Venice: July 1555, 1-15

Pages 125-138

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 1555, 1–15

July 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 150. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Besides what your Serenity heard by my last of the 25th ulto., about the negotiation and result of the conference, you will learn in addition how it has been told me for certain, that the Constable, on departing, left a writing in the hands of the Abbot of San Saluto, to be shewn to the Duke of Savoy, and to be discussed (negotiata) with him, the contents of which I have been unable to ascertain anything about, despite my utmost endeavours; but from conjecture it may be supposed to be nothing but some form of adjustment or compensation, or something of the sort, offered him by the King; so the greater is the anxiety about his return from Italy, on the first news of which it is supposed the Abbot will go to him immediately. In the meanwhile, his most Christian Majesty has sent back the Prothonotary de Noailles with letters to the most Serene Queen and the most illustrious Legate, thanking them—thus is it said hitherto—for their good offices and exertions respecting the conference, evincing extreme satisfaction at their good intentions (buon animo et volontà loro) in this negotiation. Many persons are of opinion that the King performed this office, in order thus covertly, by making some fresh proposal, to resume the affair, or give Cardinal Pole and Chancellor Gardiner an opportunity for making some fresh proposal, or at least for keeping the negotiation in mind and alive, with the hope either that some fresh circumstance, or some other more propitious moment, may facilitate and accomplish it, or else on the contrary, that it be dismissed and disappear entirely; but the Prothonotary not having yet had audience, the Queen being in such close retirement as she is, his conference with the Legate being also deferred, it has been impossible hitherto to obtain more than this general information.
Since his return, Cardinal Pole has been and is intent with all earnestness on regulating and carrying into effect the restitution of the Church property held by the Crown, the Queen choosing at any rate—although its revenues will thus be diminished by upwards of 200,000 ducats—to clear her conscience, having referred herself entirely to the judgment and opinion of his right reverend Lordship, utterly regardless of poverty, provided she absolve herself. In two days Cardinal Pole will send an Englishman, one of his familiars, to Rome, to acquaint the Pope with the resolve formed about this with the Lords of the royal Council, so as to injure (offender) the Crown as little as possible, and in the meanwhile to make amends (redintegrar) to all the parishes and benefices for the cure of souls, for all they were despoiled of, and subsequently from day to day to continue rebuilding and re-establishing (riedificando et redintegrando) the hospitals, monasteries, and other churches, according to need and opportunity; Cardinal Pole—although he has the most ample faculty—not choosing to take any authority upon himself without the Pope's knowledge and express order.
Yesterday, by way of France, letters arrived from Spain, brought by an Englishman, dated Seville the 10th, and Valladolid the 15th and 16th ult., announcing the safe arrival of six caravels of the fleet from Peru, as many more having remained behind at a short distance, all very richly freighted, according to the usual parlance of these Spaniards, who invariably reckon by millions. By this same despatch other news was heard—no less good—how in the province of Peru, near the city of Cusco, the royal officials and ministers and their troops had engaged and worsted that Captain Francisco Hernandes de Giron, who having many followers, rebelled and made himself king, and taking flight with six horsemen, one of his own people killed him with upwards of twenty wounds, so that by his death that province remained peacable and quiet, greatly to the profit of the Emperor, who would obtain all the property and effects of the rebels.
The Emperor has again urged King Philip to cross the Channel immediately after the delivery, and many persons add that he has ordered him not to delay beyond the 20th instant, whether it takes place or not; concerning which child-birth I will not omit telling your Serenity a pleasant thing, namely, that the King of Poland having sent hither an ambassador with the due congratulations on such an event, supposing it to have already taken place, and at the same time to condole on the death of the Queen of Spain, and this envoy having come with a premeditated Latin oration, combining one office and the other, he did not choose his labour to be vain, for when the King gave him public audience, after having first performed the office of condolence, he at one and the same time chose also to deliver himself of this one of congratulation, just as if the event had already taken place, to the laughter and amusement of many persons who were present.
