Venice: October 1555, 1-15

Pages 199-214

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.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


October 1555, 1–15

Oct. 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 231. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Four days ago an embargo was laid on all vessels in the river, even those of private merchants, in order again to fit out the fleet for the return of the King, the Queen having become very angry when she heard that to save expense the one which took his Majesty across had been dismissed and disarmed. Thus has it been done accordingly, fresh stores of victuals being laid in for the said fleet, the outfit being speeded so that by the 10th or 15th proximo it may be ready to sail for Calais, where, as confirmed daily, the King will arrive, to be here at the opening of Parliament. I am now told moreover by certain English personages of authority that it may also treat the succession of the kingdom, in the event of the possible demise of the most Serene Queen without children, either for the purpose of utterly disallowing as illegitimate, and consequently incapable, Mylady Elizabeth, although appointed heir by the will of her father King Henry (mancando come potria avvenir la Serenissima Regina senza'figlioli, ò per reprobar in tutto come spuria et per consequente inhabile la persona di miladi Helisabet, benchè instituita per testamento herede dal Re Henrico suo padre), or else disposing of the succession in another form, or else again to approve of the said Elizabeth, and confirm her in the succession by fresh authority and a fresh choice (novo voler) of the kingdom; there being also a talk of marrying her to some foreign prince; which result, whether effected in one way or the other, provided it come to pass, will be announced to your Serenity from Brussels and from France.
I understand that the Abbot of San Saluto receives frequent advices about the affair of the peace, and confers occasionally with the French Ambassador here, though, despite the utmost assiduity, I have not succeeded in learning any particulars, save that everything remains dormant until the King's return.
The Chancellor is this day sending one of his gentlemen express to Rome with the process and . . . . . [examination ?] drawn up afresh against the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Queen strongly urging his Holiness to despatch the trial, that they may forthwith . . . . . . . .[appoint ?] a new Primate; and as the choice is to fall on the most illustrious Legate, it may possibly yet be made in time for him to take his seat and vote in the next Parliament, into which, although a member of the royal council, he would not be admitted unless as bishop or archbishop of some English church.
The ships “Barbara” and “Vianuola” have arrived safe at Margate, so that there will be much business to transact on account of these vessels, besides the many disputes of daily occurrence with the crews. It is necessary for their sake and that of the other merchants resident in England, that a consul should be elected, the post having now been vacant for five or six years, to the diminution of your Serenity's authority and privileges here; and I again request that you will charge the proveditors for the London factory to frame and expedite the motion for the election of the said consul.
London, 1st October 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Oct. 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 232. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
The post-master of Augsburg having been sent by the King of the Romans to the Emperor, arrived here yesterday, bringing the “recess” of the Diet, (fn. 1) and separately the articles established in the matter of the religion, that the Emperor may sign them. Shortly afterwards the secretary Phinzing came with an autograph letter (fn. 2) of three sheets from the King of the Romans, apologizing to His Majesty for having been unable either to prolong the Diet as the Emperor desired him to do, or to oppose the Acts passed by it, and which he terms “perpetual peace between Catholics and Lutherans,” Concerning the religion (fn. 3) it is said that his Imperial Majesty cannot as Emperor, nor ought he nor will he as a Catholic, sign these articles, having refused his consent to them some months ago. Although this decision has displeased both the Imperial court and that of King Philip, they nevertheless say that in the midst of so much mischief there is this good, that the King of France will thus lose the chief foundation of his popularity in Germany and the assistance of many of its inhabitants. With regard to the administration of the empire, the King of the Romans is of opinion that, for many sage respects, the Emperor should leave it to him entirely, as he did heretofore when he went to Spain, without giving the title of Vicar in Italy to the King of England, a thing which might cause much scandal, but that, nevertheless, touching his own private interests, he refers himself to the Emperor's prudence and affection. I have heard some of the King of England's servants say that the King of the Romans does wrong to thwart the Emperor's intention by language of such a sort, and by not allowing the Emperor, during his lifetime, to do what he can for the benefit of the Italian possessions of his son, whose authority must necessarily cease entirely on the Emperor's death.
The Emperor has had a number of letters (written in the French tongue) despatched to all the Lords of these States, requiring them to be here for the 14th instant, in order to be present at the cession of the said States, which he purposes making in favour of his son, letters of the same tenour being addressed to all of them, and to the cities and towns and every small jurisdiction. It is said that this term is made to precede the meeting of the English Parliament, because the Queen has written to King Philip that she understands many people in the kingdom think it strange to talk of crowning him, he not having yet received from his father the cession of his patrimonial States, although it is known that his Majesty, and no longer Queen Maria, has the government of them in his hands, for which reason it is said he will soon go and take possession, and obtain such donatives as are usually made on similar occasions. The Queen also wrote back to him that she cannot accommodate him with the 15 additional ships which she has at sea in ordinary (quindeci navi di più ch' ella tiene armate ordinariamente), but that she will detain certain merchantmen until the time of the Emperor's voyage to Spain. She has also sent the King some game pasties (alcune salvaticine acconcie in pastizzi), which, as shown by him in public, he prefers to other viands. The Spanish soldiers on these frontiers having sent to the King (by reason of the Emperor's long delay) for pecuniary supply, being creditors for many arrears of pay, he replied that he knew the Emperor had already destined them five months' pay; but when the courier rejoined that this might be delayed some days, and that the soldiers could no longer wait, as many of them were dying of hunger, the King then desired one of the “maggiordomos” to send them a certain sum for subsistence immediately; and when the maggiordomo told his Majesty that the treasurer had only sufficient ready money for household purposes, the King rejoined, in a way which was much commended, that the household must dispense with it, and that he was to send them the sum immediately.
