Venice: July 1557, 6-10

Pages 1202-1215

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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July 1557, 6–10

July 6. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 958. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
On Sunday, the ambassador from Florence (fn. 1) received a letter from his Duke in reply to what he wrote him on the preceding Thursday, and he told my secretary, whom I sent to hear how the affair was proceeding, that Duke Cosmo sent him two letters, one for the Duke of Alva, the other for Marc' Antonio Colonna, telling them to halt until he could ascertain the Popes mind, about the agreement; that he communicated the whole to the Cardinal of Pisa, who conferred with the Pope and with Cardinal Caraffa; and yesterday the ambassador went (in a litter, by reason of his ailments) to Caraffa, who told him the Pope was content to have the letters sent as soon as possible. The ambassador then demanded a guide for the courier that he might despatch him instantly, and went home and wrote until midnight. The contents of his letter to the Duke of Alva he showed to my secretary, and it purported that after much toil he had brought the Pope to consent to reveal to him his will, and the terms on which he will make the agreement, referring them to the arbitration (co' metterle all' arbitrio) of the Duke of Florence, to whom he chose the said ambassador to go because he trusted him; but that first of all he was to endeavour to prevent matters from proceeding farther to the detriment of the Papal States. This he wrote to his Duke, who in reply sent the aforesaid letter for the Duke of Alva, and that it would be well, as the Pope consents to detach himself from the French, but not to become their enemy, and as King Philip, like a good Christian Prince, wishes for peace with his Holiness, that he should suspend hostilities for some days, as they will be very few, the negotiation having to be concluded very speedily; and he prays his Excellency to be pleased to write a word about his will so that without losing time he (the ambassador) may be able to commence here with the Pope and treat. Having finished his despatch, and no guide being sent to him during that night, he sent his secretary in the morning to the Cardinal of Pisa, who referred him to Cardinal Caraffa's secretary Saccheti, who told him he had received no order whatever from the Cardinal, who on the day before had been abroad, and on that morning at 4 a.m. mounted on horseback, nor did he know whither he went nor when he would return; so this evening at 7 p.m. (the guide not having made his appearance), the ambassador wrote a note to the Cardinal of Pisa, which he in like manner showed to my secretary, to the effect that having waited all yesterday and to-day for the guide, and not seeing him appear, he wrote that note to make known that he on his part had not failed to execute the orders of his Holiness, with whom and with the Duke his Lord it sufficed him to justify himself; that if the Pope did not choose to send the guide he requested the Cardinal of Pisa to obtain leave for him to send back the courier to Florence, so that all parties might be enabled to do their duty.
In the course of conversation the Florentine Ambassador expressed himself thus, “The negotiation is brought to such a pass that at any rate the cause of its failure will be made manifest, as should the Pope refuse to declare his will, as promised by him, it will at once be evident that he wishes for war. Should he explain himself his demands will be either reasonable or unreasonable, in which latter case it will be tantamount to saying, I reject the agreement, and the Duke of Florence will instantly cut short the negotiation, so that every one may do what profits them most; and his Excellency will attend to the affairs of Sienna, not indeed that he will attack the Church, but that he chooses to recover his own, and should any one impede him he will let them know that they do wrong. Should the Pope's demands be reasonable, they will be treated and settled, and if any difficulty arise the Duke will labour to remove it, and perhaps the most Serene Signory of Venice may also be employed, as from what they have done hitherto it may be credited that they will not fail to write, assist, and persuade, and give yet more authority to the negotiation by mediating.” My secretary answered him that he was of opinion that if the Pope's demands were reasonable it would be unnecessary to employ any other mediation, but rather settle the matter speedily without losing time by calling others, which might somewhat impede the conclusion. The ambassador rejoined, “My Duke writes, that the Signory's assistance would be much to the purpose, and also that those Lords ought not to be deprived of this glory of having been the cause of so great a boon to Christendom, and especially to Italy.” The secretary replied that your Serenity was not ambitious, and contented, yourself with affairs being quieted in such a way as set forward by the Lord God, and that all the praises should rest with his Duke and himself the ambassador, who had so dexterously brought the business thus far.
