Venice: September 1557, 21-30

Pages 1318-1334

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, 21–30

Sept. 21. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 1039. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, and Marc' Antonio de' Franceschi, Secretary, to the Doge and Senate.
On the 18th Cardinal Caraffa, under pretence of hunting, went to the Duke of Alva, and late on that day Don Fadrique, son of the aforesaid Duke, arrived in this city, being sent by his Excellency to make the due submission to the Pope. He lodged in the house of Cardinal Pacheco. He demanded audience of the Pope, who appointed it for the morrow, but subsequently on hearing that the Duke his father was coming in person, Don Fadrique sent to apologize to his Holiness, saying that if he did not go, it was from his wish to leave this charge to his father, as he was coming.
The Duke of Alva entered (fn. 1) Rome at about 8 p.m., and I ambassador having sent my secretary to meet him, his Excellency replied very graciously that he would see me willingly. He was accompanied by Cardinal Caraffa, Paliano, and Montebello, with several Roman Lords. There were many Neapolitan Barons, the Count of Santa Fior, his brother Sigr. Paolo, the Lord Vespasian Gonzaga, and other commanders of the army. On passing the Castle he was saluted by the artillery, and went straight to the Pope, who was in the audience chamber with 21 Cardinals; he kissed his foot and hand, and then his Holiness embraced and kissed him. His Excellency said a few words to him on his knees, and then the Pope made him rise, although the Duke made great resistance, and they continued talking for nearly half an hour. Their conversation, from what little was audible, was almost all ceremonious (quasi tutto cerimonia), and a long apology on one side and the other for the past events (e lunga escusatione da una parte e l'altra pelli successi passati). During the whole of the discourse, the Duke remained standing, the Cardinals doing the like, they having risen when his Excellency entered. At the close of the discourse, the Duke turned to the Cardinals, saluting them one by one, and in the meanwhile those personages who had come with him kissed the Pope's foot; and they then went to Cardinal Caraffa's apartments, where supper had been prepared, and the Duke's sleeping room (e da dormire per il Sigr. Duca).
Early yesterday morning we went to his Excellency, who saw and embraced us with great demonstration of love; we rejoiced with him on the conclusion of the peace, and I, ambassador, told him that he had much increased his repute for goodness and piety by this holy result, and that all Italy remained under obligation to him for this blessed quiet. He replied that I had reason to rejoice at this peace, as your Serenity had been not a little the cause of it, having, indeed, greatly contributed to it. I thanked him, saying he would always be reciprocated. He said he believed it, because the King his Lord wished his victories to promote this end, thinking he could in no way show greater gratitude for so many recent benefits received from His Divine Majesty, than by giving peace and quiet to all; and that, whenever requested, King Philip will show himself very ready, and that he, the Duke, likewise would perform such offices as in his power. Cardinal Montelpulciano then entered the chamber, and his Excellency, after greeting him, having returned to where I was, I asked him when he would depart; he replied, “To-morrow or next day, and I shall go to Naples, and then into Lombardy; I shall take the infantry on galley board, leaving the cavalry in the kingdom of Naples.” I then condoled with him on the death of his uncle the Cardinal San Giacomo, and took leave.
Yesterday, in Consistory, the Pope gave account of the peace; he said that he was obliged to the King of France for his promptitude in defending him, wherefore his exertions to retain him as his very dear son would be no less earnest than those he had used to gain King Philip. He proposed two Legates, Cardinal Caraffa to the King Catholic, and Cardinal Trivulzi to the most Christian King, who were to go to their Majesties for the purpose of making peace between them, and giving account of his reasons for sending his nephew to King Philip; he said he did so because that King might, perhaps, have some doubt about his sentiments, and he therefore sent the person most dear to him, tanquam obsidem voluntatis suœ, and that it was necessary to dispatch them speedily, lest the course of King Philip's victories not continuing should render him more distrustful of this negotiation. Cardinal Bellai, as “Decano,” was the first to give his vote; he commended the peace, his Holiness who had embraced it, and both one and the other of the two Kings likewise; he said that it was well done to send the Legates, and to do so speedily; and, when about to continue speaking, the Pope commenced tapping on the throne, and told him to hold his tongue, as there being no time for prolixity he must let others have their share, and that he told him this once for all, because he was for ever tedious: “non missura catem, nisi plena cruor is hirudo.” (fn. 2) The Cardinal, although naturally choleric and vehement, thanked his Holiness for the hint, and ceased speaking.
Yesterday the prisoners, King Philip's subjects, were released, and, to-day, the Lord Camillo Colonna, his wife, his brother, the Archbishop, and the Signor Giuliano Cesarino, their pardon having been asked as a favour by the Duke of Alva; and they all went to pay their respects to Cardinal Caraffa.
I, ambassador, sent my secretary to congratulate Don Garcilasso de la Vega on his release, which compliment pleased him, and he replied that he is infinitely obliged to your Serenity for the many offices performed by you for the peace.
