Venice: September 1557, 11-20

Pages 1304-1318

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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September 1557, 11–20

Sept. 11. Original Letter Book. Venetian Archives. 1028. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
On Wednesday at 8.30 a.m. (alle xv. hore), the Cardinals “Camerlengo,” Caraffa, and Vitelli, and the Marquis of Montebello, being accompanied beyond the gates by the Duke of Paliano and other personages, departed hence, that they might arrive in the evening at Palestrina, for the conference on the morrow at Cavi with the Duke of Alva. The Duke had shortly before preceded them thither.
They arrived at Palestrina in the evening, and conferred on the morrow at Cavi, where they found the Duke of Alva. On Thursday, in the congregation of the Inquisition, the Pope did nothing but speak about the peace, saying that he had sent his Cardinal to the conference because he knew, amongst other things, that for him to make terms was the greatest benefit he could confer upon the King of France for having shown himself a good and obedient son, as by rendering himself the common father he might endeavour to make peace between the said King and Philip, as the French consent to the agreement provided it be made on fair terms and to the dignity of this Holy See.
Yesterday morning the Secretary Franceschi and my secretary went to the Vatican, where they heard that the Bishop of Pola had arrived from the conference, being sent by Cardinal Caraffa, and that he was upstairs with the Pope. The Duke of Paliano joined them, and after a quarter of an hour came down into the audience chamber, and said to Franceschi, “Would to God that the Imperialists had acted according to their words, as by this time we should have been out of these troubles, but I never deceived myself about the Spaniards, whom I have experienced for 30 years, and know that when uppermost they persist in their demands, and never depart from them. Now, instead of praying the Pope to pardon their King, and the injuries they themselves have done him, they choose to dictate to him in his own home. Yesterday the conference was held for three hours at Cavi. The Duke of Alva persisted in a trustee (confidente) (fn. 1), being put in possession of Paliano, who, on compensation being made me, is to consign it to Marc' Antonio Colonna, a thing to which the Pope will not listen, and I told my brother the Cardinal to dismantle it rather than consign it to a trustee, as I will accept neither compensation nor anything else from them, having before my eyes the example of the Duke of Valentinois, to whom they gave several states in the kingdom of Naples, but immediately on the death of Pope Alexander they deprived him of everything. The only reason I had for wishing my uncle to become Pope was that I might be free; God having now granted me that grace, I will not again become the subject either of the Spaniards or of others, for I also regret having round my neck the Order of St. Michael, but I knew it was my duty to obey the Pope. I can renounce it whenever I please, as I have done no wrong to the King of France, in like manner as I lay claim not to have wronged King Philip, although they have seized my property; for I took the opinion of gentlemen (cavalieri) and jurists (e dottori), who all told me that, besides the relationship, I was at liberty to serve the Pope, as master of the direct dominion of the kingdom of Naples, of which King Philip, who wages war on him, is feudatory, in like manner as I am his Majesty's feudatory. My object is to get something durable to have wherewithal to live, and after his Holiness' death not wait to be deprived of the generalship, but resign it to his successor, that he may confer it on his kinsfolk, I betaking myself to live what years remain to me in Venice, amongst those most illustrious Lords, of whom I have made myself a voluntary vassal;” adding, “I shall now go to the Duke de Guise to communicate to him the affair of the interview, and then send back the Bishop of Pola, as to-day there is to be a second conference, and may God grant it to produce the desired effect, that you, secretary, may convey this good news to his Sublimity, or, if not, you will at least explain to him who has failed to make the peace;” and with this the secretaries took their leave.
Subsequently a right reverend Cardinal concerned in this negotiation, and who knows the whole of it, gave me to understand that the Bishop of Pola came hither for two things, the one to announce the opinion about putting a trustee in Paliano as soon as the place is reduced to the state in which it existed when the then Count of Montorio [Giovanni Caraffa] received its investiture, until they send to King Philip to learn whether he chooses it to be left to the Duke or restored to Marc' Antonio; the other, that having seen Cardinal Caraffa's brief, and it not seeming to the Duke sufficient to conclude, he was to ask the Pope for a much more ample one. That the Duke of Paliano and the said Bishop having stated the first difficulty about Paliano, the Pope flew into such a passion that they dared not ask him for the mandate, which his right reverend Lordship considers a most important proceeding, because if Cardinal Caraffa has no greater authority he does not see how any good can be done.
Rome, 11th September 1557.
Sept. 11. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. (2nd letter.) 1029. The Same to the Same.
