Venice: February 1556, 16-28

Pages 346-361

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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February 1556, 16–28

Feb. 16. Original Letter Book, penes me, Letter No. 55, p. 194. 393. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
This morning the Count of Montorio sent to tell me that after midnight a courier arrived with letters from the Nuncio in France, dated the 6th, announcing the suspension of hostilities for five years, between the most Christian King and the most Serene King of England.
Rome, 16th February 1556.
Feb. 17. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 394. Cardinal Pole to King Philip. (fn. 1)
As now, at the beginning of Lent, it is fitting for the prelates of England [now in London] to be at their residences, Pole has thought fit to close the synod; and as some matters, about which full information could not be obtained at present, remained for regulation, it was dismissed with orders to meet again on the 10th of November next to settle what remains. They occupied themselves with making provision for the things most necessary for the ecclesiastical reform and government of England, with regard to which all these prelates and the rest of the clergy evinced the utmost goodwill and zeal for the honour and service of God, and took care, as much as possible, to replace things according to the rules and institutions of the Church, without any innovation whatever; and much to his satisfaction he availed himself of the assistance of the Father Fra Bartholomeo Miranda, and of Fra Pedro de Soto, whom he sent for lately from Oxford for this purpose. Pole will not molest the King by giving him at present more precise information about what was done, more especially as he hopes soon to be able thus to do at the King's greater convenience on his return, which in truth becomes more and more necessary, and more desired daily; and although the Queen is convinced of the necessity which detains his Majesty, she cannot but greatly regret being so long deprived of his company; and Pole prays God that she and all may soon be comforted.
Having received the bulls for the archbishopric of Canterbury (as he wrote to the King), he has now commenced preparing for his consecration, as he thinks it fitting not to allow Lent to pass without going to his said church; (fn. 2) so, please God, he purposes (with their Majesties' leave and favour) to betake himself there on Palm Sunday, and prays the Divine goodness to give him the grace to serve to the honour of God, and for the salvation of the souls committed to his charge, thus acting in accordance with the King's piety. Has received the King's letters of the 11th ult.; they are anxious to hear of some favourable conclusion about the truce, and Pole's messenger, whom he sent to France to negotiate it there, writes in date of the 9th instant, that as it was considered settled he had done nothing further.
London, 17th February 1556.
Feb. 19? MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. p. 220, recto. No date of time or place in MS. Printed in vol. pp. 18, 20, “Epistolaru Reginaldi Poli,” &c., without any date. 395. Cardinal Pole to Pope Paul IV.
Congratulates the Pope on his diligence and piety in commencing the reform of the Roman Court and Church, as the pious and wise always thought that this would be the best mode for providing against the iniquity of the times; and he, Pole, being charged to reform the English Church, is glad to have it in his power to show how the reform has been commenced at Rome, he having to urge obedience to the See Apostolic and to his Holiness. The Pope will see what has been done in the synod by the acts, showing that the measures proposed had been already adopted by the Pope at Rome. This notwithstanding, he refers everything to the Pope's judgment. Such, however, had been the confusion of ecclesiastical law and customs (morum), and the corruption of the Catholic doctrine of late years, that the necessary reform could not be effected so immediately. The greatest difficulty consisted in the distribution of the [church] property, which the piety of the Sovereigns left at Pole's disposal as his Holiness' Legate; and it still remains, as nothing can be settled either about liabilities (de oncribus) or fruits until the exaction of both, namely before next Michaelmas. In the meanwhile, Lent now approaching, the Bishops must be at their churches; nor could abuses be remedied until after the visitations of the dioceses, which will be effected during this interval. The bishops were therefore dismissed, and the synod has been summoned for the 10th of November; and he thinks also of sending to Ireland, where the same reformatory remedies are needed and desired.
This letter and the acts of the synod will be conveyed by his attendant Mariano Retino (Marianus Reatinus), whom, as he is returning to Italy, Cardinal Pole considered a very fitting person to give account of the decrees and other matters, in many of which he took part; and he is of such piety and learning that in like manner as they had his approval, so will he be able to explain them becomingly. Requests gracious audience for him, praying God long to preserve the Pope for the world and His Church.
[London, 19th February 1556?]
Feb. 19. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. pp. 159, 161. 396. Cardinal Pole to Cardinal Morone.
As it is fitting for the English prelates to be at their churches at the beginning of Lent (although they had not completed all the business assigned them), the synod has been adjourned till the 10th of November next, during which interval the bishops, by visiting their dioceses and acquainting themselves well with certain matters, will then be better able to make provision for them, as they have already done for what seemed most necessary; and as the decrees are not yet in suitable order to be sent to the Pope, Pole will now give Morone a summary of what has been done that he may communicate it to his Holiness.
