Venice: June 1557, 16-25

Pages 1166-1181

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, 16–25

June 18 (fn. 1) Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 937. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
On Monday there was Consistory, in which, after the usual audiences, the Pope said that he had been inspired by the Holy Spirit to make Cardinal, the Confessor of the Queen of England, (fn. 2) a very old man, a barefooted friar, who had led a good life, and was well lettered (vecchio di molti anni frate de' Zoccoli, di buona vita e di buone lettere). This promotion made by his Holiness caused great surprise to the whole College, and Cardinal Caraffa assured many Cardinals by the most stringent oaths that until the hour when it was done he knew nothing of the Pope's will to make this friar a Cardinal; but what matters more, and is considered a thing of great moment, he was given the Legation of the kingdom of England, held hitherto by the right reverend and most illustrious Pole; and his Holiness said that he chose Cardinal Pole now to come to Home, as it was his intention to make all the other Cardinals who are absent do the like. Cardinal Caraffa sent his congratulations on this promotion to Sir Edward Carne, who replied that there was not the slightest cause for rejoicing at this, as they had made a blockhead (un legno) Cardinal and Legate. I understand that the said ambassador complains of the Pope for having announced his intention to him of giving back the legation to Cardinal Pole, provided the Queen entreated him, as Carne wrote to her Majesty; and now, after the Queen's making such humble and reverent suit, the Pope has disappointed her, and that although she had not literally demanded Cardinal Pole in particular, but the legation in genere, because she would not let it appear that she was doing it for private interest, but for the benefit of the realm, it was, nevertheless, clear that her Majesty and the kingdom wished for the legateship in the person of that Cardinal.
At audience of the Pope on the morrow, when his Holiness told Carne that, afflatus divino numine, he had created Friar Piero Peto (fn. 3) Cardinal, and given him the Legation of England, dilating much in praise of his goodness and doctrine (dottrina), saying that he hoped he had done what was agreeable to her most serene Majesty, and beneficial for the whole kingdom; the ambassador replied that with regard to Friar Peter personally he was willing to believe in the Pope's opinion of his being learned (dotto), and a good christian, and that he ratified it (e che l'affirmava); so he believed that the realm would not be discontent to have one Englishman more (un di più), invested with this dignity; but that respecting the Legation he did not think the appointment a good one, as he was an old dotard (perchè era vecchio rebambito), who could not bear any fatigue, but merely remain in his cell reciting orisons; nor could he (Carne) imagine how it could please his Queen to have the Legation taken away from a person so nearly related to her, and whom she so greatly loved, and to see it conferred on a decrepit friar, who, although fit was said that he is her Majesty's confessor, that, however, is untrue, as he confessed her once only, before she had attained her seventh year (perchè l'ha confessata una volta sola, quando ella non era di 7 anni); that still less did Carne see how this could benefit the kingdom, because, as known to his Holiness, who had been in England, the people there do not esteem anyone who is not of very noble lineage, or very wealthy, or powerful through armed retainers and dependent on the Crown; so the friar having none of these prerogatives, no respect would be paid him. The Pope rejoined that he had been unable to do otherwise, as he chose to have Cardinal Pole here (volendo il Rmo de qui) to avail himself of his counsel and assistance in rebus magnis et difficillimis, and that together with the brief for the new Cardinal, announcing his creation and the legateship, he would tell Cardinal Pole to come to Rome. Sir Edward Carne said that the Pope was to do as he pleased, and to send these things (quests cose) by one of his own. couriers, as he the ambassador did not dare give this news to his Sovereigns.
In this same Consistory, the Pope then added that King Philip, the prodigal son, had written hither to some of his adherents many words of good will towards the peace, and of his wish always to honour and serve his Holiness, which, if true, and if he carried it into effect, he would find excellent reciprocity on the part of his Holiness. As these words implied that the Pope had some doubt of the King's good will, Cardinal. Pacheco, who is one of those to whom the King wrote (as his Majesty also did to the Cardinals Carpi and Morone), replied that it was very certain that what the King said in his letters would be fully verified by facts, nor would he ever fail in the respect due to this Holy See and to his Holiness, and that were not he (Pacheco) sure of this, he would not have uttered a word on the subject to the Pope in private, neither would he confirm it now in public, in the face, it might be said, of the whole world. The Pope replied that he on his part, whenever the King did his duty, would show by facts what he has so often said.
