Venice: June 1557, 11-15

Pages 1154-1166

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, 11–15

June 11. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 930. Bernardo Navageeo, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
I went this morning to Cardinal Caraffa and told him that immediately on receiving my letter announcing the intention of the Pope and of his Lordship to make peace, you wrote to your ambassador with King Philip, performing a similar office with his Majesty's minister accredited to the Signory. The Cardinal after returning thanks said, “To speak freely with you the Pope, seeing that the French were resolved to depart, and having a hostile army at his back, not knowing which way to turn, had recourse to the lesser evil—not that I call peace 'the lesser evil,' for I shall always consider it a benefit, but by reason of the affairs then current it might have been called so at that time—and his Holiness spoke to you and many others as he did. He simultaneously sent Marshal Strozzi to the camp to let the Duke de Guise know that by his departure he betrayed us (ch' el suo partire era un tradirne), and that his demands, most especially for the fortresses, were unjust, and a confirmation of what the Spaniards said, that they had come not to defend the Papal States but to oppress them; and as it was asserted that the fortresses had been promised him he was required to show by whom, in what place, and when, as a thing of such great importance. ought to appear in writing like all the others which were accepted and concluded, nor would the Pope ever fail to observe them, whilst on the other hand he would never give any fortress, not even to save his own life and that of all his kindred; demonstrating to him that King Philip, who was the Pope's enemy, could not demand more than that of his Holiness, The answer was that the said Duke had a twofold order (ordine dupplicato) from his King to depart, and that unless some satisfaction were given him he could not stay, but that if we would send to the King (as was promised him) the Marquis, the son of the Duke of Paliano, (fn. 1) assigning at the same time these reasons to his Majesty, he (Guise) would remain until the receipt of another order from the King. The Pope has therefore determined to send the Marquis as soon as possible, together with Marshal Strozzi, who is to give account to the King of everything here, and of the need of the See Apostolic, nor in the meanwhile shall we remain idle in Rome; the Switzers will arrive, the other necessary provisions being made, and there will also be time to negotiate the agreement with more dignity as the despatch of the Marquis to France will not hinder it. If the Imperialists offer fair terms the Pope will not fail to accept them, as he who occupies this See must not prefer war to peace, nor would I ever give him such advice, as he will always be able to make known to the most Christian King the necessity of this State and the impossibility of continuing a long war such as this would be; and his Majesty will be told that it is for his advantage that the Pope should make peace with King Philip, as he will then be able to treat the agreement between their Majesties. This is the decision, nor is it yet known to anyone, you being the first to hear it, of which I am glad, that you may write it to the Signory, telling them, moreover, that by sending the Marquis the agreement will not be in the least impeded, provided the Imperialists explain themselves (si lascino intendere) and propose fair terms; as the King of France will not keep that lad prisoner, he not having been sent as hostage nor for any other purpose (nè per altro), and even should they detain him, the Pope will have the means of seizing in the Papal States some personage of sufficient consequence to compensate for the Marquis. What is being done proceeds from inability to do anything else, not having anything in hand from the Imperialists but words. They must consign to writing what they mean to do, and not await the departure of the French army, so as then to give law; we cannot trust them, and King Philip's ministers when they have a finger's breadth of authority proclaim that they have the whole arm, to give themselves repute, and at this present time more than ever to increase the suspicions of the French and to make them depart entirely. I wish for peace because it profits me and my family, and I know that this desire is shared by his Holiness. Letters have come in great haste from King Philip of England, and I have got one from Cardinal Pole, who acknowledge3 the receipt of information which I sent him about what has passed here, to enable him to confute the charges brought against the Pope; and he adds, that having been called to the Court for other matters he spoke to King Philip about the peace and found him well inclined towards it; and when Pole urged his Majesty to send some one to negotiate with the Pope, his Majesty replied that Don Francisco Pacheco had not obtained audience, but that he would give a commission here, though he has not given it, Cardinal Pacheco nevertheless having been twice with the Pope for a long while about general matters.
