Venice: April 1558

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: April 1558', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 6, 1555-1558, (London, 1877) pp. 1482-1490. British History Online [accessed 26 May 2024].

. "Venice: April 1558", in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 6, 1555-1558, (London, 1877) 1482-1490. British History Online, accessed May 26, 2024,

. "Venice: April 1558", Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 6, 1555-1558, (London, 1877). 1482-1490. British History Online. Web. 26 May 2024,

April 1558

April 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1210. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Nothing is attended to here but provision for the war, M. d'Andelot, who during his brother's absence performs the office of Admiral, having been sent to inspect the ports and all the other maritime places of Normandy and Britanny, and to order the fitting out of the greatest possible number of vessels, not only to secure that coast from invasion by the enemy, but to put to sea and give them battle in the greatest force they can. There have also been despatched from hence upwards of fifty infantry captains, the greater part however without money, as being in easy circumstances (che come persone commode) they offered not only to raise the companies at their own cost, but to take them in like manner to the muster places, to be then reimbursed, and paid from that time forth. These captains are almost all natives of Provence or Gascony, and the greater part of them are destined for Scotland and Piedmont, whither Marshal Brissac will depart next week; and he is to have under his command one thousand “Blacksmith” cavalry, of the first who arrive, three hundred men-at-arms, and twenty ensigns of Germans.
Moret, 1st April 1558.
April 14. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. X., p. 195 verso. 1211. Cardinal Pole to Cardinal Carlo Caraffa.
Has received Caraffa's letter written to him on his departure from Brussels, and heard with great pleasure how satisfied he was with King Philip, as Pole always hoped would be the case, knowing his Majesty's good and pious disposition, which he trusts will become daily more known, and render him more dear to the Pope, for the benefit and quiet of Christendom, and for the comfort of Caraffa himself and his most illustrious family. Thus may it please Divine Providence, and that the Pope be fully comforted by seeing these Princes at peace; and thanking Caraffa for his loving letter, he kisses his hand, recommending himself to his good grace, and praying him most humbly to kiss the Pope's feet in Pole's name.
Greenwich, 14th April 1558.
April 14. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv., Cl. X., pp. 195 verso & 196 recto. 1212. Cardinal Pole to Don Juan de Vega, Super-President (sopra Presidente) of the Royal Council.
As Pole has occasion to send to Spain an agent (who will present this letter to Vega) for the recovery of certain moneys due to him from the Cardinal of Burgos and others, he by this opportunity has willed to visit Vega with these few lines, congratulating him on what he heard from Signor Antonio Cassagera, both about his good state, and the great benefit and satisfaction which the people there (quei populi) acknowledge more and more daily, owing to Vega's justice and prudence. Cassagera saluted Pole lovingly in his name, for which he thanks Vega, and requests him to be pleased to favour his messenger in whatever he may chance to require with regard to the business he is going to transact. Recommends himself much to Vega, praying the Lord God long to preserve and prosper him.
Greenwich, 14th April 1558.
April 14. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. XXIV. Cl. x., p. 196 recto and verso 1213. Cardinal Pole to the Cardinal of Burgos.
Whilst the Cardinal of Burgos was in Italy, Pole always attributed the nonpayment of the arrears of his pension on that see to the Cardinal's agent being unable to doubt his goodwill both towards justice and towards Pole personally. Now, therefore, the Cardinal being in Spain, Pole hoped and hopes for full payment without further delay of the arrears due to him, and that for the future he may always receive what he is entitled to from the Cardinal at the fixed terms, and prays him thus to do with all earnestness. For this purpose Pole sends his Chamberlain, Giovanni di Ugaldo, who will present this letter to the Cardinal, with power to receive the money, and give receipts in Pole's name, he having received permission from the King to export it, as likewise what shall be paid him hereafter by the Cardinal, whom he requests to the utmost to despatch Ugaldo speedily, that he, Pole, may be enabled to avail himself of his money, of which he has great need in ordinary, and most especially in these times.
Of his state Pole will say no more, referring Burgos to the messenger, and congratulating him on attaining his pious wish to visit his church. Prays God to favour him from good to better for His service and for the benefit of the people committed to his care, and, recommending himself to the Cardinal's good grace, he humbly kisses his hand.
Greenwich, 14th April 1558.