Brussels, 2nd October 1555.
Oct. 4. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 233. Cardinal Pole to Peter Vannes.
Perceives by his letter about the collectorship that Vannes has been misinformed about what Pole did in this matter, in like manner as he erred in supposing that Pole had been misinformed about Vannes' disposition towards him, as he had never heard from anyone that it was otherwise than good, Pole's having always been the same towards Vannes, although in this matter of the collector-ship [of Peter's pence] he did not think it fitting to exert himself in his favour, observing also the same course with regard to others, and leaving it to the Pope to decide as he pleased. It is true that Pole's agent informed him that it having been suggested to the Pope to give this collectorship to the person who came to serve him in his legation as Auditor, he (the agent) did his utmost to prevent the Pope from being moved from his purpose of making the appointment as he did. This may have made Vannes suppose that the agent did so by Pole's order, whereas in fact he knew nothing about it until after the conclusion, which, however, did not seem to him otherwise than very fitting, by reason of the many merits of his Auditor, and his toil in England. And to tell Vannes freely his opinion, although with regard to the past Pole has compassion for Vannes, and for the others, yet nevertheless Vannes' fall and fault (caduta et mancamento), seem to him such as should be considered the more serious as he was then a minister of the Pope holding this office [of collector], so that Pole would consider it more fitting for him to receive benefit from this reconciliation in any other way than that of retaining this office, But in like manner as Pole had no occasion to interfere in this matter, so will he always be ready on any other opportunity to demonstrate his goodwill towards Vannes. (fn. 4)
Greenwich, 4th October 1555.
Oct. 4. Dispacci, Roma, Venetian Archives, No. 7, B. 234. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Council of Ten.
The persons from whom I write having heard what is contained in the public letters are Cardinal Medici (fn. 5) and the Duke of Urbino, (fn. 6) who, with much affection and reverence for your Serenity, told me that I should always know what passes through their hands, as if I had been present. The Duke conversing with me said, “I am not the Pope's counsellor, but his captain, and although I have always desired an opportunity to prove myself in nowise degenerate from my ancestors, yet am I not so anxious for war, as not to prefer the benefit of him I serve to my own, which might be derived by me through it. Should the Pope ask my opinion, as he says he will in everything, I shall not fail to tell him freely, that the quarrels between his Holiness and the Emperor are not such as ought to give cause for so important a war as this would be, in which the interests of all Italy are so deeply concerned, and that I know not with what forces of his own, nor through what assistance from his friends, he can hope for a good result from it, all our troops being necessarily (havendo ad esser) disorderly and raw, and having to do with an enemy provided with good and veteran soldiers; and that wars should be waged with the hope of gaining and acquiring something, nor do I see how such a hope could be entertained by the Pope, who might be sure of preserving his own state, as in the present times it is not for the Emperor's advantage to make himself fresh enemies; that an eye must be had to the Pope's want of money, and to the present scarcity of everything at Rome, which cannot expect supplies of many things save from the kingdom of Naples and from Sicily; and that of the promises of the King of France both of foreign troops and money made through his ministers here, the Pope could avail himself solely with delay and difficulty.” His Excellency also expatiated to me on the mode whereby the Emperor, at small cost, might do great mischief to this Sec Apostolic, and bring it to a bad pass, namely by way of Germany, great part of which desires nothing but its oppression and debasement (l'oppression et bassezza sua). He also alluded to the last sack of Rome, and to the position of the papal territories in the midst of those of the Emperor and the Duke of Florence.
Rome, 4th October 1555.
Oct. 4. Original Letter Book penes me, Letter No. 4, p. 4. 235. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The dispute between the Pope, and the Emperor and his ministers, (fn. 7) has increased since the receipt by the Imperial ambassador (fn. 8) of letters from his court dated the 19th ultimo, purporting that his Majesty had refused audience to the Nuncio, who was told by Monsignor di Narni, that unless the Pope released the Cardinal “Camerlengo,” and other friends and servants of his Imperial Majesty, and abstained from acts derogatory to his the Emperor's dignity, he would come in person to maintain it. The court had not yet heard of the seizure of the estate of the Lord Marc' Antonio Colonna, nor of the voluntary surrender of those three castles, about which there was a lawsuit between the Colonnas and the Prince of Sulmona, into the hands of the Imperial ambassadors; neither was anything known about the interception by the Pope's agents of several despatches, which were opened by them, they having been forwarded to and fro between Rome and Naples by the Imperialists, some moreover being addressed by the ambassador to the Emperor, whose anger when acquainted with all these things may be expected to augment.
