions essentially are as many in number as they themselves, and they are openly divided into two or three factions, so that were a change (novità), by misfortune, to take place in the kingdom, with the exception of one or two, all the rest would be of doubtful faith, and adapt themselves to circumstances.
Having told about the ministers, it remains for me to say what the Queen's understanding is with foreign powers, which I can do with a word, as she is well-disposed towards all but one.
Relations between England and Venice: (1.) Diplomatic.; (2.) Commercial. Her Majesty bears your Serenity, in particular, true friendship, remote, as all friendships ought to be, from any sort of interest, being anxious as she frequently told me not only to preserve, but so far as in her power to increase it; and assuredly, I speaking with such respect as due, notwithstanding the removal of the English Ambassador, (fn. 33) your Serenity ought not entirely to suppress (levar) the friendship, as although the Queen was the first to withdraw her representative, she gives it to be understood that by having left another resident here in ordinary for herself and her husband, she has not made any alteration; and when I took leave of her, (fn. 34) anticipating me (prevenedome), she said so distinctly, in the form of a complaint, as if she believed your Serenity to be offended, seeing that you recalled me, and did not leave anyone in my stead, it seeming to her that this want of reciprocity implied that she was not held in such account as became the antiquity and nobility of that kingdom, independently of her own affection for the Republic, and the opinion she has of it. Were the King to reside ordinarily in England, one ambassador might suffice as your Serenity's envoy, but going away as he will do, it would be well, for many reasons, to keep either a secretary, or a consul, or an ambassador there to preserve our recollection of this Queen (di tener viva la memoria di questa Regina), irrespectively of the need there is on account of the commerce and traffic practised by Venetian residents in London, between England and Venice, and by reason of the ships which pass to and fro daily; nor had our merchants ever greater need of assistance from the State than at present, as they are on the way to be compelled to abandon the English trade entirely. The reasons may be stated briefly thus; the Venetians export from London wools and woollens, which are of such great importance for these parts, and especially for this city; from Venice they import wines, currants, and other produce from the East (e le altre cose di Levante). With regard to the woollens, the last orders issued in England prohibit their exportation [for Venice overland] by way of Flanders, (fn. 35) except at the time of the fairs there, which are held thrice every year; and as for the wools, every sort of export-permit being stopped entirely, and the ships forbidden to unload elsewhere than at Hampton, (fn. 36) things are brought to such a pass that the Venetians must perforce quit the country, with such injury and loss to this city (which maintains itself chiefly by trade) as may be imagined, unless they are assisted by your Serenity, and recover their privileges, from regard for you and your authority.
To return to my former topic; the Queen is well disposed towards all the powers, with the exception of the King of France.
Relations between England and Scotland. She is even friendly with the Scots, (although her natural enemies,) and they are much more so with her, being thus moved by the hatred lately conceived by them against France, and which arose from the innovation (novità) commenced in Scotland by the Queen Regent, (fn. 37) mother of the young Queen, (fn. 38) who is in France, through the unusual and extraordinary taxes which she unscrupulously imposes on the whole country.
It was told me as a fact by some of the chief lords of Scotland, that were the Queen of England a man, instead of being a woman as she is, they would rise (si solleveriano) and come spontaneously to place themselves under her dominion; as speaking all the same language, they desire nothing more than to find themselves in like manner under one and the same prince, and in one united island, as they have lost all hope of ever again seeing their Queen in Scotland, and are afraid lest the country become shortly (as it will) a French province; the Scots having been deprived of their fortresses and government (levati dal governo), and they are in short commanded by French governors, losing all their ancient liberty. From these causes the Scots have turned all their hatred and ill-will against the French; they are on good terms with the English, and the English with them, the Queen in particular, she knowing this their inclination, and beyond measure appreciating their conduct in never having changed the Catholic religion, notwithstanding their neighbourhood, and the bad example afforded them by the schism.
Relations between England and France. With regard to the King of France, there are too many reasons why the Queen should not stand well with him (perchè la Regina non stia bene seco), not so much on account of ancient claims which are still pending, (such as the pension paid by the French for the cession of Normandy and Aquitaine, besides compensation for damages, and the cost of military assistance rendered by England to France, amounting in all to one million and several hundred thousand crowns, which the Queen is at liberty to redemand of them,) as by reason of the intention which she knows the King of France has, to occupy England, in right of the Queen of Scotland, who is in his power, and also on account of the personal injuries received from him through the assistance given to the Duke of Northumberland on her accession, with a view to expel her from the kingdom and deprive her of the Crown; and by his encouraging (for the prevention of her marriage) Wyatt's conspiracy, and that of the other delinquents last year, who endeavoured to rob the Exchequer; as also the constant solicitations made to her cousin Courtenay to allure him to France, not only for the sake of thwarting her designs, but also through his instrumentality to foment discord and division in England. To these grievances must be added the following one, that the King of France makes his subjects incessantly circulate reports about the quantity of money which the Queen sends out of the country in secret to her husband, leaving her creditors unpaid, and impoverishing the Crown; and about the pensions which in her consort's name she pays the English lords to keep them suborned (per tenergli subornate) and to prevent them from opposing King Philip's designs for occupying the kingdom. But what troubles her most of all, is the reception given in France to all who rebel against her, they being permanently pensioned and provided for, France favouring all plots and conspiracies against her, for which purpose many spies and coadjutors are employed, and increasing the hatred and enmity borne her by all possible means. It is also credited that on her account the King of France moved war, with a view to keep her husband occupied and embarrassed, so that he might be unable to go to England, or at least not remain there, thus depriving her of his presence, which is so necessary, and leaving her quite disconsolate.
In all these respects your Serenity may imagine what her position is, although she dissembles her anger and hatred as much as she can; and with the French ambassador resident at her court, although she assists herself with words, her countenance belies them, for with great difficulty can she look at him civilly (perchè dura gran fatica a guardarlo con buon occhio); and I believe her to be deterred from a rupture solely by the poverty of the Crown, and by the doubtful mind and allegiance of her subjects.
It remains for me to give account of the state of the Religion, and of the Succession.
Restoration of the Catholic religion.; Church property. It is indubitable that externally and in appearance the Catholic religion seems day by day to increase and take root, through the Queen's authority and the assiduity of the Legate, for monasteries are being built, and within this short period (three years not having yet elapsed since the reducement (dopo la ridutione) of the realm) when I left England seven (fn. 39) were completed (eretti); persons are seen to enter them, the churches are frequented, the images replaced, and all the ancient Catholic rites and ceremonies performed as they used to be, the heretical being suppressed. These things are done either from fear or to deceive, some persons, by appearing Catholics, wishing to ingratiate themselves with the Queen. Suffice it to say, that in general they make a great show and cause the matter to appear much more than it really is, it being known on the other hand that the public mind is more than ever irritated, though they dare not show it from fear of losing both life and estate, although there are many hardened persons (molti indurati) who expose themselves willingly to the stake. But with the exception of a few most pious Catholics (evidently reserved by God as a miracle or by especial grace in the midst of so much error and confusion), none of whom, however, are under 35 years of age, all the rest make this show of recantation, yet do not effectually resume the Catholic faith, and on the first opportunity would be more than ever ready and determined to return to the unrestrained life previously led by them, were it solely for the sake of being exempted from confession and fasting, and to be allowed to intermarry with kinsfolk (even the clergy being permitted to marry), and in short to be free from all the external acts (opere) enjoined to Catholics. As all these things, indulging their senses for 20 consecutive years (during which the schism lasted), took such deep root, it is marvellous they are not much more licentious and daring than is apparent after being so long habituated to other customs; and this taciturnity and quiet evinced by them, owing to so sudden and unexpected a correction, is also by many persons considered yet more suspicious. With regard, however, to religion in general, your Serenity may rest assured that the example and authority of their Sovereign can do anything with them, and that in proportion as the English estimate religion and are influenced by it, so do they discharge their duty as subjects towards their Prince, by living as he lives, believing what he believes, and in short doing whatever he commands, making use of it for external show to avoid incurring his displeasure rather than from any internal zeal; for they would do the like by the Mahometan or Jewish creed, were their King to evince belief in it and willed it thus, accommodating themselves to anything, but more willingly to such doctrines as gave them hope, either of the greatest licence and liberty in their mode of life, or of some profit. (Ma quanto alla Religione, parlando in generale, sia certa V. Ser che ogni cosa può in loro l'esempio, e l'autorità del Principe, che in tanto gli Inglesi stimano la Religione, e si moveno per essa, in quanto satisfanno all' obligo di sudditi verso il Principe, vivendo come egli vive, credendo ciò che egli crede, e finalmente facendo tatto quello che egli commanda, con servirsene pià per mostra esteriore per non incorrere in sua disgratia, che per zelo interiore; perchè il medesimo fariano della Macomettana ò della Giudaica pur che il Re mostrasse di creder, e volesse così e si accommoderiano a tutte, ma a quelle più facilmente, dalle quali ne sperassero overo maggior licentia e libertà di viver, over qualche utile.) On these grounds many persons who are more in their confidence are of opinion that could they feel sure of not being molested about the Church property held by them, when a little more accustomed to the present religion, they would adapt themselves even to that (anco alla presente), but they are still afraid of being one day or another compelled to give back all or part of it, the Cardinal at the beginning not having chosen to give a dispensation as desired by them, but leaving it to their consciences (early or late) to do what they pleased.
