Venice: January 1556, 1-15

Pages 301-317

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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January 1556, 1–15

1556. Jan. 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 335. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador at Brussels, to the Doge and Senate.
Has had a visit from the Abbot of San Saluto, who told me he had come to King Philip by order of his master the Cardinal of England, and by the will of the Queen, to recommence the negotiation for the peace; having, moreover, the commission sent by the Pope to Cardinal Pole. The Abbot has some reliance on its succeeding, owing to a reply received from the Constable of France, whereby his Excellency confirms what he said to him at Gravelines about the articles of the peace. This the Abbot has now referred to the King of England and to the Bishop of Arras, as follows:—
That the most Christian King chooses the Republic of Genoa to restore what it holds in Corsica, and that if the Emperor will restore the Sienese territory, the French will restore Mont' Alcino and other places to Siena, the Emperor causing Piombino to be restored to its lord; and that the King of France will leave the Marquisate of Montferrat to the Duke of Mantua provided the Emperor will leave Piacenza to the Duke of Parma. With regard to the duchy of Lorraine, the Constable implies there will be no difficulty, and his most Christian Majesty is willing to give the city of Metz to the Empire on condition that it be debated at the next Diet whether, should he choose to acknowledge it as a fief, he may legally hold it, in the same manner as the Emperor, the King of the Romans, and other princes of Germany possess other towns and states of the said Empire, he being also content that both sides restore the places taken reciprocally on these frontiers; approving moreover of the marriage between the Infant of Spain and one of his daughters, and of the stipulation of the peace on these terms; but that should the Emperor speak of Piedmont for the Duke of Savoy, he was content to leave it him provided the state of Milan be given to his most Christian Majesty, or as recompense (sic) to the Duke for his own, his Excellency renouncing his claims (attioni) to the King of France, who in that case would bind himself to maintain the Duke in his state against any opponent, and would also renounce his own claims (attioni) on the kingdom of Navarre. The Abbot added that he told King Philip and the Bishop of Arras that by the Constable's letter he understood that if their Majesties (the Emperor and King Philip) did not approve of these terms, he was content to discuss the making of a truce or suspension of hostilities, and that he had found the King of England so anxious for peace, that, to use his own precise words, he would have conceded one of his states for its attainment; but the Bishop of Arras, perhaps by the Emperor's order, had shown himself very hard (difficile) and harsh in the replies, not choosing on any terms that a word should be said about Milan; whereupon the Abbot told him that he greatly deceived himself if he thought that any form of peace could ever be established without giving up that state, not indeed to the King of France, but to an Italian prince, and that on every account it could be no one but the Duke of Savoy. San Saluto then told the Bishop that not anticipating such difficulties on his part he had been commissioned to proceed to France to negotiate the matter, but that he was now compelled to return to the Queen and Cardinal.
Subsequently the Abbot came to tell me that he hoped to be soon despatched from hence, and that he would then have an opportunity for going to the most Christian King, with whom and with the Constable he would mediate earnestly, as he deemed becoming, and as he had done with the King here and with the Bishop of Arras, whom the Abbot threatened with more sinister events than had hitherto occurred, as owing to the peace made with the Sophy, the Turk was better able to perform great exploits both with the army in Hungary and with the fleet in Italy, and perhaps in Africa, owing to the disturbances in those parts; but that a peace or truce between the Emperor and the King of France would take place, if in the first place all such matters as could reasonably be conceded were arranged; and that it seemed just to him that such differences as could not be settled by their Majesties themselves should be referred to the Pope. He also told me that King Philip had been inclined to send commissioners to England, and that he reminded him in reply that heretofore this had been proposed to the Constable, who said it would be in vain, as were his most Christian Majesty to send anybody but the Constable himself, it would be to parley and not to negotiate, and that for other causes it did not suit his Excellency to go to England. In conclusion, he expatiated much on the good will evinced by the Constable towards the peace, telling me that he told the King and the Bishop of Arras that in his opinion it would be well to perform loving offices with his Excellency, and to gratify him by the release of his son, both on that account, and to show the world that in like manner as he has known how to direct the war, so is he also capable of making peace, and of inducing his King to do things which are perhaps not credited here.
I have heard that they will send the Lieutenant of Amont to Cambrai to answer the French commissioners about the prisoners; and as to their general expressions concerning the peace, he will reply in the same bland terms.
Brussels, 1st January 1556.
Jan. 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 336. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador at Brussels, to the Doge and Senate.
This morning King Philip sent for the Abbot of San Saluto, and after saying he might return to England, gave him letters addressed to the Queen and Cardinal Pole, with a long instruction about the Emperor's will with regard to the peace, about which the Queen will give him her commands as to the time of his going to France, and what he is to do there, the Emperor and his Majesty referring themselves to her affectionate discretion.
