Venice: December 1555, 16-31

Pages 283-301

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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December 1555, 16–31

Dec. 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 316. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Enclosed an abstract of the Acts passed by the present Parliament, showing briefly all that had been decreed relating both to public and private matters. Subsequently two or three members of the Lower House were imprisoned for having by word and deed comported themselves more licentiously than becoming. One of them is Sir Anthony Kingston, a gentleman of renown, who has followers, both on account of his wealth as also by reason of the grades conferred upon him here at the Court in the time of King Henry VIII. This individual is accused of being the chief author of the rejection of the bill for recalling the absentees, as on the last day, when the proposal to this effect was made, perceiving that the majority of the Lower House was inclined to throw it out, in order not to give time to the Speaker and the supporters of the bill, as was sought by them, that they might by some intrigue, as they succeeded in doing by the preceding bill for the cession of the tenths and first fruits, gain the “noes,” Kingston, followed by some other gentlemen, his friends, putting himself together with them at the door of the house, to prevent any one who had the wish to do so from quitting it, said openly, with a loud voice, that he did not choose the present bill to be treated like the last, which was carried against the conscience of many members by means of delay, and therefore insisted on an immediate division; so by his thus giving courage to the others the absentee bill was thrown out, he and all his colleagues showing, as it were, that they had taken their revenge for the anger caused them by the passing of the church property bill. This Sir Anthony is in the Tower, and as yet in such close confinement that no one may speak to him, so it is not known whether he will receive further punishment for his offence. On the same account strange language passed in the House between Sir George Howard, the Admiral's brother (sic)—although he is gentleman of the mouth (gentilhomo di bocca) to the King—and Sir Edward Hastings, the Queen's Master of the Horse, with great risk of their coming to blows, Howard opposing the absentee bill, and Hastings defending it, according to his custom, as he is one of the Queen's most hearty servants. When the members left the Housebeing . . . . . . . at Lord Pembroke's table, and having commenced debating these matters with some others of Howard's opinionthey were well-nigh maltreated, otherwise than with words, by the Earl, who, taking the Queen's part, in like manner had a dispute with one Master Paretes (sic) [query, Sir John Perrott], his most favourite and familiar gentleman, whom, in a strange manner, he dismissed and turned out of his house, after which event many other gentlemen in the Earl's service took their leave of him.
Thus audacity and discontent gain ground daily, but the individuals in question, being mere private gentlemen, their proceedings are not to be held in great account; on the other hand, the chief nobility and principal personages, if not so, at least show themselves very well disposed and inclined towards the Queen's demands and wishes, commending and defending her Majesty's acts by every sort of demonstration.
The Portuguese Ambassador has obtained the settlement desired by him with regard to his affair concerning the Guinea navigation. The Queen, on hearing King Philip's opinion, gave orders for the vessels destined for that voyage, which were on the point of departure, having all their stores on board, to be disarmed and unloaded, much to the regret of these Londoners, who are concerned in this navigation, as they thus lose the opportunity for making great profits, in accordance with the experiment made by them; nor was it any use their offering hostages and sufficient security to the King of Portugal not to touch at any place on the African coast dependent on his Majesty, nor to attend to anything but mere trade, as he pretends that it is all his and under his jurisdiction, although as yet he be not acknowledged in all the places of the coast, nor by all its inhabitants. They now, having already incurred the cost of fitting out the ships and purchasing goods, so much to their charge, earnestly request leave to make the voyage for this once.
King Philip's confessor [Alfonso de Castro] has departed hence, and Don Diego de Azevedo, the Lord Steward, with all the rest of the household, will do the like in a few days, an indication, according to some persons, that the intentions announced by King Philip to the Queen of his being here at the Epiphany are mere words.
London, 16th December 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Dec. 17? (fn. 1) MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 317. Cardinal Pole to Don Bernardo [Scotti], afterwards Cardinal Archbishop of Trani.
Has received his letter from Rome, and is not surprised at his trouble, but rejoices much at the cause of it; and as to the advice asked by him, can but counsel Scotti to do as Pole himself did in a similar case, by obeying, and the more readily, the more it was repugnant to him, hoping that the goodness of God will always aid and favour Scotti for his own service and that of his Church, for which sole end Pole is very certain that the Pope was moved to show his mind towards Scotti and the other persons named, much to the praise of his Holiness' judgment and piety; and amongst the rest, the Reverend Father Fra Pedro Soto, (fn. 2) who is now in England, lecturing at Oxford, seems to Pole, by reason of the intimate knowledge he has had of him (besides what is manifest to everybody with regard to his goodness and piety), very worthy of every honour, and a very fitting instrument for the service of his Holiness and the Apostolic Sec, and to the honour of God; may whose grace (he prays) attend Scotti always, and comfort him according to his need. (fn. 3) Monsignor Priuli salutes him with all affection, wishing him every spiritual comfort. Tells him nothing about English affairs, referring himself to his agent, who will deliver the present letter.
London, 17th December 1555?
Dec. 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 318. Federico Badger, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
The Imperial Ministers excuse themselves to all suitors demanding the despatch of their affairs, by saying that they know not how to comply with their wishes, as the Emperor is unable to use his hand for the signature of edicts already determined on, and that they are all occupied about his renunciations [of Sicily and Aragon]; and when these same suitors apply to King Philip's attendants, requesting them to intercede with him, by reason of their urgent need, they are told that his Majesty has determined not to interfere in any matter relating to those realms until the despatch of the acts of renunciation; and if the Emperor's ministers, to oblige any of their friends, endeavour to obtain the King's signature to any letter, his Majesty's ministers, to deprive them of repute, devise such impediments as to prevent its being given.