This fear is increased by what they see done daily by the Queen, who, on account of such monasteries as are re-established, and for other religious purposes, unscrupulously (senza rispetto) gives back this sort of property, although incorporated with the Crown; so as most of her subjects are interested in this matter, they think there is no safer remedy than again to destroy the monasteries and return to their former condition.
What would occur in case of Elizabeth's succession. Such is the state of the affairs of the Catholic religion, which are in the more danger, as should my Lady Elizabeth succeed, were she not by nature and education inclined towards the contrary one, she would tend thither to do the reverse of what the Queen has done, this seeming to her a sort of revenge. Besides this, she would think that nothing could render her more popular, independently of her own interest through the restitution to herself and to the Crown of all those revenues amounting to upwards of 60,000l., of which the Queen has deprived it. And even in case she do not abolish the ceremonies and the use of the sacraments according to the Catholic ritual, they would at least be put back in the state they were left by her father King Henry; and above all she would withdraw the obedience to the Pope, were it solely for the sake of not seeing money go out of the kingdom for the despatch (nelle espeditione) of its bishoprics, nor is it to be told how great a grievance that is to everybody.
Your Serenity may come to the conclusion that in other state affairs, as in religion, the Prince's example will be followed by his subjects, such and so great is the fear and respect for his dignity.
The succession. To proceed now to the competitors for the succession; the first and principal one is my Lady Elizabeth, the Queen's sister, who by her father's will was declared his heir and substituted for the Queen, the will being confirmed by Act of Parliament, which signifies, by the will of the whole kingdom.
Elizabeth's opponents. She is opposed by the nearest relations of King Henry, namely, the descendants (gli figlioli) of his sisters, who maintain that kings cannot dispose of the succession of their kingdoms to the prejudice of succeeding generations, otherwise than it is ordained by God and by nature, as she, being a bastard (poichè essendo bastarda), cannot take precedence of the legitimate heirs; and the Act of Parliament in favour of her is styled by them an act of violence, it not having been made by the will and free election of the Parliament, but from fear of the King, the which Act the Parliament can annul, as seen daily, and as was done by the Act which excluded the present Queen as disqualified and a bastard (come inhabile e bastarda).
Mary Queen of Scotland. My Lady Elizabeth being thus excluded as disqualified (come inhabile), the second competitor is the heir of King Henry's eldest sister Margaret, who was married in Scotland, from whom Mary Queen of Scotland, now in France, descends, she being the daughter of King James, Margaret's son. Although this claimant seems to be opposed by a municipal law of the kingdom (una legge municipal del regno), which prohibits a person born out of England from inheriting anything within the realm, her supporters nevertheless raise the same objection to this law as they did to the King's will, namely, that a municipal law, even were it a true one (ancorchè fusse vera) which they utterly deny, cannot in the case of succession he opposed to the law of nature, because neither by law, by testament, or donation, nor by any other sort of compact or convention, can a successor be deprived of his natural right, constituted by God, except by force, or when the heir is acknowledged to be a rebel and traitor, and after condemnation as such; and admitting this to have been the law, they say that it was not made prior to the marriage of Margaret to the King of Scotland, (fn. 40) as it is not to be found amongst the ancient statutes of the Crown, and that the Act was passed subsequently to invalidate her claim (per haver voluto far questo pregiuditio a lei). (fn. 41)
With these and other arguments they justify the claim of Mary Queen of Scotland, which would be yet more strengthened in case of need (se occorresse) by the might and power of the King of France, she being at his court as the destined wife of Monseigneur the Dauphin.
The heirs of Mary Duchess of Suffolk. The third claimants are the heirs of King Henry the Eighth's younger sister Mary, who was first married to King Lewis XII. of France, and took for her second husband Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. These claimants, the granddaughters of Mary Tudor, (fn. 42) born of her eldest daughter Frances [Duchess of Suffolk], besides their natural right, were confirmed as heirs by the will of the said Henry VIII., and substituted for the present Queen and for Elizabeth in the event of their dying without heirs. The unfortunate Lady Jane Grey was their sister, and their father was also beheaded at the same time. These two young ladies (queste due sorelle giovanette) are living with their mother (fn. 43) the Duchess of Suffolk, and on the death of Queen Mary they, like their eldest sister, who was assisted by her husband or by others who had followers, would lay claim to the succession, in preference even to my Lady Elizabeth (di esser preposta a tutti etiam a Miladi Elisabetta).
Margaret Lady Strange. The fourth claim proceeds from another only daughter of the younger sister of the Lady Frances [Brandon, Duchess of Suffolk by name Eleanor, who was married to the Earl of Cumberland, (fn. 44) and died shortly after giving birth to a daughter named Margaret, now married to Lord Strange, (fn. 45) the eldest son of the Earl of Derby, one of the chief noblemen of the kingdom, so she is first cousin to the daughters of Frances, whose house being convicted of treason on account of Jane who was beheaded, her sisters likewise, being themselves reproached (macchiate) with the same crime, are consequently excluded from the succession; so that Margaret Lady Strange is the nearest of all to the blood royal, and to her the succession belongs.
Male competitors for the Crown. It is thus seen that all these claimants are in the female line, the male competitors being much farther removed since the recent death at Padua of the Queen's only cousin Lord Courtenay, who solely by his own fault failed to be her husband and consequently King (il qual sol per difello suo, perdè di esser marito, e consequentemente Re). Through his death the English have utterly lost the hope of ever having a king of the blood royal, unless in a very remote degree.
The Queen averse to naming a successor.; The King anxious for a settlement. To pass from these competitory claims I will now tell your Serenity whether the King and Queen have more reason to incline towards her Majesty's sister than towards her second cousins (ò alle nepoti); there being no question whatever of the Queen of Scotland either with the sovereigns or with their subjects, and although the ties of blood would require the Queen to prefer her sister if but in accordance with the command (voluntà) of her father, yet is she deterred by the above mentioned causes of hatred, as also by the doubt about the Catholic religion (which matters more), and by the jealous suspicion lest, if declared heir, she form all sorts of plots against her Majesty in order to rule more speedily. All these considerations, and others besides, induce a belief that even were the Queen undeceived, which she as yet is not, about the possibility of having children, she for her own part will avoid forming such a resolve as much as she can, and will rather leave it to time to act (e più lascierà far al tempo), referring the matter after her death to those whom it concerns either by right or by force. But as this is utterly at variance with the need and intention of the King, who it cannot be supposed will choose to delay until then, nor remain at the mercy of the English and their divisions (such procrastination concerning him too deeply), he would therefore wish to secure himself immediately and proclaim the heir. Nor is it probable that he would continue paying such heavy pensions for any other purpose than to effect the succession according to his own views, through the favour of the chief personages of the realm (col favor delli grandi); for to say the truth the interest he has in the matter is too essential, not so much with regard to establishing himself or any of those who depend on him and share his fortunes, as to avoid seeing England in the power of his enemy the King of France, for if (unfortunately for him) that kingdom belonged either to the French or to other enemies of his dependent on them, the passage from Spain to his possessions in Flanders and the Low Countries would be closed, and he would have to make a very long circuit by way of Italy and Germany (fn. 46) at great cost and with great loss of time, so that those provinces would not only be in danger but would soon be irrecoverably lost through the necessity of the Low Countries for traffic and commerce with England, most especially as the King would no longer have such authority in Germany, nor such respect as was had for the Emperor his father, when he needed succour thence.