Cardinal Medici commended the Pope's very Christian wish for peace, showing that nothing good could be done through war, most especially with regard to the reformation (la riforma), which he knew the Pope had so much at heart; and that he could not speak about universal peace until he first renounced war, acting as common father. He also said that if princes made war with their own money, and not with that of their poor subjects, they would perhaps think longer before drawing the sword; and that for Popes to make war (ch' el far guerra delli Pont.) was fishing with a golden hook, signifying that they risk much to get back little. The Pope rejoined that he had always preferred peace to war, and would do so for the future, if he could preserve his dignity; so he exhorted their most holy Lordships to perform good offices and mediate for this peace, as should King Philip ask It in due form, giving suitable satisfaction, his Holiness would accept him as his very dear son, and make terms with him, but he chose the agreement to be to the satisfaction of his most obedient and most beloved son the King o France, “qui tulit pondus diei et œstus.”
Then as it was late his Holiness wished to dismiss the Consistory, and the cardinals were already standing up, when Cardinal St. Angelo [Rainuccio Farnese] reminded the Pope to be pleased
to appoint as coadjutor of Cardinal Durante in his bishopric of Brescia, his (Durante's) nephew. The Pope thanked him for the remembrance, and the appointment was made thus standing, with many praises of Cardinal Durante, and of this nephew of his; and Cardinal Pisani having sent me immediate notice of the fact, I went to him to learn farther particulars of it, which confirmed the aforesaid things done in Consistory. He added, that he having chosen to maintain the validity (diffendere) of the “accesso” of Brescia conceded to the Reverend Priuli, (fn. 4) by saying that your Serenity had the grant of this grace in the time of Julius III. [1550, February 8, to 1555, April 30] in Consistory, with the consent of Cardinal Durante; the Pope got into a rage with him (s'era alterata con lui), saying that no one was to dare, either for himself, nor for others, nor for any sovereign whatever, to speak to him about “accessi,” as he knew that in the whole course of his Pontificate he had never done anything better than to abolish this diabolical invention and operation (questa inventione et operatione diabolica), and that by his repealing what had been done in Consistory at the suit of the Signory of Venice, and, with the consent of the Bishop, Cardinal Pisani might assure all those who had “accessi” that there was no hope for them (che 'l cardinal volea chiarir tutti c' havessero accessi di non potere sperare cosa alcuna).
Cardinal Medici, (fn. 5) who in all matters evinces great affection for your Serenity, sent for my secretary on the morrow, and told him he regretted seeing the coadjutorship of Brescia conferred on the nephew of Cardinal Durante, and that that church should be taken away from the reverend Priuli, but that it was a satisfaction to him to know that neither your Serenity, (fn. 6) nor I in your name, had performed any office against the “coadjutorship” or in confirmation of the “accesso,” as it would have been of no use, owing to the Pope's determination not to change his mind in this matter, let happen what may, whilst a protest might have compromised the Signory's dignity; whereas, they not having remonstrated as a sovereign, and still less Priuli for his personal interest, a demand may be made under another Pope, for the repeal of the coadjutorship and the confirmation of the “accesso,” which will easily be granted; but had the demand been made at present it would assuredly neither have been admitted, nor would there have remained so wide a field for its concession by a future Pope.
Cardinal Medici also said that the coadjutorships (coadiutorie) and the “accessi,” though different in word are in fact alike, as both one and the other signify to give a successor to a bishop now living, and that there have been many Popes who more willingly conceded the “accessi” than the “coadiutorie”; adding, “Your Cardinal Pisani did his duty by sustaining (sostener) the 'accessi,' but was not allowed to speak and had a sharp reproof from the Pope.” The secretary thanked Cardinal Medici for what he had been pleased to communicate to him, and for the affection displayed by him towards your Serenity, which increases daily, and for which you would be most grateful. (fn. 7)
Rome, 18th June 1557.
June 18. (2nd Letter.) 938. The Same to the Same.
