Venice: November 1557, 1-15

Pages 1359-1370

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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November 1557, 1–15

Nov. 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1073. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
This day a Spanish gentleman consigned to me a letter from your Serenity, written on the 29th August, with two commissions, one, that I was to congratulate the King on the victory under St. Quentin; the other, that I was again to urge him to make peace with the Pope. The perusal of this letter caused me very great regret, because your Serenity's order, which at the time was of importance, and so greatly desired and expected by me, might in the ordinary course have arrived in 10 or 12 days at the farthest.
In my letter of 20th Sept. [not found], I wrote about the warning given of my being suspected of not relishing the King's successes, on the authority of advices from Venice. I now hear that the report originated at this Court, where, everything being pondered, it was remarked that I had performed no office about this victory, either with the King or with others. Knowing that in such cases you give notice of your wish to your ambassadors, and not receiving any advice, I remained in suspense; but this suspicion ceased on the King's return, when I obeyed your orders, his Majesty having also been fully convinced of your mind by the letters of the Ambassador Vargas.
Brussels, 4th November 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Nov. 4. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 1074. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday the Duke de Guise departed for Compiegne, accompanied by Marshal Strozzi, Don Francesco da Esle, M. de Termes, and the greater part of the Court, and although according to public report his Excellency goes principally to disband (cassare) some companies of infantry, and to place the rest of the troops in their winter quarters, it is understood that he contemplates some expedition; but the project is kept secret, both to avoid giving notice to the enemy, as also because in the event of failure their dignity would suffer from having allowed the design to transpire. It is said that his Excellency may attempt the recovery of Han, and some other place, but it seems easier for him to dislodge the enemy from Chauni, and to put a very strong garrison in the place, and to commence fortifying it, which is known to be of more and more importance daily. The 200 battle-axe gentlemen (gentilhomeni della aza) have been ordered to assemble at Compiegne. The King's war-horses (cavalli grossi) are gone to Senlis, and according to report, should means be found to realise the “design,” his Majesty in person will join the army. M. de Guise will disband all the useless troops in the army, and reduce many of the ensigns, to save the King cost, reinforcing the best companies with the good troops, so that it is intended to put all the serviceable soldiery into winter quarters.
M. d'Aumale has arrived at the Court, and reports that the German troops at Bourg-en-Bresse have retreated to the mountains, the greater part having disbanded, but the King's forces remain, nor will they stir until suspicion there has ceased entirely, when his Majesty will send the greater part of them into Piedmont; and he has already despatched an engineer to Bourg-en-Bresse for the better fortification of that place. Owing to the stir [created by the passage of the Germans] the Bernese armed some of their people, remaining in their own territory, and told the French ambassador resident with them that they are ready to undertake the expedition against the Franche Comté, if his King will join his forces with theirs as written by me; but his Majesty seems disinclined to do so, not wishing to employ his troops in so many quarters.
I wrote heretofore about the Constable's negotiation, and subsequently I elicited something about what the proposal was, viz., that the King of England would restore these places taken in Picardy, provided the King of France would cede a certain large part of Piedmont to the Duke of Savoy, to which his most Christian Majesty would by no means consent.
Don Francesco da Este will go as Governor of Montalcino, and of the other places in the Siennese, his stipend being fixed at 8,000 crowns, and he is evidently put very forward by these Lords of the House of Guise. The revenues of Cardinal Farnese's benefices in France, yielding 36,000 francs annually, have been confiscated; his abbacy with a revenue of 14,000 francs has been given to the Cardinal of Sens, and the rest will be bestowed on the Cardinal of Ferrara, in recompense for the archbishopric of Milan and other benefices retained by the King of Spain. The Cardinal of Armagnac has arrived at the Court, the King honouring and caressing him greatly.
Poissy, 4th November 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Nov. 5 Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 1075. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Chiefs of the Council of Ten.
