Venice: January 1558, 1-10

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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, 'Venice: January 1558, 1-10', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 6, 1555-1558, (London, 1877) pp. 1407-1421. British History Online [accessed 21 May 2024].

. "Venice: January 1558, 1-10", in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 6, 1555-1558, (London, 1877) 1407-1421. British History Online, accessed May 21, 2024,

. "Venice: January 1558, 1-10", Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 6, 1555-1558, (London, 1877). 1407-1421. British History Online. Web. 21 May 2024,

January 1558, 1–10

Jan. 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1121. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Marshal Strozzi has marched with the vanguard towards Gravelines, to prevent any assistance from being given thence to Calais, and M. de Guise was following with the main body of the army, having been detained at Amiens because the Switzers, being creditors for many months' pay, would not go farther until they received it; so it was necessary to send them from hence an amount sufficient for at least two months' pay, with which they seemed pacified, and continued their march. It is now said publicly that they are within the Calais pale, off which place it is also asserted that a great number of vessels have arrived, sent from Britanny and Normandy, not only for the conveyance of artillery, ammunition, and many sorts of wooden engines, &c. required for such an undertaking, but also to anticipate the English, so that they may be prevented from putting in succour; and although many persons say his Majesty has had news of a certain number of troops having entered by way of Flanders for the greater defence of the place, before Marshal Strozzi arrived there, here, nevertheless, the great hope of success continues.
The King having arrived here, the chief business of his coming will be commenced, viz., to propose to the delegates from the cities of the kingdom the pecuniary subsidy for which they were convoked by him for the present need. It is already said that the Parisians for their share will contribute 300,000 gold crowns, in which case it is supposed that from the other cities he will receive proportionally little less than two millions of gold. For the moment nothing is said about the espousals of the Dauphin and the Duke of Lorraine, they being deferred for the sake of making holiday with greater rejoicing for some sudden success.
The Legate Triultio is to make his public entry to-morrow, his right reverend lordship remaining in the meanwhile incognito., although he receives visits. Yesterday, by the King's order, the Cardinal of Lorraine went to him, and to-day I did the like, paying and receiving the usual compliments.
Concerning the progress of the army the Legate told me that although the chief intention of M. de Guise and Marshal Strozzi was to take Calais, yet if unsuccessful they would not fail to attempt some other of the Imperial places thereabouts, as they knew them to be not very well provided, so that if unable to do more, they might harass the enemy and make them incur constant expense.
Besides the reasons assigned to the Nuncio by the Cardinal of Lorraine (as mentioned in my last) for not allowing these great-nephews of the Pope to depart, I have heard on good authority that on the day when the Nuncio despatched the courier, the Cardinal of Lorraine sent him a note with these words, “By order of his most Christian Majesty I make known to your Lordship that he is determined that the nephews of his Holiness shall not depart at present, until he hears the resolve now coming from Cardinal Caraffa, with which the Pope is very well acquainted. On hearing it the King will be pacified” (se ne acqueterà). I am told that after they heard here of the concession of the 200,000 crowns made by King Philip to the Duke of Paliano, the anger against all his Holiness' nephews, and the suspicion of them, increased and increases hourly, and principally against Cardinal Caraffa, so that not only will no thought be had to do anything for their gratification, but with the slightest opportunity the reverse will be done to them.
Paris, 1st January 1558.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Jan. 1. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 1122. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Cardinal Caraffa writes from Brussels that he had sent his brother, the Marquis (Montebello), to the King, who was well received: that on the 15th ultimo he himself hastened (si spinse innanzi) to the palace of the Prince of Orange to avoid a ceremonious meeting, but scarcely had he got there when the Duke of Savoy arrived, apologising if he had been late. The Cardinal then robed himself pontifically (si messe in Pontifical) for the entry, and proceeded to Brussels, where he found the King at the gate, accompanied by the Cardinal of Trent; his Majesty went out to meet him a few paces beyond the city, and having made him pass under a canopy together with his Majesty they went to the church, the King returning to his palace, and the Cardinal remaining to perform the ceremony, and to give the benediction to the people as usual. On the morrow he went to audience, and the King met him at the palace gate below (sopra la porta da basso del palazzo); he was heard graciously, and received a humble and courteous reply (humil et cortese risposta).
Next day Don Ruy Gomez dined with the Legate, and they remained a long while together. The Duke (of Paliano) has said to me, “I have received a letter from Ruy Gomez, full of sweetness (tutta piena di dolcezza), in which he writes that he had never met with a man who was 'mas entre ne los corazones de todos' than my brother the Cardinal;” the Duke remarking, “See what a fine form of speech this is, to gain the hearts of all men!”
