Venice: November 1555, 1-15

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: November 1555, 1-15', 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: November 1555, 1-15', 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: November 1555, 1-15". 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.

November 1555, 1–15

Nov. 1. Original Letter Book, penes me, p. 43. 265. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday there arrived in this city Don Garcilasso de la Vega, who is accredited to his Holiness by the Emperor and the King of England. He was met by the Emperor's ambassador [Marquis Sarria] and the Count of Montorio, and is lodged in the ambassador's house. The time being so short I have merely ascertained that after the usual assurances of goodwill on the part of the Emperor and the King of England towards his Holiness, he will demand the reinstatement of Marc' Antonio Colonna, and the release from their securities (liberatione delle piezarie) (fn. 1) of the Cardinal “Camerlengo” [Guido Ascanio Sforza, Cardinal Sta. Fiora], Camillo Colonna, and other Imperialists, and that he, Garcilasso, has no commission from his princes about universal peace.
Rome, 1st November 1555.
Nov. 2. Original Letter Book, penes me, p. 45. 266. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
To-day, at audience, the Pope said to me, “Don Garcilasso de la Vega, who was expected, arrived here two days ago, he has not yet been to us, on account of these holydays, and of the ceremonies performed, but from what we have been able to elicit, we understand that his commissions are very bland (molto dolci); when he shall have spoken with us I will communicate to whole to you, as also other important matters.”
Rome, 2nd November 1555.
Nov. 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 267. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
The Queens will depart in two days for a place two leagues hence, for the purpose, it is said, of completing the arrangements for the voyage.
The Queen of England has sent a courier to her consort to let him know, in addition to the proceedings of Parliament, her wish for positive information about the time of the Emperor's departure, so that she may regulate herself about the armed ships and merchantmen, reminding him that the cost required for keeping them ready is great.
Her Majesty's ambassador has had orders to take leave of the Emperor and return to her, but the King does not choose him to be the first of the ambassadors to quit his Imperial Majesty, telling him that in a few days there will be more certainty about the time of the Emperor's departure.
Brussels, 3rd November 1555.
Nov. 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 268. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
An Imperial trumpet presented himself lately on the French frontiers with letters from the Bishop of Arras to the Constable, informing his Excellency in very bland language, on behalf of the most Serene King of England, that he wished an exchange of prisoners on one side and the other, and that whilst it was being treated (et che fra questo mezzo) they should receive better treatment than they have received hitherto, as would be commenced forthwith by his Majesty with regard to those in his custody. This letter is written in such amicable terms as would not have been so easily used had the business been treated in the Emperor's name, and King Philip has been answered that it was always the wish of his most Christian Majesty to do the like with regard both to good treatment and release of the said prisoners, so that if the King of England wished to come to any decision, he might give orders to Mons. De Lambert, who has the superintendence of his affairs on the frontiers, as his most Christian Majesty would also give like orders on his part to the Admiral, the governor of Picardy.
Has been told that lest this treaty for release of prisoners be interpreted by the Pope as the commencement of some agreement between their Majesties, the King of France sent his Holiness the Secretary Bouchiet (sic) to assure the Pope that even in the event of an adjustment, the King will persevere in his wish to ally himself with his Holiness.
La Fertè Milon, 3rd November 1555.
