Venice: June 1557, 1-5

Pages 1130-1142

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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June 1557, 1–5

June 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 912. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Advice was received lately from Flanders that 5,000 French infantry and 600 horse had crossed King Philip's frontiers towards Artois, advancing a distance, some say of eight, others of 13 leagues, and taking and razing a walled town called Haanz (sic) (Annezin?) where there was a garrison of Spaniards, part of whom were cut to pieces and part made prisoners; and although the enemy entered between two of King Philip's fortresses, one of which is Bethune, not more than four leagues distant from Haanz (sic) (Annezin?), no one stirred to oppose them, the reason assigned being that the commanders on those frontiers do not receive information about the enemy's proceedings, which in warfare is one of the greatest mistakes that can possibly be made, for whilst they talk and threaten on this side, the other avails itself of every opportunity.
As already mentioned by me the French are said to have 5,000 foot and 600 horse, but the French ambassador here sent to tell me that the Admired who formed this expedition is in the field with 500 men-at-arms, 800 light horse, and some 6,000 infantry, which if true would be half an army.
Here in the meanwhile they are expecting the succours (aiuti) from Spain, which do not yet make their appearance, and unless they be speedy and considerable they will show by experience what a gross blunder it is to circulate reports of making great preparations and not verifying them by facts, as it merely rouses the enemy, rendering them more and more ready for attack and defence.
Besides this stir in Flanders there has been another on the borders of Scotland, where some Scots made a sudden inroad into this kingdom, carrying off men and cattle, but the result was unfavourable to them, as having fallen in with the Lord of the country (Signor del paese) Lord Accher (sic) (Dacres?), he being accompanied by some Englishmen routed them, killing some, making a few prisoners, and recovering the plunder. This stir, although of no great importance, is a sare indication that the French will not remain quiet in this quarter, as had been supposed; so the Government (questi Signori) seems to rouse itself to preserve the States and repute of the most Serene King, though as yet they do not seem to have made any fresh resolve, and the scarcity of victuals which is very great increases daily.
Concerning the Sicilian corsairs the King has given the Viceroy stringent orders immediately to investigate the grievances detailed in the “instruction” sent by your Serenity, and to do summary justice without the noise of trial (senza strepito di giuditio), warning him so to act in this matter and in whatever else may be requisite as fully to satisfy your Serenity, the King having firmly determined that your Serenity's affairs and those of your subjects are to be treated like his Majesty's own.
I was unable to obtain that summary sentence should be passed, because there was nothing positive nor certain in it, everything being doubtful; though I hope that this letter of the King will bear fruit, as it is written very efficaciously (con molta efficacia) and contrary to the usual routine. I will transmit the letter and the copy as soon as I can get it, and perhaps by this present despatch.
With regard to the dispute for precedence between Vargas and the Bishop of Lodève, about which I wrote so fally in my former letters, (fn. 1) I have nothing more to tell except that it is suspected here, that were the Pope to excommunicate King Philip your Serenity would give it to Lodève and thus cause a double mortification (doppio dispiacer) to his Majesty, as besides loss of place it would imply that your Serenity favoured (approbasse) the Pope's cause, to the detriment of his Majesty and of the Emperor, who, according to the King's opinion, is still represented by Vargas. I have chosen to let your Serenity know all that I hear, that you may thus form your most sage opinion of the matter on the best grounds.
Whilst writing this I hear that the Admiral of England has put to sea with his fleet in order to meet the one expected from Spain. He has a total (un corpo) of 23 large ships well supplied with artillery and soldiers; so the French fleet being greatly inferior in the number and quality of its vessels, and in the activity (industria) of its sailors and in strength, will be unable to show itself and do any damage in these seas.