Queen Maria attends the council of these lords daily, and, according to her nature and custom, is so early in the chamber as to be always the first; and she sends for the Duke of Savoy as authoritatively (con quel modo) as if he were a councillor and not governor. It is generally believed here that as the Emperor will not depart for Spain, so Queen Maria will resume the regency of these provinces; and it seems that her chief object is to have the Duke of Savoy sent as governor to Milan, he marrying the Duchess of Lorraine, to which he has given it to be understood that he will consent, provided the King of England promise him the appointment for life.
The King's confessor [Alfonso de Castro] has arrived here, and repeated a variety of foul language (diverse male parole) uttered by the English, indicating their ill will towards his Majesty and the Spanish nation, narrating the following incident, that on seeing him and the rest of the royal attendants depart, they made great rejoicing, well-nigh universally; and he goes saying (et va dicendo) that the Queen's wish again to see the King is very great, nay boundless (grandissimo anzi infinito), and the confessor's departure, and the order sent for the chapel-establishment to go to Spain (et dell' ordine mandato che la capella vadi in Spagna) pained her intensely, as she took it for an announcement either that the King would not return to England for a long while, or that, should he return, he would shortly afterwards proceed to Spain, as is generally believed.
Yesterday King Philip, Queen Maria, and the Duke of Savoy went hunting, and in the evening his Majesty masked himself, to go to his usual amusements (et la sera S. M. R. per andar a suoi usati piaceri si mascherò).
Brussels, 18th December 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Dec. 18. Original Letter Book, penes me, Letter No. 34, pp. 103, 106. 319. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Pope and certain cardinals lately held a congregation, in which they determined to send, in writing, to England, the mode of deposing and degrading the Archbishop of Canterbury, already deprived, and in this same congregation burst forth in violent terms against the Duke of Florence, calling him Trufarello, and threatening him. The report of a promotion of cardinals has been so rife, that in the consistory held last Wednesday his Holiness was expected to name them; so the day before, the Cardinal San Giacomo [Jnan Alvarez de Toledo], Augsburg, and Morone, and the Imperial Ambassador [Don Fernando Ruiz de Castro, Marquis of Sarria], urged the Pope to name some at the suit of the Emperor and the King of England, but his Holiness repulsed them, saying he would not name cardinals at the demand of princes.
It was evident from his countenance, as also from what he said the moment he sat down, that the Pope entered consistory in a very great rage, and when the Cardinal de Bellai, the “Decano,” presented himself, he said he would not give him audience; and then when the Cardinal San Giacobo [Juan Alvarez de Toledo] made the like demand, after telling him to be gone, when the Cardinal insisted on it, he pushed him away with a blow on the breast (gli diede una mano del petto et lo rebutò), which, being done in so public a place, has caused much comment. The Cardinal San Giacobo, being compelled to sit down, his Holiness said he understood that certain cardinals said he was not at liberty to create more than four cardinals, as it would be contrary to the articles of his oath, which showed that they did not understand things thoroughly, and were not aware that the Pope cannot be bound, and that even other persons are not bound to keep their promises, should they in the course of time perceive them to be detrimental to the common weal, dilating greatly on this point, but little to the honour of the cardinals, quoting many authorities from scripture, and the decisions of canonists, and adding, “and in case any of you are apprehensive of excommunication, we bless and absolve you, for we intend to make cardinals, nor do we choose any reply.” (fn. 4) He also uttered some other words purporting that the cardinals have no decisive vote, but only a consultative one, saying besides, that he was compelled by necessity to make cardinals, as in the College he did not see persons of whom he could make use, all having their faction and dependency; wherefore he would make some according to inspiration received from the Holy Spirit, individuals good, learned, neutral, and such as his Holiness could place trust in, and employ on such business as necessary, and that he would enlighten them; nor would he elect anyone by reason of ties of blood, nor at the suit of princes, and that none, neither cardinals nor ambassadors, were to dare to speak to him about cardinals for princes; though on the other hand, were the said cardinals to wish to say anything to him on this subject, he would hear them willingly, but in his chamber apart; that he well knew that the poor cardinals did not like the creation of other cardinals, as there is greater difficulty in providing for many than for few; but in this matter his Holiness would make provision, and not permit temporal princes to give and refuse possession of benefices according to their own power, and to the service rendered them by cardinals; that it was contrary to the ecclesiastical liberty for princes to call cardinals and other churchmen to them, by detaining their revenues, and banishing them if they disobeyed; that he could not bear such things, and would provide against them; and that he said this with reference to the Imperialists as well as to the French, Germans, and others who acted thus; nor did his Holiness come to any particulars, either about the number of the persons whom he intended to promote to the cardinalate, or their names.
The “Decano,” Cardinal Bellai, rose to reply to apologize for the Sacred College, but the Cardinals fearing he might irritate the Pope yet more, would not allow him to speak, demonstrating that it was not the moment, and although his right reverend Lordship said he would speak with all submission and moderation, yet seeing the Pope's violent, anger and the little respect shown by him to the College, and all the crowned heads, they were induced not to let him reply.
Rome, 18th December 1555.
Dec. 18. Parti Secret Consiglio X. File No. 9. 320. Motion made in the Council of Ten and Junta, concerning a Despatch from England.
That the letters of the 24th ulto., from our ambassador in England be communicated to the Senate; the paragraph at the commencement about what he has heard “from those who are negotiating the peace,” etc., to be read thus, that “he has heard on good authority,” etc. (fn. 5)
Ayes, 26. No, 1. Neutral, 0.
Dec. 19. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 321. Cardinal Pole to Cardinal [Carlo Caraffa].
