Venice: November 1557, 16-30

Pages 1370-1382

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, 16–30

Nov 17. MS., St. Mark's Library, Cod. XXIV. el. x. p. 187 verso. 1084. Cardinal Pole to Father Miranda. (fn. 1)
This letter will be given to you by the Abbot Gorio, from whom you will hear what I have to tell you. I am certain that the nature of the case is sufficient to induce you to exert all your energy about it for the service of God, and recommend it to you with my whole heart, praying you to give every direction and assistance to the said Abbot, and to communicate everything to him as to myself. You will also hear from him my reply to what you wrote about your nomination to the Archbishopric of Toledo, concerning which I had already written to you, (fn. 2) and congratulated myself with the King on so good and holy an election.
London, 17th November 1557.
Nov. 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1085. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
News came that the troops of the King of Spain had evacuated Noyon and Chauni, which places M. de Guise occupied immediately, but it was heard subsequently that the Spaniards had again mustered 17,000 infantry and 7,000 horse, and with the Duke of Savoy showed themselves within two leagues of Compeigne, on hearing which the French forces abandoning Noyon and Chauni retreated thither. On the night of the 14th the Duke of Savoy quartered himself at Noyon, and then retired with his forces, who burned everything on their passage, and it is believed to-day they are out of the French territory, the Flemings returning to Flanders, and the Germans to Germany; but on their march they continue burning, leaving only 6,000 infantry in St. Quentin, 4,000 in Han, and 1,000 in Le Catelet. After the passage of the said troops, 300 horse went out of La Fère and Guise, and captured 50 of the enemy's provision carts, and although 2,000 cavalry pursued them, they got safe into Peronne. Prisoners report that in the Spanish camp they suffer greatly from want of victuals and of bread; and that the Duke of Savoy, though intending to retreat, chose first to lay waste the whole territory, to prevent the French from encamping under any of the captured fortresses.
Chauni was burned almost completely by the enemy, so it is doubtful whether they will fortify it, or whether it would not be better to find another preferable site, but the general belief is that it will be fortified. M. de Guise continues mustering troops at Compiegne, where he has got together some 16,000 infantry; and M. de Nevers is gone into Champagne to raise another body of troops there. Four days ago Marshal Strozzi departed from Compiegne with a single servant, and on returning thither he by order of M. de Guise came here to the Court, where he had a long conversation with the King. It is now said that M. de Guise will be here in two days, and although the affair proceeds with all possible secrecy, I hear on good authority that the expedition of Luxemburg is purposed, to which effect Strozzi went incognito to reconnoitre the fortresses there, the King wishing that during this winter some expedition should be made, he having already incurred the cost of the troops. Strozzi reports the enterprise to be easy when the season promises more propitious weather, but he rather dissuades the King from undertaking it than otherwise; nor does the Duke de Guise assent to it in any way, and will come to the Court to advise against it; but the King remains firm, choosing the difficulties of the season to be overcome, as the weather is now very fine. It is intended to make the expedition with few cavalry to diminish the difficulty about provisions, but the greater part of the nobility of France are assembled at Compiegne. I also hear from a great personage that there is some project on foot for the recovery of Le Catelet, which if effected, and if St. Quentin and Han remain in the hands of the King of England, he would find it more difficult to keep them than it is at present; and as the fortification of St. Quentin is greatly commended here, so that of Han is condemned, much fault being found both with the construction of the bulwarks, and with the site of their foundation.
His most Christian Majesty has been informed lately from several quarters that King Philip intends presently to cross over to England, and these advices continuing, they begin to obtain credit, so it is debated whether he will cross armed or unarmed. Should he go with an army it is supposed that, under pretence of wishing to assist England against the Scots, his design is to establish himself there firmly by force of arms (con maggior fundamento) than hitherto; but still many believe that he will cross to Spain, and return to these parts in the spring, in order to hold the Cortes in Spain, and obtain money, whereas by delaying to assemble the Cortes, he does himself great harm, though, at any rate, his passage to Spain is much desired at this Court.