The Pope, being irritated by the letters from Brussels, summoned Consistory for the 2nd, with the intention of announcing to the Cardinals that he was bent on war, in order not to be anticipated, and that he might be able to resist in time those who purposed attacking him (a chi havesse animo di offenderla); but when Consistory assembled, a right reverend cardinal, the one who told me what I am now writing, went to his Holiness, and said to him that the last thing and the most easy, was to wage war (era il rompersi), and that therefore his Holiness should proceed with a little more reserve, and remember that he was universal father, from whom alone the pacification of these two princes [Charles V. and Henry II.] was hoped, and that if he made himself a party and the enemy of one of them, it would then be quite desperate; to which the Pope replied, “What business is it of the Emperor's if I choose to punish a subject of mine (un mio sudditto); what would you have me do ?” The aforesaid cardinal rejoined, “Holy Father! with Princes certain regards are necessary, as for instance, should it be chosen to proceed against a friend of the Emperor or of the King, to let their Majesties first of all hear the causes, and justify one's self; but be this as it may, I would for the benefit of this See Apostolic, and of Italy, that your Holiness should commission such cardinals as may please you, to confer together, and endeavour to find some expedient for allaying these disturbances,” To this the Pope assented, and having called S. Giacomo [Juan Alvarez de Toledo], Carpi [Ridolfo Pio], Augsburg [Otho Truchses], Morone, Cueva, and Medici, who are all considered of the Imperial faction, and choosing Cardinal Caraffa to be the seventh, his Holiness in their presence commenced justifying all his proceedings, giving them to understand that what he had done hitherto he did because thus was it fitting (perchè conveniva cusi); and he charged them to confer together, and consult about the means for allaying the present disturbances, giving them also leave to discourse with the Imperial ambassador, should the Imperialists choose to come to fair terms they would find his Holiness quite disposed towards the commonweal, and were they to act otherwise he should not fear any sovereign, as the Lord was on his side.
On the morrow these seven cardinals assembled in the house of the Cardinal S. Giacomo, where there was also the most illustrious the Lord Duke of Urbino, who arrived in this city the day before with 10 posters (con 10 poste), and the Count of Montorio. For the moment they did not choose the Imperial ambassador to be present, lest all hope of devising an adjustment should be quite lost through his punctiliousness and language with regard to Cardinal Caraffa.
As soon as they met, after saying many things about the Emperor and the Pope, touching their intentions and designs, on coming to the particulars for which they had assembled, it was said that in order to find some mode of adjustment, they must first of all arrange for disbanding the Papal and Imperial forces now on foot, concerning which two difficulties had arisen; the first, that the Imperial ambassador declares he had received a promise from the Pope's own lips, that should the Imperial troops withdraw he would be content to retain solely 1,000 foot and 400 horse, and that his Holiness now said he should remain in arms (armata) with 2,000 foot and 800 horse; which difficulty seemed important, not so much for the thing itself, as because it concerned the honour of the ambassador, who had already announced it, and also of the Pope, who said the contrary, and chose to be at liberty to do what he pleased in his own territory (in casa sua). The other difficulty consisted in its having been said in the Pope's name, that he did not see by what means he could secure himself against the Emperor and his ministers. To these two difficulties, a personage who wishes for peace and quiet replied, that as to the first, 1,000 foot and 400 horse, more or less mattered little, and that for so slight a cause, the road should not be left open for so many inconveniences as would accompany the war. To the second, about being guaranteed, the mode seemed to him very easy, through writings, instruments, bonds, or treaties, by all of which means, if they serve to end wars already commenced, he was of opinion it would be much easier and more fitting for Cardinal Caraffa, the Duke of Urbino, and the Count of Montorio to quit the assembly, and that the Imperial ambassador should be sent for, from whom they might hear his decision (con li quali tutti modi se si da fine a guerre gia cominciate, credeva che molto piùu facil cosa, et piùu conveniente fusse, che licentiati il Rmo Caraffa, il Duca, et il Conte, si mandasse à chiamare l' Ambre dell Impre, &c.) Marquis Sarria made his appearance, and repeated all the complaints against the Pope, laying great stress on the opening and detentionof their despatches, giving it to be understood that he could no longer remain at this court without derogating from the Emperor's dignity; whereupon the cardinals seeing him almost determined, said to him plainly, “Lord Ambassador, if you depart, there is no longer any remedy, and you will have been the cause of whatever detriment may befall his Imperial Majesty;” which words having moved him, he took time to present a writing, and the congregation (congregatione) dissolved.