Suggestions for marriages between the relatives of the King and Queen.; Elizabeth and Don Carlos.; Archdukes Ferdinand and Charles. As it therefore matters so much to the King to make sure of England, there is scarcely any doubt of his bringing the Queen over to his opinion in this matter, both from the affection she demonstrates towards him and her wish to do him service, as also to disserve the French. The Queen being thus disposed, it would now remain to be seen what would be the safest way and the most satisfactory to her and to her husband, and at the same time to their subjects, for whom no slight regard must be had (alli quali si conviene havere non piccolo rispetto). As these ways may be many, it will therefore suffice for me merely to mention some of the principal, leaving the rest to the most sage judgment of the Senate. One way, therefore, and perhaps the principal and safest one, if the age of the King's son, Don Carlos, allowed of it, would be to marry him to my Lady Elizabeth by sending her to Spain, or making him come to England; but owing to the disparity of their ages, the Prince not having entered his 12th year and my Lady being nearly 24, it seems scarcely credible, though some persons are of opinion that the King is certainly of this mind; and even if from the disparity of age, or owing to her hatred of Elizabeth, or from other cause, the Queen should be averse to this, she might at least incline towards one of the sisters of Lady Jane Grey, they being her second cousins (nepoti), and true and legitimate heirs of her own blood, and quite suitable in age, giving Elizabeth with a good dower to some one else abroad, or letting her go on thus without a husband, as she says she means to do (si come ella dice di voler fare.) Another way would be to give the said “Miladi” Elizabeth, or one of Queen Mary's second cousins (nepoti), to one of the King's cousins (cugini), the sons of the King of the Romans, either to the Archduke Ferdinand (fn. 47) or to Prince Charles, (fn. 48) to either of whom the English and the Queen would incline; but against these Archdukes there is King Philip's jealousy about the States of Flanders, lest in the course of time, by reason of their claims upon those Provinces, they occupy them either for themselves or for the sons of their brother the King of Bohemia; so apparently this cannot be thought of, as he is aware of their pride and haughtiness, as also of their party and adherents in Germany, and how they envy his greatness, and how soon they would forget the advantage and benefit, although received from him and through his medium and favour. There remains also for consideration the understanding they and their brother have with the King of France. But on the other hand King Philip might perhaps obtain the cession of the Empire, the King of Bohemia getting in exchange his brother's inheritance, a mutual agreement being made by means of leagues, understandings, and certain compensations; so that, although difficult, the arrangement does not seem impossible.
The Duke of Savoy. One other course (which is, perhaps, the most probable), remains, viz., by a similar marriage, to place in England the Duke of Savoy, who is King Philip's kinsman, (fn. 49) and supposed to be very true to him (e tenuto confidentissimo), he having been despoiled of his territory [by the French] on account of the Emperor; compensation being made to him in this form, not only for what he has lost, but for what little remains to him, which he would have to cede to the King; and although the Duke is also nearly related to France, (fn. 50) he, nevertheless, besides having been maltreated by the French, and lest he remain their prey (preda), must of necessity take his chance with King Philip. This would please both the English and the Queen, as also all the others (come a ciascuno delli altri). Her Majesty would approve of it, because the Duke having the reputation of being Catholic, which is everything (che importa il tutto), she would hope not only to preserve the religion in its present state but day by day increase it, disposing also his wife towards it, and keeping her well edified, in case she be the Lady Elizabeth; nor could the Queen secure herself better through any other person than the Duke against the aforesaid suspicion and jealousy, lest her successor, in order to reign the sooner, seek her death. With him she would likewise avoid all competition, because being Governor of Flanders the Duke after the marriage might return thither with his wife, and remain there until the death of the Queen, or until she sent for him; and in the meanwhile should he have children, the firstborn would be sent to England to be acknowledged and have allegiance sworn to him as Prince and heir by the people and by the kingdom, the Queen having him educated in her own fashion. The people of England likewise, being as it were of necessity compelled to have foreign kings, would like the Duke, not only because they would have no cause to fear lest by his power and forces he subdue or tyrannize over them, which is their dread with regard to King Philip and the Archdukes, through the support and adherence they would have in Germany and elsewhere, but also because by Savoy, on the contrary, they would be sure to be favoured, respected, and acknowledged as his benefactors, and be confirmed in those emoluments and honours which are habitually conferred on them by their native kings. On this account, therefore, and also because they consider him of noble descent, the Duke on the mother's side being of blood royal (di sangue reale), which they estimate highly, his family, moreover, being of Saxon origin, like the English themselves, and, what is of no less importance, they consider him a man of valour (per virtuoso), and his mental abilities being no less eminent than his physical prowess, for he speaks four or five languages, in which, as he renders himself intelligible to many persons, he therefore would easily learn English, so as to be understood universally; in addition to which he is of pleasing presence, and was educated in conformity with Italian manners and customs, which the English value and imitate more than those of other nations; (fn. 51) —for all these reasons, the Duke of Savoy would be extremely popular with the English, and they would bear him great good will. (fn. 52)
Necessity for a speedy decision as to the succession. On this topic it merely remains for me to add that in like manner as the danger about the succession would be very great by reason of the disturbances and riots which might take place both at home and abroad were it delayed until the Queen's death, or if the decision were protracted; so on the contrary, by announcing it speedily, with the consent of the people, that is to say by an Act of Parliament, the country would be safe from any sedition, because, with the authority of the Queen in person, the successor might make himself known, and by many ways obtain the love and respect of the kingdom, so that on the Queen's death neither the English themselves would dare to stir, nor would foreigners think of doing so on seeing the country so united.
Such are the general and particular facts concerning England and her Sovereigns which have seemed to me worthy of your Serenity's notice.
Michiel's proceedings while in England.; Favour shown him by King Philip; Besides the obligation of making the present Report, my embassy imposed two others on me, the first and principal one being to maintain between the Crown of England and this most excellent Republic that very sincere friendship which for so long a while has never been interrupted. The Senate can judge how far I have succeeded in this respect by the demonstrations and favours conferred on me during the whole of that period, not indeed from any merit of mine, but on account of your Serenity, and owing to the graciousness of King Philip and Queen Mary, who always received such offices as were performed by me in the Signory's name with the utmost gratitude and good will, they and their Ministers (commencing with Cardinal Pole and ending with the lowest of his countrymen, as also Don Ruy Gomez down to the meanest Spaniard) never omitting whether in public or private whatever could give me repute and dignity. I, on my part, so far as my slender means permitted, afforded not only verbal proof of reciprocity on the part of your Serenity to persons of every class, but by keeping open house for them for 34 months when the Court was most crowded and whilst Parliament was sitting, for which thanks were given me, most especially by the English, and even by the Queen herself, who considered the compliment a personal one. I venture to say that never did your Serenity stand higher in England than when I departed thence, and if ever the Signory's ambassadors had free access to her Sovereigns, I doubt whether any of them were ever treated so familiarly at I was. From first to last, when I accompanied the King to chapel, or to any other public ceremony, his Majesty's familiarity with me astonished not only the English, who were unaccustomed to see ambassadors of any grade, however exalted, so treated by their Kings in public, but also foreigners, who therefore envied me, for however long the way was and the time it took (which was considerable), his Majesty never ceased conversing with me on a variety of topics as confidentially as if I had been one of his most intimate attendants. With regard to this matter I may mention a very remarkable thing done by him on my account to the Bishop of Winchester [Stephen Gardiner], then Lord Chancellor, and a person in great repute; for in the act of coming forth from the King the Bishop made an unusual demonstration (which I can only attribute to his great regard for me), placing me on his right hand, we two being the last of the royal Council, and preceding his Majesty; whereupon the King, considering that place, although most honourable (and never conceded previously in England to an ambassador), unbecoming the dignity of public personages such as ambassadors, he, in the presence of the Chancellor, pulling me by my gown, desired me almost angrily to remain with him, keeping me on a line with him, as that was your Serenity's place, and that I was to let the Chancellor (who never again ventured to approach me) go on; and in that place I remained during the King's stay in England.
by Queen Mary; The Queen in like manner, besides endless other acts of courtesy, deigned to confer on your Serenity the following signal one, which the English cried up as a singular thing, rarely or never done previously with regard to any foreign ambassador in England. When I was accompanying her Majesty, on a certain festival, (fn. 53) to vespers at an abbacy of monks, to which we went by water, not only did she choose me to go in her own barge both on the way thither and returning, sending her Lord Chamberlain to me with an entreaty (con instantia) to that effect, but she also insisted on my sitting by her side (a lato a lei), which from modesty, however, I would by no means consent to do, retiring to the other part, where Cardinal Pole was, he and certain ladies being alone with her in the barge, and no one else, neither prince nor peer, of the many who were in attendance (nè principe nè Sr. del Regno di tanti che vi si trovavano).
and by the Council.; His successor, Michiel Surian. Whenever I had occasion to transact business with the royal Council, either about matters relating to Venetian subjects or anything else, when the councillors did not give me an answer immediately, it was their custom (an unusual demonstration of extraordinary respect for your Serenity) to send it to me a day or two afterwards, not through a secretary, but for the most part by one of the chiefest of themselves, who would come to my house in person. What the Queen said to me a few days before I took leave of her I dare not utter, though her words were repeated by Cardinal Pole, who is truth itself (ch' è l'istessa verità); and this I mention, not from personal ostentation, but to the Republic's glory, and for the comfort of your Serenity and of these most excellent lords. Thus did I endeavour to satisfy this obligation, in which, if I succeeded so fortunately, yet better service will the State receive from my successor, Michiel Surian, of whose worth and abilities I had proof during the few days of my intercourse with him at Brussels.
