Venice: October 1555, 16-25

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: October 1555, 16-25', 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 19 July 2024].

'Venice: October 1555, 16-25', 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 19, 2024,

"Venice: October 1555, 16-25". 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. 19 July 2024.

October 1555, 16–25

Oct. 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 248. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
The cession of these provinces has been deferred until the 23rd instant, as some deputies from Friesland, who (with all the others, and with the lords who have already arrived here) are to be present have not arrived; some say because the country is again flooded, others because certain inhabitants of those provinces (although ineffectually) opposed sending them to consent to this cession, pretending that on the death of the Emperor they must depend on the Empire as of yore, and not on the Emperor's son (pretendendo morto che sia l'Imperatore dover haver a far con l'Imperio come hebbero antiquamente, et non con il figliol dello Imperator).
It is said that the Emperor will make this renunciation habited in his state robes (vestita in pontificali), and the King will then go to Louvain, the capital of Brabant, to swear observance to the privileges, then return hither, and subsequently, after his father's departure, do the like in the other chief towns of these provinces; and for this purpose his Majesty is now studying with extraordinary diligence, in order to understand and speak French better [than he does], so as to be able to negotiate with these lords and other persons of condition who speak no other language, which is here called Walloon (che qui è chiamato Valon).
The Electors of the Empire have written to his Imperial Majesty, requesting him, before his departure for Spain, so to adjust the affairs of Germany that hereafter the States (li stati) may not experience inconveniences by his absence, and evince their intention either that he do leave such full authority to the King of the Romans as to render it unnecessary for him to send to his Majesty in Spain, or else that he do remain in the Empire. The Emperor has given no answer, either to the Electors or to Don Martin Guzman, who came hither from the King of the Romans to discuss this matter with the Emperor, and it is supposed that he delays it in expectation of the arrival of the Archduke Ferdinand, who comes ostensibly for the purpose of doing homage in his father's name to the Emperor on his determination to go to Spain, yet it is nevertheless believed by many persons that he has been sent for the purpose which the Emperor has determined to effect, (fn. 1) of marrying him to the sister of the Queen of England, that he may succeed to that crown, as his Imperial Majesty's son has no hope of an heir by his consort. Should this come to pass, it is believed that the King of the Romans will consent, and cause his son, the King of Bohemia, to consent likewise, to the King of England being made Imperial Vicar in Italy by the said King of the Romans, on the Emperor's renunciation of the Empire. (E nondimeno creduto da molti, che sia stato fatto venir a quel fine, che altre volte ho seritto alla Serenilà rostra, esser volontà dell' Imperatore di far che esso Arciduca habbia per moglie la sorella della Regina d'Inghilterra, et venga à succieder a quella corona, poichè il figliuolo di Sua Cesarea Maestà non è in speranza di haver con la Regina successore; et se avverrà ciò, credesi che 'l Re di Romani contenterà, et farà contentar quello di Boemia suo figliuolo, che 'l Re d'Inghilterra sia vicario dell' Imperio in Italia fatto da esso Re di Romani, havendo rinontiato S. M. C. esso Imperio.)
The King of England has despatched a messenger to the Queen to acquaint her with his reasons for having the rest of his retinue (il rimanente della corte sua) sent to Brussels, saying that it is from inability to return to her so immediately on account of his many occupations in these Provinces, and because on the Emperor's departure he shall have need of all his servants, in like manner as at present he avails himself of many of his Imperial Majesty's household. Some persons are of opinion that King Philip acts thus in order that during the next session of Parliament the English may comprehend that he is not so anxious to return to that kingdom as they seem to fear (quanto loro mostrano di temere), as also fully to convince the Flemings of his love for them, and of his firm resolve to rule them in person, and moreover to tranquillize those in England who do not approve of his making himself absolute master of the country.
He likewise wrote to the Queen that he wishes her to resume as it were spontaneously the negotiations for peace with the King of France, which according to reason will not be so difficult to stipulate with him as it was and would be with the Emperor; praying her besides to mediate so vigorously as to let him know that should he reject fair terms she would bestir herself against him (si moverà contro di lui), the causes for the great hatred with the Emperor having come to an end, his Imperial Majesty departing for Spain and having renounced all his states and worldly affairs to her consort.
