Venice: December 1557, 1-15

Pages 1382-1396

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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December 1557, 1–15

Dec. 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1095. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
M. de Nevers went with his troops as far as Metz, with the intention of advancing into the Luxemburg territory, but the weather has been so bad that he is still detained there. The Duke de Guise in like manner yet remains at Compiegne with his forces, some mortality prevailing amongst them, as the deaths average 50 daily; and his Excellency also will apparently take the field, having been unable to do so hitherto because the troops of the King of England returned into the French territory, and after crossing the Oise between La Fere and Compiegne, they continued advancing between Laon and Guise, apparently in the direction of Marienburg. What his Excellency means to do, on taking the field, is unknown, but it has been hinted to me that he will attempt the recovery of Han, the fortification of which place does not seem to have been well understood nor is it rendered secure, so by battering it with 60 guns already prepared to join the army, they hope soon to take it; and should this undertaking fail, they rely on occupying Arras. But as all these things are kept very secret, I can only write what I hear, and that 50,000 francs have been sent, to give all the troops one month's pay.
The day before yesterday that individual returned from Germany, who after the rout of the Constable was sent thither several times to negotiate with the Princes there, and he brings back word that for next year his Majesty shall have 4,000 cavalry from their territory, and a Colonel with 25 ensigns of foot, who this year served the King of England. San Piero the Corsican has arrived here at the Court, having come from Constantinople to Marseilles with two Turkish galliots, on board of which were two “ciaus” (messengers) from Sultan Soliman, who remained at Marseilles, and have sent to know whether his Majesty is content that they should come to him in the Sultan's name; and he has been sent back to them to let them know that they are welcome. San Piero reports that he elicited from them that Sultan Soliman sent them, on hearing of the rout of the Constable, to assure the King that the Sultan would send his very powerful fleet, with orders even to winter (at sea ?) should it be to his Majesty's satisfaction. Colonel San Piero also reports, that an envoy (un homo) is also coming [from Marseilles to Paris] in the name of Dtrogut Rais [Dragut Reis] (fn. 1) to pray King Henry to request Sultan Soliman to give him the command of the fleet, promising should he obtain this charge, through the favour of his most Christian Majesty, that he will do very great things for his service; and on despatching the two “ciaus,” the King will send Captain Polino, alias Paulin, to Constantinople. (fn. 2)
After Christmas the King will go to Paris with the Court, for celebration of the Dauphin's marriage to the Queen of Scotland; and also that of Madame Claude, his Majesty's second daughter, to the Duke of Lorraine.
Poissy, 2nd December 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Dec. 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1096. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
With regard to the ambassador from Portugal, an order was given for the imprisonment of the master of the post-house nearest to the spot where the robbery took place; and the Portuguese ambassador resident here has been promised permission for a person nominated by him to be present at the examinations, that he may be convinced that all diligence will be used to discover the delinquents; so the ambassador on his way to the Court of the King of Spain departed well satisfied.
By order of the most Christian King, Don Juan de Luna busied himself in this matter, and informed his Majesty that the Portuguese ambassador told him that in his valises was a letter from Queen Eleanor the Emperor's sister, (fn. 2) with which he was commissioned to visit the Constable in the said Queen's name; being also ordered by the Queen of Portugal to perform a similar office. On hearing this, the King said to Don Juan, “So this ambassador will have means to visit the Constable?” and when Don Juan replied that thus had the ambassador told him; the King added, “Say to him as from yourself, out of the friendship you have with the Constable, that he do tell him again to endeavour to have a passport, in such a form that without rejoinder or difficulty Madame the Constable his wife may go to visit him.” This Don Juan civilly (con bel modo) offered to do, and then went to the Queen, who told him he ought to perform the aforesaid office; adding that it was impossible to hope to bring these two Kings to an agreement by any other means; and that if the Constable were sent hither for this negotiation and it should be impossible to effect the release of his Excellency unless peace be made, nothing was more desirable than that the Constable by his intellect should find means to accomplish both these results. After this Cardinal Chastillon [Odet de Coligny], nephew of the Constable, who loves him as a son, also spoke with Don Juan de Luna, and told him that should Madame the Constable be enabled to go, and remain freely with his Excellency, a good overture might be anticipated for treating the agreement. Don Juan spoke accordingly with the ambassador, and told him, as from himself, that it is impossible to commence any negotiation for agreement unless the Constable come hither, because the Guise family having always favoured the war, it may be credited that also at present they will do the like, and still more for the purpose of keeping the Constable at a distance, fearing lest his presence diminish their authority; and therefore should the King of England have a mind to come to some adjustment with France, there is no better way than to give the Constable permission to come here, leaving his sons as hostages, to which King Philip apparently consented; but that should he choose to commence making known his goodwill, he ought to send the passport in so ample a form, that Madame the Constable may go and remain with his Excellency without any difficulty. In conclusion De Luna exhorted the ambassador not only to speak about this with the Constable, but also to Don Ruy Gomez, who is nearly related to the said ambassador, (fn. 3) and has always shown himself desirous of an agreement between these Princes.