The Secretary, Antonio Mazza. Another of the duties imposed on me was to give daily account of events in England, and in that matter it seems to me I have deserved reproof for too much inquisitiveness (curiosità) and assiduity (if it is possible for a public servant to be too assiduous) rather than for neglect; but if I erred in judgment, there was at least no imperfection or defect in my goodwill. Before saying more about myself I must pay a debt which I consider due to the State, by bearing conscientious witness to the merits of my secretary, Antonio Mazza, who remained in Flanders ill of quartan ague, from which he has been suffering for the last six months. I think I may say that he is on a par with the most able secretaries in Venice and abroad (from my knowledge of men of his class), both for judgment and comprehension of State affairs, as also for experience of courts, and principally for what appertains to his office, in writing and understanding a variety of languages (for, besides Latin, he speaks French and comprehends Spanish); and moreover (which is of no less importance), for the goodness of his life. Both the courts, English and Spanish, esteemed him according to his station, and he had their favour and good opinion; nor can I pay him a higher compliment than to say it was confirmed by Cardinal Pole and his familiars. He is therefore worthy of your Serenity's protection, and of preferment.
Presents by the Queen to Michiel on his departure.; Presents by Michiel to the Queen at various times.; Michiel's expenses on the Queen's marriage.; Great scarcity in England for three years. I now return to myself, merely to mention what is necessary, as follows; that when the most serene Queen sent me the passport by Secretary Hopton, he, on presenting it to me, said the following precise words in Italian, which he spoke most perfectly:—“My lord Ambassador, my mistress the Queen sends your lordship your passport, in which (for a good reason) she chose some additional horses to be noted, besides those in your secretary's memorandum; and with her own lips she also ordered the insertion of a special clause, so that the searchers, on your going out of the kingdom, might have greater respect for you and your effects, and not even approach them. She moreover sends you, together with this letter, which is addressed to your Prince, 1,000 gold crowns of the sun, to demonstrate to you by some token, on this your departure, her mental gratitude, which she knows is your due, for the good offices you have performed with her as the Signory's ambassador, and because her Majesty is personally much obliged to you for sundry presents and acts of courtesy received from you, and for those you conferred on her Mistress of the Robes (cameriera principale), Mistress Clarence (fn. 54) (Miscressa Clarentia). She also gave me this cup, taken from her own cabinet (gabinetto), for me to present it to you, not as to an ambassador, but as to Messer Giovanni Michiel, together with 200 crowns (which it ought to contain), praying you to receive this also, in testimony of her goodwill.” He then continued, “Having come by night with a single servant, I thought I should bring them safer by leaving them with the 1,000 (gli 200 scudi, continuando, disse lui, venendo io di notte, con li 1,000). Your lordship will use them (li goderà) for her sake, and I wish you a good journey.” What I answered him was, that the favours conferred on me by her Majesty had been so many and so constant that they deprived me of any sort of words whereby to return her thanks, it being my opinion that were I presented with all the treasures of England, nothing could be presented to me so precious as what I knew I was conveying to your Serenity, namely, vivid testimony of her Majesty's will and affection towards this Republic; and although neither in my public nor private capacity could I accept so generous and effectual a demonstration from her Majesty, I nevertheless received both gifts to present them to your Serenity, making no distinction between their having been given in one way or the other; and then, after using towards him such courtesy as I thought he deserved, I dismissed him. I have presented the crowns in the identical bag which I sealed on receiving it from Hopton, as also the cup in its original case, and although both the cup and the 200 crowns were as compensation for a number of things of no little value presented by me at several times, not from personal vanity (non per ambitione mia), but because they were all asked of me for her Majesty's need and service by the said Mistress of the Robes (cameriera), besides a coach and horses and all their furniture presented in like manner from necessity, owing to the wish for it of the said Mistress of the Robes (cameriera), to whom the Queen subsequently gave it. I had this coach sent to me from Italy for my convenience, and used it all that summer, nor will I from modesty tell what it cost me, as it may suffice your lordships to know that it was such as not to disgrace the ambassadorial grade. Although I say that this recompense ought at once by right to be mine, yet nevertheless (were the amount four times greater than it is), should it be granted me, it would gratify me to acknowledge it from the benignity of your Serenity and of these most excellent lords. As to the 1,000 crowns from the Queen, they were given to me, as usual, in return for those you gave here to her ambassador. Neither about these do I venture to say that I have a fair claim to them as partial relief for the expenses incurred by me for your service; nor will I specify of what sort those expenses were on the occasion of the Queen's marriage, which caused me to incur the cost of liveries (entrar in livree), and to be followed by various Venetian noblemen from many quarters, who, without that opportunity, would perhaps not have undertaken so long a journey; besides such a great concourse of ambassadors, and lords and princes, who constantly arrived there, as well known to my household, and yet better to my table, though of this I will not speak, as I know that there are in Venice, and perhaps in this Senate, if not eye-witnesses, at least persons who from report could testify to the manner in which I endeavoured to dishonour my grade as little as possible. Those persons might indeed bear witness to that fact, but not to the great scarcity which has prevailed in England during the last three years, and which was extraordinarily increased both by the rabid hatred of the English for the Spaniards, and (as a natural consequence) for all other foreigners, and also by the bad regulations and carelessness of the government. Nor will I omit to mention that I have served, not only without ever receiving donations or additional salary, like my colleagues, but there was also withheld from me (doubtless too harshly) the last augmentation conceded to ambassadors for 18 consecutive months, which, together with the extra sum given them on their departure, amounted to upwards of 800 gold crowns. It is quite true that the augmentation was declared necessary before my departure and despatch (espeditione), and although my election shortly preceded the decree, yet it was neither just nor fair that I, who proved and exemplified the necessity for it, should be thus recompensed both for the past and future, I being the only one amongst all the ambassadors in this singular position. I, however, do not consider either these nor many other inconveniences and losses incurred by me and my kinsfolk, because, whatever I have done, or ever could do, besides its proceeding from my own choice, is done by the obligation due to your Serenity's service. For the dignity of this most excellent Republic, I promise, not only my own life, but (what matters more) that of my four brothers, we being all your most humble and devoted servants; so that if for your service we were even reduced to poverty, we should never consider it such so long as there remain to us entire the protection and favour of your Serenity and of this Dominion. And as for the Queen's present, even should your Serenity think fit to recompense any toil and cost incurred by me in such form as so many other ambassadors have been remunerated (and although their merits, abilities, and riches exceeded mine, yet was I their equal in ardour and goodwill), I shall have and hold the demonstration much more precious than the fact, as although this last might relieve, it would not entirely disburden me, whereas the demonstration would assure me that my service had not been unpleasing (ingrato) to you, which above all others is the grace I prayed His Divine Majesty to grant me.
May 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 885. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The assistance given to the King continues, for the soldiers who are going to serve his Majesty increase in number daily, and great part of the nobility of the kingdom are preparing, some from a longing for novelty, which is peculiar to this nation, some from rivalry and desire of glory, some to obtain grace and favour with his Majesty and the Queen; and the general opinion is that upwards of 10,000 troops will pass into Flanders, although the number fixed was only 5,000. Thus excuse can be made to the French by saying there was no breach of the treaty. In addition, there will be a considerable force on board the fleet, and in Calais, and on those frontiers, so that some 20,000 men will go out of England, who are to be ready in the course of this month, when the fleet likewise is to be in order, though it is not known on what day they will cross the Channel, it having perhaps not yet been fixed, and possibly it will not take place so soon, from the want of victuals, which is so great as to be almost incredible.