A chapel service was performed to-day to thank the Almighty for the peace, a jubilee also being proclaimed. The Duke of Alva attended the ceremony, and was seated after all the Cardinals above the Duke of Paliano, and as the Duke of Alva's son, Don Fadrique, had not been given any place, the Pope seeing him desired the master of the ceremonies to call him to his Holiness, who made him stand at the foot of the throne above the Marquis of Montebello. After the chapel service, which was not attended by the ambassadors,—nor do I know why they absented themselves, though I very well know that a paroxysm of fever which I had in the past night prevented me from being there,—the Pope gave a dinner to the Cardinals and to the aforesaid Duke, to whom a place was given beyond the table (fuor della tavola) opposite the Cardinal “Decano.” After dinner the Duke of Alva kissed his Holiness' foot, who said many things in praise of him, and he took leave to depart to-morrow morning.
Yesterday evening rejoicings were made in the city with illuminations and bonfires, and in the Castle by discharges of artillery and fireworks.
Rome, 21st September 1557.
Sept. 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1040. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday I received your Serenity's letters of the 30th ultimo, desiring me to condole with the King on the rout of his army, and transmitting the news-letters from Constantinople; so at noon to-day I went to his Majesty, who, in reply to the office performed by me, said you had reason to lament his adversities, as he reciprocated your affection, adding that he thanked you for the satisfaction derived by you from the measures he is now taking. After giving some account of his forces, he said he had sent M. de Termes to Compiègne to inspect that place and to give orders for the accommodation of the troops there, and that the enemy's cavalry had made a foray for victuals in that neighbourhood, but did no other damage; and that since the surrender of Han, they were fortifying it with four bulwarks, one of which was the citadel, the King of Spain being also there; they are in like manner fortifying St. Quentin, but it will be a work of time. I inquired what amount of troops the enemy had; his Majesty said, “They have 12,000 cavalry; I do not tell you they are paid, but that they are in being; the infantry on the other hand are much fewer than reported, besides which many are dead, and many have also disbanded, some of their cavalry likewise having come over to me, 70 in one company having passed a few days ago; and the Duke Henry of Brunswick, whom I believe you know, for he is the one who was heretofore in Venice, and then came hither, (fn. 3) has departed with 400 horse, taking with him to Germany the Marshal de St. André and the Count Rhinegrave.” His Majesty then added, “I depart to-morrow for St. Germain, and shall stop two or three days on the road, the air in this town being so bad (essendo in questa Terra tanto mal acre) that everybody is ill, and I also have had my share of it; the Queen, my daughters, my sisters, the Cardinal of Lorraine, and the whole court are indisposed; the Queen must be purged, nor do I choose her by any means to purge herself here.” I said that his Majesty would be very glad to depart hence, and that I hoped the Queen and all the rest would soon recover, this being so general a catarrhal indisposition that it has troubled almost all Christendom, I also now suffering from my share of it.
I then asked how the affairs of the Queen of Scotland were proceeding, and his Majesty replied, laughing, (fn. 4) “The Queen is in the field with about 40,000 troops, and has 1,500 Frenchmen who are always in the foremost ranks, and lead (guidano) the others, but I have sent them another 2,000 most capital soldiers. Yesterday an individual arrived here from those parts, and his ship being chased he threw the letters addressed to me into the sea, but tells me by word of mouth that the Queen had not taken Berwick (Barvich), though she is besieging it, and so closely that the place had been compelled to capitulate if not succoured before the 16th instant; she has indeed taken three or four other places, and was building a fortress near Berwick (Barvich), and 11 (sic) Englishmen who endeavoured to go in that direction (a quella parte) were cut to pieces by the Scots. The Queen of England has sent Lord Talbot (fn. 5) into the field with 20,000 men, but they tell me that when things come to a close (che come le cose si stringano), it is not known who will have the greater part of those troops, whether it will be the said Queen of England, or rather her of Scotland (ò pur quella di Scotia), who by sea has done the English so much injury that it is incredible, and I repeat to you incredible (incredibile).”
After thanking the King for these communications, I said it was understood that the Pope had made terms, and his Majesty replied, “Last night Signor Giulio Brancatio arrived, having been sent by the Duke de Guise; he left Rome on the 9th, and brings me word that it only remained to make the stipulation; and it seems to me that the Pope has derived fair advantage from it, the treaty containing four articles. That the King of Spain is to restore to his Holiness all the places occupied by him in the States of the Church; that Paliano is to remain to the Duke, but to be dismantled; that the Pope's prisoners in the Castle are to be treated according to law (ne facci quello vuol la giustitia), and that towards Papal subjects the Pope is to act as he shall think fit.”
I said in reply that this news seemed to me very good on several accounts, but principally because with this commencement it might be hoped that a way would be opened for a general peace, and that I made sure that his Majesty being armed like the King of Spain, that same pious and Christian wish for peace which he had so often and so largely condescended to tell me was entertained by him would revive. To which he said with an open countenance (con larga ciera), “When I also shall be armed, and my affairs take a better turn, this matter may be discussed according to opportunity.”
I inquired what the stir was on the confines of the Franche Comté, in the county of Ferette. His Majesty said “It is a German (sic) (fn. 6) (of the same nature as Marquis Albert was), who has mustered some 6,000 infantry, and from what I can hear, principally for the purpose of plundering and robbing, and I suspect that he will withdraw towards the territory of Metz, and as that see is held by the Cardinal of Lorraine, this may injure him.” I asked if he would join the troops of the King of Spain. His Majesty replied, “This I cannot say for certain, but I have indeed received advice that the moneys of the King of Spain have supplied them with one month's pay.” (fn. 7) I then communicated to his Majesty the contents of the Turkish news-letters, and after thanking him for his usual confidential intelligence I took leave.