The German troops, who were near Bourg-en-Bresse and retreated, seem now to be again marching towards Lorraine, the French troops following, to prevent them from doing anything of importance; the Bernese retreat in like manner, his Majesty not having chosen to assent to the attack on the Franche Comté, nor could they make it alone, from want of cavalry. The King has determined that the 2,000 French infantry, who crossed the Alps with the Switzers, are to return to Piedmont; but the Switzers are reduced from 4,000 to 2,000, for when the King sent to replace the missing half with fresh levies they sent him such sorry troops that he rejected them; and should this be of any benefit to the Duke of Ferrara the King will be well pleased, but Fiaschino does not seem to hope to obtain anything more. Inquiry was civilly made of me in the name of the Cardinal of Lorraine, whether it was true that you had been authorised by the King of England to reconcile (di accordare) the Duke of Ferrara to the Duke of Parma, which advice was received by his most Christian Majesty from Rome; and my answer was that I had heard nothing whatever. Cardinal Farnese has written to King Henry, to Queen Catherine, and to all the chief personages of the Court, denying having had any share in the resolves of the Duke his brother (per volersi giustificar che lui non è stato partecipe delle deliberationi del Duca suo fratello), and in his letter to the King, as told me by a person who read it, he says that he regrets being Duke Ottavio's brother; but the King most assuredly bears the said Cardinal very ill will, laying to his charge a great part of these resolves. (fn. 3)
The ambassador my successor was to leave Lyons on the 12th, so I expect him from day to day, and immediately after his audience of the King I shall depart on my way to your Serenity's feet.
Poissy, 20th November 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Nov. 20. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 1086. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
I hear that the witnesses, when giving their evidence against Cardinal Morone, prevaricate (variano), and that an autograph writing of his has been found, which he sent heretofore to Milan, to Gallo the Vicar of the Cardinal of Ferrara, telling him his opinion about the mode of preaching upon the important affairs of the faith which are alleged against him; and that the writing is most christian being derived from the depths of holy writ (cavata dalle viscere della scrittura sacra.)
Rome, 20th November 1557.
Nov. 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1087. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday evening M. de Guise had the King informed that the German troops at Compiegne, in number about 5,000 infantry, had threatened mutiny, they being creditors for four months' pay, and complaining that the cost of victuals was increasing (andava cressendo), so his Excellency made a pressing demand for the transmission of money to quiet the troops before open mutiny, as also to prevent the rest of the army from doing the like. The King sent the Cardinal of Lorraine to Paris immediately to obtain pecuniary supply, which begins to be scarce, so that the light horse and a great part of the infantry were allowed lately to live in many places at discretion, though it is confirmed in every quarter that the money will be forthcoming, and, according to report, very great supplies are being provided. Owing to this fresh accident M. de Guise will not come to the Court at present, as was expected, and Marshal Strozzi departed hence to-day on his way to his Excellency at Compiegne, nor as yet has any decision been formed about the Luxemburg expedition, or against any other place, it seeming on the contrary that this casualty has added greater difficulties.
The troops of the King of Spain are understood to be already out of the French territory, except those in garrison in the captured fortresses, and they are said to have done great damage by sacking and burning whatever they could, so that they destroyed the whole country through which they passed. The Marshal de St. André and the Count Rhinegrave, who are prisoners to the Duke of Brunswick in Germany, are negotiating that Duke's entry into the French service with a good number of cavalry, and it is hoped the treaty will succeed.