First of all, before proceeding farther, many days were spent in regulating the affairs of the church property restored by the Crown, verifying it in detail, and assigning to each diocese its portion of said property, as also of the charge (gravezza) to be levied in payment of the pensions, which will cease with the death of the holders, to the great relief and advantage of the Church.
Considering in the next place all the haste, mischief, and disorder caused by the schism, it was determined to celebrate annually the first day of the meeting of the synod throughout the kingdom, by public processions and solemn thanksgivings for so great a benefit, and that in the daily masses a collect composed for the purpose be added to all English missals. As on the withdrawal of the obedience, the authority of the ecclesiastical laws was simultaneously abrogated, it seemed necessary to restore them by acknowledging all the ordinances (consoli) and decretal epistles of the popes, and every other ecclesiastical law and tradition approved by the Roman Church. And as from disobedience to the laws there arose the license to read every sort of book, so that the people began to be infected, all heretical and suspected works are now prohibited, the penalties being revived against such as keep, read, print, and bring them into the country, with orders that henceforth nothing whatever be printed without a license from the ordinary, according to the decree of the last Lateran Council. In order that the people may not be carried about by every wind of doctrine (non circumferatur oñia veno doctrinesic), it has been forbidden to hold or teach any other doctrine than that which is approved and held by the Roman Church, and all those who believe and teach otherwise are condemned as heretics, all the penalties and provisions enacted heretofore against similar persons being renewed. And as in England they sinned especially with regard to the doctrine of the primacy of the Church, and the sacraments, it has been decreed in these two matters to give the people (di dar al populo) the brief doctrine as clearly explained in the Council of Florence (nel Concilio Fiorentino). And as in England there are many abuses about the custody and administration of the sacraments, all the laws and provisions made in this matter have been renewed, and it has been ordained that the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist be kept in every parish church, sub serâ et elavi, in a stately (honorevole) and suitable tabernacle on the altar, as at Rome.
Having established this foundation for doctrine and canon law, and the administration of the sacraments, they made decrees about the residence of bishops and curates, and of all persons holding dignities, offices, and administrations (administrationi); providing also against the absence of canons, in which matter the abuse was such that the churches remained well nigh desolate, nor was there any visible difference between a collegiate church and cathedral and a mere parish church. They provided against those who without sufficient dispensations hold incompatible benefices (beneficij incompatibili); and as residence would be of little use unless they perform their office, it has been ordained that every bishop and curate, unless legitimately impeded, is to teach and preach the word of God in person; and for such curates as are not so able to preach, certain pious and learned men of the clergy have been commissioned to write homilies, on such subjects as shall seem most necessary and to the purpose, for the edification of the people, taking everything from the writings of the fathers of the Church (degli antichi dottori della chiesa), chiefly with a view to remove and extirpate the past errors; which homilies will be printed in an English translation, the bishops distributing them to the said curates that they may read them to their flocks in lieu of sermons. It was also ordained that no one is to preach without apostolic authority, or that of the ordinary, who is also to instruct the preachers de materiâ et formâ predicandi; the curates being also ordered, at least on holydays, to teach the children of their parishes prima rudimenta fidei. And as the example of a good and decorous life gives authority and vigour to the doctrine preached, a general decree has been issued for the reform of the bishops personally, their furniture, household, and table, and for the dispensation of the church revenues, the bishops being also ordered to make their dependent clergy observe the ecclesiastical laws de vitáaA et honestate clericorum, and to make a brief compendium of the things most necessary, and publish it in their dioceses; and it has been enacted that the clergy of the higher orders, whether beneficed or not, and those of the lower orders holding benefices, are bound to lead a life becoming the clerical state, both with regard to apparel and everything else. They have especially censured (dannato) the illicit matrimonial union of the religious, of professed nuns, and of all persons in holy orders; to the collation of which orders but little attention being paid, this matter has been regulated, as also that of their serving the bishops. Moreover, touching the collation of benefices, in order that they may be conferred on meritorious persons, an abuse has been remedied whereby those who possessed the right of presentation to a living conceded to others the faculty of presenting before the benefices were vacant, thus giving rise to great disorders. Provision has also been made against simony, which prevailed greatly in England, and most especially by purchasing the favour of the person employed to intercede for the candidate for any benefice. To provide for the conservation of such property as has remained to the churches, orders have been given to observe the “Paulina” and the other ordinances de . . . . is ecc cis non alienandis, and that careful inventories be made of all the property of the churches. Certain ancient regulations have been revived about provincial councils, and giving benefices on lease; and there being a great scarcity in England of ecclesiastical ministers, with risk, unless provision be made, of its increasing daily, orders have been given for every cathedral, according to the quality of the church and extent of the diocese, to rear a certain number of scholars according to ecclesiastical discipline, especial regulations being instituted about the books they are to read and their mode of studying, which may also serve for the other schools throughout the realm. All persons have been prohibited from assuming the charge of teaching without a license from the ordinary, who will give the masters the order to be observed by them in teaching their pupils. In conclusion, certain provisions have been made about the visitations of bishops and others invested with this charge, a compendium being formed of what they are to do, and Pole as Legate has conceded to the bishops the faculty auctoritate apostolicâ to visit exempted places, pro unâcurates being also ordered, at least vice tantum, which they will do after Easter, visiting all their dioceses.