After acquainting Cardinal Caraffa with the reply of Marc' Antonio Colonna, (fn. 2) the Cardinal Camerlengo was exhorted and requested to write to the Duke of Alva in demonstration of the Pope's good will about receiving King Philip into favour (di ricevere in gratia il Re Filippo) and making an agreement with him, provided he will do his duty, and that therefore it would be well not to alter this good will on the part of his Holiness by continuing to advance and ravage the Papal territory. By the person who took this message and the letter, viz., Zuan Battista Drusolino, secretary of Count Santa Fiore, the Duke of Alva replied by letter to the Cardinal Camerlengo, that although he no longer believed in the words of these Lords (alle parole di questi Signori) as he had been often deceived, and although he knew his temporal forces to be no less superior to the Pope's than his Holiness' spiritual forces exceeded them, and that he had been informed of the journey to France of the young Marquis and Marshal Strozzi, and of the purpose for which it was undertaken, he was nevertheless ready to effect what was discussed and concluded, between Cardinal Caraffa and himself on the Island of Porto, of which the Cardinal had a memorandum signed by his Lordship, who gave him the counterpart signed by the Duke himself, and that he would even do something more to bring about peace with his Holiness; yet if the Pope rejected it he the Duke would wage the war in another form than he has done hitherto, the respect had by him for the See Apostolic having caused him to be thought weak and inexpert.
Cardinal Caraffa on receiving this letter seemed satisfied, and said that after conferring with the Pope he would see the Cardinal Camerlengo, to whom he sent last evening an autograph note purporting that he was content to accept the agreement with the terms and clauses treated on the island, and again offered by the Duke, of which the Cardinal Camerlengo was to write to his Excellency. In the morning the Cardinal Camerlengo went to the Church of the Trinità to discuss the affair with Cardinal Pacheco, who said that he approved of laying bare (palesare ?) the mind of these Lords, but that he suspected them of acting thus to gain time, perceiving the opportunity which the Imperialists now have to do what they please, and that this thought struck him because in the note (poliza) he did not see that they would send anything more than a safe conduct for a person from the Duke of Alva to come hither to stipulate the clauses as necessary; so by sending this note as it stood there followed as a necessity a reply from the Duke, and perhaps the demand for the safe conduct, so that it would be better to speak with Cardinal Caraffa to resolve this difficulty now; but down to this evening he has said nothing to them, so they delayed the despatch until to-morrow, I also doing the like in order to give your Serenity more precise information concerning this most important business. Nor will I omit to add that Cardinal Caraffa, when discussing the peace and this despatch to be sent by the Camerlengo, said that letters had arrived from the Duke of Florence for the Duke of Alva and Marc' Antonio Colonna, but that he (Caraffa) did not choose to make use of others, as the affair was proceeding prosperously through the aforesaid Camerlengo, which warrants a suspicion that Cardinal Pacheco spoke the truth when he said that these Lords merely seek to gain time, and that therefore they do not choose the letters from Florence to be transmitted, lest the Pope be compelled to declare his mind as promised by him to the Florentine Ambassador.
As these particulars, most especially those received from Duke Cosmo's ambassador, are as yet known only to six individuals, it is needless for me to urge the necessity for their being kept secret.
Rome, 6th July 1557.
July 6. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. (2nd letter.) 959. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
My secretary has seen the Pope's letter to the King and Queen of England, but could not obtain a copy of it, the person who showed it him having sworn that he was under oath not to let it be copied. Its substance was as follows:—
“To his very dear children, (fn. 3) Philip and Mary, King and Queen of England—Paul IV.
“Your letters delivered to us lately, signed by both of you, are the cause of our answering you jointly. The faith, religion, and piety of one of y u towards this Holy See are very well known to us. Since the fall of the other and his alienation from the See Apostolic we have known about his good will to return, by the relation of certain Cardinals; and above all our beloved son Cardinal Pacheco has performed a most excellent office in this matter, as done by him in many other things.