In consequence of what the Pope sent to tell him by the Bishop of St. Asaph, wrote to King Philip as by the enclosed copy of his letter.
To-day the Queen is going to Greenwich with the intention of there awaiting the King, who promises to be here before the Epiphany. After accompanying the Queen, Pole will return to London, to proceed with what remains to be done in the convocation of English prelates.
London, 19th December 1555.
Dec. 20. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 322. Cardinal Pole to King Philip.
As on the return of the Bishop of St. Asaph, the King again commissioned Pole earnestly to continue the negotiation for the peace, although he had never failed doing so with both sides as much as he could, he took occasion from this to send his Abbot of San Saluto to their Majesties at Brussels, to see whether any way could be found for bringing this affair to a good conclusion; nor will he fail to perform every good office with the most Christian King, to the same end, for which the present moment seems the more opportune, as over there (di là) they have commenced treating about an exchange of prisoners and cessation of incendiarism, which seems to indicate some disposition towards peace. Queen Mary, likewise, as mediatrix, evinces her usual piety in this matter, and was much pleased to see his Holiness' paternal anxiety to pacify these princes, and hopes that the Pope will avail himself of the opportunity afforded by the presence at Rome of the Cardinals Tournon and Lorraine, to urge this holy matter more strongly, as Cardinal Caraffa wrote to Pole was his intention. Will give King Philip constant account of what shall be done about this, as also of the resolutions of the convocation of prelates, now being held, and to which, now that is adjourned (finito), they are attending with more convenience and diligence. The Queen was much pleased with what the Bishop of St. Asaph brought her from Rome, as Pole believes she will have informed the King by letter.
London, 20th December 1555.
Dec. 20. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 323. Cardinal Pole to Pope Paul IV.
The Pope having, by the Bishop of St. Asaph, again commissioned Pole to continue the negotiation for peace with all earnestness, he therefore sent the Abbot of San Saluto to Brussels, and will also perform every office to the like effect with the most Christian King; and the moment seems to him opportune, as the parties are treating an exchange of prisoners and cessation from incendiarism, being apparently rather disposed towards peace, the Queen on her part encouraging it by all means, and being much pleased to see the Pope's paternal anxiety to pacify these princes, and hopes that the presence at Rome of the Cardinals Tournon and Lorraine will facilitate the matter. Will give the Pope account of the result of these negotiations, and of the convocation of the English prelates, to which, as Parliament has adjourned, they are now attending with more convenience and assiduity. The Queen was much pleased with the replies brought to her by the Bishop of St. Asaph, as Pole believes will have been announced to the Pope by her own letters.
London, 20th December 1555.
Dec. 22. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 324. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
On the day before yesterday there arrived here postwise [from Rome], a chaplain of the King of England, he having been despatched by the Imperial Ambassador with sundry letters from Cardinals and other dependants of the Emperor and King Philip, giving them detailed account of the proceedings of the Pope with regard to the wish evinced by him for their Majesties to make peace with France; they represent his Holiness as discoursing so lovingly with the Imperial Ambassador that the tears seem to come to his eyes from tenderness (che per tenerezza li venghino le lagrime in su gl' occhi), but that he subsequently makes similar demonstrations with the French Cardinals; so they come to the conclusion—to repeat the identical words uttered to me by a person of quality—that his Holiness is either crazy (che o Sua Santità delira), or else by this craftiness (astutia) seeks to deceive their Majesties; and one of the Cardinals writes, that to his certain knowledge the Pope is more urgent with the French ministers to wage war immediately than they themselves are.
Since the arrival here of the gentleman from the King of Poland, I hear that the ministers of the King of England have had a long debate about sending his master the Order of the Fleece, from doubt lest, by reason of his friendship with the King of France, it might offend him; and the gentleman aforesaid, speaking with me on the subject, said he thought it would not be agreeable to his King to hear this, the Order coming to him from a king uncrowned (non incoronato), but that it would be accepted by him from the Emperor, his father also having had it.
I have been to the Bishop of Arras, requesting him, as the Emperor's malady lasts so long, the gout preventing him from using his hand for the signature of the letter addressed to the Viceroy of Sicily, to be pleased to procure it from the King of England, so as no longer to delay compliance with the wish of both their Majesties. The Bishop apologized, saying that the Emperor's hand being bandaged, he had been unable to sign either this letter or others of importance to him, but that he (the Bishop) would most readily perform this office with the King; and two days later, when my secretary went to remind him of it, he sent the order immediately to Secretary Vargas, who was again in bed, owing to his usual malady of stone, and excused himself from then making this application, nor would he give the letter to another secretary, saying that he himself must speak to the King on this subject. Many indications convince me of the truth of what I have heard from many, namely, that the ministers of the Emperor cannot obtain anything from those of the King.
The jubilee sent hither by the Pope that prayers may be offered up for the Almighty to incline the princes of Christendom to peace is taken by the Flemings with their usual devotion, but the Spaniards say that his Holiness, by keeping so great an amount of soldiery in his pay, shows himself more desirous of war than of peace.
Brussels, 22nd December 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Dec. 20. Original Letter Book, penes me, Letter No. 36, pp. 110–113 325. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday, in consistory, the Pope conferred the archbishopric of Trani on the Cardinal of Chieti, a benefice worth 1,000 crowns; and the bishopric of Mirepoix, worth 3,000 crowns, on the Frenchman Reumano.