This is the summary of all the provision it has been possible to make at present, endeavouring to bring things back to the ancient ordinances and institutions of the Church without making any innovation. They will now attend to the arrangement of the decrees in order to send them to Morone, that he may present them to the Pope, to whose holy and prudent judgment Pole refers everything as becoming. Amongst the most pious people in England great complaint is heard about the facility with which licenses are obtained at Rome to eat meat at the prohibited times, and for penitents to choose their confessors, of which licenses they make an ill use to their own ruin, and set a bad example to others; the like being done with regard to dispensations on account of incompatibility (ad incompatibilità); in which matters Pole has proceeded with great caution, this being requisite for the service of God. He has firm hope that the Pope will give a general order about things of this sort, but nevertheless it would be perhaps well for him to make especial provision, de presenti, with regard to these things in England, and should Morone think fit he might speak about this to his Holiness.
London, 19th February 1556.
Feb. 19. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 397. Cardinal Pole to Cardinal [Carlo] Caraffa.
Has letters dated the 6th and 9th from the gentleman sent by him to France, informing him that, on his arrival there, he found the truce was considered settled, and therefore acted according to Pole's order, which was approved by the Nuncio and the English ambassador in France; and in truth, under these circumstances, to have sent the Abbot of San Saluto would have been undignified, which has thus been avoided, without, however, failing to do what was due, though as yet there is nothing new from Brussels. Notwithstanding, the truce is supposed to be concluded, and the French ambassador in London has sent to tell him that he was ordered by his King to congratulate him, as he acknowledged this to be the result of the conference of Calais, and that after performing this same office with the Queen, of whom he had demanded audience, he would go to Pole. Hopes that this may be the commencement of a true and lasting peace.
Has given account to Cardinal Morone, for communication to the Pope, of the prorogation of the synod, and of what it had enacted.
London, 19th February 1556.
Feb. 20. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 398. Cardinal Pole to Henry II., King of France.
His Majesty's ambassador has acquainted him with the conclusion of the truce, at which he rejoices greatly, hoping it may lead to a lasting peace for the complete comfort of Christendom, and especially of the Pope, who lately charged him most warmly to urge both their Majesties to that effect. As the King will have heard that he sent the Abbot of S. Saluto to Brussels, he now writes the present letter, which will be delivered by his gentleman, to congratulate the King on this commencement of quiet.
Greenwich, 20th February 1556.
Feb. 20. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 399. Cardinal Pole to the Cardinal of Lorraine.
Congratulates him on the truce, and hopes it may lead to peace. Thanks him for his letter from Rome, and for his friendly demonstrations there, both in public and private.
London, 20th February 1556.
Autograph postscript.—If he had reason previously to urge Lorraine to use his authority and favour with the King about the peace, he has now cause to do so the more strongly on account of this preliminary truce, which he is sure will yet more stimulate him to this good end, in like manner as it will cause Pole to perform every good office with King Philip on his return to England.
Feb. 20. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 400. Cardinal Pole to the Constable of France.
Montmorency will have heard that Pole sent a messenger to King Henry, in like manner as the Abbot of San Saluto was sent by him to the Emperor and his son to negotiate the peace; and King Henry having informed Pole, through his ambassador, of the truce, he congratulates him on it through this messenger, who will do the like by the Constable, who he is sure will exert himself so that the truce may be followed by a peace.
London, 20th February 1556.
Feb. 20? MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. No date of time or place in MS. 401. Cardinal Pole to the Nuncio [in France].
Has heard from Mattheo di Priuli that, following his own prudent opinion, he did not present the letter to the King, to whom Pole now writes his congratulations on the conclusion of the truce, as announced to him by the French ambassador.