A knight of Rhodes has arrived at the Court, sent by the new Grand Master, who is a native of Provence, (fn. 4) he having been first to the Court of the King of Spain, where the Constable gave him letters of favour for King Henry. The chief cause of his coming is to convoke the knights in this kingdom and elsewhere universally, and to obtain export-permits for grain for the island of Malta, as they say they hear that next year Sultan Soliman will undertake that expedition, so they are preparing for their defence. The aforesaid knight reports that the Grand Master has (haverà) 300,000 crowns ready money, with which he intends to make a new fortification on the island, at a place where it can be surrounded by the sea, thus rendering it impregnable. (fn. 5)
Captain Polino (fn. 6) has arrived at the Court, and at the request of the Duke de Guise and the Cardinal the King will deprive him of the command of the fleet and confer it on one of their brothers, the Grand Prior of France. (fn. 7)
Poissy, 21st November 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Nov. 23. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 1088. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
To-day at 2 p.m., the hour appointed me by the Pope, I found in the antechamber the Cardinal Dean, the Cardinals Cesis, Reumano, Sermoneta, and Consiglieri, the ambassadors of France, of England, and of Florence, and the Commissary-General, whom his Holiness heard first, then the ambassador of Florence, when it being already night, he called me, saying, “We will despatch you, and as for the others they must take patience for to-day, whether they like it or not.” I said that I would perform my business quickly, and told him of the commission given me by your Serenity about the death of the Archbishop of Nicosia, (fn. 8) narrating to him the importance of the kingdom of Cyprus, and the need of that See to have a primate resident there; as also the wish of your Sublimity to have it conferred on one of your noblemen on whom you can rely. He replied, “May God accept in peace the Archbishop's soul, pardoning him the error of not having been at his church;” and he expressed surprise at the past Popes who had allowed that kingdom to be for so long a while without its Archbishop, commending your Serenity for not having nominated one person rather than another, as temporal princes ought to leave spiritual matters to be ruled by those who have become old in their management, and have this charge; as they sometimes recommend certain persons, seeing merely the bark, whereas had their interior been known they would not have been recommended; nor can it be supposed that the people can be ruled without religion, for even in other times the false religion assisted the governments, and therefore Numa Pompilius introduced (introdusse) the nymph Egeria to restrain the people, others availing themselves of other inventions.
Rome, 23rd November 1557.
Nov. 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1089. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Cardinal of Lorraine went to Paris to raise pecuniary supply for transmission to Compiegne, and on arriving there sent for some of the chief persons, who are also the most wealthy, owing to many favours bestowed on them by the Crown of France, and told them that the King had now need of 120,000 crowns, and that as there was no speedier way to find that sum than to ask it of them as a loan, he requested them in his Majesty's name to accommodate him with it immediately; and to set them a good example, his right reverend Lordship offered to lend 10,000 crowns of his own, as he did; so all of them consenting to contribute, the money was paid, and few were those who lent less than 4,000 crowns, the sum total being then sent to Compiegne. Thus the commencement of the mutiny is quite quelled.
M. de Nevers, who went into Champagne to raise troops, joined those who had been destined for Bourg-en-Bresse, with others in Champagne, thus mustering 6,000 Switzers, 4,000 Germans, and about 5,000 Frenchmen, with 2,000 horse, and a good number of artillery. It is understood that he is in marching order for the province of Luxemburg, and matters proceeding very secretly, it is not known in detail what expedition he will undertake, though the public report is that he will merely go to victual Marienburg. In this other direction, M. de Guise is at Compiegne, he also being ready to march with about the same number of troops, and he has already sent much artillery in advance to a place from whence he may either take the road to the Luxemburg territory, or elsewhere, as he shall think most to the purpose. His decision will depend on the way in which he sees the enemy proceed, they not being all out of France as reported, some of them having halted on the confines between St. Quentin and Guise; and, according to the last advices, they had retreated a day's march farther into the interior, and the Duke of Savoy had left the army.
M. de Termes went to inspect Chauni, and found it much more destroyed than was at first believed, and on returning to M. de Guise it is understood that they determined to build a new Chauni on this side of the river Oise, and to fortify it strongly, doing the like by Noyon and Cussy. Almost all the nobility of France are with M. de Guise, and they are said to number about 4,000 horse, and from all quarters tents, pavilions, and other necessaries for warfare are being sent to the army, together with such supplies of every sort that they do not seem to imply a campaign of merely a few days.
In these parts the King pays 104 ensigns of Frenchmen and 64 of Switzers and Germans, and although the French companies are incomplete, the foot soldiers paid by his Majesty exceed 60,000.
Some days ago an ambassador from Portugal arrived here postwise, on his way to King Philip, and obtained a passport from his Majesty to cross the frontiers; but two posts beyond Senlis, riding on (correndo tuttavia), he was assaulted by 10 blacksmith-cavalry, with the red bands, (fn. 9) who took away from him all his valises, and departed without doing farther harm either to the ambassador or to any of his attendants. The ambassador then returned hither and complained to the King, who evinced much regret, promising to write to the Duke de Guise, and to take such other steps as necessary, but as yet nothing has been discovered, and the ambassador says that in the valises there were 8,000 crowns in cash, and jewels worth 3,000 crowns. As this assault took place far from the frontier it seemed impossible for it to have been made by the troops of the King of England, which with great difficulty could have advanced so far into the interior; and it is therefore suspected that those valises were carried off, not so much for the money, as to intercept any despatch which the ambassador might have been bringing from the Emperor to the King of England, as similar letters have often been found in the packets of these Portuguese ambassadors.