Having been told what is written in the accompanying packet I said that according to report the English ambassador [Sir Edward Carne] had received the commission. Cardinal Caraffa replied that it was untrue, and that Carne's business was about the affair of Cardinal Pole's legation, concerning which the Pope would have thought, as it indeed seemed, that having lately returned from schism to her obedience to the See Apostolic, England had need of a legate, but that his Holiness would decide as seemed fit to him whether to retain Cardinal Pole in that office or to send some one else thither. Knowing that whatever has to be negotiated with the Pope must be mentioned to Cardinal Caraffa, with whom his Holiness confers and consults about everything, nothing being concluded without his favour, he moreover choosing to be acknowledged accordingly, I said to him that concerning the matter of “legation” the bestowal of that office on Cardinal Triulzi at Venice, which was new and unusual there, would cause trouble and dissatisfaction to your Serenity, telling him the reasons assigned in my commission, and he said he would speak about it to the Pope, would not fail to favour your Sublimity's desire so far as possible. I then took leave and was followed out of the antechamber by the Marquis of Montebello, who told me he was in despair because he saw that the negotiation for the agreement was quite broken off by their sending the Marquis to France, as the Imperialists will no longer place trust in anything that is said to them, seeing that when they are having peace negotiated by the Signory of Venice and the Duke of Florence and others, they at one and the same time send the Marquis to France; adding, “Would that anyone could assure the Pope that when they have the lad (il putto) in their hands they will not find some other cause to he off, saying that the Duke of Ferrara is oppressed and that they are commissioned to assist him, thus leaving his Holiness in a worse condition than ever, as he will have lost credit with the Imperialists, and should he wish them to halt they will again make some insufferable demand. I can no longer stand it; they do not call me to these consultations nor do they unbosom themselves to me; I shall at least have the consolation of not being an accomplice.” Having uttered these few words by stealth he went towards the apartments of the Prince of Salerno, saying he could no longer tolerate the inconstancy of his kinsfolk.
Rome, 11th June 1557.
June 12. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 931. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday, at 6 p.m., the hour assigned me by the Pope, I went for audience, and found there the Cardinals Carpi, Pacheco, Santa Fiore, and the ambassadors from England and Portugal, on whose dismissal, at 8 p.m., I was introduced. His Holiness apologised for having made me wait, and when I expressed regret at adding to the fatigue caused him by so many and long audiences, he replied, “You never molest us; on the contrary we are sorry for the nightfall, as it prevents us from staying long with you.” After returning thanks for his daily favours, I said that your Serenity, having received my letters about his goodwill for quiet, and his request that you would perform offices to that effect, wrote immediately to your ambassador with King Philip, urging likewise the ambassador Vargas at Venice to exhort his Majesty to make terms with his Holiness, the Signory promising not to fail doing everything that might seem fit to them hereafter, being certain that the Pope will retain the same wish for peace that he has always had, and as so often said by him to me. The Pope replied, “We thank the Signory for what they have done for us at all times, and acknowledge as from His Divine Majesty in the first place, and then from the Signory's good offices, the goodwill (buona mente) of King Philip, as announced to us from many quarters; and he himself wrote lately to several cardinals, who have shown us the letters, that his chief wish is to be reconciled to us, to obey us, to serve us, and to give us every satisfaction; praying them to let us know this his will, which he himself would have written to us had he thought that it would have pleased us more to hear it through his letters than by word of mouth from their right reverend Lordships; adding that he wishes to know our answer. We have not failed to reciprocate in goodwill, and to let it be understood that we will receive him as a very dear son, not remembering any past injury, provided his words are carried into effect by deeds; but as things cannot be done so secretly as not to be divulged through some channel, we think that the King of France has heard of this will, and, according to the very suspicious nature of the French, has taken umbrage at it; so we who wish for peace with Philip, without breaking with this other one (senza rompere con questo altro), have determined to retain him by every sort of good office. Should you therefore see us show all favour to his most Christian Majesty, and also, because between peace and truce every one should remain provided, should you see us arm, ut boni consulatis obsecro, as all will be done for a good end, in order that having made friends (fatti amici) with the King of England, and conserving the King of France (et conservati il Re di Francia), we may one day be a good medium for bringing universal peace into Christendom, as is our object, such being the duty of anyone seated on this throne, and we will hope in God that those kings, from compassion or by force, will make it. At this moment there is no part of the world that does not suffer from these wars; Spain complains of them, France laments, Germany languishes, for if the ships of those nations come with full cargoes, not ten in a thousand return into harbour; Italy is desolated, and what can the rest of Christendom desire more than quiet. If we make peace with this one (se si pacificamo con questo), and if he wish for universal peace, we shall have an ample field for bringing over the King of France by telling him that he promised it to us when we sent him our nephew Cardinal Caraffa as legate for two sole purposes (per due effetti soli), the one to procure this peace, the other to let him know about the Council which, for the reformation of the Church, we desire to hold, not at Trent, nor elsewhere from complacency with the parties (a compiacenza dette parti), but in hac almâ urbe; telling France, besides, that if 'the prodigal son Philip, qui abierat in longinquas partes, is made whole (è redutto a sanità) and wills the peace (e vuole la pace), by so much the more ought he to make it, who is 'the beloved son,' qui meus semper est, et omnia mea sua sunt; and should he continue restiff, we would then exercise our authority, as although our temporal portion is small, we nevertheless justify the side to which we give our support (che sebbene habbiamo picciol parte temporale, pur damo la ragione a quella parte ove accostamo), and we would make him know that we will not tolerate his omitting to do signal deeds for the welfare of Christendom. We have proceeded so far forward in our discourse with you that you may write all our thoughts to the Signory, to excite them the more to persevere in the offices commenced by them to pacify us with King Philip” (per pacificarne co 'l Re Filippo).