Today, after mass, the ceremony of presenting the hackney and the tribute money for the kingdom of Naples, was performed by the ambassadors of England (fn. 1) and of Florence, by many prelates, and by a great number of horsemen as usual. The Attorney-General (il Fiscal) uttered the customary words “sine prœiuditio camerœ apostolicœ.” The Pope said, “Acceptamus: in reliquis vero remittimus nos ad ea quœ mandavimus dilectissimo filio nostro Carolo Cardinali Caraffœ, legato apud Majestatem illam Catholicam.”
I have seen the Cardinal Dean [de Bellai] about the peace, and the release of the Constable. He answered that the Constable by nature, and from his time of life, was inclined towards peace, which could not be said of the Duke de Guise, as he was young, and this was the first time that he had had the armies (le arme) of France in his hands; besides which, by the war, he has the greatness he desires, whereas through the peace he would perhaps return to his former state (alli suoi primi termini); and that the King, having lost some of his repute, will think of nothing but its recovery, which cannot be effected without war. For these reasons the Cardinal Dean had doubts of the peace, and thought that owing to the King's generous nature he will choose to indemnify himself in part for the loss incurred; and even should he succeed, with the hope of greater progress his Majesty might tempt fortune further.
Amongst the Cardinals and ambassadors general discontent prevails owing to the imposssibility of obtaining audience of his Holiness. During the last fortnight the ambassador from Ferrara has been unable to present a letter of credence from his Duke. The one from Florence, who has to speak about his Holiness' affairs, cannot see him. The French ambassador told my secretary that he asks for audience, and though he has it not, it suffices him to be able to write to the King that he has been diligent. Those from England and Portugal remain asking it for months unsuccessfully.
I say nothing on this subject, except that the Cardinal of Naples (fn. 2) is his Holiness' beloved son, and may be called his right eye (è il figliol diletto di sua Santità et si pò dir l'occhio suo destro), and I have assuredly cause to speak well of him, his Lordship not having failed to do me all such favours as he could.
Rome, 1st January 1558.
Jan. 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1123. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
There are letters of the 1st instant from Gravelines, a town at the sea-side belonging to King Philip, distant three short leagues from Calais, informing him that the French, after victualling Ardres, are now under Calais, and intend to attack the said place of Gravelines, with 60 ensigns of foot, 4,000 horse, and 30 pieces of artillery. Immediately on receiving this advice the Spaniard Don Bernardino de Aiala was sent thither with 300 Spanish infantry; and Don Luis de Caravajal has left for Zealand to go in that direction with the fleet, it seeming that the French have some ships in those seas (in quelli mari). Besides this, Count d'Egmont has been commanded to march thither with his force, amounting to 1,200 Flemish militia cavalry (cavalli del paese), which are not generally considered very good troops. Then yesterday evening, these lords sat a long while in Council, and to-day had proclamations made throughout this city for as large a levy of troops as possible, a very evident proof that this matter concerns them greatly, and not without reason, Gravelines being a very important place, and the real barrier (frontiera real) of Flanders, both against the French and the English, being three leagues from Ardres, and three from Calais. The town is large, but thinly inhabited (mal habitata) and not strong, for it has no flanks, but high walls, and no platform, being built in the ancient fashion. It is true it has a newly built castle, with four bulwarks and four curtains, and a good moat; and although there are many objections to that form, it nevertheless externally, seems very strong, but the fortress is small (ma è picciola piazza). I have never seen it within, but I hear that the earth-works are not completed, as would be requisite; and the grievous error of not finishing in time, a thing so necessary in fortresses, may be known by this example, as on the sudden, there is no way of remedying that neglect (disordine). Such is the condition of this fortress, which, were it not assisted by its site, would be in very great danger; I say by its site, because in certain places it can be inundated; nor can an army encamp there very easily, neither can artillery be conveyed thither, most especially at this season of mid-winter, and this is the chief hope of the Spaniards; but should the French occupy the town, and from thence commence battering the castle, they fear there would be no remedy, from the impossibility of succouring the besieged.