Two ambassadors have come from the Queen of Hungary (fn. 10) in her own name, and that of her son King Stephen, to demonstrate the injuries done to their Majesties by the King of the Romans. They made three demands of his most Christian Majesty; first, that their King would wish for a French wife, suited to his station; secondly, that King Henry should recommend him to Sultan Soliman, and urge the latter especially to restore to him the Duchy of Temeswar, which the Sultan had in ward, to prevent its falling into the hands of the King of the Romans, under promise of giving it back to King Stephen, on his arriving at a suitable age as at present, he being now 19 years old. Thirdly, Queen Elizabeth requests his Majesty to send an ambassador to her King, with orders to proceed to Constantinople to favour King Stephen's affairs, whenever requested. They gave it to be understood that they have great need of these favours, owing to the endless insolent treatment of their country by the Turks; so they hope that should the King of France consent to give their King a wife dependant on him, and simultaneously send this ambassador to the Turk, he would pay greater respect to Hungary than he has done hitherto. Although at this Court there is no woman to suit his purpose, the King of France will not fail to show him all suitable favour, as he being the enemy of the King of the Romans, the French interests will thus be benefited.
As a present for the King, the ambassadors brought a mineral specimen of a mountain in Transylvania, containing much gold; and to the Queen and other chief personages of the Court they gave certain other pieces of another sort of mineral found in a river in their country, and which also contain much gold.
Compiegne, 26th November 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Nov. 27. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 1090. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
For the purpose of praying God for the peace, the Pope has published a jubilee in Rome and the district, of which I enclose the printed copy.
Of this peace there is little hope here, and the English Ambassador told my secretary that he sees peace to be very difficult, and the truce almost impossible, because King Philip will not give an opportunity to the King of France to recruit his forces, nor consent to his retaining, by means of a truce, all that he has occupied belonging to others; especially as the Catholic King may have hope of making some progress in France, now that he is master of England; for although heretofore the King of England made war on the French to favour the Emperor, he nevertheless always had an eye not to depress the most Christian King so much, and to make the Emperor so great as to give France cause to fear him, and he therefore endeavoured to preserve the balance, which is no longer considered, now that the same person holds the realms and states which the Emperor and the kingdom of England had; and concerning this matter of peace the French ambassador said to me that to effect this cure, it is necessary first of all to draw blood.
The Commissary-General, and the right reverend the Dean, to whom the Pope referred the lawsuit of the Queen of France [Catherine de' Medici] about the estates of the late Cardinal de' Medici and of Duke Alessandro, the greater part of which passed to Madame [Margaret] of Austria, now the wife of Duke Ottavio Farnese, have pronounced sentence prout in ceduld, about part of said estates, viz., a deposit of 20,000 crowns, comprising many particulars. (fn. 11)
Rome, 27th November, 1557.
Nov. 27. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1091. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
The troops with the Duke of Savoy who went to ravage France have been repulsed by the French with considerable loss, and the Duke will be here in two days, returning postwise, having at the frontiers dismissed his remaining troops, without, however, paying them entirely.