When the serious indisposition of Cardinal Davante was known here; as also the commission given me by the Senate, to obtain from the Pope the confirmation of the accesso, in the person of the reverend Priuli, inquiries were made of me almost daily whether I knew how Cardinal Durante was, it being also told me that to attempt the confirmation of the accesso was almost impossible; Cardinal Cornaro saying to me, “I wish our reverend Priuli all prosperity, but in case of Durante's death we shall not obtain what we desire; for a great cardinal, whose name I do not tell you, has also told me that the Pope wishes to oblige the Signory, but on that individual, by reason of the bad opinion he has of him (Priuli) on account of religion, he will never do so (non lo farà mai);” and that the case of the Cardinals Pole and Morone was connected with this one of Priuli, and perhaps with that of Bishop Soranzo, whom they wish to get into their hands, as he might say something against the above written personages. (fn. 1)
The Archbishop of Corfu told me afterwards that the Cardinal Alessandrino, (fn. 2) with whom the Pope talks about these affairs of the Inquisition, and discusses them more than with anyone else, said to him, “Were Durante to die, the Pope would never give Priuli the Bishopric of Brescia, but so great is his desire to please the Signory that means might be found to make them remain satisfied.” He also said that the coadjutorship given to the nephew might easily be revoked, as it was conceded hurriedly in the act of dismissing consistory, and because the youth is not of the age required, and because he was subsequently heard to be illiterate; and though they told the Pope he was an LL.D., the degree had been conferred on him in private by Fantuccio; but still more important was the fact of your Serenity's not placing trust in him, in a city and fortress of such great consequence as Brescia is, and that it would be necessary to explain the reasons why confidence is required (che bisogneria far conoscer le cause della confidentia).
Rome, 5th November 1557.
Nov. 6. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 1076. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Don Garcilasso de la'Vega, returning from Naples, passed through Rome on his way to King Philip, and remained a day in the house of Cardinal Pacheco; he wrote a note to the Pope announcing his departure for the next morning, and that as he should be with the King before Cardinal Caraffa, he wished to know whether his Holiness had any commands for him. Neither the Pope, nor the Duke of Paliano, nor any one else, sent him one word of reply, so, besides his long imprisonment, this additional mark of disesteem causes him to depart very ill satisfied.
It is understood that the Pope and his kinsfolk are rather angry because they have received neither letter nor advice from King Philip since the arrival at his Court on the 19th ultimo of the Bishop dell' Aquila. The Imperialists here attribute this delay to the Bishop's having found the King occupied with the distribution of his army, and with his move towards Brussels.
The Duke of Paliano is still in fear of not getting back his son, not having yet received any letters from France on the subject.
Since some days, the market-places here have been without bread, and what little was brought in the morning may be said to have been fought for; and there is in like manner a scarcity of fuel, grain, and other necessaries, the results of the inundation of the Tiber being now much more felt. Benevento has been reappointed commissary general, accepting the post after much entreaty, and has already issued a proclamation desiring everybody to give a note of all the grain they possess, within one day, under very heavy penalties, and it is said that he will thus obtain a supply, which, if distributed judiciously, will last until the provisions arrive from the March of Ancona and elsewhere.