Poissy, 3rd December, 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Dec. 5. original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1097. Giovanni Michiel and Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I, Giovanni, arrived here at the Court three days ago, and yesterday being introduced into the King's presence, I delivered my credentials; and I, Giacomo, then presented my successor. These offices being ended, as the Dauphin and the Duke of Lorraine were in the King's chamber, we did the like by them, as also by her Majesty and by the Queen of Scotland, to whose apartments we passed on, going beyond to those of Madame Marguerite and of the Duchess of Valentinois, each of whom evinced much graciousness and very great affection towards your Serenity, especially Queen Catherine.
Poissy, 5th December 1557.
(Signed) Your Serenity's servants,
Giovanni Michiel, Ambassadors.
Giacomo Soranzo, K.
Dec. 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1098. The Same to the Same.
M. de Guise has left Compiegne and is gone towards Guise, it is said, to inspect that fortress, and to give a fresh order for its fortification; the army also is on the point of moving from Compiegne. Although, according to public report, the troops will be divided in garrisons, it nevertheless continues to be surmised that it is intended to make some expedition, and some persons now go jeering (et da qualche uno hora si va moteggiando), that it might be that of Calais. We cannot learn against what places this design will take effect, but provisions, ammunition, a greater amount of artillery, and many gentlemen with their tents and pavilions, and other necessaries for war, and for encampment at this season, are constantly on their way to the army. His most Christian Majesty also continues more than ever bent on the performance of some undertaking, at any rate, being confirmed in his opinion by the weather, which continues very fair.
The day before yesterday a Spanish gentleman arrived here with a safe conduct allowing him to pass into Spain, obtained through the Constable; and it being addressed by his Excellency to the Cardinal de Chastillon [Odet de Coligny], the latter watched the hour for introducing him to the King during the absence of the Cardinal of Lorraine, which was when he had taken leave of his Majesty, to go to bed; and at that hour, the Spaniard, being introduced to the King, presented him with a packet of letters from the Lord Constable, and having been for about two hours with his Majesty, he mounted postwise to continue his journey to Spain. Since then it has been understood that he brought some fresh advice about the negotiation for peace commenced by the Duchess of Lorraine with the Constable, but we have been unable to learn farther particulars. A few days ago the Duke of Lorraine sent a house-steward to invite the Duchess his mother to his marriage with the daughter of the most Christian King, and with this opportunity, the messenger is supposed to have brought some reply about this negotiation.
The death of Don Ferrante [Gonzaga] has been heard of here, and yesterday, when talking with us at dinner, the Cardinal of Lorraine said, “If all the councillors of the King of Spain had been of the opinion of Don Ferrante, after the rout of the Constable, this King would have been in much greater trouble than he now finds himself.” (fn. 4)
Your Serenity's letter of the 20th ultimo alludes to congratulations destined for the King on the arrival of the Cardinal Legate Triulzi, but it is reported here that his legateship has been revoked, and that Cardinal Caraffa after having been with the King of Spain, will come hither with King Philip's consent; about which the Cardinal of Lorraine also said something to us yesterday.
Poissy, 6th December 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Dec. 7. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod XXIV., Cl. x., p. 188 recto. 1099. Cardinal Pole to Father Miranda [Bartolomeo Carranza de Miranda].