His Holiness chose to confer the see of Trani, although it belonged to the King of England, which the Cardinals respectfully (modestamente) opposed, saying that this was the first church which had become vacant under the King of England, who was wronged by this act. The Pope replied somewhat angrily (con qualche alteratione) that the Princes not having provided for those churches in time, he chose to do so in virtue of his office, and that the Cardinals did wrong to favour the temporal Princes, and that they ought to seek the aggrandizement of the Apostolic See; nor would he allow them to instruct him about the affairs of the kingdom of Naples, as he well knew how the affair took place; that concession had been made after the death of Adrian, (fn. 6) and that the judicial act was registered in the name of a corpse, using other violent and angry expressions, to the effect that he would punish those who did not obey him. He then said that he should propose as Cardinals certain persons according to inspiration received by him from the Holy Spirit; and that, although he did not choose to make any at the suit of the crowned heads (de' Principi), yet he would elect certain honourable individuals of divers nations, so that they ought to remain satisfied. He accordingly promoted seven to this dignity, as he told me on the preceding day.
The first was a Spaniard, Juan Siliceo, Archbishop of Toledo, 80 years of age. He had been tutor to the King of England, at whose request the Emperor gave him that see, saying that as he had conferred the popedom on his own preceptor, who was Adrian, it was but fair that his son should have authority to make an archbishop.
The second was Don Bernardino Scotto, Archbishop of Trani, a Sabine by birth, who was a long while with his Holiness when he resided in that little monastery in Venice, and subsequently when he passed a good part of his life at Padua, in the Theatine Monastery.
The third was Diomede Caraffa, Bishop of Ariano, a Neapolitan, 66 years old, distantly related to the Pope, brother of the Duke of Ariano, who rebelled against the Emperor, on which account his territory was given to Don Ferrante Gonzaga.
The fourth was the Governor of Rome, Bishop of Motula, a Sicilian, by name Scipione Rebiba, an old servant of the Pope, whose service he entered as chaplain.
Fifth, Giovanni Reumano, a Frenchman, Bishop of Mirepoix, 50 years old; and I hear that early in the morning, when told that he would be cardinal, he rose from his occupations, and, prostrating himself before a crucifix, said, “Unde hoc mihi?
Sixth, Capizucchi, “auditor di ruota,” a Roman, by name Giovanni Angelo, and 40 years old. He is said to have found favour with the Pope because when his Holiness, as cardinal, charged him with a suit in which his niece was concerned, and Capizucchi having passed sentence according to justice, he sent him 100 crowns, of which Capizucchi took but six, saying such was his fee, and sent back the rest, which to the cardinal, who was then secretary, seemed such a proof of goodness that on the present occasion he chose to reward him; and in addition to this, being a Roman, the Pope thought, by electing him, to do what was agreeable to all the Romans, whom he seeks to propitiate in every way.
The seventh was Giovanni Groppero (Gronpiero), a German, Provost of Bonn, who has the reputation of an able theologian, and is about 60 years of age. He attended the Council of Trent as servant of the Archbishop of Cologne, so it is suspected here that the Archbishop-elector, who was one of the six heretofore proposed, may resent this, and many other Germans will perhaps do the like.
The Sacred College admitted them without opposition, and, with the exception of Toledo and Groppero, who are not at Rome, they were called into the chamber of Cardinal Caraffa, with whom (after consistory) they dined, and then late went to the Pope, who gave them the hats. Before consistory broke up a number of cardinals rose to ask the Pope to elect Don Alfonso, the son of his nephew Don Antonio, a youth 20 years of age at the utmost, but who may be said to have been brought up and educated by his Holiness, who, comprehending their wish to speak about this, dismissed them, telling them they would do worse, and must not proceed further (dicendoli che fariano peggio, et che non bisognava andar più oltre).
The cardinals were induced to perform this office in favour of Don Alfonso, not so much for the sake of showing their regard for the Caraffa family, and ingratiating themselves with the Cardinal and his brothers, as to deprive the Pope of an opportunity for a fresh election of cardinals, which they suspect might take place sooner, for the sake of naming his aforesaid nephew, as nothing disturbs the Sacred College more than frequent nominations to that grade.
The present election is spoken of at this court in various manners, but, to say the truth, it is not much commended, nor does it seem to have been made in the manner expected, the Pope having said that he would appoint very eminent individuals (huomini molto segnalati).
His Holiness' nephews are dissatisfied with him, because they were unable to obtain one single nomination of those desired by them, and thus it seems to them a loss of repute, the inference being that they are not of much authority with him.
The French cardinals, likewise, were unable to obtain even one of those who were very earnestly demanded by them.
Rome, 20th December 1555.
Dec. 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 326. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Was told by the King that his commissioners had been twice with the Imperialists about the exchange of prisoners, but merely settled to send a messenger to the Marshal de la Marck to know his will, and his Majesty said, laughing, “The Imperialists proposed that I should give them Marienburg for the release of the Constable's son, to which my commissioners merely replied that Mons. de Montmorency is the son of the Constable, and not of the King of France, and that rather than cede Marienburg the Constable would give all his sons.” His Majesty also said that for the release of the Marshal they demanded the castle of Bouillon, which was denied them in like manner, and that in the negotiation a distinction was made between the prisoners, negotiating separately about those who belonged to the Emperor, such as the Marshal, and those who were the property of private individuals, like Mons. de Montmorency.