An ambassador from the most serene King of Poland [Sigismund II., Augustus] arrived lately at Rome, but has not yet had audience of the Pope, and the cause of his coming is unknown. As it is believed to concern religion, the Cardinals complain that every Thursday his Holiness assembles the congregation of the Inquisition for the prosecution of an individual heretic, and then shows himself regardless of losing whole kingdoms such as Poland, leaving it without a nuncio; and doing the like with regard to what little (religion ?) remains in Germany, by not sending any one to the King of the Romans, and not even answering his Majesty's letters. The Cardinals also disapprove of the innovation about the letter posts, the Papal government (questi signori) having answered the French and the Imperialists that it is his Holiness' intention to have no other post office in Rome than his own, which will despatch all the couriers who depart hence, and all those who arrive with the letters are to go thither, consigning those of private individuals to the Pope's postmaster, and carrying those of crowned heads (quelle de' Principi) to their ambassadors. Yesterday they did thus by the “Procaccio” from Naples, when the Duke of Alva's resident, Signor Ascanio Caracciolo, complained of this as a violation of one of the articles of the peace stipulating that their offices and effects were to be restored to those who had been deprived of them on account of the war, amongst whom one is his postmaster, Giovanni Antonio de Tassis. They answered him that he must have patience, as such is the Pope's will, and he was heard to say that he thinks the said “Procaccio” will no longer be allowed to come, and that the one from Flanders will perhaps be stopped in like manner. The French say that their King will also stop the ordinary post from Lyons and not allow him to come, as the letters are to go into the hands of others than his own postmasters. In accordance herewith, I am told that they choose the letters brought for private individuals by your Serenity's couriers to be received in the house of the Pope's postmaster, and they moreover intend to deprive our postmaster of the post office of “Primaporta,” Matteo, who is now the Pope's postmaster, circulating a report throughout the bankers' quarter (per Banchi) that he will send letters for half the price charged by the Venetian couriers. Two causes are assigned for this change of post office regulations, which is considered of great importance and must reasonably displease all foreign powers, and may ruin trade in many quarters; the one, through this lucre, to provide for some of the Pope's dependents; the other and more momentous one being, to make sure of all letters passing through their hands, so as to enable them according to circumstances, they being hugely suspicious of everybody, to verify their doubts (volersene chiarire), it being said that they are highly skilled in opening and closing packets (perchè si dice che in aprire e serrar mazzi sono molto pratichi).
Rome, 6th November 1557.
Nov. 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1077. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
After my letter of the 31st ultimo the Duke de Guise was heard to be on the confines of Burgundy with an army of upwards of 10,000 men, including horse and foot, the greater part of the infantry being Switzers. It is also said that Polviler, (fn. 3) who was with King Philip's troops on those frontiers, has retired, not having a sufficient force to resist the French, and that after giving the last rate of pay to his soldiers, part of them returned to their homes and part went into France and joined the French army; but the hope they have here that the French will not advance rests entirely on the Switzers, who by ancient treaties with the House of Burgundy are bound not only not to attack that province, but also to defend it; it being said that those Switzers with M. de Guise have already protested to him that if he meditates an attack on Burgundy they do not intend to engage themselves.
The fortification of Han is being continued, nor is it in any way impeded by the French, who are intent on nothing but plundering those who pass to and fro between these frontiers. I am assured on good authority that peace with the most Christian King is talked of, and the Count de Feria lately gave it to be understood to some persons that King Philip will not show himself averse to the peace, the apparent cause being that his Majesty has great need to go to Spain to adjust the disorders of those realms, which are very great, and increase continually. Hitherto, however, this side has not commenced any negotiation for peace, there being merely letters from M. de Vaudemont to the Duchess of Lorraine promising that King Henry will not be averse to fair terms. The Duchess always gave them to King Philip to read, the last having been received a few days ago; but from what I am told his Majesty would not speak openly to the Duchess, perhaps that the matter may be treated more to his repute. Those who know his Majesty's respects consider it certain that through the Cardinals Caraffa and Trivulzi the whole of this affair will be treated and concluded, although Caraffa is much suspected by reason of the past events; and, to speak freely, he is considered very frivolous and fickle (molto vano et leggiero), both on account of several things said of him, as also from what he wrote in a letter to the most serene King, talking about his inclination towards this side. He wrote amongst other things that he has always been well affected towards his Majesty and faithful to him (affettionato et fedele a sua Maestà), and that the King himself can bear the best witness to his good faith and affection (della fede et affettione sua), which thing has been a topic amongst all these grandees, the adulation seeming too manifest. Nevertheless the wish had here for peace, or some other cause, be it what it may, induces a belief that through the medium of this Cardinal it will be effected.
