Venice: November 1555, 16-30

Pages 250-267

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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November 1555, 16–30

Nov. 16. Original Letter Book, penes me, p. 59. 280. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
On the day before yesterday Don Garcilasso de Vega came to return my visit, and said that although he was to go on the morrow to state the rest of his commission to the Pope, he nevertheless did not expect to obtain any of his demands, as, to say the truth, he by many signs comprehended that his Holiness and those about him (li suoi) are not well disposed towards the Emperor and his servants, and that the poor old man (il povero vechio) made a mistake in holding so powerful a prince, and one so able to injure him greatly, in such small account; again repeating what I wrote in my former letters, that this office performed by the Emperor and the King of England, through his medium, would serve the world as testimony of what might ensue. Then yesterday, as told me by the Pope, he left with him a writing (as by the enclosed copy), (fn. 1) expressing himself very mildly, to which things his Holiness took time to reply, having listened to them without any anger.
The Lady Giovanna [of Aragon] is, I understand, in despair about her affairs, though she has attempted all ways and means, both through the Pope's sister and all the other ladies his nieces and female kinsfolk.
Rome, 16th November 1555.
Nov. 16. Original Letter Book, penes me, 2nd letter. 281. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
To-day, after the first mutual compliments, the Pope said to me, “The statement made to us lately by Garcilasso (but with all gentleness), and which he left in writing, consists in a demand for the reinstatement of Marc' Antonio Colonna, and many other things. Although we took time to reply to it, we tell you that it does not seem to us opportune to do anything farther at present, and shall determine to refuse him, we also speaking blandly, for our wish would indeed be that these two princes, so powerful and such bitter enemies, should lay aside their animosities, which we shall endeavour to bring about; and we will proclaim to the world the one whom we shall know to be the defaulter in this matter.”
Rome, 16th November 1555.
Nov. 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 282. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
None of the proposals made in Parliament have as yet been decided, either with regard to compelling the absentees to return, or about confirming the cession made by the Queen of the church property, both matters (it is said) having been sharply debated, many members opposing the recall of the absentees, as no one ought to be deprived of his liberty to go and reside wherever he pleased and to his advantage, with the Queen's permission, which it was by no means fair to impede or cancel in the case of those who had already obtained it; but that if in future her Majesty chose not to concede it, in order to prevent any one from living abroad, it was in her power to do so. Touching the second proposal, about the cession, by no means would they give their assent to the alienation of anything, however insignificant, which had once been incorporated with and annexed to the Crown, to the prejudice of its heirs, for the advantage solely of an alien and foreigner (meaning the Pope), although the Queen, they say, during her lifetime may do what she pleases with the revenues of the realm, dispensing them in her own fashion; but as to alien-ating them with their consent, they would not open this door, lest in the event of the succession of a new king they incur disgrace, and perhaps punishment. In this they still persist, these contradictions proceeding, as told me by a person well acquainted with the present tactics (questi prociederi), from the fact that the present House of Commons, whether by accident or from design, a thing not seen for many years in any Parliament, is quite full of gentry and nobility (for the most part suspected in the matter of religion), and therefore more daring and licentious than former houses, which consisted of burgesses and plebeians, by nature timid and respectful, who casily inclined towards the will of the sovereign, and yielded to it, whereas in the present house the opportunity for audacious licentiousness increases daily, by so much the more as the death of the Chancellor, who was feared and extraordinarily respected by every one, may be said to guarantee the opposition, they being of opinion that there is no longer anybody who knows how to display his authority in such a way as exercised by Gardiner, who from his especial knowledge, not only of public business, but also of all persons of any account in England, knew very well the moment and the means for humouring and caressing, as also, on the other hand, for threatening and punishing, so as to curb and repress audacity and ill-will, whenever necessary. In order, therefore, for the future to prevent admission into the Lower House of so many noblemen, from whom this licentiousness is supposed to proceed, a proposal was made lately, with a view to restoring things to the ancient method and usage, that henceforth none should be elected members of Parliament save such as were natives of and actually resident in the counties, boroughs, and towns represented by them, which proposal seems to have been rejected, because to return entirely to the ancient order of things, the opposition insisted on simultaneously prohibiting the election of any stipendiary, pensioner, or official, or of any person deriving profit in any other way from the King and the royal Council, and being dependent on them; so that all the members elected, being devoid of any apprehension for their private interests, may more freely advocate those of the community. This last clause being thus excluded, owing to the detriment which would accrue to the Crown, through the ineligibility of its ministers and dependents, the other likewise was (I understand) thrown out, so that at present there is much procrastination and indecision about matters which are more private than public, the government either not choosing or not daring to make more important motions, from fear of their being negatived by these members of the Lower House.
Has nothing to tell the Doge about parliamentary affairs, and can only add that the Queen finds the loss of the Chancellor more and more serious and important daily, not knowing on what person, well suited to the post, she can bestow it, the candidates limiting themselves to three individuals, either the Bishop of Ely [Thomas Thirlby], or the Archbishop of York [Nicholas Heath], or Dr. Wotton [Nicholas Wotton], now ambassador in France, each of whom present imperfections and impediments (tutti con delle imperfetione e delli rispetti). Should it not be possible to have a layman, the greater part of the nobility, for the welfare of the kingdom, would wish the post to be conferred on Cardinal Pole; and many are of opinion that it may at length rest with his right reverend Lordship, at the earnest request of their Majesties, owing to the need they have for placing in that office, above all, a person of integrity and sincere; and although it is a most laborious one, and therefore shunned by the Cardinal, nevertheless, with the assistance of numerous officials, as is understood to have been the case hitherto with former chancellors, he would be much relieved, and as the Court of Chancery is said to have much need of adjustment, by no one could it be better regulated than by his right reverend Lordship.