The French army will muster at Compiegne, and not here as originally intended, this change being made by the advice of M. de Termes, (fn. 8) it being much more opportune to keep it at a distance hence, rather than in the rear (alle spalle) of this town (terra); so orders have been given for all the forces both foreign and native to march in that direction, and on their arrival his Majesty likewise will go thither, though I cannot yet say whether he will take the field or remain in some place near at hand.
The only additional news about M. de Guise is that he was to embark on the 10th, and he is very anxiously expected.
Nothing more than was written in my last has been heard about M. de la Vigne.
This feverish catarrhal indisposition is so general in Paris, that almost everybody is now ill of it, or has already had it; and although very troublesome, few persons die of it as they did when it raged here formerly in 1510; and then, as now, they called it “the hooping cough or chin-cough disease” (il male della coccolucchia). (fn. 9) My secretary likewise has had it for the last fortnight, being seriously indisposed, as he still is, but rather better.
Paris, 21st September 1557.
Sept 24. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 1041. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, and Marc' Antonio de'Franceschi, Secretary Extraordinary, to the Doge and Senate.
On Tuesday the Duke of Alva supped with Cardinal Pacheco, amongst whose other guests were the Cardinals St. Angelo, “Camerlengo,” and Cornaro. His Excellency said much in praise of your Serenity, and that in this peace the King his lord had deferred greatly to your Sublimity's counsels and intercessions. Yesterday morning he dined in like manner with Cardinal Pacheco, and went into the Castle to visit Cardinal Morone, and at 2 p.m. departed hence for Gensano, accompanied beyond the gate by the Cardinals Gadi and Vitelli, and by the Duke of Paliano, the Marquis Montebello, and others.
Rome, 24th September 1557.
Sept. 25. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 1042. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, the Doge and Senate.
The injury done by the inundation of the Tiber becomes daily more manifest, as almost all the houses on its banks are in ruins, or in such a state that unless underpinned (senza pontelli) they cannot remain standing. The bridge of Santa Maria, repaired by Julius II., has fallen down; the Island Licaonia, where stood the temple of Esculapius, now of St. Bartholomew, is uninhabited, owing to the destruction of the greater part of the houses, and half of the church likewise has fallen; so the Pope caused there to be carried thither in solemn procession the body of that most holy apostle, and other relies which were in St. Peter's; part of the corridor leading from the palace to the Vatican has fallen, and it is piteous to see the drowned corpses discovered from day to day, the property which is understood to have been lost, and the want of all the necessaries of life. Lately Greek wine has been sold for 100 gold crowns the butt.
The Duke of Alva spoke very earnestly (con molta istanza) about Cardinal Pole's legation, and concerning the affairs of Cardinal Morone. With regard to the first, his Holiness replied that in due time he will answer the Queen of England; and the English ambassador when talking with me said, “I have nothing from the Pope; during a whole week I wait for audience, and always return home without having it. I seek nothing from his Holiness except that he should answer and declare his mind (et scuopra l'animo); this matter might produce greater scandal than is supposed; I know the humours of that kingdom.” Then with regard to the second recommendation in favour of Cardinal Morone, the Pope said that his Excellency might well imagine that a great personage, such as a cardinal, is not arrested unless for things of very great importance, as is that of religion, and that he will show the Duke the process drawn up against him.
Rome, 25th September 1557.
Sept. 25. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. (2nd letter.) 1043. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Pope having appointed 2 p.m. to-day for my audience, and there being in the audience chamber six cardinals and the English ambassador, determined first of all to visit the Duke of Paliano, whom I congratulated in your Serenity's name on the conclusion of the peace, saying that from this the general peace might be expected. He replied, thanking your Serenity for this compliment, and saying that the Almighty knew, and that men of the world (e gli huomini del mondo) could bear witness, how much he had always sought this peace, and how from the beginning he disapproved of the war and gave advice to the contrary; and that when he heard the Pope—who, had he not undertaken war would have been tremendous (savia stato tremendo), as he might have said, quis arguet me de peccato?—at table after dinner, utter those invectives against the Imperialists, and speak as he did in public, it broke his heart, but he could do nothing more in the matter. He then commenced blaming the league made in France by his brother, Cardinal Caraffa, saying that the articles were so foolish (così sciocchi) that were they shown me I should laugh at them. He blamed the office performed with your Serenity by Cardinal Caraffa, saying it was unworthy either of a Pope or of a Cardinal, as it was unbecoming for either of them to kindle the flame in Italy. He said it was blameable for the Duke de Guise on his arrival here to invade the neighbouring territory, instead of recovering in the first place the States of the Church; adding how impolitic it was to send the Marquis his son to France, when he Paliano returned from the Duke de Guise, after persuading him to remain, although recalled by the most Christian King; and that he had stayed the despatch of his son the Marquis to France, because although he was not sent as a hostage, the King nevertheless might perhaps not let him return until he first saw how things were proceeding, although the Pope demanded him, and that he should be accompanied by the son of Marquis Mantebello; and the galleys had gone to fetch him, as the King on many accounts entertained suspicion, which will increase when he hears of the appiontment to Flanders of Cardinal Caraffa, the Pope having said yesterday that he chose the Marquis his brother to go with him, which thing the Duke of Paliano dissuaded them from, by saying that should his Holiness choose to remain neutral he must not give cause for suspicion to the King of France; that if King Philip wished to give employment to the Marquis, he did not see how the Pope could consent to it without showing himself partial; to which his Holiness merely replied, that he had not anticipated such advice from him, and that he chose the Marquis by all means to go, and fell into a rage (e s'alterò); so the Duke of Paliano merely replied that his Holiness was to do as he pleased, but that from him he would always hear his true opinion, whereupon he quitted the Pope's chamber, nor has he ever returned thither; adding, that for himself, although he had received nothing from the King of France but the Order of St. Michael, and that the promises made to him about donatives and pensions lacked performance, yet, nevertheless, so long as he wore that collar round his neck he would never do any disservice to the said King, and that on the contrary, were he not bound to the Pope he would go and serve him in this his need, so that were the opportunity to present itself for remaining free, he should wish to be able to return that collar to his Majesty quite unsullied, as it is not a perpetuity, but at the option of him who gives it, and of him who receives it, as besides the obligation of the Order, although he accepted it against his own wish, to obey the Pope, it seemed to him that he was bound to serve the King in this necessity, for his having willed to assist his Holiness; coming to the conclusion that he had chosen to tell me these things that I might know his mind, and impart it to your Serenity, in such form as not to be divulged, his honour and his interests demanding secrecy.