April 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1214. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
As within an hour a gentleman is departing hence express for Italy, I write these few words, reserving fuller details for the ordinary post. On Holy Saturday (fn. 1) I announced the arrival of the Secretary Concini to treat the agreement with the Duke of Ferrara; he has not yet been despatched, but is expecting the decision from day to day.
The negotiation proceeds very secretly, but from a person of authority I have heard that it consists in this, that the Duke of Ferrara will have back all his castles, and will not be bound to any particular obligation with King Philip, but will merely consent not to give assistance to the King of France against his Majesty. This Secretary Concino came the other day to visit me, and said that his Duke had caused particular account of the whole of this affair to be given to your Serenity, that you might favour its execution, which he was convinced would be agreeable to you also, for the quiet of Italy. I did not give him to understand either that I would or would not perform an office with the King on this subject.
From Concino's words, and from what I have heard from others, I comprehend that King Philip is dissatisfied with this negotiation of the Duke of Florence, it seeming to him that the particulars of this agreement are but little to his repute, and very honourable for the Duke of Ferrara; and Ascanio dalla Cornia, who is lodged in the house of the ambassador from Florence, Concino also residing there, when supping with me yesterday evening, said it was no wonder the decision of this business should be so long delayed, as disagreeable things are done unwillingly; neither is it surprising if they proceed so secretly, as it is too disgraceful for King Philip; and he added that the Duke of Ferrara will have gained much by discovering the weakness of this King, from whom alone he could fear injury. When I asked him what he thought would be the end of this business, he replied that an agreement would be made on any terms, as they cannot do otherwise, and that although the King bears the Duke of Ferrara illwill, and would wish to injure him, he will nevertheless postpone his determination until another and more convenient season, and will break with him whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Concerning the peace with France, about which, as written by me, (fn. 2) Don Ruy Gomez went to speak with the Constable, (fn. 3) I do not hear that there is any firm hope, and Galderon, the secretary of Don Ruy Gomez, says that everything is done in order that these lords may be more tardy in providing beforehand, but that in the meanwhile the French are increasing their forces on the frontiers, and that the Count Palatine, the Duke of Saxony, and the Landgrave are raising troops for them in Germany, it having also been heard yesterday that in the environs of Compiegne there are already under arms 15,000 infantry, and many standards (stendardi) of horse, but your Serenity will have more certain advice of all this through France.
Brussels, 16th April 1558.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
April 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1215. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
About the peace with France, I was told by the King and Don Ruy Gomez that at the latter's parley with the Constable nothing was settled, because they did not approve of the proposal made by him, that the Duke of Savoy should marry the daughter of M. de St. Pol, widow of the Duke d'Enghien, (fn. 4) who has for dower some estates in France, yielding an annual rental of 40,000 ducats. And in the course of the conversation, Montmorency said to Ruy Gomez, that his most Christian Majesty justly possessed Savoy and Piedmont, both by several ancient rights, and because they are his patrimony, having been left him by his father King Francis who was master of them before his death; and because they are the gate of the kingdom of France, through which the Emperor passed several times, to ravage that realm; so he could not do less than secure himself; and besides, the Duke of Savoy has professed himself the open enemy of the King of France. Don Ruy Gomez answered him that this convention was neither just nor honourable, and that the Duke would not consent to accept such terms; that if the Duke had been the enemy of the King of France, it was by force, and not by will, because he had been deprived of what belonged to him; and that it is one thing to secure one's self, and another to enter your neighbour's house, as he did by coming to the gates of Milan. In this conversation it was also said, both by Montmorency and Ruy Gomez, that the peace between these two Kings can be prevented by nothing but this alone, there being no cause to say anything more about their ancient claims, so many events having happened subsequently on one side and the other, that there could not be any difference of moment, and as for any difficulty about the occupation of one or two towns here or there, it was so small a matter as to admit of easy adjustment. Ruy Gomez reported everything to the Duke of Savoy, who, to avoid showing himself in any way at variance with King Philip, would not consent to this adjustment, and sent word to the Constable indignantly that he has no cause to thank him or to treat him well, as he who professes to be his dear friend and kinsman (parente) (fn. 5) thinks of treating him so ill.
Ruy Gomez also told me that they have advices that King Henry would willingly consent to make peace, though he nevertheless told me that he has no hope of it, because although this difficulty alone remained, it was nevertheless of very great importance.