The Lord Chancellor died on the morning of the 12th, of dropsy, as seen by outward and inward signs, the body having been opened to clear up the suspicion of those who attributed his death to poison. He made a very Christian and Catholic end, and, according to his orders, the body was carried to the church of his bishopric, to which he bequeathed the third part of his silver vessels, besides 4,000 ducats ready money, which he had given to the see shortly before his death. The first report about his bequest of the 20,000l. sterling was not verified, he, on the contrary, having distributed all his property amongst his servants, evincing great love and gratitude towards them.
London, 18th November 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Nov. 19. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 283. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
The attendants of King Philip say he will return to England shortly after the Emperor's departure, and that he has desired the steward (maggiordomo), whom he left with the Queen, not any longer to allow any of the rest of his retinue to come hither; but I have nevertheless heard that this report is circulated rather for the purpose of gratifying the earnest desire of his consort, who by frequent letters earnestly prays and exhorts his Majesty, for the common weal, to go thither, than because the King, or any of his chief ministers, desire it; they remembering how much mental anxiety and danger of their lives were incurred by them amongst those people (tra quelle genti), and what vast expense his Majesty and themselves were compelled to sustain. But from what I am assured by a person of quality, the Emperor is of opinion that the King should go to England for a few weeks, not only to comply with the Queen's wish, as it may effect the object announced by her, of obtaining money, and rule (amministratione) in the kingdom, and perhaps his coronation, and consequently enable him to induce the country (quelle genti) to make war on France, but that they may know his Majesty to have that power which many persons disbelieve, and in addition to this the Queen's pregnancy might also ensue. The same personage told me besides that should the King determine on going, it will be this winter, both because it has been remarked that those people (fn. 2) are not accustomed to turn out in cold weather for the purpose of making any riot, as also because in the summer the King was compelled to be in these provinces, where the French might be able to do much mischief were the Emperor and his Majesty both absent.
Brussels, 19th November 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Nov. 20. Filza No. 134, Miscellanea di Atti diversi, Manoscritti, Venetian Archives. 284. Sir Philip Hoby (fn. 3) to Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devonshire.
My Lord Ambassador [Sir John Masone] and I purposed to have come and seen your Lordship at Lovaine, but that the weather would not suffer, and I, hoping to have spoken with your Lordship here at Antwerp, repaired thither the sooner. Asks him to call before him “a scholar and countryman of mine named young Sheldon, encourage him in his studies, and show him some kind of courtesy, for that his father, being a very dear friend of mine, may hear from his son's report that my commendation of him to your Lordship may stand him in some stead.”
I hope if your Lordship make your abode any time there [at Lovaine], or if you mind not to come hither, I would come and visit your Lordship before your departing. I dare not write unto your Lordship that my Lord Chancellor is dead, for that you would take it very heavily; and thus, wishing your Lordship much increase of honour, and the safety of your person,—and as for your Lordship's religion I will not meddle therewith,—I bid you farewell.
Antwerp, 20th November 1555.
Your Lordship's ever to command,
(Signed) Philip Hoby.
[Addressed:]—“To the Right Honourable and my very good Lord Earl of Devonshire, at Lovaine.”
[Endorsed by Courtenay's secretary:] Sir Philipp Hobie, the 20th of November 1555, from Antwerp to Lovaine.
[Original. Signature alone autograph.]
Nov. 21. Filza No. 134. Miscellanea di Atti diversi, Manoscritti, Venetian Archives. 285. Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devonshire, to Sir Philip Hoby.
Thanks for his letter sent by this bearer. Is grateful for his and the ambassador's goodwill, and that for his (Courtenay's) sake only they had been disposed to travel to Lovaine. Reciprocates the wish to see Hoby “before I depart, as you (by your more speed to Antwerp) show to have a hope to have spoken with me. The lets shall be very great, and my business very extreme, but we will have both our desires satisfied, (fn. 4) for I have also somewhat to do with Mr. G. bis; (fn. 5) but keep it very secret, for if I perform it (as I would you should not too assuredly look for it) I will so steal on you as no unnecessary man shall be privy thereunto, neither going, coming, nor remaining there. Promises to look after young Sheldon, whom he has not yet seen. (fn. 6)
“I assure you I am very sorry for my Lord Chancellor's death, whose life and friendship to me hath been so commodious and assured. But since (sithens) there is no remedy to recover the loss, I will, with the rest of his unfeigned friends, with patience be content, and pray for his soul. And touching my religion, I pray God yours be, or at the leastwise may be, such as mine, for your good conformity, wherein you have, of him, lost a good schoolmaster. But since (syns) I doubt not you shall find such, whose hot and burning charity will help to instruct you, I repose myself in that behalf well satisfied, touching (sic) in haste, as you may see.
This 21st of November 1555.
“Your assured friend,
E. Devonshire.”
[Endorsed apparently by Courtenay himself:] “To Sir Philipp Hobbie, knight, the 20th (sic) Novr, from Lovain.”
[Original draft.]