Brussels, 3rd January 1558.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Jan. 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1124. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
On presenting himself before Calais M. de Guise made himself master without opposition (senza contrasto) of that part of the town fronting the sea, and which, forming a bank (sponda—Risbank ?), receives, as it were, into an arm or small gulf the vessels which arrive there, and which for greater security withdraw thither under the walls of the town; and he simultaneously took possession (occupò) both of the ships and their crews, and of the hostels (et delle hostarie), which are built there outside for the accommodation of the mariners and wayfarers, so that when they embark or disembark by night on account of the tides they may not have to enter the town. In order not to lose time M. de Guise immediately commenced battering it, as on that side it has neither moats (fosse), flanks (fianchi), nor platforms (terrapieni) within, the town being thought secured by the sea, from which it is only separated by the width of the road; but he could not make any effect, and was compelled, on the contrary, to retire, for the battery, being made on board the ships, (fn. 3) which with the flood tide are on a level with the town, but when it ebbs they in like manner fall gradually, so that the cannon shot struck six or seven paces below the wall, according to the reflux of the sea. So the defenders within, from the ramparts, being above the ships, and, made them move off, in the meanwhile, by earthworks and barricades, fortified the road at the entry of the town, and secured it in such a way by placing artillery there that it could no longer be held, save with great danger. M. de Guise is now encamped most commodiously above the site first occupied by him, Boulogne in his rear supplying him with victuals and all sorts of provisions, and having from the wood not more than half a league off great plenty of fuel. He proposed at one and the same time to batter the tower which is at the entry of the port, and that part of the town which has the castle for angle, as the weakest part, because when master of the castle, which is without flanks (senza fianchi), he would easily obtain the town; and two days ago he commenced battering, for which purpose he had 60 pieces of artillery, the greater part of them being cannons (havendo per quest' effetto sessanta pezzi di artegliaria, la maggior parte de canoni). Although the besieged defend themselves stoutly (si diffendino gagliardamente), it is nevertheless not authentically understood that the garrison is more numerous than usual, the governor [Lord Wentworth], as said lately by the King, not having chosen to admit any one; and notwithstanding a public report that the Duke of Savoy in person is coming to succour the place with a strong body of cavalry and infantry, the hope of its capture does not in the least diminish.
Yesterday the Cardinal Legate Triulzi made his entry in state, as usual, being met by the clergy and the municipality, and by the university, and was taken to the cathedral church of Notre Dame, where he is lodged, and to-day he was accompanied from his lodging to public audience of the King by the Cardinals Bourbon, Guise, Sens, and Châtillon. He sent his auditor and secretary to give me notice of all he had negotiated about universal peace, expressing himself in general terms, which the King reciprocated in like manner. The Legate despatched a courier to the Pope with an account of the King's good disposition, and wished also to send a gentleman to Brussels with the same news for Cardinal Caraffa, but he was merely allowed to despatch a trumpet with a letter.
Yesterday and the day before, the Cardinal of Lorraine held an especial “congregation,” the first day with the bishops and clergy, and the next with the nobility and these chief delegates from the towns, explaining to them privately the cause of their being convoked, that they might think about the supplies; and to-morrow they are all generally to appear in the King's presence in one of these public halls of the Parliament, to hear from him his intention, which will be principally about requesting money.
Paris, 4th January 1558.
Jan. 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1125. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
The Cardinal of Trent [Cristoforo Madrucci] departed hence yesterday, very dissatisfied, he having come hither chiefly to obtain from the king Pontremoli and its territory, which is very considerable, on the confines of the Milanese and of Tuscany; but his Majesty would not concede it him, excusing himself because he did not choose to dismember any more of that State, which has already been but too much enfeebled and dismembered, though, to gratify his most illustrious Lordship, he gave his brother, for life, an annuity of 2,000 crowns, to be paid in the Milanese, besides the pension of 10,000 crowns received by the Cardinal himself on the archbishopric of Toledo, which reward might well satisfy any one whose mind and desires are well regulated.
