Venice: January 1556, 16-31

Pages 317-333

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, 16–31

Jan. 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 353. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
To-day the Emperor resigned the kingdoms of Spain and Sicily to his most Serene son, in his own chamber in the villa (casino). His Majesty was on a lofty chair, and the King of England on a lower one, opposite to him. On the Emperor's right hand was Queen Eleanor, and on his left Queen Maria; behind the King stood the Bishop of Arras and the secretaries Erasso and Vargas, with some fifty lords and gentlemen of the two courts, cap in hand.
For the space of an hour the Emperor, feeble and suffering from illness, spoke thus, saying first of all that he returned thanks to God for being in a state to discharge the obligation incurred by him to his Divine Majesty, and also to his vassals, he having vowed to God that when able to effect these acts of renunciation to his subjects he would do so readily, as having no longer bodily strength he would no longer leave them without that unremitting rule which they desired, and that he knew that many persons had murmured greatly because his tardy mode of proceeding had unduly protracted this matter; but that in pursuance of his system he had chosen on this occasion likewise to be blamed for dilatoriness, rather than do anything inconsiderate in haste; and putting his hand to his heart, he swore that so long back as after his victories over the Duke of Saxony and the Landgrave of Hesse, he determined to make these acts of renunciation (pensò di far queste renuntie), and that a year and a half ago in the field at Renti, when a battle with the King of France was expected, nothing interested him more than to give orders for the removal of the casket (cassetta) containing these acts of renunciation (esse renuntie) and other most important writings, because had the battle taken place, and had he unfortunately lost it, as he might have done, his forces being so very inferior in number to those of the King, he must of necessity either lose his life or be made prisoner, as in no other way did he purpose saving himself. Had he been killed, his son and heir would have succeeded to all his States; if taken prisoner, he did not choose that he should have the trouble of ransoming him as a sovereign, but merely as a gentleman who was his father. He then continued that he was naturally so desirous of being freed from having the care of vassals, that if the first-born of the King of the Romans, after his remaining six years childless, had not been a female, he would never have married, and would have left him successor to all his States; and he narrated one by one all his voyages and expeditions made by him in the whole course of his life, as he did heretofore when resigning these provinces, showing that necessity rather than choice had induced him to undertake them. He then recommended to the King the brave and faithful vassals whom he made over to him, exhorting him to do them justice, and reward them according to their merits; and in conclusion he presented to him with his own hand his sealed will and his own gold seal, telling him to break the said seal, because as it had never again sealed any other deed for so long a while, since he had the will drawn up at Augsburg, so did he not wish it ever to legalize any document hereafter; telling him besides that he made the renunciation to him of everything absolutely, as if he had gone to a better world, but that he indeed prayed him, during his (the Emperor's) life, to do him the pleasure to execute all that he had written in this will; at which point he shed no few tears. He then had placed before him the written act of renunciation of the kingdoms of Castille, Leon, and other dependencies, and of the Indies, and after he had signed it the King went to kiss his Imperial Majesty's hand. After this, he did the like by the act renouncing the kingdoms of Aragon, Valencia, and Catalonia, to which having in like manner put his signature, the King again kissed his hand. His Imperial Majesty said besides the following precise words, “It merely remains for me to leave you Sicily” (fn. 1) (non resta anchor ch' io vi lasci la Sicilia), which he uttered for an express purpose, there being present some Sicilians, who do not admit the claims of the Aragonese to have them for their dependants; and when the Emperor had signed this act, the King kissed his hand for the third time.
His Imperial Majesty next turned to the Spanish and Sicilian lords who had been present as witnesses, telling them to go and kiss the King's hand, as their sole master, which they did immediately. He then moreover told these gentlemen that he had reserved nothing for himself but the Empire, which he would endeavour to rule with the same good-will as he had always done, and that had it been the will of God that the Germans should have known him better, they would be in better condition than they are (et che fosse stato in piacer di Dio, che quei populi I'havessero meglio conosciuto, che in miglior termine sariano che non sono). And these acts of renunciation being thus despatched; and having dismissed the Queens and the other bystanders, he remained alone with the King, and from what has been said in secret by one of his Imperial Majesty's chamberlains, he took out of a little drawer (casselletta) certain small papers (aleune picciole carte), supposed to be memorials, and after reading them one by one he tore them up. The Bishop of Arras, having been asked whether, as in these acts of renunciation, the Emperor had not mentioned Burgundy, he meant to renounce it or not, replied that, although he had given the King the Mastership of the “Fleece,” he nevertheless reserved for himself the State of Burgundy.
The King of Spain has at this hour despatched a gentleman to England to the Queen his consort to give her notice of the renunciation of the aforesaid realms, and with congratulations on her being able for the future to style herself the Queen of many and great crowns, and on her being no less their mistress than of her own crown of England; again assuring her that on his return from Antwerp (whither he departs to-morrow) he will remain a few days with the Emperor, and then go to her speedily.