Nov. 22 Filza No. 134. Miscellanea di Atti diversi, Manoscritti, Venetian Archives. 286. James Basset to Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devonshire.
Received two letters from him, one by Prune, your servant, the other by my Lord Hastings; and forasmuch as I perceive your Lordship cannot obtain license to repair hither, as your friends were in very good hope you should, which, besides the comfort to your friends of seeing you, would have been an exceeding great furtherance to your affairs, for it is impossible for us to do to your contentation, inasmuch as you being absent cannot perceive so well our reasons that guide us. Nevertheless, as Courtenay now may not come, writes to him, not being able to do so sooner, the cause being that my especial good Lord, and your very friend, my Lord Chancellor that was (whose soul Jesu pardon, as I doubt not he hath), at that time when I received your letter by my Lord Hastings, whereby I perceived you could not come hither, lay then in extremis, and what with watching with him, what with extreme grief and sorrow (and as I had most cause), so that in manner I could think upon nothing else, but spent day and night altogether with him, until he died; and after that, being one of those whom he put in trust, as I was, with my Lord Montague (Muntague), whom I should first have named [Anthony Browne], my Lord of Ely [Thomas Thirlby], my Lord of Lincoln [John Whyte], Mr. Comptroller, Mr. Inglefield, Mr. Hardynge his chaplain, and Thwayts (Twhaytes) his comptroller, who be his executors; not knowing also of the going of your servant, whom Prune sent to you in post; this was the occasion why I wrote no sooner.
“Yet we slacked no time after we knew you could not come, and consulted at once how to accomplish your orders for Gresham without hazard of extreme and importable loss to you, whereunto we would by no means assent, for assuring 100l. lands to Gresham. Basset says the conditions are so onerous that Courtenay's trustees will not consent to them; for besides all losses of exchange, which we know you should bear, you should at least pay eleven or twelve in the hundreth, a charge intolerable.” (fn. 7)
Explains to him how the measures he (Courtenay) proposes for raising money are so ruinous, that he (Basset) and Courtenay's other trustees cannot be parties to them, and advise him to practise with Mr. Buonvisi, that it might please him, upon our credit and bonds, to give your Lordship credit in Italy for 6,000 ducats, which upon sight of your Lordship's bills should be repaid immediately by us here. As for interest, we suppose they will take none, so as your Lordship shall be at no loss but the damage and aventure of the exchange, which cannot be avoided, with whom sooner you had meddled with (fn. 8) . . . . and although you should have paid interest for the same, we wish your Lordship should have to do with him before any other, because we know him to be so just a man in all his reckonings, and so friendly and faithful, as the like is not to be found. Suggests how Courtenay should indemnify his trustees by acknowledgment of sale of 100l. land to us for the sum of 2,000l.; “not because we intend to have the land, or any commodity by the same, but your Lordship being furnished upon our credits of money there, if you receive more than the ordinary of your lands and casualties is able to answer; that then, for the repayment of Mr. Bonvise, we shall sell as much as shall be able to satisfy the same and no more; and so from time to time, as occasion and necessity doth require, and not otherwise; and this, in our opinion, is the best way, not only for the saving of your land, but for your honour and profit also. Advises him to be a good husband of the 6,000 ducats.”
We deliver now 1,000l. English to make over, because you may keep day with Mr. Gresham and Mr. Bonvise, and in any wise upon the payment of Gresham's money there.
Propose satisfying his creditors in England as far as can be; and rather than the poor men, which hath borne so long, and have so great need, should be any more deferred, Mr. Comptroller and I had rather leave our quarter longer, until more money come in. We have, upon good and pitiful (piteful) consideration, despatched your debt to Blunt, and have saved you some money therein.
For the rest, asks him to give bearer credence; craves his indulgence for this letter written in such haste, and so in the midst of other occupations, that he doubts whether it properly expresses his meaning.
Wishes him a fortunate and prosperous journey, and such a reborn (sic) from Rome as your own good heart doth wish.
St. James's, 22nd November 1555.
[Original holograph.]
[Addressed:]—“To the Right Honorable and my especial good Lord of Devonshire.”
[Endorsed by Courtenay's secretary:] “Mr. James Basset, the 22nd of November 1555, from London. England to Sentrone.” (fn. 9)
Nov. 23 (?). MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. No date of time. Printed in vol. 5, pp. 53, 54, “Epistolarum Reginaldi Poli,” &c. Date London. 287. Cardinal Pole to King Philip.
The Privy Councillors (selecti consiliarii) will have acquainted the King with whatever seemed necessary to them.
Thinks fit to write to him about the Queen's health, which, although not so strong as could be wished, is such that not only does her Majesty not abstain from transacting business, especially since the death of the Chancellor; but the other day (superioribus diebus), when the renunciation of the church property (fn. 10) was to be approved by Parliament, her Majesty, understanding that there was a difficulty about the matter, as without the votes of the owners of this sort of property, of whom (as the King knows) there is a great number in Parliament, the bill could not pass, she sent for several members of either house, and addressed them so gravely and piously, that the act of renunciation (libellus dismissionis) having been read three days in the Lords, at length on the third they passed it, with only one or two non-contents; and it is hoped that the like will be done in the Lower House, in which the bill is to be again read this day.