After commending the Pope's pious and magnanimous designs, I told him that although your Serenity respected and revered this Holy See, and particularly his Holiness, above any Popes who have reigned for many years, and although you greatly loved Cardinal Triulci, yet nevertheless the legation lately given him, a new and unusual office in Venice, could not please you, because it became requisite to treat all affairs through the secretary or some other individual of the Cardinal's familiars, it not being decorous for him to go into the College Hall, and that this produced difficulties and delays, and somewhat endangered negotiations; besides which, it being often necessary to invite the apostolic nuncios to the processions and. ceremonies, the people would murmur to see a personage always preceding the Doge in public, on which accounts Clement VII. revoked the legation which in 1530 he had determined to give to Cardinal Egidio, as the Signory hope the Pope also will do at present, his love for the State being so much greater. The Pope replied that when he made Cardinal Triulci Legate, he had not an idea (non hebbe capello che si pensasse) of doing anything disagreeable to your Serenity, and that on the contrary, as he knew you liked that Cardinal, and it seeming to him that in times so important as the present ones it would he well for him to remain there during this hot weather, he had wished to give him the means to reside in a dignified manner, not a little to the honour of the Signory; and that he believed that these respects about precedence and having to negotiate through secretaries or others continued the same as before when he was Cardinal, without being at all increased by the Legateship; but that he would not dispute about this, as it sufficed him to comprehend that it was not to the satisfaction of your Serenity; adding, “I well knew that one cannot keep a cardinal in Venice for a long period, and that the Signory's regulations are strict (limitate), nor do those Lords like to alter them. We purposed keeping him for a few days, but as it would not be to his Sublimity's satisfaction, we will find a remedy, either by recall or in some other way, to satisfy him, for we are dragged (tirati) to compliance by paramount force, viz., the love we bear him; which forbids the thought of our doing anything grievous to him, fortis est ut mors dilectio; and do you say a word to some of the cardinals of ancient date (a qualche cardinale de' vecchi), so that the measure may not seem to have been a levity on our part.” I told him that his Holiness alone was sufficient, being of opinion that his compelling me to speak to' the cardinals was to delay, and that to bring the matter before Consistory might give cause for diversity of thoughts and opinions; so I said that with his leave I would give your Serenity the good news of its being his intention to make provision (ch' ella fusse per provederli). He replied, “Do so, for we will not fail.” After-kissing his foot, I took leave, and when I was in the act of departing his Holiness said, “Day by day you will know more and more that from us nothing can proceed but what is to the satisfaction of the Signory, and we regret having been unwary in this “matter. Pray his Sublimity that in this matter of the peace non quiescat.”
Rome 12th June 1557.
Jane 12. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. (Second Letter.) 932. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The French camp having halted, is scattered about at several places in the territory of Ascoli and Fermo, the greater part being at Morano; nor has the Duke of Alva changed his quarters near Giulia Nuova, although the air there is bad, the Germans suffering from it, and many of the Italians having deserted. Marc' Antonio Colonna is still reinforcing himself with horse and. foot in the Campagna, and has sent notice to the vassals of the abbacy of Subiaco to hold themselves in readiness with their arms; his appearance under Vicovaro, to which I alluded in my last, was not so much from any design on that place, as on account of a plot formed by him at Cava, which having been discovered did not take effect.