[London, 20th February 1556?]
Feb.? MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. No date of time in MS. 402. Cardinal Pole to the President of the Congregation of Monte Cassino.
The bearer of this letter will be a Venetian hermit called Angel Madonna, whom Pole knew at Rome shortly before his departure thence, and from information received by Pole he is a very worthy person, and was for some years in the hermitage of Monte Spoleto, and in other places likewise. Pole has never much liked this institution of becoming a religious (di darsi alla religione) without obedience [to any superior?], and when discussing the subject with Angel Madonna, said he should think it better for him to pass the rest of his life in some monastery, to which he seemed disposed, evincing an especial inclination and affection towards their congregation [of Monte Cassino]; (fn. 3) and from a hermitage where he still is he wrote lately to Pole requesting his recommendation and assistance to obtain entry for him into the monastery of Santa Giustina of Padua, or of St. Giorgio of Venice, declaring his readiness to work as much as he can for the service of the monastery by embroidering (ricamando), in which art he is very skilful. Pole prays the President to accept and harbour this poor old man, in such place and manner as shall seem fit to him, for in Pole's opinion it will be a very good and pious act.
[London, February 1556?]
Feb.? MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. No date of time in MS. 403. Same to Same.
According to the request of the President and the fathers-expounders (padri diffinitori), Pole recommended the congregation to the Cardinal of Trent, as written to them in his letter of the 10th, since when he received their second letter of the 30th ulto., and one from the Abbot of S. Pietro Gasson, complaining of many grievances to which the monasteries in the territory of Trent were subjected, and that they could obtain no favour from the cardinal-bishop because he was so very much offended with them; so they wished for letters from the King to his right reverend lordship recommending their monasteries to him. Pole does not think it well to comply with their request, lest it irritate the bishop, who might think the King acted at Pole's instigation, and, as he had written in their favour, reproach him for distrusting his affection, for which same reason Pole also hesitated to write a second time to the Cardinal of Trent. With regard to the present exactions (essattioni), as he understands from the letter of the Abbot of San Pietro that they are still unpaid, no aid or relief whatever can be expected; but, touching the future, Pole will not fail to avail himself of some good opportunity for writing either to the Cardinal or to the Duke of Alva, should he return to those parts, as is apparently expected; and when the King comes to England, will endeavour to obtain letters from him in favour of the monasteries in the diocese of Trent, and do all he can for the benefit of the congregation.
Is anxiously awaiting the arrival from Spain of the “fathers-visitors,” hoping they will render good service for the restoration of the monastery [of Westminster?], which is about to be effected. (fn. 4)
Thanks the President for his affectionate remembrance of him in his prayers.
[London, February 1556?]
Feb. 21. Deliberazioni Senato (Secreta), vol. lxix. p. 173. 404. The Doge and Senate to the Venetian Ambassador in France.
The reverend French ambassador has acquainted us with the settlement of the quinquennial truce made with the Emperor and his son. The King of France writes to us that his friends have been comprised in this truce, amongst whom he had constantly held our Signory. We made a suitable reply, and hereby charge you to congratulate him, expressing our satisfaction at this loving proof of his Majesty's holding us in the place and grade assigned to his true and confidential friends, which we are.
Ayes, 146. Noes, 2. Neutral, 0.
Feb. 21. Original Letter Book, penes me, Letter No. 55, pp. 194, 196. 405. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Although to-day consistory assembled, and on such days the Pope does not give audience, one of his Holiness' grooms (parafreniero) (sic) came to say he would hear me at the 23rd hour, when I went to him, and after the usual compliments the Pope said, “Magnifico Ambassador, we will continue to talk with you unreservedly. We love the Signory, both as Pope and as man. As Pope, seeing that nothing remains in Italy but that daughter of ours; and as man, remembering the many benefits and courtesies received, under all circumstances (in ogni nostra fortuna), from those most noble senators. You must have heard what has been said lately about the truce; we believe ourselves to have been the good cause of it, owing to the fear of us felt by certain persons. We were counselled to send nuncios and other personages for the negotiation of the peace or truce. We refused to do so, and believe we did well, for our mind abhors every sort of baseness and supplication; it suffices that for the avoidance of war we have tolerated many things, and should this peace or truce have taken place—for we are not yet sure of it—it would be disgraceful for the Imperialists, who wished to make the world tremble. To speak confidentially with you as usual, we say that any agreement between the Ultramontanes may easily prove detrimental to these wretched remains of Italy, where there is nothing but the State of Venice and the Popedom. We have never chosen to involve you hitherto in many current affairs, endeavouring to disentangle ourselves single-handed, so great is our love for the most Serene Signory, to whom, should God give us life, we will prove our affection effectually; and we tell you, de more, our belief that it would be well for both one and the other of us to stand prepared and with our eyes fixed on our interests, for every reason. Let the Signory amass money, and not forget that they have an Italian and a Venetian Pope, and a true, I will not say vicar, but servant, of Jesus Christ, for whose honour and service I will always hazard my life, my friends, and my property (facult$aG). Were I the servant of a temporal prince, and that I saw him, or his interests, incurring any danger, I should deserve death did I not seek to take the life of the man who sought to injure my master. I have for my Lord—Jesus Christ—from His Divine Majesty I have at all times received so many benefits that were I ever to refuse any sort of peril for His honour and service, I should be cruel and impious. We speak with you in this form because we consider ourself talking with ourself; nor do we as yet know what may come of this business; it may and it may not be; and if realized we promise you, that even during this truce they will not find us unprovided, as we well know their proceedings.”