London, 1st June 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
June 1. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 913. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
I having sent to the palace this morning for audience, the Pope replied that to-day he had to hold a congregation general of all the cardinals, and that he would send for me afterwards if there was spare time. His Holiness had called the congregation to give account of the arrest of Cardinal Morone, saying that many years ago, so long back as in the time of Paul the Third, this thing has been germinating (questa cosa pullala), and that it is now brought to such a pass that it is impossible to do less than arrest him though to the Pope's very great regret, as he cannot abandon the cause of God; that had it been on any other account, even for high treason (cose di stato), he should perhaps have dissembled it; his Holiness adding that he purposed calling all the cardinals to Rome for the despatch of important business. He also said, with regard to this matter, that as Cardinal Triulzi had to stay some months longer in Venice for the conclusion of certain things which it would not be well to have treated by others, and as it was requisite to find means for his remaining there with dignity, he had resolved to make him legate de latere to your Serenity, both in Venice and her dominions (li luoghi di quell Illmo dominio), and that together with the brief of the legation he was also sending him the hat.
It has been told me that one day lately Cardinal Morone said to Cardinal Caraffa that he understood the Pope had a bad opinion of him, which Caraffa shared; and that this was on three accounts, first because he was an Imperialist and partial to King Philip; secondly, because he is hostile to the house of Caraffa; and thirdly, because he is notorious for heresy (perchè sia notato di heresia); that he was sorry that the Pope and his Lordship thought thus of him, as he was not an Imperialist, neither had he reason to be such, never having received any benefit from them, but rather the reverse, narrating some particulars about byegone events; that it is true that when Don Juan Manrique was here, (fn. 2) he was intimate with him because he seemed to him a good and intelligent individual (li parea parsona destra e buona); that any words about ill will to the house of Caraffa borne by him Morone were unnecessary, the facts being so manifest, as not only did he go readily to make Paul IV. Pope, but also constrained his friends (ma si havea anco tirato i suoi amici), having subsequently always revered him and in like manner loved his right reverend Lordship and all his most illustrious brothers; and with regard to the third imputation about religion, that he had always lived in such a manner that similar things about him should not be credited, although like everybody else he has many enemies and slanderers. Cardinal Caraffa answered him that even were he an Imperialist he did not think it mattered much as all men were at liberty and authorised to have affection for whom they pleased; and that as for Morone's hatred of his family he never had any suspicion of it. Touching religion Caraffa said he was not skilled in it (non se n'intendeva), wherefore he did not nor ever would meddle with it (e per ciò non se n'impacciava nè se n'impacciaria mai); and with this their conversation ended.
I have also heard that the said Morone (between whom and Cardinal Fano (fn. 3) there was but little friendship) sent recently a person in his confidence to that right reverend Lord to say that although there had been several disputes between them, he, Morone, had nevertheless always very much loved and esteemed him, and that when necessary he would prove this his good will by deeds; and that to let him know how much he trusted in his right reverend Lordship he wished to hear from him whether a certain book entitled “Beneficium Christi,” or a certain other book of the same sort (for the person who gave me this account did not well remember the name), contained in itself good doctrine (conteneva in se buona dottrina). To this Cardinal Fano replied that it was a long time since he had seen this book, that if he saw it now he would answer with more certainty (con pià fondamento), but that so far as he could remember it seemed to him that where it spoke of “works” it was somewhat suspicious. The person sent by Cardinal Morone also asked him whether he knew of certain Modenese, sent hither and arrested by the Inquisition, and whether they had mentioned him on any account (in alcun conto), to which he replied that he did not. The persons who know of this office performed with Caraffa and Fano (they, however, being few in number) do not deem it opportune, as an excuse made out of time and not demanded is always suspected. The arrest of this Cardinal was treated in congregation held by the Pope with the Cardinals Pisa, Reumano, Alessandrino, and Caraffa, nor was it discovered because they did not assemble until after the arrest; and in the general congregation the Pope said that to these cardinals others would be added, so that this case (causa) may be more maturely investigated.
Rome, 1st June 1557.
June 1. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 914. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Chiefs of the Council of Ten.