Nov. 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 269. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The 20 members forming the committee of Parliament determined that to relieve the Queen in her present need a subsidy should be imposed on the whole kingdom, thereby taxing everybody indifferently, as usual, without excepting or having regard either for the poor or for the needy (impotente), nor for any person whatever. The motion having been made in the Commons, where subsidies and taxes are first treated before passing to the Lords, there was a sharp debate between the members of the House and the committee (li deputati) about the tax on the poor, called in English “the fifteenth,” which the committee supported in order to augment the Queen's supply, although this item does not amount to more than six or eight thousand pounds sterling; the other members opposing the grant for the sake of those who are poor and needy. This having been represented to her Majesty, she, with her usual compassion and love for her subjects, sent a message to the House by Secretary Petre forbidding any mention of “the fifteenth,” as she remitted it entirely, thus putting an end to the debate, to the satisfaction of everybody, so that the motion passed without the slightest opposition (senza alcuna pur minima contradittione); but as some other unimportant difficulties (although they were subsequently adjusted) remained for settlement, they prevented it from being yet made in the Lords, where it will nevertheless doubtless be confirmed forthwith by a yet greater majority (con maggior larghezza). Does not write particulars about the quantity and quality of this subsidy, as report varies about it, but awaits the passing of the bill in both Houses. As yet, with regard to time, all persons are agreed that it will be levied in two years, one moiety annually, the first to commence on the 1st March 1556; and as to the amount, the highest valuation is one million of gold, to which 400,000 ducats are added by those who exaggerate most. After the despatch of this matter and of some other private bills (cose particolari), the Parliament will, it is thought, be dissolved in 10 days or a fortnight, the Queen, owing to the absence of her consort, being most impatient to return and enjoy her monastery at Greenwich, in which she delights marvellously (nel qual mirabilmente si compiace), and has great and especial care of it, having already added to the 25 Franciscan Observantine Friars, amongst whom is Friar Francis Petro, an aged man of most holy life, heretofore Bishop elect of Salisbury, and her Majesty's confessor before his exile, and one of the six individuals lately nominated by the Pope for the cardinalate.
To-day all the bishops of the kingdom assembled together, with the Legate, to hold a synod about the affairs of the religion, and of the clergy, relating to their office and ministry; the bishops in these matters proceeding much to Cardinal Pole's satisfaction, they being all persons who by him and everybody are considered very exemplary . . . . . with regard to doctrine; and by residing ordinarily in their dioceses, and by preaching, lecturing, and teaching, they do not fail in any way using all due diligence.
They likewise, apart from the laity, will, as is their custom, offer the Queen a portion of their revenues, which will be so much the greater as great is the advantage now derived by them from the cession in their favour of the church property hitherto held by her Majesty.
Cardinal Pole was to have sent lately for the French ambassador to perform a certain office with him in continuation of the negotiations for the peace, but subsequently, from what I hear, he determined to write himself to the King and the Constable. His lordship is much distressed by the movements in Italy, being apprehensive, as he told me lately, lest the Pope form some resolve which may impede and utterly destroy the negotiation. Here, in the meanwhile, amongst both lords and commons, the belief and suspicion that at any rate next spring, that is to say, after having levied the subsidy, England will come to a rupture with France, gain ground daily, and I hear that some of these chief noblemen are already beginning warily (destramente) to provide themselves with tents, pavilions, and similar military requisites.
The remonstrance of the Portuguese ambassador about the Guinea voyages (la navigation di Ghinea) was referred by the Queen and her Council to King Philip, from whom the ambassador hopes to obtain a speedy and satisfactory reply.
The vessels which departed hence some months ago, (fn. 2) bound for Cathayo, either from inability or lack of daring, not having got beyond Muscovy and Russia, whither the others went in like manner last year, have returned safe, bringing with them the two vessels of the first voyage, having found them on the Muscovite coast, with the men on board all frozen; and the manners now returned from the second voyage narrate strange things about the mode in which they were frozen, having found some of them seated in the act of writing, pen still in hand, and the paper before them; others at table, platter in hand and spoon in mouth; others opening a locker, and others in various postures, like statues, as if they had been adjusted and placed in those attitudes. They say that some dogs on board the ships displayed the same phenomena. They found the effects and merchandise all intact in the hands of the natives, and brought them back hither with the vessels.
London, 4th November 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Nov. 7. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. CI. x. 270. Cardinal Pole to Cardinal [Carlo] Caraffa.