It is confirmed that the King of France is on these frontiers with a large army corps, so King Philip, who went to hunt, returned yesterday to make the necessary provision, not to resist with an army in the field, which he has no thought of doing, but merely for the defence of the frontiers; nor, in fact, could he give battle, the whole of the Duke of Savoy's army being already disbanded (disfatto). The only troops remaining are in the fortresses, which are very well supplied with soldiers, but the fortifications are not secure, most especially those of Han and St. Quentin, nor are they sufficiently victualled. To supply this deficiency, the Duke of Savoy advanced into France, but not having succeeded, provisions must be sent from hence, where the scarcity is already insupportable; and another difficulty is that of pecuniary supply, about which cabinet councils are held daily. It has been projected to make a loan thus, that his Majesty's ancient creditors who have no fixed security (assegnamenti), on supplying him at present with other sums, are within a certain time to be repaid what they now disburse, and with as much more besides (et di altrettanta somma appresso), on account of their old credits; and the Fuggers were the first to lend 200,000 crowns, the King binding himself to repay this sum, and an equal amount of their old credits, with the first money received by him, viz. what came lately from the Indies, and which is expected here shortly. On these terms it would be easy to raise a large sum of money, but it is not easy to find assignments as security for the contractors, all the King's revenues being mortgaged; so his Majesty's present and future need being urgent, he has willed to lay hands (ha voluto metter le mani) on the 700,000 ducats belonging to the merchants, which came from the Indies, and although the parties concerned (li interessati) complain of it, they must nevertheless take patience, and be satisfied with such security as they can get. With this money and with the 200,000 obtained from the Fuggers several of his Majesty's debts in these provinces will be paid, and they are sending some 60,000 or 70,000 ducats to Duke Ottavio Farnese for the costs incurred by him in that quarter.
The Diet of these States has not yet formed any resolve, but as they have complained that the greater part of the vast sums given by them to the King are squandered (dissipata) by his ministers, he has ordained that for the future they are to make such payments as necessary, without their passing through the hands of the court officials, and has desired that a note be given them of the moneys required for the custody of the frontiers and other necessary expenses; which is merely for the sake of making the States consent more easily to the contribution, as should any of the ministers wish to enrich themselves this measure will not prevent them from doing so.
Brussels, 27th November 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Nov. 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1092. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
I this day received your Serenity's letter, with the instruction relating to the affairs of the Duke of Ferrara. This negotiation is in the hands of the Duke of Alva, commissioned by the King to adjust it, and I understand that the Duke of Ferrara will be satisfied. I am told that King Philip shows himself inclined towards this agreement, especially because he sees Duke Ottavio [Farnese] to be slow and tardy in that war, and has suspicion of the Duke of Florence, his Excellency attending apparently to nothing but his own interest, and that therefore they can promise themselves nothing from him. A few days ago one of the King's chief councillors told the Florentine ambassador that his Majesty has no cause to commend him, as his Excellency had been more prompt to take possession of Sienna than to abide by the articles of the treaty and by his promises. This reproof made the ambassador lose heart, so that he abandoned the negotiation he had in hand for the peace with Ferrara, and the affair which he was treating about the privilege for the investiture of Sienna (privilegio della investitura di Siena). The hatred of this Court to the Duke of Florence increases, and the persons who consented to Sienna being given him (che se li dia Siena) are loudly vituperated, the King's confessor, on the contrary, and the others who opposed the grant being applauded.
Peace with France is most earnestly desired, though not much hoped for, unless it take place through Cardinal Caraffa, who for this sole reason is anxiously expected; as for the rest, no one approves of his coming (che per il resto non è niuno che lo veda volentieri a venire).
I had almost forgotten to write that the English gained lately a great victory over the Scots, having routed and dispersed their army and captured many chief lords and gentlemen.
The Duke of Savoy arrived here an hour ago.