In conclusion the King said that, although the Imperialists showed themselves very haughty (altieri), yet did it seem that some settlement (conclusione) might be hoped for, most especially as the King of England had shown signs of great goodwill, having had some gentlemen prisoners released, paying their ransom with his own money, the King adding, “Ambassador, I cannot but be well satisfied with good works.” I asked his Majesty if between these commissioners there had been any talk of making any adjustment between their Majesties, to which he replied that neither side had exhibited any commission to that effect, although in the course of conversation between them it had been said, “It would be high time to devise some adjustment between both these two crowns.” Rejoined that the King of England was understood to have shown himself very well disposed, and that some good result might therefore be hoped for. His Majesty replied, “Yes, of the King one can in truth say nothing but the utmost good, and of the Queen of England likewise, she and Cardinal Pole not failing to perform every good office. As for me, I shall always be of the same mind as I have told you several times, and made known to the whole world.” Inquired when the Emperor's departure would take place. He said he did not know for certain, but that it ought to be about Christmas; and his Majesty, having then paused, I congratulated him on the arrival at Rome of the Cardinal of Lorraine. The King seemed glad of it, and said he was in good health, as also the Pope, who since his election had grown younger and become fat, so that he might be expected to live for 20 years. Rejoined that his Holiness seeing himself so favoured by his Majesty, it was not surprising that he should be in such good plight, and that something had been said about the wish of the Pope likewise to mediate and devise some form of adjustment between his Majesty and the King of England. “By my faith, ambassador,” replied the King, “the Cardinal [of Lorraine] writes to me that as yet he did not well know what his Holiness had in his mind, though, it is true he discussed the matter but in general terms, and the cardinal gave him account of what took place at the late conference, and of my wish not to depart from what is fair; but down to that time the Pope had not made any proposal to him, and so far as I have heard his Holiness sent a despatch on the subject to Cardinal Pole.”
Replied to this, that the Pope on the one hand wishing to mediate in this matter, and Cardinal Pole on the other negotiating in like manner with the Queen of England, it seemed to me that sure hope might be had of some adjustment, whereupon the King, shrugging his shoulders, said, “God grant what is for the best; as with regard to me, I will not fail doing what is fair, as was always intended by me, and as I gave to be understood by word of mouth from my commissioners at the late conference.”
Blois, 23rd December 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Dec. 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 327. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Bishop of St. Asaph [Thomas Goldwell], who was sent hence lately to give account to the Pope of the cession made by their Majesties of the Church property, and to be confirmed in his bishopric, besides narrating the many honours and favours received from his Holiness, has very earnestly represented to Cardinal Pole, in the Pope's name, that this side must by no means drop the affair of the peace, as he hopes that the Queen likewise will persevere in the offices hitherto performed by her, and his Holiness likewise on his part will employ all his authority and power. Cardinal Pole, encouraged by this relation, in addition to the recent advices from Brussels, without awaiting farther reply to the despatch sent lately to France, anticipating that it will prove such as he wishes it to be, in order to gain more time, and have as much space as possible for the negotiation, before the arrival of the funds with which to carry on the war and raise troops on both sides, as devised during this interval, has determined to send the Abbot of San Saluto across the Channel to the King and to the Emperor, to learn and ascertain thoroughly the will of their Majesties, and convince himself whether it be really such as written by the President d'Amont, coming to such particulars as are necessary in a similar affair, about which he will negotiate face to face for the avoidance of such scruples as are common to sovereigns in business of this sort with regard to committing their affair to a third person; and should he find their Majesties so disposed as to warrant hopes of an adjustment, he, comprehending easily whether they accede to it or not, the entire negotiation having passed through his hands, will, at the option of the Emperor and the King, either go in person to France yet more to straighten the treaty, or else return to England, leaving the Queen to send some one for the purpose, so that, should they have, as seems almost necessary, to hold a fresh congress either here or elsewhere, it may be effected with less trouble. For this occasion, therefore, and for this end, the Abbot departed four days ago postwise and on his negotiations the entire success or failure of the business in these parts depends. Besides sending the Abbot, Cardinal Pole also forwarded a despatch to France by the secretary of the French ambassador in England, who preceded the Abbot by three or four days. Does not know whether the ambassador sent him express post haste for this or some other purpose.
All the ships (four excepted) which had been armed to convoy the Emperor have been recalled from sea to the Thames, and disarmed, to save the expense. The four remain to secure the passage between Dover and Calais for Don Diego and the rest of the King's household, which is already on the way; the Queen, on dismissing Don Diego, having given him a chain worth 1,200 crowns, which she placed round his neck with her own hands.
The parties concerned in the Guinea voyage were unable to obtain permission from the Portuguese ambassador to make it for this once only, although the Queen interceded for them, but two or three ships have gone thither secretly, with little fear of being impeded or molested.
London, 23rd December 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Dec. 24. Miscellaneous Documents, Venetian Archives. 328. Deposition of Marco da Risano. (fn. 7)
Marco of Risano, being examined before the most excellent Lords Chiefs [of the Ten], was addressed thus:—
“You told the Procurator, Carlo Morosini, that you know of an order given for the murder in this city of Courtenay, who is coming from England to Venice, Narrate what you know concerning this matter.”
To this interrogatory Marco of Risano replied,—
“On the 28th (sic) of August (1555), Ruy Gomez quitted England for Flanders, and before his departure he gave orders for me to speak to him, and I found him booted (tutto instivolato), and on the eve of departure, so that I was no longer able to speak to him. He said to me, (fn. 8) Captain, thou art to cross over to Flanders; thou wilt come to see me there.' I crossed on our Lady's Eve in September, and went to Brussels, where I found the said Don Ruy Gomez, and having gone to him several times, he made me return repeatedly. At length, on the 18th October, when about to proceed on my journey, I went and saw him, and he said to me, Captain, I have heard of your renown, that you are a brave and honest man, and can do a service which will be very agreeable to me. If thou wilt perform this service, I will give thee a thousand crowns, and obtain for thee the favour of King Philip, who will cause thee to obtain more than thou hast had from the Emperor. A certain individual is going to Venice, named Courtenay, who expects to be King of England. On my sending to thee a person of mine, according to description, you will be able to discover his abode, and perform the service in his company, as he will have other companions, and you, who are acquainted with the place, will be able to find boats and the ferries for their escape, so that they may not be seized; they are good men and true (loro sono homeni da ben), and carry three harquebuses, each with three balls. When they shall have done the deed, assist them, and escape with them into Puglia, when thou shalt see what I will do for thee.' I answered him that, on the opportunity's presenting itself, I would act willingly; answering thus for my own benefit, but God forbid I should kill any one for money, were they to give me Naples; and so as I speak the truth so may God help me, nor as yet has any thing more come of it.”