Having thanked the Duke for this communication, assuring him that your Serenity would keep it secret, I then went to the Pope, who had not yet entered the audience chamber, where the six Cardinals (amongst whom was Cardinal Pacheco) and the English ambassador had remained waiting for him. Cardinal Pacheco was the first to have audience, which was very long, for he also introduced Don Garcilasso to kiss his Holiness' foot. After them Sir Edward Carne approached his Holiness, and urged him for his decision about the legation for Cardinal Pole. The Pope replied that the very important business transacted during the last few days had been the cause of this delay, but that he would give him a final reply (l'espediria) as soon as possible. The ambassador rejoined, and the Pope answered desiring him to have patience, as care for the universal Church took precedence of the individual care to be had for that of one kingdom. (Et il Papa respose c'havesse pazienza, perchè la cura della Chiesa universale, andava avanti la particular d'un Regno.) The ambassador said that the Queen marvelled at such long delay, to which his Holiness answered angrily (con alteratione), “Nos multo magis miramur de istá festinatione importunâ, as we choose to have before our eyes the honour of God, and the integrity (l'integrità) of the Catholic faith. In due time the determination will be made, and the state of the case announced to you, as we said, and we will give advice to the Queen. As for our wish, we should have replied on the first day, but the matter being important we choose to form the resolution with the counsel of our brothers the Cardinals;” and with this he dismissed the ambassadors and called me. I told him with how much satisfaction your Serenity had heard the news of the peace, and how earnestly you desired me to congratulate him on it in your name. The Pope said, “The Signory rejoices at the fruit of her own works and of yours,” and I rejoined that your Serenity hoped that from this would proceed the universal peace, to the immortal glory of his Holiness. He replied that never within the last 50 years had there been so much hope of this blessing as at present; that his Holiness would not fail to further it, even at personal risk, aged and infirm as he was, adding, 'We have therefore appointed the Legates, our nephew to the one, and your Cardinal (meaning Trivulzi) to the other;” and then, after commending his Holiness, I took leave.
Rome, 25th September 1557.
Sept. 25. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. (3rd letter.) 1044. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Chiefs of the Council of Ten.
Besides what is written in the public letters, Cardinal Sforza told my secretary that the Duke of Alva has much at heart the expedition against the Duke of Ferrara, because he knows that all the trouble he had in this war proceeded from him, and he brands him with great ingratitude (et li da nota di molto ingrato) towards the Emperor and King Philip, who at all times have conferred divers favours and benefits on him; and, continuing this topic, he in like manner said to my secretary that no one knew better than Marquis Montebello how much blame attached itself to the Duke of Ferrara for this war, because at the commencement of these disturbances, when the Pope sent the Marquis to Ferrara, and whilst he was with that Duke, news arrived of the truce between France and Spain, and the Duke said to him that it was to be feared the Imperialists would turn against his Holiness or against his Excellency, and that as the league with France was not signed, they would remain without assistance, and thus, at the persuasion of the Duke of Ferrara, Cardinal Caraffa went to France. My secretary also having said to Montebello, “Now that his Holiness has become the common father, their most illustrious Lordships will adjust their family affairs,” was answered that this could not be done until the arrival at King Philip's court of his brother the Cardinal.
Don Garcilasso [de la Vega], in talking with me, even after the conclusion of the peace, evinced dissatisfaction with the Caraffas (mala satisfation di questi signori), and that sheer necessity induced them to make it. He narrated to me much maltreatment experienced by him during his imprisonment, and that in all his examinations their sole aim was that his words might enable them to arrest Cardinal Pacheco, and some other person (et qualche altro), (fn. 10) whom they supposed to be a favourer of the Imperial party; adding, “You also know how many good offices Pacheco performed, and how he had been good cause of effecting the peace (et come è stato bona causa di condur la pace a fine); and that the Duke of Alva, who is so grave and discreet, could not but marvel at Cardinal Caraffa's mode of proceeding, so contrary throughout to what becomes a negotiation of such great importance.”