The Pope will have already heard about the convocation of the prelates of England, both to arrange the realization (effettuatione) of the church property renounced (lasciati) by the Crown, and also to make provision for the other necessities and abuses which have arisen amongst the clergy, owing to the corruption and misgovernment of the past times; and now with the opportunity afforded by the present Parliament, without putting the prelates to inconvenience or expense, by God's grace, Pole has commenced this convocation. On Monday the 4th a solemn mass of the Holy Ghost was sung in the chapel of the royal palace, after which the ceremonies usual at the commencement of synods were performed, and they then assembled in a hall of the said palace [of Whitehall]; it being thus ordered both because Pole is lodged there near the Queen, and that the Bishop of Winchester, who is very grievously indisposed and lodges in it, may attend the meeting. On that day they merely stated, first to the bishops, and then to other members of the clergy, who had also been admitted, the causes of this convocation, which Pole did himself, and found them all quite ready to do whatever was for the service of God and spiritual benefit of England. All the bishops will have to give particular account of the necessities of their dioceses, and how they are to be provided for. The first thing to be done will be the assignment (la assignatione) to each of the churches of the aforesaid property, of which they were deprived, with orders to provide for the service of the people, and that they may be benefited thereby (con ordine di proveder che il popolo sia servito et ne senti frutto). An order will also be given to make a fresh taxation of the churches (di tassar di novo le chiese) according to the commission received by Pole in a brief from his Holiness, to whom from time to time account will be given of everything treated and established.
On the 26th ulto. Pole wrote to Caraffa about the opening of Parliament, (fn. 3) in which the Chancellor proposed a subsidy for the need of their Majesties; and very readily, and without opposition from any one (et senza contradittione di alcuno), (fn. 4) it was agreed to give a million of gold, to be levied in two years from the laity, and in four from the clergy, who contribute willingly to this subsidy, which free contribution is a very ancient custom in England. Believes that Parliament will close before Christmas, and should anything worthy of the Pope's notice be transacted in it, Pole will give his Holiness notice accordingly.
London, 7th November 1555.
Autograph postscript:—By the last letters from Rome the Queen and all persons of worth (tutti i buoni) in England have been very much comforted to hear of the good course taken by affairs at Rome, the Pope having rendered his excellent and pacific disposition manifest to everybody, of which Pole has always given ample testimony in all quarters. Prays God to grant his Holiness all quiet, so that by means of his supreme authority he may commodiously attend with paternal care and love to the pacification of these sovereigns, and accomplish all his other holy projects to the honour and service of his Divine Majesty and of his Church.
Nov. 8. Original Letter Book, penes me. 271. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Late in the day of the 3rd Don Garcilasso had audience of the Pope. At this first interview he represented the goodwill of the Emperor and the King of England towards the See Apostolic, owing to which his Holiness ought not to have any doubt of their disposition and piety, and took time to return to the Pope and state the rest of his commission; whereupon, suspecting he might have something disagreeable to say, after dismissing him with many assurances of regard for the Emperor and his son, his Holiness sent for the Count of Montorio and told him that from the words of Don Garcilasso he inferred that he was commissioned to treat some other matter which might be troublesome, as he chose to defer its negotiation. To this the Count replied that his Holiness might listen tranquilly to anything Garcilasso said, as he could answer him in any form he pleased.
Rome, 8th November 1555.
Nov. 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 272. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
The King answered the English Ambassador that the Queen might dispense with the cost of the ships destined for the Emperor's convoy to Spain until the 10th of December, but so that on receiving a fortnight's notice they might be ready; and although the Emperor has never chosen to tell the precise period of his departure, yet both the Emperor and the King, and many of their attendants, declare not only that it will take place, but even sooner than believed; and the Queens have already arranged the greater part of their affairs, in order to go and reside two miles hence for their better adjustment; the Flemish and German ladies of both their Majesties being expected to take leave to-morrow to go to their homes. When the King goes to Antwerp on the 15th of next month to hold a chapter of the “Fleece,” and make new knights, as written by me to your Serenity, the Emperor will depart for Ghent, there to remain until the fleet be ready and the wind fair, as it usually is towards Christmas. The persons who assert that the Emperor will carry his resolve into effect, say he will do so, both for the reasons assigned by him when he made the renunciation of these provinces, and also to facilitate the peace between the Kings of England and France, which is now supposed to be negotiated more earnestly than ever through the medium of the Queen of England.
Brussels, 10th November 1555.