The Councillors will have written to the King how dangerous it is at this season of the year for the fleet to remain any longer on its present station, but Pole foresees yet greater danger for justice and religion in England should the chancellorship be allowed any longer to remain vacant; as it would be no less detrimental to their Majesties' kingdom than if, on shipboard themselves and their pilot overboard, they were to delay the appointment of another helms man. The King very well knows to what a variety of storms England is subject; and since the death of the Chancellor, or from the time when his malady increased, they have had experience of the increasing audacity of all reprobates, and the bent of men of this sort and their opinions (consilia) are sufficiently indicated by that notorious libel privily published by them here of late (libellus famosus is qui nuper hic clam est emissus, satis indicat); (fn. 11) but, as the proverb says, there are those qui in cœlum os audent inferre, Pole is not at all surprised at their daring to speak against the King and Queen. The impiety of such people ought to incite good men to be on the watch rather than to take fright, most especially this being the moment, e somno surgere, as the Chancellor told the King in the speech delivered to him last year. (fn. 12) Unless a mandate be sent for some one to effect this, by inciting the others, an office better suited to the Chancellor than to any one else, they can promise themselves nothing certain from any other source, for whilst the Chancellor sleeps they see that good men also sleep, whilst bad men are vigilant (bonos videmus simul dormire, malos autem excitari).
Has already said too much, knowing the King to be most prudent and watchful.
London, 23rd November 1555 (?).
[Latin, 41 lines.]
Nov. 24. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 288. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
The Queen of England refers to his Majesty the appointment of the Lord Chancellor, but naming the Bishop of Ely [Thomas Thirlby] as the person most worthy of that charge, though the King wished her to have also mentioned Lord Paget, in whom he has great trust, as demonstrated by the attendants of his Majesty, here of whom Lord Arundel's son took leave yesterday to return to England, being presented by the King with a chain worth 600 crowns.
Sir Philip Hoby, an English gentleman in much esteem, having come lately from Padua, went to kiss the King's hand, apologizing for his absence on the plea of indisposition; and in the course of a long and gracious conversation held with him by his Majesty, he remarked that the King said he might firmly rely on his favour, Hoby having supposed that the King hated him, for the profession he made of being at heart exclusively English (di esser solo d'animo Inglese).
His Majesty has been answered by the Queen, that for his gratification she will pardon Sir Peter Carew; and his wife, who is here, sent him the news to Strasburg that he might come to thank the King, who confers any favour he can on any Englishman, however ill-disposed he may be (per contumace che sia), with a view to obtaining their services in the affairs of that kingdon.
When Queen Maria assumed the regency of these provinces, an order prevailed in the privy council, which the King has determined to revive thus, that twelve councillors are to have seats there, namely, six gownmen and six soldiers (sei di robba lunga et sei di corta); and he has also decreed that all the governors of these provinces and states be admitted into it [permanently] and not merely in time of war, as of yore; (fn. 13) the council residing always with the Duke of Savoy as the King's lieutenant and captain-general; and it is said that his Majesty will shortly appoint a military board (un consiglio da guerra), its members to be almost all Spanish cavaliers.
The Bishop of Arras complains of being included in this election, saying that although he promised the Emperor to serve the King in any matters requiring his assistance, he nevertheless did not intend to be expressly bound to this especial charge; and that he hopes for permission from their Majesties, to use his own words, to be a supernumerary servant.
Don Ruy Gomez says publicly that he wishes the King to appoint a number of councillors and of great experience, confessing that he has not sufficient abilities (forze bastanti) to bear alone, as others have done, this great business machine, (fn. 14) and that he would be content were the King to grant him the grace to suggest to his Majesty the rewards he should bestow on those who do him good service.
It is reported that after the departure from Brussels of Queen Maria, some officials of these provinces reminded King Philip, and subsequently told the recently-elected councillors, that for his Majesty's advantage it would be well to demand account from the Queen of her administration of the moneys exacted by her from these provinces since she assumed their government, and much disrespectful language is uttered about her. Yesterday the King went to visit her at “Laura,” and during more than a quarter of an hour they walked together, and she was evidently in a great rage (et fu veduta lei tutta piena di sdegno). Besides the presents made by the Queens [Eleanor and Maria] to their maids of honour, they are said to have given three years' salary in ready money to their gentlemen, who complain most bitterly, saying they had hoped to receive such pensions for life, as became their services and their Majesties' dignity.
The King of England has had his habit of the Fleece prepared (il Re d'Inghilterra si ha fatto tagliar l'habito del Tosone), that he may go, as written by me, to Antwerp, to hold the chapter of the Order; and it is said that besides creating the twelve knights, he will give the title of marquis to certain counts, and confer this last title on several gentlemen.
His Majesty has written several times to the Queen to be pleased to exert herself to make a truce, if unable to effect the peace; as between him and France it might, for several reasons, be now made more easily than between his most Christian Majesty and the Emperor.