The Duke of Urbino's ambassador told me that he heard on very good authority, though he would not mention any name, that when the Pope was talking with the Duke of Alva in favour of the Duke of Ferrara, his Excellency said to his Holiness that he should remember he was speaking in favour of one who possessed two cities to which this see had greater right than he has, which silenced the Pope, nor did he proceed any farther.
It is my duty to inform your most excellent Lordships of all I hear and from whom, so I will add that the Duke of Ferrara's ambassador, in a conversation I had with him, said, “The Pope and these kinsfolk of his also, wish us to believe that they have performed warm offices for us, and I know, through a good channel, that they spoke very coldly, which I have in like manner given my master to understand.”
Rome, 25th September 1557.
Sept. 25. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. (4th letter.) 1045. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Chiefs of the Council of Ten.
Besides what I write by the public letters, the Duke of Paliano said that his brother the Cardinal had made a writing with the Duke of Alva, whereby it was declared that the trustee (che il confidente) (fn. 11) was to remain six months in Paliano, during which interval compensation in the kingdom of Naples was to be proposed for Paliano, about which should there be any dispute as to whether it was equivalent, your Sublimity was to be the arbitrator; that on the expiration of the six months the said Carbone (esso Carbone) was to dismantle and go out of it; that of this writing the Pope knew nothing whatever, and that, therefore, he (Paliano) was not agreed (d'accordo) with the Cardinal, and had not consented to it, nor would he make a letter of attorney (far procura) although the Cardinal sent to ask him for it by Cardinal Vitelli when he went to speak to him in Santa Croce in Hierusalem, because it did not seem fit to him to dispose, without the knowledge and consent of the Pope and of the College of Cardinals, of a state received by him from his Holiness, and from their right reverend and most illustrious Lordships, as it would be a more treasonable act than that of Marc' Antonio Colonna; that he had, indeed, rejoiced at the peace, to obtain which he would have given the State of Paliano and his own life, but not that they should make him do unworthy acts, and to the prejudice of his honour, and, therefore, to the Cardinal his brother, who even yesterday had asked him for a letter of attorney to ratify the agreement, he denied it him, and gave him clearly to understand that if the Pope and the College of Cardinals were not of his opinion, and consented to deprive him of Paliano, he would never agree to it; that with regard to your Serenity's determining the compensation, he was quite content, because in your hands he would place the State, his children, and his life, but that he knew not how they could depute your Serenity as arbitrator, without your having given your consent, nor accepting the charge. To this I replied that such was the truth, as none of your ministers either knew of such an office, nor had they sought it; and that everybody knowing how his Excellency had always solicited the peace, I hoped that no difficulty would be raised by him about so signal a benefit.
He rejoined, that the desire for this peace had kept him silent, but that he did not see how he could assent to the Cardinal's opinion, unless the Pope knew it; adding that he wished the State of Paliano to be given to the See Apostolic; and that he himself should receive for compensation, although it was greatly inferior, the Duchy of Camerino, because he would then make a matrimonial relationship with the Duke of Urbino, his daughter marrying his Excellency's son, the State of Camerino being thus established in his (Paliano's) family; he knowing that the Church never deprives anyone of their property without a cause, and that therefore one single stone in the Papal States was held in greater account than a house in the kingdom of Naples, for which reason he declined any compensation that could be given him there as an equivalent, adding, “Lord Ambassador, I will moreover tell you that in like manner as you have seen the Pope from the French point of view (dalla ponta Francese) so will you see him Imperialist, and that he will hold the former his enemies, and these others but little his friends (per poco amici), for I see well what road they are taking; changes do not please me, I never made them in my youth, still less should I choose to do so now when I am some years beyond my fortieth.” He then said to me concerning the Marquis [Montebello] his brother that he was resolute and valiant, but indiscreet, and that it did not suffice to knock one's head against the wall, as even madmen do that; that the Marquis being under control might succeed, but would do no good if left to himself, because he was pugnacious with the saints as well as with the devils; adding that he had chosen to tell me these things that I might warn your Serenity of them, so that at any rate being thus informed, you might better know how to regulate yourself.
Rome, 25th September 1557.
Sept. 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1046. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Duke de Nevers is at Compiegne with 10,000 French infantry, some 5,000 cavalry, and 6,000 Switzers, the regiment of Germans being expected in three or four days, as also the 4,000 Switzers from Piedmont; but the 8,000 others who have commenced their march cannot be there so speedily, and the cavalry will be reinforced so as to form a total of 7,000 horse. Besides these troops, so many have been distributed in the fortresses that they are all said to be safe; and amongst the others, the 3,000 Germans who saved themselves at the rout of St. Quentin are now defending Amiens.
Nothing is heard about the enemy except that they are continuing the fortifications commenced by them, and that they make frequent incursions; 300 Burgundian horse having a few days ago entered Noyon with the white crosses, and finding about 150 French cavalry in the place, they routed and brought them away prisoners.
M. de Guise arrived at Marseilles on the 20th, so he is expected here from hour to hour; and his Excellency's arrival being apparently too long delayed, they were already intent on despatching M. de la Vigne, but it is now said that he might await the Duke's coming before he departs.