On new year's day the Emperor chose to confess and communicate, although he had said he would defer doing so until after the publication of the acts whereby he resigns Spain, Sicily, and Burgundy to his son; the which acts having been engrossed on parchment some days ago, all the letters addressed to those whom they concern being also prepared, and awaiting nothing but the Emperor's signature, nearly all the courtiers of both their Majesties remain surprised at such great delay, which causes very much confusion; and all persons who have any business to transact complain that they can obtain no decisions from the ministers either of the Emperor or of the King. Some persons suppose this to be caused by the Emperor's indisposition, he again having the gout in his hand; others to his having been seized with a certain melancholy, attributed by some to his having to do so solemn a deed (dallo haver a fare un cosi grande effetto); and some think it proceeds in part from finding himself deceived in his preconceived opinion that his son was capable of bearing so great a burden, he now knowing that the King of England takes delight in frequent masqueings, rather more than becomes the present troublous times, and that his most intimate servants not only do not apply their minds to the study and performance of serious business, but cause their master to devote himself to other similar pleasures.
The pages and others of the King of England's household have arrived, and bring word that the ship which was bringing his Majesty's baggage foundered, both the persons and mules on board being drowned, nor was it possible to save any sort of property.
The Emperor and the King received a courier yesterday from Spain, with letters from the Princess [Joanna of Austria, Regent of Spain], the Archbishop of Toledo, the Duke of Arcos, and from the Count de Alcaudete, Governor of Oran, telling their majesties of the great preparations making by the Moors in Africa to besiege that place. Many persons say that should this war continue the King of England will go to Spain.
The King and the court have had permission from the Emperor to array themselves in silk, his Imperial Majesty's chamberlains saying that he himself will wear mourning as long as he lives for the death of his mother.
Brussels, 3rd January 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Jan. 4. Original Letter Book, penes me, Letter No. 39, pp. 130, 132. 337. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
A few days ago the Pope sent a monitory to Donna Giovanna d'Aragona, (fn. 1) wife of the Lord Ascanio Colonna, not to marry her daughters without licence from his Holiness, and that if they made a marriage otherwise, he chose it not to be valid, even if consummated, and excommunicated all persons interfering in the matter. Donna Giovanna, suspecting that the Pope intended to give her daughters in marriage to some of his own kinsfolk, with the consent of their father the Lord Ascanio (and there was already a report of the Signor Giovanni Matteo Stendardo, his Holiness' nephew and seneschal), she, moreover, not having the means of maintaining herself here, on new year's eve went out of Rome, with her daughters and her daughter-in-law, (fn. 2) so secretly that the Pope and Cardinal Caraffa knew nothing of it until the 22nd hour (2 p.m.) on the 1st of January, when they sent the light horse after them, but the fugitives were so much in advance that they got safe to Tagliacozo, an estate of theirs in the Abruzzi. The Pope and Cardinal are troubled by this departure; and by their order the soldiers on guard at the gate of San Lorenzo have been imprisoned, as also some of Donna Giovanna's servants who remained here; but subsequently the Count of Montorio contrived to have their effects sent after them, saying they belonged to the daughters, who are not to be blamed for obeying their mother. I have heard various accounts of the mode of their departure, but the one given me by persons intimate with the family, and which seems to me probable, is as follows:—At the 8th hour of the night (midnight) Donna Giovanna rose from her bed, making her daughters and her daughter-in-law, the Lady Donna Felice (who is in about the seventh month of her pregnancy), do the like, and with four of her most trusty domestics, Donna Giovanna and her eldest daughter mounted on horseback, the former on a hackney, the latter on a genet, with their hair and cloaks turned up, (fn. 3) so that they seemed to be men, the pregnant daughter-in-law and the other daughter placing themselves in a litter; and presenting themselves thus at the gate of San Lorenzo, they were announced as noblemen of the court going for their pleasure to Tivoli, at so early an hour that they might be able to return home in the evening; and thus, having given eight or nine giulij as a fee to the gatekeepers, who were also requested to keep the gate open later than usual to enable them to re-enter Rome in the evening, they were allowed to pass.
It is said that her son the Lord Marco Antonio had come as far as the frontiers for this purpose with some cavalry and 300 foot, but this is not known for certain.
The departure of these noble ladies made the Pope and Cardinal Caraffa suspect that some stir might take place here in Rome, so they posted several detachments of troops in divers parts of the city, and two companies in particular were quartered in Campo di Fiore, near the Imperial Ambassador; but although he and all the other Spaniards are greatly angered by this, it is incredible how much they endeavoured to dissemble the fact.
Heretofore these ladies were required to give security not to leave Rome at the time when it was demanded of the Cardinal Camerlengo, (fn. 4) Camillo Orsini, and the others, but they replied that they had no one to give it for them, and that they would pledge their dowers as they had nothing else, the which dowers are secured on the estates of the Lord Ascanio, they being in the Pope's hands; so by this magnanimous and famous flight (fn. 5) they are not worse off than they were, and have set themselves at liberty. (fn. 6)
It is said that the Pope has revoked the confirmation made by him at the commencement of his pontificate of the brief of Pope Julius conceding to the Emperor the half fruits (i mezzi frutti) of Spain, nor can his ambassador, the Marquis of Sarria, elicit any decision.