Brussels, 24th November 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Nov. 25. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 289. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Queen, anticipating the opinion of Parliament, it having been licentiously said by many members in both Houses that they would not confirm the cession of the church property made by her Majesty, for the reasons already assigned, and apprehensive lest the hardened depravity and malignity of certain persons might endanger the passing of the bill, her Majesty, before having it put to writing as usual, in order to mitigate and conciliate public opinion, and utterly to dissipate the daring of the licentious opposition, determined to use her personal authority in the form adopted by former sovereigns when apprehensive of any of their proposals encountering any repulse or contradiction. She sent for 60 members of the Lower House, besides a great part of the lords and barons, to come to the palace [of St. James's?] where she resides, and with her usual gravity and dignity (gravità et grandezza), made them a very appropriate speech, saying they might well know that for no other purpose had she been predestined and preserved by the Almighty for the succession of the kingdom, save that He might make use of her as an instrument for the reintroduction of the Catholic faith; as at all times, and in every condition of her life, by the aid and grace of his Divine Majesty, the more she found herself excluded and remote from the said succession, and the more she was persecuted for religion's sake, the more did she maintain herself in it, wholly (integra) and immaculate. This reintroduction, with God's assistance and the consent of Parliament, having been auspiciously effected, she considered the fruit obtained in this matter, and the progress hitherto made, utterly vain and useless, unless, with the assistance of Parliament, her conscience were entirely disburdened from two things which beyond measure oppressed it; the one being her wish to divest herself of the tenths and first fruits, unjustly appropriated to himself, together with the ecclesiastical supremacy, by the King her father; the act being cancelled by Parliament (riprobata da loro) as unbecoming, and not admitted by any Christian sovereign; the other touching the re-establishment of cures of souls (chiese curate) dependent on abbacies and monasteries, called in England “rectories,” which were completely despoiled of their fruits and revenues, they being impropriated by the King to his own use, to the hindrance and diminution of the service and worship of God, (fn. 15) the said rectories not having been of late, nor are they at present, officiated otherwise than carelessly (debilmente) by mercenary vicars, from whom the people could not derive any edification or good example; whereas, were the rectories replaced on their ancient and original footing, the greater the number, and the better the life led by the rectors, the greater and more frequent would the divine service be; and the greater the works and the better the examples, the more would the people be induced to attend divine worship, and be instructed and confirmed in more Catholic and Christian doctrine; her Majesty adding, very energetically, that those who hitherto had evinced so much love for her personally, ought to display yet greater love for her soul, the respect due to the latter being much greater, as the more important of the two; so now should they fail evincing towards her soul the love shown by them for her person, it would convince her Majesty that they in like manner never had loved her person, nor did they love it now. She also added that, as it did not become her sex to use many words, her cousin, Cardinal Pole, to whom she referred them, would tell them more fully her mind and intention.
On the close of her Majesty's discourse, one of the members of the Lower House wished to answer her, having come forward with a grand introduction; but nevertheless before he arrived at any statement, his own colleagues reproached him with presumption, and made him hold his tongue, as it does not become any of the Commons to perform such an office in the presence and sight of the sovereign, save through the mouth of their Speaker; so Cardinal Pole, resuming the Queen's words, enlarged upon every point marvellously, showing moreover that by the cession of the tenths and first fruits the crown did not incur any loss, as it thus freed itself from all the life annuities (amounting, as stated by him in public, to upwards of 25,000l.), payable to a number of persons who, at the time of the destruction of the churches, were made to quit the monasteries and their habit; in addition to what was given to many priests, who at the time of the change of the religion, not choosing to renounce the rites of the primitive church, were allowed to retire as laymen into private life; the payment of which annuities is now divided amongst those to whom the tenths and first fruits are assigned, namely the bishops and the clergy, who are still occupying themselves with this matter in Convocation (li quali a questo tuttavia nelle loro congregationi attendono). And as to the re-establishment of the rectories (restitutione delle rettorie), he showed, by reason of their quantity and quality, they exceeding 800 in number, what great advantage would accrue to the people and to the members of Parliament, as all this church property and revenue would be distributed amongst their sons, brothers, nephews, and relations without paying either tenths, as paid in ordinary every year according to a decree of King Henry, or first fruits, for which they were answerable to the King, in like manner as annats are rendered to the Pope; again assuring them, and removing the suspicion of any one's being ever molested and troubled on account of the church property held by them as private individuals. They all gave signs of being very well satisfied with this explanation (officio), but as the bill has only passed the first reading, the result obtained cannot yet be seen. This confirmation is earnestly sought by Cardinal Pole in order that he may safely dispose of these revenues and property, without any danger lest the persons to whom they are given be molested or deprived of them on the Queen's death. (Fecero tutti segno di restar per questo officio molto bene cdificati ét satisfatti, ma non essendosi per anchora fatta la propositione in scrittura, se non la prima volta, (che secondo l'uso et ordine del Parlamento si suol far tre,) non si può veder il frutto et l'effetto che avera fatto. E procurata con instantia, come ho scritto anchora, questa confirmation dall' Illustrissimo Legato per poter sicuramente disponer di queste entrate, et beni ceduti, senza pericolo che doppo la morte della Regina, quelli a chi saranno dati non ne siano molestati nè privati.)
Understands that Cardinal Pole has been informed on behalf of the Pope that his Holiness, having heard of the charge given him by their Majesties to take part in the organization (trattatione) and government of this kingdom, as one of the chief councillors, determined to ponder and take into consideration how far and in what matters he might take part, because, being Legate, and thus representing the person of his Holiness, it does not seem fit to the Pope that he should interest himself so much in the service of these sovereigns as to prevent the exercise of his legantine office, and that he was not to renounce his present state of dependence as a member of the Sacred College and a papal minister, nor depart from his Holiness' pleasure, according to daily accidents and occurrences, concerning which the Pope would give him instructions in another despatch.