I send your Serenity the list of all the personages rewarded by the Emperor in council (nella consulta), he having conferred these donations before making the renunciations. He did not concede the archbishopric of Valencia to the Bishop of Arras, who had asked it very earnestly, requesting the transfer of his own see to his brother the Abbot of Taverny. Many people are surprised at this, but I have heard some persons say that the Bishop of Cambrai being dangerously ill, the Bishop of Arras has been informed of the King's intention to give him that see. The pensions assigned to cardinals and other dependants of their Majesties at Rome, have not been communicated in detail to their agents, the Emperor and the King choosing the first news of these donations to be given by the ambassador in Rome. The “company” of fifty men-at-arms, held heretofore by the Marquis of Marignano, has been conceded to Signor Gio. Batt. Gastaldo, according to his request.
Brussels, 16th January 1556.
Jan. 17. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 354. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The conference was dissolved without any decision, and subsequently the Admiral returned to his government of Picardy. Before his departure the Imperialists did their utmost to prolong it; and as the Admiral would not consent by order of his King, the Imperialists protested that the Emperor would not have failed doing his utmost to find some fair mode of adjustment. Now the conversation of everybody relates solely to war, and although nothing will be decided until news arrive of the stipulation, it is almost certain that the Duke de Guise will go to Italy as his most Christian Majesty's lieutenant, it being said that the Duke of Ferrara, General of the League, will not quit his own territory.
The King departs to-morrow for Chambord (Sciamburgh), partly to let the palace here be cleansed, and in part also to escape the court crowd (la moltitudine della corte), in order more conveniently to consult with his chief treasurers about pecuniary supply, which will be provided to the greatest possible amount; and after remaining six days there his Majesty will return hither.
The present packet which the King is sending to his ambassador with your Serenity, (fn. 2) will be conveyed by a gentleman who is going to Constantinople, and who will urge the putting to sea of the Turkish fleet as soon as possible, it being moreover thought that he will communicate to the Sultan the negotiation of the League, and perhaps its stipulation, should it be effected before his departure from Italy, and likewise the above-mentioned dissolution of the conference.
The Marquis Albert has left the court for Germany to be present at the Diet, which his most Christian Majesty is performing every sort of office with the Imperial Princes to obtain. On his departure he received presents from the King and Queen, the whole court doing him the utmost honour, and he assured his Majesty of his devotion.
Blois, 17th January 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Jan. 17. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 355. Cardinal Pole to Henry II., King of France.
The Pope having again ordered him earnestly to urge the affair of the peace, Pole lately sent to the Emperor and his son, the Abbot of San Saluto, to whom their Majesties replied, expressing their good disposition towards the matter itself, and the mediators. For this same cause is now sending to King Henry the bearer of this letter, who is his gentleman, that he may let him know his belief that his Majesty is equally well disposed, and that as for Pole himself he will always be most ready to take any trouble and toil for the service of one side and the other, and for the quiet and public benefit of Christendom. Pole has always found, and continues to find, the same mind and readiness on the part of the Queen to do, through her Ministers, whatever may be required for this end; so they will wait to hear what King Henry shall be pleased to let them know with regard to his will and disposition. Pole has always been of opinion that Divine Providence ordained that the same means, namely, the Vicar of God and Queen Mary, whom he employed for the reconciliation of England, are to serve for the pacification of the King and the Emperor, and that they may conduce much to render any agreement between them more firm and durable.
London, 17th January 1556.
Jan. 19. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 356. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
The day before yesterday the King of Spain departed for Antwerp, where he made his entry yesterday, being received outside the town by the community with discharges of artillery, and within it several triumphal arches had been erected by the foreign merchants, all at small cost, save that of the Genoese, in which were some hollow iron balls full of powder as fireworks (per far fuoghi da dar piacere), and on his Majesty's arrival at the gate, two of them being ignited exploded with such violence that seven or eight persons were killed, including one of the King's archers, one of his gentlemen, and several others of the town and some merchants being maimed; so his Majesty would not advance further, and made the whole court halt until he sent an order to the Genoese and to the other foreign guilds not to let off any more fireworks; and the “advices” say that had the King proceeded on his way nearer to the Genoese triumphal arch he would have run great risk of his life, as, to do him more honour, they had arranged, on his closer approach, to ignite the other fire-balls, in which case he and his retinue would have been in yet greater danger.