A gentleman in whom great trust may be placed, having returned from the site of the conference, has told me that on the day they departed hence, the three Cardinals, with the Marquis of Montebello, passed the night at Palestrina, and before arriving there they were met by the Count of Santa Fiore and by the Signor Paolo, the brothers of the Cardinal “Camerlengo.” Early on the morrow they went out hunting, having ordered refreshments to be prepared at a fountain near Palestrina. During the repast some Spanish cavalry appeared announcing the approach of the Duke of Alva; so having mounted on horseback, they found him waiting under a tree near Cavi, with his two sons and the Count di Populo, each side of the road being lined with numerous armed horsemen. The Marquis of Montebello dismounted and kissed the Duke of Alva's hand, the which Marquis is not acknowledged in the Spanish camp by any other title than that of Don Antonio. Cardinal Caraffa on horseback with great civility and respect saluted the Duke, whose countenance and gestures did not evince much reciprocity, but he made a much greater demonstration towards the Cardinal “Camerlengo,” embracing and showing him every mark of reverence, and placing him on his right hand and Cardinal Caraffa on his left, the Duke being between, they proceeded to Cavi, a place at an equal distance of two miles from Gensano and from Palestrina. On entering the gate of that place there were two Spanish captains, apparently for its custody, with 400 soldiers, all Spaniards, on each side of the street, all most excellently armed and very well clad. The cavalcade dismounted at a house, in the hall of which under a canopy of crimson velvet was a table covered with the same material, with four chairs for the three Cardinals and for his Excellency, everybody else being dismissed. The conference lasted till nightfall, and on their departure they, including Cardinal Caraffa, did not seem very cheerful. Some of the retinue of the right reverend Cardinals having wished to go and see the camp permission was denied them, the Duke of Alva's command being that no one was to go to the army.
Rome, 11th September 1557.
Sept. 11. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. (3rd letter.) 1030. The Same to the Same.
As I knew that this morning Cardinal Vitelli had been with the Duke of Paliano in the church of Santa Croce in Hierusalem, I sent my secretary to his Excellency, who, the moment he saw him, said, “The Duke of Alva still abides by his perfidy (sta pur nella sua perfidia) about Paliano, as I told you yesterday, and Cardinal Vitelli has come to let me know it. He chooses a trustee to be placed in Paliano, nor do we object to it, but one cannot be found because the Italian Princes, and those out of Italy, are the partisans of one side or the other. To speak of those of Italy, the Duke of Florence is with the Imperialists, and may be said to be leagued with them by reason of the affairs of Sienna; the Duke of Mantua depends on them; the Duke of Ferrara depends on the Pope and on the French. There remains the Signory of Venice, in whose hands I would place the duchy and my life, and the Pope would consign to them the whole of the Papal States, but does not know what they would say to this; so we proposed to raze Paliano.” The secretary replied, “This would be more expeditious, because the other way is tedious and has difficulties.” The Duke rejoined, “Granted, but they do not choose it to be levelled to the ground, they insist on its being put in the state in which it was before the commencement of hostilities; with this in addition, that when they shall give me compensation it be consigned to King Philip to disposeo f at his pleasure. This the Pope will not do, nor will I accept their compensations; and this morning when I told him the whole he calmly (senza alteratione) desired me to write to my brother the Cardinal not to break off the negotiation, and that he was to let the Duke of Alva know that this demand of his is unreasonable, and that if he persists he will convince the world that his goodwill is not such as he always proclaimed it to be, and that it is untrue that he commenced hostilities for the defence of the kingdom of Naples, but that he did so for private interest; that his Holiness will give account of this to all the crowned heads, and will hope, as he always has done, in God that He will assist His cause.” The Duke added that he had written accordingly; and then drawing the secretarys aside, he said, “There is another matter discovered lately, that the Duke of Alva chooses to exclude the Colonna family entirely, and to give the state when free to Don Garcia;” (fn. 2) and saying this he was called to go in to the Pope, as they were in his Holiness' antechamber.
At an early hour this morning a courier arrived from Venice with letters for Cardinal Pacheco, announcing that St. Quentin was taken on the 28th ult., and as he went to the Pope in the afternoon I sent my secretary to hear whether he knew anything about the peace. He answered that he had been to give notice of the capture of St. Quentin to his Holiness, who seemed not to know of it (la quale mostrò non la sapeva), and said to him that this was greater news than that of the rout of the army, and that God had willed to punish them for having chosen to interfere in imoprtant religious matters, such as marriage.