Having heard that the King has set apart a certain sum upon the revenue of the church of Toledo for distribution amongst several persons, and not knowing whether his Majesty has yet quite decided to whom he will assign the said revenues, I think it fitting to mention two Cardinals, namely, the right reverends Puteo (fn. 5) and S. Clemente, (fn. 6) whom I know to be in great want and difficulties; and in addition to their good qualities, rendering them worthy of his Majesty's favour and assistance, they also deserve it for the promptitude and affection which they always evinced, by exerting themselves for what was required with regard to the affairs of the religion here. It has occurred to me to pray your Reverend Paternity to be pleased to perform this office in my name with his Majesty if you deem it opportune; and should the distribution of the said sum be already settled, his Majesty, if he liked, might remember these two well deserving prelates and poor good men when conferring the church of St. James [of Compostella], or on some other early occasion.
London, 7th December 1557.
Dec. 8. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 1100. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
This morning I had a visit from the Cardinal Dean [Jean de Bellai] who told me that peace is hopeless, unless an attempt be made by means of King Philip to release the Constable, as all the persons in authority about King Henry are of the house of Guise, who all wish for war, although peace is desired by Madame de Valentinois, who has so aggrandised (ingrandito) her family, that it can not be greater; but should the Constable be free he would be an opportune instrument, and the Cardinal wished the Signory to propose this release to King Philip on payment of a fair ransom. I answered in general terms; and he then continued, that he, de Bellai, was always the mover (auttor) of the peace; that the war was advocated (persuasa) by the Guise family and by the Cardinal of Lorraine; that when the war was determined he (de Bellai) was of opinion that it should be waged briskly; that the Duke de Guise having written to the King in France, that the reverses of Italy were caused by the Pope and his ministers, and that therefore he the Duke de Guise intended to depart, de Bellai gave him to understand previously, that it was detrimental for the King to abandon the Pope and leave him at the mercy of the common enemy; after which seeing him bent on departure he protested against his going, as the Pope in despair would do whatever the Imperialists compelled him (cignassero) to do; and that de Bellai wrote in conformity to the King, who commended his opinion, and thus gave a fresh order to the Duke de Guise to remain; from which the peace subsequently ensued, and although it was not an honourable one for the Pope, it was at least less shameful and injurious. De Bellai said that in exchange for so many benefits conferred on the Pope and his kinsfolk he had received nothing but many vexatious public rebuffs (rebuffi) both in the congregations and consistories.
From all these reasonings I draw three conclusions: his great desire for the release and superiority of the Constable, who he told me had been his friend for more than 40 years, assuring me that a more prudent or a braver man did not exist in France: secondly, his regret for the supremacy of the house of Guise: thirdly, his dissatisfaction with the Pope and his kinsfolk, about which he expressed himself thus: When I had done nothing whatever for the Pope, he conferred on me those many favours which are known to you, they being so great and continual that one day I said to him, “Holy Father! the many demonstrations made by your Holiness towards my person open the road for my ruin; as amongst the others, your nephews must be angels to tolerate this my extreme authority with you, and there being no angels in these times, they as men will seek to deprive me of it.”
Rome, 8th December 1557.
Dec. 11. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 1101. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Letters dated Brussels the 20th ult. announce the death of Ferrante Gonzaga, and that the Duke of Savoy had entered France intending to fight a pitched battle unless the French refuse it. These same letters bring the commission for the expedition of the archbishopric of Toledo for friar Bartolomeo Miranda, nominated by King Philip, with 10,000 crowns pension for the Cardinal of Trent, 3,000 for the Cardinal of Augsburg, and some others to certain Spaniards, and 16,000 crowns in blank, pro personis nominandis. For this cause Cardinal Pacheco had a long audience of the Pope on Monday, so that for the morrow his Holiness had a congregation general of all the Cardinals intimated, in which he said that having made peace with King Philip (che sendosi ella pacificata col Re Filippo), for which purpose he was sending legates to his Majesty and to the most Christian King, he had determined to comply with the wishes of those Princes as far as he could, that they might remain satisfied with him; wherefore he gave the Cardinals the trouble of proposing the church of Toledo in the form desired, that it might then be expedited at the next consistory, which was held yesterday, the see of Toledo being then conferred accordingly; but when the Cardinal Dean de Bellai wished to expedite (espedir) some churches in France, the Pope gave him a rebuff (un rebuffo), telling him that he wished to expedite the churches in a different form to the one in which he had proposed them, which was a fraud, so his Holiness forbad their expedition. These too great favours done to the Imperialists by the Pope, and his disfavour (disfavori) to the French, do not please those who desire the welfare of the See Apostolic, for the French ambassador has been thrice sent away by his Holiness without audience, after remaining for four and five hours in the antechamber; which time the Pope consumed in giving audience to Imperial Cardinals.
