Venice: July 1555, 16-31

Pages 138-145

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 6, 1555-1558. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1877.

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July 1555, 16–31

July 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 162. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
The King of England wrote to the Emperor, that the gentleman sent to the Queen by the King of France to thank her for her good offices about the peace, enquired whether she thought, should the King accept the last terms proposed by the Imperial commissioners, that the Emperor would consent to them; and when the Queen expressed her belief that he was still of the same mind, the gentleman gave it to be understood (si lasciò intendere) that he wished her to make him this reply, that he might have the Emperor's promise; and she again assuring him of it, he repeated that as his Imperial Majesty might have chanced to change his mind, he wished to know his opinion more authoritatively (più fondatamente), and would then proceed to speak farther on the subject; so King Philip enquired of the Emperor what reply he was to suggest to his consort, that she might give it to this gentleman. The Emperor immediately despatched the Secretary Erasso to tell the King his intention, which is, that should the Queen know for certain that this gentleman had come with such precise orders, that the King of France was determined to conclude the peace, she might promise that his Imperial Majesty would confirm what his commissioners said; but that if she were of opinion, as believed here, that the King sent him for another end, she was to dismiss him with such dignity as becoming. (fn. 1)
The Queen with her Council has written to Sir John Masone, that having heard by his letters that nearly all the personages at this court are of opinion that she is not pregnant, he is to undeceive and assure them that she is near her time; but some English merchants who came hither with their consul (consule), to speak to Queen Maria about certain wrongs done them at Antwerp contrary to their ancient privileges, say they have seen letters from two of the seven of the Council, with their signature, saying they did so in obedience to the Queen's command, and not because they believed it.
Brussels, 21st July 1555.
July 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 163. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
With regard to the progress of the Danish fleet, the Chancellor [Bishop Gardiner], the Admiral [William Lord Howard of Effingham], and Paget confirmed to me the news of its having been driven to Scotland by stress of weather, notwithstanding which, its appearance greatly alarmed the Queen there (fn. 2) and her councillors, although shortly afterwards, without showing any sign of enmity or ill-will, it again put to sea, bound for Sweden, for the purpose of favouring (affine d'impedir—sic, for favorir), even by force, if necessary, the [right of?] election of King Gustavus, against the city of Lubeck and others [Hanse-towns], which right of election [of magistrates?] belongs, they say, to them, as they did last time, and not to the King. Hears on the same authority that this fleet did not number more than 50 or 60 sail, nor did the troops on board amount to more than 6,000 or 7,000 men. (fn. 3) The suspicion of the government here has therefore subsided, the ships have been relieved from their embargo, and the English ports opened; and on the return of a courier who is hourly expected from Scotland, whither he was sent by the French ambassador, having come expressly from France from the King for this purpose on the first report of the fleet's appearance, the fact will be entirely ascertained.
King Philip's passage across the Channel continues to be talked of, and I am told on good authority that it will not be delayed beyond the 20th of next month, whether the delivery take place or not, and that he will take with him only a few of his own subjects, in lieu of whom there will be five or six of the chief of these English lords, not without mystery and after consideration rather than by chance (non senza misterio et consideratione più presto che a caso); and the Earl of Pembroke is already making great preparation; to make as magnificent a display as possible, this being his first appearance abroad, but the decision apparently is not certain, as they are expecting the Secretary Erasso from day to day with the Emperor's opinion. This determination to cross without witnessing the result of the delivery seems to proceed from the Emperor's firm decision to retire to Spain, at any rate, in the course of next September, King Philip wishing to confer with him before his embarkation; which decision, whether true or not, will have been more authentically announced by the Signory's ambassador at the Imperial court. I, on my part, can positively assure your Serenity, and on foundation, that so greatly do the realms of Spain need the presence either of the Emperor or of the King, that every despatch from thence urges it most especially; and I am told for certain that a few days ago there was a great debate between King Philip's councillors here whether it was more expedient for him or for the Emperor to return thither. But with regard to the delivery, everybody being of opinion that it is now unaccountably delayed (che tardi hormai più del dovere), the physicians of the King and of the Queen, and two or three of her Majesty's most intimate and familiar female attendants, who see and handle her frequently (che vedono et toccano spesso sua Maestà), taking part in it and giving their opinion, held a formal consultation last week, and came, in fact, to the conclusion that they had deceived themselves about the conception by two, or perhaps by three, months, it being undeniable, and beyond a doubt, from many manifest signs, that the Queen is certainly pregnant, but not so far gone as was believed and published at the time. It is now said that the delivery may be protracted until the end of next month, and perhaps to that of September; so all persons seem to have resigned themselves to bide that time, which will never have been too late or wearisome should it please God to render it in the end such as is desired and hoped for by all good men.