Rome, 4th January 1556.
Jan. 4. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 338. King Philip of England to Cardinal Pole.
By the Abbot of San Saluto Pole will have learnt the Emperor's reply about the peace, and what the King wrote to Figueroa for communication to him, he being also acquainted with the King's wish for whatever may benefit Christendom.
Pole will remember that when he spoke to the King on behalf of the Pope about providing for the Archbishopric of Trani, (fn. 7) the King replied that he would not confer that see until Pole received a reply from the Pope. The King has waited until now, and so long a period having elapsed without the arrival of this reply, he cannot with a clear conscience any longer delay making the appointment, and especially as he has heard from Rome that the Pope intends to bestow this benefice because it became vacant at his court, which is contrary to the custom and power exercised by the Emperor since the time of many popes; so the King has conferred this see and gives Pole notice accordingly, that he may know how much right he has to do so, which will suffice to satisfy the Pope.
Brussels, 4th January 1556.
Autograph postscript.—The church has been conferred on a native of the kingdom of Naples, according to the statutes.
Jan. 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 339. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
The Abbot of San Saluto departed for England to-day, and told my secretary that he was the bearer of a writing whereby the Queen and Cardinal are informed of the will of the Emperor and of the King of England in the matter of the peace, about which the only verbal announcement he has to make is that their Majesties' minds are well disposed towards it. He was ordered to travel postwise and with all speed, and he expected either to be sent to the Court of France or to return hither.
The Duke of Lunenburg has arrived with 40 horsemen. He was met by the Bishop of Arras, and taken to the palace of the King of England, where his Majesty received him kindly, for according to the German custom he gave his hand to all the Duke's attendants (diede la memo a tutti i servitori suoi); they and the Duke remaining so satisfied with this first entry, that they said his Majesty seemed to them now to excel in courtesy as much as he did in haughtiness at Augsburg. The chief cause of his coming was to make himself known to the King, and to offer him his services in case of need.
According to public report, the Emperor chooses to have the registrar constantly with him, who keeps the roll of all the officials of his court, that he may know minutely how long each of them have served, and the arrears due to them, and from the registrar's discourse it seems that his Majesty purposes placing so many in the service of his son that he does not find any on the roll who are to remain with the father. His Imperial Majesty has already caused the King to appoint and proclaim M. de Boissie as his “maggiordomo maggiore,” he having been the Emperor's master of the horse, but he will exercise the charge solely in these provinces.
I have heard that all the Cardinals, the Duke of Florence, and others, their Majesties' dependants, continue writing that they must not allow themselves to be deceived with the idea that the Pope is sincere in his wish for peace; his great demonstrations being made for the purpose of manifesting, at such time as he shall think fit, his evil intention towards the Emperor; but in every despatch the Imperial Ambassador at Rome (fn. 8) expresses a belief that his Holiness' thoughts all tend to a good end, and that his nature is such that, by making him speak so variously and angrily, he gives the world a false impression of himself (et che la natura sua sia tal, che facendola parlare sì variamente fa creder ad altri quello che egli non giudica); but notwithstanding this, none of the chief personages of the Imperial Court hold the Ambassador's opinion in account, saying that his goodness exceeds his knowledge either of the Pope's character or of the affairs of the world.
Brussels, 5th January 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Jan. 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 340. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Last night a gentleman came to his most Christian Majesty, having been sent by the Admiral, who is at the conference, and brings word that on the first and second instant the Imperial Commissioners conferred with the French, and that the Imperialists proposed the truce, on condition that his most Christian Majesty make certain restitutions, which, being rejected by the Admiral, who declared that as he believed his King would not refuse the truce, so he was determined not to restore anything unless the Emperor also did the same, and much having been said without any approach to the adjustment, they adjourned to the 7th instant. They also discussed the release of the prisoners without coming to any decision; but as it is hoped that this matter will be arranged, comprising perhaps even the four who were excluded, so with regard to the truce, it seems that here since the arrival of this gentleman the hope of it has greatly diminished. The day before yesterday M. de Lansac arrived, and announces the conclusion of some league between the Pope and his most Christian Majesty, it having been hinted, but not affirmed to me, that the stipulation has taken place, the terms apparently being that in case the Emperor will not agree to an adjustment with his most Christian Majesty, the Pope will declare himself the ally of France; but as it is the duty of a good pastor do to his utmost first of all to reconcile the sovereigns, his Holiness will not fail to exert himself to that effect; and as the Emperor persists in unreasonable demands, and the Pope knowing that the King of France has never shunned such as are reasonable, his Holiness is therefore more justified before the world in attacking his Imperial Majesty; wherefore he induced the Cardinal of Lorraine to perform the office he did in consistory, to demonstrate to everybody his King's goodwill. But on the other hand, it being known here that all the proceedings of his Holiness tend towards another object than that of waging war, it is supposed that the Pope, seeing his affairs in a different state to what they were when he sent Rucellai hither, chose thus to put an end, less harshly, to this scheme, without entirely detaching himself, nor yet binding himself more than moderately (nè manco stringendosi più che tanto); so I am assured that the King is dissatisfied with him.