The Ten then said to Marco of Risano, “You told the aforesaid most noble Morosini that you had the means of rendering obedient to us a great captain of the Uscoques; (fn. 9) say what means you have, and who this captain is.”
To this he replied, “On the day of the Corpus Domini I was travelling to Flanders, and on the road found the Captain Zuan of Segna, who was going to the court of Ferdinand, King of the Romans. I did not know him, and, as he was clad in our fashion, I approached him to learn who he was, and from one of his servants I heard that he was Zuan of Segna, and requested to make his acquaintance. We went to Mittenwald in Bavaria, and I lodged in the same hostel with him, and clad myself in the Sclavonian fashion, and we sat at two tables. At first he thought I was an Italian, but immediately, on seeing me in that garb, he sent to know who I was. I gave my name, and he immediately jumped up (saltò) from his table, and came to embrace me, saying, I know your renown, and that you and all your brothers are brave men, and I wish to oblige you, as with us (in casa nostra) they say you have a good character at Venice, and with all the potentates of the world.'
“We sat thus, pledging each other in our cups, and became very great friends that evening. He began talking to me about the Signory of Venice and the Uscoques. I told him that he and all the Uscoques do very wrong to outrage the most illustrious Signory, saying, Lord Captain, quit that road; for the Venetian Signory never dies, and has a long arm, and takes hares by cartloads (et pia lepra per li carri), as they did in the case of Milos. The Signor Cosazza was in our bands, having been driven from his home by the Turks, and he came to Venice, the Signory graciously giving him an appointment. Then Cernovich, being expelled by the Turks, went to Montenegro, and he likewise had stipend from those gracious Lords. Musacchi and the Balsi clan came, and were all taken into the Republic's service, as likewise their friend Alessio Sparri, every one of them being reinstated (remmessati), the Signory punishing those who persisted in their crimes, and they made a bad end. Do you not know about Versacio, a robber, the Signory's enemy, who, seeing he could not escape, asked for a safe conduct, and was received by those gracious Lords, who, like Christ, embrace all comers? We, the poor children of Risano, having been expatriated by the Turks, were in like manner embraced, and received honourable stipend. The other potentates change, but the Signory remains for ever. When Segna and Croatia, which cannot long hold out against Sultan Soliman, shall be taken, where will you go? Would it not be better to seek a home whilst there is yet time?' He replied, 'And would the Signory take me?' I said, 'Yes, sir; for all are received, and they would rather have you alive than dead, because they are very meek Lords (Signori humilissimi), and always wait for their enemy to turn from his wickedness (opinione).' He then said, 'If I tendered them my obedience they would not give me employment (intertenimento).' I replied, 'If thou camest like an honest man, with our company, showing thyself faithful as I am, and pointing out to them all their enemies, and so many islanders their vassals, who spy, and injure, and put them to shame, I am of opinion that they would not fail to give you employment in some place, and so it would be well for your Lordship to renounce sin, and the shame of taking other men's goods, most especially being such a brave, handsome gentleman as you are (massime un bel zentilhomo ralente, et di seguito, come sete voi, et vostri fioli), with followers, you and your children, and the Signory will certainly not fail you if you are true to yourself.' He replied, 'After my death how will my sons fare?' I said, 'They will be honest men; the Signory will not fail them either, provided they renounce plundering, for the wolf lives by plunder, and never has a home, and dies a bad death.' On hearing this he got up and embraced me, and chose to have me for his sworn brother, tendering me an oath upon my weapons (sopra le mie arme) not to tell this to any one; and thus did he promise to render obedience to the most illustrious Signory, together with his company, offering to destroy the Uscoques and all your enemies, and to point out the spies and everything, and he told me, on my return from England, to write to him at Segna; but, having returned, I wrote nothing. It is true that, having come hither, a native of Fiume told me that said Signor Zuane desired him to tell me to give him (Zuane) news of the service (aviso del servitio). I am not acquainted with this native of Fiume, but believe him to be still here. I went to Messer Carlo Morosini and told him everything, as I always have done, with regard to whatever has happened to me. I, my most illustrious Lords, am now here; if you wish me to write, I will write; if you wish me to go in person, I will go, being ready to risk my life for the service of your most illustrious Lordships; and that you may know who this Signor Zuane is, I will tell you that he is a native of Segna, from 46 to 50 years of age, the handsomest and most sinewy man I ever saw in my life, (fn. 10) —sage, polite, eloquent, with a number of children, but I know not how many. He is the greatest captain the Uscoques have, and the chief of all of them, and I believe he is known to your Serenity's representatives. He was on his way to the Court [of Ferdinand, King of the Romans], carrying presents for the King's secretary, Guzman, to adjust the affairs of the victualling department in Croatia (le cose del vivere di Croatia), and we quitted each other at Lanzpurch, near Augsburg.
Lectæ confir. Monitus de silentio, et quod quando venerint illi de Archibuseris, faciat Dominos certiores.
[Ex tergo] 24th December 1555. Deposition of Marco da Risano, that Ruy Gomez requested him to assist in having Courtenay murdered in Venice, and he (Marco da Risano) offers to place Zuan da Segna, captain of the Uscoques, in our service.