The Cardinal Legate Caraffa is also dissatisfied, because, as he told me yesterday morning, the requests relating to his own interests did not content him, they having been three: one, the priory of Naples for himself, with the arrears due from the time when he first had it until now, which would be a very large sum, as it is worth 8,000 crowns per annum; the second, for the Marquis of Montebello, is the Marquisate of Oira, in the kingdom of Naples, yielding 6,000 crowns rental, and vacant owing to the absence of its lord, who has turned Lutheran and resides at Basle; the third demand is the Duchy of Bari for the Duke of Paliano, which, together with another county, yields some 40,000 crowns, and on which the Pope had a design after the death of the Queen of Poland [Bonna Sforza], and unbosomed himself to the Duke of Alva, and sent hither a gentleman on purpose, who arrived lately with letters about this and the Priory of Naples, addressed both to the King and to Don Ruy Gomez. Cardinal Caraffa has not told me what answer he received, but I hear on good authority that neither the King nor any of his councillors approve of the grant, but not to dissatisfy his Lordship by openly denying him a thing of which he claims the restitution, it having heretofore belonged to him, they think of making so many counter-demands that to avoid conceding them he will cease asking for the Priory and Marquisate of Oira. Cardinal Caraffa told me that he did not anticipate any difficulty about these matters, but that he has discovered an evil office performed by the Duke of Alva, owing to which he considers himself much deceived by his Excellency; the offence being that the Duke heretofore promised the Pope Oira for his nephews, and that he would write to the King about it; but it subsequently transpired that he borrowed from Offredo, Marquis of Trevico, a certain sum of money under promise of giving him Oira, and the Duke now strongly urges the King to give Offredo the rest of the estate exceeding the value of the money lent, and to invest him with the whole of it. King Philip seems inclined to satisfy Marquis Offredo, so Cardinal Caraffa awaits the result of this negotiation until the arrival of the Duke of Alva, who is expected here in a few days. To the request about the Duchy of Bari, his Majesty replied that he did not yet know how the late Queen of Poland [Bonna Sforza] had disposed of it, nor could he decide until fully informed about other particulars on that subject, which cannot be obtained until the arrival of the Duke of Alva; but the Legate tells me that although the Duke promised the Pope to favour his wish in this affair, he nevertheless asked the King to give him the Duchy of Bari for himself, so his right reverend Lordship is dissatisfied with the Duke, nor does it please him that His Majesty should delay these negotiations until his arrival; yet, as the King, on the other hand, told him that he was merely waiting for such information as requisite, as with regard to the decision it has to pass solely through His Majesty's own hands and those of the Cardinal, whom His Majesty chooses to dismiss, content and satisfied.
The other negotiations which were commenced still continue, viz. about the Inquisition, and the regulation of [its] authority (dell' autorità) in Spain and Sicily. Nothing is said about the peace, either because they are waiting for letters from France, or because they in fact care little about it (non se ne fa molto conto), for which reasons I have not performed any office on the subject, beyond what I wrote heretofore, nor shall I do anything in this matter until some fresh opportunity present itself.
Brussels, 4th January 1558.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Jan. 4. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. XXIV. cl. X.' p. 190 verso. 1126. Cardinal Pole to King Philip. (fn. 4)
Although I wrote to your Majesty yesterday, in reply to what you were pleased to write to me on the 24th ultimo, yet nevertheless, having heard to-day of the loss of Risbank (fn. 5), near Calais, I will not omit telling you how, in an untoward circumstance (in dispiacevol caso) the most serene Queen has shown her usual firmness (constantia), which has comforted me the more, as I was at first anxious lest such unexpected news might seriously agitate Her Majesty, especially as we now hope she is pregnant (ritrovandosi hora specialmente sicome speramo graveda); but having seen, not only that she was not in the least disheartened by this news, but that immediately on hearing it she commenced arranging and providing by such means as possible, both divine and human, for what the present need requires, as also by ordering supplications and prayers to be made in all the religious congregations (in tutti i luoghi religiosi) for success, I was much comforted. I have deemed it my duty to give notice of this to your Majesty, as by your putting forth your vigorous arm (gagliarda mano) and aid, which we are certain you will do, with such speed as the present need requires, I have no doubt but that the Almighty will thus convert everything to His greater glory, and at the same time to the consolation and honour of your Majesties and your realms; as I continually pray His divine Majesty's goodness to do, and to preserve and prosper your Majesty, for the common weal, and particularly for this Kingdom, which is placed under your care and government.
Greenwich, 4th January 1558.
Jan. 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1127. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
Early this morning, a courier from England, who left Dover on the 3rd, brings news that the French have taken the Castle (la rocca) (fn. 6) of the harbour of Calais, which is a very small one, and fronts the town, nor is it more than 80 or 100 paces from it, and it is not strong. He also says that the townspeople (quelli della terra) were battering it, having first burnt and levelled a suburb of houses, which impeded the fire of the artillery, so that the French will be compelled to abandon it. Of the rest of the army he reports that it was not yet under Gravelines, though according to public rumour it was going thither; and this is the freshest advice received here from that quarter.
Brussels, 5th January 1558.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Jan. 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1128. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Pope's courier returned this day from France. He had been sent with a papal brief to demand the sons of the Duke of Paliano and Marquis Montebello; he has not brought letters for any one, not even for the French Ambassador. The particulars brought by him have not yet been heard, as the despatch is addressed to the Pope, who after dinner went to sleep, so until night the Duke could not be with his Holiness, but from the sorrow depicted on his countenance after this courier's arrival, it is supposed that the news of the coming of his son, which he expected with so much anxiety, are not very good.