To-day at audience I told the Pope that according to your promise your Serenity, besides writing to your ambassador with King Philip, had earnestly exhorted the ambassador Vargas to write not only to his Majesty but also to the Duke of Alva, he Vargas having lately come from the court, where the King assured him that he had nothing more at heart than to be reconciled to the Pope, and to serve and honour him and to give his Holiness every satisfaction, so that you hoped that this peace which you had so long solicited might take effect, being certain that from his wish for quiet and for the welfare of Italy he would through his prudence extirpate whatever might impede so holy an operation. The Pope replied, “Should the Almighty vouchsafe to have compassion on Christendom, regardless of our sins and those of the people, it seems that the road is now opening for us to confer the greatest benefit that can be desired on the Christian world; as to take this prodigal son into favour would be a trifle in comparison with our need, and he who could say that we did so at the cost of breaking with the King of France, we should consider him a devil (lo reputaressimo un diavolo), for we must maintain this one and endeavour to recover that other one in order to make a general peace, lest through the war between these two they play the game of Sultan Soliman (non facciano il giuoco de Turco), and give him the opportunity by means of his great power (as known to your Lordship) to swallow up all of us alive. God has shown us that we must take this road, and we shall therefore caress the King of France in every possible way; we have sent him that lad of ours (quel nostro putto), nor will we omit any opportunity for gratifying him, to keep him to his duty (per contenerlo in uffitio), both to avoid appearing ungrateful for the recent benefits received, as also to be enabled to keep him my friend, and by reconciling him to that other one (con quell' altro) induce them to make the universal peace, which we think we might easily accomplish if one and the other of them acted towards us like obedient children, and because their states and kingdoms are so distressed and exhausted that they could not be in worse condition; so they desire rest, and were a Pope to interpose, each of them could in honour sacrifice a trifle, as they might always say they did so, to obey one to whom God has delegated the power to command them. And then should either of the two remain obstinate, and should we turn against him the weapons which Christ has given us, and unite with the other obedient one, and call all the Christian princes against him who fails to confer so signal a benefit on Christendom, we should make him do anything; and we should then call you likewise, and if you came not we should pout upon you (vi collaressemo il grugno); because Christendom being pacified the forces might be turned against the common enemy, and the undertaking made with little toil; and the cost being divided amongst so many, every one would bear it willingly, as each would disburse but a small sum, whereas at present each individual prince enervates and despoils himself to maintain armies on his own account. And in order that you may advise the Signory, Magnifico Ambassador, of the course pursued by us to arrive at this desired end of universal peace, you must know that as we choose to give every satisfaction to the King of France, so will we not fail opening the way for King Philip to enable him to give effect to what he has so often said by word of mouth, and as written by him lately to certain cardinals (as we told you the other day), about his wish to serve, honour, and satisfy us.
“It chanced (è occorsa) that the realm of England having resented (resentito) the repeal made by us of the legation held by Cardinal Pole (for the causes already mentioned), and the Queen having willed to beseech us (colendone supplicare) to restore the legateship in that kingdom, (fn. 8) and the King being then there, they wrote together; we having previously warned her ambassador [Sir Edward Carne] that so long as the Queen's cause was separated from that of Philip, she should receive all honour and favour from us, whereas to him, as a heretic, and who for his demerits is 'deprived,' though not by proclamation (seben non 'declamato' (sic)), of his realms and states, no grace whatever could be granted; so this ambassador before reading the letter to us made an apology, saying that as the King was in the kingdom they could not write otherwise than together, and that he prayed us not to be angry on this account (a non n'alterar per questo). We, to exercise our pity (pietà), received the letter signed by both of them, and told the ambassador that at any rate we would gratify the Queen's wish by re-establishing the legation in that kingdom; and as we have to treat great and important affairs, and being unable for the present to call a council, we purpose (designamo) doing a thing equivalent to it, et habere senatum nostrum frequentem; we have made a decree for all the Cardinals to come and reside at Rome, as they are bound to do, including amongst them Cardinal Pole.
“And it not seeming to us for our dignity to reconfirm the legation (ritornar la legatione) in that person whom we had so deprived of it, besides certain other respects which for the present we conceal; and as to send a legate from hence without experience of affairs there would not be to the purpose, the Majesty of God reminded us (ci redusse a memoria an santo huomo) of a holy man, an English Franciscan friar observant, heretofore elected Bishop of Salisbury, (fn. 9) who when that kingdom was schismatic, fled to this city in order not to stay amongst those impious people; and here at the time when we were head of the Inquisition, an office conferred on us by Pope Paul, who gave us the assistance of such cardinals as we asked of him, he Petow came to our house daily to give us many valuable hints (a rieordarne molte buone cose), and to inform against certain rouges who sinned in heresy (et a scoprire alcuni tristi che pecavano in heresia); so knowing him to be good and more than moderately learned, and in favour with the Queen, for at that time he often received letters from and wrote many to her, and had been her confessor, as we believe him to be even now; without saying anything about this either to the ambassador or to anyone else, we at the last Consistory proposed him for cardinal and legate in that kingdom, having first stated the reasons which moved us to this. And we declare to you, Magnifico Ambassador, that neither during the whole time of our being cardinal, nor since our having become Pope, did we ever perhaps see a thing so much to the general satisfaction as this one was, which proves to us that their minds were disposed to such ready consent by the pure will of God (il che ne fa conoscere esser stata pura volontà di Dio che dispose le loro menti a consentire così prontamente). We shall now despatch the brief (hora faremo l'espeditione), and as there were doubts whether we ought to send a reply to the letters of Philip and of the Queen, addressing it to both of them, we referred the matter to two of our cardinals that they might tell us the reasons why we should not write to King Philip; but in the midst of this debate, God inspired me to write to both of them to increase Philip's wish to be reconciled to us, if he in fact wishes to give satisfaction, as written by him, and as he has so often said, et agere fructus dignos pœnitentiœ.