Dec. 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 329. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
I went to communicate the summaries from Constantinople to the King of England, both to have an opportunity for again reminding him of the despatch of the letter to the Viceroy of Sicily, as also because I had already comprehended that he wished me to perform this office in person. According to his custom he used most loving language in thanking your Serenity, and seemed thoroughly to understand the importance of that galley's departure from Constantinople for Algiers, owing perhaps to the advices received from Spain, purporting that after the capture of Bugia they intended to attack Oran. Reminded him of his courteous offer to despatch the letter to Sicily, saying I had announced to your Serenity his compliance with this fair and just demand, and wished now to tell you of its having been carried into effect, and as by reason of the gout the Emperor was unable to sign the letter, I requested his Royal Majesty to write to the Viceroy, either in the Emperor's name or his own, which on every account would prove, I supposed, as authoritative as I could wish. He replied that he hoped the Emperor would have his hand free to sign it in three or four days, and that, if not, he would ask permission to do so in his name. From fear lest this matter be further delayed, I used such language, when thanking his Majesty, as to induce him at length to despatch it, which with a joyful countenance he promised to do in the act of my taking leave.
The Abbot of San Saluto, who came heretofore to the Emperor, in the name of Cardinal Pole, to treat about the peace between his Majesty and the most Christian King, has returned with credentials from his right reverend Lordship and the Queen to the Emperor and King Philip. Immediately on his arrival he went to the Bishop of Arras, and on the morrow had audience of the King, and after long conversation with his Majesty and his right reverend Lordship about the various means whereby to resume the negotiation for peace or a suspension of hostilities during two years, being asked whether he had any written instructions on the subject, he said he had not, but that Cardinal Pole had been moved to send him again in consequence of a brief lately received from the Pope, charging him to recommence this negotiation, and to pray the Queen again to take it to heart, adding that before his departure he knew her Majesty had a conference with the French ambassador, evincing a stronger wish than ever for the peace to be made, and using certain haughty expressions (usando alcune alte parole), in case the King of France show himself averse to an act so beneficial for Christendom. In conclusion, the Abbot said he was come to obtain a written assurance, if not from the Emperor, at least from the King, of their will with regard to commencing any of the negotiations aforesaid. He was received graciously, the King promising him a reply, and the greater part of the courtiers seemed very glad of this mission, especially as the Nuncio had lately read to his Majesty a letter from the Count of Montorio announcing the Pope's most ardent wish for him to come to the King for this purpose, and even praying the Nuncio to find him a lodging; but neither can fair words nor these demonstrations convince the chief personages of these courts that the Pope is sincere, as, if he were, they would consider the peace concluded.
Brussels, 26th December 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Dec. 27. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 330. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
On the day before yesterday, Mons. de Basse Fontaine, (fn. 11) joint commissioner with the Admiral at the conference for the release of the prisoners, arrived here at the court, and announced the decision for the release of all of them with the exception of four, namely, the Duke d'Arschot [Philippe de CrõUy] and the Count de Mansfeldt, his most Christian Majesty's prisoners, and the Marshal de la Marck (fn. 12) and the Constable's son [François de Montmorency], who are the Emperor's prisoners. The conditions are that for their release all save the four above mentioned are to pay one year's rental, and one year's salary or pension of which they may be in receipt from their sovereigns, it being declared that the fathers now living of the prisoners on either side, if they choose to ransom their sons, are to pay but the half of their annual income. His most Christian Majesty has signed the articles, one of the commissioners having gone in like manner to obtain the signatures of the Emperor and the King of England on their part; the commissioners aforesaid being ordered to meet again on the 1st of next month, when they will not fail to make a last effort for the release of the four personages aforesaid, though there does not seem to be much hope of their ransom.
Blois, 27th December 1555.
Dec. 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 331. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
This day the Secretary Vargas sent me the letter addressed by the King of England to the Viceroy of Sicily, which I enclose, but in my opinion it contains words which will not be to the satisfaction of your Serenity, for whose information I add that by all the negotiators now here for Italian affairs it is said publicly that not only do the Emperor and the King write occasionally to the said Viceroy with a certain deference (ad un certo modo con rispetto ad esso Vice-Re), but also that very few of the commissions contained in their letters are executed by him. On the Emperor's recovery I will propose the suppression of the letter written by his Imperial Majesty, who did not choose to confess and communicate according to his usual custom at Christmas, and as was done by his most Serene son, saying he would acquit himself of this duty on rising from his bed, and when his mind shall be freed from thought about the renunciations of Spain and Sicily. Sends copy of one of the letters whereby his Majesty gives notice in those realms of this his will; all the other letters, upwards of 2,000 in number, containing the same words, with a change of titles.
The commissions sent by the Knights of the Fleece, which the King of England waited for before proceeding to Antwerp, have arrived from Germany, but nothing is said about his Majesty's departure taking place so speedily as had been arranged, some persons supposing it postponed from the wish to see these renunciations carried into effect, as also because the 300,000 crowns which were expected from Spain before Christmas have not arrived, so that the Antwerp merchants have been compelled to defer payment of the bills of exchange until the next fair, which will be the third since payment was due; and as orders have been sent to Bazan, the captain of the seven ships which were to convoy this money, to remain in Spain, so that, if necessary, he may cross over to Africa to succour Oran, the merchants and courtiers have a suspicion that the money will not arrive so soon.