Rome, 8th January 1558.
Jan. 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1129. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
Today, at noon, news arrived of the entry into Calais of the French, which in like manner as it is of greater importance than any other intelligence that could be heard at this present time, so has it very greatly troubled everybody here, both on account of the actual loss and the subsequent detriment; the French, on the other hand, having made the greatest possible acquisition in these parts, well nigh expelling the English from Flanders, and depriving them of that port which rendered them masters of the Channel, and of a fortress which they held in such great account, and giving them such vast repute, they being thus enabled to harass France and Flanders, and all these States at any time. There still remain to the English Hammes and Guisnes, two small inland (fra terra) fortresses, whose security depended entirely on Calais, so through the loss of that place they will easily share the same fate. The Duke of Savoy departed shortly before this intelligence arrived, and according to report he will remain at Ghent, 10 leagues hence, until such troops as can be mustered shall be in marching order, though it will be difficult to make provision immediately, as the want of money is very great.
Brussels, 8th January 1558.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Jan. 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1130. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
The French have not attacked Gravelines, as was feared, but remain at Calais battering it from the castle of Rysebank (dove è quella rochetta), and although at this court, Calais is held to be a strong and secure fortress, I nevertheless remember that on my going to see it internally, (fn. 7) when I crossed over to England, I found it very thinly inhabited, most especially by soldiers, and the place being large requires many; nor do I know whether they can put them in at their pleasure, having the sea between them. Besides this, towards the harbour, where the French are now battering it, it seemed to me very weak, as the walls are high in the ancient fashion, and there is no platform (terrapieno), the moat also being small, and it is ill flanked; nor has this ever been remedied, because those who have the care of it rely on the opinion current all over the world, that it is an inexpugnable fortress. It is possible that in other parts it may be more scientifically constructed, and that in this quarter, no great care was taken, it seeming secure by reason of its being so very near the sea. The Earl of Pembroke, Governor (capo principale) of Calais, is not there, and the whole charge of the defence is vested in the Governor of the town, styled Deputy (Debiti) [Lord Wentworth], and the soldiers of the garrison are all Englishmen, as they do not trust any other nation; but the moment it was heard in England that the French had taken the castle of Rysebank, they commenced sending troops to Dover, where the Earl of Pembroke also arrived on his way to Flanders, and at this hour it is heard that he crossed with 5,000 infantry, and landed at Dunkirk, six leagues from Calais.
It has been determined by this side (da questa parte) to send the Duke of Savoy towards those frontiers (fn. 8) with an army-corps (corpo di gente) drafted from several garrisons, including that of St. Quentin, about which places it seems there is nothing to fear, the French being now at a great distance thence, but this might prove to be a second mistake (disordine) added to the first, which was that of disbanding the army, when the enemy were intent on re-enforcing themselves.
Brussels, 8th January 1558.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Jan. 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1131. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Now in the dusk of the evening, during the entertainment at the Court (fn. 9) for the marriage of the second daughter of the Duchess of Bouillon to the second son of the Duke de Nevers, and whilst the King was dancing (et che 'l Re Christmo si trovava in danza), Secretary Robertet arrived from the camp, having been sent by M. de Guise with the news that last Friday, the 7th, after the castle of Calais had been cannonaded from three quarters by three very powerful batteries, commanded by the two sons of the Constable, Montmorency [François de Montmorency, his eldest son], and Damville [Henri de Montmorency], and the Master of the Horse (Grand Ecuyer), (fn. 10) so violent an assault was made on the part cannonaded by Gouffier that the castle was taken by storm, all the English, its defenders, being killed (con morte di tutti l'Inglesi che si trovarono alla difesa), and only 15 or 20 of the assailants, not one of whom was of importance. After this capture, whilst M. de Guise was preparing to storm the town, (fn. 11) one of the inhabitants appeared on the ramparts (alli ripari) with a flag of truce, praying the besiegers not to fire nor to proceed to farther hostilities, as the townspeople were willing to surrender; so whilst it was being treated to have them at discretion, according to the Duke's resolve, as he knew that those who remained were very few and very weak, he having shortly before, at the passes occupied by him, routed four companies of Spaniards on their march to succour them, they demanding safety for their property and persons, he sent Robertet to assure the King that either at discretion or in some other way the town could not fail to be his. Therefore not only his Majesty and the Queen and court, but this entire population likewise, make such great rejoicing that greater would not be made for any other event, however felicitous; there being no longer any doubt but that the town will be taken, as it only remains to hear the terms of the surrender, which M. de Guise has sent to say he will transmit immediately.