The times being so critical, and this negotiation so important, I have chosen to give your Serenity as true and detailed account of it as in my power, adding that a person able to know it has assured me that the Pope is much inclined towards the common weal (al bene) and peace, though his kinsfolk (li suoi) are impatient for war, and as they can represent things as they please, good offices are suppressed and evil ones exaggerated.
Rome, 4th October 1555.
Oct 5. Dispacci, Roma, Venetian Archives, No. 7. B. 236. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Council of Ten.
The Duke of Urbino has informed me that yesterday he was a long while with the Pope, and told him all the misadventures which might result from the war; so that he thought he had greatly moved the mind (mosso assai l'animo) of his Holiness, who said he thanked the Lord God for having made him speak to his Excellency. But the Duke says he does not know how much he can promise himself from the Pope in this matter, as although he saw his Holiness inclined towards peace, he on the other hand perceived Cardinal Caraffa quite bent on war, and performing every possible office to draw the Pope into it, because his right reverend Lordship has assured the King of France of his hope that the Pope will league and ally himself with his most Christian Majesty. The Duke says, moreover, he shall let it be clearly understood, that for his Holiness he will hazard his state and his life, but shall reserve his honour for himself; and that, therefore, for a defensive war he will do everything, but should they choose to invade others and render it offensive, he must know precisely with what forces they would take the field, as on this first occasion he will not do so solely with raw and disorderly Italian troops, at the risk of losing repute; and that in that case he should tell the Pope that he will serve him with sword and tabard (con la spada et la cappa), but that his Holiness must assign the he command to others; though should sufficient forces be given him he would not fail to do his master service.
Rome, 5th October 1555.
Oct. 5 ? MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl.x. No date. Printed in vol. v. pp. 44, 45. “Epistolarum Reginaldi Poli,” &c. Without any date. 237. Cardinal Pole to King Philip.
Does not think it necessary to tell the King what he and his fellow councillors did when they met at the Chancellor's, who on account of ill health had been forbidden by the physicians to quit his house, as he knows that everything is written to him by Pole's colleagues. (fn. 9)
Concerning the most Serene Queen and her assiduity in the despatch of business, she is so intent on it as to require her energy in this matter to be checked rather than stimulated, for besides passing the greater part of the day in this occupation, she then, should there be anything to write to his Majesty (as is always the case), this sort of office delighting her extremely, performs it during the greater part of the night, to the injury of her health, as known to the King, who alone can apply a remedy.
Knows nothing more about the affairs of Rome from his own letters than already written by him, and although the correspondence of others contains a variety of news, he at any rate does not doubt but that the Pope will have such regard for the interests of King Philip, as his piety and deserts with the Apostolic See require. The King writes that should the Pope recall Pole he will use all his influence and prayers to prevent it. Assures his Majesty that although after so long an exile his abode in his own country is most pleasant to him, yet is his willingness to remain there induced less by patriotism (patria amor) than by love of their Majesties' piety, justice, and clemency, a tie which joined him to his country, to which he would otherwise have been as useless as his country to him, and to that tie he most readily submits and delights in it.
Greenwich, 5th October 1555.
[Latin, 27 lines.]
Oct. 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 238. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
By a gentleman who came express, the Queen of England has sent her consort a ring, with the sole commission to tell his Majesty that she wishes him health, long life, and speedy return.
Last night a courier arrived here from the Cardinal of Trent [Cristoforo Madruccio], with letters for his agents with the Emperor and the King of England, charging them immediately to inform both their Majesties, that the Pope had consented to release from prison Cardinal Santa Fiore [Guido Ascanio Sforza, Cardinal Camerlengo], (fn. 10) on his giving security, (fn. 11) and that from other signs the Pope is evidently devoid of passion with regard to their Majesties affairs. Don Garcilasso [de la Vega], who had been appointed to perform another office with his Holiness, will nevertheless go to Rome to acquaint him with the resolve about the Emperor's departure for Spain, and with the cession of these States and of the kingdom of Sicily made by him to his son. He will also request the Pope in the name of his Imperial Majesty and of the King of England to reinstate Marc' Antonio Colonna, and to release Camillo [Colonna] and others from prison.
It is also said that Don Garcilasso will be commissioned subsequently to announce the Emperor's departure for Spain to your Serenity.
Brussels, 5th October 1555.
Oct. 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 239. Same to Same.
The King of England has sent a Spaniard into Artois with orders for the 2,000 cavalry to march to the neighbourhood of Marienburg, where the Prince of Orange is with the army, and his Majesty has again sent them money. This the King has done owing to the movements of the French, who have withdrawn their best troops from the frontiers, and are mustering at Marienburg.
Brussels, 6th October 1555.
Oct. 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 240. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Three days ago the Admiral [Lord Steward of Effingham], and the Earls of Arundel, Pembroke, and Huntingdon, who, besides the presents of gold chains brought by them, and which are said to be worth from 1,300 to 1,500 ducats, returned from Brussels, and say they were so well received by the Emperor and the Queens, (fn. 12) and by the whole Imperial court, during their stay there, and throughout the journey so well treated, banqueted, and honoured, that they come home fully satisfied, so that these demonstrations will have advantageously confirmed their goodwill.