Since the residence here (fn. 1) of the Court, there have been many affrays between the Spaniards and the English, (fn. 2) several persons on either side having been wounded and killed, the English always getting the worst of it; and lately on Corpus Christi day, a serious assault well nigh took place, as the English, enraged in consequence of certain wounds inflicted on one of their countrymen, notwithstanding his having deserved them, were on the point of entering the church, where all the Spaniards, including the most noble and illustrious of that nation, had assembled to go forth in procession, and of treating them to rough usage, and to a vesper-service like that of Sicily (facendo loro un vespero conforme a quello di Sicilia). (fn. 3) For on the sudden such a concourse of Englishmen presented themselves outside the church as doubly to outnumber the Spaniards, and with great difficulty was their wrath mitigated by some of the rioters, less daring and indiscreet than the rest. On this account, King Philip, wishing to prevent all cause for scandal, issued a proclamation two days ago, to the effect that the first Spaniard who shall dare to use a weapon is to have his hand cut off, and under the severest penalties he has forbidden both horsemen and footmen to carry any sort of harquebuss, and he has given orders to hang by the neck any man, who, whether in defence or offence, shall dare raise the cry of “Spain.” for assistance, not choosing that even in self-defence, as is almost always the case, they should come to blows, at the risk of tumult or insurrection; but rather put up, as they do, with any affront or persecution.
The Cardinal San Clemente (fn. 4) and the Cardinal Camerlengo, (fn. 5) have sent to give particular account of the Pope's election, explaining how they did their utmost to prevent it, and recommending King Philip and praying him to provide for this necessity (questa occasione) on the creation of Popes, and to think more of affairs there [at Rome] than has been done of late, protesting that otherwise, the friends of the Spanish faction dying daily, or being lost, his Majesty may thus incur considerable detriment; the Duke of Florence telling him the like and making many complaints.
The Ambassador of the Queen of Poland [Bonna Sforza] departs to-day, having received handsome presents from both their Majesties, and been despatched according to his desire; taking back not only the confirmation of the privileges and exemptions of the Duchy of Bari, (fn. 6) but having received many additional favours (gratie) from his Majesty. To the Grand Master of Rhodes, King Philip has likewise conceded that all commanderies in Italy in his territories can only be taken possession of by appointment from said Grand Master and the Order; and nearly all suitors have been despatched with what may be called universal satisfaction, so that no private business remains on hand. The delegates (reggenti) from Naples and Milan assure me that since King Philip has assumed the government of those States, notwithstanding his present great penury, what with appointments, pensions, salaries, and other funds, he has deprived himself of upwards of 20,000 ducats annual revenue, disposing of it to one person and another in part for their deserts and necessities, and partly as mere reward and gratuity; and although his Majesty was reminded that considering the nature of the times, it would be well for him to proceed more prudently, he replied that, at least at this commencement, he holds the consolation afforded by him to his subjects through this demonstration of goodwill and affection in greater account, than the loss of a slight additional income, his need not consisting in so small a sum, as he requires a much greater supply; and if able to provide it, he will simultaneously provide for what he now deprives himself of; or should this be denied him, he congratulates himself at least on retaining the goodwill of those whom he will have benefited.
Richmond, 1st July 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
July 6. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 151. Cardinal Pole to Pope Paul IV.
On leaving Calais, wrote to the Pope that the conference for the peace had been dissolved without farther conclusion, but not without hope, as expressed by both sides, that what had failed then might be accomplished later. Has not failed to confirm the Queen in this hope, and is sure she will continue to act as mediatrix in so good and holy a work. The most Christian King has now sent the Prothonotary de Noailles to thank the Queen for what she has done hitherto in this matter, showing himself more than ever inclined towards the peace. The Prothonotary performed the like office with Pole, bringing him letters of credence from the King and the Constable. Has thus a good opportunity for continuing the negotiation according to the Pope's order, to see if it is possible to bring it to a good end.
On returning hither, Pole thought of sending one of his attendants to the Pope to acquaint him with the affairs of these his legations, and with the state of spiritual matters in England, but waited for fuller decision about the Church property still in possession of the Crown, with regard to which their Majesties have always evinced an intention in accordance with their great piety, as Pole hopes the Pope will see by good effects.
Has presented the papal brief to the King and Queen, assuring them largely of what they may promise themselves from his Holiness' pious and paternal affection for the benefit of all Christendom, and especially towards them and their realms, of which they seem convinced.
Richmond, 6th July 1555.
July 8. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. “Epistolarum Reginaldi Poli,” etc. 152. Cardinal Pole to the Bishop of Badajos [Francisco Navarre].