None of the ambassadors accredited to the Emperor accompanied the King to Antwerp, save those from Florence and Mantua, the one by express order from his master, the other with the hope that, should the King obtain any money, he may pay the 36,000 crowns so often promised to Don Ferrante on account of his credit. Having taken the opinion of M. de la Chaux, the most intimate of the Emperor's chamberlains, and of other persons of the Imperial Court, I did not go, although I had heard a contrary wish expressed by some of the King's attendants; but as the Emperor reserves the imperial dignity, and I am accredited to him, I remained with his Majesty. An honourable gentleman has told me that during the whole of yesterday the Emperor seemed more cheerful than for a long while, saying several times that he thanked God, who, after the renunciation of all his States, caused him to experience that mental repose which he had indeed hoped for, notwithstanding his performance of so great an act (dicendo più volte che ringratiava Dio, che li faceva provar quel riposo d'animo dapoi rinuntiati tutti i Stati, che già havea sperato di havere, se ben faceva sì grande effetto); and that he said several jocose things to his chamberlains, asking how they would address him for the future, coming to the following details, that he wished them to say whether they would henceforth style him either your grace or your lordship (o vostra mercè o vostra signoria), leaving aside the dignity of Emperor, and he came to the conclusion that he was content to be called Don Carlos of Austria.
It is said that several gentlemen will be despatched to various Princes to give them notice of these renunciations in the name of the Emperor and the King, as soon as his Imperial Majesty shall have signed the great number of letters addressed to his vassals, which he has not yet transmitted, his hand being crippled with gout; and that the King will form a Council of State, Don Bernardino de Mendoza being proposed as its president; and some say that were not the King of opinion that Don Ferrante [Gonzaga] would decline this post, he would doubtless have sent for his Excellency and given him greater authority and salary than to anyone else on whom the choice may fall. The Bishop of Arras is named President of the Council of Justice, but the Castilians in the King's court are much opposed to him. Although there are 20 vacancies in the Order of the “Fleece,” the number of whose knights is limited to 50, the King will not fill them all, and besides those already mentioned by me, the Duke of Mantua and the Lord Marc' Antonio Colonna are under consideration. Much has been said about sending this Order to the Duke of Cleves, but his Excellency having been already sounded, showed adroitly that he did not wish for it. The report continues of a suspension of hostilities between their Majesties and France, or else a truce for two or three years, as understood chiefly through words uttered last evening by King Philip's confessor.
Brussels, 19th January 1556.
Jan. 20. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 357. Cardinal Pole to the Constable of France.
Thanks him heartily for the three safe-conducts sent through the French Ambassador in England, who said that Montmorency having done this to oblige him, contrary to his first intention, requested Pole not to ask him for any more, as the King had determined not to grant them, and the more so as though he had conceded many, the one demanded by Signor Benedetto was refused him. Pole does not comprehend the causes of the difficulty made in this matter, though he would not be surprised at exceptions made in certain cases, but in others the concession might be made easily. Be this as it may, he has to thank him for these safe-conducts, by so much the more as it was the less easy to obtain them, and yet more would he have to thank him if by his means the causes for being obliged to demand similar favours were removed, by making that peace of which Christendom has so much need. Is convinced that the Constable continues to exert himself to this end with his usual goodwill, but notwithstanding his very great authority with the most Christian King, the desired result has not yet been obtained. It now, however, appears that God of his mercy remits this punishment of war, the power of making peace having passed into the hands of those who have never injured each other personally, as the Emperor has unexpectedly left the entire burden of matters relating to war and peace to the King his son, thus demonstrating to Christendom that he is so averse to war that not finding means to make a general peace with man, he has determined to make it for himself in particular, and enjoy it more commodiously with God. And if similarity of disposition, manners, and qualities, are usually a powerful and efficacious means for conciliating friendship and love, and as this similarity exists between King Henry and King Philip, according to the opinion of many who have known them both, it seems that there is just cause for fair hopes of peace, most especially with such mediators as the Pope and Queen Mary, who have no other end in view than the honour of God, and the public and private weal of both parties; though Pole knows not how it is that the longer this negotiation for peace continues, the more does the war seem to increase. With regard to himself, Pole had been enjoined by three pontiffs to endeavour to make a peace, and especially by the present Pope, as through the continuance of the war he perceives the greater increase of every disorder, and of the misery and ruin of Christendom, which his Holiness cannot but greatly lament. For the present Pole does not see what else he can do but pray God for the removal of so great a scourge, and in the meanwhile watch for every opportunity for again proposing the peace; this present resolve of the Emperor seeming to him one that should induce the most Christian King likewise to give some notable mark that his mind is no less pious, pacific, and generous, as Pole hopes, by reason of the great virtue with which God has endowed the King, and he is certain that the Constable will always employ his good offices for this purpose.
Greenwich, 20th January 1556.