The last letters from the Duke of Alva are dated Massa, 28th ultimo.
Rome, 11th December 1557.
Dec. 11. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. (2nd letter.) 1102. From the Same to the Same.
The French ambassador told my secretary this morning, that having at length had audience of the Pope, his Holiness hoped that the most Christian King and the King Catholic would not have so much care for their own interests, as not to have greater thought for the universal benefit of Christendom; to which he replied: “Holy Father, your Holiness knows that before the present war my King had a truce which was honourable and advantageous; that he entered on the war, not from being ambitious of States, but induced and persuaded by him whom you know (ma indutto et persuaso da chi ella sa); (fn. 7) but, whenever he can, on fair terms, his most Christian Majesty will accept the peace; which good will on his part he let your Holiness know several times by letters and by his ambassadors. The like has been done, I believe, by King Philip, it not being suitable that his Majesty, who professes to be so catholic and respectful a son of this Holy See, should conceal from your Holiness his mind about the peace.”
To this the ambassador says that the Pope shrugged-up his shoulders, and then said: “Lord Ambassador, we will tell you the truth, that from King Philip we have nothing, neither good nor evil;” and the ambassador adds that the Pope uttered these words evidently with some resentment. The ambassador also told me that on taking leave of the Duke of Paliano he inquired whether the gentleman who had been despatched had been sent about the duchy of Bari. He answered in the negative, swearing that he told him the truth as a gentleman, and by the Order round his neck, showing him the St. Michael; which the ambassador, being unable to do otherwise, pretended to believe. Respecting the son and nephew of Paliano, the ambassador said, “I believe that after all, the King will hold these relies (reliquie) in small account,” which he uttered in a way implying that for the present he would not let them come.
Ascanio da Nepi, who came hither from Cardinal Farnese, has been well greeted by the Caraffa family (da questi signori), the Pope likewise speaking him very fair, and both from his Holiness and from the Duke of Paliano he comprehended that they very greatly desired to make the matrimonial alliance (il parentado) with Duke Ottavio, to which the Farneses assent provided it have the consent of King Philip, on obtaining whose leave they will then come to details; but from a person who can know it, I understand that the proceedings here are not to the satisfaction of the Farneses, but quite contrary to their wishes, as having to await King Philip's license for this relationship, (fn. 8) his Holiness has not yet done anything to gratify his Majesty; nor has any demonstration of good will been made towards Duke Ottavio, for indeed they sent cavalry to the confines of his duchy of Castro, to prevent the exportation of grain, contrary to the agreement made lately, that Castro was to supply Rome with 5,000 rubij of grain, and that the rest might be removed from the territory of Castro as usual, and according to its ancient privileges; whilst with regard to Madame [Margaret] of Austria, who in case of this marriage might do so much, both as the youth's mother, and as King Philip's sister, they had sentence passed here against her, in favour of the Queen of France, as written by me; (fn. 9) and by the revocation of the regressi Cardinal Farnese loses an annual revenue of many thousands of crowns, having had regressi on at least 12 churches, not one of which yielded less than 2,000 crowns at least.
Rome, 11th December 1557.
Dec. 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1103. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Everybody still continues in suspense about the advance of M. de Guise, as it continues to be said that he will proceed on some expedition, having already commenced making the army march towards Normandy, so that it is now distant some eight leagues from Compiegne. At the general review made before the march commenced, the 160 ensigns were reduced to 110, amounting to about 20,000 infantry, the companies having fewer men than due; so beyond that amount the stipend, had been embezzled. It is also heard, that to cause less suspicion M. de Nevers with 10,000 infantry had marched in another direction towards Picardy. This division, having been made purposely, strengthens the opinion of those in a position to know it, that the expedition has in view the invasion of Calais (che si miri alla invasione di Cales), Marshal Strozzi having lately reconnoitred the place, nor did he find the undertaking difficult; and I have been told on good authority, that there are some engineers staying in Paris, of those most in repute, occupied in making preparations and mustering men, that they may be ready to march the moment they are called; but these designs are known only to a very few persons. As their result will shortly relieve everybody from doubt and expectation, I shall then be able to give a sure account of them to your Serenity, omitting conjectures and conversations which are made variously, according to the variety of men and their dependencies.