I wrote the proposal made by the King to the Duke of Ferrara, about the French infantry in Italy, under the Duke d'Aumale; and subsequently his Majesty consented to the stay there of the cavalry likewise, the cost of which he promised to pay the Duke of Ferrara in ready money; and for the reimbursement of the cost of the infantry he offered him assignments (assegnamenti) in any part of France he pleased. The language which the Duke had used (l'à fatto usare) to the King on this subject was very strong, and from what I hear he even dropped some hint of inclination towards an agreement with the King of England, which agreement many persons believe would easily be accepted by his Excellency, could he obtain fair terms.
I have written several times about the stir on the confines of the Franche Comté, and I have now heard that the most Christian King sent to all the cantons, and especially to Zurich and Berne, which have no alliance with him, to know how they could permit hostilities in that territory (paese) contrary to that county's treaty with their cantons; and they replied that they were ready to resist any stir (moto) by force of arms; and had it intimated to the governors of the Franche Comté, that unless they desisted from hostilities, the cantons would consider their treaty with them broken, and that they also would arm: so certain Savoyard gentlemen who were the chiefs of the stir, (fn. 12) and had an understanding with other troops in the county of Ferette, a muster being made there also, were dismissed the territory; and the aforesaid troops of the county of Ferette turned towards Germany, and according to report have crossed the Rhine on their march towards Metz.
The King will be at St. Germain to-morrow evening, and I shall follow him as usual though not very strong, my secretary being less so, as he is still rather fevered, and therefore I write this letter with my own hand.
Paris, 26th September 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Sept. 27. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1047. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
In my former letters I announced the coming of M. de la Vigne, who was sent hither by Sultan Soliman to offer his most Christian Majesty his fleet for next gear, and a very efficient army by land for the invasion of Hungary, with the intention of entering Germany; and that in return he merely wishwed King Henry to promise im not to make any agreement with the King of England. I then wrote in like manner that at such an important conjuncture these offers had proved most agreeable; and that as a very great secret, I had been warned that King Henry considering that the expedition against Hungary and Germany did not do much harm to the King of England, he not being charged with the defence of the Empire as his father the Emperor was; and that besides this, his most Christian Majesty having much at heart that Germany should not remain dissatisfied with him, for the causes which I then wrote; (fn. 13) consultations were held about proposing another expedition to the Sultan, which being performed by naval and military forces might cause more trouble and detriment to the King of England, and that therefore King Henry inclined towards the Naples expedition with a mind to exhort the Sultan to send the army as far as “La Valona” (fn. 14) and to have it ferried thence by his fleet to the kingdom of Naples. I also wrote that his most Christian Majesty wished to be accommodated by the Sultan with a considerable loan of money, (fn. 15) to continue the war, as being a loser, he found his kingdom exhausted. I also wrote in like manner, that the reason for delaying this, was the King's wish for the arrival here of the Duke de Guise; but he having got to Marseilles indisposed, and being therefore unable to come on immediately, his Majesty has not chosen any longer to delay the despatch of the said M. de la Vigne, who took leave of the King yesterday and will depart to-morrow. From what I have been able to elicit, eh is to thank the Sultan for his offers, and to propose to him to send his fleet for the Naples expedition; and as King Henry wishes to send a powerful army of his own likewise into Italy for this purpose, and finds his Treasury much exhausted (et si trova molto esausta di denari), he prays the Lord Turk (il Signor Turco) to accommodate him with as large a sum of money as he shall please, that they may be able together to attend briskly (gagliardamente) to this undertaking, on which terms (con in che) King Henry promises not to come to any agreement with King Philip; but with regard to the loan principally, the ambassador is commissioned lo use all diligence lo obtain il. Through another channel I hear that his most Christian Majesty also exhorts the Sultan to send an army overland (da terra) into Italy; but for this I cannot vouch. I also understand that should the ambassador be unable to obtain what is aforesaid, he is to accept what he can get, it being thought that to Sultan Soliman take the field cannot but prove very advantageous for King Henry, whether he continue the war or negotiate an agreement; but being armed, it seems to me that the most prudent persons (che li più prudenti) expect him to adhere to the expedition; and although I am certain that your Serenity will keep all this secret as becoming, I neverthe-less with all respect beseech you so to do.
Paris, 27th December 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Sept. 29. Secreti Senato. Register, vol. 70. p. 122 tergo. 1048. Motion made in the Senate for a Letter to the Venetian Ambassador resident with the most Serene King Catholic.
By letters from our ambassador at Rome, dated the 12th instant, we were advised of the conclusion of the peace between the Pope and his Catholic Majesty, which has brought us very great comfort; wherefore we, with the Senate, charge you to proceed to his Majesty and congratulate him in our name on this felicitous and desired result, from which we trust that universal peace will ensue. You will then rejoice at the acquisition of St. Quentin and of those other places taken by his Majesty, assuring him that from all his successes we feel such pleasure and contentment as becoming our friendship.
Ayes, 210. Noes, 2. Neutrals, 3.