The States were convoked, and it was proposed to them, in the King's name, to free the entire revenue, which the Emperor mortgaged down to the year 1561, the sum being very considerable. The States have not yet replied, and seem alarmed, the demand being so considerable that they say the thing is impossible; but the King insists, arguing that the war being waged here to keep the enemy at a distance, it is fair for them to pay the cost, and not to lay the burden on Spain, nor on his other realms, which derive no advantage from it. This will be long debated, nor is anything more said about regulating the prices of provisions, which are most exorbitant, the Court being crowded with personages from Germany and Italy, who, invited by the King's good fortune, come to serve him and obtain his favour.
Don Ferrante Gonzaga still continues indisposed; some of the physicians consider his malady mortal, whilst others pronounce it to be a tedious one and difficult to cure, but all of them declare it to be very dangerous, most especially in this damp and intemperate climate, so injurious to everybody, whether weak or strong, sound or unsound.
Brussels, 7th November 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Nov. 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1078. Giovanni Michiel, Ambassador elect in France, (fn. 4) to the Doge and Senate.
I arrived here to-day, and considering the passage of the Alps, the shortness of the days at this season, the very bad weather with water above and below, and the ice and snow, my journey has been expeditious. At Turin I found the Marshal de Brissac intent on defending himself against the Imperialists, though his ranks are thinner than they ought to be, the greater part of the soldiery having disbanded because their captains, being creditors for some ten months' pay, have not wherewithal to pay them, nor will the Marshal allow them to live at discretion on the territory like the Imperialists, but since the last orders from France the companies were being reinforced, and on the return thence of the horse and foot, he hoped to defend himself briskly against the enemy.
Of the disturbances caused within 10 leagues of this city by the events at Bourg-en-Bresse, I need only say that the people here have recovered from their panic, which was very great, as had affairs there gone amiss, Lyons was then so ill supplied with ammunition, artillery, and troops, that the townspeople and merchants sent away their most valuable effects; whereas now everything is pacific, and has returned to its former state. Advices dated the 1st instant announce that the enemy's forces were within four leagues of Besancon, in the Franche Comté, which is held by the Catholic King, they having halted there to defend the province against the Switzers, who threatened to attack it under pretence of its having conceded passage to the detriment of France, and broken its treaty with France and with the said Switzers. Others say that with this opportunity they seek to take the town of Salins, (fn. 5) which would be very convenient for them, on account of the salt works which supply the whole of that province and all the cantons; but although Berne, the most powerful of them, is said to be in arms, neither that one nor the others will stir without the consent and participation of the King of France.
Your Serenity will also have heard that the royal agents (ministri) here have suspended the interest of 16 per cent, due from the King to his creditors at the last two fairs, amounting to upwards of 200,000 golden crowns, requesting the merchants of various nations to accommodate him in his present need, offering recompense for the said interest; so although it displeased them, they agreed to make a fresh deposit of the aforesaid sum, receiving the same interest of 16 per cent. as a gift (di dono), and four for the capital, as on the other deposits, but with an especial assignment, so that he thus pays compound interest, for which reason these credits have fallen from 104 to 85.
Lyons, 8th November 1557.
Nov. 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1079. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
At next Christmas it has been determined to make the espousals (di fare il sponsalitio) of the Dauphin with the Queen of Scotland, but for the present the marriage will not be consummated, the Dauphin not having completed his 14th year, and because he is still of a very weak constitution (et per anchora ritrovandosi in assai debole qualità di persona).
The causes for hastening this marriage are apparently two; the first, to enable them more surely to avail themselves of the forces of Scotland against the kingdom of England for next year, and the other for the gratification of the Duke and Cardinal of Guise, the said Queen's uncles, who by the hastening this marriage chose to secure themselves against any other matrimonial alliance which might be proposed to his most Christian Majesty in some negotiation for peace, the entire establishment of their greatness having to depend on this; for which reason the Constable by all means in his power continually sought to prevent it.
When Don Francesco departed for Compiegne, the King made him a knight of the Order of St. Michael, with many marks of honour.