The departure from England of so many troops has induced two considerations; the one, that some stir might be made by Scotland; the other, that some sedition and tumult might arise at home, owing to the natural custom of Englishmen, who are sated with any government; (fn. 55) so it has been determined to send thither Lord Percy, lately made Earl of Northumberland, (fn. 56) and some others for the custody of those borders, and to issue a proclamation throughout the realm forbidding any assembly of men either in churches or hostels or in public or private places, under very heavy penalties, to be enforced by some of the chief personages of the provinces, who are all devoted to the most serene Queen. By these means the kingdom will be rendered so quiet and obedient that, with time and opportunity, there will be carried into effect whatever is desired by the King and Queen, who evidently neither wishes for anything, nor has any thought but that of pleasing her consort.
Were all the provisions designed by the King for this war to succeed like these, which have been more prompt than was expected, his Majesty would have a very powerful army, and might not only acquire repute, but greatly increase what he already possesses; though from Spain no advice has yet been received, either about what Don Ruy Gomez is negotiating nor yet of Don Alonzo (sic) (fn. 57) Caravajal's ships, which had set sail so long ago, and therefore some persons fear misfortune, though others hope that they may have been detained in Spain to bring soldiers and more money, as the sum announced is very insufficient (chi spera che siano intertenute in Spagna per condur soldati et maggior numero di danari [perchè quelli che banno sono pur troppo pochi]); nor is it credible that ere now Don Ruy Gomez should have failed to find means for increasing it greatly. In the meanwhile not a day passes without bad news from Milan, and worse is expected unless speedy succour be received. The Lord of Piombino (fn. 58) arrived at this Court a few days ago, and although, having been sent for by his Majesty, he should have waited for the King to propose the compensation and declare his will, he nevertheless was the first to offer himself and all he possessed (et le cose sue) to his Majesty, saying particularly that he renounces to him freely all the rights of his state, learing it to the King to make compensation, but with this condition, that Piombino do not remain in the hands of the Duke of Florence, but that it be the King's own. His Majesty had this resolution of Appiano put into writing and accepted it, thanking him, and writing to the Duke of Florence, with whom he will treat about the mode of realising this affair, nor does he choose the Lord of Piombino to depart until he receive the Duke's reply. This will be the way to gain Florence completely or to lose him entirely.
This Lord of Piombino is a stupid young man of little ability, but has with him his father's natural brother, who rules him; and this person told a friend of mine that he had counselled the matter differently, but his nephew's ignorance spoiled the whole thing, and that yet greater detriment will ensue to him hence, as he heretofore gave another similar writing to the Duke of Florence consenting to his possession of Piombino, provided the Emperor made suitable compensation to him, Appiano.
London, 13th May 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
May 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 886. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I have now ascertained the reason why the most Christian King had some idea of sending the Ferrarese ambassador to Ferrara. His Duke left your Serenity owing to reports of an invasion of his territory, which timidity he announced to the King in abject and undignified terms (con parole così basse che parvero con poca dignità sua). After the affair of Correggio, when his Excellency heard of the words uttered against him by the ministers of the King of England, and that troops were being mustered on his frontiers, he again earnestly demanded assistance, and especially a deposit of 300,000 crowns for the defence of his state, and also that the King should pay the cost of the troops maintained by him on the passage of M. de Guise. After much discussion between the Constable and the Ferrarese ambassador, the King has arranged to make the promise of the 300,000 crowns to his Excellency, with orders for them to be placed in his hands according to circumstances, and the need of raising troops for his defence. His Majesty also consented to reimburse the Duke of Ferrara for all the expense incurred by him owing to the passage of the Duke de Guise, and to give him one quarter's salary, (fn. 59) and also to send the aforesaid ambassador to ease him of so great a panic by so representing the victories of M. de Brissac as to convince him that the King of England will have other things to attend to than the invasion of the Ferrarese territory. The ambassador will also complain adroitly to his Excellency that, although the King of France does not fail and never has failed doing what he ought for him, his Excellency made a bad return by not giving such assistance and accommodation to the Duke de Guise as the King might have expected from a general of his so potent as the Duke of Ferrera, who, moreover, in this affair of Correggio, after the entry of the Spanish guard, ought to have raised from five to six thousand infantry, and attempted its recovery,—as his Majesty would never have failed to repay him the cost,—instead of sending to France, and thus losing so much time that the recovery has become much more difficult, but little to the dignity of the King, and still less to the security of his Excellency's state. In conclusion, the ambassador will exhort him to be more prompt and better disposed towards his Majesty's service than he has shown himself hitherto; and most especially should the occasion arise for some pecuniary assistance, owing to his Majesty's great need in Italy, the Duke is not to hesitate if the assignments (assignamenti) are less ready than requisite, as the King promised to repay any advances made by him to his ministers, and as the King does not break faith to merchants or others, still less would he do so to his Excellency, for whom, on many accounts, he has great respect.
La Ferté Milon, 13th May 1557.
[Italian, in cipher throughout; deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
May 14. Deliberazioni Senato Register). 887. Motion made in the Senate by the Doge, the Councillors, Chiefs of the XL, Sages of the Council, Sages for the Mainland, and Sages for the Orders, authorising Giovanni Michiel, late ambassador in England, to retain the presents made to him by Queen Mary.
Our beloved noble Giovanni Michiel having returned from England, where for 38 months he served with much assiduity and ability, and also to the dilapidation of his private fortune:
Put to the ballot, that the present made to him by the Queen of England, amounting to 1,200 crowns, and the cup, be given him by authority of this Council.
Ayes, 154. Noes, 11. Neutral, 1.
May 14. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 888. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Although much has hitherto been concealed from the Pope, a high authority has lately made him understand (fatta capace sua Santità) that the difficulties in the Neapolitan and other undertakings, from the small amount of troops with M. de Guise, the want of money and of all other necessary supplies, the dispute which has arisen between the members of this league, and which will increase daily, and the faint hope of taking Civitella; whilst, on the other hand, the Duke of Alva is in greater force than the French, and is expecting reinforcements by the fleet from Spain, which arrived at Genoa on the 28th ultimo, and the masters which are being made at Sienna by Don Alvaro de Sande. There is also the impossibility of placing trust in the Duke of Florence, lest on an opportune moment he attack the league to rid himself of the French, and above all a fear, not without foundation, that the King of France is endeavouring to make terms with King Philip, for which purpose he recalled the Baron de la Garde (fn. 60) with the fleet, and gave orders to the Duke de Guise to retreat; in which case it would be requisite to receive the law from the Spaniards (da loro). The Pope evinced resentment at not having heard these things before, adding that God had inspired him to delay the mission of his nephew the Marquis [Montebello] to France, and not to dismiss the Spanish cardinals, nor to publish the “deprivation” of King Philip, as there might yet be time to provide for his affairs (di proveder alle cose sue).