Nov. 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 273. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
Last night the Emperor had such an increase of gout (è si multiplieata all' Imperatore la gotta) that to-day he was unable to feed himself with his own hands, and to-day keeps his bed from fever. Monsr. de Ri (sic), late chief butler (somiglier del corpo), who, owing to offence given him, took leave to go and reside at his home in Burgundy, came hither to kiss the Emperor's hand before his departure for Spain. After performance of this office he went away in a flood of tears, which, he told certain gentlemen then present, were caused by his seeing the affairs of the Emperor and the King in such a state, owing to bad ministers; foretelling that unless their Majesties changed the administration, both public business and the war would proceed yet worse than they have done for the last four years; saying that heretofore everything was admirably regulated at the Imperial Court, whilst in France the government acted imprudently, so that on this account fortune had deserted the Emperor.
The Elector of Cologne, who had announced his intention of remaining here for some days, departed this morning on hearing that by reason of the Emperor's paroxysm of gout he could not negotiate with his Majesty. During his short stay here he dined constantly first with the King, then with the Queen [Maria], and at other times with the Bishop of Arras; leaving a belief that by means of the Emperor and King Philip he wishes to be promoted to the Cardinalate.
Lord Courtenay requested (pregò) Don Ruy Gomez to do him the favour to intercede for him with the King for permission to go to England for four days to mortgage and sell some of his estates, by reason of the necessary expenses which it behoved him incur on this his journey into Italy. He was unable to obtain the permission, but letters of recommendation were given him to several potentates (principi), and to his Majesty's ministers in that province; so he departed with only four horses, saying that from Louvain he should accompany the Elector as far as Cologne, and then continue his journey with speed, intending to go first to Mantua, then to Ferrara, and perhaps to Milan, before going to Venice.
Brussels, 11th November 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Nov. 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 274. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The bill for the subsidy was passed in the Upper House likewise without any opposition. As written by me it will be paid in two years, one moiety annually, everybody being bound to disburse eight English pence per pound sterling annually, according to the estimate of their [real] property or fixed income; or fourpence [per pound on incomes derived] from industry; the former paying more than the latter, save in the case of aliens, who are taxed tenpence per pound sterling, they being treated much more favourably than of yore, as they used to pay twice as much as the English; an exception being made moreover in favour of the bishops and prelates, who have spontaneously offered twelvepence in the pound, continuing to pay the same for four years, to complete the amount of four entire tenths, one per annum. By this tax the Queen in two years is expected to get no less than 250,000l., though others rate it at 300,000l.
Subsequently Parliament occupied itself with certain private matters (cose particolari) relating to [internal ?] peace and morality (buon vivere), a bill having been passed for the removal from London of the public “ridotti” for card-playing and dicing, and for dancing likewise, to prevent all opportunity for holding assemblies and meetings of persons for similar practices (simili essercitii), which are considered the most vicious and seditious of any; a remedy which, although decreed by Parliament heretofore, was nevertheless very speedily modified and discontinued (et messo in abuso). It is now proposed to bring in a bill prohibiting the exportation of beer or grain, or of anything connected with victuals, annulling all the licenses conceded hitherto, these exportations causing a greater scarcity of everything than that which is felt generally, owing to the failure of this year's crops. They are also now meditating the recall of all absentees, both those who have had leave to remain abroad, and those who have not, it being proposed to reinstate those whose property has been confiscated if they return within a given time, and to threaten the others with confiscation. It is understood that wherever they go, whether to Itaty, Germany, or France, they licentiously disseminate many things against the English government and the present religion, causing many persons who are at once induced to follow them (che senza altro si inducono a seguitarli) to emigrate hence, the scandal thus gaining ground with the others By making them come home and reside here, the government expects thus to keep them in order more easily, as at least from fear of the proposed penalties they will not dare to spread such reports as they do at present, nor to live here, with regard to the religion, so licentiously as they do abroad (nè di viver nella religione, con la lieentia che fuor di qua vivono). This matter being important, it is not known whether it will pass easily; so whether on this account or on others, they no longer talk as before of an immediate dissolution, but expect Parliament to continue sitting for three weeks or perhaps more (fn. 5) . . . . . and assembly of the bishops, with the most illustrious Legate, they in great part reformed....clergy, and the household expenditure of said bishops, reducing the profuse hospitality exercised by them to moderation, limiting the excessive number of their personal attendants, and prohibiting them from being any longer clad as hitherto like soldiers (they being for the most part armed with swords and bucklers, according to the custom of the country), but to wear a soberer suit, and one more adapted to civilians (ma con habito pià grave, et pià civile).