The Cardinals who told me what I write in the public letters about the arrest of the Cardinal Morone, are the right reverend Pisani and Cornaro, who came to visit me immediately after Congregation. They also told me as a very great secret that the Pope hinted that the right reverend Cardinal of England is likewise involved (intrigato), his Holiness having said, “See what peril was incurred at the last conclaves.”
Rome, 1st June 1557.
June 2. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 915. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
I went to the Pope to-day at 5 p.m. and found him giving audience to the Cardinal “Decano” [Bellai], Cardinal Pacheco waiting aside. After despatching these cardinals his Holiness came to that part of the chamber where I was, and leaning at a window, after asking me how I did, he said, “The most illustrious Signory's letter, which you sent that it might be read to us by the secretary, was a very great comfort to us, though it is no novelty, as we know how many offices the Signory has had performed in favour of the peace, both by your Magnificence with us as also by the secretary Capella, both with us and the Duke of Alva, he going backwards and forwards as often as necessary according to the tenour of his letters, and through the medium of the ambassador with King Philip and of the Duke of Alva's agents who were with his Sublimity, and with the Spanish ambassador resident at Venice, operations truly worthy of a most Christian republic desirous of the common weal, and of this wretched Italy in particular, she for so many years having alas been but too much ravaged and desolated. The exasperation increases daily, not only in these parts but also beyond the Alps, and we suspect that unless a speedy remedy be applied, what is now difficult will with time become impossible. The innovation in Italy has not become so great as to render adjustment impossible; we can always referre pedem; we are and always shall be of this mind, viz., to prefer a humane peace to any victory attainable by us through war; we shall never have regard for any personal advantage of our own; what we have done hitherto has been for defence, nor for this do we think ourselves worthy of reproof, as had not provision been made you may imagine in what state we should now be, for we have to do with people of little faith (con gente c' ha poca fede); they are in fact all barbarians, without any exception (in effeto sono tutti barbari non ne cavando alcano); omnes uno ordine habendo (sic); for to tell you everything this Duke de Guise likewise has sent us word that as the Imperialists are reinforcing themselves in Lombardy he purposes joining Brissac's army, but without ceasing to defend us. This makes us suspicious and we are afraid of his attacking some place unknown to us, which would be an additional injury, nor can we learn more than they choose to tell us. The Duke of Florence has made provision, because in similar times all men attend to their own interests; we will do everything to render him favourable to us, but the fact is that we wish to do all honour to the Signory, and to use their medium to open the road for us to resume with dignity the negotiation for agreement; and although we shall let others who offer themselves do what they can, we should nevertheless wish the whole praise of having been the cause of the quiet of Italy, and perhaps in the course of time of all Christendom, to be given to the Republic, for were we to make terms with the Spaniards (con questi) without renouncing the friendship of the French (di quell' altri), as we would never act so ungratefully as to go against them, we might have it in our power to exercise the authority of the Vicar of Christ with one side and the other to induce them to make peace, and being the friend of all the parties we should be a good medium, as he who wishes to mediate must participate with both adversaries; and the Signory's good offices being added to ours we might hope as aforesaid for universal quiet. Already since a long while you know of our will and inclination towards peace, and we affirm to you that we were of that mind and are so now; we hope in God thus to remain always. We believe it to be fitting for the Signory, through the means they hope to use, to discover the mind of these others and what they choose to do; because, should they propose fair terms, such as to justify themselves before the world they went publishing when Don Francisco Pacheco returned from King Philip, and when Placido di Sanguini came hither (details which it is unnecessary to repeat, having notified them to you a few days ago), we will let the world know by facts what we have uttered by word of mouth about our wish for quiet.