The Baron de la Garde, alias Polino, (fn. 10) was sent back to Marseilles, to execute what was determined about the galleys, which will be under the governorship-general of the Grand Prior of France; they will be reduced from 44, their number hitherto, to 20, to get rid of all the most useless and inefficient hands; and as to the hulls those no longer seaworthy will be put out of commission, and these 20 be perfected (riducendosi queste 20 alla sua perfetione). But as the costs for the whole 44 will not be reduced, the King has determined that the entire surplus is to be expended daily in renewing other hulls; choosing that with these same assignments there be built in the port of Marseilles an arsenal for the custody of these 20 galleys, which will be manned by slaves, but for the future, the crews required for the others are to be free men, commanded by the King's own subjects of the maritime provinces; so that in the course of four or five years they purpose getting together 40 or 50 additional hulls, which the King does not choose either to be manned or to put to sea, except in times of need, for merely five or six months, laying them up in the winter; and it is calculated that the cost of maintaining them will not exceed what has been paid hitherto.
The courier from Rome who was expected by the Pope's great-nephews has arrived, with the decision that they are either to be sent back or to remain here at the King's option.
Poissy, 11th December 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Dec. 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1104. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
His Majesty will have no farther thought for the frontier garrisons, as the States have undertaken to pay the soldiers.
Cardinal Caraffa is to be at Louvain to-morrow, and in two days will make his entry into this city with the usual ceremonies. The King has sent the Prince of Sulmona to meet him with 100 gentlemen, almost all Italians, clad in one livery, and on the day of the entry his Majesty will go as far as the city gate, with the Cardinal of Trent, and all the prelates of the Court, to meet him.
Should Cardinal Caraffa come for the sake of peace, he will be very welcome, as nothing can be more wished for than that, although on other accounts his right reverend Lordship is odious and suspected (suspetta et odiosa). The ambassador from Florence, talking with me and some other persons, said that the Cardinal would not come, and that he was gone to the Switzers; but now that he sees him so near, he says that he is not coming to make peace, and that no trust can be placed in him about it. A person of great authority told me, that so far as can be judged from his proceedings the Duke of Florence would not wish King Philip to be at peace, but always in distress, to avert his Majesty's thoughts from giving him disturbance, as he certainly would do, were he not occupied with the French war. To say the truth, the Duke of Florence is in such bad odour here, that even those personages who favoured him about the affairs of Sienno, remain dissatisfied with his Excellency, and show themselves opposed to him.
A gentleman from the Duke of Parma arrived here lately, to give the King account of events there, and to hear his Majesty's will about carrying on the war [against the Duke of Ferrara]. He has been sent back with the following message, that the paymaster Portiglia will have told him that the King does not choose the war to be waged in that fashion (a quel modo), and that if not conducted according to the arrangement (come si disse) he will have recourse to some other expedient. From what I can elicit his Majesty persists in treating the agreement in conformity with the order given to the Duke of Alva; though this has not been communicated to me by the King, nor by any of his councillors, but it reached me through the same channels as other secret matters.
Brussels, 12th December 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Dec. 13. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. XXIV., Cl. x., p. 188 recto. 1105. Cardinal Pole to King Philip.
In order not to omit the performance of any office towards his Holiness, it has seemed fit to me to send to visit the right reverend Legate through my Auditor, who will present this letter and pay respect in my name to your Majesty, whom I beseech to deign to hear what he will tell you on my behalf.
May it please our Lord God to grant that each day may more and more confirm the most perfect union between your Majesty and the Pope's Holiness, for the benefit and quiet of Christendom, as your Majesty, I am certain, has of your piety always desired and desires; and that with regard to the peace, you will on every occasion demonstrate your excellent will and disposition, and thus may the divine goodness ever favour all your good and pious purposes and grant you all prosperity for His service. To the last letter of the 17th ult., which your Majesty was pleased to write to me in reply to two of mine, there is no need for me to say anything further save to kiss your hand. By the grace of God the most Serene Queen is well, which, in truth, is a manifestation of Divine favour in the midst of so many incessant and extraordinary troubles, and with her usual longing for your Majesty's presence, she hopes to remove the impediments; in like manner as she knows that your Majesty is intent on speedily consoling her which may the Lord God grant, and ever favour your Majesty, whose hands I humbly kiss.