The Cardinal having then asked him what there was about the peace, the Pope replied that as yet there was no decision but, that he expected it shortly, and that he prayed God it might be according to the general wish; that he chose to hope for the best, having heard through so many channels of King Philip's goodwill, most especially by his letters addressed to Cardinal Pacheco after the first victory; but that the Duke of Alva must not think of making him do anything contrary to his dignity, because he would rather suffer death. The Cardinal says he wrote copiously about this to the King, and also to the Duke of Alva, showing both one and the other of them that this Pope will not do anything from fear, because he is a man to allow Rome to be destroyed, and to suffer death rather than do anything against his dignity, so that it would be well to make terms with the Pope at any rate, as it will be profitable and honourable, whilst to wage war on the Church cannot but cause him loss and dishonour, it being unlawful under any pretence either to hold or lay waste what belongs to Christ.
The secretary thanked his reverend Lordship for this confidential communication, and after praising him for these good offices, and requesting him to persevere in them as becoming a Christian prince and cardinal, he took leave.
Marc' Antonio Colonna is very grievously ill of fever atGen zano, and has sent hither to ask for the excellent physicians, Mastro Giustinian Finetti and Mastro Auricola, who have gone to him with the permission of the Pope and his nephews (con licenza di questi Signori).
Whilst writing this the French Ambassador's secretary came to ask me in his master's name whether a courier had been sent to me with the news of the capture of St. Quentin. I said no, and when he asked me if I knew anything about it, I replied that I knew what was publicly reported, but that I neither credited nor asserted news, unless it came to me from your Serenity
Rome, 11th September 1557.
Sept. 12. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 1031. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Chiefs of the Council of Ten.
Cardinal Vitelli having seen my secretary in the Duke of Paliano's chamber, had him told to go to his apartments before he went away, as the Cardinal wished to speak to him, and having gone accordingly, he said to him, “I wish the most serene Signory to have me for that affectionate servant which I am to them, so I will tell you a secret about this agreement, relying on his Serenity's keeping the whole very secret, as it is a thing which these Lords will communicate to his Serenity when it shall please and profit them. The matter is that, discussing the article about the compensation for the Duchy of Paliano, in which the whole difficulty consisted, they agreed to this, that on the compensation being proposed, should any question arise about its being or not being fit (buono) and equivalent, both parties agreed to abide by the judgment of that most serene Dominion, which his Serenity might pronounce without any inconvenience to himself. I have willed to let the ambassador know this, that he may write it, but to such a place that I may not have to fear its publication, which would be my ruin.” The secretary, after thanking Cardinal Vitelli for the communication, and assuring him that it would be kept a very close secret, took leave.
Rome, 12th September 1557.
Sept. 12. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 1032. The Same to the Same.
Heard late this evening that peace had been concluded, and Cardinal Vitelli having arrived at 8 p.m. I sent my secretary to the Duke of Paliano to congratulate him on this fortunate event, and to hear particulars; he gave me the copy of the articles. (fn. 3) This stipulation was signed to-day.
Rome, 12th September 1557, midnight.
Sept. 13. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 1033. Bernardo Navagero Ambassador, and Marc' Antonio de'Franceschi, Secretary, to the Doge and Senate.
Went to the Pope to-day at 3 p.m., whom we found with some 12 cardinals, and the chamberlains told us that the English ambassador having gone for audience he had him dismissed, informing him that for that day he could not see him; but when his Holiness was informed that we were in the antechamber, he replied that we were to wait, as he would hear us; and then the Duke of Paliano came in, accompanied by M. de Guise and Marshal Strozzi, that they might take leave of the Pope before their embarkation tomorrow on board the galleys at Civitavecchia, in number 21, including the 11 of the Baron de la Garde. When the Duke de Guise entered the antechamber, I, ambassador, having saluted him, he approached me, saying, “Well (horsù), at any rate an end has been put to the disturbances here;” and he made me sit down near him. Shortly afterwards the cardinals having departed, on his entering the Pope's chamber and approaching his chair, his Hoilness rose, and moving towards a window sent for me, telling the Duke that I had preceded him, and that he would despatch me, and subsequently hold a long conference with his Excellency, the Duke of Paliano in the meanwhile keeping him company.