In the meanwhile they are expecting the Cardinal of Lorraine, and in addition to what I wrote about the negotiation with the Duke of Ferrara, his Excellency, in return for what he wished to obtain from the King, promised to lend him one million and two hundred thousand ducats.
Blois, 5th January 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Jan. 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 341. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
Several advices have been received here of plots made by the French on five or six of these frontiers, by means of prisoners, so should this be verified the exchange of prisoners, in the form mentioned by me, will, it is supposed, not be effected. The lords of these provinces and the deputies of the towns who were convoked by the King of England for the 15th instant in the site of his residence (dove fosse la persona di S. M. R.), commence coming hither, comprehending that by that time he will not be in Antwerp, where all the strangers who had begun making sundry preparations in honour of his Majesty have now suspended them.
I heard to-day from a person of quality in the Emperor's court that his Majesty is suffering more from anger than from gout, and that during the last few days the King of England does not dare suggest to him the despatch of any business, however important it may be, seeing himself scowled on, and that certain angry and rather pungent words were addressed to him (vedendo esser guardato con torto occhio, et dettogli in colera alcune parole alquanto pungenti). My informant added that he perceived the ministers of the Emperor and of the King to be so harassed, and their vassals in such despair, that many of them went about saying that if the Emperor thought to keep them in suspense for the future, as he has done for some time past, he will find himself deceived, as they will take the decisions relating to their affairs from the King (perchè vorranno pigliar l'espeditioni dal Re), who will be compelled to give them, not choosing to lose the goodwill of his subjects; and from the words of Ruy Gomez, Gonzalo Perez, and many others of King Philip's ministers, it is evident that they greatly regret the Emperor's delay in affixing his signature, as nothing else remains for him to do, they being of opinion that he ought to take this final step.
By advices received from Spain it is necessary to appoint three viceroys for the kingdoms of Valencia, Catalonia, and Aragon, from which last province the father-in-law of Don Ruy Gomez made his escape owing to the hatred borne him by the people, nor will the other two retain their posts. Three of King Philip's “maggiordomos” and other Spanish noblemen are canvassing those governments, and although since many days Queen Maria has requested the Emperor either to fill up the vacancies himself, or to authorize the King to do so, he nevertheless comes to no decision.
Sir Philip Hoby will depart to-morrow for England, and he told me that when taking leave of the King, his Majesty commissioned him to assure the Queen his consort, that as soon as he can he will comply with the general wish that he should go in person to see her; and that if he delays rather longer than he expected, owing to the variety of important business in these provinces, by so much the more expeditiously shall he travel towards her, as he will perform the journey postwise, and without taking with him any of his councillors.
Brussels, 6th January 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Jan. 7. MS. St. Mark's Library. Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 342. Cardinal Pole to Cardinal Morone.
Does not write so frequently to Morone, referring himself to his agents, who are commissioned always to acquaint him with whatever he writes to them about current events in England. Morone will have heard that, in lieu of the deceased Chancellor, their Majesties have appointed the Archbishop of York [Nicholas Heath, appointed 1st January 1556], a person Catholic, lettered, and endowed with many other good qualities; so all people of worth in England are much comforted by this, and from his past conduct the best is hoped from him; his integrity and ability having been proved during his government of Wales when Bishop of Worcester, he being then President of the Council of that province; and of his zeal for the religion he gave testimony in the time of Edward, having been imprisoned on account of the mystery of the Eucharist (per causa de i Sacramenti). Mentions this to Morone, that he may suggest to the Pope to write him a brief expressing his satisfaction at this appointment, and the sure hope of its proving to the service and honour of God in England. The Convocation of prelates is still sitting, and may last the whole of the present month, during which interval Pole hopes that the Papal brief concerning it will arrive. The late events at Rome have caused them great uneasiness; and the malignants still take occasion thence to spread very scandalous reports; so the Queen hopes that they may have more and more proof daily of the Pope's good and pacific mind, and may God grant him quiet and convenience to carry into effect his holy projects about reform. They are still hoping for the King's return.
London, 7th January 1556.
Autograph postscript.—The message from the Pope delivered by the Bishop of St. Asaph, about continuing assiduously the negotiation for the peace, arrived very opportunely, as it serves to contradict the suspicions and reports which had been circulated in England by the malignants; and therefore the more willingly did he send the Abbot of San Saluto [to Brussels], most especially knowing that they had already commenced treating the exchange of prisoners, which seems to indicate a disposition towards peace.