To this I replied in general terms, returning thanks for his paternal affection demonstrated towards the Republic, and after a very long interview took leave.
Rome, 21st February 1556.
Feb. 22. Original Letter Book, penes me, Letter No. 56, p. 197. 406. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday in consistory the Pope conferred several churches, one Ireland, and also monasteries in France.
Rome, 22nd February 1556.
Feb. 22. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 407. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
A courier has arrived from the Duke of Ferrara with letters for his ambassador and for a secretary whom his Excellency keeps here. The Duke wrote to the latter, “We are compelled, by one who has the power to command us, to do a thing which will not be advantageous for their Majesties; so we, having such regard for your person as is due for the good service received from you, you will depart immediately from their Majesties' courts.” The ambassador tells me that he also is recalled, and commissioned to tell their Majesties as of himself, that he thinks the Duke his master will be compelled (to use his own identical words) to do something or other which it will not be to the satisfaction of their Majesties to hear; and that he had intended going to the King at Antwerp, but hearing that his Majesty will return shortly, he shall wait for him, and then execute the order as the spirit shall dictate to him; remarking to me diffusely that according to his belief it was given him by the Duke rather to show himself a man capable of resentment, having already protested against the precedence in favour of the Duke of Florence, and to create suspicion about other affairs of his, than because his Excellency has any wish to declare himself opposed to their Majesties, either to content the Pope or the King of France. Since the residence here of the secretary and the ambassador they have always been at enmity with each other, the one being considered a Frenchman, the other an Imperialist; so for the ambassador's sake, as also for that of the chief ministers, the ambassador having written to the Duke that the Bishop of Arras had complained of the secretary, his Excellency recalls the latter, and for contrary reasons will not make use of the ambassador.
The Emperor's courtiers and those of the King, according to my letters from Antwerp, are afraid that a league has been formed between the Princes aforesaid, and I am expressly asked about this, being told openly that your Screnity is suspected of having a secret understanding with them, and comments are made about the Republic's negotiations with the Duke of Urbino for the purpose of taking him into your service, as likewise respecting the galliot captured by the Proveditor of your fleet, and because of your anger on account of the seizure in Sicily of your two ships by Don Juan de Vega as an act of reprisal.
Brussels, 22nd February 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Feb. 22. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 408. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I enclose copy of the treaty of truce, and also of the articles agreed to apart, (fn. 5) but no intelligence having yet arrived about the arrangement having been made (dell' ordine che si sia dato) concerning the ratification of the truce, nor for the release of the prisoners, everybody is much astonished, but the Constable's cheerful mien relieves most people from any suspicions which might arise.
The Brescian Dom Gio. Francesco Stella, Cardinal Pole's auditor, has arrived here, who comes from Rome, having departed thence last December, on a summons from the Cardinal to go to England. The Pope gave him briefs for King Philip and Queen Mary, and for his right reverend Lordship, acquainting them with the office performed some time ago in consistory by the Cardinal of Lorraine, (fn. 6) demonstrating the good disposition of his most Christian Majesty, and his inclination towards the peace and quiet of Christendom. In these briefs the Pope expressed a certain wish that the disputes between these Majesties should be referred to his Holiness' arbitration, which the most Christian King offered to accept, and Stella brought another brief to his Majesty, announcing the office thus enjoined him; and he had audience first of the Constable, and then of the King; but the answer received by him from both one and the other of them, was in general terms suited to his delay in executing the commission; and from what he said he also purposes presenting himself to the King of England, and will proceed to the Queen and to her Cardinal.