Having kissed the Pope's foot, I, secretaery, doing the like, I [ambassador] then congratulated his Holiness on this peace. The Pope replied that I, secretary, had had a good hand in this negotiation, and that it pleased him that by the authority of your Serenity I should have had the honour to advance it to such a good end; saying to us besides, “Should this agreement not be to the entire satisfaction of these princes, yet nevertheless when they shall have known our mind more to the core (più a dentro) than they have done hitherto they will be satisfied with it, and King Philip will repent him of having so long delayed returning to his father and to his mother, and living like a Christian, and by the works that we shall do about the holy reform he will perceive of how much evil he has been the cause, through the troubles to which he subjected us. From our desire for the general quiet we have accommodated ourselves to this agreement, consenting to something not quite in the accordance perhaps with our dignity, not choosing to make too hard a bargain, but knife in hand to sever every difficulty, to show also to the Signory of Venice how much we esteem the good counsels which they have given through your medium; it comforts us greatly that the whole world should know that this holy work has been brought to the desired end through the assistance and exertions of your State. This Holy See has doubtless been occupied by pontiffs who loved the Venetian Signory, but none of them hitherto have borne the Republic such great affection as we; and should it please the Divine goodness to enable us to effect a universal peace, for which end we will spare no toil, regardless of our years, and of any inconvenience, and at the cost even of our life; and were this our goodwill to be realised, and we could do what we wish for the Signory, should any one express surprise at it we might say to them, Do you know how much we are obliged to them?' If the Almighty gave us hope of a good result, we would go in person to confer with these two kings (the like having been done by our predecessors) at the risk of expiring on the journey, as on such an occasion life would be very well spent and we should die happy. Had we here a part of the workmen of your arsenal we would build a long boat, and man it well with expert seamen, so that we might go with all speed wheresoever we pleased, for we heard those good old men of ours greatly commend boats of that sort as fast and safe, because one can land from them anywhere and lodge on shore, and in the centre a cover (un coperto) might be made for the convenience of those who cannot stand exposure to weather (per comodità di chi non si può star sub divo).”
I, ambassador, then said that his Holiness' love for Venice could not be doubted, as he remembered even the long boats. The Pope replied, “We make no difference between Venice and our own country, and should God grant us to make the universal peace we would do such a deed for the Signory as to make them know clearly what we have so often said by word of mouth about our wish to do them some signal service.”
To this I said, “Holy Father, the Signory is assured (certissima) of the favours hitherto received from your Holiness, remaining under very great obligation for them, and expecting yet greater ones for the future, by reason of your extreme goodness, and of your especial care for the State of Venice, which has never failed to perform such offices as becoming for this agreement, not only from its natural wish for the peace, but also for your Holiness' individual quiet.”
The Pope rejoined, “This we acknowledge, and thank the Signory for it, and we in this agreement have made a sacrifice (habbiamo lasciato del nostro) to please the Signory and to prevent the impending ruin of this province.” I then told him that this was the seal of his greatness and glory, as having rendered himself the common father, there might be expected from his consummate goodness, prudence, and piety, the universal peace, and also the magnanimous projects entertained by him about the reform. The Pope replied, “God grant that Christendom may witness the desired day of a general peace, for the Christian forces are not so depressed as to be unable, were they united, to accomplish some grand undertaking against that potent dragon” [Sultan Soliman]; and then with his eyes fixed upon me, ambassador, the Pope said, “Do you not believe that some good might be done?”
I replied, “Holy Father, in like manner as it seems to me that the united forces of Christendom would deprive the Turk of any hope of making farther progress, so by reason of his great power and owing to the difficulty of providing victuals, &c., I should fear that any power meditating the invasion of his territory would not have great success; sed quod nune instat agamus, concerning the peace of Christendom.”
The Pope rejoined, “You speak the truth; we will attend to disposing these princes in such a way as to facilitate the peace, for which reason we never chose to accept King Philip, and turn our back upon that other one [Henry II.], on whom precisely in this his distress we will to lavish every caress and service in our power. In the meanwhile my illustrious Signory of Venice will have had (haverà voluto) primitias animi nostri, through this particular peace made by us here.”
Perceiving that the Duke de Guise was waiting, after commending his Holiness for having put an end to these troubles, and thanking him for the love he evinced towards your Serenity, I took leave.
Rome, 13th September 1557.
Sept. 14. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 1034. Bernardo Navagero, Ambassador, and Marc' Antonio de'Franceschi, Secretary, to the Doge and Senate.