Has received two letters from him alike in tenour, most loving and kind, and remarkable for their manifestations of affection and piety, but nevertheless of that sort which he is accustomed either not to answer at all, or with difficulty. Navarre heretofore (fn. 7) sent him a letter written nearly in the same style, and having seen after how long a while and at length with what difficulty Pole answered it, he certainly did not expect the Bishop again to relapse into the same course; or has he done so, in order again to experience the ungraciousness as it were (quasi inhumanitatem) of Pole's silence? Would that he had thought to have experienced it the first time, as he would then have changed his tone. But as, taking in good part even those things for which other persons blamed Pole, he does not desist from praising him, although it was clearly demonstrated by Pole's former letter, that he was no more entitled to Navarre's praises, than if he had really exchanged his human form for that of an ass (he having, in fact, represented that character at the time when Navarre styled him well nigh a hero); and whereas Pole thought thus to silence Navarre completely, so that he might not again thus commend him; Pole now discovers that he has effected nothing, as the Bishop finds subject for praise even in an ass, administering it in such wise as to raise him to heaven in that form. (fn. 8)
To say the truth, on reading this, he could not but acknowledge Navarre's extreme love for him, but could scarcely bring himself to answer it, though he at length determined to do so, passing over in silence the greater part relating to the praise lavished on himself, and merely replying to what he writes about King Philip, himself, and his flock. With regard to the King, the Bishop has ample field for panegyric, combining love and truth, whether in praise of his Majesty's piety and prudence, or of his singular gravity, magnanimity, and graciousness in every relation of life (in omni vitœ genere), as they find him, and as the Church found him immediately on his marriage to their Queen, given him by God, to render this assistance, of which the first fruit was the return of the kingdom to its true faith (a sincera fide) and obedience, from which it had been led astray by its late rulers.
On this theme the Bishop can dilate, and celebrate the piety and other virtues of both their Majesties, doing so deservedly, and much to the approval of all good men.
With regard to Navarre's permanent residence in his diocese, Pole greatly commends it. Pastors who attend so assiduously to the care of their flocks are worthy of congratulation.
The Bishop writes in favour of Giovanni Bonavita, and his wife Gerolama, daughter of Navarre's brother. Pole knew Bonavita heretofore, and esteemed him for his virtue, and now that he and his wife are allied to Navarre by kindred and piety, they will be yet more dear to Pole.
Navarre recommended Pietro Frango, who is known and esteemed by Pole, but he does not know how to assist him.
Navarre will hear from Rullo (noster Rullus) the state of affairs in general, and of Pole individually, and thereupon, if able to assist the Bishop in any way, will use his best offices to that effect.
Richmond, 8th July 1555.
[Latin, 66 lines.]
July 8. Filza No. 134, Miscellanea di Atti diversi, Manoscritti, Venetian Archives. 153. Thomas Martyn to Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devonshire.
My duty premised unto your good Lordship as it appertaineth.
These be rather to render your Honour thanks for your most loving letters, and gentle token (which I sent immediately unto the Court unto my Lord Chancellor for news), than that I have any new matter worthy to certify you of. If my letter sent unto your Lordship by one of your men in the beginning of the last week be delivered, I have now no need to say anything further. The chief and most necessary point was that, as it appertaineth, you remove not from the Low Countries until the King's Majesty's coming. In the mean space I would wish you did acquaint yourself with the Bishop of Arras for purposes. Thus being ready to depart into my countrye I make an end, trusting at my return to certify you of some better news.
From the Savoy, 8th July 1555.
Your Lordship's most assured,
Tho. Martyn.
[Directed] “To the right honorable my Lorde Coortneye, Earl of Devonshire, these.”
[Endorsed by Courtenay's secretary:] “Doctor Marten, the 8th of July, from London, 1555.' [And again:] “Mr. Marten, 8 June (sic), from London to Brussels.”