“We hope the Signory will not fail performing every good office, both on account of His Divine Majesty, of religion, of the common weal, of the preservation of this Holy See, and for their own interest by reason of the State held by them in Italy, as also for our sake; as considering the love we bear those most excellent Lords, and our desire for their honour and aggrandizement, and to do them some signal service, we believe that they of their grace deign to reciprocate our benevolence. One of the things we have to tell you is that it would very greatly please us (che ne sarà gratissimo) were his Sublimity to break this ice, and by doing so place us on the road to an adjustment, for time presses, and we are brought to such a pass that the slightest delay brings with it very great danger; were it possible to fly the speed would not be too great. Should the Signory think fit they might also, amongst other offices, have King Philip spoken to by their ambassador at his court, and also say a few words on the subject to the Spanish ambassador resident with them, who, we understand, shows himself desirous of this agreement, so that he also might aid this holy work. The other thing which we will communicate to you, it being our duty to tell it, and the Signory's to listen to it, is that we recommend to them the cause of Jesus Christ, of His Vicar, of all Christendom, of wretched Italy, and of the Signory individually; and that should those people (costoro) not choose to make peace, his Sublimity will not allow us to perish, but do what his predecessors did heretofore for the benefit of this Holy See, thus obtaining for themselves the glorious title of Protector of the Religion and of the liberty of Italy. We implore the Republic's assistance in procuring the peace, and defence from the State, should those people (costoro) persist in obstinately oppressing us.”
I returned thanks for this confidential communication, saying that what your Serenity had done hitherto to effect the peace, rendered it credible that you would not omit the performance of such other similar offices as seemed fit to you, and I commended his Holiness' goodwill in this matter.
The Pope then continued, “We will now give you account of the arrest of Cardinal Morone, because many persons will perhaps have supposed it to have been made for an affair of state, (fn. 4) which is not the fact, as had it been for such a cause it ought to have taken place much sooner. The truth is that we have had him arrested by the Inquisition; we held our congregations, the processes were read, many accomplices being in our hands, so that it was impossible to do less, although very much to our sorrow to have it known that in the College of Cardinals, which is the supreme magistracy in the religion of Christ (nella religione di Cristo), there are certain persons tainted with heresy; but as the thing is generally known we thought fit, the evil being notorious, to proclaim the remedy likewise; and to tell you the truth, we, who in past conclaves saw that some danger was incurred, choose in our lifetime to provide lest one day or other the devil have in this See one of these children of his (un di questi suoi), which would induce every one to lead their sorry life (a seguire la loro trista vita). A heretic cannot be Pope, because he who is not a member cannot be head; in the next place it is possible that we may one day hold a council, for which reason likewise we desire universal peace, that the council maybe holy and good for the total reform of the Church, nor would we that in the Council reproach be cast on us thus, 'Thou who now preaehest, and willest to reform others, hadst thou not with thee in the College of Cardinals persons who believed as we do (c'hamno seniito come noi)? Why didst thou not provide against them?' Magnifico Ambassador, we will not await these reproofs. The Bishop della Cava has also been arrested, and we choose to proceed with all maturity; tomorrow in the congregation of the Inquisition we shall appoint a committee of cardinals, through whose hands the affairs of this Cardinal will pass. We should wish you to give account of this likewise to the most serene Signory.” I told him that I would write this night by an express what he had said to me, and he continued, “We pray you to do so because the calamities are in fact near at hand, and they may be said to resemble the lightning, which immediately follows the limbo;” and with this I took leave.
Rome, 2nd June 1557.