They were charged to ask the Queen on their return for 30 armed ships to accompany the Emperor and the Queens in their voyage on board the fleet, which is daily expected under the command of Don Alvaro de Bazan; and whereas on the first arrival of these English noblemen at Brussels it was said and written thence that their Majesties would come hither to see the Queen, so is it now asserted, on the contrary, that they will steer the straight course, without stopping, both to save their own time, and expense to this country, by not setting foot in it. The vessels are being prepared, and will soon be ready; those which are to serve have been detained, and the rest are now released from the embargo.
Although the King's return is spoken of contradictorily, most persons, and principally the Spaniards, saying it will not take place in the whole course of this winter, as the guards and all the rest of the household are ordered hence to Brussels, yet, nevertheless, the Queen's chamberlain, Master Bassett, having returned thence, assuring her he will be here as speedily as possible (quanto più presto), but not before the Emperor's departure, her Majesty, who had already commenced complaining, thus remains comforted.
There has also returned from Brussels the nephew of the Abbot of San Saluto, Missier Gasparo, he having been sent back hither about the affair of the peace, concerning which, although both sides have again said that until King Philip's return everything will remain suspended, I know that the Abbot has frequent conferences with the French ambassador, and lately gave him a writing annotated (notata) in Missier Gasparo's own hand, and, I know not whether on this account, as probable, or for some other reason, the ambassador sent an express to France immediately, though what the writing contained, or why Missier Gasparo came back, I have been unable to ascertain, despite the utmost diligence. I am told for certain that before the departure hence of the Lieutenant of Amont, (fn. 13) ambassador resident here from the Emperor, which took place about a fortnight ago, he had a long conference with the Abbot [Parpaglia], the ambassador saying that he would take part in this negociation, though it is not known whether of his own accord or by command of others, as he is considered a shrewd and active diplomatist, who knows “di andar a trattato dall' Imperator,” and he has the reputation of knowing moreabout the French than the others; so he went away with this . . . . . . . . The result of his journey remains to be seen.
The Lord Chancellor has retired hither to his own residence [Winchester House] away from the Court and from business, that he may be better able to attend to his health, of which he has great need, as day by day he becomes worse rather than better; but in matters of importance the government consults him and hears his opinion, there having lately come from Greenwich all the other royal councillors, with Cardinal Pole in person, the session of Parliament being at hand.
London, 7th October 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Oct. 7 ? MS. St Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl.x. No date. Printed in vol. 5, pp. 42–44, “Epistolarum Reginaldi Poli,” &c., without any date. 241. Cardinal Pole to King Philip.
Is averse to wearying the King by letter, but knowing that he is always glad to hear of the Queen's health, and how she bears his absence, not merely through her own letters, but also by those of others, above all from those of Pole, whom on departure he especially charged to comfort her in all matters. Writes therefore to say that her Majesty is well, and passes the chief part of the day in prayer and divine service, and part in the transaction of public business, thus consoling herself for the absence of her consort, as written in his former letters, seeing him present either when praying God for his well-being, or when treating with his councillors such matters as have it in view, according to the King's order. Yesterday, when amongst other things the outfit of a fleet was discussed, (fn. 14) the Queen consoled herself greatly with the hope of the King's speedy return, which is earnestly desired by all good men.
Encloses letters addressed to him (Pole) by Cardinal Caraffa, and which pain him, not merely on account of his friend and colleague [Cardinal Guido Ascanio Sforza], but by reason of the vexation thus caused to the Pope and the King, but trusts that the restitution of the galleys will satisfy all parties. The Pope's regret at having been compelled to take this step is manifested by Caraffa's letters, which are as authentic as a brief (quce vim brevis habent).
By these letters the King will perceive how anxious the Pope is for his Majesty to gratify him with regard to the see of Trani.
Greenwich, 7th October 1555?
[Latin, 29 lines.]