July 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 154. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Prothonotary Noailles and “lofar” (sic) [the ambassador?] his brother had audience of the Queen on the 3rd, not only for the purpose of returning thanks for the demonstrations used by her ministers and representatives at the conference, with regard to the expenditure and to the great trouble taken by them, but also to confirm her Majesty in this neutrality. They apologized and endeavoured to show that their King had not failed to make terms (di venir a compositione), justifying the proceedings of the French commissioners at the conference, lest the Queen should think otherwise than they deserved, by attributing the failure of the adjustment to any want of respect for her Majesty; adding that in like manner as their most Christian King regretted beyond measure not having had the satisfaction to witness the adjustment, and to assign the honour of it to her Majesty's instrumentality and mediation, so he declared himself more ready than ever to accept any fair terms of agreement that might be proposed, he not having swerved in the least from the wish hitherto demonstrated by him for peace and concord, which he still most earnestly desired; praying the Queen in conclusion not to relinquish the negotiation as hopeless, but together with her councillors and the Legate to devise some other form of agreement.
The Queen replied that she deeply lamented having been deceived in her hope, after seeing at the commencement how readily the King had not merely consented to the conference, but sought it, thus showing his good and pious disposition, and the wish entertained by him for the adjustment; but that subsequently at the conference his commissioners formed a resolve at variance with that which had apparently actuated them, (fn. 9) not choosing to accept any of the conventions offered them by the mediators and by the adversaries themselves, having more regard than due for their own rights (troppo più stimando la loro rasone del dovere). Of all that took place, however, the Queen said she would not lay the blame on anything but our own sins and demerits, and on the evil nature of the times (la malignità de tempi), God's wrath not having as yet sufficiently vented itself upon us. With regard to their proposal that she should again think of some other form of adjustment, she replied that although she would not refuse to make her ministers undertake fresh toil and trouble, and that she would again speak to the Legate, yet they must bear well in mind—and this she said half angrily (meza turbata)—that in the end she could not fail demonstrating her affection and obligation to the King her husband, and to the Emperor her father-in-law, giving it almost openly to be understood that she would cease to be neutral (di esser per uscir di neutralità).
These words caused the ambassador to reply: “Madame, from what I see, your Majesty must have been misinformed about my King's rights (ragioni), as [otherwise] you would not form this-opinion [now] expressed; so I pray you to incline to hear them better [stated] than they have been heard by you, as I trust that on receiving the information you will change your mind and remain well satisfied with the King's determination and mode of proceeding, and that you will know his intention, and not have cause to interrupt the affection evinced by you towards him in return for that which he on his part bears your Majesty; and I and my brother offer to give, whenever it shall please you, such information and satisfaction as necessary to undeceive your Majesty.” This having apparently appeased the Queen, she said: “Well, let the matter be looked to and understood, as I am content to try again whether there could be any fresh form of agreement. I will communicate with my ministers and with the Legate, and we will see together what can be done, and if necessary I will let you know our mind and determination.” Whereupon they took leave, the Prothonotary saying he would remain in London ten or twelve days. (fn. 10)
On their return [from Hampton Court] they passed the whole of the rest of the day here [at Richmond] with Cardinal Pole, to whom they brought letters from the most Christian King, as also from the Constable for the Abbot of San Saluto, and they held a long conference; and on the morrow the Legate went to the Court, and remained a long while discussing these matters with the King and Queen, evincing, as told me on good authority, great wish for a truce (which would be much preferred by the French), should peace prove impossible, both because the whole difficulty reduces itself to the restoration of the Duke of Savoy, which they strenuously oppose, as your Serenity heard, and also as they again dispute that of Navarre. The Legate and their Majesties' councillors are chiefly intent, in the first place, on persuading the French to refer (ammetter—sic) [rimetter?] the case of Navarre, as a State matter, together with the other reciprocal claims of the Emperor and the King, to the decision of the Council or of other judges, and not to make any change at present with regard to the possession of that kingdom; endeavouring, secondly, respecting the Duke, to find the most suitable terms possible for his accommodation, which has been so difficult hitherto as to make everybody despair of it, the French not choosing by any means to restore Piedmont unless they have Milan, though they might be induced to reinstate him in Savoy.