June 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 916. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I having gone to the King yesterday, as by the accompanying letter, his Majesty said to me, “A gentleman has just arrived from M. de Guise, from whom I have heard that a skirmish took place between the troops of the King of Spain and mine, which last made 32 prisoners of some quality and killed a few (alquanti) of the enemy, including a brother-in-law (cognato) of the Duke of Alva, only two of my men being killed, and two others were captured. M. de Guise also informs me, that the Duke of Alva having pushed his army far forward, he intended to give him battle on the morrow, and as there is neither a river nor any other impediment between the two armies, and as he had already sent M. de Sipierre in advance with a certain number of troops to reconnoitre the country, I think it may take place.” I said to his Majesty that I could scarcely believe the Duke of Alva would fight a pitched battle, because unless he won, the kingdom of Naples might be considered lost. His Majesty said, “Your remark is in truth a good one, and I also thought in like manner, but this is his affair; unless he retreats M. de Guise assures me that he will give him battle.” His Majesty added, “The Duke of Paliano and Marshal Strozzi have joined the army, and the Marquis of Montebello has written me the most submissive letter in the world, begging my pardon for what he did.” (fn. 5) I then asked the King if it was heard that the Duke of Paliano's son was also coming hither, and he said, “They assure me of it positively.” I inquired whether his Holiness would proceed to the “privation” of the kingdom of Naples, and he replied, “The Pope continues in this opinion of depriving King Philip, and the privation is already drawn up (e già la privatione è messa in forma), but his Holiness continues temporizing thus (va così scorrendo) for some reason of his own.” I asked what forces M. de Guise had, and he said, “He has those that crossed into Italy with him and some 6,000 Papal soldiers, and the Duke of Alva has 3,000 Spaniards and 4,000 Germans, the rest both horse and foot being forced troops “(gente comandata).” I then inquired what news he had of the Marshal de Brissac, and he said, “Since the coming hither a week ago of Damville, the Constable's son, I have no other advices, but the Marshal wrote, to me that he had found Cuni (sic); (Cunio or Cuneo) stronger than he expected, but that by fortresses raised by him round it and by mines he had fair hopes of getting it, at least by capitulation,” I asked his Majesty if he intended to go to the war in person, or whether he would send the Constable, and he replied, “Concerning this matter I really have not formed any resolve, because first of all I choose to see what King Philip will do, and should I see the undertaking to be a royal one (che la impresa sia reale) I have a mind to go thither in person, but if things proceed moderately (medioeremente) I. shall decide according to circumstances;” and he added, “The King stays in England waiting for Ruy Gomez, the time of whose return is not yet known; I hear that he held the Cortes in Spain, but was very far from obtaining what he expected, either in troops or money,”
His Majesty then continuing the conversation said, “That Stafford who was captured in England, said at his first examinations that I had sent him for that end which he wished to accomplish, and that the Constable had given him money; but subsequently on seeing that this did not save his life he retracted, and said that neither I nor the Constable had assisted him in that matter; for if you. remember I told you that he had proposed it to me, and I answered him that he was mad, and that I thought I saw him with his head severed from his shoulders.” I then took leave of the King, as preparation was being-made to attire him in his hunting gear.
When the news arrived here that the Marquis of Montebello had left the array, it was greatly suspected that he had been recalled by the Pope, and that his Holiness had already made terms with the King of England, or was at least near an adjustment, and hence arose that dissatisfaction to which I alluded in my letter of the 29th ulto. An express was sent immediately to M. de Guise to tell him that if the Pope's marks of distrust warranted the supposition of his tending towards the agreement with the King of England, and if he therefore thought fit to retreat from, the. kingdom of Naples for the avoidance of such dangers as the said adjustment might cause, he was to do so without any scruple. Even without this fresh order Ms Excellency has free commission to proceed in all things as he may think most fitting, without awaiting any fresh instructions hence. From what has been hinted to me his most Christian Majesty's intention is that in ease of a, retreat the Duke de Guise is to go into the territory of Ferrara, so as from that quarter likewise to make a fresh stir in the Milanese. Although his Majesty was glad that the Duke of Paliano had joined the army, I nevertheless do not understand that this removed much of the King's distrust, wad I have been told freely that the most Christian King must see greater signs if he is to make sure of ike Popes mind, and yet more of that of his nephews, and that therefore although the order has been renewed for the 6,000 Germans to go to M. de Guise, they will not go so speedily as was at first intended, but that should his Holiness show himself ready in fact (in effetto) to benefit the undertaking, they will not only send him the said 6,000 Germans hut will also make a fresh levy of Switzers.