“Respecting the repeal of the legation of that kingdom, and of the peril which it incurred, not being yet confirmed in the faith, by remaining without our Legate, we tell you that on very firm foundations and after mature consideration we recalled all the Legates and Nuncios; besides which, having to treat a most important matter, and as the Cardinals were given us as companions to assist in bearing this burden, we, by our letters already written, though not despatched, determined to call to us the absent Cardinals, including our beloved son Reginald Pole, choosing thus to gratify our wish. And as it becomes not the gravity of this See to reappoint that same person whom we had recently removed, the Lord God succoured us in this our anxiety, recalling to our memory our beloved son William Peto, an Observantine Franciscan friar, heretofore elected Bishop of Salisbury, who by reason of his goodness and doctrine—doctrine truly sound and catholic—it was our intention to create Cardinal from the commencement of our Pontificate; and so we have now promoted him to this dignity with the eonsent or rather at the instigation (anzi studio) of all the Cardinals, and made him our Legate and of the See Apostolic, in that kingdom and in Ireland; which operation will we think be agreeable to both of you, and particularly to you our very dear daughter, who knows this man's virtue and goodness, and above all agreeable to our sons the bishops of those kingdoms. We send him the symbol of his dignity, and although from the desire evinced by you to us to have the legation we persuade ourselves that you will honour and assist him in such things as he may require for the exercise of his office, we nevertheless request and pray you to place him in possession (a metterlo in essecutione), beseeching the Lord God to deign to preserve the religion and piety of one of you, and to increase in the other the wish to reconcile himself to us, and to the Holy See Apostolic, so that by returning he may be received by the Church his mother, like the son who comes back from a remote region.”
Rome, 20th June 1557.
Cardinal S. Giacomo [Juan Alvarez de Toledo] told a person who repeated it to me that the trumpet who came hither with the Duke of Alva's letter offering the tribute for the kingdom of Naples (il censo), as I wrote to your Serenity sending you the copy of the letter, (fn. 4) on being sent back, was seized outside the gate of Rome, the reply being taken from him.
Last night the Pope's cavalry at Frascati having had their rear guard attacked by the enemy's horse, from fear lest the whole of the cavalry should be in the vicinity, ran away to the gates of Rome with the mere loss of some of their baggage, though it was said that the whole of the papal horse and seven standards had been lost.
Five French galleys have arrived at Civitavechia with news that Marshal Strozzi arrived at Marseilles on the 21st ult., and proceeded post-wise to the Court, leaving the young Marquis to follow him. It is said on good authority that these galleys are come to embark the Duke de Guise and some of these other French Lords. It is heard for certain that on board these galleys there are neither troops nor money.
The “Camerlengo” dined this morning with Cardinal Caraffa, and at 1 p.m. Alessandro Placido departed with his despatch for the Duke of Alva, and I am also told that he is the bearer of a safe conduct for any person the Duke may choose to send to negotiate. Placido is ordered by the Cardinal Camerlengo to find Marc' Antonio Colonna, and to tell him in his name no longer to irritate the Pope and Cardinal Caraffa, who wishes to oblige him, as he (Placido) is the bearer of a very important despatch about the peace. Then at 3 p.m. the courier of the Florentine ambassador departed with letters for Marc' Antonio and the Duke of Alva, the trumpet having appeared to escort him.
Rome, 12th July 1557.
July 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 960. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Having received your Serenity's letters of the 25th ult., with the summaries from Constantinople, I went to-day to communicate them to the King; and having dined by invitation with the Constable and during the repast the conversation turning on the arrival in Flanders of Don Ferrante [Gonzaga], after the tables were removed (dopo levote le tavole), his Excellency called Cardinal Chastillon, me, and Marshal Strozzi to come close to him, and said, “Don Ferrante has arrived in Flanders, but has not yet crossed over to England, and I know that before leaving Italy he uttered many threats about invading this kingdom with two armies, but many years have elapsed since he was in France, (fn. 5) and he will find things in a different state to what he believes. By all means let him come, for he will be welcome. I know all that he expected to do (ch' el. pensava di fare), and he will find much greater provision than he thinks. It was when King Francis, of blessed memory, expelled me the court, (fn. 6) at which time Don Ferrante had an understanding (havea pratica) in this kingdom, but he will now find matters proceeding in a different form. I assure you, my Lords, that unless King Philip does us some hurt within three weeks, not only shall we no longer have any fear of him, but he will have to put his own affairs well in order. I know what can be done by the English, who will find our fortresses in better condition than they found them heretofore. Nor will I omit telling you (and to this the King can bear true testimony) that I have much desired this declaration of war, as they never ceased doing us many injuries, and we, in order not to offend them, always acted with many regards, which will now be at an end, as we also shall play our part; but it is very surprising (ma è gran cosa) that on our respective frontiers we are more quiet than ever, nor do our people (nostri) demand any accommodation whatever that is not with infinite courtesy conceded them, which was not the case previously; and the Queen's Admiral has made three or four landings in Normandy, where he might have done us damage, which he did not do, making it appear that he wished rather to warn us to provide for our affairs, but preparations had been already made everywhere, as the whole coast is fortified (perchè tutta la costa è spiazzà), and were they to anchor the fleet there, they would do more harm to themselves than to us.” Then, drawing me aside, his Excellency said, “I certainly much regret, Lord Ambassador, the words used by Don Ferrante, which misbecome old men like him and me (come siamo lui et Io);” to which, having replied in general terms, I then communicated the summaries to him, saying how the fleet had commenced putting to sea; whereupon his Excellency interrupted me, saying, “For what purpose does this fleet go out?” and having replied that I knew nothing farther, I imparted the rest of the news-letter.