On Thursday, in the Congregation of the Inquisition, the Pope caused to be read the letters of the King and Queen of England, whereby they pray his Holiness to restore (ritornare) the legation to Cardinal Pole, showing in very humble and respectful language towards his Holiness the need that kingdom has for it. No decision whatever was made, the Pope saying that he. would decide in Consistory.
A few days ago the auditor of Cardinal Morone was arrested, and after taking his deposition, they released him. They are scrupulously examining some natives of Modena, amongst whom is a bookseller, about charges against his right reverend Lordship; and to-day the Cardinals appointed for his trial (processo) were a long while in the Castle, where they are supposed to have confronted him (a costituire sua Sria Rma).
Cardinal Carpi [Rodolfo Pio] who is governor of Loreto, having heard that a trial (processo) is being drawn up against his vicar there, by name Father Gasparo, a Venetian, has made him come to Rome; and he has told the Pope that should his vicar have erred, he shall be his bitterest enemy, though he prays his Holiness to appoint him a good and sincere judge (che li deputi un buono, e sinciero giudice).
The Romans are doing all they can to avoid paying the tax of one per cent., and they determined lately in their Council to offer the Pope 100,000 crowns in lieu of it, the money to be raised by levying a quatrino per pound on meat, this tax to remain in force until it yield that sum, which, if accepted, those who eat meat will pay it. I having dropped a word about this to Cardinal Caraffa, he replied that this would be considered, because nobody would eat meat (che se l' haveria respetto perchè non si voleva mangiarli). Yesterday the Conservators went to the palace to, have audience of his Holiness after me concerning this matter, but from what 1 hear the 100,000 crowns were not accepted, although to-day Cardinal Consiglieri, who favours the Romans, said that at any rate the business will be arranged.
Yesterday, being at audience with so many cardinals and ambassadors, I had an opportunity for discoursing with almost all of them. Carpi [Pio] and the “Camerlengo” [Sforza] told me it seemed to them that the Pope was well inclined towards the peace, which is more necessary than ever, Carpi saying, “I spoke to his Holiness by order of King Philip.” Santafiore [Sforza] told me that after transacting some business as “Protector” of Portugal, the Pope exhorted him to perform good offices for quiet, he being a person who has so much authority, both with the King and with the Duke of Alva, and with Marc' Antonio Colonna; his Lordship assuring me that he desires nothing 'more earnestly than this, and that had it pleased God that he should have been present at the conference as arranged, the blessing of peace would have been already enjoyed some months ago, as written to him also by King Philip.
The ambassador from England [Sir Edward Carne] told me he was in hopes that the legation would be restored to Cardinal Pole, which if not obtained, it would cause great discontent throughout that kingdom, where he is well nigh adored (nel quale è quasi adorato); adding, “That excellent and most sainted Cardinal (e samtissimo Cardinale), will remain with us, nor for any occasion will he come to Rome.”
The Marquis de Montebello again said to me about the peace, that although verbally these kinsfolk of his (questi suoi) seemed to wish for it, saying that the mission of his nephew to France was of no importance, he nevertheless believed that this act would break it off and cool all persons from speaking on the subject (e raffredasse ogn'uno a parlarne), and that he could not but reprove this mismanagement (mal governo); telling me, besides, many things about the insolence of the French, and that rather than ever serve them again he would fight for the Turks. With this opportunity, in accordance with your Serenity's order, I communicated to him what I had said to Cardinal Caraffa in the morning, and what I intended to tell the Pope, about your exertions in favour of peace. For this he thanked me greatly, and said, “God grant that so Christian a wish as that of the Signory may take effect, though, from seeing the course of events, I do not believe it. That blessed Republic will at least have this praise and satisfaction of having always inculcated peace. We are in a worse condition than ever, for this new tax estranges the entire population from us. From Bologna we are advised that they cannot bear it; Romagna and the March of Ancona are distressed and in despair.” When I asked him whether he was going to Romagna or elsewhere, he replied that by reason of the changes mentioned in my accompanying letter he did not know, and in truth he cannot dissemble the resentment caused him by his nephew's journey, and his consequent despair of peace.