Fismes, 2nd June 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
June 4. Deliberazioni Senato (Register). 917. Motion made in the Senate for a letter to Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador in England.
It pleased us to learn by your letter of the 12th April that you would not fail to assist our subjects about the traffic of which the Londoners (quei di Londra) are endeavouring to deprive the foreign merchants; but as we greatly desire that there be observed towards our merchants what has been the custom continually, and that at the suit of others, most especially by means of an obsolete statute (con un statuto senza osservantia), an innovation very detrimental to them be not made, we with the Senate charge you to make all suit both to the King and Queen and others, where you know it to be necessary, so that in this matter no innovation be made. However slight it might be it would prove very prejudicial to our entire nation, which at all times has been well looked on by the former Kings of England, in accordance with the ancient friendship between our Signory and that Grown, whence arose several reciprocal demonstrations, as we choose to promise ourselves will in like manner be made at present, the same friendship on our part continuing with their Majesties, who we shall always believe will amplify rather than diminish the privileges conceded to our nation, and allow of (permetter) the ancient customs, rather than not, as we have always done and shall do by that nation. As we know that being aware of the importance of this matter you will not fail to do all you can, we therefore, without saying anything else to you on the subject, shall refer ourselves to your diligence and ability.
Ayes, 176. No, 1. Neutral, 0.
June 4. Deliberazioni Senato (Register). 918. Motion made in the Senate for a Letter to Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador in England.
Thinking it fit to communicate to you what Don Ferrante (Ferrando) Gonzaga confided a few days ago to our late most beloved noble the Procurator Stephano Tiepolo (fn. 6) about his (Don Ferrante's) opinions with regard to Ferrara, we send you a copy of the letter written by said Ser Stephano to the Chiefs of our Council of Ten, and of our reply, together with what was done in this matter by our secretary Phebo Capella, and what King Philip's ambassador said on the subject in the College, so that the whole may be known to you, to enable you to reply in conformity if spoken to about it, and not otherwise; and thus do we, with the Senate, charge you to do, keeping it secret in your own breast unless the circumstance be mentioned to you as aforesaid. (fn. 7)
Ayes, 179. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
June 4. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 919. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador At Rome, To The Doge And Senate.
Cardinal Caraffa said to me, “The disagreements are increasing daily between the Pope and the French, who have made a demand for Ancona and Civitavecchia to be placed in their hands or they would depart, supposing that we should consent from fear of being abandoned by them; but I have counselled the Pope to sacrifice himself (si dia in preda) to the Imperialists rather than do this, as the French do not demand these fortresses from necessity nor for any good end, as they are in our hands and we are allied with the King of France. For what purpose do they insist on having Ancona ? to draw thither at some future time the Turkish fleet and embarrass the Signory (a quelli miei Illmi Signori e padri); but France must not imagine that this will ever be done. God has willed that Ancona should belong to the Church for the service of Italy, and of the Signory in particular, and I dropped a hint about these things to Cardinal Triulzi, whom, as he will remain at Venice during these summer months, we chose to make Legate, for the greater repute of the Signory, and to show the world that no opportunity for doing them honour is neglected; but I did not write to the Cardinal so clearly as I have spoken to you, and as the fact is. I well knew previously the insolence of those people (di costoro), but could not do less than call them, and therefore endeavoured to obtain greater assistance from the Italians to deprive the French of the opportunity for affronting us (di poterne fare un affronto). The Pope is very well inclined towards peace, but as yet the Imperialists have not come to any details, to which they must condescend if they wish for any agreement. Had they explained themselves I should have hoped for some good result, as the Pope begins to believe me a little more than he did at first, he himself now seeing how matters are proceeding. I always anticipated some affront from these Frenchmen, and therefore kept a door open for peace, by not allowing the “deprivation” of King Philip to be pronounced. I alone persuaded the Pope to temporize (a scorrere), and was obliged to use great artifice, for his Holiness wished at any rate to issue the decree, and I told him that if he did he would render King Philip desperate and the French more insolent and contemptuous towards his Holiness; and these arguments not sufficing, I demonstrated to him that the process was ill drawn up and not definitive (nè finito), and that the conclusions were not real (che li finimenti non erano reali), because the notorious fact was sufficient of Philip having waged war on the Church and occupied places in the Papal territory; to which I replied that he on the other hand would say that he acted in self defence and wished to make terms, for which purpose he sent articles, nor until they are proved to have been unfair could any good be done; so. I proposed that they should be examined by the Cardinals of the Congregation appointed at that time for the peace, that they might prove the unfairness of the terms required, and that the war was waged to give law to the Pope and not in self defence; by which means I gained so much time that we have got thus far, without driving King Philip to extremities (e non s'ha disperato il Re Filippo). I have given you this account that you may see that I shall always do the best I can for the service of God and of Italy, as a Christian and as a good Italian.” In reply to what I said in commendation of these sentiments he continued, “Write also confidentially to his Sublimity that the Pope will let himself be cut to pieces rather than do anything unworthy of his office, and will always have before his eyes the honour of God and the common weal of Italy, so that the French must think of anything rather than of Ancona and Civitavecchia; and I let their ambassador know that these are not the means to be employed with this good and magnanimous old man, and that to give them the port of Ancona would with reason cause great suspicion to the Republic of Venice.”
Rome, 4th June 1557.
June 4. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 920. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador At Rome, To The Chiefs Of The Council Of Ten.
After I had requested prorogation of the term assigned for the Bishop of Bergamo to present himself at Rome, (fn. 8) his Holiness said much about the affairs of the religion, demonstrating of what great importance they were; that to be a heretic was alone sufficient cause for the deposition of Popes (Pontefici). He gave me account, as written by me in the public letters, of all it had behoved him to do, to his very great pain, against Cardinal Morone. I rejoined that your Serenity demanded nothing more than a sufficient period (habilità di termine) for a prelate, one of your noblemen, who was infirm, and of a feeble constitution. The Pope said, “May God cause the recovery both of his body and soul. For the most illustrious Signory we will do all we can, with honour to ourselves.”
Rome, 4th June 1557.
June 5. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 921. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador At Rome, To The Doge And Senate.
Marc' Antonio Colonna having appeared under Vicovaro with 2,000 horse the garrison refused to surrender as he had no artillery so he then retired. It is reported that should the agreement not be made he will lay waste the Campagna and cause a scarcity in this city, which is not victualled for many days; so it is feared that the Duke of Alva will give fair words about peace, but add that he must await fresh orders from King Philip, and in the meanwhile advance and tie Rome as it were in a sack (e lighi Borna come in un sacco), and perhaps do worse.
According to the last advices the French camp was at Porto d'Ascoli, distant one harquebuse shot from the Tronto. The Imperialists had not left Civitella, though it was heard that they would advance and ascend the hill above the Tronto, where the French army encamped after its retreat from Civitella.
At the last congregation of the Inquisition the Pope added the Cardinal of Spoleto [Virgilio Rosario] to the three first Cardinals, Pisa, Reumano, and Alessandrino [Michiel Gislerio of Alessandria], for the investigation óf the charges against Cardinal Morone.
The ambassador from Florence told my secretary that he has had audience of the Pope, who evinced a great wish for peace and also dissatisfaction with the French; so he sent an express to his Duke exhorting him to urge King Philip and the Duke of Alva to adjust matters with his Holiness at any rate by giving him some apparent satisfaction before the world, this old man (questo vecchio) desiring nothing else, as they may then rest assured that he will be a greater enemy to the French than he ever has been to the Imperialists, wherefore this opportunity ought not to be lost.