Here in the meanwhile they do not fail to provide for the war, and it is said that they will soon have an army on foot numbering 30,000 infantry, and 12,000 horse, part Germans and Spaniards, and part Flemings (gente del paese); nor will they have any lack of money, it being reported that besides the contracts made with the Genoese merchants, to the amount of upwards of 800,000 ducats, they get this year more than a million of crowns from those States; and they are also expecting a good sum from England.
Brussels, 21st April 1558.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
April 25. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1216. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday the wedding and espousal (le nozze et sponsalitio) of the Dauphin and the Queen of Scotland terminated; and on that same night the consummation took place, the bride having completed her fifteenth year at the commencement of last December, the bridegroom being fourteen years old on the 18th January last. These nuptials were really considered the most regal and triumphant of any that have been witnessed in this kingdom for many years, whether from the concourse of the chief personages of the realm both temporal and spiritual thus assembled, there being present and assisting at all the solemnities the Cardinal Legate, and all the other ambassadors, or from the pomp and richness of the jewels and apparel both of the lords and ladies; or from the grandeur of the banquet and stately service of the table (et qualità dell' apparato); or from the costly devices of the masquerades and similar revels. In short, nothing whatever that could possibly be desired was wanting for the embellishment of such a spectacle, except jousts and tournaments, which were reserved for a more convenient opportunity, either at the end of the war, or when any agreement shall be made, it not having been chosen to put the lords and gentlemen to any greater expense than what they incur in ordinary, as they have yet to equip themselves for the campaign of the present year. The diversions and banquets will continue during the whole of this week, two or three other marriages of the chief personages of the court having to be concluded, and amongst them, that of Marshal Strozzi's daughter to the son of the Count of Tenda; the Cardinal of Lorraine moreover, before his departure, choosing to honour his niece the Queen of Scotland with an especial entertainment in his own house. This solemnity has by so much the more gratified and contented the Parisian populace (amongst whom money was thrown on entering the church as a mark of greater rejoicing) as for two hundred years and upwards there is no record of any Dauphin having been married within the realm, all on the contrary marrying abroad, and bringing their wives, after the ceremony, either from Spain, or from England, from Flanders, or from Germany, according to their consorts' nativity. Henceforth, the Dauphin will no longer be styled simply “the Dauphin,” but “the King Dauphin” (and thus was he proclaimed by the heralds), and the Queen in like manner will be called, “the Queen Dauphiness,” the two crowns of France and of Scotland being united in their arms; and if not with this despatch, with my next, your Serenity will learn this from the marriage contract itself, the copy of it having been promised me by the Scottish ambassadors. I have already offered such congratulations as required to the most Christian King and Queen, to the spouses, and to all these lords of the house of Guise; nor concerning these nuptials will I omit to mention that on the day of the handgiving (il giorno del dar della mano) after performance of that ceremony, during the first dance, danced by the Princes in company with the King, one of the dancers being the King of Navarre, he, in the act of passing before me whispered in my ear, “Ambassador, thou this day seest the conclusion of a fact, which very few persons credited until now,” thus confirming what was said to me a few days ago on the same subject by the Cardinal of Lorraine, that the King's chief reason for wishing the marriage to take place was that he might no longer be pestered (acciocchè non li fusse più rotta la testa), whenever the agreement was discussed, with proposals for some other matrimonial alliance; as now, no one could any longer hope to thwart or impede this result, and that they would consequently turn their thoughts to something else; hinting also at the Constable amongst the other opponents of the marriage.
As written by me, in my foregoing letters of the 18th (fn. 6) the Cardinal of Lorraine is only waiting for his safe conduct for himself and his attendants, to go and meet the Duchess of Lorraine between Peronne and Cambrai, he having already sent her from hence a similar licence to pass. The whole court has very great hope of an agreement, from this interview, it being said that through the mediation of M. de Vaudemont, King Philip comes to such fair terms that it would be reprehensible not to accept them; but the Cardinal cloaks the conference, under the pretence of taking the Duke of Lorraine to his mother the Duchess, owing to the suit made by her to see him, that she may treat with him about many of their private affairs, the Duke having nearly attained his majority, so that he will now very soon have to assume the rule of what belongs to him.
Respecting the hope of an agreement, Marshal Strozzi, whom I know to be the mouth-piece of the Cardinal himself, and of M. de Guise, as two days ago they were a long while in his company, having gone to see him, as did the Queen, now that he lives in retirement to cure himself of a violent catarrhal attack, told me that he sees little hope of it.
Paris, 25th April 1558.