The Pope having consented to listen to the objections against depriving King Philip without citing him, as what he had done was notorious, for which same reason his Holiness would not retake Anagni, nor the other towns of the Church now occupied by the Duke of Alva, he was told that these reasons were insufficient, because supposing the criminal (il reo) to have an excuse for the fact, or even a shadow of excuse, it was necessary to summon and hear him; for although here the Pope was believed when he said that King Philip had injured him in various ways, causing plots to be laid against his own life and that of his kinsfolk, waging war against him without any cause, occupying part of the Papal States, and that he was heretical and schismatic, a contrary belief, nevertheless, prevailed elsewhere, because King Philip and those who belonged to him (et li soi) heard mass, confessed, and communicated, saying that they have not attempted anything against his Holiness, though they took certain towns of the Church, not to retain them, but to prevent King Philip's enemies from attacking him, as his Holiness, when the Imperialists were at war with the King of France, made a league against them through the Cardinal of Lorraine, which is now renewed. In order to break that league King Philip, very much to his disadvantage, was compelled to make the truce, which having displeased the Pope, his Holiness sent Cardinal Caraffa to France under pretence of endeavouring to make peace, but in reality to try and bring about a fresh war, to which effect the French King announced his intention to them, and of this they say they can give proof (et tentar nuova guerra et ne hebbe intention dal Re Christianissimo, il che dicono poter provare), for as the Pope had processes drawn up here, so did they act in like manner over there (de li). They moreover assert that Cardinal Caraffa's negotiation was such as stated by them, according to many sure signs, viz., the mission by the King of France of the first Gascons, and then that of the second, who came with Cardinal Caraffa, and so many military commanders, the Marshal Strozzi and others, the reinforcement of the troops here, the words frequently uttered by his Holiness, and other things; so that it was necessary for the King, instead of waiting for war in his own territory, to anticipate and carry it into that of others. That an agreement having been talked of, he gave a commission for it to be made as his Holiness chose, and in the form as concluded on the island between Cardinal Caraffa and the Duke of Alva, but that Don Francisco Pacheco, who bore the order, as also other envoys from the Duke of Alva, did not obtain audience of the Pope. God and his Holiness knew whether these things were true, in which case King Philip deserved to be reconciled (abbracciato), because the Church non claudit gremium redeuntibus; and should the defence be false, it would then be requisite to cite King Philip. Coming more to the point, the personage in question said, “Holy Father, supposing King Philip to have done all that he is accused of, that he is a villain (sia tristo), a heretic, and even something worse, the four Doctors of the Church, together with the whole school of theologians (their opinion being yet more strenuously maintained by the canonists), assert that neither by deprivations (privationi), nor excommunications (escomuniche), ought any potentate (alcun potente), (nor any great multitude that may have sinned) to be irritated, because those who provoke them will have to give account of the souls thus doomed to perdition through schism; and that in similar cases Pont. max. et bonis omnibus lugendum est,' and that they should pray God of His infinite wisdom to find a remedy. Neither can it be said that King Philip is not powerful, and indeed most powerful, nor that in a 'conciliabolo' the majority of Christendom would not be brought over by him to his opinion, owing to the things aforesaid, and (which must in truth be admitted) to the present bad repute of the priesthood (et con il mal predicamento bisogna pur dirlo nel qual hoggi si trovano i preti);” coming to the conclusion that the Pope could not proceed to the deprivation without a summons, and that were it served and the King convicted, the Pope would do wrong, by depriving him of his realms, to give him cause for doing greater evil, such as the schism would be. At the close of this discourse the personage who made it named to the Pope all the Doctors of the Church who had spoken on this subject, quoting both books and pages. (fn. 61) The Pope promised to delay the publication, and said he would carefully peruse the works of the doctors relating to this matter; and now that he has heard in what state things were, and that he knows the difficulties, which are increasing daily, he commends those persons who spoke to him about them freely, and is glad that the execution of his projects has been protracted.
Rome, 14th May 1557.
May 15. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 889. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
On the 11th the Duke of Paliano departed for Civitella, accompanied by Marshal Strozzi, who is to return to give the Pope an account of the place and of the French forces, and of those of the enemy, and of what may be hoped or feared, as his Holiness places full trust in him, and will act according to his report. The Duke of Paliano had no great supply of money with him, nor any troops; he desired his household to follow him, but subsequently revoked the order.
The Gascons who were on board the French fleet have come hither, in number 600, and are going to the camp. The Baron de la Garde, who went from Civitavecchia to Tuscany with five galleys, to confer with M. de Montluc, says the Imperialists are in the field with 24 companies (bandiere) and 400 horse, and that the garrison of Montalcino is not strong enough to give them battle in the open country; and they complain of the Duke of Florence because, after a promise of neutrality, he gave money to the Spanish and Italian troops of Don Alvaro de Sande. De la Garde says that on his way back to Civitavecchia he was chased for many miles by the Spanish fleet, which went to Naples, and was ordered to leave 200,000 crowns at Genoa for the affairs of Milan, and 100,000 in Tuscany for Sienna. Through the arrival of this fleet the Duke of Alva will be reinforced by at least 2,000 Spaniards, and as the galleys are upwards of 60 they will also be masters of the sea.
The nonpayment of certain captains who applied for money causes a belief in this Court that the Pope will not be quite averse to an agreement, as on the day of the Duke of Paliano's departure Cardinal Pacheco discoursed with the Pope about peace for nearly four hours, demonstrating to him the inconveniences of the war, the difficulties of finding money, and the provision made by King Philip. The Cardinal was listened to in such a way as to make him think he comprehended a good disposition on the part of the Pope, and of such a sort that, had he not on other occasions received good words, which were, however, belied by subsequent deeds, he might have hoped for some good result; and in this he was yet more confirmed by seeing that Cardinal Caraffa, who was present at this colloquy, showed himself very much inclined towards peace. Moreover Cardinal Pacheco despatched a courier with the utmost secrecy to King Philip to give him account of his conversation with the Pope, and to persuade him to send an envoy of authority to negotiate with his Holiness. Pacheco, however, is not without hope that now, even through the Duke of Alva, an arrangement might be made. I am also assured that the Queen of France wrote to Marshal Strozzi to try and adjust his affairs, because it is the intention of the King her husband to put an end to the war, and this letter the Marshal showed to the Duke of Paliano.
The English ambassador [Sir Edward Carne] in a long discourse held by him the other day (uno di questi giorni) with the Pope, demonstrated to his Holiness the disturbances which will arise in England on its being heard there that Cardinal Pole has been recalled from the legateship. The Pope replied that he knew not how in honour he could remedy this, as the revocation had been made publicly; but nevertheless on Thursday, in the congregation of the Inquisition, Cardinal Medici, who, in the absence of Cardinal Putco, transcribes the decrees of the consistory, having asked his Holiness how he was to write the decree revoking the legation, the Pope replied that he was to write it in general terms, which was done, with the following declaration, that there was not to be included in it “the native legateship” (la legatione naturale) held by the Cardinal of England in right of his archbishopric, which [native legateship] the Pope intends him to retain (la qual legatione naturale intendi che li sia reservata). Besides this, although in consistory the Pope had styled Philip “olim Rex,” he chose mention to be made of his Majesty with all his titles. These things are kept very secret, and are known solely to two Cardinals and to the person who communicated them to me.
A plot has been discovered in Paliano, thus; some soldiers in garrison at Anagni under a captain of Pistoia, pretending to desert on account of not receiving their pay, presented themselves (two or three at a time) some 40 in number at Paliano, offering to serve as soldiers, and after being accepted, wrote to Marc' Antonio Colonna appointing the time for him and the forces in Anagni and his other retainers to present themselves under Paliano, when they would give him one of the gates. The peasant who took the letters put Colonna's reply in an appointed place, whither the accomplices in Paliano were to go and take it, and a woman (una donna) having seen him do so, informed the governor, who through the letter discovered this plot, and arrested the greater part of the conspirators. When this was heard here they despatched Giulio Orsini for the greater security of Paliano. (fn. 62)
Cardinal Caraffa's secretary Martio, who, owing to Aldobrandino, was disgraced by the Pope, has at length been imprisoned with two of his coadjutors. The reason assigned is that he took money for patents which the Cardinal desired him to deliver gratis; but the real cause of his arrest is supposed to be more important, as the day before it took place Cardinal Caraffa said that he himself had been accused of many things, and amongst the rest of willing to be Pope before his Holiness' demise, and immediately on Martio's imprisonment he went in person into his rooms to take away all his letters. (fn. 63)
The last advices from Civitella say that the site of the battery has been changed, and that greater difficulties are discovered daily, so but little profit is anticipated here; and at the Vatican (al Palazzo) when asked about Civitella they reply by merely shrugging up their shoulders and saying that the French consider the undertaking very difficult, and also that the Duke de Guise has been pushed on (spinto) to the Neapolitan expedition with one fifth part of the army required for it, being told to proceed joyfully, as he would only have the trouble of accepting the keys which would be brought to him.
Rome, 15th May 1557.