Cardinal Pole does not, however, cease urging the peace, and advancing and keeping the negotiation alive, as much as he can, whenever the opportunity occurs, having already obtained from the Queen what she denied him lately, that he may again use her name and authority with the French. They are endeavouring again to set on foot the exchange of prisoners, to arrange which the Emperor has permitted his son to commence treating. The delay in receiving a reply from Brussels after the office performed by the President (sic) [Lieutenant?] d'Amont, concerning the last proposals, approved by the French negotiators, and transmitted subsequently to the Bishop of Arras for the Emperor and King Philip's approval, to enable the negotiators to proceed farther, proceeds solely from the Emperor's wish not to have the treaty entered upon before his departure, it not seeming to him for his dignity to go away leaving it imperfect; and whether it comes to any good end or not, he chooses to leave the entire management of it in the hands of his son, without letting it appear that he has any share in it. This is the cause of the negotiations being delayed, although Cardinal Pole does not cease hastening the matter as much as he can daily, as he hears that the Pope will no longer go to war, as was feared. The Constable also continues writing from France to assure his right reverend Lordship that King Henry will not depart from the conditions and proposals made lately, which are those sent to Brussels, whatever prosperity may befall him on King Philip's coming (segua qual si voglia prospero successo alle cose sue, alla venuta di questo Re).
His Majesty's return, as confirmed by his letters to the Queen brought on the day before yesterday by her messenger, Mr. Kempe (mastro Chem suo cameriere,) (fn. 16) besides what he reported by word of mouth, will take place, at the latest, at the Epiphany, although others, and especially the Spaniards, one or other of whom depart daily, deny this. On the King's return the negotiations for peace will revive, owing to the departure of the Emperor, on which his Imperial Majesty insists, and as indicated by the ships fitted out in the Thames (preparate qui), which have all dropped down to the sea, that they may sail in the course of next month (per tutto il prossimo), it being hoped that by the reply to the despatch taken to Spain by Francesco the Piedmontese, they will hear for certain whether the Spanish fleet is to be expected thence or not, as, if ready to sail, it ought by that time to have arrived (la quale se è in termine di venire, doverà à quel tempo essere capitata); if not, the voyage will be made with the fleet in Flanders, and with the one now fitting out in England.
To the persons to whom popular prediction and report assign the post of Chancellor, Lord Paget has been added, and either for this reason, or because of other public business, on the dissolution of Parliament, which is expected to take place this week, he will proceed to Flanders to King Philip, from whom, and from the Emperor, all the favour shown him proceeds, nor does he fail to seek it by all means, and with all his might.
London, 25th November 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Nov. 25. Original Letter Book, penes me. 290. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
To-day, at audience of the Pope, he said to me, “You will have seen here the Imperial ambassador and Don Garcilasso de la Vega. They came to demand a reply to what they left me in writing, and, to say the truth, they spoke modestly, asking for what they required as a favour, and in testimony of our goodwill towards their princes. We on our part likewise answered them in such a way that, without granting anything, yet did we not drive them to despair, showing that with regard to the reinstatement of Marc' Antonio Colonna, they ought not to be gratified, as the injury done us is too recent, and that a man who has held his father in such small esteem does not deserve any sort of favour, and least of all from a Pontiff, the Vicar of God, whose commandment it is, above all things, to honour father and mother; and that the Signor Ascanius ought to be released and brought hither to us for punishment, should he have done what he ought not to have done; and if the Emperor keeps him at Naples for his private offences and injuries, yet more does it become us not to reinstate one who has offended us, and is of the nature of Marc' Antonio. In short, Magnifico Ambassador, we refused them, saying that in some greater and more important matter we will display our will towards the Emperor and the King, and that perhaps even in these we might at some other time gratify them, as duodecim sunt horœ diei, which reply having apparently taken in very good part, they went away. We chose to speak thus, in order not utterly to exasperate them, and we shall go adapting ourself from day to day, and will always give you notice of what may occur,” for which I thanked his Holiness.
Rome, 25th November 1555.
Nov. 26 ? MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. No date. Printed in vol. v. “Epistolarum Reginaldi Poli,” &c., without any date. 291. Cardinal Pole to King Philip.
Received the King's letters of the 22nd November yesterday, expressing deep regret for the death of the Chancellor, (fn. 17) and requiring Pole to let him know immediately the person he deemed sufficient to take his place, as the post could not remain vacant longer without great detriment to religion and [the administration of] justice, as they have indeed seen by the experience of these few days, in conformity with his last letters to the King. Would that he could indicate the person sufficient for this office with as much certainty as they know the qualities needed in these present times by its occupant, for (as written by him already, and as he now repeats) he must be a person firm in religion, fearing God more than man, a lover of justice, and, in short, one who by his ministry may reflect the virtues of his sovereigns, like a member aptly responding to its head. Although he sees many persons of whom he has a good opinion, he dares not in a matter of such importance name any one, not having equally well investigated their lives and morality. This he said to the Queen, whose own knowledge of present and past times had given her great opportunity for testing the fidelity and constancy of human nature; a remark applicable also to the King, who having now had experience of the English character for a year (quœ annum jam nostrorum mores experta), will, from his intelligence, be better able perhaps to decide this matter than others who have been much longer habituated to the country.
If able to hear anything more positive on this subject, will impart it to the King, though whatever he could learn has been communicated by him to the Queen, with whom, when talking, he fancies himself speaking to the King, whom he will not weary with farther discourse.
London, 26th November 1555?