Poissy, 9th November 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Nov. 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1080. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
The disturbances in Spain render the King's presence there more necessary than ever, and another important reason for his thinking of peace is, the want of money with which to wage war, for besides having received but 400,000 crowns, or perhaps less, from the Indies, he does not expect a farther supply for some time; neither can he hope for anything, or but very little, from the merchants, as they all murmur at the resolve made in Spain, to limit the assignments given them heretofore. The dissatisfaction of the Genoese is such that their ambassador here speaks against the King so loudly that he has several times called him “Nero,” and “Tyrant,” and he said that Genoa will evince such resentment at this, that his Majesty will repent him of the resolve when repentance will no longer be of any use. Knowing that ambassador to be prudent and reserved, I should not have credited his having so greatly transgressed (trascorso) as was told me, but when he came to dine with me lately with some other Lords, he commenced speaking of the King in such a way as clearly to indicate a mind full of venom (un animo pieno di veneno), and I believe he would have spared no abuse, had not I who knew the thing turned the conversation on becoming accounts. This dissatisfaction on the part of the Genoese is moreover shared by all persons who have pecuniary transactions with his Majesty (che sono interessati con Sua Maestà), so that this resource failing him, and having no hope of assistance from the ordinary Indian supply, Spain likewise being exhausted by the forced exactions (li partiti extremi) levied for this war by Don Ruy Gomez, he is compelled to rely for money solely on these provinces, for which purpose the States were convoked, the proposal written by me being made to them, but as yet they have not replied, though all the representatives give it to be understood publicly that his Majesty demands what is impossible. This scarcity of money, although kept very secret, causes great anxiety, so that the chief personages listen very willingly to negotiations for peace; but the rest of the Court, and most especially the Spaniards, who are naturally audacious in prosperity, blame all those who think of peace; yet this universal opinion cannot prevail against necessity, which is often the foundation of (political ?) resolves (delle deliberationi). This is all that I know authentically about the peace; and although I do not hear that the affair is being negotiated, it is told me on good authority that his Majesty and all the chief members of the Council are much inclined towards it, for the reasons assigned by me, of want of money, and of the necessity for the King to go to Spain.
Brussels, 13th November 1557.
[Italian, in cipher; deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Nov. 13. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 1081. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Went to-day by appointment to the Pope, who, on rising from table, said the office and then withdrew into his chamber for the barber to trim his beard (per farsi acconciar dal Barbier), and when he came down, in reply to my congratulation on his very good looks, he said that he was performing his last day's journey; that he prayed the Lord God to grant him the grace to depart satisfied, and that he hoped in His divine mercy to obtain it, and that he should depart hence joyfully, like one who would rid himself of endless troubles, as he had never one hour's peace or repose. After listening to my rejoinder he embraced me, and continued, “We know not how our predecessors found time to gamble (di giocar), to play the wanton (di lussuriar), and to divert themselves. God forgive us if we sin in speaking thus, but we have this day been reading the life of St. Martin, who was a devout saint, first the soldier of Julian the Apostate, and then of Christ.