The bishops are endeavouring to effect the repeal of an old Act of Parliament still in force, whereby, besides the first fruits of the vacant benefices, they were compelled to pay the Crown annually, in ordinary (ordinariamente), one tenth; for although it has now been remitted them by the Queen, together with the first fruits, nevertheless they are not sure of this cession save during her Majesty's life, as unless the Act be entirely cancelled they might be burdened with the same tax by her successors. The most illustrious Legate is also endeavouring to get this cession confirmed by Parliament, not daring to dispose of these revenues without its approval; and as there is great difference of opinion there, and much contradiction, the matter therefore is not yet despatched.
Two days ago Francesco Piamontese, the courier sent lately by the Queen and Cardinal to Brussels, returned thence with letters from the King confirming his speedy arrival, by ordering his attendants here not to depart; so by Christmas, or shortly afterwards, it is hoped his Majesty will be here, it being considered certain that the Emperor's departure will be delayed until February, or beyond; the comfort derived from which news by the Queen will be easily imagined. Next day this courier was sent express to Spain under pretence of crossing to Portugal about the affair of the Guinea navigation, but in reality to convey a despatch from the King and the Emperor, that it may go more speedily and securely than if sent by sea or by Portuguese couriers, who are detained in France, their bags being regardlessly searched, the packets opened, and the letters, if necessary, being seized; whereas the present bearer, being a “queen's messenger,” known everywhere, will be treated with greater respect. Here they say he has been despatched chiefly in order to urge the coming of Don Diego de Bazan, appointed in the stead of his father Don Alvarez, lately deceased, with the greatest possible number of ships, and, above all, with money, so that on his return he, with the rest of the fleet brought lately by Don Luis de Caravajal, and which is now in Flanders, may be able to take the Emperor to Spain without requiring convoy from any other fleet, or incurring expense for the passage out and home of Flemish and English vessels. Long ere now the Doge will have heard from Brussels whether the courier was despatched for this or some other cause.
The Lord Chancellor is now in such a state that his life can last but for hours. The loss is most important at the present moment, it being freely admitted that for the service of a sovereign, whether as chancellor or for the performance of any other office, no better or more sufficient minister could be desired, as neither here nor elsewhere could his like have been found (si chè nè quì nè altrove, se ne sarebbe trovato un simile). The Doge also has cause to regret this death, by reason of the great affection and respect he always showed him, both by word and deed, as often, both in public and private, when associating very familiarly with the Chancellor or transacting business, he (Michiel) has had proof of his great and especial deference for his Serenity and his affairs. By the counsel and suggestion of the Queen, this poor personage (il povero Signore) made his will appointing her Majesty his heir, knowing that all this his great fortune proceeded from her, thus doing as became a good and grateful servant; nor did he omit greatly recommending his attendants to her Majesty, specifying the remuneration (mercede) which, with her approval and consent, he prays and wishes her Majesty to bestow on them. According to report, in addition to some 40,000 or 50,000 ducats worth of property, including household furniture and silver vessels, he leaves 20,000 pounds sterling, the surplus or savings derived from the revenues of his see during his five years imprisonment, when they were levied by the Crown, restitution being made him by the Queen when he was restored to his see, she then authorizing him to reimburse himself through the revenues derived by the Crown from the first fruits. The bishopric of Winchester, yielding upwards of 16,000 ducats annually, will fall vacant by his death.
London, 11th November 1555.
Nov. 11. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. No date. Printed in vol. 5, pp. 53, 54, “Epistolarum Reginaldi Poli,” &c., dated as above. 275. Cardinal Pole to King Philip.