Jan. 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 358. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Abbot of San Saluto has not yet arrived, the contrary wind having detained him at Calais during the last 16 days, much to his misfortune and to the surprise of everybody. On the first day of his arrival there he wrote to Cardinal Pole how very anxious he was to be with his right reverend lordship speedily. Some persons were of opinion that he has gone from Calais into France, most especially as several persons are known to have attempted the passage, which they accomplished without danger. Cardinal Pole nevertheless says plainly that should the Abbot have taken this step he must have done so from his own fancy, as according to the order given him he was first of all to return hither, and his right reverend lordship expects him from hour to hour, knowing that there are upwards of 100 persons, together with the ordinary posts from Rome, all detained at Calais by the same impediment. The wind, although it has abated during the last two days, is still contrary.
Last week some of the Lords of the Council here occupied themselves about a matter of which, although it will perhaps appear ridiculous and unimportant to your Serenity, as it did to us likewise, yet as they viewed it in a different light, I will not omit to give account. So far as I can understand, in many places in the city of London and throughout the kingdom, a printed paper was circulated and published, urging the people to rebel, giving them to understood that King Edward was still alive and well, and in France, awaiting some demonstration in his favour to enable him to come and recover his crown, and so forth. To ascertain the origin of these things, they ordered the arrest in the country of the same rogue who last year, after having been publicly whipped, had his ears cropped for personating King Edward; and now they have had him and some other persons of greater consequence brought hither prisoners to the Tower for close examination, which is being done, in expectation of thus discovering the ringleaders, whom the Lords of the Council suspect of being instigated by method rather than by madness.
London, 21st January 1556.
Jan. 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 359. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
A gentleman has been sent by the Admiral to the King to let him know that the Imperial Commissioners, his colleagues at the conference, had again recalled him concerning the affair of the prisoners, so he was leaving St. Quentin. (fn. 3) This has surprised everybody, it being considered almost certain that this move (retacamento) is not so much on account of the prisoners as for the sake of renewing the negotiation for the truce, it being known that the Constable wishes for it, much more than he does for the League. It is supposed that if he can conclude this truce, his authority will enable him to persuade the King to accept it, regardless of anything (senza rispetto alcuno), even should the said League have been stipulated, but including those who are parties to it (includendosi però li collegati).
Blois, 23rd January 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Jan. 24? MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. No date of time. Printed in vol. v. pp. 16, 18, “Epistolarum, etc.” 360. Cardinal Pole to Pope Paul IV.
On the day when the Abbot of San Saluto returned from Flanders, (fn. 4) received the papal brief, confirming him as Legate for the negotiation of the peace, as he had been under the two preceding pontiffs, to which office he was appointed immediately on the present Pope's accession. Nothing could be more opportune than this nomination to silence malignants (of whom in these times there is abundance), who boasted that his Holiness meditated war. They will no longer know what to say, perceiving by the Pope's letters how earnestly he desires the conclusion of the peace. For an account of what has been done in this matter hitherto, to avoid wearying his Holiness, refers him to his (Pole's) letters to Cardinal Caraffa.
Together with this brief concerning the peace, received two others, one addressed to himself, the other to the English prelates, commending their exertions in assembling (cogendâ) the synod for the reformation of the English Church, and exhorting them all to attend with redoubled vigour to that work. This afforded additional encouragement to Pole, nor is it possible to say with how much veneration the prelates listened to the perusal of these briefs, showing their readiness to obey all the Pope's mandates.
There was also consigned to him the bull of his election to the archbishopric of Canterbury. Although in truth the weight of the charge at first alarmed him, so that he would not of his own accord have accepted it willingly, yet considering who the Princes were, at whose recommendation he was nominated to this post, by whom it was confirmed, and the persons who approved his election, as also those the cure of whose souls is confided to him and in his own country, which is naturally most dear to him, he dared not by the slightest word refuse this burden.
London, [24th January 1556.?]
[Latin, 36 lines.]
Jan. 25. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 361. Cardinal Pole to King Philip.
Has heard with great pleasure of the renunciation made to him by the Emperor of the realms of Spain, and his other remaining kingdoms. His Imperial Majesty has great reason to acknowledge the goodness of God, who, when the Emperor through indisposition could no longer conveniently bear so great a burden, granted him such a son, from whom he, his subjects, and the whole of Christendom may anticipate all comfort and benefit. The Abbot of San Saluto, who was detained a fortnight at Calais by contrary weather, has given him the King's letters and messages about the peace, and after communicating them to the Queen and the Regent Figueroa, it was thought well for Pole to send likewise to France, as he purposes doing, and will merely add that he has lately received a brief from the Pope, desiring him to pursue the negotiation vigorously. He has also received the bull of his election to the archbishopric of Canterbury, to which their Majesties were pleased to nominate him, the Pope having made the proposal in consistory, and although the weight of so great and to him so unusual a burden cannot but cause him much fear, nevertheless when he considers by what means it was laid on him, and whom he is to serve, he comforts himself with the hope that the Divine goodness will assist him to bear it.