Having heard that the Duke de Guise was on the eve of departure, we went to visit him this morning, and found that he was already booted and spurred, expecting Cardinal Caraffa at 2 p.m. (circa le 20 hore). I, ambassador, told his Excellency that I wished him a good journey, by reason of your observance towards the most Christian King, and for the great ability and valour of his Excellency, who asked me if I had news of the loss of St. Quentin. I said no, and that I knew no more about it than was reported over Rome. He added that he had letters from Lyons down to the last of August, which merely said that an assault had been made and that the enemy were repulsed; that he was surprised that M. de Lodève, who is with your Serenity, had not written anything to him, but that bad news is transmitted unwillingly. He then proceeded to tell me that there having come to pass what his King desired, viz., to see the Pope and this Holy See in quiet, to which end his army had been sent hither, remaining until now, as it was no longer wanted he should take to France on board the fleet about 2,000 men, that another division would go to Montalcino, and a third to the Duke of Ferrara; that he had 21 galleys, and would be met by others; that he regretted being unable to visit your Serenity according to his own wish and that of the King his master, but that he would send M. de St. Vitale, who went to Venice on a former occasion, and would depart to-morrow. He told me that he thought your Serenity would disapprove of war being waged on the Duke of Ferrara, and that he could not believe you would tolerate a conflagration so near your own dwelling. Then turning to me, secretary, whom he said he had known in France, he told me to recommend him to your Serenity; and that as to me, ambassador, he would give account to the King of the courtesy I had shown him when he came hither heretofore, and also at present.
We then took leave and went to the Duke of Paliano, whom we found booted for the purpose, he said, of going to meet the Cardinal his brother, and to accompany the Duke de Guise beyond the gates. I, ambassador, congratulated his Excellency on this peace, for which he returned thanks, saying that it was in great part the work of your Serenity, to whom, besides so many other causes, he remained under perpetual obligation, and with very great wish to hazard his life for the increase of your State, because he had elected it for his country, and hoped to end his days there in tranquillity, as he knew not in what other direction to turn himself. I said that the agreement had been stipulated at a time when infinitely needed, as his Holiness found himself without money, victuals, troops, and that his friends were compelled to abandon him and depart. I inquired how the French army would be distributed, and he replied that the Duke would take the greater part with the fleet to France; that 11 regiments (bandiere) will go to Corneto and the neighbouring places on the coast, and that the galleys would be sent back for them, as they are veterans; a part will be given to the Duke of Ferrara, and part will go to the fortresses held by the French in Tuscany, which will soon fall without a sword-stroke. As I knew that nothing could please him better than that I should commence discoursing about the little Marquis (il Marchesino) his son, I said that with this opportunity he might return from France more speedily than his Excellency had hoped. He replied that it was necessary, since the Pope was to remain the common father (respose ch' era necessario poi che 'l Papa era per restare padre comune). I rejoined that it would be the comfort of the Lady Duchess [Violante Garlonia], he being of such a rare disposition as he is, showing that he will be worthy of his parents, and displaying as he does at this early age so much goodness and intelligence. The Duke, being moved even to tears by this, said that it was true, and that his mother could have no greater comfort in the world than this; that that lad at the age of 10 years had amazed the Court of France by succeeding so well; adding many other things in praise of the said youth.
He (the Duke of Paliano) proceeded to say that he would give me account of many things, thus: “My sole object was to keep the Pope neutral, knowing that war does not become this State, nor do priests know how to wield weapons; but I could do no more. God forgive those who have been the cause of it, though their errors do not deserve pardon, because of the overmuch detriment thus done, both to the common and to the private weal, to which witness is borne by the roguish advice given by the impassioned Giovanni dalla Casa, and by that drunkard Aldobrandini, about whom I caused the Pope to be fully informed, but the Cardinal still believes them. (fn. 4) To me, who urged them to make peace, they did all the harm they could, the real state of the case was not communicated to me, and they considered me an Imperialist. That most foolish treaty of the league made in France would perhaps not have been stipulated, or at least not so disadvantageously for the Pope, had I known of it. Here our promises have been fulfilled, whilst from the French nothing whatever has been obtained; they promised the fortresses in the Siennese, and forthwith evacuated them; to me they assigned a pension of 5,000 crowns, but all I have received from them is this” (showing me the Order of St. Michael). “Subsequently, when the Imperialists commenced hostilities, I prepared to serve the Pope, and place my life at his disposal, but in the whole course of this war not one good move was made; and amongst the other mistakes was that of the Duke de Guise, when he sent those troops to the Duke of Ferrara, to which I objected, anticipating what took place, viz., that the