Brussels, 28th November 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Nov. 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. (2nd letter.) 1093. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
His Majesty's troops in Burgundy have disbanded completely, and that expedition has vanished into smoke (è andata in fumo), although at the commencement it seemed to have some foundation, (fn. 12) viz. the arrangement made by these ministers to occupy one of the gates of the city of Lyons. The Burgundians offered to go themselves to perform that undertaking, it seeming to them that they might succeed better than the others from being nearer at hand and having more experience of the country (et più pratici del paese); (fn. 13) but the Bishop of Arras (fn. 14) gave counsel that this enterprise should be confided to Polvilliers, a man very well adapted to affairs of that sort, and who has many followers in Alsatia and on those frontiers; he is also the creature of his right reverend Lordship. The plot having failed, the Bishop is accused of having recommended Polvilliers, not for the public benefit but on private accounts, as being the enemy of all the Burgundians and especially of M. de Ri [Rieux ?] who offered to perform this exploit, he would not consent to its being accomplished by their hands; so his right reverend Lordship has left the Court, and is residing at a place of his near Antwerp until this hurricane (queste furie) blows over. Thus everything in the Council of State here is very ill-regulated, from the desire each of its members has to humble his colleague, and if these times and fashions last, such a one who is now in a very lofty position may easily fall into an abyss. On the Duke of Alva's arrival, some great novelty will possibly be witnessed, although that personage did a thing lately which has greatly displeased the King and is exaggerated by his Excellency's adversaries. The fact is that the Duke asked the Pope for the concession of certain property (certi beni) in Spain, belonging to one of the military and religious orders there, held heretofore by the Grand Commendator Covos; and it has seemed very strange that as this grant appertains to the King in right of his “sanction” (per ragione della sua pragmatica), the Duke of Alva should have chosen to ask this benefice of the Pope without a word from his Majesty. It is therefore supposed that the Duke has a secret understanding with his Holiness, whose interests he favours more than those of the King; but with all this his Excellency has so many adherents and such great authority (tanto seguito et tanta auttorità), most especially in these times when men are so much needed, that his coming hither is dreaded by all those who are not of his party, and Don Ruy Gomez, perhaps from fear of inability to resist single-handed so many who envy him, is uniting himself (si va restringendo) with the Count de Feria, whose repute augments daily. The Cardinal of Trent [Cristoforo Mandrucci] is here for his private affairs, all of which consist in obtaining honours and pecuniary reward for his services from the King. The Count di Populi and Ascanio dalla Cornia are attempting the like, and both in public and private they say so much evil of the Pope and of Cardinal Caraffa, that they discredit themselves, and most especially the Count di Populi, who being his Holiness' nephew, ought rather to excuse and defend him, or at least moderate his abuse. Garcilasso de la Vega, who arrived two days ago, also performs the same offices, and all these personages tell the King that he would do well not to allow Cardinal Caraffa to depart hence, so as thus to make sure of the Pope, which advice, should it reach the Cardinal's ears, will perhaps prevent him from continuing his journey. Don Garcilasso's arrival has caused the King to appoint his Maggiordomo, Don Diego de Azevedo, ambassador to the Pope, this having somewhat relieved me from my doubt of their giving this post to the ambassador Vargas, sending subsequently to your Serenity in his stead, Don Diego de Mendoza; though I am not quite free from this suspicion, it being said that Don Diego de Azevedo is not going to Rome as resident ambassador, but solely for the performance of this first office, to which effect he will depart in two days.
Brussels, 28th November 1557.
[Italian partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Nov. 29. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1094. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The day before last Monsieur de la Brochia [De la Brosse ?] Lieutenant of the Duke de Guise and in great favour with him, came to tell the King in his Excellency's name, that he the Duke was ready to march on receiving any command from him, but that it was his opinion and that of the whole army, that the season being so far advanced nothing of importance for his Majesty's service could be done, as were any expedition to be undertaken, it would be principally necessary to effect it with a good number of cavalry, which being now scarce, and in bad condition, owing to the late affairs, might be reduced even to a much worse state than at present, whereas on the contrary if left to repose during the winter there might be hopes in the spring of its doing good service; so he prayed the King to be content that for the present winter things should pass without making any farther expedition. This advice being much favoured here by the Cardinal of Lorraine, the King sent back Monsieur de la Brochia to Compiegne to tell the Duke that although his Majesty would have wished that some expedition should have been attempted, he desires a fresh consultation should be held by M. de Guise, with the counsel of those other Lords, who, being on the spot and knowing the disposition of the soldiers, and other necessary particulars, better than they can be known by those who are at a distance, may be enabled to form conclusions with which the King would be satisfied. The chief personages of the Court are therefore of opinion that no fresh undertaking will be attempted at present, and that it is for the King's interest to attend to fortifying Chauni and the other places about which I wrote, and it has also been determined to do the like by Nesle near Peronne, and Guise will be rendered more secure than it is at present. M. de Guise will therefore perhaps advance with the troops to recover (rivoler) the frontiers, he in person garrisoning all the places strongly, in which case the 104 ensigns of French infantry will be reduced to 40 complete companies, the rest being disbanded, and all the Switzers and Germans will be retained. I have also heard on good authority that his Excellency desires the delay greatly for his own personal advantage, it seeming to him that at this commencement of his rule, to begin with an undertaking of such difficult success could not but vastly disparage his repute.