Sept. 30. Original Despatch Venetian Archives. 1049. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Having received your Serenity's letters of the 18th, with the advices from Constantinople, I went yesterday to the King, after the dinner given by him as usual to the Knights of St. Michael; and having made the communication to the Cardinal of Lorraine, he introduced me to the King, to whom I repeated it. His Majesty told me that he had but little news, as the King of Spain had not left Han, and continued fortifying the place with four bulwarks, but that they did not work as diligently as they might, the fortifications hitherto being but little above ground, nor had they made any preparation for digging the moats. That Don Ruy Gomez had arrived with the report of bringing a great sum of gold, but his Majesty was assured it did not exceed 600,000 crowns, though he had indeed brought very many lords and gentlemen; and that there was doubtless a great scarcity of money in the army, the soldiers not receiving their pay, so the Germans were greatly exasperated, many of them departing. That the English had left, except a few cavalry, their Queen being much harassed by her of Scotland (da quella de Scotia), who on the 2nd of next month was to cross the river with 40,000 men and enter England; that Berwiek was not taken, but that the Queen of Scotland was building a fortress which would greatly hamper it (che lo teneria molto stretto); and that her troops had had several skirmishes with the English and always defeated them. I asked what number of troops the Queen of England had, and his Majesty said: “She does her utmost to get together the greatest amount she can, but encounters many difficulties, and on this account has chosen her troops to return thither.”
Then continuing the conversation, his Majesty said: “At Verberie, a place two leagues from Compiegne, where my army is mustering, 5,000 Germans have arrived, and the 6,000 Switzers are a short way off waiting for the review, which will be made in two or three days, and they will then join together; and in the meanwhile the 4,000 on their march from Piedmont will arrive, I having sent to hasten them, and also the other 7,000 who were raised lately, though these last must be a little later, but they nevertheless will come at the fitting season.” His Majesty then added: “That individual, by name Birboglier [Polvilliers ?], who, as I told you, raised those 6,000 German infantry in the State of Ferette, has arrived in the territory of Metz, and does much damage (molt; danni) most especially to the priests; he has some cannons with him, but not very large ones, and 400 cavalry, although he hoped to have 1,000, but after he had raised 600, a German captain, by name Cosmo Hans, would not follow him against me; and I will tell you that this person was a prisoner here in France, and hearing that he was a captain of good quality, with many followers, but poor, I chose to pay his ransom of 500 crowns, and sent him away free, mindful of which he has willed to return the courtesy I showed him by not choosing to come with his troops to ravage my territory. This soldiery, however, will be unable to do anything, for I have garrisoned the fortresses in that quarter with the 2,000 Germans who were coming, so everything is secured; but this man is a Lutheran thirsting for rapine, and will do much mischief to the priests and the churches, though he will not care to attempt any fortified town.”
Having replied to this becomingly, I asked when the Duke de Guise would be here. His Majesty said, “He is to arrive at Lyons to-day, and is very well, and will embark on the Loire and then perform his short remaining journey postwise, so that we may expect him in eight days.” When I commended his Excellency greatly for the prudence and ability which it was the general opinion he had exhibited in Italy, the King seemed much pleased with my discourse, and said that it was impossible to praise him enough, he having conducted his negotiations so well as he had done, notwithstanding the numerous impediments and vexations to which he had been subjected, and that to have overcome them all was no small matter.” His Majesty dilating much upon this subject, said, “If we had had to do with a King, or with a Republic, experienced in affairs of State, matters would be situated otherwise than they are; but it is a vast undertaking to commence state rule in decrepitude, with so much disunion amongst all the ministers, who, on account of their own personal interests and differences, never let the Pope know how anything stood; and so as not to tell you old stories I will only mention this one, that the loss of Anagni was not known to the Pope until eight days after it happened; nor yet the condition in which Paliano found itself; my ambassador being the person who told him the whole. There is no oeeasion to tell you the rest as I suppose you are very well and with it; they even wished to cut each other's throats.” (fn. 16)
The King then talked about the devastation caused by the Tiber, and the bad condition of everything in Rome, so that it must be admitted that the Pope has made a very good agreement; his Majesty thus ending the conversation. Seeing him attired in his flowing mantle of the order of St. Michael, thinking it might tire him, I said I thought it was time tor him to unrobe, and that therefore I would no longer weary him; so returning the usual thanks in your Serenity's name I took leave.
His Majesty despatched a courier yesterday to M. d'Aumale with an especial order, in case the Duke of Ferrara had need of troops to leave him ten ensigns of Frenchmen, five of Switzers, and the company of 100 men-at-arms of the Prince of Ferrara, his son, and even more should his Excellency have need of a greater number for his defence; but it is again confirmed to me that the Duke of Ferrara must pay the infantry, the King remaining his debtor for their cost, and M. d'Aumale will come to the court postwise. The rest of the forces, horse and foot, not required for the Ferrarese will return, as his Majesty does not choose them to be broken, but that they do come as soon as possible to join the army, which, as written by me long ago, will number from 36 to 40 thousand infantry, and some 7,000 cavalry; but nothing will be decided about their operations until the arrival of the Duke de Guise, when the King will push on to Senlis, where he will be at a distance of six leagues from the army. He will not go thither, but give it in charge to M. de Guise; neither is it expected to be in marching order before the middle of October.
Poissy, 30th September 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Sept. ? (fn. 17) MS., St. Mark's Library, p. 222, verso; no date. Printed in Vol. 5, pp. 25–26. “Epistolarum Reginaldi Poli,” &c., without any date. 1050. Cardinal Pole to Pope Paul IV.