With regard to the truce, the Abbot of San Saluto, by order of the Legate, returned yesterday to Hampton Court (a palazo) to ascertain from Don Gutierre Lopez Padilla, King Philip's Chamberlain and Councillor for the affairs of the Council of State (Dieta di Stato), whether, if the truce or suspension of hostilities were negotiated on the least unfair and disadvantageous terms possible, his Majesty would assent to them according to the intention announced by him to Cardinal Pole; and it became evident that the personages here (questi di quà) will not assume any authority beyond that which the Emperor has given them concerning these and other negotiations. To-day, Cardinal Pole is expecting a visit from the Chancellor in the name of the King and Queen to acquaint him with their opinion (per conferir quanto haveranno pensato) concerning the whole affair, in order that should the project seem suitable and feasible, the Legate, as mediator, may propose it to the French, their Majesties not considering him entirely their confidant as they do the Chancellor and Paget (non lo havendo per intieramente confidente loro come hanno il Cancelliere et Pagietto), who are, nevertheless, also employed as mediators, an office requiring impartiality, without leaning more towards one side than the other, as very well done and demonstrated by Cardinal Pole, who, even on his own account, together with the Abbot of San Saluto, on whose judgment this negotiation in great part depends—he, as a person of experience and ability, having had a hand in it heretofore—does not fail devising practicable ways and means with regard to the ex-Duke of Savoy (Duca vecchio di Saveglia). His right reverend Lordship is strongly urged by all parties to effect some compromise (compositione), but the whole treaty is impeded and delayed by the absence of the Duke, concerning whom I will not omit to mention what was told me in confidence by a person of authority, the supreme negotiator in this matter; that when the conference broke up, the Cardinal of Lorraine and the Constable said that they had represented to him [the Duke of Savoy] in the King's name (che li fusse offerto pernome del Re), that by not choosing to take the transaction of his affairs out of the Emperor's hands, they would share the same fate as those of his Imperial Majesty, whereas by detaching and treating them separately, and in his own person, going himself, or sending to France, he would obtain such terms from the King as completely to satisfy him; and even should the King and Duke be unable of themselves to arrange matters together, yet whenever the Emperor and the King adjusted their own personal affairs, as was not very remote, the King would refer those between the Duke and himself for arbitration to one or more judges, and abide absolutely by their sentence and decision; and this offer seems to me the one contained in the writing which the Constable on his departure [from Marck] delivered to Cardinal Pole for communication to the Duke. This same person has given me a clearer account of the circumstances narrated at the close of my letter of the 2nd instant, (fn. 11) about the negotiating with the despoiled adherents on either side, well nigh quite the reverse of what was then told me; for the French offered and bound themselves to make an agreement (pigliar et accordar) with the parties despoiled by them, namely, the Duke of Mantua, within the term taken by the Emperor for an adjustment with the parties despoiled by him, and who were said by the French to be the Duke Ottavio [Farnese], the Siennese, and Navarre; but this last condition about Navarre prevented the offer from being accepted, for as to Duke Ottavio and the Siennese, the Imperialists said that they did not know that they complained of anything, and that if they would send or come in person with their complaints, due and sufficient satisfaction would be readily given them.
Such is the state of affairs, which I have thus minutely detailed, thinking that on many accounts it would please your Serenity to be acquainted with them, nor will I for the future fail using such diligence as in duty bound, the whole affair having as it were been despatched here, so that I may give the Signory the best and truest account that from day to day I may be able to obtain of it.
The news of the taking of Porto Hercule has wonderfully rejoiced and comforted King Philip and the whole court, the Spanish Captain Torres (fn. 12) who took part in the expedition, having come hither to acquaint him with particulars.
In London, which is the fountain-head of lies and popular disturbances, it was loudly rumoured lately, that, availing themselves of the pageants (feste) performed on the days of St. John and St. Peter, the populace there had intended to rise and come hither in arms to the court; of which the Lords of the Council having received notice, the pageants were forbidden, and several arrests took place. It was moreover reported that the Danish fleet had come into the British Channel (in questo mare), on its voyage towards Scotland to recover a certain island belonging to King Christian, which the Scots had occupied; all which reports were utterly false and mendacious, without any foundation, as ascertained by me through several channels. The pageants were not prohibited for the reason assigned, nor was anybody imprisoned; (fn. 13) and concerning the fleet, the only authentic intelligence received about it—as told me by the Chancellor and other members of the Council—is, that it would steer towards Sweden to honour King Christian's kinsman and confederate, King Gustavus (Vasa), whose subjects are maltreating him (oppresso dalli medesimi di Svetia).
Has nothing else of importance to tell about English events, everything proceeding in the usual course, and the Queen being well, and in constant expectation of her delivery.