“When this letter, which will be very important, is composed, we shall give you a copy of it for transmission to the Signory, from our wish to communicate all our affairs to them; so that from this and from the other things which we have communicated to you from day to day, they may know that we are on the road to conclude a universal peace, which grace, should it be granted us by the Almighty, qui potens est in cœlo, in terrâ, in mari, et in omnibus abissis, it would be the best day ever witnessed by Christendom. We are inclined towards the peace with Philip, not indeed from being blind to the fact that to leave him with so many kingdoms is very perilous for Italy, and that one day when his foot is well in the stirrup (quando habbi fermato il piè in staffa), and when it shall suit him, he will choose to give law, which also concerns your Republic. Bear in mind what we tell you; we are old and shall depart hence one of these days when it please God, but the time may come when you will know that we told you the truth, which may God grant that it do not prove to your detriment.
“Both are barbarians (sono barbari tutti due), and it would be well for each of them to stay at home, so that in Italy there should be no other tongue than our own (che non fusse in Italia altra lingua che la nostra). But as this cannot be done, the lesser evil would have been for one son of the King of France to be King of Naples, and another Duke of Milan, as it would have been so contrived as in a few years to render them Italians; this province being thus restored to its former harmony and counterpoise (nella sua prima armonia e nel contrapor), before the entry of that fire which is still consuming it; but this not being in our power we turn to what presents itself to us now, most especially being unable to deny peace to him who asks it of us. The conclusion is that if Philip will give us suitable satisfaction, and heal the wounds inflicted by him, we will receive him as a good son, without losing this other one, as it would subsequently prove a good measure whereby to reconcile them to each other.” I said that the Pope's prudence and piety would well find a way to this glorious result of peace, &c.; and after alluding to the suppression of Cardinal Triulzi's legateship at Venice, and other local business, I took leave.
Rome, 18th June 1557.
June 18. Original Letter Book (3rd Letter), Venetian Archives. 939. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Chiefs of the Council of Ten.
Concerning the “accesso” of Brescia, besides what I write in the public letters, Cardinal Pacheco has been heard to say that the repeal of the “accessi” was decreed by his Holiness, more for the reverend Priuli than for others, and the Pope told certain cardinals that in the house of Cardinal Pole, where there are so many infected persons talking of heresy, no one is more so than Priuli and the said Cardinal's agent.
Cardinal Pacheco says that they are now drawing up the process against the reverend Priuli, and that if by bad luck it had been chosen to perform any office with the Pope for the confirmation of the “accesso,” his Holiness, who suspects the city of Brescia, and is above all suspicious of the bishop elect, would have given vent to some of those expressions which he is wont to use without respect, and would thus have caused discontent to your Serenity and eternal infamy to the reverend Priuli, without its producing any effect whatever. For becoming considerations I did not deem it well to write these words to the public (publico), but on the other hand I think it my duty to notify them to your most excellent Lordships.
Rome, 18th June 1557.
June 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 940. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The mission of 4,000 foot soldiers to Scotland is confirmed, but as M. de Vassy is to be sent with 1,000 infantry to garrison Guise, they will be under the command of M. de Santé (sic). They have also sent to Scotland to persuade the nobility there (quelli signori del regno) to wage war on England, and to raise for that purpose 15,000 Scottish infantry, to be paid by his most Christian Majesty, but the money has not yet been remitted.
The Court Rhinegrave, (fn. 10) who is bringing the Germans, has come to the court postwise, having left them on the road, and he reports them to be 27 “ensigns” (insegne), each “ensign” being 300 strong, and 600 “pistolers” (pistoletti), and they will muster on the 22nd instant at Fò (sic) [Laye or Reffroy ?] near Toul in Lorraine. The Frecnh troops likewise continue marching, but as yet I do not hear of any decision about the mode of marshalling the army, whether all in one body, or part in Champagne and part in Picardy; so the commander-in-chief has not yet been appointed although it is heard for certain that it will not be the King of Navarre, his most Christian Majesty choosing him to go to his own state to guard and secure its frontiers against Spain; and I hear that no decision will be made about the said army until they see what the enemy's tactics are, whereby they will regulate their own. News has come that the English troops are already beginning to cross the Channel, and that the most serene Queen had sent for the French ambassador resident with her, and dismissed him, before he received the order from his most Christian Majesty to take leave.