The Constable then went in to the King, and shortly afterwards had me admitted. After I had made the same statement to his Majesty, he asked me at the close how Sultan Soliman was; to which I said that your Serenity wrote nothing more, but that being on the eve of departure for Constantinople it might be supposed he was well. His Majesty then commenced telling me how he had this day received advice that the muster of Germans had been made, and that they were 9,554 infantry, another 1,200 being expected, the pistolers (pistoleti) being 532, and they were to be joined by 120 more, the entire body to halt on the confines between Picardy and Champagne, where the French troops likewise and the cavalry will also assemble, but that the army corps could not be formed so speedily, owing to the scarcity of victuals, which was still very great, but they should very soon have the new wheat; and when everything was prepared the Constable would go so betimes to the army that some exploit might be performed immediately on his arrival there.
I asked if the troops of the King of Spain were in readiness. “No,” said his Majesty, “principally from the extreme difficulty they have about victuals, besides which they do not abound much in money, and I know that at Spires and in other places they had commenced collecting (ad ammassar) troops, but they all disbanded from want, some of food, and others of money; nor did any others pass, save the ten ensigns that came in company with mine.” His Majesty then added, “Don Luis de Caravajal is made game of in England (è giuocato in Inghilterra), having brought but 800 foot soldiers on board eleven ships, which were to return to Spain to embark Ruy Gomez, who has made every effort to raise money, even by selling his own revenues at any price, nor could he succeed. This Caravajal spread a report of bringing a great sum of gold, but my ambassador, who is returned from England, has assured me that the sum does not exceed 500,000 ducats, and on his departure some one who can know it told him they were not more than 300,000.”
I asked what the ambassador brought back about the preparations making by the Queen for the war. His Majesty said, “I believe that 10,000 men will come forth (usciranno), including 500 cavalry, or 1,000 at the utmost, but those people are discontented with this war, of which there is no doubt whatever, and to gratify them the Queen has promised to pay the soldiers the entire cost required for the conveyance of their baggage; and as it is the custom of that nation to carry with them unlimited, and even superfluous, conveniences, a great sum of gold will be required for this, nor do I know how she can hold out (resistere), as all her father's treasure would not suffice her.” His Majesty then added, “De Noailles told me that on his departure the Queen made him the greatest possible demonstrations, as also the Lords of her Council, one of whom said to him, We shall not be long without you.' The ambassador replied, 'Why say you this?' and the said Lord rejoined, 'Because before six months shall have elapsed there will be good peace between us, and you will return hither as ambassador.'”