[Latin, 26 lines.]
Nov. 27. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 292. Cardinal Pole to the Archbishop of Conza [Girolamo Muzzarelli], Nuncio at Brussels.
He lately received his two letters of the 10th and 12th, together with the epistle [to Cranmer] which Pole sent him, and yesterday his letter of the 14th arrived, with the good news from Rome, which must comfort Conza by so much the more as his good offices with both parties have greatly contributed to avert so much mischief. Congratulates him on every account, and assures him that his favour with Queen Mary is thus increased, she being greatly comforted by the intelligence. Pole shares Conza's hope that the journey to Rome of the Cardinals Tournon and Lorraine will give the Pope an opportunity for bringing the negotiation for peace to some good end, to which effect Pole thought fit to write lately to his Holiness, keeping the negotiation alive also by writing to the Nuncio in France, and also to the Constable; and by the Nuncio's last, received to-day, is informed that the French ministers are dissatisfied because at the congress he did not insist more on some agreement whereby to suppress the burnings and obtain an exchange of prisoners, about which Pole wishes Conza to speak to the King, being certain that his compassionate nature will make him readily accede to both these demands, and this may possibly lead to a farther advance of the peace. Will await Conza's reply, to write to France, where the Nuncio says that his Majesty is in great repute universally for goodness and piety. With regard to the individual whom Lord Courtenay has taken with him, Pole, without naming Conza, recommended the persons whose business it is to have greater care of him, that they should endeavour to rid him of this bad company, and Pole considers this good office worthy of Conza's piety. It remains for Pole to thank Conza for the trouble taken in carefully perusing his epistle to Cranmer, warning Pole of what occurred to him, and in like manner as in his suggestions he recognises the archbishop's doctrine (dottrina) and good judgment, so in the praises bestowed, Pole recognises Muzzarelli's love and affection for him.
London, 27th November 1555.
Nov. 27. Original Despatches, Venetian Archives. 293. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Queen Eleanor, the Emperor's sister, has asked the most Christian King for a passport for herself and her court to traverse France on her way to Spain. According to report it will be conceded her.
The Queen of England has earnestly asked his most Christian Majesty to give one of her couriers a passport for Portugal, and at length obtained it, but the packet of letters is to be marked (segnato), and an order has been given at the frontiers not to permit the courier to take anything but her Majesty's packet thus signed.
The Admiral has commenced negotiating the release of the prisoners in virtue of the order given him by his Majesty.
When thanking the Constable for a passport obtained for certain Spanish noblemen, at Cardinal Pole's request, his right reverend Lordship said that hope may be entertained of concluding peace between their Majesties of France and England, both by reason of the nature of King Philip, who, he says, is very desirous of peace and quiet, as also on account of the instructions (li ricordi) which the Emperor his father will leave him at the moment of his passage, for as his Imperial Majesty shows himself intent on leading a contemplative existence, it cannot but be supposed that the counsel given by him to his son will prove for the common weal of Christendom. Cardinal Pole said besides that the reason why nothing has been said of late about the peace was solely because King Philip did not deem it becoming of himself (da se stesso) to discuss so important a matter in the presence of his father the Emperor; but the Cardinal writes that on the departure of his Imperial Majesty it is well nigh certain that King Philip will immediately enter on this business with such conditions that, should his most Christian Majesty continue as well disposed as he has shown himself hitherto, some good settlement will assuredly ensue. These letters were brought to the Constable by a third person, and by another letter written to a person at the French court by one of Cardinal Pole's chief confidants (and who has always had a hand in these negotiations on that account), it appears that his right reverend Lordship showed the aforesaid letter written by him to the Constable to the Queen alone, and then informed the lords of the Council of England that he had merely written in general terms to show his most Christian Majesty that the affair of the peace had not been utterly abandoned. The letter seemed to give great satisfaction to the Constable, who answered it at great length and sent it for transmission to his (Soranzo's) above-mentioned friend, addressing him in such language as clearly to show that his most Christian Majesty's wish to embrace some becoming form of agreement is by no means changed.
Owing to the small hope of the Bishop of Winchester's recovery, certain persons advised the Queen to give the post of Chancellor to Cardinal Pole, representing to his right reverend Lordship that he might so provide for the business of that charge that what little remained for his own performance would not cause him much inconvenience; but the Cardinal showed himself averse, choosing to attend solely to the spiritual matters intrusted to him (alle cose sacre pertinenti a lei), and not embarrass himself with other service, being a cardinal and member of the Holy Roman Church.
Paris, 27th November 1555.
Nov. 30. Original Letter Book, penes me p. 72. 294. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador from the Duke of Urbino (fn. 18) tells me he is ordered by his Excellency to let me know that having requested his dismissal from the Pope for certain reasons (to be communicated to me subsequently), it was granted him, of which the Duke is glad, being thus enabled more freely to serve your Serenity when it shall please you; and that the Imperial ambassador having heard I know not what about this, spoke to the ambassador from Urbino about it, offering the Duke liberal terms (larghi partiti) if he would enter the service of the King of England; but the ambassador not choosing to confirm to Marquis Sarria that the leave had been given, answered him vaguely; and when I inquired who would be the Pope's captain general, he replied, “the Count of Montorio.”