With regard to what the King writes to him about the church of Trani, he remembers perfectly that the matter proceeded in the way written by his Majesty, and thus did Pole write at the time to Cardinal Caraffa, and will do so again, reminding him of the fact, that he may speak about it to the Pope, who (Pole is very sure) will have every possible regard for the King, who may rest assured that the person [Bernardo Scotti], on whom that see has been conferred by his Holiness, is of rare virtue and goodness, and possesses every other quality becoming a worthy and good prelate, as Pole knows by reason of his long and close friendship with him, and on the present occasion he has thought it his duty to bear witness accordingly to his Majesty.
The Queen is quite consoled by the sure hope which the King has given her of his speedy return.
Greenwich, 25th January 1556.
Jan. 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 362. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
Don Ruy Gomez has arrived from Antwerp, having been sent by the King of Spain to the Emperor. He remained upwards of three hours with his Imperial Majesty, and went back early this morning. He came to show the Emperor a form of agreement to be proposed to the French commissioners respecting the truce, one clause stipulating the reciprocal restitution of the acquisitions made in these parts, and that the other matters were to be reserved for the treaty of peace. The Emperor did not approve the agreement either in form or substance, and some say that as the King could not have sent the Emperor any person for whom he has greater esteem, so it would have been impossible for the King in his whole court to find a more ardent intercessor for this truce than Ruy Gomez.
King Philip's commissioners write to him that they will do their utmost to keep the negotiation for this truce on foot until they receive fresh orders, saying that the French seem more desirous of settling the affair of the prisoners than that of the truce. Notwithstanding, at Antwerp, amongst the merchants, and even by the courtiers, many wagers are staked that the truce will be concluded in the course of next month, whilst the Imperial courtiers show by words and deeds that it will not take place. On the day before yesterday the Emperor received from the King no fewer than 300 documents for his signature, to all of which he affixed it without reading them to oblige his son, who, according to the Imperialists here, accepted the Emperor's renunciation, not of his realms themselves, but of the toil of ruling them, and they say that King Philip on his departure told the Emperor earnestly that he wished all honour and glory to rest with his Imperial Majesty (che voleva che di lei fosse ogni honore et gloria).
Brussels, 26th January 1556.
Jan. 27 Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 363. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On the 22nd the Abbot of San Saluto arrived and went to the court [at Greenwich] with Cardinal Pole, who was here in London on account of the synod. After giving account of his negotiations at Brussels he remained two consecutive days in great debate with his right reverend lordship, whether he ought to proceed to France or not, on two sole accounts which have arisen lately of no slight consideration with regard to the honour of the Cardinal and of the most Serene Queen. The one was, as it is heard for certain, that at the conference held by the commissioners for the exchange of prisoners, matters were so far advanced that if by this time the decision has not been formed it cannot be long delayed; and to send the Abbot hence, repeating a useless act (et rifar un atto frustatorio), would consequently be a disreputable mission as the business is in course of negotiation elsewhere, besides the shame to which he would be put if compelled to return, from having met the news on the road. The other was, that the Lords of the Council represented to Cardinal Pole and complained to him that for the dignity and authority of the Queen, now that matters were drawing to a close (che le cose stringevano), it was not to be borne that he should appropriate the whole business to himself, sending his own agents and excluding those of her Majesty, to whom this office principally belonged, and they objected to the Abbot not only on account of his being the Cardinal's dependant (servitor), but also because he is an alien, and therefore not to be preferred to those who were the Queen's subjects. For these reasons it has been thought best not to employ either the Abbot or any Englishman, but to send Missier Mattio di Priuli, son of the most noble Missier Antonio (fn. 5) who, under pretence of returning to Paris to continue his studies, will not seem to have been sent for this purpose, and will perform the office destined for the Abbot, taking with him both letters and the necessary instructions, of which he is to avail himself, if on his arrival at the French court he do not find that anything has been settled, thus avoiding any shame or affront from the danger of interfering with what was already accomplished, by sending a person ostensibly despatched for this business. (Et così si fuggì et ogni indignità et vergogna che si potesse ricevere, per il pericolo di non moversi a cosa fatta, mandandosi persona che pari espedita per questo negotio.)
The said Messer Mathio was to have taken his departure yesterday, but they delayed it until to-day, and it will perhaps be prolonged till to-morrow, so that he sent to say he would do his best to come and see me before leaving. The decision brought by the Abbot from Brussels was the full confirmation of their Majesties' will with regard to every article; so by reason of what he had heard from the French he was in great hopes of an indubitable adjustment (di certo appontamento). At present he has met with this hindrance (disturbo), from the necessity for returning hither, Cardinal Pole having expressly ordered him so to do, not choosing to give him credentials for France, which the Abbot—foretelling as it were what came to pass—very earnestly requested of him, he being now in great doubt and distress, lest others reap the fruit of his exertions.