Richmond, 23rd July 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
July 24. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 164. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
The Prince of Orange, who twice refused Queen Maria and the Bishop of Arras to assume the command of the troops at the fortress of Givet, at length, at the Emperor's persuasion, and by his order, accepted it, departing forthwith for the camp, being accompanied out of the town by a number of noblemen (cavallieri). The authority given him by the Emperor is that of general during the absence of the Duke of Savoy, and he has fitted himself out so well in every respect, and departed so cheerfully, as to give proof that he is sure of retaining the command throughout this summer, the doubt of which, rather than of receiving the stipend usually attached to the grade, caused him to refuse it. This prince is about 22 (sic) [23?] years old, without knowledge or experience of military matters, neither is he supposed to be by nature inclined towards them; but the Emperor has given him this charge to rid himself of the competition of those who aspired to it, and of the confusion which had arisen in the camp; the Prince of Orange, on many accounts, being his chief vassal in these provinces.
Since the last skirmish between the Imperialists and the French under the fortress of Givet, nothing has been done by either side. The fortress of Bethune, commenced by the French, has been secured, and they purpose erecting another between Mezières and Marienburg. The one which it was said the Emperor purposed building in the territory of Liège like Givet is not yet commenced, because the inhabitants of Liège sent delegates to his Majesty to say it was unfitting to exercise such authority in their jurisdiction, as it might cause claims on the part of his successors; to which the Emperor replied that he would find means to guarantee them against this, as his object is that the fortress may prevent the French from seizing their territory, and attacking him here at Brussels; and another reason for delaying this work is that the French are so strong in the field that they might prevent it.
The Emperor's order for an embargo to be laid on all vessels arriving in the ports of Zealand and Holland has been executed, and they are in great number. Subsequently his Majesty wrote to the Admiral of the “Ocean,” desiring him to have in readiness military stores of every description sufficient for the outfit of 20 of the largest of these ships, on board of which he will embark 4,000 infantry, both by reason of the suspicion caused by the fleets of France and Denmark, and also because (according to the Spaniards) the Emperor has recently received letters from his daughter [Joanna of Austria, Princess of Portugal, Regent of Spain] and from the council of Spain, saying it is necessary that either he or his son should go to her speedily, as written by me heretofore.
His Majesty having been long petitioned, and being now importuned to hold the consultation about rewards and favours, he yesterday told his chamber attendants to desire everybody in the court to be of good cheer, as on the return from England of Secretary Erasso everything will be settled; and I hear on good authority that, besides the other causes which moved the Emperor to send him, one was that he might ascertain the wish and opinion of King Philip about going to Spain or remaining in these provinces; and that the Flemings and nearly all the Spaniards at Brussels unanimously persuade the Emperor to send him, adducing, amongst many other reasons, that in like manner as the Emperor is more beloved in the Netherlands, and better able to wage war on the King of France and maintain it, so will his son, being more popular with the Spaniards, suffice better for the necessary business in Spain, and for the government of the country, as also for the transmission hither of money, and for attacks on France in the direction of Perpignan; but that certain servants of the Emperor, who are supposed not to be biassed by interested motives like the others, have said that nothing could be more dishonourable for the Emperor and the King than for the latter to go to Spain, as the world would infer that the marriage with the Queen of England, and the consequent results anticipated by them, were about to end in disappointment, and that this disgrace might be followed, by serious loss, as were the Emperor to die in the Netherlands during the King's absence, it might come to pass that, what with his present unpopularity with the Netherlanders, and their great inclination towards France, the taking possession of the country would be too difficult an undertaking for him; in addition to which they affirm that the Emperor having been so many years absent from Spain, he would more easily obtain the subsidies desired by their Majesties.