“We have but little news to tell you: the Legate our nephew has been for some days at Pisa with the Duke of Florence, who caressed and honoured him with such affection as his Excellency has always evinced towards us. The Cardinal wished to confer in that city with the Duke of Alva, which for the negotiation in hand would have been very desirable, but the Duke's arrival being delayed on account of the bad weather, which still continues, he departed on Friday. May God grant that he return with this palm of having concluded a good peace, we say a good one, because we should not wish for a peace like that of Cambrai, or like the truce made by them lately which caused all the past mischief, and the fire whereby this territory has been consumed, and had not we under the auspices and with the favour of the Signory extinguished it, it would now burn more than ever. Should they make peace through the mediation of the Vicar of Christ and of our agents, there is hope of its proving good, provided an expedition against the Turks be effected, in which we know not how easily we could persuade our Signory of Venice to join, her cities being exposed to their fury, and because of the Venetian trade with Turkey, and were we commissioned to exhort her to that effect we should take time to reply, knowing moreover how you were treated on a former occasion. If these Kings make peace through the medium of our Legates and of the Signory's ambassador, and every one have his share, it will go well, but otherwise we shall always doubt the result, and it will be necessary to open our eyes, as one and the other are bad lads, both of them are barbarians (perchè sono mali garzoni l'uno et l'altro, tutti doi sono barbari); and we must look around with Argus' eyes and keep provided, because one of two things will happen, either they will make peace or remain at war, in the which war should Sultan Soliman see King Philip to be the gainer, he will not fail to succour King Henry, as statecraft (ragion di Stato) requires it; and the Sultan is understood already to have even offered him money, which he never did previously; so that the Turks will be in Italy, and even if the French and Spaniards make terms, the Signory will be compelled to give them passage, in which case the Turk also will arm; nor can this be otherwise than detrimental to us, as we may dread a flood (una piena) through the agreement between these princes. We talk thus, like an old man, leaving your most prudent senators, who are so experienced in state-government, to ponder my words; nor will I omit to say that the best remedy against the tremendous and formidable power of Sultan Soliman, so much dreaded by all Christendom, is to foresee the peril, and apply such remedies as possible, in order not to be taken unawares.”
The four Cardinals deputed to draw up the process against Cardinal Morone [Vice-Protector of England], were sent to the Castle yesterday by the Pope, who said to them that they were to go and to act in such a way that it was to be the last time. After my audience these four Cardinals came to his Holiness to report to him what they had done, which with difficulty can be discovered, as it does not get beyond those four and the Pope, even the other Cardinals of the Inquisition knowing nothing of it.
Rome, 13th November 1557.
Nov. 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1082. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
After remaining a day at Compiegne, the King returned to Paris M. de Nevers (fn. 6) had the King informed that he wished to discuss a matter of importance with him, for the benefit of his affairs, but his Majesty, not choosing him to leave those parts, replied that he would send thither M. de Guise, and go himself in person to Compiegne, as he did, to be present at the consultation, when it was determined to assemble the greatest amount of troops possible, which will not be less than 20,000 infantry, besides the cavalry, for the purpose of taking Chauni and fortifying it, and if they succeed it will seem to them to have done much, owing to the great importance of that place; they being of opinion that when it is fortified, the places which have been lost will be of very little importance to this kingdom. This undertaking being effected, they will then garrison all the fortresses with such number of troops as necessary, disbanding all the superfluous soldiery. They already intend to dismiss 4,000 Switzers of the 10,000 in these parts, who for this winter will return to their homes; and the 6,000 in the territory of La Bresse will be reduced to 2,000, all of which together with the rest of the other troops will remain where they are, although the suspicion of those German troops in the Franche Comté is quite at an end, it seeming that from want of money they had in great part dispersed themselves, and that the remainder would join the forces of the King of England for the sake of pay.
The Duke of Ferrara's envoy Fiaschino has not yet been despatched, nor as yet is it heard that his most Christian Majesty has a mind either to send, troops into Piedmont, or to give farther assistance to his Excellency; and from what I hear on good authority, all the Duke of Ferrara (sic) [Parma ?] desires, is to obtain favour from the King of France, so that with more honour and more to his advantage he may stipulate an agreement which is being treated by the Duke of Ferrara. His Majesty inspected the fortifications at Compiegne, where he commenced in particular a stone bulwark.
Concerning the benefices of Cardinal Farnese, I wrote that an abbacy had been given to the Cardinal of Sens, (fn. 7) but I heard subsequently that he had it from Cardinal Farnese, some say by purchase; nor have his other benefices been disposed of, but remain as before, and Cardinal Farnese is doing his utmost to convince the King that he has no share whatever in the proceedings of his brother the Duke of Parma.