May 15. (Second letter.) Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 890. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
To-day the Pope heard the English ambassador concerning the Apostolic Legation of Cardinal Pole, Sir Edward Carne petitioning for it to be restored. His Holiness said he did not see how he could do so, as he had made the revocation publicly in consistory, and that semel commissum valeat irrevocabile verbum, and that his Holiness has such business on hand that he hoped when it was communicated to his Lordship he would approve his counsel (probaturum consilium suum). Carne then limited himself to a request that his Holiness would suspend the execution of it awhile (per qualche tempo), and the Pope desired Marchi, and De Monte Serchio, the lieutenant of his guard, to tell the Datario and Berengo not to make any intimation of the revocation of the legateship until they heard farther. When Sir Edward Carne departed the Pope called me, and with his usual eloquence preached a semi-sermon (fece una meza predichetta), and then said that he should have wished to satisfy your Serenity about the peace, but that he did not perceive any indication of goodwill on the part of King Philip, and that to me, as your Serenity's ambassador and his beloved son, he willed to communicate whatever came to his notice; adding, “You must have seen the letter written to us by Cardinal Pole?” (fn. 64) On my replying that I had not, he said, “We will have it given you;” and then calling his chaplain Alessandro, the one who sleeps in his chamber, he ordered him to tell Cardinal Caraffa to have a copy of it delivered to me, saying, “You will see it; besides this letter, King Philip wrote to a great personage here, that he desires, and always has desired, to be reconciled to us, to serve us, and to give us every satisfaction; but that we misunderstand him and will not accept him, so that he knows not what more to do than he has done; alluding thus to the mission of Don Francisco Pacheco, about which we will give you account, that you may write it to the Signory, so that should they be told about these things they may not believe that we are averse to peace, as they would believe a falsehood, for in truth we desire nothing more earnestly than a good peace; but the Imperialists (loro) tell lies (dicono delle bugic) to justify themselves before the world, and what they said about Don Francisco is one, for they proclaimed that he had brought us carta bianca, and that we would not give him audience, which is false, for he came hither when the Duke of Alva, after the taking of Hostia, had returned to Naples, Cardinal Caraffa being still at Venice; and Don Francisco told many persons, including Cardinal Pacheco, (who has confessed it) that he had no letter for us, nor anything to tell us but that he was carrying a despatch to the Duke of Alva; we do not remember whether he said he had to speak with our nephew the Cardinal, nor would we tell a falsehood. Understanding that he had nothing to tell us we did not care to see him, as it would have been to discuss a mere nothing (saria stato un trattare da un niente), and he was glad to go away, in order to be able to say (as they did subsequently) that they were willing to give us entire satisfaction and that we did not choose to hear him; and there are persons in their pay who proclaim this throughout Germany and elsewhere, the one outery in those parts being “The Pope makes war, and will not grant peace to those who ask it of him;” and whole provinces alienate themselves from the faith (e si vanno alienando dalla fede le provincie intiere), which grieves us to the heart, and concerns us more than the troubles of the war, or its costs, although they even draw the blood from all our veins (che n' asciucano tutti le vene). But this their excuse about our refusing to hear them is not credited by reasonable and judicious persons, as they know that in this matter we are nimii, and give audience to everybody, and so many that it is not on record that any Pope ever gave so many; and we have even instituted public audience in order that no one however lowly (abietto) may be prevented from entering our presence; so that they must devise some other apology, as this one does not profit them, and is utterly false. We have willed to give you account of this, that you may let the Signory know that should they ever be told that we are the cause of the peace not being made, they must not believe it, as we are quite ready (paratissimi), and this we have said to those who spoke to us on the subject, telling them that King Philip deceives or allows himself to be deceived into the belief that no satisfaction of any sort was offered him, and that we refused to give audience; for although his errors have been grievous and enormous (gravi et enormi), yet nevertheless should he do his duty, by making reparation (in sodisfare) to God's honour and ours, we would pardon him, because 'Ecclesia non claudet gremium redeuntibus,' and we are commanded, 'Orate pro persequentibus vos. It is true that we will a good peace, not a treacherous one (non insidiosa), like that of Cambrai, (fn. 65) which almost ruined you. On seeing any hope of this, we shall pray the Signory, first of all the powers, to send fresh ambassadors to one and the other (a questo e quello), to effect it, for we would not make it in spite of the King of France (in barba del Re di Francia), as it would not be fair to repay the obedience and reverence evinced by him towards us with a brick-bat (darli un cantone in pagamento), as proceedings of this sort seem to us rascally (ne paiono da marioli); and to make the peace in accordance with him is more beneficial for Christendom. This is the way to make a general peace, so as subsequently to turn their arms against the Turk, and if they are ambitious of territory let them go against him, as he has plenty of it; but we should not wish them to do as they did at Prevesa and Castelnuovo, (fn. 66) but that according to the conquests made, so should they be transferred to those who held the places heretofore; Lepanto, Coron, Negroponte, Napoli di Romania, Malvasia, and others, when taken, to be given to the Signory to be ruled by them, because they were formerly theirs; and the other places to their past possessors; and whilst you would be intent on recovering, we here would hold a Council, and restore the most holy rites of our forefathers. This would be all we have to wish, and to entreat of the Lord God; in short we shall always be ready to make peace, whenever we can have it with dignity to ourselves, and on any hope of this being shown to us, we will always let the Signory know, and ask their opinion, and not only that of the Republic but of every other Italian potentate, the Dukes of Ferrara and Florence, and even the Roman barons.”
Rome, 15th May 1557.


  • 1. In Foreign Calendar, Mary, date 7th May 1557 (p. 303) there is a letter from Dr. Wotton, showing that amongst the sufferers on this occasion was “Bartholomew Compeigne, and other merchants, not native but naturalized Englishmen.”
  • 2. That distinguished soldiers were occasionally surnamed after the colour of their armour, may be inferred from the title of “Black Prince” given to the heir apparent of the English crown in the 14th century. In Italy, in the first quarter of the 16th century, Giovanni de' Medici was styled “Captain of the Black Bands;” and in a despatch from Brussels, dated 3rd August 1554, a Venetian Ambassador gives the etymology of the word “Ferraroli,” then applied to a new corps of German cavalry, thus—“They are so called, because their surcoats, weapons, visors, gauntlets and horses, being all black, they look like our farriers or blacksmiths.”
  • 3.
  • 4. In the Venetian dictionary “Luppoli,” alias Hops. Perhaps hop-cuttings.
  • 5. E dalle Indie Occidentali, dal Paese, cioè dalla Mina, dal Brasil, e Costa di Ghinea.
  • 6. Ond' e stimata sopra tutte le altre isole del mondo, commoda, delitiosa, e ricca.
  • 7. E delli gentil huomeni, che chiamano serventi.
  • 8. Tutti armati di huomeni d'arme per eccelentia benissimo.
  • 9. Con nome di haver fatto honestamente bona prova.
  • 10. Then follows an account of the revenue and expenditure of the Crown, but as the reports of Barbaro and Soranzo were printed in vol. v. I will only remark that in 1554 Soranzo represented the Queen's archer-guard as 150 in number, and in 1557 Michiel doubled the number. Possibly the force was increased on the King's arrival in England.
  • 11. Compare with Michiel's despatch dated London, 16th December 1555 (p. 283), showing what Sir Anthony Kingston dared to do in the House of Commons.
  • 12. Ha la voce grossa et alta quasi da homo, si che quando parla e sempre sentita un pezzo da lontano.
  • 13. The clarichorde is described by Kircher in his Musurgia universalis. It was a sort of spinnet, or small harpsichord. Luseinius in his Musurgia seu Praxis, Musica, 1536, p. 9) described those instruments thus, omnia hæc instrumenta habent plectra (sic cnim illa vocant) chordas diversis in locis contrectantia, &c.” The virginal and clarichord were similar in fact to small harpsichords. (See “Original Letters,” &c., Second Series, vol. 1, p. 272, footnote, by the late Sir Henry Ellis.)
  • 14. Michiel speaks as an eye-witness, he arrived in England on the 22nd May 1554, the Queen having been crowned on the 30th September 1553.
  • 15. From August 1554 to August 1555, nor did he return until March 1557, after the departure from England of Giovanni Michiel.
  • 16. Quanto non sol da essa, ma a ciascuno saria gravissimo di veder il sangue bastardo di una condennata, e punita per publica meretrice dover esser presto con miglior fortuna nella successione del Regno, al sangue vero, legitimo, e regale, come il suo.”
  • 17. The “Report” here alluded to may be read in Alberi's first series, vol. 3, pp. 177 to 330.
  • 18. Philip, Prince of Spain, in the 21st year of his age embarked at Barcelona for Italy in charge of the Duke of Alva, the squadron being commanded by Andrea Doria, and it arrived at Genoa on the 27th November 1549. (See Andrea Morosini, vol. 2, p. 181, and Robertson, p. 630, ed. London, 1831.)
  • 19. Con un nome d'intender facilmente, e capir cio che gli vien detto.
