Venice: August 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: August 1558', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 6, 1555-1558, ed. Rawdon Brown( London, 1877), British History Online [accessed 15 July 2024].

'Venice: August 1558', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 6, 1555-1558. Edited by Rawdon Brown( London, 1877), British History Online, accessed July 15, 2024,

"Venice: August 1558". Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 6, 1555-1558. Ed. Rawdon Brown(London, 1877), , British History Online. Web. 15 July 2024.

August 1558

Aug. 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1257. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Cardinal of Lorraine told me to congratulate the King on a fresh victory obtained against the English and Flemish fleet. The news of this arrived this morning, purporting that the said fleets having landed a great number of troops near Brest, (fn. 1) the ships being upwards of 250, and very well armed, the assailants failed to take any place, but were bravely repulsed by the inhabitants of the territory, who killed more than 1,200 of them, took four colours (insegne), and made many prisoners, including the Vice-Admiral (il Luogotenente) of the Dutch fleet, so that both squadrons put to sea, and determined neither to approach that part of the coast, nor again to invade it. When with the King today at Marse (sic), a place distant rather more than a league from the camp, I read to him your Serenity's letter which mentions the taking of the island of Alderney (dell'Isola d'Origni) his Majesty replied, “You are well aware that this island was recovered by the English, more than 500 of my troops having been killed. I now tell you that eight or ten days ago it was again retaken.”
Laon (Lam), 10th August 1558.
Aug. 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1258. Michael Surian, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
The King has left Mons and gone to Arras. His Majesty will remain where he is until the decision of the Diet of these States, which he convoked solely for pecuniary supply, because the monthly cost of the army amounts to 300 (sic) ducats, besides the cavalry and infantry of these provinces (di questi paesi) which are paid by the States (dalli Stati) according to the agreement made heretofore. As his Majesty does not intend to disarm so long as the weather allows him to keep the field, and, as neither the loan contracts (li accordi) with the Genoese and Antwerp merchants, nor the money received from Spain in May and by the last fleet suffice, it is sought to raise funds, both by demanding subsidies from the people, and also by disposing of whatever the King possesses that will fetch money. The sale of public offices, which it was heretofore customary to bestow on meritorious individuals, has already commenced, the chief secretaryship of Naples having been sold to a Spaniard for 20,000 crowns; and previously a commandery in Spain, yielding 15,000 crowns annual rental, was given to a Genoese, who, having accommodated the King with a considerable sum of money, was paid partly with that commandery and in part by other assignments.
The army has marched into Picardy, and is now between Peronne and Bapaume at a place called Miramond, which is devastated, like the rest of the territory for some leagues inland, the French themselves having laid it waste to prevent the advance of the enemy. The French have a large army perhaps equal in number and force to King Philip's. The English fleet went to take La Rochelle or any other place that suited them, either on the coast of Gascony or Britany; the wind drove it into Normandy near Brest, where it landed and burned a place called Conquet, sacking and plundering the neighbouring territory; and, as I hear, the natives having assembled in great numbers, it would not await them, but returned to England with a number of French ships which it had captured, nor is it known to have again set sail from England, nor what expedition it intends to undertake.
Brussels, 18th August 1558.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Aug. 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1259. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
The King left Arras yesterday morning and went to the army, which he marched from Miramond towards Doulens, although the opinion is that they mean to attack that place. I hear his Majesty would prefer an expedition against Montreuil, which, although stronger than Doulens, he hopes to reduce with the assistance of the English fleet, and were the French to lose it they could no longer succour Boulogne, Calais, and other places in that quarter. The French camp is at Corbie, three or four leagues distant from King Philip's camp.
Brussels, 21st August 1558.
Aug. 29. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1260. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Until yesterday the most Christian King was at Amiens, with the fixed intention of joining the camp, the army having already crossed the Somme, to get still nearer to that of the enemy, which is yet in the vicinity of Doulens, and entrenching itself there, the two armies being separated from each other solely by the river Oise, which may be forded without difficulty. Notwithstanding the vicinity of the two armies peace and agreements continue to be freely discussed by everybody, as since the return to Flanders of the Marshal de St. André, he and the Constable continue treating it here, the Bishop of Arras and the Count de Lalain doing the like over there (di là); and they write from the camp that according to the Duke of Montpensier, who lately arrived there, being now released from prison, having paid his ransom of 60,000 francs by the sale of an estate in Flanders belonging to himself and his brother, the hope of some good resolve increases daily in France, for which reason the Cardinal of Lorraine remains with the King, nor will he come hither so immediately, where he is anxiously expected, and much wanted by the Royal Council, which, during his absence, does not dare to despatch nor to decide about any matter of importance of the many which occur daily. Concerning the particulars of the agreement nothing authentic can be elicited, but amongst other reports is the following: that the Duke of Florence sent lately through the Prince of Ferrara, his son-in-law, to offer in his name that, provided his most Christian Majesty would form a family connexion with him, either by giving his eldest or his second daughter to the Prince, his son, he, the Duke of Florence, has the means (gli basta l'animo) to effect the agreement between the King of France and the King of Spain to the satisfaction of both sides.
It is also said that since the coming of the Queen to this city this report of peace and agreement is allowed to circulate designedly, to cajole and comfort the Parisians, as Paris being the metropolis, that implies the whole kingdom, rather than that there are really such great hope and negotiation as reported.
Paris, 29th August 1558.
[Italian, partly in cipher, deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]


  • 1. Before the haven of Conquet, on the 29th June. (See “Naval History,” vol. 2, p. 273.