It has been said to me, on good authority, about the cause which in great measure induced the Imperialists and the French (questi) to authorize the commissioners for the exchange of prisoners to conclude the adjustment, that the resolve in great part arose from the extreme coldness which both sides, but principally the French, perceived at the conference of Calais, not only on the part of Cardinal Pole—it seeming to them that had his right reverend lordship bestirred himself (si fosse riscaldata) as he should and might have done, the resolve now about to be made would doubtless have taken place then—but also in the English lords, two of whom, namely the Earl of Arundel and Lord Paget—the late Chancellor being the third—showed themselves well disposed. These two, after the two first days, commenced urging their departure thence, declaring openly that the conference could produce no fruit or effect, so clearly had their colleagues evinced their mind and bias. (fn. 6) Therefore “questi signori,” now suspecting that, were the English again to mediate, the affair would encounter greater delay and difficulty, have not hesitated to act in this manner, the Imperialists knowing that they can safely do anything with the Queen, whilst the French have been still less scrupulous about transferring the negotiations from this side to their own ministers, they being no longer so well pleased as formerly, either with Cardinal Pole or with the English, hoping in this way to effect the adjustment much more easily and speedily; nor, in case of failure, would they ever be at a loss for the means of returning it here.
On his passage hither the Abbot was accompanied by Don Luis Mendes and Don Juan Pacheco, gentlemen “of the mouth” in the service of King Philip, they also having been detained several days at Calais by the contrary wind. Mendes has come to announce the cession made by the Emperor to his son, of Spain, the Indies, and Sicily, and of what remained to him, that her Majesty might thus know she was mistress (patrona) to command in those realms as in these. Pacheco was charged to assure her Majesty that, immediately on the despatch of his business at Antwerp, the King will return hither, which news would have completely comforted the Queen, had not her consolation been somewhat diminished by hearing that he will first go back from Antwerp to Brussels, fearing he may be detained for a yet longer period; but as the King has ordered his household to be sent on from Antwerp to Calais, it is a great sign that even should he return to Brussels he will not remain there long.
Mr. Somerset [Edmund Atkinson, Somerset Herald,] also arrived here at the same time from Rome, with the “expeditions” (fn. 7) for the archbishopric of Canterbury in the person of the most illustrious Legate, who, having received the bulls, will take possession, and henceforth assume the cure and administration of that see; and the sentence against the late Archbishop [Cranmer] will soon be executed, he remaining more obstinate than ever in his heresies (stando più che mai ostinato nelle sue heresie).
London, 27th January 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Jan. 27. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 364. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The most Christian King returned hither last evening, and before he left Chambord (Schiamburgh) advices arrived from the Admiral, who having gone back to the conference, the Imperialists again proposed the truce, if his most Christian Majesty would consent to restore three fortresses taken by him during this war in the Luxemburg territory, namely Javes (sic), Memades (sic), and Davvilliers (sic), and pay an annual pension of 50,000 crowns to the Duke of Savoy. To this proposal the Admiral replied that he had come to treat the affair of the prisoners, but as their lordships made these offers he could merely reply that his most Christian Majesty had commissioned him not to listen to any proposal for peace, unless the Emperor consented to restore the Milanese; nor for truce, unless equitable arrangements were made either by restitution on both sides, or that both one and the other should remain as they are (overo stando ciascuno nelli sui termini). After long debate the Imperial commissioners again proposed that the King of France should consent to restore Marienburg to the Emperor, and give a fair annual pension to the Duke of Savoy, and the Emperor, pitying his condition, would do the same by him, the Duke being left at liberty to live and reside (di poter viver et trattenersi) wherever he pleased. The Imperialists prayed the Admiral not to fail imparting these proposals to his King, in the Emperor's name, which the Admiral promised to do.
When this intelligence arrived, the decision was proposed in council with great altercation between the Constable on the one hand, who continues more than ever in favour of the Truce, and the Duke of Guise on the other, who uses every effort in order that with the League, the Italian expedition may be carried on. After much contest his most Christian Majesty resolved that he would not reject the compact (quella sorte di compositione) which was offered him, provided (as he had declared on every occasion) matters proceeded reciprocally (che le cose andassero del pari); that if the Emperor would give a pension to the Duke of Savoy, he also would give him as much more (gli ne darebbe altretanta); that if the Emperor wished for Marienburg, his Imperial Majesty on his part should also be pleased to give in exchange the new fortress of Hesdin; and if on the contrary the Emperor would not restore anything, that he be content that the King of France should do the like. Thus was it written to the Admiral, and the final resolve is expected in three or four days. The Emperor is supposed to have come to this conclusion owing to the League treated by the King of France in Italy; and should this adjustment not tale place, and lest it seem strange to the confederates that his Majesty should have given ear to it, I understand that the whole has been communicated to the Pope and to the Duke of Ferrara, and that the King will not form any decision without including and benefiting his friends and confederates.