His Majesty having then ceased conversing, I asked him something about Italy. He said the Duke de Guise was in his usual position, and that some of the Duke of Alva's troops had crossed the Tronto, but that nothing farther had happened; and that M. de Guise had been with Cardinal Tournon to consult about such things as necessary. I inquired whether his Excellency would remain with the army to protect the Pope. “Yes,” said his Majesty, “the Duke will remain, and Marshal Strozzi has told me in the Pope's name that all the talk about agreement has dissolved into nothing, and that his Holiness was raising 6,000 infantry of good troops, and I received advice this morning that he had levied 300 Switzers, who may I think by this time be in the Signory's territory, and they will all go to join M. de Guise; nor can the Pope any longer have lack of money, and the Marshal told me that this tax of one per cent. will yield in a few days 800,000 crowns.” I asked his Majesty if he had any advice of Sienna's having been given to the Duke of Florence, as was reported at the Court. His Majesty said, “Thus is it heard, but without the citadel, and Cardinal Farnese arranged this affair;” and I added that it was understood in like manner that the Pope was not much pleased with this resolve, it seeming that his whole wish was for this Sienna; and his most Christian Majesty, lowering his voice, as if he did not wish it to be heard by those who were in the same chamber, said, “This I really believe, and am of opinion that henceforth we shall see him more determined, on the war. He has also sent hither his nephew, the Marquis, which the agents of the King of England could never persuade him to do, adding that the Pope had called to Rome all the Cardinals except five, viz., the Frenchmen, Lorraine and Sens, the Spaniard of Toledo, now dead before the breve reached him, the one of Portugal, and the English one [Petow] made recently.” I inquired whether the other French Cardinals would go. His Majesty said, “And how could they do otherwise, the Pope being determined to deprive the disobedient ones of the hat, but some little convenience of time must be allowed them;” and he then continued, saying that he was greatly surprised at what Marshal Strozzi had told him, that it was quite true that Cardinal Morone had wished to recant (che il Cardinal Morone si havea voluto abiurare), but that the Pope had not chosen to allow him to do so (ma che il Papa non l'havea voluto admettere).
His Majesty then said that the Duke de Guise was sending 2,000 infantry to the Duke of Ferrara, who had raised from 5,000 to 6,000 Italian infantry, with which he meant to take the field and oppose the fortification of Guastalla, and that in the meanwhile the Switzers also which his Majesty had raised lately would arrive, the Diet having conceded them. I inquired whether they would remain with the Duke of Ferrara or go to the Duke de Guise. His Majesty said, “This I do not know, because, should the Duke of Ferrara have need of them, they will remain with him; if not, they will join the army.” His Majesty also added that the Duke of Ferrara had written to him that he had made known to your Serenity this his intention of taking the field (dell' uscir in campagna), making known to the King in like manner the many accommodations conceded by your Serenity, and the goodwill you had shown him and his State, for which his Majesty returned many thanks to your Serenity. I replied that the Signory had always loved and esteemed the Duke, but that also, out of respect for his most Christian Majesty, you would not fail doing what you could in fairness (honestamente) to oblige him; and then, after returning the usual thanks to his Majesty, I took leave.
I have also heard that M. de Guise writes to the King that the Pope was making every possible demonstration of honour and favour towards him and the army, as not only were many supplies of victuals and other necessaries being made, but that his Holiness had also sent orders throughout the Romagna for M. de Guise to be obeyed as if he were the Pope in person. I have also endeavoured to ascertain what the army is going to do, and in conformity with what I wrote on the 4th, I have that all the resolves are referred to his Excellency, although, for his instruction, he has been reminded of many things; and in fact it seems that this determination about Sienna greatly confirms the King in his belief that the Pope will be more and more resolute about the war, it having been clearly discovered that therein is his whole desire fixed, as frequently written by me to your Serenity, this matter being largely (largamente) discussed by persons of quality.
Since a long while there is here at the Court a secretary of Cardinal Farnese, who, besides transacting the affairs of his right reverend Lordship, has also urged the payment of a debt of 60,000 crowns due from the most Christian King for the widow's portion (contradotte) given by Pope Paul III. to his Majesty's daughter, wife of the late Duke [of Castro] Horatio, (fn. 7) and after much verbiage, which has delayed it, the Constable at length told the secretary a few days ago that the King will not give the Duke [of Parma] anything until some change be effected in the present state of affairs.
The Bishop of Aix (sic) [Acqs] (fn. 8) has returned from his embassy to England, and his Majesty has appointed him ambassador in ordinary to your Serenity, as successor to M. de Lodève. He came to visit me out of respect for your Serenity, and also because I had known him both in England and at this Court. (fn. 9) I assured him that from respect for his own individual abilities, and for the offices performed first with me and then with the most illustrious Messer Giovanni Michiel in England, independently of consideration for the Constable, with whom he and all his family are in very great favour, your Serenity will not fail to make every possible demonstration of honour and gratitude towards him. I performed the same office with the Constable, and also with his most Christian Majesty.