Whilst writing this I was visited by the Prince of Salerno and Marquis Montebello, and in the course of a long conversation the Prince said that the Pope could not do otherwise than send the young Marquis (marchesino) to France, because, were the French to retire, this state would again be at the mercy of the enemy, who give nothing but words; that the Pope had also promised (promesso) the “privation” (privatione) of King Philip, but that he nevertheless evinced a great wish for peace, and he, the Prince, would depart tor the camp in two or three days, as there was no cause for much haste.
It is said that to-morrow or Monday the Duke of Paliano's son and Marshal Strozzi will depart for France.
Rome, 12th June
June 12 Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. (Third letter.) 933. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Chiefs of the Council of Ten.
According to report the Inquisition is making inquiry (si esamina) against the Cardinal of England, whose agent told my secretary that he had heard that the Magnifico Messer Bartolamio Spatafora had been interrogated about his right reverend Lordship; so the agent wrote several times to the Cardinal what is being done here against him, and his reply purported that should they choose to attend to the operations performed by him in the kingdom of England, and how he persecuted the heretics, they will be able to enlighten themselves about his being a Lutheran or not (se potranno chiarir se è Luterano ò non). I have been told thai the calling the Cardinals to Rome might be for the purpose of proceeding against Cardinal Pole, it being also suspected that the examination against the vicar of the Cardinal of Carpi (l'esaminar contra il vicario del Rmo Carpi) was to see if anything could be discovered against his right reverend Lordship.
Rome, 12th June 1557.
June 14 Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 934. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
My last were dated the 9th, (fn. 2) and yesterday, by reason of the fresh order received from your Serenity I went to the King and repeated your wish for the peace, alluding to your own interests, as the war is approaching the Venetian territory, I observed to his Majesty how honourable the peace would be to him, and how profitable to his subjects, remarking that the present opportunity should not be lost, as it may be hoped the Pope will consent to a reconciliation with his Majesty and attend to a fair agreement; adding what I thought most fit to induce his Majesty to continue the negotiation, and realise the wish always expressed by him to me for peace, and most especially for that of Italy.
The King's reply was substantially the same as the one I received from him a few days ago, to the effect that he was very much inclined towards peace with the Pope, from whom he desired nothing but to be secured against molestation in his kingdom of Naples, and that he had written accordingly to his cardinals in Rome.
Perceiving this to be nothing more than what I heard the last time, I added other reasons to induce him, if possible, to proceed farther, so that I might give your Serenity greater hope of peace; and his Majesty, perceiving how warmly I. spoke, said, “Such is my esteem and love for the Signory, and so greatly do I believe they love me, that I will not conceal any of my thoughts from them, and will therefore freely confide my whole mind to you.” He then made a long discourse, of which I will write such things as seem to me worthy of consideration.
He said, first of all, that the French had retired out of the kingdom of Naples without doing any damage; that he was especially glad of this, as no one could suppose that his Majesty was intent on peace either from fear or compulsion. That although with this opportunity he might propose better terms for himself, he nevertheless required nothing more than he told me lately, viz., the security of that kingdom, and that concerning this security, he referred himself entirely to your Serenity, and would be content with whatever you thought fitting. He then said that the Pope, seeing he could not obtain what he hoped for about the kingdom of Naples, and being weary and deserted, spoke with the ambassador resident at Rome for his Majesty and the Queen on behalf of England, evincing regret that he should be at war with a king whom he knows to be religious and Catholic (che conosce religioso et cattolico), and that he wished to receive him as a son, desiring Carne to exhort his Majesty to send one of his attendants (um suo homo) to humble himself before his Holiness, and apologise for that his ministers, without his order, had made war on the Church, asking pardon for this, as he would forgive him and take him into favour, (fn. 3) When discussing with me these demands made of him by the Pope, his Majesty remarked that by no means can he say what is untrue; it being false that his ministers acted without his order, as the Duke of Alva, on the contrary, had been more tardy in his movements than was the King's wish, and still less was it fitting that he should confess to having made war on the Church. He said, laughing, “The Pope would wish me to do this that he might inflict penance on me for it,” implying that with this his confession the Pope might declare that he had incurred censure, and was consequently deprived of the fief; but that the truth is that war was not waged on the Church, and that, on the contrary, the places taken by his Majesty's ministers were made to swear allegiance to the Church, to the College of Cardinals, and to the future Pope.