April 27. Original Despatch Venetian Archives. 1217. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
In my last of the 23rd and 25th, I wrote that his Majesty had determined to send the Duke of Sesa as Governor to Milan, and Don Juan Manrique as Viceroy to Naples, which thing, although it was done with the consent of the Duke of Alva, has nevertheless attached a little blame to his Excellency, and diminished the authority enjoyed by him previously, many things moreover being said by the vulgar against that Duke, as usually happened to those who, having been once great, commence declining; so the general opinion is that his Excellency will not remain long at the Court; and, he has already given it to be understood that he shall go and rest (a riposar) in Spain, which will render Don Ruy Gomez absolute lord of everything. This sudden and resolute decision formed by the most serene King has given everybody to understand that, where necessary, he will show himself warm and executive (calda et esecutiva), and not cold and submissive (rispettiva), as was believed.
Brussels, 27th April 1558.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
April 28. Original Despatch Venetian Archives. 1218. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
From what I, can hear, although the peace of France is desired, there is but little hope of it, especially because the French continue reinforcing themselves, many troops passing from Germany to serve the most Christian King, although they come one after another, the new Emperor having forbidden any muster-place (piazza a gente) throughout the Empire for enlistment of troops, destined for service out of Germany; but it seems that in a castle near Worms there are French commissaries who give money to all those who cross into France; so here likewise they are more diligently urging the preparations for war, soldiers arriving from various quarters, and it is said that by the 20th of next month an army of 30,000 infantry and 12,000 horse will be in order; and the Duke of Savoy thinks of taking the field speedily with such part of the troops as are then in being, and the King will subsequently follow with the rest in the course of May; all the gentlemen of his Majesty's household having been convoked yesterday, when the Duke of Alva, chief maggiordomo, addressed all of them in public, saying they were to make ready to follow the King to the war, as his Majesty chooses to take the field speedily.
Brussels, 28th April 1558.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
April 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. (2nd letter). 1219. The Same to the Same.
This morning the King, under pretence of going to hunt, went to dine privily with the Bishop of Arras, who had spread, a report of going to his bishopric to remain there for 10 days or a fortnight; but the truth is that he is going to the confines to confer with the Cardinal of Lorraine about the negotiation for peace. It is impossible to know what his orders are, though it may be inferred that they are such as to render some stipulation of peace possible.
Brussels, 28th April 1558.
[Italian; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
April 30. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1220. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
M. de Vaudemont has arrived on his way to the conference between the Duchess of Lorraine, the Duke, her son, and the Cardinal of Lorraine, who will send his retinue to Peronne to-morrow, he himself following postwise on Monday, the 2nd proximo, accompanied by the Duke of Lorraine and M. de Vaudemont.
The English have commenced giving news of themselves at sea, a report circulating three days ago that they were in great force off Dieppe; whereupon the young Duke de Bouillon, who has succeeded his father as Governor of Normandy, was immediately despatched, taking several captains with him; but nothing farther having been said subsequently, it seems nothing more is feared beyond some incursion, or the burning and plunder of vessels along that coast and the neighbouring one of Brittany, rather than the occupation of any place of importance, it not being heard that they have any foreign troops to land and attempt any undertaking (alcuna impresa). Nothing has been attended to of late, but removal (asportatione), orders having been given to remove from all the weakest seaports all the troops and victuals to the places least in danger and most important, and to burn all that cannot be taken away; the troops, both horse and foot, to be ready to march at all hours, according to the progress of the fleet, and in any direction where there is the greatest danger of a landing.
Some disturbance also took place lately in Picardy at La Fere, as usual with the Germans in garrison there and the men of the town, about women, several on both sides having been killed; so the Germans, either in anger or from fear of worse, left the town with their colours and a certain number of carabineers (pistoletti), and they apparently passed into the territory and service of King Philip; but it was subsequently said they had been recalled and made terms.
Paris, 30th April 1558.


  • 1. This letter written on the 9th April has not been found.
  • 2. Letter not found.
  • 3. Qu. at Haguenau. See before in letter dated 10th March.
  • 4. Bourbon, Jean de, slain at St. Quentin. (See the late Sir William Hackett's Index to Foreign Calendar “Mary,” p. 473.)
  • 5. The wife of the Constable, Anne de Montmorency, was the sister of Onorato, Count of Tenda, son of Villars, Count of Tenda, an illegitimate scion of the House of Savoy.
  • 6. Missing.