Oct. 8. Original Letter Book, penes me. Letter No. 7, pp. 13–16. 242. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
This morning Cardinal Caraffa sent one of his gentlemen to me, telling me to be at the palace at the 22nd hour, as his Holiness wished to speak to me. I went accordingly, and being introduced into the Pope's chamber, found four cardinals there, namely, Carpi, Mignanelli, Saraceno, and Medici, and shortly afterwards the ambassador of the most Serene King of England [Sir Edward Carne] came, with whom, and with three of the cardinals (except Carpi, who was talking with the Pope), we remained discussing various matters until his Holiness called the cardinals to him in the same place where Carpi was, and they commenced talking together in so low a tone that all Carne and I could hear was this, that when Carpi and Medici said, “Holy Father, it is better for your Holiness first of all to despatch the ambassadors, as we shall then remain together, and it would be too long a while to keep them waiting.” The Pope replied, “We choose them to be present here, that they may write to their princes what we will tell them in your presence, and that of others who are to come;” and thus by degrees there made their appearance the Cardinals Cueva, Burgos, S. Giacomo, Augsburg, Puteo, and Caraffa. His Holiness called both of us ambassadors, and commenced saying very fluently in the Latin tongue as follows :—“We suppose, lords ambassadors, that you are aware of what is passing at the present time. We, then, who did not think of this charge, God having given it us, and being elected to this burden, although incompetent and ill able to support it, we chose to consider what becomes our office; and seeing the affairs of the Church in a bad way, we were quite intent on this reform, in order completely to close the mouths of those who have nothing to talk of but us and our habits (et delli nostri costumi), saying that we daily promise councils and fresh reforms without any result being ever witnessed; and to tell you the truth, we know not what answer to make them. Our first thought was and is, with the assistance and counsel of these our venerable brothers, to find means for reforming such matters as necessary, they being in great number; and whilst thinking thus to serve God and support with dignity the grade he has conferred on us, we being intent on this thought with our whole heart, the devil, therefore, who confounds everything, and sets in motion all the infernal furies whose ambition is never satiated, plotted not only against this Holy See, as we know for certain, having spies in several places, and indeed everywhere, but against our life, and the life of our relatives (et a quella delli nostri); nor, lords ambassadors, can we say this without pain and much sorrow. The things are certain, nor is there any doubt of them; they will be revealed in due season, and they have therefore compelled us to arm; nor shall words persuade us to disarm, for we very well remember what befell Pope Clement, who having received fair words from the ministers of the present Emperor, had scarcely dismissed his soldiers ere there took place that horrible capture of Rome and that fatal and frightful sack, than which there was perhaps never one more cruel nor more iniquitous. What class of men, which sex did they spare? What sort, we will not say of outrage, but of impiety did they omit? And we say for certain, and believe we speak the truth, that was the greatest act of cruelty ever perpetrated at any period, for at other depredations of cities and empires it was impossible in the first flush of victory to prevent mischief, but the fury of the moment being allayed, men then returned to their senses, nor did a sack ever last more than two or three days at the utmost. This unhappy and miserable city was sacked for 10 consecutive months, during which Rome endured every sort of tyrannical violence. This example moves us greatly, and we have it before our eyes; nor, so far as depends upon ourselves, will we be taken unawares and deceived, as Pope Clement was. We well know that our forces are feeble, but our cause is that of God, who founded this see, and will defend it; and although, as known to you, magnifico ambassador” (and this he said turning towards me), “there have been many who sought to destroy it, they nevertheless could not succeed in doing so, and they and their descendants ended horribly, history abounding with these facts. This supremacy of the Church must be given to the first city in the world, it having been Domina gentium, and of which He said, lmperium sine fine dedi, so we hope it will be perpetual as the world. We therefore wish to preserve it; so our mind being entirely bent on peace, we will not make war, unless provoked and induced by necessity. Were men satisfied with their own, and did they not seek and create opportunity for occupying what belongs to others, everybody would enjoy quiet. We sent for you that you might communicate to your princes what is aforesaid, and before repeating it elsewhere we thought fit to perform this office with you, as we shall moreover do with regard to what may happen from time to time.” The Pope then ceased speaking, and the ambassador of the most Serene King of England, the eyes of all the cardinals being fixed on his countenance, said that he would write to his King; and as they expected me also to speak, I thanked his Holiness for this confidential communication; and the ambassador of England and I being dismissed, the Pope and cardinals remained, Cardinal Morone having in the meanwhile joined them.
I leave it to your Serenity to infer what his Holiness meant by repeating this day, in the presence of so many cardinals and of the English ambassador, well nigh the same things as were said by him to other ambassadors from your Serenity, and to me myself repeatedly; but I will mention that my having been called to the palace to-day, which is a day extraordinary, and it being known that in the presence of so many cardinals the Pope addressed himself to me and to the ambassador from England, has given rise to various reports, and some persons came to visit me at unusual hours for news, in which matter I acted with great reserve, as due.
Rome, 8th October 1555.
Oct. 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 243. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
Several consultations were held lately, about the affairs of the Duke of Savoy, and as he is to have the government of these provinces, it was determined that the King of England should exhort him to marry, and to take the Duchess of Lorraine, to which he has never chosen to consent, notwithstanding either his Majesty's prayers and persuasions, or the foul language (male parole) of Queen Maria, to the effect that he had so long kept her and the Duchess in hope of this. The King being satisfied with the Duke's reasons, that it was not for his advantage to marry, being deprived of his state, and poor, said that he would nevertheless give him the government of these provinces, with the title of Regent as held by Queen Maria, adding those of Lieutenant and Captain General, which it is said will be proclaimed after the Emperor's departure, and that he and the Council with him will go and reside at Mechlin; and according to the Duke, King Philip purposes appointing the Bishop of Arras president (capo) of the Council, a thing very much desired by his Excellency. The formation of the Council of State which is to reside with the King in person has also been discussed, and for its president (et per capo di esso) the persons proposed are, the Viceroys of Navarre, of Aragon, and of Sicily, and Don Ferrante Gonzaga.