I notified to your Serenity the offer made by the Florentine outlaws to accommodate the King with 400,000 crowns, at the rate of 16 per cent. (con utile di 16 per cento) and subsequently it has been heard by letters from Rome that the Cardinals of Lorraine and Tournon made a contract with Bindo Altoviti for 300,000 crowns, at the rate of 16 per cent. interest, but as the debentures which the Cardinal of Lorraine (il detto Rmo di Lorena) had were not approved of, they sent back hither for fresh ones, but by reason of the aforesaid negotiation the resolve remains in suspense; and the said Altoviti, besides the King's security, bound himself on his own private account to pay the sums assigned to all the parties at the appointed times.
Yesterday the Nuncio here received letters from the Abbot of San Saluto, dated Calais, the 10th instant, concerning what the Pope wrote to Cardinal Pole about negotiating an adjustment between these two Princes, telling him that he had been sent by the Queen and Cardinal to the Emperor and his son, where he had already been, and as he could not have audience of the Emperor, who had a violent fit of the gout in both shoulders, he had performed the office enjoined him with King Philip, and brought back such assurance of the excellent disposition of both their Majesties, as was anticipated by the Queen and by his Cardinal. The Abbot added that he was awaiting fair weather to cross the Channel and return to London, from whence they would immediately despatch either himself or some other person to come and treat this matter with his most Christian Majesty, and in the meanwhile he requested the Nuncio to communicate all this to the Constable, but as yet no one has appeared, which perhaps proceeds from this fresh conference [at the Abbey of Vaucelles].
The said Abbot also writes that the cause of the postponement of the Emperor's departure, besides his indisposition, was the great risk of his life, as represented to him by the physicians, had he put to sea this winter, but that his Imperial Majesty is more than ever desirous of going to Spain as soon as the weather improves.
Blois, 27th January 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Jan. 27. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 365. Cardinal Pole to the Cardinal of Lorraine.
Hopes he will have returned from Rome on the arrival of the bearer of this letter, who will be Messer Mattheo Priuli, Poleos gentleman, whom he sends to do the like by King Henry as he has already done by the Emperor and the King his son through the Abbot of San Saluto, the Pope having again desired Pole to urge the negotiation of peace, for which Lorraine's piety and grade alike bind him to co-operate.
London, 27th January 1556.
Jan. 27. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 366. Cardinal Pole to the Constable of France.
Montmorency will have heard that Pole sent the Abbot of San Saluto to Brussels about the peace, which the Pope has again desired him to prosecute, and as the reply was favourable, he is sending his gentleman, Mattheo Priuli, to the most Christian King on the like mission. It is unnecessary for him to exhort the Constable to favour so holy a matter.
London, 27th January 1556.
Jan. 27. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 367. Cardinal Pole to the Bishop of Viterbo [Nuncio in France].
Will have heard how he sent the Abbot of San Saluto to Brussels about the peace, and the reply being favourable, he is now sending Mattheo Priuli to perform the like office with his most Christian Majesty, and requests the Nuncio to introduce him. London, 27th January 1556.
Jan. 27? (fn. 8) MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 368. Instruction for Mattheo Priuli from Cardinal Pole.
Will tell the King of France the reason why the Legate sent the Abbot of San Saluto lately to the Emperor and the King of England, namely to resume the negotiation for peace according to the commission again received from the Pope; and Pole having heard of the appointment of commissioners by their Majesties for an exchange of prisoners, he thought it was a good opportunity for proceeding farther with the negotiation for peace. The Abbot brought back word that the Emperor and the King approved of its being carried on by the Queen and Pole, who commenced it; and as after the return of the Abbot, who was for a long while prevented from crossing the Channel by contrary winds, news arrived that the commissioners for the exchange of prisoners had been joined by other personages to treat the peace, the Legate has thought fit now to perform no other office with the King of France than to announce this reply brought by the Abbot. Priuli will make this announcement also to the Cardinal of Lorraine and the Constable, and will be guided throughout by the opinion and direction of the Nuncio.
[London, 27th January 1556?]
Jan. 27. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 369. Cardinal Pole to Cardinal Morone.
Somerset delivered to him Morone's letters of the 2nd and 12th December. Nor will Pole say more about the briefs brought by him concerning the peace and the archbishopric [of Canterbury], as Morone can hear all particulars from his agent and by the copy of his letter to the Pope. Requests him to pray God to enable Pole to bear the burden, as Pole constantly prays for Morone, which is all he can do in return for his affection as demonstrated on every occasion. Their Majesties' ambassador has written to the Queen about Cardinal Puteo, of whom Morone writes, and Pole spoke lately on the subject to the Queen, who promised to recommend him warmly by letter to the King, on whose arrival, which is hoped for shortly, Pole will not fail to perform every loving office with him in favour of Monsigr. Barengo, as due for his labours, and in conformity with the wish of Morone and Pole to do whatever they can to gratify him. Apologizes for not writing more from lack of time.