Richmond, 9th July 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
July 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 155. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Has heard that, through the medium of Cardinal Pole, the negotiation for an agreement between the Emperor and his most Christian Majesty is being resumed.
Poissy, 9th July 1555.
July 10 Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 156. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The treaty of agreement by means of Cardinal Pole will not proceed farther. England is repairing a number of ships; it is said that they are for King Philip's passage to Flanders; but his most Christian Majesty, to keep on the watch for what may occur, has sent orders to all his sea-ports on the ocean, for an embargo to be laid on all large French vessels.
Poissy, 10th July 1555.
July 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 157. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
Here, many persons say, that all the ministers of the King of England write to those of the Emperor, as the King does to his Imperial Majesty, that they wish for nothing so much as to come to this court, for the sake of getting out of that country, whose inhabitants, they say, cannot be won by any means or courtesies of any sort which are employed by them, and which they continue using to that end; it seeming to them, on the contrary, that they are always threatened with some grievous catastrophe; so they are beyond measure anxious to see the end of this delivery (parto), which is also desired by the courtiers here, for the same reasons, and especially because they hope that, on the King's coming, the Flemings will make him a large pecuniary donation.
The Duke of Alva writes to the Emperor that he is strongly urged by the garrison of Volpiano (da quelli di Volpiano) to succour the place within a short period; and if unable to do so in time, he apologizes for it on account of his not having had it in his power to make use of the bills of exchange as the need required. He also recommends his Majesty to let the French feel the effect of the hope and promise given him by Queen Maria, that thirty thousand infantry and ten thousand horse should take the field in Flanders (in queste parti), to divert the war from Italy; and gives account of the cause which made him order the arrest of the Prince of Ascoli, praying his Majesty or the King of England to assume the charge of doing justice, he, the Duke, not wishing to interfere in the matter, having been the Prince's guest. At this court the Duke is much blamed, for that after having by all means sought supreme authority on going into Italy, he should at this commencement endeavour, as it were, to divest himself of it, for the avoidance of enmity either with this Prince, or with the kinsfolk of the Mendoza who was killed. (fn. 14) The Emperor sent the letters to the King of England immediately.
Brussels, 10th July 1555.
July 10. Notatorio del Collegio, vol. 38, p. 157, tergo. 158. Thomas Thirlby, Bishop of Ely.
Motion made in the College, there being present the Chiefs of the Ten. That by authority of this College, the armoury of our church of St. Mark be shown to the reverend ambassador of the King and Queen, lately arrived in this city.
Ayes, 17. No, 0. Neutral, 0.
July 12. Filza No. 134, Miscellanea di Atti diversi Manoscritti, Venetian Archives. 159. James Basset to Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devonshire.
My especial good Lord, my bounden duty most humbly remembered.
I have received your letter of the last of June, not a little to my comfort, to understand thereby of your good health and that you have received my letters, whereof, because it was so long ere I heard from you, I somewhat doubted the delivery of them; and specially to understand the great courtesy and gentleness the Bishop of Arras showeth you, which is an argument, as your friends here doth gather it, that you shall shortly receive farther favour elsewhere, to your and your friends' no small comfort.
I am glad my letters hath purged me of that fault you supposed to be in me, which was slowness in writing; and now I wish your Lordship would amend in yourself that which you reckoned a fault in me, and then you might not only spare the charges in sending hither so often messengers of purpose, but also satisfy such of your friends as may justly look sometime to hear from you by writing, as my Lord Cardinal [Pole] and other, whereon I have at more length declared my mind to this bearer, both in that and all other matters, who by mouth, as I have instructed him, shall inform your Lordship of all things which I wish you to understand much better than my writing, and so at this instant he shall supply a longer letter. Thus wishing your good Lordship your own virtuous desire, I will commit the same to the tuition of Almighty God.
In haste, the 12th day of July.
Your Lordship's most assuredly at commandment.
(Signed) James Basset.
[Directed:] “To the right honorable and very good Lord the Earl of Devonshire's good Lordship.”
[Endorsed by Courtenay's secretary:] “Mr. Bassat, 12 July 1555. From Hampton Court to Brussels.”
July 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 160. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
The Emperor has sent orders to Antwerp, Zealand, and Holland, for all the ships now there, and which may arrive hereafter, to be detained, which is said to proceed from the report current here, that the King of France is having a number of ships fitted out at Rouen, causing suspicion of his intention to hinder the passage hitherwards of the King of England, and on account of the Danish fleet which went to Scotland.