Jan. 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 343. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Pope has not only concluded a league with the King of France, but has written the agreement with his own hand (ma che la capitulatione è scritta di sua propria mano) and sent it to his Majesty, but as the King keeps it secretly having communicated it solely to the members of his privy council, no detail can be heard, save that it took place, after the arrival at Rome of the Cardinal of Lorraine. (fn. 9) At my last audience the King told me that the Pope, besides suggesting to the said Cardinal, that as he knew his office, he should not fail to find some mode of adjustment between these two princes, and that he, the Pope, would write about this to Cardinal Pole in England; it being subsequently heard that his Holiness did write energetically (con gagliarda forma), to evince his wish that some adjustment should take place, announcing some intention of inducing his most Christian Majesty to restore certain Imperial places taken by him. This has caused great displeasure here, the King considering it a proceeding not only contrary to the execution of the league, but very adverse to his interests; and although at the interview held with the French before Christmas, the Imperialists seemed very desirous of coming to an adjustment, yet nevertheless, at this last conference, they appeared to have changed greatly. Amongst other things said by them was this, that as the Queen of England and Cardinal Pole had toiled so greatly for this business, should any adjustment ensue, it would be well for them also to take part in it; which has almost convinced his most Christian Majesty that the Imperialists desire the intervention of England, not for the sake of the adjustment, but because, having heard of the office performed by the Pope with Cardinal Pole, they hope thus to benefit themselves, and have therefore raised their tone; but after receipt of the next advices from the conference, some sounder opinion of its result may be formed.
His most Christian Majesty has given the Duke d'Arschot [Philippe de Crõy] and Count Mansfeldt, who are his prisoners, to the Constable, so that either by exchange, or through the ransom put upon them, his Excellency may be better enabled to recover his son, the cost of whose redemption will, it is said, be 50,000 francs, but as yet there is no decision.
Blois, 8th January 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Jan. 8. Parti Comuni Consiglio X. Vol. 22, p. 85. to. 344. Embassy in England.
Motion made in the Council of Ten and Junta.
That of the moneys destined for Ambassadors, 300 ducats be given to the agents of the nobleman Ser Zuan Michiel, ambassador in England, on account of expenses, of which he must show the items, being bound to do so, as of the other moneys received for similar purposes.
Ayes, 19. Noes, 2. Neutral, 0.
Exijt Ser Melchior Michael de add.
Jan. 9. MS. St. Mark's Library. Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 345. Cardinal Pole to King Philip.
Having this morning returned [to Greenwich] from London, where he had been on account of the Synod, the Regent Figueroa delivered to him the King's letter dated the 1st (sic) [4th ?], from which, and from Figueroa's verbal statement, he heard, much to his satisfaction, of the King's goodwill towards the peace, of which although he could never doubt, knowing his Majesty's excellent nature and zeal for the common weal,—having also been informed lately by the Abbot of San Saluto (whom he sent express to urge this business to the King and the Emperor, and who wrote an account to him) of the gracious reception he had from the King,—yet was he nevertheless again greatly rejoiced to hear the like from the King's own letters, and from the writings exhibited to him by the Regent, in the presence of the Queen, her Majesty being pleased to translate the whole to him. Commends the mode employed for resuming the negotiation, in conformity with what was observed at the Congress of Marck, as the most honourable for all parties; and however much Pole may do in this matter, he is bound to do much more, provided there be any hope of success, especially as he knows such to be the intention of the Pope, about whom he can say nothing more until receipt of the reply which is expected.
Prays the King at length to comfort the Queen and all his most faithful subjects by his return, which is so much desired.
Greenwich, 9th January 1556.
Jan. 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 346. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
Has heard that the instructions about the peace, sent through the Abbot of San Saluto to the Queen and Cardinal of England, purport that the Emperor and the King consent to her treating as of herself, that the state of Milan be given to the second son of the King of France, and that the Duke of Savoy be restored to his own, on condition of a marriage contract between the said second son and one of the daughters of the King of the Romans, he receiving all the revenues of the Milanese, and holding possession of all the fortresses until the birth of a son, who, is then to be Duke of Milan, thus separating it from the French crown, and simultaneously the Duke of Savoy is to be reinstated, leaving the principal fortresses in the hands of his most Christian Majesty until the Emperor and King Philip restore his own to the Duke of Milan. With regard to the other disputes, the Queen was to give firm hope of their adjustment, as provided the crowns found means to arrange their own affairs, no difficulty would be raised about those of the confederates; but the Emperor was too hard about the affairs of the Duke of Savoy, proposing terms which could never be accepted, after the most Christian King had offered to reinstate his Excellency entirely (liberamente), provided their Majesties give France the Milanese. The Duke, therefore, weary of such protracted suspense, has drawn up a writing for presentation to the Emperor and the King of England, requesting them to give him the said state of Milan or some other in Italy, together with such a wife as they shall think fit; or else that they concede him permission to adjust his affairs with his most Christian Majesty, as he does not choose any longer to grow old in poverty, as at present. Of late, owing to advice given him by a Prince and other wise statesmen in Italy, his Excellency has conceived an idea that the attainment of his wishes might be effected by means of your Serenity, and perhaps through the Pope.