Blois, 22nd February 1556.
Feb. 22. Filza, No 134. Miscellanea di atti diversi manoscritti, Venetian Archives. 409. William Ryce to Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devonshire.
Having the opportunity of this messenger, could not but take upon himself “this boldness to write unto your lordship. Your lordship shall understand the Queen's Majesty is in very good health, thanks be unto God.” Has no other news except the truce between the King our master [Philip II.] and the French King, as it is said, for five years; “to a certainty whereof at the writing of this letter I did not know, but on the 20th instant the French ambassador desired audience, which was granted; judges it was for that matter.
The King's Majesty is yet in Flanders, where he hath solemnized the feast of the “Toyson,” but for his return to England, as yet it is not known. Hopes it will be before Easter.
My Lady your mother is in very good health, and hath been lately at the court, where the Queen's highness made very much of her, which I was right glad to see; and I doubt not but shortly to see your lordship here with a safe return with much honour to yourself, and comfort to all your friends, which I pray God shortly send to his pleasure.
I am desired by divers of the ladies and gentlewomen to make their most hearty commendations unto your lordship, as my Lady Ane Wharton, my Lady Waldegrave, Mrs. Clarencieux (Clarencious), Mrs. Fynche, Mrs. Russell, Mrs. Baynam, otherwise called my Lady Stokleyes, who hath lost her maidenhood since you were here, not forgetting my wife, also with many others of your friends.
By the hands of him that is all your Lordship's ever to command, (Signed) William Ryce.
Greenwich, 22nd February 1556.
[Original, holograph, directed:] “To the Right Honorable and his very good lord, the Earl of Devonshire, to be delivered.”
[Endorsed by Courtenay's secretary:] “Mr. Ryce, 22 February 1556. By Prune, from England to Venice.”
Feb. 24. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 410. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
A courier from Antwerp informs me that the King of Spain sent for the ambassadors of Florence and Mantua, and for the agent of Genoa, telling them that the truce is settled, and that he would give them a copy of the articles; so it is supposed that his Majesty has even signed them, as the King of France is reported to have done. Yesterday many people of the trades went about Antwerp on cars, making sundry signs of rejoicing, and from a Flemish gentleman who came hither from the frontiers, and is said to have been on a mission from King Philip to the King of France, it is heard that in several frontier places the poor people, the subjects of either crown, had commenced rebuilding their dwellings which were burned and destroyed during the war.
My letters from Antwerp say that the King's speedy return to Brussels is no longer talked of; and indeed one of the chief ministers said that the deputies of these provinces would perhaps receive fresh orders to go to his Majesty at Antwerp instead of at Brussels. The Nuncio, and the Portuguese, Ferrarese, and Sienese ambassadors, who have to negotiate with the King, are in doubt whether they ought to go to him or not, as on the one hand they wish to execute the commissions enjoined them, and on the other are afraid of importuning his Majesty, Don Ruy Gomez and the Bishop of Arras having given them to understand that he preferred appointing their audiences here rather than at Antwerp, keeping them still in hope of his returning shortly, and if not, he would let them know, so that they may make the communications with which they are charged.
It is confirmed that many troops are being raised in Saxony, and that the Landgrave has already 12 regiments (bandiere) of infantry on foot, and a good amount of cavalry, saying that he chooses to be prepared, lest the Prince of Orange, their Majesties' general, when the forces are disbanded on account of the truce, attack him by reason of a dispute between them about a county; (fn. 7) but here they are very suspicious of the Landgrave, owing to past events, although apparently he shows every mark of observance and submission (servitù) towards the Emperor, evincing especial obligation to Queen Maria for the courtesy shown him when he was a prisoner. Some persons say these troops have been raised for the affairs of Middelburg and Augsburg, whilst others suspect the Landgrave and other princes of making this stir that they may have a fair opportunity, not only for not going next month to the Diet at Ratisbon, as they promised the King of the Romans, but also for dispensing themselves from sending forces for the defence of Transylvania against the Turk, as each of those princes wishes it to be restored to the son of the late King John [Zapolski] of Hungary. The Bishop of Arras and Don Ruy Gomez returned me thanks for the newsletters from Constantinople, and yet more for the loving words which they know me to have uttered to everybody in these troublous times with regard to events in Italy, namely, that your Serenity is and always will be on terms of firm friendship with their Majesties here, and the like office has been performed with me by Colonel Aldana, who told me Don Luis de Avila said this had given very great satisfaction to all the chamber attendants of the Emperor, who, as well as the King of Spain, placed great trust in your Serenity; and although the movements of the Pope and the Duke of Ferrara cause their Majesties great suspicion, yet they say openly that they do not fear them, provided the Republic make no movement, and have no secret understanding. I do not fail to rid them of these thoughts, in conformity with what I know to be your Serenity's intention.