London, 13th December 1557.
Dec. [13.] (fn. 11) MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. XXIV., Cl. x., p. 188 verso. 1106. Cardinal Pole to Cardinal [Carlo] Caraffa, Papal Legate accredited to King Philip.
Having heard of your coming to the Court of our King, I have thought it my duty to visit and pay my respects to you, as I now do, through the bearer of this present letter, my [Auditor], Gio. Francesco Stella, congratulating you also heartily on the agreement which, through your mediation, the Holiness of our Lord has made with his Majesty, from which not only Italy, but the whole of Christendom, must have derived extreme satisfaction, as witnessed here amongst all good men. In like manner may it please God to grant us the grace of pacifying these two great Princes, and giving speedily to his Holiness this entire satisfaction, and to your Lordship that of having been the instrument of so great and necessary a blessing; nor do I doubt your finding in his Majesty that readiness and good disposition which I have always perceived in him. I hope that his Holiness, your Lordship, and your illustrious family, will daily more and more convince yourselves of the benign nature and great goodwill of this good Prince, and that his Holiness will find in him every demonstration of due filial observance, and continue to show him more and more every hour his paternal affection and reciprocal consolation, for the universal benefit of the Church and of all Christendom.
With regard to the Legation having through the Auditor whom I sent to Rome complied with what I deemed it my duty to let his Holiness know, I await his orders, praying our Lord God to convert everything to his glory and to the advantage of his Church; and humbly kissing your most illustrious and right reverend Lordship's hand, I recommend myself to your good favour, referring myself for the rest to the bearer, and thanking you greatly for your courtesy and kindness (amorevolezza) evinced by you towards me on every occasion, as I have always seen, and as I have heard through the letters of my friends in Rome.
London, [13th ?] December 1557.
Dec. 14. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. XXIV., Cl. x., p. 189 recto. 1107. Cardinal Pole to Cardinal [Carlo] Caraffa.
I greatly thank your Lordship for the goodwill always shown me, and for the loving and courteous offers made to my Auditor, whom I sent lately to Rome to do what he could to bring the affair of this Legation to some good end. Having already through the said Auditor given full account of everything to our Lord and to your Lordship, that his Holiness might understand the pure truth, both about what took place concerning the past affairs here, and the state in which they now stand, as also how his messenger was stopped without my knowledge, and what I consequently hoped in this matter, not having failed to perform my duty in every respect, I awaited, and am still awaiting—always with the most entire obedience—what his Holiness shall be pleased to determine and ordain. I will nevertheless not omit telling your Lordship again what great detriment is incurred through the interruption of this legatine office, which is so necessary, and how still more the authority of the See Apostolic is impaired, giving the adversaries and enemies of the Church great cause to rejoice, and causing no less sorrow to those who are good and pious, from seeing the affairs of the religion—which by the grace of God were well advanced in many ways—hindered in their auspicious progress solely for want of this legation, and of the exercise, therefore, of the Apostolic authority in this kingdom, not without many inconveniences and perils, as his Holiness of his prudence may well imagine, to the great prejudice of spiritual matters, most especially at these beginnings of the return [to the Roman Catholic faith ?], thus causing the Queen such extreme sorrow, as the Pope may have heard. All persons of piety anticipate that his Holiness — from respect for her Majesty's great merits with the See Apostolic, and with himself, he having reaped the first fruit of the honour of this return, of which the Queen may be said to have been the mother (fn. 12) —will in this and every other matter be always disposed and ready to console and never to afflict her. For myself individually, I will repeat to your Lordship what I have already said and caused to be said to his Holiness and to yourself, that by depriving me of this legation nothing is taken from me but toil and expense, so that in a worldly sense (humanamente) I should have no cause to complain of it were I merely to consider my own advantage; whilst with regard to honour, I have no need, thank God, to wish for that. But to see that the testimony of such a Queen and of such a King, and of all those chief personages who are able to perceive what is for the benefit of the Church in this kingdom, besides the testimony of what God vouchsafed to do there by means of, or rather for, the Catholic faith, and for the honour and service of that See Apostolic, and of his Holiness, is not sufficient to persuade him to be of opinion that this legation should remain vested in my person—on this matter your most illustrious Lordship may easily imagine whether I have very just cause for sorrow and resentment, and whether I shall be compelled to defend the favours which the Lord God of His goodness has granted me, not so much for the sake of my own honour as for the removal of any scandal, and to seek the salvation of this flock committed to my charge in virtue of the post I occupy, having