I shall forthwith congratulate the King and Queen and the Cardinal of Lorraine, who, besides the other causes, displays extraordinary signs of joy on account of his brother the Duke de Guise, the commander-in-chief of the army.
Paris, 9th January 1558.
Jan. 10. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 1132. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Duke of Paliano sent for my secretary today, and spoke to him about the lads (delli putti), hoping that his Serenity will so commission his ambassador with King Henry that they may get back the children (quei figliuoli). He said that the Nuncio in France spoke first with the Cardinal of Lorraine, and then with the King, to whom he presented the Pope's brief and my letter; he had fair words in reply, but performance was delayed. On the night of the 23rd December the Cardinal of Lorraine wrote a note to the Nuncio, telling him that the King awaited certain resolutions from Cardinal Caraffa [the Legate at Brussels], and that he would not give the lads (li putti) leave until he got them. The Duke continued: “God has willed that they should give this so resolute and impudent a reply clearly to prove their barbarity. They might have said that it was not well to send these lads (questi putti) away in the depth of winter, and that they should wait for the spring, as the marriage of the Dauphin being about to take place, his Majesty wished these children (questi figlioli) to be present at it, and such like compliments, as although we should have taken them for what they were worth, yet as they had a sort of colour we could have dissembled about this honour (con questo honor), which can no longer be done now; so I am afraid of some evil, knowing the Pope's humour (cervello), and how much he insists on his dignity. . . . . This detention may give cause to some malignant about the person of King Philip, for we know there are those who do not wish him to agree with the Pope, to tell him that his Holiness has an understanding with the King of France, and that the not giving up the lads (li putti) is a collusion between them, so as to do worse than ever subsequently when the opportunity presents itself, and thus make King Philip act with reserve in acknowledging us (in riconoscerne); and even were the King Catholic to do us good, the greater his demonstration the more will the suspicion of the French increase; so nothing but evil can ensue. . . . . We are awaiting the Pope's decision about the reply to France, and I believe his Holiness will answer sharply (per le rime), as he cannot tolerate that the King should do him so great a wrong as to keep those lads away from him without any cause, they not having been sent as hostages, but simply as a mark of affection.”
Rome, 10th January 1558.
Jan. 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1133. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday evening, on receiving the news of the taking of Calais I sent it to your Serenity forthwith, but until now, 11 a.m., the capitulation which M. de Guise said he would send by M. de Sipierre has not yet arrived, though it is not surprising, because, being unable to come without a considerable escort as far as Abbeville, the road being dangerous and insecure, he cannot make great haste, but it is expected hourly.
To return thanks to God, the King and Queen came to the Sainte Chapelle, where they had a solemn mass sung, after which his Majesty gave audience to the Legate, who at his first interview, when urging the general peace, would not confound public business with private interests, but having found the Pope's great-nephews still here, whereas he believed them to be on their way home, he thought it his duty, knowing his Holiness' wish in this matter (although he had no particular commission on the subject), to speak about it to the King, as he had already done with the Cardinal of Lorraine. His Majesty replied that before his departure hence he will despatch them, and it is already said that on the arrival of the capitulation he will go in person to Calais, where a council of war will be held about proceeding on some other expedition, many persons being of opinion that they ought to attempt Guisnes, to take that other fortress from the English; whilst to have open passage through the whole of Flanders, others propose Gravelines.
Paris, 10th January 1557.
Jan. 10 ? MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. XXIV. Cl. X. p. 191 recto. 1134. Cardinal Pole to the Cardinal of Mantua [Ercole Gonzaga].
As nothing in nature gives greater pain to the human mind than the death of those who are naturally dear to us, so in that case can we have no more efficacious consolation than to hear that they have ended this life, with manifest signs of being in favour with God; both of which effects (l'uno et l'altro dei quali effetti), I am certain, will have been felt by your most illustrious Lordship, on the death of your most illustrious brother, (fn. 12) which—knowing as I do how very much you loved him, not merely from ties of blood, but with your heart (ma di animo), and by reason of his many rare and excellent qualities—will, I am aware, have caused you extreme pain; but on hearing how piously and christianly he died, I doubt not but that together with the wound, you will have received efficacious medicine for its cure; as experienced by myself, for, having had the first news here, from the Regent Figueroa, who gave it me with the words “Oh! with what ardent devotion did the Lord Don Ferrante die, and in truth like a Holy Knight,” I felt the remedy of the blow well nigh before the stroke; which assuredly, besides every other consideration, could not but be very heavy and grievous for me, on account of your most illustrious Lordship. This consolation will, I hope, have been of greater efficacy for the pious mind of your most illustrious Lordship, than any other that in this case could be offered.