This courier conveys the grant made by the King to Don Ruy Gomez of the town of Eboli in the principality of Salerno. The revenue amounts to about 3,000 crowns annually. Don Ruy Gomez, however, does not call himself duke, but is addressed by the title of Excellency.
Brussels, 24th February 1556.
Feb. 25. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 411. Cardinal Pole to the Cardinal [Carlo] Caraffa.
Was very glad to hear by Caraffa's letter of the 18th ulto. that the Pope, in order to give sure pledge and testimony of his holy purpose of executing the reform, had chosen to commence with the Datary's office, so that by spontaneously depriving himself at these times of his own emoluments, the others, with this example, may willingly support any temporal inconvenience which the said reform may subject them to. The greatest praise will accrue to the Pope from this reform, from which his Holiness will derive the utmost praise, and it may be hoped that God of his goodness will most amply remunerate his piety; and Pole is of opinion that by these means those who have strayed will be recalled to the unity of the Church and to their obedience to the Apostolic See, and all others be confirmed therein.
As to the affairs relating to these princes, all cause for umbrage and suspicion ought in reason to subside on the conclusion of this truce, nor has Pole failed to assure their Majesties of the Pope's good will towards them, as proved by his having appointed Caraffa's brother, the Count of Montorio, Captain-General of the Church.
On the 19th Pole informed Caraffa of the announcement made to him about the truce by the French ambassador, so he thought fit to thank his Majesty, congratulating him on it as a disposition towards peace, for which Pole is certain the Pope will continue to perform every warm and paternal office with both parties, both in order more conveniently to execute his holy projects with regard to the spiritual reform of the Church, and the quiet government of his temporal subjects.
Before Easter Pole purposes going to his church, after being ordained presbyter in London, (fn. 8) and there receiving subsequently the episcopal consecration and the “pallium,” and has already asked leave of their Majesties to make this journey, they being very well aware how much that province needs the presence of its prelate.
After Easter, by means of some of his attendants who are returning to Italy, Pole will give the Pope full account of his own state, and of affairs in England, where they are still in hopes of the King's speedy return, most especially after hearing of the conclusion of this truce, about which Pole does not write further particulars to Caraffa, knowing that the nuncios at Brussels and in France, who were more at hand, will have given him all its details.
Greenwich, 25th February 1556.
Feb. 25. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 412. Cardinal Pole to [Girolamo Muzzarelli] Archbishop of Conza.
Has received his letters of the 14th and 15th, alluding to another about the truce which never arrived. Amongst the Roman letters forwarded by Muzzarelli was one from Cardinal Caraffa, which, after alluding to the negotiation of the Cardinal of Lorraine at Rome, announced the election of Caraffa's brother to the post of Captain-General of the Church, which will convince the Emperor and King Philip (quelle maestá) of the Pope's goodwill towards them, this military command being given to a person so much in their confidence. Pole is certain that this will have been written to Muzzarelli, who will not have failed through this and every other opportunity to perform every good office, as Pole likewise has done; and he hopes this truce will facilitate the peace which is so desirable for the common weal, and to give the Pope quiet in his temporal state, and greater convenience for executing his holy projects, about which also Cardinal Caraffa has written to him.
Pole informed Muzzarelli that after the return to England of the Abbot, he wrote to France by Priuli's nephew, who found the truce concluded, and therefore did nothing further, and it was much to the purpose his not having sent the Abbot, whose return from Brussels to England previously would have rendered Pole liable to some affront, which was thus avoided, without failing in what was due. The French ambassador in London has congratulated the Queen and Pole in his King's name on this truce, acknowledging it to proceed from the pains taken at the conference of Calais, with the hope that it may lead to peace. Prays God that thus may it come to pass, be the means what they may. With regard to the Abbot of San Saluto [Vincenzo Parpaglia], Pole by long experience has had palpable evidence of what Muzzarelli says about the certainty of his being sincere, for which reason he has always willingly employed him for this negotiation for peace, as also in many other affairs; thanks Muzzarelli for his affectionate notice of the subject.