By so much the more did Pole rejoice to hear of the peace made between the Pope and the Catholic King, as he saw that by so calamitous a war the Christian commonwealth and the Church were daily threatened with greater dangers; and in like manner as he prayed God for it incessantly, so did he never cease exhorting everybody, including the King himself, not only to accept any tolerable terms offered him, but to endeavour by all means to effect it, as on whatever conditions peace were made with such a father, it would be honourable to himself and before man, and always acceptable to God. The King's words, however, proceeding always from a pious and sincere mind, showed that he had no need of exhortation from Pole or others, as sufficiently proclaimed by the peace now made. Pole was especially grieved by this war, because God had permitted the peace maker appointed by him for all wars to be one of the belligerents, thus threatening an irreconcilable war without hope of peace; he who might have mediated being alienated (abalienato) and drawn into the war, than which there could be no greater proof of God's wrath against us. That was the chief cause of sorrow and dread to pious Christians; but as the mediator for peace is now reconciled and restored to us by divine mercy, this is the chief cause of our rejoicing, and we give thanks to the divine mercy and to your Holiness, and congratulate the entire Christian republic. Although so long as war continues between King Philip and France, Christendom cannot enjoy the full fruit, yet the present peace between the Pope and King Philip may be hoped, like the vine, to throw its shoots far and wide, and to embrace the whole Christian world Pole is led to hope this, as he sees that the Pope is now most bolily meditating and carrying it into effect by appointing legates to both Kings, and as the most Christian King was so united with the Pope in war, it is not hopeless that he should share his Holiness's pacific counsels. The Pope has experience of King Philip's inclination towards this peace, about which, when sending news of it to the Queen, he wrote that of all the recent great and prosperous events which God had granted him in this war, from none had he derived so much pleasure as from the peace made with the Pope, all which he attributed in the first place to the Queen's pious prayers, than which nothing could better indicate her piety and her mind, which were entirely devoted to counsels of peace. If ever at any time, the present necessities of the Christian commonwealth, now in such affliction, and most especially their own piety, invite both Kings to make peace. Pole prays God to grant the Pope this triumph, and very long to preserve him for similar victories.
[Lambeth, September 1557?]


  • 1. Navagero does not give any date, but in “Foreign Calendar, Mary,” p. 336, it is seen that the Duke of Alva made his entry into Rome by torchlight on the evening of the 19th September 1557.
  • 2. Horace, “Epistola ad Pisones,” last verse.
  • 3. A contemporary portrait of this Duke of Brunswick in armour is still visible in the Loredano Palace (S. Marcuola) in Venice, of which magnificent structure he was the proprietor in the first half of the 16th century, and in my time the building was purchased from the Vendramino family by the late Duchess of Berri.
  • 4. Soranzo's despatches from the Court of France illustrate what Brantome wrote about Venetian Ambassadors thus:—“Et c'est pourquoi on loue grandement la naifveté de ces Gens de Bien, ambassadeurs Vénitiens, lesquels après avoir entretenu le Roi le plus briefvement qu'ils pouvoient de la principale urgence de leurs affaires, ils se mettoient à causer et deviser avec luy fort privement, luy demandant uaifvement comment il se portoit, ce qu'il faisoit, à quoy il passoit le temps, quelquefois luy parloient des Dames; a quoy le Roy (Henri III.) prenoit tous les plaisirs du monde, veu leur naifveté si douce et debonnaireté si gentile.” (See Œuvres de Brantome, vol. 6, lere partie. Edition à La Haye, 1740.)
  • 5. Francis Talbot, fifth earl of Shrewsbury. See Lodge's “Illustrations of British History” in Collins' Peerage, vol. 3, p. 22.
  • 6. Pere Daniel (vol. 9, p. 844), says Baron Nicolas de Polvilliers was the subject of the Duke of Savoy.
  • 7. For the history of this plot, see the despatch of Michiel Surian, dated Brussels 28th November 1557.
  • 8. By name Paul de la Barthe, “Maréchal of France.” (See the late Sir William Hackett's Index to Foreign Calendar, “Mary.'
  • 9. “Hooping cough,” or Coqueluche, in Paris in 1510 and 1557, not then merely “a juvenile malady,” as commonly supposed.
  • 10. Pietro Bertano, Cardinal of Fano? (See Foreign Calendar, “Mary,” pp. 329, 330, date August 21, 1557.)
  • 11. It has been seen, date 18th September (p. 1317), that this trustee was Gio. Bernardo Carbone.
  • 12. See Surian, Brussels, date 28th November 1557 (2nd letter).
  • 13. Letter not found.
  • 14. Avlona, or Valona, on the gulf of that name, in Rumelia.
  • 15. Letter not found.
  • 16. “Si hanno voluto sino ammazzare uno con l'altro.” This alludes to a violent seene in the Caraffa-garden in Trastever, when Cardinal Caraffa flew at the throat of the Duke of Paliano, the two brothers being separated by Marshal Strozzi, as readed by me in a letter of Navagero's dated 5th August 1557.
  • 17. The peace between Paul IV. and King Philip was stipulated on the 12th September 1557. (See Andrea Morosini, vol. 2, p. 293.)