Compiegne, 8th July 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
July 9. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 961. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
To-day, at audience, I told the Pope that you had received a reply from your ambassador with King Philip, to what you enjoined him, in conformity with your own natural desire and his Holiness' wish concerning the peace; which I would let him hear by your Serenity's own letter. This I did seeing that it was in good form and very important, and most especially in these times, knowing also that his Holiness likes having the letters themselves read to him. Of such satisfaction he gave manifest signs whilst the letter was being read, by joyfully moving his head, and yet more at its close, when quite softened, and well nigh with the tears in his eyes, he said, “Magnifico Ambassador, we cannot deny that much to our satisfaction we perceive all the proceedings of the most illustrious Signory, but this office performed by them, and the intimation of it by this present letter, we confess to you ingenuously has quite moved us from tenderness, and I pray you to thank his Sublimity for it accordingly in our name, that he may know our infinite satisfaction, and we thank you likewise. Beati pedes evangelizantium pacem; and we affirm to you that never will we fail to make a good peace, both because war does not become him who has the charge of preaching peace, as also to comply with the desire of your most illustrious Signory; and when we shall be able to make it to our dignity we think it will be justifiable in heaven and on earth, let happen what may, and let others inveigh against it as they please. And rest assured that no mediation pleases us more than that of the Signory, both by reason of our desire that she (ella) should have the honour of so holy an operation, as also because we choose to believe that the State interposing (intromallendosi) would not allow us to be sacrificed (assassinati) and destroyed, for two reasons; the one because our destruction is their destruction; the other because their honour would be at stake. God grant that the Imperialists (costoro) may speak the truth, for we know not how to reconcile their fair words with their foul deeds. We will have this said and written in every place, and to all persons who offer us peace on such terms as willed by us; and at this same time the Duke of Alva in one direction, and Marc' Antonio Colonna in the other, are doing the worst they can. Marc' Antonio has renewed the devastation of this Campagna, taking and burning many places although they were not garrisoned, notwithstanding which he went with horse, foot, and artillery, and without any cause, for we remained expecting them to carry their promises into effect, and the Duke de Guise had somewhat retreated rather than otherwise. The Imperialists (loro) must let us know what they propose doing to be reconciled to us, and it would be fitting for them first of all to restore what belongs to us, and to desist from hostilities, for is not this the State of our Father and of the Church of Christ? and to molest it is sacrilege and the utmost impiety. We choose to hope that thus will they do, although they are people in whom but little trust can be placed; yet relying on the mediation of the Signory, whom we request to continue it, we place our heart in her hands. We are indeed willing to call others to mediate, but we do not see a more fitting channel, nor one on which we can rely more than that of his Sublimity, who, we are confident, will not pledge his word at the risk of being deceived to our ruin. You will have pondered the boasting of these Imperialists (di costoro), who say 'that although our affairs are in very good condition'!” (fn. 10)
I then said, that his Holiness' prudence was quite sufficient to confer so precious a gift on Christendom and wretched Italy, and that perceiving his goodwill and choosing to believe King Philip's to be such as he writes, I could not doubt but that on commencing the negotiation the agreement would be effected.
The Pope replied, “We cannot do more than we have done, for to the Cardinals and others who spoke to us about King Philip's goodwill, we gave it to be understood that we were now prepared to take him into favour, and to forgive all his offences, by doing which, perhaps, fuimus minus, disparaging the dignity of this Holy See, but we committed this error, if it is one, from our wish for the quiet of Christendom and particularly of Italy. It is now their turn to let themselves be understood, and to act in conformity with their words, for until now no good sign has been witnessed. Pacheco came hither declaring that he would give us entire satisfaction, but weeks and months have elapsed without any detail being heard. It would assuredly have been fitting for the Duke of Alva to let us know what order he had since you read to us even your own letters, although we believe you as much as any other person who ever has or ever may speak to us; and his not having done so gives us cause to suspect either that he has no commission, or if he has one that he does not choose to execute it, but to persevere in his impious acts as he is doing; and this has with reason made us wish to negotiate with others, rather than with him. There is here in Rome the Cardinal Pacheco, who has exerted himself greatly, and can conveniently treat with us, there being many other persons likewise who might be employed in this business; and to open our heart to you, we in short do not refuse to negotiate with any person soever, provided, as is fair, that they explain themselves and come to facts; as should any good result be obtained we shall acknowledge it from the Signory of Venice, and first of all from the Lord God, qui dederit mobis quam mundus dare non poted pacem. And what the Constable of France said is assuredly true, that should agreement be made by us for whom the King moved war, the rest can be arranged easily, as the cause being removed the effect is removed; this being our chief object. For should it please God to give us a small space of quiet, and were the devil to cease prevailing through disturbance such as he caused us by means of those children of his, we, with the assistance of God, who said, sine me nihil potestis facere, would show the most illustrious Signory and the whole world what is necessary for ecclesiastical reform, as required by all good men, for, leaving aside specious words, and what others have done, by reforming something daily, and enforcing it all at once, abrogating simultaneously the offices mentioned by us heretofore, we would finally accomplish the reform to the satisfaction of Christendom, and spend the money wasted by us for soldiery on men of ability and knowledge; (fn. 11) but during the turmoil of war we are unable to attend to this other matter, for we are old; “frigidus assist circum pravecordia sanguis.”