London, 27th January 1556.
Jan. 27. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 370. Cardinal Pole to Cardinal [Carlo] Caraffa.
Acquaints him with the missions to Brussels and France of Parpaglia and Priuli. Should Priuli on his arrival find matters in such a state as to render negotiation unseasonable, he is charged to do nothing further, but to remain in Paris, whither he had intended going previously, Pole thus avoiding any affront to which he might have been subjected had he sent a person who at any rate must have returned to England [before going to France].
Touching Caraffa's notice of the seven cardinals lately elected by the Pope, (fn. 9) Pole, being convinced that they are all worthy of the account in which his Holiness thus shows that he holds them, rejoices greatly at the promotion, and particularly at that of the Cardinal of Trani, Pole through his long and intimate acquaintance with him having always known that he is most deserving of every honour. The King wrote about the church of Trani to Pole, who replied as Caraffa will see by the enclosed copy, and he may remind the Pope of what Pole wrote to him on this subject heretofore.
London, 27th January 1556.
Jan. 28. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 371. Cardinal Pole to the Cardinal of Trani [Giovanni Bernardo Scotti].
Heard lately of Scotti's promotion to the cardinalate with feelings of compassion towards Scotti himself and of congratulation on every account, both public and private, towards the Church and the Pope, with the sure hope that the goodness of God will always comfort and assist him. Subsequently Pole received Scotti's letter of the 11th evincing his great anxiety, besides what is caused him by this promotion, about the additional burden of the church of Trani, concerning which he will have heard what King Philip wrote to Pole, and his reply, whereby he bore witness to his intimate acquaintance with Scotti and his opinion of him, without proceeding further, nor has he heard anything more from the King subsequently, and he has firm hope that in this matter likewise the Lord God will ordain what is most for his honour and service. It is unnecessary for him to make any offers to Scotti, who may believe how he wishes to serve him in whatever he can. Has desired his agent to request Scotti to avail himself of whatever Pole has at Rome as if it were his own, and prays that he will employ him for anything else he may require, with such reliance and confidence as become their true friendship and union in Christ, to which he has the greater hope Scotti may adapt himself the more it differs from his usual maxim, and that feeling the increased burden he will practise self-denial, and to comfort himself have recourse more earnestly ad illum qui consolatur humiles, of which remedy Pole always has had and continues to have constant need; so he requests Scotti to have him always present in his prayers, as he in like manner prays for Scotti, who will hear about the affairs of the religion in England from Pole's agent.
London, 28th January 1556.


  • 1. “On the 16th of January 1556, three days before this letter was written, the Emperor signed and sealed the act of abdication of his Sicilian and Spanish kingdoms and their dependencies in Africa and the New World.” (See Stirling, Cloister Life of Emperor Charles V., p. 12, ed. 1853.
  • 2. Bishop of Lodève. (See Foreign Calendar, 1553–1558, Index.)
  • 3. By the Foreign Calendar, 1553–1558, pp. 207, 208, it is seen that the site of this conference was the Abbey of Vaucelles.
  • 4. The proximate date of this letter is thus ascertained, as the despatch of Giovanni Michiel, dated London, 27th January 1556, mentions the return of San Saluto on the 22nd.
  • 5. Matteo Priuli, son of the Procurator Antonio, accompanied Cardinal Pole to England, and in 1565 became Bishop of Vicenza, which see he resigned to his nephew, Michele Priuli, in 1579. (See Capellari, Campidoglio Veneto, vol. 3, MS. in St. Mark's Library.)
  • 6. The words in the original are, “Questi due fin dalli due primi giorni comintiorono a sollicitar la partita facendo aperta professione che non potesse seguire frutto o effetto alcuno, tanto bene mostrorono lo animo et desiderio loro.” I gather the meaning of this obscure sentence from the fact that the English commissioners at this conference were Gardiner, Arundel, and Paget, so I infer that these two last, being of the imperial faction, opposed the more moderate English policy of Pole and Gardiner, who were therefore accused of being lukewarm. In Froude (vol. vi. p. 344, ed. London, 1860), no mention is made of the Earl of Arundel; and Michiel, on the other hand, shows that Pembroke was recalled from Calais before the 6th May, on the 20th of which month the conference commenced.
  • 7. See also Mr. Turnbull's Calendar, 4th January 1556, No. 455, showing that Somerset Herald had been sent by Sir Edward Carne.
  • 8. No date of time or place in MS.
  • 9. The promotion took place on the 20th December 1555. (See Cardella, vol. 4, p. 342.)