In my letter of the 6th ult. I wrote to your Serenity what I had heard about the negotiation between Cardinal Caraffa and the Duke of Alva when they prolonged the truce, many of which particulars have been confirmed to me from another quarter, with this in addition, that when the Siennese withdrew into Montalcino and made the donative of their liberty and dominion (il donativo della loro libertà et dominio) to the most Christian King, they did so at the persuasion of his Holiness, whose instrument for the accomplishment of this was the Archbishop of Sienna, to which effect the Pope made him governor of Rome, he being desired to exhort the said Siennese to form this resolve, and being perhaps ignorant of its tendency. In the meanwhile, according to the treaty of peace negotiated by Cardinal Caraffa, the Duke of Alva promised that King Philip would give (the Duke of Paliano?) Sienna, together with such part of that state as was in his Majesty's hands. So when Julio Orsini was sent hither, apparently about the affair of the peace, and to give account of what had taken place at the said conference, he was in fact charged to tell the King of France that the said Siennese of Montalcino, having given him their liberty, the Pope prayed his most Christian Majesty to confer that state on the Duke of Paliano, in like manner as the King of England was content to give him Sienna, with the rest of the territory. But the most Christian King, either because he did not think fit to take the state from the Siennese to giv eit to others who might be less staunch to him, or else because it in fact seemed to him an ungenerous act, after having defended this liberly of that unfortunate republic with his forces, that he should then give it himself into the hands of one who was to place it under the yoke, answered Julio Orsini that to deprive the Siennese of their liberty seemed to him unfitting, as they had not deserved it from his most Christian Majesty, but that in every other matter he would gratify the Pope and all his kinsfolk, &c.; and to deprive his Holiness entirely of all hope he had the Siennese told that he accepted the gift, but would give it them back another time (as I then wrote), that the might enjoy their liberty.
Rheims, 18th June 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
June 19. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 941. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
On Tuesday Marshal Strozzi departed for France with the Marquis, the son of the Duke of Paliano, embarking at Civitavecchia, the tears, or rather cries and howls (anzi stridi et ulalati), of the Lady Duchess his mother [Violante Garlonia] and of the child (del figliuolo) being most grievous, and Cardinal Caraffa accompanied them as far as l'Isola.
The French are still quartered at San Benedetto delle Grotte, Marrano, and other places about Ascoli, the Duke of Alva remaining at Giulia Nuova.
Cardinal Morone, wishing to celebrate mass in Castle St. Angelo, was desired to abstain from doing so, being in like manner forbidden to hear it; and moreover on Corpus Christi day, when the procession had to pass by his house, his attendants were not permitted to furnish it with tapestry, nor to display his armorial bearings, like all the other cardinals.
The Pope having refused the 100,000 crowns offered by the Roman people in lieu of the tax of one per cent. on real property, his Holiness has now accepted from them 130,000 crowns, and it is suspected that they will not choose church property to be included in this sum, such they say being the will of Consistory. Two delegates (ambasciatori) have arrived from Bologna, one for the nobility, the other for the people, to complain of this insupportable tax, which they would pay had they not paid so much of late that nothing remains for them to disburse.
The ambassador from Florence tells me that he has had a reply from the Duke of Alva to his letter about the peace, but not a word does he say about the ambassador's hint that it would be well to send hither an envoy to ask it of the Pope. Alva also enclosed a letter from himself to the Duke of Florence All this he communicated to Cardinal Caraffa, who was pleased with this demonstration on the part of the Duke of Alva, and requested the ambassador to forward the two letters to the Duke of Florence by an express. The ambassador also told me that he did not despair of the adjustment, though now that the young Marquis (il marchesino) has been sent to France, the majority have little hope; and he then continued, “I can conceal nothing from you. The other day, when talking with the Pope about this peace, it seemed to me to comprehend that everything might easily be arranged provided his Holiness could assure the Imperialists that he would not fail them, and I having told the Pope that in this would the difficulty consist, he, after walking up and down his chamber twice, said, 'Ambassador, we are 81 years old, nor have we ever broke faith towards anyone; we neither will nor can we give them any greater security than our word.'” Thereupon the ambassador wrote to the Duke of Florence that if the Pope gave the Imperialists a written assurance, undersigned, moreover, by Cardinal Caraffa, they ought to be satisfied with it, and not require anything farther, as were the Pope to choose to break his own word and that of his nephew, by so much the more would he fail to observe any other sort of promise and assurance. The ambassador then said to me, “When the Pope told me that he could not make peace without the King of France, I answered him that he must first consider what is for his own benefit, and then ponder that of others, quoting the vulgar proverb that the shirt sets closer than the doublet.”
Rome, 19th June 1557.