no greater means for its safe custody and maintenance—so far as my own person is concerned—than the perpetual constancy of my faith. Should I thus be in any way compelled to resist his Holiness, were there no other example, that of St. Paul with St. Peter (fn. 13) will justify me sufficiently before God and man; and if in defending myself and my honour for the service of God, I could avoid the necessity for offending that person for whom—be God my witness—I have been, and always shall be, most ready to risk my life in any peril, it would relieve me from a very great displeasure, which in this case I could not but experience, though I shall always enjoy the consolation of never having failed to act towards his Holiness since he has occupied this supreme dignity as a faithful Legate, and whilst he was Cardinal as becoming a colleague, and in private life as a loving friend on every occasion. Should the Divine Providence have ordained that that person, for whom, in the first place, I, as a friend—as well known to his Holiness—when there was a question of making him Cardinal, (fn. 14) gave the greatest testimony of my love and affection that one friend could give in favour of another, and for whom subsequently during his Cardinalate I always evinced more reverence than for any other, and finally during whose pontificate, I, as Legate, have rendered my legation more fruitful than any other has ever proved to any Pontiff since many centuries, which may be said without arrogance, as it was entirely the work of God; I, for these causes, being entitled by every right to expect all honour and consolation from his Holiness, much more than from his predecessors, who always did me more honour than I ever required;—that he should so strenuously impede me from serving God and his Church, and seek to do me such great dishonour as never Cardinal nor Legate, however worthlessly he might have served, had ever received from any Pontiff, and whilst I did more for his honour than any of his nearest kinsfolk could have done had they been in my place;—should the Divine Providence, I say, have so willed it, I cannot but use those arms of justice and truth, and those forces (et quei presidij) which His Divine goodness has given me for my defence, a dextris et a sinistris, as that same Providence of God will in the end convert everything to His greater honour and service.
I have chosen thus freely to communicate my just sorrow to your most illustrious and right reverend Lordship, not only as to the Legate, but as to a person so near akin as you are to his Holiness, and consequently bound to be more zealous for his honour, though I can say with truth before God that in this respect I would not yield to any relation, however attached to his Holiness, to whose honour I am as anxious to contribute as to my own, nor unless from sheer necessity will I allow myself to do otherwise. For the rest, referring myself to your Lordship's prudence, and to what else will be told you in my name by the bearer, I humbly kiss your hands, recommending myself to your good grace.
London, 14th December 1557.
Dec. 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1108. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Concerning the progress of the designs of M. de Guise, I have been very confidentially informed by a person of quality, that after having sent on by water towards Normandy, to Pontoise, the German troops, in number, 5,000, giving them this convenience because many of them are sick, he had sent the rest towards Amiens and the neighbouring places, viz. Abbeville and Montreuil; they number 4,000 Switzers and from 9,000 to 10,000 Frenchmen, forming a total of from 18,000 to 20,000 infantry, divided into several corps. They will be followed by the Duke de Guise in person with the cavalry, which, including men-at-arms and light horse and the gentlemen who accompany him, may amount to 4,000 and at the fitting moment they are all to assemble in Amiens.
The Marshal Strozzi preceded to make all necessary arrangements, the whole undertaking having not only been counselled with him (con lui), but its execution being also left completely to his management. (fn. 15) The information previously communicated to me was conjectural, but it is now reasonably and positively ascertained that they purpose attempting to storm the fortress of Calais. It had been first reconnoitred by a French captain, but as he did not entirely convince them, they sent the said Marshal to revisit it, he having offered thus to do, for the greater service of his most Christian Majesty, at the utmost risk and peril to himself, as may be imagined. He succeeded prosperously on St. Martin's night (11th November), and although from the difficulties that he found there his opinion was that they should let be (scorrere) until a better season, the King nevertheless disapproved of any farther delay, and chose the attempt to be made now, whether successful or unsuccessful (riesca ò non riesca), and from what I hear from the same person, by the advice of the Cardinal of Lorraine himself, to whom the Duke de Guise referred the matter, both one and the other of them having no greater end and desire than to delay the negotiation of any agreement as long as they can, and consequently to impede the release of the Constable. They are therefore intent on this enterprise with all assiduity, the result of which occupies universal attention, especially that of the very few who are acquainted with its details, and who keep them very secret; so it is superfluous for me to remind your Serenity to follow their example.