A gentleman has arrived here from the Cardinal of Burgos, with news of the Pope's stir (motti) against the Count di Bagno, and of the assistance rendered to the latter by the Duke of Florence, which has greatly displeased the majority of this Court, it seeming to everybody that he has acted imprudently in this matter, both for his own interests, and those of their Majesties here; as he will not only have withdrawn the Pope from his true and apparent wish to bring about the peace (da quel vero e apparente desiderio di far succeder la pace), but will have given him an opportunity for declaring himself in favour of war sooner perhaps than he had intended.
Brussels, 10th January 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Jan. 11. Original Letter Book, penes me, Letter No. 41, pp. 139–142. 347. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
On Sunday, after chapel, the Signor Giuliano Cesarini was imprisoned in Castle St. Angelo, charged with being an accomplice in the flight of Donna Giovanna d'Aragona; and on that same day the Pope desired the Cardinal “Camerlengo” not to give the rest of the dower (which is said to amount to 20,000 crowns) to his niece the Lady Felice, the wife of Marc' Antonio Colonna. His Holiness had a guard placed at the house of Camillo Colonna, and sent a monitory to Marc' Antonio, desiring him to come and present himself to his Holiness under penalty of rebellion.
Next morning, the day of the Epiphany, the Cardinals having assembled to go to chapel, the Pope held a congregation, at which he announced the appointment of the Count of Montorio as captain-general. This congregation, having been summoned so unusually, without previous intimation, and on a day of solemnity, after the arrest of so great a baron as the Signor Giuliano, was much talked of all over Rome, until the cause of it transpired and suspicion increased, because his Holiness after having arranged to hear mass in St. Peter's as usual, did not go, but had mass sung in the chapel above [the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican], which he entered with a more numerous guard than usual.
The corporal of the gate of San Lorenzo has been hanged for allowing the Lady Donna Giovanna to pass through it.
On Tuesday evening the Imperial ambassador and Don Garcilasso de la Vega went to the Pope to ask his decision about many demands made heretofore by Don Garcilasso, which his Holiness perceiving, turned the conversation to the affairs of Germany and Hungary, saying he was troubled because the Lutherans increased in Germany, and that on the other hand it was said the Turks would invade Transylvania.
The Emperor's ambassador [Don Fernando Ruiz de Castro, Marquis de Sarria], availing himself of this opportunity, said, “Holy Father, my Princes, the Emperor and the King of England, who are those who defend the religion against the infidels and the heretics, ought indeed to obtain some act of grace from your Holiness, as for instance that you should restore the territory of the Lord Marc' Antonio Colonna.”
The Pope did not allow him to proceed further, and in a great rage reproached the Emperor and the King of England bitterly, saying that they chose to interfere in what did not concern them; that these individuals were his vassals, that he chose to punish them at his pleasure; that he was a free Prince, and chose to be acknowledged as such by all men, and that he would not grant a single one of their demands, inveighing against the Colonna family, which had always been hostile to the Popes, and saying that he remembered what was done of yore to Boniface by Sciarra Colonna [in 1303]. To this the ambassador rejoined in a haughtier tone than hitherto, that he was compelled to obtain a positive reply from his Holiness, in order to know how to regulate himself, as until now each of their sovereigns and they themselves had received fair words, but very much at variance with the deeds witnessed by them daily. This having increased the Pope's suspicion, he next morning desired the Count of Montorio to despatch nine captains, to whom on the morrow five others were added, to raise some 3,000 infantry in Citt$aG di Castello, Perugia, Viterbo, and Tivoli.
Rome, 11th January 1556.
Jan. 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 348. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
A courier arrived from Spain yesterday with news of the death of Don Luis, the brother of the King of Portugal, on which account the King of England having gone into mourning, and in order to perform the obsequies, will delay his journey to Antwerp four or five days beyond the time appointed.
Don Diego de Azevedo, the King's maggiordomo, who was in England with the Queen, is also come, and in her name has urged the King as strongly as words can express to return thither; so on that same day his Majesty sent for Sir John Masone, her ambassador, and charged him to assure her that he would go as soon as possible, which it is said he will do, not only to comply with the wish of his consort,—who, being naturally passionate, might become enraged were his return any longer delayed, (fn. 10) —but also to satisfy and obey the Emperor, who is more eager than ever for him to return, especially in these times.
Brussels, 12th January 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher, the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Jan. 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 349. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
On the 8th an express arrived from Rome sent by the Cardinal of Lorraine; and the Constable immediately detained all the private letters (an unusual proceeding at this court), and they are still in his possession.
The Cardinal, on hearing of the King's disapproval of what he negotiated with the Duke of Ferrara, although the Duke had again informed him he would accept any terms his Majesty pleased, did not settle anything further without fresh order.
As the Pope has showed himself warmer than hitherto in favour of the League, and also evinced a wish for the negotiation with the aforesaid Duke to be concluded, a courier was despatched to the Cardinal.