Duke of Alva, who until then had not dared to dismiss a single soldier, availing himself of an opportunity, sent part of his troops into this Campagna of Rome, causing the devastation known to everybody; nor did the Duke of Ferrara avail himself of those troops save to his own detriment, for to say the truth his Excellency has not much military experience, nor has he commanders of importance (huomini da capo d'importanza). They chose to succour Paliano unseasonably, which caused the loss of those poor troops, and of repute. But to return to the affairs of last year; at the conference on the island, Sienna was promised; King Philip sent the decision to give it, by Don Francisco Pacheco; he wrote it to my brother the Cardinal, and I never knew anything about it; and when in this last letter written by the Duke of Alva to the Cardinal 'Camerlengo,' I saw it stated that Sienna might have been had, the Duke quoting the King's letter, I complained of this to the Cardinal, who replied that it was true that he had the letter, and moreover showed it to the Pope, and I said to him in reply that great wrong had been done me by this concealment, but the fact is I have been betrayed and made to lose so honourable an opportunity. Had not this peace been effected our family would have been irrecoverably ruined; at present, should God grant the Pope life, we may hope for something for our maintenance, but that which before the war could have been done easily and speedily will now require time, and being unable to make a long gown it must be made scanty, as well as possible, and the Pope will attend to things more befitting him, for in truth it broke my heart to witness these hostilities in the time of a most holy Pontiff such as this one, and of irreproachable life, who has never seen a sword. I am indeed sorry that the turmoil should be turned towards Ferrara, especially as the Imperial army is said to be ready to take the troops they had here, either into Piedmont or against that Duke, for whom everything was done to include him in this agreement; but the Duke of Alva cut short the road with a single word, saying he had no commission whatever about this, but the Pope will not omit performing an office to assist him.” I said that this benefit and yet greater ones might be expected from his Holiness, he having become the common father, because he would have authority with both those kings; and then after thanking his Excellency for what he had communicated to me, and for the treaty which he gave my secretary on that night, for transmission to your Serenity, we took our leave.
Rome, 14th September 1557.
Sept. 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archvies. 1035. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
After the surrender of Le Catelet advice was received here that a great supply of biscuit and other victuals was being made to supply the army during a march of several days, and simultaneously his most Christian Majesty heard that they intended going to Amiens, so although M. de Montmorency had already entered that city, 3,000 infantry were immediately sent thither, with a number of noblemen, but subsequently the Spanish troops went to Han, and when on the point of storming it the citadel surrendered. The foreign troops have not yet arrived from any quarter, but are expected daily, and four days ago his Majesty sent in advance of these first Germans who are coming to give them a month's pay; and those on their march from Piedmont have halted, waiting for 2,000 of their comrades from Switzerland to fill up their ranks, which have been much thinned, so they cannot be here for 10 days. M. de Termes arrived yesterday evening, and M. de Nevers, when the Spanish troops pushed on towards Han, quartered himself at Compiegne with 2,000 horse and 3,000 foot, leaving the rest of the cavalry at Laon, and distributing all the rest of his infantry between Corbie, Peronne, Amiens, Abbeville, and other places requiring garrisons; more French recruits, raised in various places, also arriving in those parts. Nothing whatever is heard of M. de Guise, which greatly astonishes everybody, his arrival at Marseilles being most anxiously expected, nor until he comes will M. de la Vigne be sent back to Sultan Soliman.
The Duke of Ferrara has informed his most Christian Majesty that the King of Spain is forming a close agreement with the Duke of Parma, offering him, should he declare himself in his service entirely, the castle of Piacenza, and the generalship of the expedition against the said Duke of Ferrara; but the King of Spain requires him to place in the hands of his ministers a very strong fortress in the Parmesan territory called Pui (sic). This agreement may be considered settled; and it is said that in a few days the Duke of Parma will return the Order of St. Michael to the King of France, and that the Duke of Florence is raising troops for this same expedition. The Duke of Ferrara has therefore laid his necessities before the King of France, requesting his assistance, but the only hope given him is, that should the Pope make terms with Spain, as believed here, his Excellency may take the troops under M. d'Aumale into his service, provided he pay for them; the King promising to reimburse him at his greater convenience as usual; and I understand that this order has been already despatched, as otherwise his Majesty would have made the said troops cross the Alps one after another (alla sfillata).
I mentioned the report that troops were being raised in Germany to pass into the county of la Bresse, and perhaps proceed towards Lyons; this report cooled subsequently, but is now revived, and although at Lyons there is some suspicion of their going thither, it is nevertheless thought that they will more probably march upon Metz.