He then said that as to sending one of his attendants (un homo suo), he did not see how he could send agents (homini), those sent by him hitherto having been so maltreated; adding that the Duke . of Alva had written to him that, the French having retreated, he should return towards Rome to see if he could renew the negotiation for peace with the Pope. When I inquired whether he was going with the army, the King replied, “He is going solely to treat peace;” and although this seems to me a weighty matter, I nevertheless did not think it fitting to say anything further. His Majesty continued, that should the Pope still wish for a minister (un homo) to be sent to him, he would despatch anyone his Holiness should choose, but his Majesty must be enabled to send him in safety, and that in this matter he left it to your Serenity to perform such office with the Pope as seemed fit to you, for that his Majesty would do as you told him. In conclusion, the King said I might write all this to you, to render your Serenity certain that he on his part will not fail to make peace and to show every mark of reverence and obedience towards his Holiness as head of the Church, though he indeed strongly suspected that after being a short time at peace he would begin to think of novelty, because he is of a restless mind (ma che dubitava ben, che ella, come fusse stata un poco in pace, entreria in humor di cose nuove, perchè ha l'animo inquieto), and that therefore his Majesty wished to be secured; and he added that although with the Pope he would not have regard for dignity or honour, but wished to show him every mark of obedience, yet he could not act in like manner with the King of France, who had always sought to offend him, although he had never been injured by his Majesty, who could not think of peace with him, as it would not be to his honour to make it, nor would it be a true peace, as he never kept faith.
Finally he said that your Serenity had cause to love his Majesty, because the Milanese and his other States could not be in the hands of a Prince less desirous of novelty, nor more desirous of peace, nor a better neighbour to your Serenity; and this his Majesty said in many words, and with a very great show of affection. I replied that he did not in the least deceive himself in supposing that he was beloved by your Serenity, and that the Republic had his Majesty's honour and advantage at heart like their own; and that besides so many demonstrations, both old and new, as were made by your Serenity of your goodwill towards the Emperor and his Majesty, he might comprehend, through the offices performed by you in favour of the peace, that you sought the advantage of his Majesty's States as earnestly as you did your own. I then congratulated him on the departure of the French from the kingdom of Naples, and commended his intention of continuing the negotiation for the agreement, saying that now he might be free from any suspicion in that quarter, and that the greatest and most certain security he could desire was to reconcile himself to the Pope, as by pacifying his Holiness no one will remain either to harass the kingdom of Naples, or to wish for it. To what his Majesty said about being content that the Republic should determine the quality of the security I made no reply, avoiding it studiously, thinking that to negotiate this matter (che di metter questa cosa in negotio) might not please your Serenity.
With regard to his sending an agent (un suo homo) to Koine, I told his Majesty that of his wisdom he knew that no great difficulty should be made about it, and that this satisfaction might be given to the Pope, who, according to my belief, would not allow the person sent to him to be otherwise than well treated and secure. The King said that he would make no difficulty about this, although the Pope ought not to refuse to treat with the Duke of Alva, who is his Majesty's principal minister, and who has Milan and Naples and all his Majesty's principal affairs in his hands, nor could he send him any personage of greater authority unless he went himself.
To the King's words about being unable to think of peace with his most Christian Majesty, I replied in a few general terms, as although diffuse about the particulars relating to his Holiness, I would not let my discourse seem averse to universal peace, about which I had no express order from your Serenity.