What always occurs to him in the first place when writing to the King, a fact well known to his Majesty, is the Queen's earnest desire for his presence, which is the more just, she herself being conscious that, as clearly manifest, she thus does not so much indulge her love for her consort as that for the kingdom common to both of them, and which, being her first love, and thinking chiefly of its welfare and safety, induced her to select such and so great a prince, able and willing to uphold religion and justice, then persecuted in the realm. By the goodness of God and the prudence and piety of their Majesties this result has been obtained, but not to such an extent as not now to have much greater need of the King's personal assistance for the confirmation of what was so piously and equitably effected than at the commencement, when piety and justice were recalled. This the Queen experienced heretofore whilst the King was in England, and most especially now when he is absent, but resigns herself to the will of Providence, being sure that her wishes are shared by the King, and that he will come as soon as the interests of his other subjects (istorum populorum) and of the Christian commonwealth enable him to do so. In the meanwhile she may be consoled by frequent letters from his Majesty, assuring her of his well-being and giving his opinion of whatever relates to himself, to her, or to the statements made in the letters of the councillors.
The councillors will tell him what has been done in Parliament, but it is the office of Pole to acquaint the King with the acts of the synod. In these times it behoved him as Legate to convoke it, not merely for the reform of the Anglican Church, but also for the approval of the decrees of the bishops and clergy made by them without Pole in their Convocation (in ipsorum conventu), which they are accustomed to hold whenever Parliament meets. But as the Archbishop Primate [Cranmer], who has the right to call Convocation, is detained in custody, and as the Chapter, he being as yet neither condemned nor deprived, nor the see vacant, cannot assume the office, it was necessary for the ratification of their decrees, one of which is the pecuniary subsidy for the Crown, that the Legate should assemble this synod, in which he first of all endeavoured to make both sides comprehend the pious counsel of their Majesties in restoring the church property, and the mode to be employed in distributing it, to which effect a writing was then drawn up, comprising both the restitution of the property and the assent of the bishops and clergy, together with the mode whereby they undertook to relieve the Crown from the burden of the pensions derived from that property. This writing was read to the Queen on the day before yesterday, and then, by her command, communicated to the privy councillors (selectis consiliariis), each of whom, when they went to Pole, promised him his own individual vote, and also to exert themselves with the others (atque etiam cum reliquis acturos) for the approval of the measure with less difficulty (minore negotio) both by the Lords and Commons; and, as agreed together, the first reading took place in the Upper House on the day of this letter's date.
It is needless for him to expatiate on the detriment with which England is threatened by the death of the Chancellor, whose life is now despaired of by all the physicians. The King has had experience of his ability in that office, and Pole will merely say that as they already feel as if, together with him, religion and justice were expiring, so from the time when his malady commenced both one and the other in England degenerated greatly, and again did impiety and injustice begin to gain strength, a clear proof of how useful his assistance was to confirm these virtues and repress their antagonistic vices, and how necessary it is to supply his place by one not merely a Catholic by name,-or, if practically such, let him show himself less harsh and stern (minus tamen acrem se ac strenuum prœbat), but no less firm and ardent than his predecessor, using such moderation as becomes a pious and prudent man. It is unnecessary for Pole to say more on this subject, as the King of his piety and prudence will of himself be sufficiently aware how important it is for the Kingdom to have an able Chancellor. If it be necessary to pray God to enlighten their Majesties' minds when selecting ministers of religion and justice, and that they should take the advice of pious and prudent men, above all is this requisite respecting a magistracy on whose administration the entire welfare of the Crown and kingdom depends (ex quo pendet quicquid majestacs vestras aut ipsum Regnum in eo administando juvare queat). Apologizes for being thus diffuse on this subject, by reason of his love for their Majesties and his country.
Rejoices to hear from Rome that the disputes between the Pope and his Majesty were on the point of adjustment, as his Holiness was appeased immediately on hearing what the King had written to his ambassador. Hopes that God will grant his Majesty the title of “Rex Pacificus,” of which this is the evident commencement.
London, 11th November 1555.
[Latin, 77 lines.]
Nov. 11. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. a. 276. Cardinal Pole to Cardinal Morone.