June 25. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 942. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The most Christian King, with the court, arrived here on the day before yesterday, and yesterday I communicated to him the summaries contained in your Serenity's letters of the 2nd and 10th ult., for which he returned the usual thanks, remarking that Sultan Soliman was now reduced to such a state by age and infirmities that he could not live long, and that on his death there would be no lack of much dissension amongst the sons. (fn. 11) After much conversation on this topic, his Majesty, after a short silence, said that the Duke de Guise had been slightly indisposed, but recovered by means of some aperient medicine, and returned to the army; and when I asked if he was marching, his Majesty said, “He has not marched in advance since he crossed the Tronto, and the Duke of Alva is on the other side, nor will he move from his strong position (del suo forte), and he does his duty.” He then added, “On the day before yesterday Novaglia arrived, having been sent to me by M. de Guise to urge the levy of Switzers, but on the road he met Mendoza, who is going with the money to raise them, and they will be soon in Italy.” I inquired whether the army would halt until the arrival of the said Switzers. His Majesty said, “I do not believe so” (non credo); and I continued, “On commencing his march what road will he take?” His Majesty said, “I do not know; M. de Guise will do what may seem to him most beneficial;” and when I said that I heard it discussed how if, owing to the need of the Duke of Ferrara, or from any other cause, he removed himself to a distance from the Pope's service (si allargasse dal servitio del Papa), his Holiness would remain scantily provided, the King rejoined, “This will never come to pass that the Pope should remain deserted.”
I inquired whether his Holiness was raising troops. “Yes” (said the King), “he has raised 4,000 Italians, who will be sent to M. de Guise, and three of the Swiss cantons have promised him 3,000 infantry, but one of them retracted, so he will only have 2,000.” I asked if they were raised. His Majesty said, “Not yet;” adding, “His Holiness has imposed that tax of one per cent. on 'capital' (sopra li capitali), and I hear it will yield him a considerable sum of money.” I said, “In truth, Sire, although the Pope is upwards of 80 years old, he shows great heart and intrepidity in all his troubles.” The King replied, “That is a fact; he is a terrible old man, nor does he spare anyone, and sometimes even about me he is as abusive as he can be, but when his fit of passion is over he listens to everyone, and no longer seems the same person.”
His Majesty then continued, “What think you of the arrest, of Cardinal Morone?” I said that it seemed to me a great affair so eminent a cardinal being universally esteemed. His Majesty rejoined, “According to report he is sure to be Pope, and, although an Imperialist, the truth must be spoken, so this arrest seems to me very important, but as yet I am not able to ascertain the cause of it. It is indeed said to be on account of religion, and that he did not believe in the Sacrament, and that he now offered to recant, but the Pope is not satisfied, and says that he chooses to punish him; but I do not know whether there is any other cause besides this one. It is also said that the Pope means to make a fresh promotion of cardinals;” and when I said that “I had heard so, and at the suit of your Majesty,” he replied, “I do not know it; these things have been often said.”
I then asked his Majesty if the reports in circulation about the offers made by King Philip's ministers to the Pope to make peace with him were true, and whether in fact an adjustment might be hoped for. The King said, “Such are the reports, but whether they really mean to conclude or not, that I am unable to solve, for they make the largest offers in the world without ever coming to any result.” I asked if it was true that they had offered Sienna? His Majesty said, “It is perfectly true, but they wanted to keep the citadel in their hands, as they are doing by Parma, to which the Pope will not consent, and I have seen the agreement as it was negotiated at the conference between Cardinal Caraffa and the Duke of Alva.” His Majesty then said that the Marquis of Pescara was having Guastalla fortified, to harass Brescello (Bressel), a place belonging to the Duke of Ferrara, but that the Duke will soon be so well armed that he will not have any cause whatever for apprehension. I inquired what amount of Switzers were going to his Excellency. His Majesty said, “4,400, and 600 Grisons, and the Duke is raising another 1,000 on his own private account, besides which, by this time, he has a good number of Italian troops in marching order.” He then said, “I believe Marshal Brissac to be still under Cuneo, but I am much surprised at not having had letters from him since many days, and they write to me from Lyons that not even there was there any advice, which makes me suppose that the Marshal is occupied with some undertaking about which he will not allow any news to come until it be completed.”
I asked his Majesty what advices had come from England, and he replied, “It is said that the King will soon depart, bringing with him, according to report, 10,000 men, including horse and foot; but yesterday I spoke with one who came thence, and he told me they will not be more than 6,000 foot and 1,000 horse, of those light lancers of theirs (de quelle sue hanzette), which are not of much importance; but it is a great thing that that Queen should have despatched a herald to me without having ready the supplies required for the execution of what she sent to give me notice by word of mouth.”
I inquired what forces his Majesty was sending to Scotland. He said, “To tell you the truth I shall send according to the need; 2,000 men are already there, and they will be followed by another 2,000 or 3,000.” I asked if his Majesty intended to raise any amount of Scottish soldiery. He said, “Should the Queen of England bestir herself, I shall not fail to make that provision, and others also, but hitherto nothing of importance is heard, neither in Flanders until now has King Philip disbursed money for more than 10 “ensigns” of German troops, which are yet on their march towards Flanders, as mine are also, they being 30 “ensigns,” numbering about 12,000 infantry, who are to make their muster this day, and the Gascons in like manner are drawing near; and I must tell you what took place with these Germans now on their march. For some six days mine travelled together with those of King Philip, in a disbanded manner, and on arriving at the place where they were to part company, mine coming towards France and the others going in the direction of Flanders, they came to blows and fought, some of them being killed, and the victors carrying off the vanquished, which having taken place with many of the companies, some of mine compelled some of those of the enemy to come hither, and when they had the upper hand they made mine follow them.”