To his Majesty's remarks about the Milanese, I answered similarly in general words, as I did not comprehend what he meant to infer; and I remarked, that although I repeated more than once that your Serenity sought the peace for your own interest particularly, seeing the war so near your territory, his Majesty never made any answer to this comment. He told me that immediately on the receipt from Rome of letters from his Cardinals, which he is expecting daily, should they contain anything of importance he will impart it to me. I will omit no opportunity for drawing this negotiation as close as possible, but awlays having regard for your Serenity's dignity and quiet, and not depart from general offices, though I suspect that should the Duke of Alva, as reported, return to Roms, he will choose to knit it in another form. London, 14th June
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
June 15 Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 935. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Two days ago advices arrived that in Flanders, where for the last month all the people have been without bread, and latterly even the chief personages could scarcely find any, some ships with grain have arrived from the Hanse Towns (dalle terre marittime), which has somewhat relieved that country from its very calamitous state. Then to-day it is heard by report (per un riporto), that the fleet so long expected from Spain has been seen near a small island (un' isoletta) of this kingdom at no great distance, to the well-nigh incredible satisfaction of all these Lords. These good news, in addition to those of the retreat of the French from Civitella dell' Abbruccio, and of the determination already made by England to attack the most Christian King, have made a great change in the minds of everybody; for whereas previously it was feared that King Philip's affairs were all taking a bad turn (andassero tutte a mal camino), so is it now hoped that they will turn the other way. God grant that these unforeseen events may not render the negotiation of the peace more difficult, as I suspect, for the nature of the Spaniards (di questa natione) is such that prosperity renders them insolent, and in adversity they lose courage, with the exception, however, of the King, who under every aspect of fortune (in ogni fortuna) shows himself the most prudent and moderate of any of them.
These advices will hasten the King's departure for Flanders and for the war, whither I am preparing to follow him, although with a very troubled mind, both by reason of the inconvenience of such a life, and because such fatigue is not suited to all men, as also on account of other interests still less in accordance with my condition. During the present week the Duke of Savoy will march with two columns (dui colonelli) of infantry, and perhaps a thousand horse, to the; frontiers, and although this is no great force it is nevertheless said that they can go securely, as the French there are not stronger. From time to time they will be reinforced by others who are to come from Germany, and subsequently there will be the English troops likewise (et poi anco queste del Regno), so should nothing happen (non succedendo le cose) there will soon be a large army in the field, but I dare not yet assure your Serenity of this until I see something more.
The Lord Don Ferrante is expected soon, and was to be at Cologne on Saturday; it is not yet settled what command he is to home in the war, though he is expected with the idea of his being everything, and he himself likewise is coming with this belief; and he is so much envied that should he choose to prevail (se vorrà superare), it will be from great ability and yet greater good fortune.
A few days ago a gentleman arrived here from the Marquis of Pescara to know the King's will about the affairs of the Lord Hieronimo da Gorregio, (fn. 4) because that personage has written a letter to the Marquis purporting that if his Majesty will assist him with his forces he will never abandon him; but should the King not think fit to do so the Lord Hieronimo will make terms with the Duke of Ferrara, as he has not sufficient forces of his own to go to war with him; and if King Philip is content to assist him the Lord of Corregio requires such security as to make him sure of the fact. I do not hear that any resolve has been made hitherto, but the gentleman is still here.
London, 15th June
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
June 12 Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 936. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The 25 companies of Gascons continue marching, and all the other supplies for the army are hastened as much as possible, though from the scarcity of victuals much service cannot be hoped for until the new harvest. The King of Navarre will be here to-day, and on his arrival it is said they will determine who is to be the general of the said army in this quarter, and I understand that the King will send M. de Vassé, a knight of the Order, to Scotland with 4,000 infantry, including Germans and Frenchmen. His Majesty has also conferred his Order on Francesco Bernardino Vilmercato, giving the insignia to his own son to take to him, and simultaneously desired the son to promise his father, in the King's name, that he will give him the first vacant company of 50 men-at-arms; the which son is going back to Piedmont in three or four days with M, de Damville, the Constable's son.
Rheims, 12th June


  • 1. In Foreign Calendar, “Mary,” date Venice, 19th June 1557 (p. 317), there is the following paragraph,” Tuesday next, the 15th inst., Pietro Strozzi will leave for France with the Duke of Paliano's son and heir, as a hostage that the Pope will perform all his promises to the uttrest.” He was the Marquis of Cavi. (See Alberi, Venetian Reports, Series 2, vol. 3, p. 385.)
  • 2. Not found.
  • 3. In the Foreign Calendar, “Mary,” there is a letter from Sir Edward Carne to King Philip and Queen Mary, dated Rome, 15th May 1557, but it does not contain the particulars Mentioned above, on the King's authority.
  • 4. It is not known whether the feudal Lords of Corregio gave their name to that place or took it thence. They were originally of a great family in Parma. (See Alberti, “Descritione de la Italia,” p. 325 recto, ed. Bologna, )