I have pondered and admired the Divine Providence, which in the midst of so many and such great infirmities as that Lord underwent during these his last years, God chose to preserve him alive until he had overcome all the envy and calumnies which never fail to assail great personages of such excellent ability and valour as his were; causing him to die in such great repute and honour with everybody, and to the very great regret of his Majesty the King, and of all his own family.
May our Lord God of His goodness vouchsafe fully to console your most illustrious and right reverend Lordship, and give you the grace to resign yourself throughout to His Divine will; and may He have you always under His Holy protection.
[London, 10?] (fn. 13) January 1558.
Jan. 10. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. XXIV., Cl. x. p. 191 verso, & pp. 192 recto & verso. 1135. Instruction for Gio. Francesco Stella, [Cardinal Pole's Auditor, accredited by him to Cardinal Carlo Caraffa, Papal Legate at Brussels.]
You will return to Monsignor the most illustrious the Legate, and tell his most illustrious Lordship that the right reverend Cardinal Pole, having heard what he and others of his retinue said openly to several persons, about the bad opinion entertained by the Pope of Cardinal Morone, and of him, in the matter of religion, has commissioned you—besides the office of visiting his most illustrious Lordship—to perform this one likewise, not only as to a fellow Legate (non solo come con-legato), but to the Pope's kinsman; telling him in Cardinal Pole's name to consider the necessity, which, should things proceed in this manner, will compel him to defend his honour, being so connected as it is with the service of God in this kingdom. Nor could he do this without narrating and giving particular account of his whole life and actions, and of whatever occurred from the beginning, on several occasions (fn. 14), between his Holiness and him; nor does he see how he could do this without greatly blaming (senza grande incarico di) that person, for whose honour—should anything else be at stake (quando altro non ve ne andasse)—he would willingly lose not only his own but also his life itself. This was the cause which induced him to send his Auditor to Rome, to lay this before the Pope, together with the other inconveniences which ensued, and will continue, should matters proceed against Cardinal Pole as they had commenced (come, havevano cominciato); but if such should be the will of Divine Providence, his right reverend Lordship will always have this satisfaction of not having failed on his part to avoid all scandal as much as he could, and to shun the necessity for coming to this; although God of His grace has provided him with so many and such strong forces (presidij), not, so much of words as of facts, to enable him to defend the honour of His Divine Majesty in his person.
In addition to this, you may tell his Right Reverend Lordship that it cannot but seem very singular if, so many and such vivid proofs of his religion and faith having been witnessed here, his Holiness should on any other account have entertained a bad opinion of him in such a matter, and that he had not rather thanked God for being thus undeceived, or else [inferred] that God had in this manner cured and converted him. It appears, indeed, too strange that anyone could have so iniquitous an opinion (cosi scellerato concetto) of him [as to suppose] that what he has done, and is still doing here, for the restoration of the Catholic religion, and the destruction of that which is opposed to it, he did, and is doing fictitiously (con animo simulato); which could only proceed from an extraordinary impiety, coupled with extreme ambition, to which God has granted him the grace to have opportunity for showing himself very averse (alienissimo) during the whole course of his life.
You will then say, how everybody has been much surprised that his Holiness should not evince such regard as due for the quality and merits of this most Serene Queen, he having willed to take away from her, and to give her, a Legate without first giving any hint of it to her Majesty; and although she sent to let him know the great inconveniences, injuries, and perils, which ensued thence, and might ensue, contrary to the service of God, requesting him to regard her and this realm with the due paternal pity (pietà), her Majesty during so long a period has never received any reply; his Holiness still seeming to remain firm with regard to the Legate appointed by him, although he hears not only from the most Serene Queen, but from his own personal confession (di lui proprio), how ill suited (sproportionato) an instrument he is, on every account, for this charge, although in other respects a religious and worthy person. He himself says, that he never passes through London without a crowd of scoffers at his back (che non li vengono fatto dietro segni d' irrisioni), perhaps yet more on account of these reports which have circulated about him, to the regret and scandal of good men, and to the exaltation and slander of the wicked (et essaltatione et detrattione de' cattivi).