I asked where the main body (la massa) of the army would assemble. His Majesty said, “The enemy seem to intend mustering in Flanders, in which case I shall do the like in Picardy; if not, I shall do so in the same direction as that in which they also make their muster.” I inquired whether his Majesty had determined to join the army (di andar in esservito). He said, “About this I shall be guided by circumstances, nor can I as yet decide;” and the conversation ending thus, I then told his Majesty that your Serenity had appointed as my successor the most illustrious Messer Giovanni Michiel, lately returned from his embassy to England, adding such tribute as due to his great worth and ability. The King replied that he should always be glad to see him, both on your Serenity's account and also by reason of his own qualities as mentioned by me.
The cause of the halt made by M. de Guise is kept more secret than I have ever yet known any matter at this court to be concealed, and all I have been able to elicit is that he sent Marshal Strozzi to Rome to treat with the Pope to place some security in his hands, and I hear mention made of Ancona, or Civitarechia, on which terms he offered not to fail in his defence, and it is said that afterwards the Marshal was to come hither; but this discourse has cooled, and when I asked the King about it, he told me that it was true if had been reported, but that subsequently they had no farther advice whatever on the subject. Here the suspicion increases more and more of the Pope's being in close treaty for an agreement, and that it is perhaps not far from being settled, which was one of the causes for the retreat of the army, from doubt of being able to withdraw it in safety should the Pope have made terms, as already written by me to your Serenity. Before the news came of their having crossed the Tronto there was much suspense about what might have happened to them, it being known that in the field the Duke of Alva had the upper hand (era superiore).
Compiegne, 25th June 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
June 25. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 943. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I was with the Count de Feria yesterday evening, and having said to him what seemed fitting to me in favour of the peace, I found him very well disposed, but it seems to me that the King's disposition is greater than that of the ministers (che in altri), so I infer that the offices performed with his Majesty will profit more than those done with others. In this conversation with the Count several things of importance passed which I think it necessary for your Serenity to know. The first is that the difficulty about the peace with the Pope limiting itself to the security of the kingdom of Naples, I endeavoured adroitly to ascertain the nature of this security required by them; and although the Count was very reserved, saying that matters are not yet so far advanced as to admit of discussing the particulars of the security, I nevertheless think I comprehended that they will not be satisfied with any sort of promise made to them by his Holiness, even if guaranteed by hostages, but that they will insist on Paliano, though they would indeed be content with your Serenity's taking upon yourself to secure it to them without anything further, but they do not think they can hope for this, although they desire it.
Another thing the Count said to me when speaking about the King's wish for the peace of Italy, was that his Majesty very well knows that war in Italy is contrary to his interest, for if he loses, his states are lost, and if victorious he conquers nothing; and that knowing your Serenity's bias in favour of peace, the King was always of opinion to form a closer union with you, and often attempted it at several times and by various means; for the manifested this his will (volontà) to the most noble my predecessor, both through his councillors and with his own lips, and for this purpose he sent express to your Serenity Martin Alonso de los Rios; and by commission from his Majesty, Don Ferrante Gonzaga spoke on the subject to the most noble Messer Steffano Tiepolo. These overtures being made at a time when war had not yet been moved against him in Italy, but when he was at peace, and at present when he has no longer any dread of war, it is evident that neither from cupidity, nor fear, nor inconsiderately, does he seek this union, but from his sole thought for peace and quiet, as his Majesty knows that when allied with your Serenity all the princes of Italy will keep quiet, and no one either Italian or alien will dare to sow gurboil (metter bravaglio) in Italy; whereas seeing that your Serenity does not decide, his Majesty was compelled to purchase the friendship of other Princes, implying I believe Duke Ottavio [Farnese] and the Duke of Florence, having given Piacenza to the one, and being about to give . . . . . . (fn. 12) (Sienna?) to the other. On this he expatiated at great length, coming to the conclusion that as the peace was desired and sought by your Serenity, so ought you to consent to this union, which is the best and most certain remedy whereby to introduce and preserve it (il migliore et più certo rimedio per introdurla et conservarla). He likewise repeated to me almost precisely what the King had said to me the day before, that your Serenity ought to rejoice at his having the Milanese in his hands, because it is in the hands of a prince your very great friend, and who is most intent on peace and moderate in all his desires, which made me believe that his Majesty likewise spoke to me to this end, though he did not express himself so clearly.