Poissy, 14th November 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Nov. 14. Original Despatch Venetian Archives. 1083. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
The Duke of Savoy having been ordered by the King to return to this city after leaving the fortress well provided, his Excellency has departed from Han, that place being able in one direction to defend itself, and the rest of the works are still in progress. The Duke is gone with horse and foot towards the French territory. It is believed that he will march his troops hither through the enemy's country in order not to harass King Philip's provinces, and to use his own words, “to bid goodbye to the French” (et per lasciar, come lui dice, la ben andata a' Francesi). This soldiery, on their arrival here with the Duke, will be disbanded, except those destined for the frontiers, who will go into garrison in the places appointed them.
From Burgundy there is an advice that Polvilliers still remains there with some 8,000 infantry, and quarters them at discretion in the territory, until the order be given by the King either to pay or dismiss them; and to hasten this matter an envoy arrived here express a few days ago with news that the French troops are still on those confines, but have done no hurt to Burgundy, from which province a gentleman had been despatched to the Switzers to negotiate in King Philip's name with two of those cantons whose troops are in the service of France, that they should desire them not to act hostilely against this crown, contrary to treaties between the parties; and according to report Berne, which is one of the cantons, has already consented, and the like was hoped with regard to the other one. The danger in that quarter is thus provided for, and in the meanwhile they are endeavouring to provide funds for the payment of Polvillier's troops that they may not ravage the territory.
Count de' Populi, the Pope's nephew, and King Philip's Captain-General of the light horse in the kingdom of Naples, has come hither in haste so as to arrive here before Cardinal Caraffa. He makes it appear that he is come to pay his respects to his Majesty, and for no other purpose; but I am told that it is not merely for this but for something of more importance, though as yet I am unable to discover what it is.
The Cardinal of Trent has not yet arrived, but is expected in a few days, and many of Cardinal Caraffa's attendants begin to arrive. Monsignor Fantuzo is waiting for him at Louvain, that they may make their entry into Brussels together.
Don Ferrante Gonzaga is very ill, the opinion being that he cannot live for many days. Lately his son, Signor Cesare, a youth of very fine and most noble intellect, and who professes to be your Serenity's most loving servant, said to me in the course of a long conversation that his father had been very ill-treated, and that although every one knows how much his counsel has assisted King Philip in this war, the King himself showing by word of mouth that he acknowledges it, Don Ruy Gomez doing the like, yet nevertheless as yet n effective demonstration has been witnessed of the many that might have been made; and I know that this Signor Cesare aspired to be made gentleman of his Majesty's chamber, but as yet he has not had the appointment; so both Don Ferrante and all those who depend on him show themselves very dissatisfied, and believe that the demonstrations made in favour of him were more for the sake of appearance than for anything else. Signor Cesare expressed himself thus, that both the French and the Spaniards are all of one fashion; that in need they worship every one, and in prosperity they despise those who were the authors of their welfare, most especially if they are Italians.
Brussels, 14th November 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]


  • 1. Vettor Soranzo was deprived of the see of Bergamo by Paul IV., in full consistory, but the Pope did not get possession of his person, for he died in Venice, nor was anything elicited from him against Pole, Morone, and Priuli.
  • 2. Michele Ghislieri, a native of Alessandria, supreme inquisitor, and who was elected Pope with the title of Pius V. on the 7th January 1566. (See Cardella, vol. 4, p. 361.)
  • 3. Baron Nicolas de Polvilliers, a subject of the Duke of Savoy. (See Père Daniel, vol. 9, p. 844.)
  • 4. Giovanni Michiel's last despatch from London, dated 26th January 1557, has been printed in this volume; on the following 29th May he made his “Report” of England to the Senate, and later in the year he was appointed ambassador to Henry II., thus replacing Soranzo, who had preceded him, in like manner, at the Court of Queen Mary.
  • 5. Salins in the Jura, four leagues N. of Poligny. (See Malte-Brun.)
  • 6. François de Cleves. (See the late Sir William Hackett's Index to Foreign Calendar, “Mary.”)
  • 7. Jean Bertrand. (See the late Sir William Hackett's Index to Foreign Calendar, “Mary.”)