In conclusion, you will tell his right reverend Lordship that by restoring his honour to Cardinal Pole (che rintegrandosi monsignor Rmo. dell' honor suo) the aforesaid neccessity would be removed, and all the other inconveniences be remedied; which it seems to him his Holiness could not only do with a good conscience, on considering better all that he might and should consider in this matter, but moreover at the same time save his honour, by saying that he had been induced by zeal owing to the false accusation received, etc. You will add that should his right reverend Lordship be the means of conducting the matter by this road, he would render a great service to God and to his Holiness at the same time, and which would be very agreeable (gratissimo) to Cardinal Pole, by relieving him from the necessity for doing what his mind has always abhorred, and does abhor extremely.
[London ?] 10th January 1558.
Jan. 10. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. XXIV, Cl. x., p. 192 verso. 1136. Cardinal Pole to King Philip.
On this sudden and grievous catastrophe of the loss of Calais, in like manner as Pole's chief anxiety was about the way in which her Majesty bore it, so does he consider himself bound to give account of it to the King, to comfort him in a matter which Pole is very certain pains him more than anything else. Immediately on hearing the news, Pole went to the Queen, nor did he know how to find better means for consoling her, after alluding to Divine Providence, than to offer for her consideration the example of the Emperor, of King Philip, and her own likewise, in bearing with fortitude and constancy any distressing and adverse casualty, not allowing herself to be depressed, in the same way that she had never permitted prosperity to elate her; and in this present case, which is so important a one, her Majesty really shows that in generosity of nature and in pardoning (et in generosità di natura e in gratia) she is very like herself, and no less connected with your Majesties in this respect, than she is by ties of blood.
It is unnecessary for Pole to write more to the King who will be minutely informed about everything in England through the letters of the Council, and by the Queen's messenger, as also by Don Juan de Ayala, from whom, to his usual comfort, he heard of the King's well-being, and received the letter his Majesty was pleased to write to him, for which he humbly kisses his hands, praying the Lord God to have the King and his interest under His benign protection at all times, for His service, and for the benefit of Christendom.
St. James's, 10th January 1558.


  • 1. In Foreign Calendar, “Mary,” from 17th December 1557, to 22nd January 1558, there are no letters from Sir Edward Carne, so his share in this ceremony was omitted.
  • 2. Alfonso Caraffa, son of Marquis Montebello, and great-nephew of Paul IV, who made him Cardinal on the 15th March 1557, as already recorded under that date. On the disgrace of his father and uncles, in January 1559, he became his great-uncle's prime minister. Alfonso Caraffa was born in 1540. (See Cardella, vol. 4, p. 365.)
  • 3. There is no mention of these floating batteries in Lord Hardwicke's State Papers concerning the loss of Calais.
  • 4. In the original manuscript, this letter follows the one dated 14th December 1557, addressed to Cardinal Caraffa, and is headed “Al medesimo;” a mistake which confirms my belief that the second letter addressed by the scribe to Stefano Sauli, date 25th May 1557, was destined by Cardinal Pole for Cardinal Morone, who on the first Monday in June 1557, was by order of the Pope imprisoned in Castle St. Angelo.
  • 5. Risbank was taken on the 3rd of January 1558; see letter from the Earl of Rutland to Queen Mary in Foreign Calendar, p. 357.
  • 6. Castle of Rysebank. (See Chronicle of Calais, p. xxvi, footnote.)
  • 7. On the 28th March 1557. See his despatch in Venetian Calendar, dated Westminster, 31st March 1557.
  • 8. Frontiers of Gravelines?
  • 9. Query in the “Palais des Tournelles.” (See Père Daniel, vol. 9, p. 894–896, A.D. 1559.)
  • 10. Claude Gouffier, Marquis de Boissy. (See the late Sir William Hackett's Index to Foreign Calendar, “Mary.”)
  • 11. This agrees with what the Legate Triulzi wrote to the Pope from Paris, “that the place, i.e., town, had been rendered without any battery being laid to it, or defence made, but by appointment of those within it.” See Foreign Calendar, “Mary,” date, Rome, 28th January 1558, p. 361). See also John Highfield's letter to the Queen, about “treason,” in Lord Hardwicke, vol. 1, p. 119.
  • 12. Don Ferrante Gonzaga died at Brussels on the 15th November 1557. He was at the battle of St. Quentin, and according to Moreri, his death was hastened by regret at its not having been followed up by a march to Paris.
  • 13. Blank in MS.
  • 14. In diversi (sic); a word omitted.