The ambassadors (fn. 15) from Portugal have again complained most bitterly to his Majesty of the assault narrated by me, and subsequently the King sent Don Juan de Luna to assure them that he will not fail to satisfy them according to law (in quello che porterà la giustitia). Don Juan found them greatly exasperated, both on account of the loss they have suffered, as also because such steps as would be fitting are not taken for their indemnity; and the ambassador on his way to the King of Spain told De Luna that after the robbery he went to Compiegne, where his attendants saw two of the “blacksmiths” who plundered him, and although he told this to M. de Guise, his Excellency nevertheless made no provision whatever. In conclusion they said they knew they had been robbed not so much for the sake of taking their money, as to see if they had a packet of letters from the Emperor, but that not having found any, by so much the more would it be fitting to restore their money and jewels; and that should they be put off with fair words, they will make the whole case known in detail as it took place to their Queen, (fn. 16) and to the council of the kingdom, who they were certain would protest and not endure such an outrage. But their suit has been referred to the privy council, and it seems that in fact no step of importance has been taken.
Poissy, 29th November 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]


  • 1. Bortolomeo Carranaa de Miranda, Archbishop of Toledo; he was consecrated at Brussels by the Bishop of Arras in the church of the Dominicans on the 27th February 1558; received the confession of Charles V. on his death bed, on the 21st September in that year, and was arrested by the Inquisition in Spain on the 28th August 1559. After being confined there in the dungeons of the “Holy Office” for upwards of a year, he was transferred to the prisons of the Inquisition at Rome. Pope Pius IV, suspended him from his functions for five years; after which sentence he was released, and retiring to a convent in Rome, died there in the year 1576. (See L'Art de Vérifier les Dates, p. 822, ed. Paris, 1770), and Bibliothèque Sacrée, vol. 6, pp. 112–116, where it is stated that the trial, which commenced in the reign of Pius IV., was continued by Pius V., and terminated by Gregory XIII. in 1576, on the 2nd of May.
  • 2. See note, 3rd October, 1557, ante.
  • 3. On the 1st of October 1557, Ottavio Farnese, Duke of Parma, took Monticoli and the Castle of S. Polo from the Duke of Parma, the ally of France. (See Andrea Morosini, vol. 2, p. 298.)
  • 4. By name Jean de la Valette, elected on the 21st August 1557. (See L'Art de Vérifier les Dates.)
  • 5. The Grand Master realized this project in the year 1566. (See Busching's Geography, Italian translation, vol. 25 b, p. 185.)
  • 6. About Captain Polino, alias Escalin Antoine, alias Baron de la Garde. See the late Sir William Hackett's Index to Foreign Calendar, “Mary;” and Brantome, “Hommes Illustres et Grande Capitaines,” vol. 2, p. 371.
  • 7. Marquis d'Elbœuf, General of the Galleys of France, youngest brother of the House of Guise. (See Foreign Calendar, “Mary,” p. 264.)
  • 8. By name Andrea Centani. (See Le Quien, vol. 3, column 1230.)
  • 9. St. George's red cross, in contradistinction to the white lily of France; the blacksmith highwaymen thus giving it to be understood that they were in the service of the King of England, and not of France.
  • 10. Elizabeth, daughter of Sigismund King of Poland, and widow of John Zapolski; her son, who was christened Stephen, as in this despatch, is commonly called John Sigismund. (See L'Art de Vérifier les Dates.)
  • 11. Lawsuit between Catherine di Medici and Margaret of Austria. See also post, date 19th February 1558.
  • 12. The object of the expedition was to seize Lyons. (See Père Daniel, vol. 9, p. 844.)
  • 13. The County of Burgundy, 90 miles in length, and 60 in breadth, was bounded on the east by Switzerland, on the west by the Duchy of Burgundy (held by France), on the south by Savoy, and on the north by Lorraine and Upper Germany. The inhabitants of the county of Burgundy were staunch to King Philip. (See Report of Spain by Federico Badoer (1556–1557), in Alberi's collection, series 1, vol. 3, p. 299.)
  • 14. The Bishop of Arras was a native of Besançon, in the county of Burgundy.
  • 15. Namely, the one resident at the Court of King Henry, the other passing through France on his way to King Philip.
  • 16. Catherine of Austria, sister of the Emperor Charles V., and widow of John III., King of Portugal, who died on the 6th or 7th June 1557.