I then had the news-letters from Constantinople read to his Holiness, and after discussing them with him took leave.
Rome, 9th July 1557.
July 10. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 962. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Here in the Campagna in this direction Marc' Antonio Colonna has done much harm, carrying away and burning the grain. The Imperialists, it is true, apologize for him, saying that these burnings are not by his will, nor by that of other commanders, but that owing to the municipal feuds which these castles have one with the other they thus revenge themselves on their enemies.
It is feared here that unless an adjustment be made, Paliano and Velletri must surrender, as they are destitute of everything, their scanty garrisons being also discontented. A few mornings ago the enemy's cavalry after scouring the Campagna came as far as Torre di Bove, at a short distance from the Porta di S. Sebastiano, where having found some carts loaded with grain they carried them off, the labourers in the vineyards escaping into Rome, whither the Papal cavalry have retreated, nor do they amount to 200 men, and this small number is disbanding because they are ill paid. The entire infantry force, 700 men at the utmost, are still at Tivoli.
Towards the March of Ancona the Duke of Alva's army is said to have crossed the Tronto, and to have taken a fortress two miles from Ascoli, where he has made an encampment, and has sent troops to Offida, a very good town, for which reason some months ago they half sacked it.
The army of the Duke de Guise which decamped on the 3rd from Rioriano [Marrano ?] retreated towards Ripatransone in the mountains, going away from the sea; and letters from Fermo say that the general opinion in that province was, that the Duke de Guise and his brothers, and all the rest of the nobility, were going to France, leaving the command of those troops to the Prince of Salerno, though this is not confirmed by the French here in Rome, who say on the contrary that they are sending 6,000 Switzers, for whom the King's ambassador at Venice has requested passage through your Serenity's territory.
The Siennese here are doing their utmost to prevent Sienna from passing into the hands of the Duke of Florence, and have treated with the Imperial cardinals at Rome to write to King Philip that it is contrary to his interests to deprive himself of that city; and they say that the delegates despatched by them to his Majesty will perhaps be accompanied by Don Alonso de Sande, who disapproves of this alienation.
The Romans having complained to Cardinal Caraffa of the devastation of the Campagna, he told them they were the cause of it by not providing funds, as they ought to have done, without which no valid resistance could be made. Some of the chief Romans, accompanied by Cardinal Caraffa's auditor, are now visiting the houses of private individuals, prelates, and others, praying them to contribute a certain sum of money on the “Monte del Quatrino” for each pound of meat, to complete the amount of 130,000 crowns, which were offered in lieu of the one per cent., but they can find no one who will invest capital in this security.
Rome, 10th July 1557.
July 24. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. (2nd letter.) 963. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Chiefs of the Council of Ten.
Besides what was said by Cardinal Cesis to Chizola, as written by me in the public letters, the Bishop of Torcello told me that when he said to Cesis that by so much the less ought the Cardinal [Farnese] to have attempted this, as the “accesso” had been given in public Consistory as a favour to your Serenity (in grazia di vostra Serenità), and with the consent of Cardinal Durante himself, as he had been assured by Cardinal Pisani; Cesis answered him, “I believe that Cardinal Pisani deceives himself, because, although I remember that in the schedule (nella cadala), which is now in my possession as summist (come summista), no mention is made either of 'accesso' or of the Signory of Venice, nor of any contentment (contentamento) of Cardinal Durante; and, indeed, I think I remember that Cardinal Durante canvassed certain cardinals not to grant him this 'accesso,' which being heard by Julius III., he made a mota proprio, and the 'accesso' was conceded as a favour to the most illustrious Signory.” Cesis also said to the Bishop of Torcello, “This might easily have been a trick (un tratto) (to speak freely with you) of Cardinal Farnese, who, to find some opportunity for sowing and nourishing some disagreement between the Pope and the Signory, thinking thus to benefit some design of his through the opportunity afforded by these present times, persuaded Cardinal Durante, offering him simultaneously to make that see lapse (cascar) to his nephew.” I have just got the copy of the schedule through the Bishop of Torcello, but not having time to transcribe it, it shall be sent with my next to your most excellent Lordships, to whom I have willed to write the aforesaid things for becoming respects, but, above all, lest, having again to discuss this matter, you make your foundation on what is not a fact (non si facci fondamento sopra cosa che non sia in fatto).