I endeavoured several times adroitly to turn this conversation, but it was not possible, for his Lordship chose to say all he had on his mind before he allowed me to speak. When he finished I said that I had no other order from your Serenity than to perform an office with his Majesty in favour of the peace, and that I spoke of it with his Lordship as of what he ought to attend to for the benefit of the most serene King, and for his glory; and with regard to these other negotiations I had no notice, and therefore could not answer him anything positive, save that your Serenity's friendship with this most serene King is true and sincere, as proved by many loving facts, both old and new, with regard both to the Emperor and his Majesty during so many years, and that in like manner as King Philip is disposed towards peace, so is your Serenity likewise, this being very evidently proved by facts, forming the true union of mind and will, and not either of words or of writings, and being directed to that end to which all good princes ought to aspire, viz., peace, to which topic I thus returned. Lest he should think that I intended to write this conversation to your Serenity (it seeming well to me to avoid entering upon such a matter as much as possible), I said I would write that, as hoped and desired by me, I had found his Lordship very well inclined towards the peace. He answered me that it was most true, and that for this reason he had spoken about coming to a closer understanding, talking with me confidentially, as he is accustomed to do, and not by any command he had from the King. I comprehended that he was not satisfied with my reply, and that he would have wished me to show greater warmth about this his desire; but I suspect that at my next audience the King will speak to me on the subject, so I pray your Serenity of your wisdom to give some light about this, lest I err in my darkness (acciò che io non erri nelle mie tenebre). In the meanwhile, if spoken to, I will limit myself as much as possible to general expressions, being of opinion that in such a negotiation this is the best course, until I receive certain advice of your Serenity's will.
London, 25th June 1557.
[Italian, in cipher throughout, deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]


  • 1. In Foreign Calendar, “Mary,” from the 5th June 1557, until the 2nd July 1557, there is no letter from Sir Edward Carne at Rome, hut under this last date it is seen that he wrote to the Queen on the 19th June, though the despatch no longer exists.
  • 2. This election took place on the 14th June. See Cardella (vol. 4, p.369), who shows that William Peto was the last cardinal made by Pope Paul IV.
  • 3. “Fourth promotion of cardinals made at Rome by Pope Paul IV., on the 14th June William Petow, called by Francis Godwin Peter Petow, probably bore the two names, and was called Peter William. Father Giuseppe Maria of Ancona m his continuation of the annals of the Friars Minor (vol. 19, p. 74, n, 12), says that with some few exceptions, the acts of his life were so obscure that in some respects Petow might be compared to Melchizedek, as no one knew who his parents were, nor where he was born.” (“Memorie Storiche de' Cardinal,” by Lorenzo Cardella, vol. 4, p. 369, Roma, )
  • 4. Monsignor Alvise Priuli, the bosom friend of Cardinal Pole, whom he accompanied to England, and was residing with him at Lambeth when Bernardo Navagero wrote this letter from Rome.
  • 5. Gian Angelo de' Medici, who, on the 25th or 26th December 1559, succeeded Paul IV., with the title of Pius IV.
  • 6. The reigning Doge was Lorenzo Priuli.
  • 7. Cardinal Durante, Bishop of Brescia, survived until the end of December 1557, and by a missive from the Senate to the Ambassador Navagero, dated 16th October in that year, it is seen that the Pope's good opinion of the Bishop's nephew was not shared by the Republic, who thought much more highly of Cardinal Pole's friend, Alvise Priuli.
  • 8. In date Rome, 10 June, it is seen that the letters of King Philip and Queen Mary, demanding the restitution of the legateship to Cardinal Pole, were dated 26th, 27th, and 28th May. The King arrived in England from Flanders on the 20th March. (See Machyn, p. 129.)
  • 9. “Frate di S. Francesco d'osservanza eletto gia Episcopo Alboronense” (sic). The Popes does not say when this election took place. In Latin, Salisbury is Sarisburia or Serpiodunum;. btu in Haydn's “Book of Dignities” (p. 370, ed. 1851), where there is a list of the Bishops of Salisbury, it appears that in 1539 John Salcott, alias Capon, was translated from Bangor to Salisbury, and died in October (sic) 1557, when Peter Petow, Cardinal, was appointed to this see by the Pope; but the Queen would not allow him to enter the realm (sic); and on the 14th October 1558 Francis Mallet was nominated by the Queen, but set aside on her death, November 17th following.”
  • 10. John Philip, Count of Salm. (See Foreign Calendar, Mary, Index.)
  • 11. Sultan Soliman died on the 30th August 1556, after a reign of 46 years, at the age of 76. (See L'Art de Vérifier les Dates, p. 414, ed. Paris, 1770.)
  • 12. Cipher in MS. corroded.