Yesterday King Philip gave leave to Lord Courtenay to go to Italy or to any other country (provincia) he pleased, commending him greatly for this his wish to see the world, and promising him moreover letters of favour wherever he may require them. Subsequently he came to see me twice, telling me that this favour so long desired and sought by him was not only granted with great facility, but that the King urged his departure, which is to take place in a fortnight, and that his chief intention is to reside some time in Venice, and that immediately on his arrival he will go and kiss your Serenity's hand. I congratulated him greatly on his having obtained this satisfaction, assuring him that he would be well received by your Serenity by reason of his excellent parts (per le sue eccellenti condilioni), and that he would remain well pleased with the choice made by him of going to see and enjoy the quiet and beauty of so glorious and blessed a city (la quiete et bellezza di si gloriosa et felice città).
Brussels, 16th October 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Oct. 17–18. Filza, No.134. Miscellanea di Atti diversi Manoseritti, Venetian Arehives. 249. James Basset to Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devonshire.
Thanks for his “special goodness and great gentilnes shewed unto me [in] divers ways at my being at Brussels.” Desires credence for bearer in what he has to say. Excuses himself that he has not had time to write since his return to England, as also to show your Lordship the Queen's goodness towards you, the opinion of her Highness' learned counsel touching the sending of your wrytte for the Parliament, the effect and service of that is done by Hummerston your purveyor, (fn. 2) a request of Mr. Secretary Peters' touching the buying or exchanging of a piece of land with your Lordship, the state of my Lord Chancellor, and of all other things, herewith I think fit for your Lordship to understand, I have fully instructed this bearer to declare the same unto you, praying that I may be advised by him again of those things which requireth a . . . . . . [answer?], trusting your Lordship will take in good part these few lines, being constrained to be shorter than I would for want of leisure, as this bearer can declare.
17th–18th October 1555. From England to Brussels.
[Original holograph.]
Oct. 19. Original Letter Book, penes me. p. 33. 250. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday letters arrived from the Imperial Court dated the 7th, whereby it is heard that Don Garcilasso de la Vega, gentleman of the mouth to that Emperor, had received his commission and was to depart on the morrow, for the performance of good offices with his Holiness.
Rome, 19th October 1555.
Oct. 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 251. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The most Serene Queen opened Parliament to-day, according to the appointed term (termine), coming from St. James', whither she retired (si è ritirata) on her return from Greenwich, to sit, as in the last Parliament, on a lofty and well-decorated throne, carried by two mules in the guise of a litter (venendo come l'altra volta nell' ultimo Parlamento a seder in una grande et ben guarnita sedia, portata da dui muli ad uso di lettiea), accompanied in state (regalmente) not only by all the lords, barons, and prelates of the kingdom, clad in the habit suited to this occasion, but in addition to these personages by the most illustrious Legate likewise, the Queen having chosen him to attend it, for this day, although not entitled legitimately to a seat in Parliament. After the mass of the Holy Ghost, sung by the Bishop of Ely, and the sermon preached by the Bishop of Lincoln [John Whyte], her Majesty proceeded into the great hall, where, in the presence of all those officially summoned, the Lord Chancellor, having rallied a little, choosing at any rate to be there in order not to fail performing his office on this occasion, made the usual proposal, stating the cause for assembling Parliament, which was in short solely for the purpose of obtaining pecuniary supply. His right reverend Lordship laid before the House the great need of the most Serene Queen, from having on her accession found the revenues of the crown so exhausted and consumed that not only was she unable to avail herself of them for the many and heavy expenses, which he enumerated one by one, incurred by her compulsorily for the honour of the realm, both before and after her marriage,–with regard to which he did not omit to say that King Philip whilst in England had spent much more than her Majesty,–but that having found considerable debts left by her father and brother she had been compelled to make fresh ones for their acquittance, still remaining responsible for a great part of the old ones. Her Majesty in the meanwhile had not chosen to avail herself, as she might have done, of the taxes and subsidy conceded by Parliament to her brother King Edward, amounting to upwards of 1,200,000 ducats, but remitted that sum for the sake of not burdening anyone. Neither did she choose, as she might and ought to have done in justice, to avail herself of the revenues and estates of many of her rebels, amounting to a very considerable sum, but to demonstrate thoroughly her benignity and clemency, she made them a free gift bothof their lives and lands. Therefore in the Queen's name the Chancellor requested Parliament, in consideration of the present public necessities, to devise means for their relief, saying, moreover, that at this commencement her Majesty had not chosen to keep this her proposal any longer in suspense, nor allow it to be made by others than by herself, but, proceeding openly, had willed to proclaim and announce it immediately, anticipating such speedy supply as by reason of the great affection of her subjects she felt sure she should witness. The Chancellor added that if any member had anything else to suggest, to the profit and advantage of the realm and for the common weal, he was not to omit doing so, in conformity with the obligation and duty of everybody, nor to fail thus to act readily and willingly as becoming; and his right reverend Lordship having spoken with much more energy (gagliardamente) than by reason of his indisposition anyone would have expected, the business of this first day of the session ended. During the next two days they will occupy themselves with the election and confirmation of the Speaker, namely, the member who speaks and proposes for the Lower House, after which the motions and resolutions will be made, and communicated by the writer to the Doge with due diligence. Many of the peers are still absent, but will make their appearance from day to day, though the Earls of Arundel and Westmoreland have excused themselves on the plea of indisposition, and their apologies have been accepted.