  • 20. This remark of the Ambassador Michiel is in accordance with what was disseminated at Rome on the 16th September 1517, by the Marquis de Pescara, and one Theodoro Boccali, who had just returned from the Court of King Charles in Flanders, and said of him: “Non è di alcun valor et è gubernato da altri.” (Venetian Calendar, p. 420.) This was written to the Doge and Senate by the Ambassador Marco Minio, who on the 22nd July 1517 had informed the State that the Spanish ambassadors in Rome said their King had written to them that “he well know who had sold, betrayed, and sacrificed him, but that on arriving in Spain he would so provide for his need as to prove himself not a lad.” (See Venetian Calendar, p. 407.) And in the Venetian Calendar, date 30th October 1514 (p. 201, there is yet earlier proof of the precocity and spirit of the future Emperor, whose contemporaries having represented him so variously, posterity can tint his portraits as they please.
  • 21. The Emperor Ferdinand died at Vienna on the 25th July 1564.
  • 22. This was the cause of Cardinal Pole's failure at the Conference of Marck. (Compare with Hook, p. 337).
  • 23. In March 1557, probably at Brussels as Michiel left England in February.
  • 24. From July 1554 to July 1555.
  • 25. Compare with a despatch from Michiel's successor, Surian, date London, 7th June 1557, announcing the declaration of war.
  • 26. The despatch here alluded to is dated London, 3rd September 1555, and is printed in the present volume of the Venetian Calendar, pp. 177–180. Dr. Lingard in his History of England (vol. 5, p. 242, ed. London, 1854), made the following footnote about the new Council; “The Cabinet, after the King's departure, consisted of the Cardinal, the Chancellor (Stephen Gardiner), the Treasurer (William Powlett, Marquis of Winchester), the Earls of Arundel (Henry Fitz-Alan) and Pembroke (William Herbert), the Bishop of Ely (Thomas Thirlby), and Lord Paget, Rochester, and Petre, the Secretary. See the instrument of appointment in Burnet, III. Rec. 256.”
  • 27. After the battle of Mortimer's Cross (1461), in which Jasper Tudor, Earl of Pembroke (uncle of Henry VII.) escaped by flight, his father, Sir Owen Tudor, was taken prisoner, and immediately beheaded by Edward's orders, but of the decree mentioned by Michiel there is no notice in Hume, vol. 3, p. 380.
  • 28. For notices of Cardinal Pole at the University of Padua, see Venetian Calendar, vol. 2, Index.
  • 29. Cardinal Pole was revoked as Papal Legate in England on the 10th April 1557. (See Foreign Calendar, Mary, p. 292.)
  • 30. In November and December, 1549. (See vol. 5, Venetian Calendar, pp. 280 and following.)
  • 31. Lorenzo Priuli was Doge of Venice from the 14th June, 1556, till the 17th August 1559.
  • 32. Peter Vannes.
  • 33. On the first Sunday in February 1557. (See Michiel's despatch dated London, 26th January 1557.)
  • 34. The Bishop of Ely told Michiel that they might be sent through France. (See his despatch of the 21st July 1556.)
  • 35. See letter of Giovanni Michiel in this volume, date London, 21st July 1556, p. 534.
  • 36. Marie de Lorraine, widow of James V.
  • 37. Mary, Queen of Scots (affianced to the Dauphin) in her 15th year; she was affianced in 1548, and the marriage was consummated in April 1558. (See Mignet, p. 40, ed. Brussels, 1851.)
  • 38. In Francesco Contarini's transcript of this report the numeral “7” is written very distinctly; in Alberi's printed version the number is omitted entirely, but the late Sir Henry Ellis' English translation gives the number “ten,” with a footnote thus; “These were King's Langley in Hertfordshire, to which she annexed the nunnery of Dartford in Kent; the College of Manchester in Lancashire, St. Bartholomew's Priory in Smithfield, the house of the Knights Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem, the Savoy Hospital, Syon Nunnery, and Westminster Abbey in Middlesex, Wolverhampton College in Staffordshire, and the Carthusian Priory of Shene in Surrey. Michiel is correct in the number of houses restored, but not as to the precise nature of their foundations.”
  • 39. Henry VII. stipulated the marriage of the Princess Margaret to the King of Scotland at the commencement of 1502, when the Republic of Venice congratulated him on it. (See Venetian Calendar, vol. I., p. 293.)
  • 40. Sir Henry Ellis's remark on this passage is as follows: “It is evident that the vulgar opinion alluded to by Michiel arose from the law of private inheritance being construed into a rule for the succession.”
  • 41. Namely, Lady Katharine Grey, who married Edward Seymour Earl of Hertford, and died a prisoner in the Tower in 1567; and Lady Mary Grey, married to Martin Keys, Esq., and who died s.p.
  • 42. At the period in question there were two Duchesses of Suffolk, one the widow of Charles Brandon (his fourth and last wife, who was at Venice in August 1554, as seen at p. 122 of the present volume); the other, Frances, Lady Brandon, the Duke's eldest daughter, married to Henry Grey, Marquis of Dorset (afterwards Duke of Suffolk), and secondly to Adrian Stokes. Michiel is alluding to the widow of Henry Grey, and not to the relict of Charles Brandon.
  • 43. Henry Clifford, second Earl. The date of the marriage is not given either by Collins or Burke.
  • 44. The marriage took place on the 7th February 1555. (See Collins' Peerage, vol. 3, p. 80.) Henry Stanley, Lord Strange, became fourth Earl of Derby on the 16th November 1580.
  • 45. On the 18th September 1556. (See the late Mr. Turnbull's Foreign Calendar, Mary, p. 256.)
  • 46. Girando tutta l'Italia (sic) [Irlanda?] e per la via d'Italia e di Germania, &c.
  • 47. See also in this vol., p. 532, but the Archduke Ferdinand had already in the year 1550 made a left-handed marriage with Filippina Welser, of Augsburg. (See Chiusole's Genealogies, p. 234.)
  • 48. In October 1559 the Emperor Ferdinand had an agent in England, named Preiner, to negotiate the marriage of Archduke Charles to Queen Elizabeth, and Preiner was succeeded by Count Helfenstein. In a letter from Toledo, dated 30th January 1560, it is stated that the Queen had already placed the portrait of Archduke Charles at the head of her bed, “al capo del suo letto.”
  • 49. Emanuel Filiberto, Duke of Savoy, was born of Beatrice of Portugal, sister of Isabella the mother of Philip II.
  • 50. His aunt, Louise of Savoy, was the grandmother of Henry II.
  • 51.
  • 52. When this report was made the Duke of Savoy had nearly completed his 29th year, the Archduke Ferdinand was 28, and the Archduke Charles entered his 18th year on the 3rd of June 1557. (See Chiusole's Genealogies.) As already stated by Michiel, the Princess Elizabeth was in her 24th year.
  • 53. The festival here alluded to was St. Thomas' eve, when the Benedictine monks were re-established in their ancient abbacy of Westminster. (See in this volume Michiel's despatch, dated London, 21st December 1556, p. 879, Vol. 6, Part 2.)
  • 54.
  • 55. “Per il natural costume di quesia natione, che di ogni stato si sacia.”
  • 56. On the 30th April 1557 Queen Mary, by her letters patent, “advanced Thomas Percy to the degree of a baron (he having retaken Searborough and seized Thomas Stafford) and on the day following she promoted him to the dignity of Earl of Northumberland.” (See Collins' Peerage, vol. 2, p. 315.)
  • 57. Query Luis? See Foreign Calendar, Mary (Index).
  • 58. Giacomo Appiano, Prince of Piombino. See Foreign Calendar, Mary (Index).
  • 59. As Captain-General of the League.
  • 60. Antoine Escalin. See Foreign Calendar, Mary (Index).
  • 61. In date 8th May 1557 it has been seen that Cardinal Puteo had been studying the validity of the Pope's right to dethrone King Philip; and as Navagero now writes that the anonymous personage who ventured to speak so plainly to Paul IV. gave him both chapter and verse, thus implying that he was the canonist alluded to in the former letter, the personage who spoke so freely to the Pope was probably Puteo and not Gianagelo, de Medici.
  • 62. See also Foreign Calendar (Mary), p. 308.
  • 63. This circumstance is not mentioned in the extracts from Sir Edward Carne's despatch date May 15, Foreign Calendar, Mary, pp. 306–308.
  • 64. This letter has been registered in the present volume, p. 994 to 999, date March 1557.
  • 65. “Paix des Dames” concluded at Cambrai in August 1529.
  • 66. See note to a despatch from Navagero, date Rome, 11th September 1556.