By the copy of Pole's is letter to Cardinal Caraffa, and by what he writes besides to Messer Gio. Francesco, Morone will perceive that the Convocation of the prelates in England has commenced. Expects it to last until Lent, and thinks it would be well for the Pope to write him a brief commending and approving its being held, exhorting him and the prelates to attend with all care to remedy the abuses introduced of late, offering his authority for whatever is required for the honour of God and spiritual benefit of England, and showing that he is well informed about the piety which the King and Queen continue to exhibit on every occasion. Nor in truth could her Majesty evince more zeal than she does with regard to this synod, wishing Pole to proceed as far as possible in restoring the ecclesiastical discipline, which suffered greatly during the late evil times, as Morone might tell his Holiness. They are expecting the Bishop of St. Asaph, and hope he will arrive before Parliament ends, to remove any suspicion that the past alienation of church property is revoked, though they trust that ere then they shall also receive the bull of declaration (fn. 6) to that effect, which has been frequently demanded.
By the last letters from Rome Pole has heard that affairs there have taken that good turn which he always anticipated in proof of his Holiness' good and pacific disposition, the Queen and all good people in England hearing it with an amount of satisfaction equal to their great fear of the contrary, which caused the malignants to show their ill-will.
The country is about to incur a great loss through the death of the Lord Chancellor Bishop of Winchester, who laborat in extremis, to the very great sorrow of the Queen and of all good men, and in truth a powerful instrument for the safety and welfare of this realm is lost.
London, 11th November 1555.
Nov. 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 277. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
A few days ago a Spanish gentleman was arrested at this court on his way from that of the Emperor, although, by means of Cardinal Pole, he had obtained a safe-conduct for his passage into Spain, and they intercepted the letters which he was conveying to the Regent [Joanna of Austria, Princess of Portugal] from the King of England, together with all the particulars of the cession of the realms made by the Emperor to his Majesty; and, having seized the letters, they dismissed him.
La Fertè Milon, 11th November 1555.
Nov. 12. (fn. 7) Original Letter Book, penes me. 278. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
I went to-day to visit Don Garcilasso de la Vega, who, after doing me every possible honour, and expatiating on the goodwill of the Emperor and the King of England towards your Serenity, who he said had reciprocated it with such constancy that their Majesties were bound to have perpetual recollection of it, proceeded to say :— “Lord Ambassador, having been commissioned thus to do, and in accordance with our friendship at the court, I choose to give you account of my whole business. I am come hither to show the Pope that he has no cause nor any reason to doubt the affection of the Emperor, who has done so many things, as known to you, for the service of God, and always had such respect for the religion as would perhaps not have been evinced by any other prince had he received such offers as were made to his Imperial Majesty. Still less should his Holiness be apprehensive of the Emperor's son, that prince being eminently pious and religious. Therefore these military preparations announced to him by letter could not be otherwise than distressing, as there was no just cause for them, and the Emperor and the King of England his lords would always be the obedient sons of his Holiness, should he choose to receive them as such.” To this assurance the Pope answered him that he had never entertained any suspicion of such honourable and christian-minded princes as his were, and that he prayed God to make the earth open and swallow him up if what he said to him was not the truth. (fn. 8) Don Garcilasso added, “Lord Ambassador, the words are fair; as yet we have not cause to give them much credit. We know who counsels and who moves him, and for what purpose. It will suffice for my princes to have given testimony of their piety, and of their wish for peace and quiet, and then let happen whatever the Lord pleases. This good old man (questo buon vecchio) does not perceive that whilst he was having the drums beat and mustering troops, the Emperor's forces in the kingdom of Naples and in Tuscany might have employed something more than words. It is enough for the Emperor to be justified in the face of the whole world, if compelled, and most especially before the most illustrious Signory. I also spoke with the Pope about another affair, which I would not discuss on this occasion, (fn. 9) but shall go back to him in four or five days, and the matter is that the Emperor and the King of England wish a certain respect to be had for their vassals and servants, not that his Imperial Majesty do thus command and ordain, but as pledge and security for that goodwill which the Pope says he bears us, and in order not to dishearten and degrade his Majesty's good vassals and servants, it being seen that they are deprived of their territory and persecuted even contrary to right. I shall also execute this other part of my commission which remains for performance in very gentle language, though the Pope must not suppose, because I addressed him the first time as I did, and the second as I shall do, that the Emperor is afraid of him, but merely that it is fitting thus to speak with a Pope and with an old man.