Paris, 14th September 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Sept. 17. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 1036. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
At 6 p.m. on 14th instant, Cardinal Caraffa and his brother the Marquis, with the Cardinals “Camerlengo” and Vitelli, arrived from the conference, and were met by almost the whole Court and the Roman nobility, who thanked Cardinal Caraffa for the peace. I also sent my secretary to perform this office of congratulation. On entering Rome the people flocked to see those who had concluded so salutary and necessary a termination of the miseries of this city; and when passing Castle St. Angelo they were saluted with many discharges of artillery.
The three Cardinals went booted to kiss the Pope's foot, Caraffa and Vitelli greatly commending their colleague Guido Ascanio Sforza. Orders were given to call consistory for the next morning to proclaim this peace, and at 9 p.m. the cursitors summoned the meeting (l'andavano intimando), but it could not take place, the joy for the peace also remaining incomplete, for during that night and on the following day the Tiber rose to the same height as in 1530, in the time of Clement. (fn. 5) It was horrible to see that river overflowing its banks everywhere, carrying away the effects of innumerable poor persons, and in Rome flooding not only the cellars and lower chambers, where wine, grain, wood, and many other necessaries are usually stored, destroying everything, but rising even to the upper floors, keeping everybody in fear for their lives, particularly myself and my household, for my windows look upon the river. In the vineyards near Castle St. Angelo many houses, whose inhabitants had mounted on the roofs, were carried away by the torrent with the human beings upon them, as also many earthworks raised lately in that direction; the garden of the late Cardinal Fiesco, which was now the delight of Cardinal Caraffa, is submerged (è affondato); many bridge piles (sussi di ponte) have been rent by the sheer force of the torrent; and the streets of Rome, which were hitherto passable for coaches and horses, are now canals, more than six feet deep (d'altezza più d'una picca); (fn. 6) and what is worse this inundation or rush of waters (uscio) was so sudden and unexpected that no one had time to save anything. With very great difficulty I saved my horses, sending them to the vineyard of the Patriarch Grimani. (fn. 7) My corn, grain, wine, and all other things of that sort were destroyed.
On Wednesday [15th September], at midnight, the ebb tide commenced, and then the disasters of this afflicted population were made manifest. Many persons were found drowned in their own houses, and many dead animals. Everybody has displayed the drenched remains of their furniture destroyed by the Tiber, and many houses have suffered, so that however firm they were, many are expected to fall; and to-day the whole of the front of Cardinal Sermoneta's palace towards the Tiber has already fallen. This catastrophe is scarcely less disastrous than if Rome had been sacked, and owing to this loss of provisions there is great fear of increasing scarcity, or rather of famine. It being my custom here to have baker's bread, and having lost all my wine, I and my whole household would have died of hunger had I not hired a boat at the cost of 20 crowns per day, by which means I maintained my establishment insufficiently, but in such a way as usual during a siege, and at incredible cost, and such small amount of bread and wine as could be got was purchased sword in hand.
Rome, 17th September 1557.
Sept. 18. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 1037. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, and Marc' Antonio de' Franceschi, Secretary Extraordinary, to the Doge and Senate.
Although the devastation caused by this river rendered our ride difficult, we nevertheless went this morning to congratulate Cardinal Caraffa on the peace, and he being with the Pope, we, whilst waiting for him in his chamber, conversed with the Duke of Paliano, who, lamenting the calamities of Rome, and this deluge, said that had not the peace taken place, the additional misery of the inundation would have rendered this population so desperate that some extraordinary commotion might have been expected. He then told us that the Duke de Guise and Marshal Strozzi departed last night, and that after they set sail a letter arrived from the King of France, expressing his wish for the Pope to arrange his affairs on the best terms he could, which greatly pleased his Holiness, who was sending Cardinal Triultio to France, and Cardinal Caraffa to Brussels, as legates for the negotiation of a general peace; and that it had been proposed to send nuncios to all the Christian powers, and to Poland also, for the better maintenance of that nation in its devotion to the holy Roman Catholic Church. The Cardinal, after the usual compliments and congratulations, said that the chief difficulty had been about Paliano, which at any rate was to be dismantled; that possibly he should go to King Philip to negotiate the general peace; but that after dinner, under pretence of going out hunting, he should certainly go to Gensano to the Duke of Alva, to ratify the article about placing in Paliano a trustee, who will be the Pope's nephew Gio. Bernardino Carbon; and that he hoped to induce the Duke of Alva to “give the obedience” (a dar l'obedienza) and make the due submission to the Pope.