The Prince of Salerno has arrived at Civitavecchia with all the galleys, and as this news might change the Pope's wish and that of his nephews for peace, I sent my secretary this afternoon to Marquis Montebello, who said to him that he never had so much hope of the agreement as at present, because he sees that the Pope, and the Cardinal his brother, are of one and the same mind, both being very dissatisfied with the French, and that they have determined to send him into Romagna to make provision lest the army on its passage through that province seize any of the cities there. He quoted the Cardinal's precise words, thus, “'Brother, you were the first cause of our ascertaining the treachery of those people (di costoro), who, after we had abandoned ourselves to them and led them through our heart (per mezo il cuor nostro) into the kingdom of Naples, tolerating so much insolence from them in the Papal States, have thought fit to betray and leave us in the hands of our enemies; we must help ourselves, and resent this when the opportunity presents itself. I should not wish them when traversing Rbmagna to thrust themselves into some city there; so you will go thither and make them depart quietly, and should they be insolent, do not put up with it.' I therefore was to kiss the Pope's hand to-day, but his Holiness intends going into chapel; the Cardinal is within. I know not whether I shall be able to depart to-day, for I have been somewhat afraid lest the coming of the Prince of Salerno (fn. 9) cause some alteration, so I asked the Cardinal what it denoted; he replied nothing; as he is here alone, and even had he been accompanied by considerable forces the negotiation of the peace would not be aban doned, should King Philip have that good will which he has always professed (se il Re Filippo haverà quel buon animo c' ha sempre detto); the Marquis adding, that Cardinal Pacheco told him that the Pope had said to him clearly, that if King Philip and his ministers shall will to carry into effect what they have said verbally, his Holiness will make peace (che se il Re Filippo e li suoi ministri vorranno mettere in effetto quello c'hanno detto in parole, Sua Santità farà la pace). Montebello then continued, “If I go into Romagna, and the French proceed with the utmost discretion (can ogni modestia), I shall be glad of it, lest we have cause to give them a lesson (di dargliene una mano), for they will come without artillery, and were they to bring any they have no ammunition; the army is weakened, and the nature of the French is such that in retreat they lose all heart, whilst I on the contrary shall be provided with good troops, and in a province grievously outraged by them, so that unless they are sage I shall make them take their bread at the pike's point (li farò pigliare il pane per le picche).”
Rome, 5th June 1557.


  • 1. Not found.
  • 2. Don Juan Manrique left Rome on the 9th July 1555, “for the Emperor and their Majesties,” and Sir Edward Carne requested the latter to thank him for his civilities to the English ambassadors at the Papal Court. (See Foreign Calendar, Mary, p. 179.)
  • 3. The Bishop of Fano, from the year 1537 until his death in March 1558, was a native of Modena, a Dominican friar, by name Pietro Bertano. He was elected Cardinal by Pope Julius III. on the 20th December 1551. (See Cardella IV. 319.)
  • 4. Per cosa di stato, i.e., for treason.
  • 5. For what Montebello did, see Navagero's despatch, 8th May 1557.
  • 6. Steffano Tiepolo had been elected Procurator on the 6th June 1553, and his successor was appointed on the 1st of May 1557 (see MS. List of Procurators penes me); so he probably died at the end of April 1557.
  • 7. As yet I have been unable to find in the Venetian Archives the documents alluded to in this letter, which I nevertheless print because it is referred to by Surian in date of London, 27th June 1557.
  • 8. Vettor Soranzo, Bishop of Bergamo, had been summoned to Rome on a charge of heresy; the Pope deprived him of the See and conferred it on Alvise Lippomano, 20th July 1558. (See Bibliothêque Sacrée, vol. 4, p. 342.)
  • 9. Sanseverino (Fernando); for his arrival at Civitavecchia, See also Foreign Calendar, “Mary,” 5th June 1557, pp. 313, 314.