I thanked him for what he had been pleased to communicate to me, confirming the constancy of your Serenity's good friendship with the Emperor and his son, and offered myself to him during his stay at this court, both in the Signory's name and my own.
Rome, 12th November 1555.
Nov. 13. Original Letter Book, penes me, pp. 56, 58. 279. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
I went to-day, by invitation, to dine with Cardinal Caraffa, and after the repast, having withdrawn into his chamber, he said to me, “You must have seen here the Emperor's ambassador. He came to offer me a pension of 4,000 ducats in Spain, and when I asked him for what purpose he made me this offer, he said that I might serve the Emperor and the King of England in their need. I answered somewhat angrily, Serve! I serve! The whole of Spain, and the whole of England, are not sufficient to purchase my freedom. Should the Emperor and the King demand things that are fitting, I, even were I a Frenchman, and not an Italian, as I am, will favour them, although I have small cause to do so, for after having served the Emperor during 17 years, and well, as seen by his own testimony in writing, I have been ill recompensed; nor do I desire either gifts or favours from them, but solely justice with regard to my priory in the kingdom of Naples; and should it be said that the vassal is never entitled to complain of the prince, I tell you that whenever the prince does not act by his vassal as becoming, the vassal may resent it, and it is fitting he should do so, and of this I would that the most illustrious Signory of Venice were the judge.” He said the Emperor's ambassador replied that this was not the moment for entering on these disputes, and that he wished to hear from him what answer he was to give his princes about the proposed pension of 4,000 crowns, and the Cardinal rejoined, “You have heard me; I think I speak plain. What would you have me do with a pension in Spain, of which you could deprive me at your pleasure and convenience. Is not this evident in the case of Cardinal Farnese at Monreale” (in Sicily) “and in many others.” Cardinal Caraffa also added, “The aforesaid ambassador, moreover, gave me at length to understand that if I would aid the reinstatement of Mare' Antonio Colonna, and the nullification of the securities given by the other Imperialists, they would endeavour to find 4,000 crowns pension for me in Italy;” to which he replied that least of all could they expect this from him, as least of all could he hope to obtain it from the Pope, saying to him, “Were the Pope to ask the Emperor to restore the estate of the Prince of Salerno, (fn. 10) and of many other outlaws, what would the Emperor do, what advice would you give him?” The ambassador replied that the cases were very different, and having repeated that he knew not what decision to write to his princes, Cardinal Caraffa dismissed him, saying that he had spoken plainly.
Whilst the Cardinal was transacting this business in the antechamber with the Imperial ambassador, I was in the chamber with the French ambassador, who, like myself, had been invited to dine with his right reverend Lordship, and the audience being ended he then joined us.
Rome, 13th November 1555.


  • 1. The security given by the Cardinal Camerlengo amounted to 300,000 crowns. (See Cardella, vol. iv. p. 142.)
  • 2. See before, entry No. 89, date May 21, 1555.
  • 3. No letter of this date exists in the Marcian MS., but on the 26th September Pole wrote to Caraffa and alluded to the proposed meeting of Parliament at the end of October.
  • 4. This is at variance with the Commons Journals quoted by Froude, vol. 6, pp. 396–7.
  • 5. Manuscript corroded.
  • 6. La bolla dichiaratione (sic) in tal proposito.
  • 7. The Letter Book in the Archives, dates this despatch 9th November.
  • 8. E che pregava Iddio che facesse apiir la terra et ingiottirlo, se quanto li dicea non era vero.
  • 9. Ho anco parlato co 'I Papa d'un altro negozio del qual non volsi in questo proposito parlare.
  • 10. Ferdinando Sanseverino. (See Foreiga Calendar, “Mary,” Index.)