The lords of these provinces, and the deputies of the towns, who were summoned to be present at the cession, which on the 16th instant the Emperor will make to the King of England, have already assembled here, and are expected to announce the decision formed, about the pecuniary supply lately demanded of them.
M. de Praet, Knight of the Order of the Fleece, and the chief in authority with the Emperor in the Council of these provinces, had an apoplectic fit, and died; for which his Imperial Majesty, the King, and Queen Maria have evinced great regret.
Brussels, 10th October 1555.
Oct. 10. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 244. Cardinal Pole to Cardinal [Carlo] Caraffa.
Is greatly comforted to hear of the release of the Cardinal Oamberlengo [Guido Ascanio Sforza] after the restitution of the two galleys, which has much pleased the Queen and the whole court; it being heard that this news produced the same effect on the Emperor and the King; nor does Pole doubt but that the commencement of this mischief being removed, everything will be quieted, and his Holiness be enabled to attend more conveniently to the execution of his holy project for the benefit of the Church, by pacifying these princes. On his departure hence, having appointed eight of the principal members of his council to consult about the most important current affairs of this realm, the King evinced a wish that Pole should attend the consultations (che Io volessi inlervenire a questo consiglio), and earnestly requested him to do so; to which he replied that saving the due obedience which, as his minister, it behoves him have for the Pope, he would never shun (non fuggirei mai) any post assigned him by their Majesties, whom he wished to be convinced that they, having in view the end proposed by them, for the honour of God and the advantage of England, his Holiness would be content that he should attend the consultations, as he has done assiduously, together with the Queen, and the other deputies; never, however, choosing to sign the decrees (deliberation) like the rest, until he knew the will of his Holiness, whom he acquainted with this invitation by means of his agent, and anxiously awaits the Pope's commands.
Greenwich, 10th October 1555.
Oct. 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 245. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
It has been said by certain Spaniards of quality, that as the King of the Romans makes a difficulty about consenting to the King of England being Vicar in Italy, the Emperor, who had intended and promised his brother to renounce the empire to him, will now not do so, departing hence without giving him any other administration than he is entitled to by his investiture.
I have been told on good authority that the King of England has written to the Queen his consort, that he is most anxious to gratify her wish for his return, but that he cannot adapt himself to it, having to reside there in a form unbecoming his dignity, which requires him to take part in the affairs of the realm, though with her counsel and that of her councillors; he instancing the following particular, that as in Spain, and at present here, he has ruled absolutely in all things, it would seem too strange to him to go back, without sharing the government of England with her. He also requested her to have justice done on those Englishmen, who from malice plundered and ransacked the house of certain Spaniards, and from what I have heard, they did so in revenge for wounds inflicted at this court on some of Lord Courtenay's servants. (fn. 15) A member of the Queen's Council has written to her ambassador resident with the Emperor, that she will soon recall him with the title of chief secretary, his stay here being no longer necessary as his Imperial Majesty departs for Spain. This news is much regretted, both by him and all the other English at this court; it being known that the like will befall the one accredited to your Serenity, and that her Majesty chooses to gratify her husband by letting the ambassador Vargas (fn. 16) negotiate, he remaining at Venice in the King's name, on the Emperor's departure for Spain.
The Duke of Cleves has sent hither a purveyor to engage a lodging for him and stabling for 200 horse, as he is coming to pay his respects to the Emperor before his departure for Spain, and to visit the King of England.
Brussels, 13th October 1555.
Oct. 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 246. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Besides the outfit of 30 ships to convoy the Emperor on the voyage to Spain, the government also sent lately to put Dover Castle in order and provide what is necessary, so that should the Emperor in passing wish to have an interview with the Queen, he may be lodged and received in that place with less inconvenience to himself, in case, which does not yet seem settled, they determine on seeing each other.
In three or four days her Majesty (as the meeting of Parliament is approaching) will come back to one of her palaces in London, either St. James' or Westminster, and not move again, her hope of the King's speedy return diminishing daily, as the Spaniards who remained here depart hourly, with a mind, so far as they themselves are concerned, not to revisit this country for a very long while.
The execution of the sentences against the heretics has been resumed, it having been ordered recently that the late Bishop of London [Ridley], and Latimer, Bishop of Worcester, be burned alive at Oxford, where they are in prison, there being no hope or visible sign of their choosing to recant.
The merchants of the two chief London companies, the Staplers and the Adventurers, are intent on providing and remitting to Flanders a considerable sum of money, amounting to 40,000l. sterling, on account of a debt owed there by the Queen, they being her Majesty's securities; and although in the course of time and in divers manners they are reimbursed by her, yet nevertheless in the meanwhile they are inconvenienced, and consequently suffer loss.