The statement made by the Nuncio to the King about the return of the Pope's great nephews, was not such as represented by the Nuncio to my secretary, for it has been told me on good authority that he strongly insisted on their being released (lasciati), the Pope having promised this in the articles of agreement with the King Catholic, his Holiness choosing to remain neutral; and he said that were it not allowed to effect the agreement, King Philip would have just cause for resentment, and to be dissatisfied with his Holiness; and he has a right to be gratified in this matter, as for a long while these youths will not be in a state to render any service to his most Christian Majesty; assigning also as another reason that their return was necessary because the Pope was negotiating, and had perhaps determined to marry the Duke of Paliano's son to the daughter of the late Duchess of Camerino, the first wife of the Duke of Urbino. The Nuncio did not make his demand until yesterday, nor has he yet had a reply, but the person who is charged to take them back told me that although the King will make a show of not wishing to detain them, yet from one impediment or another their departure will be delayed, at least until his most Christian Majesty knows what has been negotiated at Brussels by Cardinal Caraffa.
Poissy, 15th December 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]


  • 1.
  • 2. Widow of Francis I., King of France.
  • 3. Ruy Gomez was by birth a Portuguese.
  • 4. This remark supplies omissions in Litta's biography of Don Ferrante, who after the rout of the Constable, proposed marching to Paris. As he was an Imperialist the modern Italians ignore his military talents.
  • 5. Puteo, or du Puy, or dal Pozzo, born at Nice in Provence, one of the most famous jurists of his time, created Cardinal by Julius III. Such was his reputation for virtue and learning, that on the death of Paul IV, he very nearly obtained a sufficient number of votes in conclave to render him his successor. (See Cardella, vol. 4, pp. 314–315.
  • 6. Giambattista Cicala, of a noble Genoese family, was created Cardinal, with the title of S. Clemente, by Julius III. on the 20th December 1551. He also was a very learned lawyer and a man of great fortitude and valour, so that it was said of him that Julius III. wrote to the Emperor Charles V. that he had the courage to charge a squadron of men-at-arms. (See Cardella as above, p. 326.)
  • 7. Cardinal Carlo Caraffa?
  • 8. The relationship was to be effected by the marriage of the daughter of the Duke of Paliano to the Prince of Parma.
  • 9. See before date 27th November, but by a subsequent despatch to the Council of Ten, date 19th February 1558, it appears that the Pope reversed the sentence; so this record of a lawsuit between two celebrated female potentates becomes a curious illustration of Paul IV.'s nepotism, even where legal justice was concerned.
  • 10. In the late Sir William Hackett's Index to Foreign Calendar, “Mary,” there are fuller particulars of this French naval commander, thus “Escalin, Antoine, Baron de la Garde. (Capitaine Paulin.)”
  • 11. The day of the month is in blank, but this letter probably accompained the following one, and I therefore date it the 13th. The one appears to me an official letter, the other a private one.
  • 12. “Aspettandosi da tutti i pij, che, havendo sua beatitudine despetto (sic) [rispetto ?] ai gran meriti che la (sic) [della] Maestà sua verso quella santa sede et verso lei, alla quale è toccato il primo frutto dell' honor di questa reduttione, della quale sua Maestà si può dir esser stata madre.”
  • 13. See St. Paul's epistle to the Galatians, ii. 11.
  • 14. Gianpietro Caraffa was created cardinal by Paul III., on the 22nd December 1536, on which same day Cardinal Pole also received the red hat. (See Cardella, vol. 4, p. 160 and following, and p. 188.) The regard entertained by Paul III. for Reginald Pole would render his opinion of Caraffa's merits of some weight in the Pope's mind, and possibly secured Caraffa's election.
  • 15.