The Emperor continues drinking the water of the springs (bagni) of Liège [Spa ?], having posted twelve mules on the road, that he may receive it every 24 hours, and he will continue taking it for another fortnight; and his physicians having also given him fair hopes that it may benefit him in various ways, he regulating his diet, he now adopts a good mode of life.
Brussels, 24th July 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
July 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 165. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
Lord Courtenay has received letters from his lady mother in England, informing him that Don Ruy Gomez, both spontaneously as it were, and moreover by order of his King (et come da se et ancho di ordine di quella Maestà), let her know that he has cause to be easy in his mind (di stare con l'animo quieto), as his Majesty loves him, and will soon show it by matter of fact; so his Lordship is no longer so intent on obtaining the licence to depart for Italy, and several persons tell him that, should the Queen not have heirs, the Emperor will favour the marriage between him and the Queen's sister, in order that there may be successors to the English crown; and he has requested audience of his Majesty, who promised it him for to-day or to-morrow, but it is not known for what purpose he made the demand.
Brussels, 28th July 1555.
July 29. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 166. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On the 23rd the Secretary Erasso arrived, whose coming was universally believed to relate solely to the treatment of many matters now in course between King Philip and the Emperor, as also to the negotiations for peace, to the loans and supplies of money, to his Majesty's passage to Flanders, and to the Emperor's voyage to Spain; but it has been impossible hitherto to learn anything farther, as perhaps until now no decision has been formed.
At present, with regard, to the negotiation for peace, they have taken time until the return of the Duke of Savoy, without whose intervention they can apparently form no resolve; yet in the meanwhile, Cardinal Pole does not fail treating and examining several conventions, so as at least to keep the affair alive, and facilitate the adjustment; his Right Reverend Lordship having last week sent the Abbot of San Saluto backwards and forwards repeatedly from Richmond to Hampton Court to the Chancellor and the other royal councillors, sometimes to the French Ambassador [in London], and sometimes to the Spanish Ambassador resident here [at Richmond], there having also come to him, since Erasso's return, besides the said Spanish Ambassador, the Duke of Medina Celi, one of the Emperor's principal commissioners at the conference of Calais; and three days ago the Cardinal went in person to the palace [at Hampton Court], but the only particular I could learn was, that the French Ambassador and his brother, having said that they were merely commissioned to listen to proposals and transmit account of them, have been requested to obtain a free commission from their King, or else that his Majesty do send some other person with power to approve or disapprove of whatever may be proposed from day to day, in order not to have to despatch couriers about each separate proposal and await the reply from France, thus losing so much time. Not only did they promise thus to do, but moreover made an offer for their King that he would consent to send hither anew (di novo) some of his chief ministers, with sufficient authority, provided the Emperor also did the like; but, as already mentioned, this absence of the Duke of Savoy suspends any decision, and should it be unreasonably protracted, I am told on good authority that in that case, with but little regard for him, a truce might be concluded, towards which it is seen that King Philip and his most Christian Majesty are more than moderately inclined.
The courier sent by the French Ambassador to Scotland for sure news of the Danish fleet has not yet returned, a sign that there is no mischief, as confirmed by letters thence of the 14th and 15th instant, in addition to the statement of several persons who have come from Scotland, and say that the fleet scarcely showed itself, nor did it approach any Scottish harbour; so some people add, that it was [mere] surmise, as a certain number of the vessels seen appeared to be fishing boats rather than a fleet (armata). Thus the English and Scots, even should there have been any secret understanding, are, or seem to be, devoid of any farther suspicion.
The Polish Ambassador, besides having received handsome presents from both their Majesties, took back the decision (espeditione) he asked for, it having been promised him that for the future not only should this new Muscovite navigation [company] not be permitted, but be forbidden under heavy penalties, the exportation hence to those parts of any sort of arms or military engine, in order that the Duke of Muscovy, (fn. 4) who is always at war with his King, may not be able to avail himself of such instruments against him, which would have been much to his detriment; so the ambassador went away.
Two of the chief personages in Sicily, the Marquis of Terra Nova (fn. 5) [Caraccioli] and the Marquis of Gierace, have come hither, the latter to remain permanently with the King, intending to make a great display, and Terra Nuova, after kissing his Majesty's hand, will go back.