Don Garcilasso is still here in Rome, and tells people in general that he remains on private business of his own, but to my secretary he said that he is expecting a courier from the Imperial court, and that the Pope thinks to divert him with words and vain hopes, which he and the others (che esso et gli altri) pretend to credit, but he will not depart hence until the demands made by him are answered positively in one way or the other.
Rome, 30th November 1555.
Nov. 30. Original Letter Book, penes me, Letter No. 27, pp. 74—77. 295. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Two consistories have been held this week; at the first, on Wednesday, the Pope related what the French Cardinals had told him about the peace, and not satisfied even with this, he chose the right reverend of Lorraine to repeat what he had said to him in his chamber, which the Cardinal did immediately, in such good Latin, and with such decorous action, that he surpassed the expectations of everybody. He said in short that he was present at the conference held lately in Flanders about the peace, at which many good results were obtained.
First, the animosities and harsh words on either side were reciprocally withdrawn; after having negotiated and nearly concluded the marriage of the Infant Don Carlos, King Philip's son, with the eldest daughter of the most Christian King. That the disputes about boundaries between the Emperor and his Majesty were well nigh adjusted, the only remaining difficulty being about the confederates on both sides; and whilst this was being treated without possibility of adjustment, the auspicious news arrived of his Holiness' election, which comforted both parties, it being said that what they had failed to do would be accomplished by the Pope elect, and the conference was dissolved with the understanding that each of its members would perform good offices with their Princes. He said that Cardinal Pole held the thread of this peace in his hands throughout, and in this matter he greatly praised the Queen and the King of England.
Yesterday, when the second consistory was held, the right reverend Cardinal Puteo, (fn. 19) who was charged to inspect the process sent by the Queen of England against the Archbishop of Canterbury, reported its contents, and although the charges (oppositioni) are all deemed wicked and execrable and that they are proved, yet they did not proceed to deprive him nor to inflict any other penalty, it having seemed fit to delay the votes until another consistory.
Rome, 30th November 1555.


  • 1. Not found.
  • 2. Si perchè si ha osservato chè quelli populi a tempo freddo non sono usati di uscir fuori a fare alcun tumulto.
  • 3. Sir Philip Hoby was an able diplomatist, and the friend of Titian and Pietro Aretino, as seen by a letter from Titian to Aretino, date Augsburg, 11th November 1550, in Ticozzi's Life of Titian, p. 311. (Edition Milan, 1817.)
  • 4. The following words in italics are in Courtenay's own hand, inserted interlineally, the first part of the letter being written by the secretary.
  • 5. The words Mr. G. bis may be read No. 4 bis, or Mr. G. bis. It may be cipher; or it may be an allusion to his money dealings with Gresham at Antwerp.
  • 6. Thus far, with the exception of the above-noted interlineation, the draft is in the hand of Courtenay's secretary. What follows is all written by Courtenay himself.
  • 7. The usurious rapacity of Gresham contrasts unfavourably with the handsome manner in which the Lucchese banker, Buonvisi (whose firm, as seen in the first volume of the Venetian Calendar, was already established in London in the reign of Henry VII.), seems to have supplied the Earl of Devonshire's need, and the tribute rendered by his trustees to Buonvisi's integrity is in accordance with the good fame enjoyed of yore by the industrious Republic of Lucca.
  • 8. I believe Basset's meaning to be that he is sorry Courtenay had not dealt from the first with Buonvisi, rather than with the usurer Gresham.
  • 9. This word (which probably signified St. Trond, on the road from Louvain towards Liege and Cologne) is blotted so that its last four letters are not quite legible.
  • 10. November 19. (See Froude, vol. 6, p. 398. Ed. London, 1860.)
  • 11. I believe this to be either “Grace to be said at the accession of Elizabeth,” of which mention is made by Froude (vol. 6, pp. 399–400, cd. 1860); or else a pamphlet mentioned by the Ambassador Michiel, date 21st January 1556, urging the country to rebel, as King Edward was alive in France.
  • 12. Query, at Southampton on the 22nd July 1554.
  • 13. Et ha ancho terminato che siano commessi non solo in tempo di guerra come solevano tutti li Governatori di questi Paesi e Stati.
  • 14. Questa gran macchina di negotij.
  • 15. “On the 19th of November fifty members of the House of Commons waited by “desire upon the Queen, to hear her own resolutions, and to listen to an admonition “from the Cardinal.” “Mr. Speaker declared the Queen's pleasure to be spoken yesterday, for to depart with the first fruits and tenths, and my Lord Cardinal spake for the tithes and impropriations of benefices to be spiritual.” (Commons Journals, November 20, 2nd and 3rd Philip and Mary.)
  • 16. See Mr. Turnbull's Calendar, 13 February 1556, p. 240, for the name and title of “mastro Chem.”
  • 17. In the despatch of Giovanni Michiel, dated 18th November 1555, it is stated that the Chancellor died on the 12th of that month, and allowing four days for the arrival of a letter in London from Brussels, Cardinal Pole's reply to the King with regard to that event may be dated 26th November.
  • 18. Guidobaldo della Rovere resigned the general captainship of the Church, and was succeeded by the Count of Montorio. (See Foreign Calendar, “Mary,” p. 197.)
  • 19. Jacopo Puteo had been the intimate friend of Julius III., who, after making him Archbishop of Bari in 1550, created him Cardinal on the 20th December in the following year. Paul IV. appointed him Prefect of the Romish Inquisition or Holy Office. (See Cardella, vol. iv. p. 314.)