Rome, 10th July 1557.
July 10. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 964. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Chiefs of the Council of Ten.
Cardinal Caraffa has avoided audiences and business since many days, so that every one remains not only dissatisfied but almost in despair. He remains always as if in retirement, intent solely on sensual gratiication (intento solamente a soi piaceri), nor do his attendants allow any one to approach his apartments, as they say they have orders from him accordingly. The French ambassador has been many times to speak to him, and many times did he return, the like having befallen many other persons. The commissary, who bears the burden of all the victualling and pecuniary supplies, has since a long while been unable to obtain audience, and said he would not return unless sent for. He gave me to understand that when speaking with the Pope about money, showing him how ineffectual and perilous this imposition of one per cent. is, and that should the war continue thought must be bad for some fresh and brisk provision (qualche nova e viva provision), nor could he see any one more sure and speedy than the sale of some papal city, and, above all, to your Serenity (et massime alla Serenità vostra), the Pope replied, “Speak not to me again about this, for Iwouldrather do anything than alienate a span of earth belonging to the Church. God will assist me, and find means to defend His cause.”
The commssary also informed me that having no answer about the lectureship desired by him in the university of Padua, and as he sees things have going so badly that they could not go worse, his usual admission into the privy council being also suspended, seeing that he is not held in such account as his labours deserve, he thinks of returning soon to France.
Rome, 10th July 1557.


  • 1. The name of this Florentine ambassador was Giovanni Battista Ricasoli, Bishop of Cortona. Sir Pere Daniel, Histoire de France, vol. 9, p. 819. Ed. Paris, 1755. See also Bibliothèque Sacrée, vol. 8, ed. Paris, 1822, p. 289. “J. B. Ricasolus de Florence, nommé Evêque de Cortone le 21 Octobre 1538; siégea vingt-deux ans, et fut transferé à Pistoie.”
  • 2. See before, letter dated 1st July.
  • 3. “Figliuoli.” The substance is given in Italian, although the original letter was written in Latin, as seen by the late Mr. Turnbull's Foreign Calendar, “Mary,” p. 319.
  • 4. See note to letter dated Rome, June 26, showing that on the 11th the Duke of Alva wrote to his uncle the Cardinal of Compostella offering to pay the “Censo.” The letter was brought by a trumpet to Rome on the 18th June, and Cardinal Caraffa read it on the 19th to Navagero, in whose Letter Book, however, the copy of it does not exist.
  • 5. Ferrante Gonzaga commanded the Imperial army under Landrecy in 1543. (See Père Daniel, vol. 6, p. 252.)
  • 6. In the year 1541. (See P. Daniel, vol. 6, p. 240. Ed. Paris, 1724.)
  • 7. For the marriage of his widow to the Constable's eldest son on the 4th May 1557, see Foreign Calendar, Mary, p. 303.
  • 8. Francis de Noailles, Bishop of Acqs. (See Foreign Calendar, “Mary,” Index.)
  • 9. iacomo Soranzo was Venetian Ambassador in England from March 1551 to May 1554, and succeeded Barbarigo in France in May 1555.
  • 10. “Ch' ancora, che le cose nostre stiano in molti buoni termini.” The Duke of Alva's words to the Cardinal “Camerlengo “were, “se bene se conosceva di forze temporali tanto superiore at Papa, quanto sua Beatitudine era superiore a lui in spirituale,” etc. (See Navagero, Letter Book B, No. vii. p. 78, verso, lines 6, 7, 8.)
  • 11. Espenderessimo i danari che consumamo in soldati in huomeni valorosi, e virtuosi.