The conference to have been held on the 7th, having been postponed until the 10th, a message was sent to the Admiral, desiring him no longer to entertain negotiations either for truce or peace, but solely for an exchange of prisoners, which if not concluded, the conference to be dissolved. Before this resolve was formed by the King, there were great disputes between the Constable and the Duke de Guise, as for several days the Constable has done his utmost to prevent the ratification of the League [with the Pope] and to settle the Truce [with the Imperialists]; the Duke de Guise, on the contrary, being in favour of the League, and strongly supported by the Queen [Catherine de' Medici] for the affairs of Tuscany; and by Madame de Valentinois, owing to her connexion with the Guise family; whilst the Guises, who seemed at first confounded (it appearing to them that the honour of the Cardinal of Lorraine was at stake), do not appear pleased with the arrangement. The Pope is certainly leagued ($eG anchor lei collegata), and will act as he has promised the King; his most Christian Majesty intending, with his own money, to avail himself of such facilities as the Papal States can afford, rather than to hope that of himself his Holiness can do much. The first undertaking will probably be that of Tuscany, for which purpose the Cardinal of Lorraine took with him securities (assignamenti) for 64,000 crowns on the saltworks in Normandy, to pay the interest on 400,000 crowns offered by the Florentine outlaws (fuorusciti) to the King, at the rate of 16 per cent. interest, as paid at Lyons; in addition to which, they offer him a loan of another 200,000 crowns for two years, without interest, on condition of their being expended solely for the Florentine expedition.
Blois, 12th January 1556.
[Italian, in cipher; deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Jan. 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 350. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Signory will have heard from Brussels the reply with which the Abbot of San Saluto was sent hither, where he has not yet arrived, having been detained during the last eight days by contrary winds. All that I have elicited from Cardinal Pole is that the Emperor and King Philip have given him fair words; however, he is anxiously expecting the Abbot, it being evident from his language and countenance that he is full of good hope; he having also received an express from France yesterday, with letters dated the 4th, which can but relate to this negotiation. It seems to me that in France they consider the truce settled, and that it will be ratified at the meeting of the commissioners for the exchange of prisoners, about which all we know here is that the Queen has been in favour of it. I have read a letter written at Calais on the 8th instant by the Abbot [Parpaglia] to a friend here, commissioning him to inform the French ambassador that should the business in course of negotiation not attain the desired result, it will not be from lack of goodwill. This seems ambiguous, and may be understood either to warrant fair hopes, or to imply, on the contrary, that negotiation of any sort is broken off and hopeless; so until the issue become manifest we await with anxiety the Abbot's arrival.
Francesco Piamontese, the Piedmontese courier, says he went to Portugal to acquaint the King with the Emperor's renunciation to his most serene son of the states of Flanders and Burgundy, and of the Grand Mastership of the Fleece, which is a dependency of those realms, inviting him, as he did many Spanish grandees, according to the formula and custom of the Order, of which they are knights, to attend the ceremony to be performed at Antwerp. The King of Portugal is sending his reply by a courier on board a ship of his own, which has not yet appeared, he expecting it to arrive before the Queen's messenger.
The mariners on leave in London have been desired to rejoin their ships, to drop down to the sea, and to await the coming of the most Serene King; a sign that now it will not be much longer delayed.
London, 13th January 1556.
Jan. 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 351. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The order given by the King to the Cardinal of Lorraine to conclude the league with his Holiness and the Duke of Ferrara, is confirmed. Am assured that no further resolve will be formed until after receipt of the Cardinal's reply, announcing that the stipulation has been already made. It was hinted to me that the Cardinal would negotiate with your Serenity, but I understand he has not yet received any such commission.
The conference is supposed to be at an end, without any settlement, as the French would no longer discuss the truce; neither would the Imperialists ratify what had been agreed to (concordato) heretofore about the prisoners; though the Admiral is not yet heard to have left his post.
Blois, 14th January 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Jan. 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 352. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
The two commissioners sent by the Emperor to Cambrai write that after settling the affair of the prisoners, they again held long conferences about the peace or truce, and that the French proposed, as it was impossible now to stipulate a peace, honourable and advantageous for both their Majesties, the most Christian King was willing, each side holding what they possess, to make a good truce for ten, seven, or three years; to which they as of themselves replied, that if the King of England, to whom the Emperor was about to renounce all his states, had consented to a suspension of hostilities for two months or a year, he did so solely for the sake of being better able again to treat the peace, to which suspension his Imperial Majesty would not indeed of his own free will have consented. The French commissioners showed that their King would not be averse to this suspension; and both parties took time to write to their princes. The Emperor and King Philip have determined to appoint two other commissioners to negotiate this matter with the French in the name of the King of England, the persons thus elected being the Doctors Fisinach (sic), a native of these provinces, and Schizzo, the Cremonese, Regent of Milan, with whom they are sending the secretary Bave, and they will depart to-morrow.