The Queen remains not a little distressed by an order received two days ago from King Philip by Don Diego de Azevedo, his lord steward, for him and the few Spanish noblemen remaining here to cross over to Flanders, together with the Spanish and German halberdier guards, and the pages and stable department, the only part of the household which is to remain being the confessor, with two other Dominican friars (frati predicatori), and the chapel. This general preparation for departure, thus daily confirming by facts the remoteness of the King's coming, cannot but, by reason of intense love and longing for her consort, inspire the Queen with doubts of his return, and consequently cause her sorrow, although she is constantly comforted by letters and messages from his Majesty giving fair hope of soon seeing her, and also by the presence of Cardinal Pole, who never leaves her, having apartments here likewise, and residing ordinarily in the palace.
The Lady Elizabeth, who resided permanently with the Queen at Greenwich, has had permission to proceed to a house of her own 17 miles hence; nor during the whole time of her stay at Greenwich did Cardinal Pole ever see her, although they had rooms very near each other in the same palace.
Last week pay was given to the men destined to serve on board the fleet, the whole of which will soon be despatched, 12 vessels having already dropped down the river and put to sea, and they are hastening the outfit of the rest.
Besides the commission given by him to his ambassador resident in Spain, the King of Portugal, for the same purpose, has sent hither one of his gentlemen to the Queen, requesting her not to allow English ships to continue, as they have done for the last three years, their voyages to the Guinea coast, which is under his jurisdiction, as they are injurious to him and his subjects; giving it to be understood that should the English be fallen in with by the Portuguese and by his Majesty's own coastguard lately armed for the purpose, and be maltreated, the Queen must not take it amiss, as he cannot do otherwise than preserve his own coasts, not choosing aliens, nor any but his own subjects, to frequent them or to navigate there.
The Queen referred the matter to her Council, which has not yet formed any decision, as before answering the ambassador they choose to have the rights (le ragione) of the parties concerned well understood and examined.
London, 21st October 1555.
Oct. 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 252. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
The Prince of Orange has arrived here from the army, by the Emperor's order, to be present at his Imperial Majesty's renunciation of these states to his son, the Emperor telling him and the other lords the precise causes which had induced him during his lifetime to make this cession and depart for Spain. There were present at this colloquy, the King and all the knights of the Fleece, of which order the Emperor gave the King the Grand Mastership (I'autorità). The answer made in the name of the assembly to his Imperial Majesty was, that with regard to the cession of the States, of which the King was by right the legitimate successor, they regretted to hear it for no other reason than because the Emperor would consequently execute his resolve of going to Spain, which departure oppressed them (premeva a loro), as although his son had great ability, and was adequate to any great administration, yet nevertheless the Emperor's mature prudence, his great authority, and more especial knowledge of the Netherlands (questi Stati), and of his powerful enemy the King of France, were apt to produce greater effects for the common weal; adding that they also greatly regretted the determination which they understood had been made by the Queen Maria to accompany his Majesty, as although a certain class, goaded by poverty, had occasionally complained of the numerous pecuniary contributions imposed by her, yet did all in general now much more lament her leaving them, as in these present times her prudence and ability qualified her most admirably for their government and defence. The spokesman of the assembly, without unbosoming himself openly, evinced by several phrases, their dissatisfaction that the Duke of Savoy, or the King's Spanish ministers, should rule these Provinces, saying that the Emperor being most just and conscientious with regard to them, had to beware of the infringement of their privileges, purporting that they were to governed by no one but his Imperial Majesty or the King, or by one of their own nation.
On that day (the 21st) nothing further was determined, his Majesty not having positively settled to make this cession, but decided on it next day, or the day after, hoping that from what was said by Count Horne, the Frieslanders would no longer make a difficulty about coming hither; but in addition to the fact of their not having come, other difficulties have arisen, as the authorities in Flanders (quelli di Fiandra), laying claim to a dignity superior to that of the other States, have already shown that they will not consent to the ceremony taking place in Brabant, strongly urging the Emperor, moreover, to restore the privileges of which he deprived them at the time of the rebellion of Ghent; but the authorities of Brabant do not admit the superiority, because their province is a duchy. The authorities of Louvain, on the other hand, saying that should the Emperor determine to make the cession here in Brabant, and not in Flanders, he ought to make it at Louvain, as capital of this Province, and they also require the King to go there previously, to swear a second time to observe many of their privileges, which since the first oath, have been infringed. To remove these difficulties, his Majesty delays making the cession from day to day, although for the last four days an apartment in the town hall has been furnished with tapestries and a canopy.