The Lord Paolo [Sforza], brother of Cardinal Sta. Fiore, has arrived here, on his way to enter the service of the King of England, and having told the Bishop of Arras that being charged to kiss the Emperor's hand in the names both of the Cardinal and the Count, he would omit the performance of this office to save him trouble, hearing he was indisposed, the Bishop told him not to depart, as the Emperor would see him previously. A son of the Imperial ambassador at Venice has also arrived here, and is going as page to the King of England; and having lodged himself at an inn, the Bishop of Arras sent to remove him thence immediately. The wines of France have been prohibited here, both to prevent the exportation of money, and by reason of the spies who came disguised as merchants.
Brussels, 14th July 1555.
July 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 161. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On the 9th the right reverend Chancellor, as also the two other English commissioners for the conference [of Marck], namely, the Earl of Arundel and Paget, came to Cardinal Pole [at Richmond], being followed by Don Gutierre Lopez, and although they all four remained a long time with him, and he afterwards sent the Abbot of San Saluto to London to the French ambassador's, I have nevertheless merely been able to learn that the abbot informed them, on behalf of the Legate, that the King and Queen could form no decision before they again heard the will (mente) of the Emperor (to whom they had sent a despatch), and until after the arrival of the Duke of Savoy, as the Emperor himself being unable to make up his mind whilst unacquainted with the Duke's sentiments, it was impossible to proceed farther. They thus await his return, which, as he has been urged to come, cannot it is thought be long delayed, and therefore the Prothonotary [François de Noailles] still remains here, all negotiations being in the meanwhile suspended; nor do either of the parties seem to regret the hindrance, as it will enable them to witness the result of this delivery, for in whichever way it may terminate, the end of this and many other resolves depends upon it; but, according to the opinion of King Philip, as hitherto asserted by Cardinal Pole, the business is in a way to be settled by a truce, rather than by a peace.
The Danish fleet was seen many days ago off Scotland, near the city of St. Andrews. Some persons say it was carried there owing to contrary winds and stress of weather, rather than because bound to those parts, either for an attack or anything else, having been destined as stated for the kingdom of Sweden. Others maintained that it came with hostile intentions, to recover one of the Orkney Isles held by the Scots. Others, on the contrary, are of opinion that it was destined neither for Sweden nor for this recovery, but because it had an understanding with the most Christian King, and that it is awaiting time and opportunity to invade this kingdom, being in such force that it can land from 6,000 to 7,000 infantry, and upwards of 2,000 horse; which others contradict, declaring it to be very weak. These rumours and conflicting reports, which proceed from individual passion, have nevertheless caused the Lords of the Council, although they have no certainty whatever concerning the object of this fleet, to make some provision for their security, having lately supplied the ports of the realm with a quantity of artillery and ammunition; and they have laid an embargo on all English vessels, stopping them, so that from one hour to another they may be ready for whatever the public service requires. This same proceeding about detaining ships is said to have taken place in France with regard to those of the King, all parties being evidently apprehensive; so there is constant anxiety to hear for certain the course of this fleet.
A few days ago the Chancellor had it intimated to the sons of the late Duke of Northumberland, (fn. 15) and to all the others who had been put in the Tower on account of Wyatt's insurrection, and were lately released, that under penalty of their Majesties' displeasure they are all to withdraw to their country houses, and not stir thence without special permission, nor on any account to come to the court, and still less to London; this being done to prevent the opportunity for the meetings which both the Dudleys and the others (li uni et li altri) held in St. Paul's church in London and elsewhere, their intentions (volontà) not being considered good.
The last advices from Spain say that King Philip's son, Don Carlos, was very near succeeding to the inheritance of Portugal, whose prince, an infant a year and half old, (fn. 16) had been so ill that in Castille they proclaimed his death, which, although false, the danger had nevertheless been very great, nor down to that time, although much better, was he quite free from it; so as yet the hope of that inheritance is not lost.