I have heard, on good authority, that when the King of England imparted this resolve to the Duke of Savoy, his Excellency remained so confused and dumbfounded that, although the King sought to comfort him in the kindest terms and full of hope, he for a long while gave him no answer, and then told him, in short, that he now knew there was no longer any hope for him, not even in his Majesty, in like manner as he had despaired of receiving from the Emperor that compensation for the loss of his state which for so long a while they had constantly promised him; whereupon the King, after reiterating similar promises, and vowing that when in his power he would prove by deeds the love he bore him, went so far as to say that nothing but the need in which he saw his territories in every direction, led him to consent to the truce, in order that he might provide better for his affairs hereafter. The Duke then, after repeating a variety of things about his wretched condition, prayed King Philip not to settle anything with the French so immediately, as he could always stipulate the suspension of hostilities, or the truce, on the terms proposed by them, and to wait to hear, in the first place, what could be hoped through the Queen of England, in reply to what was conveyed to her by the Abbot of San Saluto, as her Majesty, being his loving kinswoman, and Cardinal Pole his cordial friend, and the Abbot as his good vassal, (fn. 11) they might, in the conditions made, insert something to his advantage. King Philip said that he was content, but could not fail sending these commissioners at once, to keep the negotiation alive until the arrival of the Queen's reply, which is to settle it.
My informant also assured me that he knew the King of England had said he would not allow anything to be determined without the knowledge of his consort, and that indeed his object was, through her medium, not only to make some adjustment with greater advantage, but also because, even if nothing be settled, she to a certain extent becomes more interested in this matter with the King her husband against the most Christian King (ma anche non si concludendo, essa ad un certo modo venghi ad interessarsi più col Re suo marito in questo fatto contra il Re Christianissimo).
Last evening the Nuncio received letters from Cardinal Caraffa and the Count of Montorio, enjoining him in the Pope's name to tell the Emperor and the King of England that, compelled by justice and the dignity of the Holy Apostolic See, he has raised troops, and shall continue doing so, to punish the Count da Bagno, and check the audacity of the Duke of Florence, on account of his mode of proceeding in favour of the said Count; the Nuncio being also charged earnestly to assure the Emperor and the King that he is well disposed towards them, and will continue so unless they give him cause to change. The Nuncio has already performed this office with the King, who spoke him fair, in general terms, but he has not yet obtained audience of the Emperor. Don Ferrante di Sanguini, who has arrived here, expresses himself in the same terms as the Nuncio, and tells the chief personages of this court that, as the official and servant of both their Majesties, he assures them that the Pope, from his natural temperament rather than from any evil intention towards their Majesties, talks and acts as known to everybody, but that he (Sanguini) would pledge his life that unless their Majesties' ministers give his Holiness cause, he will not league with the King of France; nor did he say this because he is the Pope's kinsman, but solely in order to tell the truth. Many personages at these two courts say that should any truce be made, the Emperor will give the Duke of Florence openly whatever military assistance he can against the Pope.
The Emperor has risen from his bed, and said he will soon sign the acts of renunciation of the kingdoms of Spain and Sicily.
Brussels, 15th January 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]


  • 1. Giovanna d'Aragona was the sister of Ferdinand Francesco d'Avalos, Marquis of Pescara. (See Foreign Calendar, 1555, September 26, p. 121.) The Avalos family, which passed from Andalusia to Naples, claimed descent from William of Avalon of the blood royal of England, who established himself in Navarre in the year 926, after the accession of Athelstan. (See Genealogies of the Avalos family.)
  • 2. Felice Orsini. (See Foreign Calendar, Index, page 418.)
  • 3. Con li capelli et tabbari imbautati, che pareano huomeni.
  • 4. Guido Ascanio Sforza. (See Cardella, vol. 4, p. 142.)
  • 5. Onde con così honorata et illustre fuga.
  • 6. Already in the year 1555, some three hundred sonnets were printed at Venice in praise of Donna Giovanna d'Aragona, in Greek, Latin, Italian, and Spanish, the editor saying that he had also received some composed in the English language, but he did not print them; but I do not know whether any verses were addressed to her after the celebrated flight with which she commenced the year 1556.
  • 7. In the “Bibliothéque Sacrée” (vol. 25, p. 225, ed. Paris, 1825), it is stated that in 1555, on the death of Bartolomeo Sartorio, Archbishop of Trani, Giovanni Bernardino Scotti, a papal subject, and who became Cardinal, succeeded him; so I suppose Paul IV. cancelled the appointment made by Philip II., whose words are, “esta yglesia se a proveydo a natural de aquel reyno conforme a los capitulos del.”
  • 8. Don Fernando Ruiz de Castro, Marquis of Sarria.
  • 9. By the contemporary letter-book (penes me, p. 64) of Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at the court of Paul IV., it appears that the Cardinal of Lorraine arrived at Rome on the 21st November 1555.
  • 10. Che per esser di sdegnosa natura potria, menando più in lungo l'andata, alterarsi.
  • 11. As already mentioned, Vincenzo Parpaglia, Abbot of San Solutore, was by birth a Piedmontese.