We then went to the Cardinal “Camerlengo,” whose address and authority with the Duke of Alva have done much for this negotiation. He said, “I did what I could, and although I often saw matters in a state to give me little hope, I nevertheless told the Duke of Alva, who places great trust in me, that it was necessary for him on any terms to make peace with the Pope; and although he told me that he had known him to be always ill disposed, and that he did not see by what means he could make sure that this word peace should not be converted into a truce or suspension of hostilities for a few days, I demonstrated to him that the world was not of that opinion, and that the Pope disarming, and having once renounced the friendship of his allies, nothing more could be feared from him; and therefore, in the article about compensation, most of which is in private writings between themselves, there was a difficulty raised by the Duke of Alva, who did not wish the compensation to signify territory in the Papal States to be given to his Holiness; but whatever sort of compensation King Philip might intend to make him, and this the Duke did, so that acknowledging what they had from His Majesty, they might depend on him alone, he also perceiving that the Duke of Paliano had the Order of St. Michael, and the son he so dearly loved being still in France. These facts gave him just cause to suspect that the affairs of the Caraffa family were still too much incorporated with the French Crown, and he therefore then offered the Cardinal the terms of treatment (partiti di intrattenimento) (fn. 8) requested by him, the Duke of Alva showing that in this particular likewise he had most ample authority.” The Cardinal “Camerlengo” added, that although at the conference on the island, Cardinal Caraffa chose to exclude the whole Colonna family from Paliano, he had nevertheless retracted (che però s'era remesso), giving hope that in the course of time Marc' Antonio Colonna might recover it, as, after his receiving compensation, that State was to be consigned to the Catholic King's nominee.
Four nights ago Cardinal S. Giacomo [of Compostella] died (fn. 9) in great repute for goodness and religion; he was a Spaniard of the Toledo family, and brother of the Duke of Alva's father.
I enclose the copy (fn. 10) of the treaty which has been sent hither to the vineyard by Cardinal Vitelli. It is almost identical with the one transmitted by me when announcing the peace; but it also expressly excepts Marc' Antonio Colonna and Ascanio della Cornia, and contains the Pope's brief of authority in favour of Cardinal Caraffa and King Philip's mandate to the Duke of Alva.
Rome, 18th September 1557.
Sept. 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. (2nd letter.) 1038. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, and Marc' Antonio de' Franceschi, Secretary Extraordinary, to the Chiefs of the Council of Ten.
Besides what we write in the public letter, Cardinal Caraffa told us what I, ambassador, wrote in my last had been communicated to my secretary with great secrecy, that in case of any disagreement arising about the compensation to be given to the Duke his brother, many Princes had been named as arbitrators to decide whether it was an equivalent, and that he, Cardinal Caraffa, said, “I will propose a Prince whose authority and good faith will silence all of them,” and he then proposed your Serenity as the arbitrator of this disagreement in case of its occurrence, to which the Duke of Alva immediately assented, and that this particular was unknown to the Pope, as he had deceived him in this matter (che in ciò lo haveva ingannato) for the sake of not losing time in making this agreement, praying that it might be kept secret, as due, and that of this article they had made a separate writing. The like was confirmed to us by the Cardinal “Camerlengo,” who also said that he hoped there would not be any difficulty, because King Philip, by every sort of office, even beyond what the Caraffas could hope or expect, would entertain (tratteneria) and render them his adherents.
Rome, 18th September 1557.


  • 1. The trustee-warder of the castle of Paliano was to be in the confidence both of King Philip and of the Caraffa family.
  • 2. Query, Don Garcia de Toledo. (See Foreign Calendar, Mary, P. 315, and Index.)
  • 3. Not found.
  • 4. I tristi consigli di Giovanni della Casa appassionato, che ne rende conto, e di quel imbriaco dell' Aldobrandini, del quale Io ho fatto che 'l Papa s'è chiarito, ma il Cardinale ancora li crede.
  • 5. Compare this account of the inundation of the Tiber with Carne's, in Foreign Calendar, “Mary,” p. 334.
  • 6. Carne uses the same term thus: “The height of a morrispike.”
  • 7. Giovanni Grimani, Patriarch of Aquileia. (See Venetian Calendar, vol. 5, p. 329, footnote.)
  • 8. At the conference on the island of Porto the Duke of Alva offered Sienna in exchange for Paliano. See paragraph in letter (No. 1), dated 7th September 1557.
  • 9. “On the night of the 14th, the Cardinal of Compostella died here.” (See Foreign Calendar, Mary, p. 335.)
  • 10. Not found.