The Count of Sta. Fior and the Cardinal Chamberlain [Guido Ascanio Sforza] have sent their brother the Signor Paulo [Sforza] to serve his Majesty as gentleman of the mouth (gentilhomo della bocca).
The Queen is as well as ever she was. Has communicated the summaries received in the Signory's letters of the 6th instant.
Richmond, 29th July 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
July 31. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 167. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Adds these few lines by way of Brussels, availing himself of the return to the Emperor of Secretary Erasso and of Don Ruy Gomez de Silva, who is sent by King Philip not merely to give account of current affairs between his Majesty and the Emperor with regard to present necessities, he being in the King's secret confidence, but what matters more, to provide against the disturbances which have taken place in Spain, it having been heard lately that the Aragonese have risen against the father-in-law of said Don Ruy Gomez, the Viceroy of Aragon, Count of Melito, who, from fear of the insurrection, took flight and concealed himself; so the whole province was in uproar and confusion. Respecting King Philip's passage across the Channel, although as yet it is considered doubtful, the general opinion being that it will not take place until they witness the result of the delivery, which might cause much delay, it is, nevertheless, said by some persons that the interview will not be protracted beyond the return of said Don Ruy Gomez, it being asserted that for this purpose the Emperor has now determined to go to Bruges, which if true, the Signory will receive more authentic notice of the fact from their ambassador at the Imperial court.
Yesterday the English commissioners for the conference of Calais had a long interview with Cardinal Pole [at Richmond] about proposals for the agreement, and to-day the Abbot of San Saluto returned to the court [at Hampton Court] to speak with the King before the departure of Don Ruy Gomez; so the Doge will perceive that matters are being warmed-up (che le cose si riscaldano), though it is impossible to learn anything about the negotiation, either from one side or the other. News has been received to-day from several quarters of an insurrection in Warwickshire? (Arraschier) (sic) 100 miles hence, on account of the religion, and that a number of men have mustered in arms, not choosing any other form than such as was left them by King Henry, which in other respects, save in its obedience to the Apostolic See, is Catholic; and as the Earl of Pembroke was sent for to the court immediately, it is supposed to be for the purpose of applying a remedy before the thing take root and be yet more encouraged, as there are apprehensions of other disturbances in Devonshire and Cornwall.
Richmond, 31st July 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
July 31. Parti Comuni Consiglio X. vol. xxii. p. 37, tergo. 168. Motion made in the Council of Ten in favour of a Venetian Secretary who had served in England.
Put to the ballot, that Giovanni Francesco Franceschi, who served first as secretary to the nobleman Marino Cavalli, knight, ambassador to the Emperor, and was subsequently secretary to the nobleman Giacomo Soranzo, knight, ambassador in England, be given 20 ducats.
Ayes, 17. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
July 31. Parti Comuni Consiglio X. vol. xxii. p. 37. 169. Motion made in the Council of Ten at the suit of Peter Vannes.
That at the request of the reverend ambassador of the most Serene King of England, license to carry arms in this city and in all our towns and places during the next two months be given to the underwritten English noblemen.
The Earl of Bedford. Anthony Trulo (sic), Trewlock, or Trewlove?
Sir John Chichester. Thomas Fitzwilliam.
Thomas and Clement, their servants. Thomas Wyndham.
Mr. William Godolphin. John Morley.
John Broke. Thomas Toylson.
Thomas Rayme (sic). Henry Kingismel (sic).
John Eustace. John Rug.
Ayes, 15. No, 1. Neutral, 1.


  • 1. Lo rissolva con quella dignità che si conviene.
  • 2. Mary of Lorraine, Queen Dowager.
  • 3. In the Foreign Calendar, date May 25, 1555, allusion is made to the great naval preparations of the King of Demark, and to the Emperor's having sent to Antwerp to some of the Easterlings there, to know what they meant.
  • 4. Joan IV. [Vasilevitch.] (See letter to him from King Philip and Queen Mary, 1557, April, in the late Mr. Turnbull's Calendar, p. 300.)
  • 5. For other notices of this Sicilian nobleman, see Foreign Calendar, Mary—Index.