The Signori Pallavicini and other Lombards, who came to King Philip for the confirmation and renewal of privileges and investitures, and for other private business of theirs, are returning home with the grant of nearly all their demands, their entire despatch being referred to the Duke of Alva, to whom, although it was unnecessary, these references are made designedly, in order that he may thus have opportunity the more to ingratiate himself with everybody, and consequently become by so much the more popular. His Majesty has moreover charged the Duke, whenever information is demanded of him, as frequently occurs, concerning the petitions of private individuals, that when not utterly unfair he will answer them as favourably as he can; in order that the concessions made to the petitioners may render them no less obliged to the Duke than to the King, thus rendering him and his ministers universally beloved, as he considers this to be the chief safeguard of monarchies.
Richmond, 15th July 1555.


  • 1. Meaning Hampton Court, although the letter is dated Richmond.
  • 2. Sono successi tra Spagnoli et Inglesi molti romori di costione.
  • 3. The Sicilian vespers, or massacre of the French in Sicily, commenced at Palermo, March 30, 1282. (See Haydn's Dictionary of Dates.)
  • 4. Giambattista Cicala, a Genoese, created Cardinal by Julius III. 20th December 1551. (See Cardella, vol. 4, p. 325.)
  • 5. Guido Ascanio Sforza held the post of “Cardinal Camerlengo” from the 22nd October 1537 until his death in 1564. (See Moroni, Dizionario di Erudizione Storico-Ecclesiastica, vol. vii., p. 80, Venezia, 1844.)
  • 6. Bonna Sforza, daughter of Gian Galeazzo Maria Sforza, Duke of Milan, by Isabella of Aragon, daughter of Alfonso II., King of Naples, who gave her the Duchy of Bari as her marriage portion. She went from Bari to Poland in 1518, where before her arrival the Poles used to drink for twelve hours at a sitting. She reduced the term to eight, and was one of the ablest politicians of her times. She died in 1557. (See Alberi's Venetian Reports.)
  • 7. Immediately after the Conclave of 1549–1550, to which see Cardinal Pole's reply, date 1550, June 17. (See No. 671, Venetian Calendar, vol. 5, p. 819.)
  • 8. Cumque putarem eâ re os tibi, ne me rursus ita laudares, penitus obstructum esse, adco nihil profeci, at etiam in jumento inveneris quid laudes et ita laudes, ut in cœlum me ipso nomine feras.
  • 9. Li sui havevano tenuti modi et risolutione contraria a quella, con che mostrorono di moversi.
  • 10. Le qual parole diedero occasione all' Orator di replicar: Madama, la Maestà Vostra deve esser stata, per quanto io vedo, mal informata delle ragioni del re mio, perchè ella non farebbe questo giuditio che fa; perhò io la prego a volersi disponer di intenderle meglio che non ha inteso, perchè io confido, informata che sia, muterà parere et restarà ben satisfata della volontà et proceder del re, et cognoscerà di qual animo egli sia; nè haverà causa di intermetter verso di lui la affettione che dimostra portarli per quella che dalla parte sua è portata alla Maestà Vostra; et io, et il mio fratello, sempre che le piacerà, si offerimo a darle quella informatione et satisfattione che sarà necessaria per disinganarla. A questo mostrando Sua Maestà di esser raddolcita disse: horsù che si veda et intendi che io ne sarò contenta et cerchisi di novo se ci fusse qualche nova forma di accordo; io sarò con li mei et con il Legato, et vederemo insieme ciò che si potrà far, et occorrendo vi farò intender lo animo et risolutione nostra. Et con questo dicendo il Protonotario che si fermarebbe a Londra 10 o 12 giorni, si licentiorono.
  • 11. Query 25th ultimo.
  • 12. The capture of Portercole in the year 1555, by Jacopo de Medici, Marquis of Marignano, is mentioned in the Venetian History of Andrea Morosini (vol. 2, p. 252), but he does not say in what month it took place.
  • 13. Hall gives account of the setting of the Midsummer watches at pp. 658, 750, and 756, and at pp. 750, 756, he says they were “laied doune” in 1528. We now see that the custom still prevailed in 1555. In Machyn's Diary (p. 90) there is no mention of the projected riots in June 1555 as alluded to by the Venetian Ambassador.
  • 14. Del Mendoza che fù morto.
  • 15. John Dudley. His sons here alluded to were Ambrose, Robert (in his 25th year), and Henry.
  • 16. Don Sebastian, born 20th January 1554, grandson of the reigning King John III., who died 7th June 1557.