The Lord Chancellor, having retired to his own house away from business,-the great seal remaining in the hands of the Bishop of Ely [Thomas Thirlby], does not only not improve, but loses ground daily, and with difficulty can he go either up or down stairs, so that, unless the hand of God assist him, he can last but a few months.
London, 14th October 1555.
Oct. 15. Filza, No. 134. di Atti diversi Manoscritti, Venetian Archives. 247. Philip, by the grace of God, of England, France, and Ireland, King, to [Stephen Gardiner] the Bishop of Winchester.
Reverend Father in Christ, our councillor faithful and beloved.
Report hath been brought to us of thy unsatisfactory state of health, and this news hath not a little troubled us, because on thy health the health of that kingdom seemeth in great part to depend, wherefore on many accounts thou shouldst take care of it; and do thou certify us concerning the same frequently, for as we should feel great grief from its being unfavourable, so from its being satisfactory we shall derive great delight. It remaineth that, as far as thy health allow, thou take care of the affairs of that kingdom (istius regni rationibus consulas), but in such wise, as by no means to injure thy delicate health, which we earnestly recommend to thee, and that with thy invariable prudence thou preside over all affairs, as our love for the most Serene Queen, our comfort, and the general advantage of that kingdom seem to require, which will greatly gratify us. Farewell.
Brussels, the Ides of October 1555.
[Directed without:] “To the Reverend Father in Christ, our well-beloved and faithful councillor, the Bishop of Winchester, Chancellor of our kingdom of England.”
[Latin, on paper. Contemporary copy, sent to the Earl of Devonshire in Mr. Basset's letter dated 26th October 1555.]


  • 1. This letter, dated Augsburg, 24th September 1555, is printed in the “Correspondenz des Kaisers Karl V.,” published by Dr. Karl Lanz, vol. 3, pp. 683–686. Leipzig, 1846.
  • 2. See Lanz, as above, pp. 686, 687.
  • 3. The proceedings of this Diet are recorded in Foreign Calendar, Mary, entry No. 421, p. 189, date Brussels, 8th October 1555, but without any allusion to the title of Imperial Vicar in Italy, as demanded by the Emperor for the King of England.
  • 4. I am unable to ascertain in what year Vannes renounced the collectorship, nor do I know the name of Pole's auditor who succeeded him; but see Turnbull, Nov. 25, 1554.
  • 5. The Milanese Gianaugelo de' Medici, who succeeded Paul IV. with the title of Pius IV.
  • 6. Guido Baldo II., fifth Duke of Urbino. For his biography, see Dennistoun's Memoirs of the Dukes of Urbino, vol. ii. pp. 78, 117.
  • 7. Dispute caused by the arrest on the 31st August 1555, and imprisonment in Castle St. Angelo, of the Emperor's adherent Guido Ascanio Sforza, Cardinal Santafiora, Camarlingo della Chiesa Romana. His arrest is mentioned in a letter dated Rome, 2d September 1555, to King Philip and Queen Mary, from Sir Edward Carne. (See Foreign Calendar, p. 183.) This was the commencement of those acts which caused the war between Paul IV. and Charles V.
  • 8. Don Fernando Ruiz de Castro, Marquis de Sarria, who made his entry into Rome on the 6th July 1555. (See letter from Sir Edward Carne, 16th July 1555, Foreign Calendar, p. 179.)
  • 9. In date, London, 7 October 1555, Michiel alludes to a cabinet council recently held at Winchester House, the Ministers having come from Greenwich to London for that purpose, so I date this letter Greenwich, 5 October.
  • 10. The arrest of the Cardinal Santafiore, which may be said to have commenced the war between the Emperor and the Pope, took place on the 31st August 1555, and was announced to Queen Mary by Sir Edward Carne on the 2d September. (See Foreign Calendar, p. 183.)
  • 11. The Cardinal Camerlengo gave bail for 300,000 crowns, not to quit Rome. (See Cardella, vol. iv. p. 142.) In Foreign Calendar, “Mary,” date Brussels, 8th October 1555, there is a letter from Sir John Masone informing Queen Mary that Cardinal Santafiore had been set at liberty on “large surety,” and that there was “good hope that Colonna shall shortly be restored to his estate again.”
  • 12. Eleanor of Austria, Queen Dowager of France, and Maria of Austria, Queen Dowager of Hungary.
  • 13. Simon Renard. See the late Mr. Turnbull's Foreign Calendar 1553–1558. Index.
  • 14. See Giovanni Michiel, 7 October 1555, where allusion is made to the Fleet, and to the residence of the Court at Greenwich.
  • 15. On the 28th October 1555, two men were hanged in Fleet Street for “the robere of a Spaniard,” as recorded in Machyn's Diary, p. 96, and from Badoer's despatch it may be inferred that the execution took place owing to King Philip's demand for it.
  • 16. Don Franciseo de Vargas. (See Foreign Calendar, “Mary.” Index.)