Brussels, 28th December 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Dec. 29. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 332. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
After the Abbot of San Saluto's conference with the King of England about the peace, he in the name of the Queen performed an earnest office (officio efficace) with his Majesty, apologizing for her non-adoption of any of the resolutions desired by him (per iscusarla, s'ella non viene a far alcuna di quelle rissolutioni che desiderava) in the matter of the coronation, or with regard to waging war on the most Christian King, as mentioned in my former letters, telling King Philip that when she looks round and carefully considers the persons about her she scarcely knows one who has not injured her, or who would fail to do so again were the opportunity to present itself, and that since she is Queen, the afflictions and perils undergone by her have been and still are so great, on account of the religion and from anxiety to preserve public quiet, besides other vexations, that she knew it to be impossible to form either of these important resolutions, without greatly endangering her crown (senza estremo pericolo delle cose sue), but that she hoped in the course of a short time to comfort the King with what he seems to desire; and in her Majesty's name and as his personal servant the Abbot exhorted him to go to England as soon as possible, but I have heard from a person of quality that his Majesty is not inclined to do so, and that the Emperor is of a contrary opinion. King Philip, however, has written back to the Queen feeding her in general terms with this hope, and suggesting that in the meanwhile she could fill up the important offices now vacant, as he shall be satisfied with any appointment made by her, but recommending Lord Paget and the English Ambassador in France [Dr. Wotton] for the Chancellorship.
Brussels, 29th December 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Dec. 30. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 333. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Henceforth shall have but little to tell about English affairs, as Parliament being ended, and the Queen having immediately retired to Greenwich, it may be said that all business of importance is terminated. On Christmas eve the Queen of her clemency released from the Tower and from prison Sir Anthony Kingston, who had been confined there lately for what took place in Parliament, he having duly acknowledged the error committed by him, and asked pardon of her Majesty, who, nevertheless, considers him a very faithful vassal and servant, which greatly aided his release. The ship “Pasqualiga and Tamisera,” which made the voyage from Lisbon to Southampton in 12 days, brings news that the Infant Don Luis, brother of the King [John III.], died on the 28th ulto., the loss being considered very important for the kingdom of Portugal, which was ruled chiefly by his counsel and ability; it is added that the other brother likewise, the Cardinal [Henry], being very much grieved by this death, was in the same danger.
Letters have been received from France dated the 13th. Does not know whether they are the reply to those written hence which they are expecting, but they are still more anxious to know what shall have been effected at Brussels by the Abbot [Vincenzo Parpaglia], whose business, if not thwarted by the intrigues (prattiche) of the French in Italy with the Pope, which seems to be again feared, will have a good result.
London, 30th December 1555.
Dec. ? MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. p. 176, verso. 334. Cardinal Pole to the Cardinal of Trent.
Pole being protector of the congregation of Monte Cassino since many years, and the monks setting a jealous value on the usual graciousness and favour of the Cardinal of Trent, have requested Pole to assure him that their non-compliance at this last chapter with his mandate about a person recommended by him for a certain lease (locazione), proceeded solely from the just causes stated by them, and they evince great regret at having been unable to satisfy his Lordship in this matter, as they wish to do in everything at all times. Recommends them heartily, and requests the Cardinal to favour and protect them for his sake.
London, . . . . December.


  • 1. No date of time in manuscript.
  • 2. The intention of Paul IV. to give the red hat to the Spanish theologian, Pedro Soto, was not realized, but I know not for what reason.
  • 3. In Cardella (vol. 4, p. 345), it is stated that Bernardo Scotti was Archbishop of Taranto (sic), and made Cardinal on the 30th December 1555. This letter relates to his scruples about accepting the grade of Cardinal.
  • 4. “Et se pure alcuno di voi dubitasse di escomunicatione, vi benedicemo et assolvemo, perchè volemo far Cardinali, nè volemo replica.”
  • 5. The correspondence of Giovanni Michiel now preserved in the Venetian Archives does not contain any despatch dated 24th November 1555, so I infer that the paragraph alluded to above was in the letter dated 25th November, but not at the commencement, and which I have translated thus, “as told me by a person who is as it were the chief instrument in this negociation” (ldquo;per quanto mi viene dito da chi in questo manegio, e come principal instrumento”).
  • 6. I am still unable to ascertain the date of the death of Cardinal Adrian Castellesi, Archbishop of Trani, and Bishop of Bath and Wells in England; but in the Venetian Calendar, Vol. 4, p. 487, it is seen that he was alive in May 1523. The words uttered about him by Pope Paul IV., on the 19th December 1554, were “quella concessione era “statta (sic) fatta doppo morto Adriano et che fu rogato un cadavere.” To me, the six last words are a mystery, and I can but translate them according to my own guess with regard to their meaning. The list of the Archbishops of Trani in the “Bibliothèque Sacrée,” Vol. 25, pp. 222–226, is very confused, and makes no mention at all of Adrian Castellesi.
  • 7. As this deposition contains a very heavy charge against the Spanish minister, Ruy Gomez, it has been thought fit to give it in full, that the reader may be better able to judge of its veracity, and at the same time form an idea of the renowned freebooters, the “Uscoques.”
  • 8. “Di modo che non gli potei parlar più; lui mi disse,” &c.
  • 9. The Uscoques were Dalmatian outlaws, whose chief stronghold at the time of this deposition was Segna. (See Histoire des Uscoques, par Amelot de la Houssaie, p. 19, translated by him from the Italian of Minuccio Minucci, Archbishop of Zara; and it may be read in the original, in the fifth volume of the works of Fra Paolo Sarpi, ed. Venezia, Mejetti, 1677.)
  • 10. Un bellissimo homo sforzato, che mai non vidi un simile.
  • 11. Sebastien de l'Aubespine, Abbé de Bassefontaine. (See the late Mr. Turnbull's Calendar, Queen Mary, p. 208, and Index.)
  • 12. Robert de la Marck, Sire de Sedan, Due de Bouillon, Marshal of France. (See Calendar as above.)