The Emperor has sent M. d'Andelot a second time to Zealand, to hasten the fitting out of the fleet for his passage, or to make such arrangements as he shall think best for his Majesty's accommodation, and that of the Queens, who, to facilitate the Emperor's departure, he having as yet been unable to make the requisite pecuniary supply, offered, especially Queen Maria, to pawn their jewels, in order to raise the money, the King promising and making assignments on merchants in the Netherlands for their redemption at the appointed time. It is said that Queen Maria evinces a yet greater wish for immediate departure, the more she hears of the sorrow expressed by the Flemings at having these Provinces governed by the Spaniards or others; it is also said very publicly that all this is a feint on her part (as practised heretofore with other ministers), as she by no means desires the Emperor's departure, both for her own personal interests, and on account of the present war.
It is heard that the French with 400 cavalry and infantry endeavouring to victual Marienburg, the Imperial Colonel Lazzaro Svendi, with two companies of German foot and a few horse, barred their passage; so there was a skirmish, a few being killed on both sides, and the colonel was wounded; the Spaniards say that the provisions did not get in the second time.
A courier departs to-day for Italy, with orders for the Duke of Alva, for the satisfaction of the Duke of Florence, to appoint a governor in Sienna, and a general of the Tuscan forces, and moreover to assure him that, according to his demand, the Emperor will send him money and every supply in his power for the defence of Sienna and recovery of the places subject heretofore to that city.
The Spaniards say publicly that they believe the Pope has a secret league or understanding with the King of France, and that he has told Duke Ottavio [Farnesc] that by comporting himself well in this war he will act to the satisfaction of his Holiness.
The Nuncio's assertions that the Pope is excellently disposed towards the Emperor and the King of England are not admitted.
Brussels, 23rd October 1555.
Oct. 25. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 253. Act of Abdication of the Netherlands in favour of Philip II. by the Emperor Charles V.
Charles, Emperor. We make known to all men present and to come, that considering that for the future, by reason of the age and indisposition of our person, and from other inconveniences, we shall be unable to make journies, and endure fatigue and toil, as we have done hitherto, for the preservation and defence of our patrimonial states, and other provinces in these parts (et altri paesiper di quà), and of our good vassals dwelling therein; and seeing that Philip. King of England and of Naples, our very dear son, is of a competent age to have the government and entire administration of them; in which provinces he was heretofore received, allegiance being sworn to him as our only son and heir for future prince and lord, with the obligation to perform the ritual solemnities as required; and the realm of England being very near these provinces, the said Lord King our son will thus have better convenience for governing and ruling that kingdom and the provinces in these parts (et li paesi di quà), and for defending them against the undertakings and assaults of the enemy; we have determined and resolved to visit our kingdoms of Spain, and to withdraw thither to live the rest of our age (età) in repose and tranquillity, and therefore cede the said provinces to him absolutely; and wishing to carry into effect this our resolve, we, for these causes and other just and reasonable considerations, which in our presence, and that of our son the King of England, we caused to be proclaimed [by Philibert of Brussels?] in full and solemn assembly of the Lords States of the said provinces, relying entirely that they will be content, and receive (as they have already done) the aforesaid King in our name, have spontaneously, and of our frank and free will, authority, and absolute power, ceded, released, and transferred, as moreover by this present act we cede, release, and transfer to our said son, King of England, of Naples, &c., all and whatever there may be of these provinces hereabouts (di questi paesi di quà), and the duchies, marquisates, principalities, counties, baronies, lordships, villages (ville), castles, and the fortresses therein, together with all the royalties (realtà), &c. &c.
Given in our villa of Brussels (Data nella nostra villa de Brusselles), (fn. 3) on the 25th of October 1555.
Document transmitted to the Venetian Senate in a despatch from Federico Badoer, dated 26th October 1555.
[Not printed by Robertson.]


  • 1. See entry, No. 121, p. 97, date 4th June 1555.
  • 2. I derive from the Domestic Calendar, Mary (pp. 70–72), the correct orthography of the name Ilunmierston, which in Basset's letter is abbreviated and indistinct.
  • 3. The site of the Emperor's villa “in the park of Brussels, near the Louvain gate, is now covered by the national or legislative palace of Belgium.” (See Stirling's Cloister Life of Emperor Charles V., p. 13, ed. London, 1853.)