As the English prelates are to be in their dioceses by the beginning of Lent, the synod has been adjourned until the 10th of November next, to provide for some matters which remain for settlement. Has thought fit to send immediately a summary of the proceedings to the Pope, with a letter to Cardinal Morone, Vice-Protector [of England], until the transmission of the decrees, and encloses a copy of the information for Muzzarelli. Is preparing to go to his church before Easter, and has already asked leave of their Majesties, who are well aware of the need those places have of their pastor.
Greenwich, 25th February 1556.
Feb. 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 413. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
The King has sent M. de Lalain to Cambrai, where he is to confer with the Admiral of France, and they will confront together the agreement and its signature by both their Majesties, whereupon the said Lalain will proclaim the truce on the frontiers of the King of Spain; but although this act has not yet been performed, the subjects of the most Christian King have for some days commenced frequenting several places in these provinces both by land and sea, and three days ago two ships arrived in Zealand. The Queens [Maria and Eleanor] and the Duchess of Lorraine arrived here yesterday, and the King is expected in three days.
Brussels, 28th February 1556.
Feb. 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 414. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Count de Lalain, the Emperor's commissioner at the conference for the truce, has written to the Admiral that his Imperial Majesty and the King of England have ordered him to come to this court to have the truce ratified (per far fare la rattificatione delle tregue); and his most Christian Majesty sent a similar order to the Admiral to go to the Emperor and King Philip for the same purpose, so on the 12th of next month he will leave St. Quentin, where he now is, for Brussels. Yesterday his Majesty departed hence for Amboise, where he will remain to effect the aforesaid ratification and he will be-some ten days on the road for his field sports (piaceri di caccia), and I in like manner shall follow him as usual.
The Duke of Soma, who was sent hither by the Pope, has now been despatched by the King with every assurance to his Holiness that his Majesty will never fail in the protection promised by him to the Pope and all his family and relations; in like manner as I understand that the King by every sort of good office on all occasions will not fail to keep his Holiness well confirmed in his bias (di tenere la Santità sua confirmata), being apprehensive lest mentioned in the despatch his covert anger (sdegno occulto), caused by the stipulation of the truce, if he be plied (praticata) by the Imperialists, and if they offer him terms, should make him change his will and opinion, which is apparently not considered impossible here.
The Duke of Soma brought letters from the Pope strongly urging the King to make his Excellency a Knight of the Order [of St. Michael], as was done last Sunday, greatly to his honour, to which was added a pension of three thousand francs; and as a yet greater demonstration towards his Holiness, the King has appointed the Duke general of the Italian infantry, a very honourable and profitable post; in return for which he is to do his utmost in the King's name, and in that of her most Christian Majesty [Catherine de' Medici], to induce the Pope to give the hat to the brother of the late Cardinal Salviati, which demand is now repeated, it having been heard here that during these Ember-days the Pope purposed creating a good number of cardinals at the suit of his most Christian Majesty, but owing to the truce it is supposed his Holiness will have cooled; at any rate, both their Majesties would wish for the promotion of this personage.
Blois, 28th February 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Feb. 28. Original Letter Book, penes me, Letter No. 57, p. 200. 415. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The suspension of hostilities between the most Christian King and the King of England may still encounter some difficulty, although besides the letters of the 18th from the King of France, which confirm it, there are also letters of the 16th from the Nuncio at Brussels to the Count of Montorio to the same effect, but without particulars; which letters his Excellency most kindly sent to communicate to me. These various accounts of this truce purport that, although it has been made, there will be no lack of opportunity for a speedy rupture. What we see here is open dissatisfaction, which cannot be dissembled on the part of Cardinal Caraffa, and it is heard that the Imperialists are in greater force than ever on the borders of the kingdom of Naples. To this must be moreover added words uttered by the Pope in public against the Spaniards, calling them Moriscos (Marani), (fn. 9) and saying that God of his good- ness does not choose them any longer to remain in Italy, and that his Holiness will not disarm until they set him the example, as he remembers what befell Clement VII. from trusting to them. But what moves the Pope more, and gives cause for doubt and suspense, is that as yet no one has appeared in the name of the King of England to give news of this truce, it seeming to his Holiness that from the 3rd instant, when it was signed, down to this day, which is the last of the month, advice should have been sent as a friendly demonstration, and that this delay indicates the little esteem in which the King holds his Holiness, and the little trust he places in him.
Rome, 28th February 1556.


  • 1. In the original MS. (p. 158, verso), the heading of this letter is “Al medemo,” a clerical error, as the one that precedes it (p. 158, recto) is addressed to Cardinal Morone.
  • 2. In the year 1556 Easter Sunday was on the 5th April. (See L'Art de V$eArifier les Dates.)
  • 3. Cardinal Pole was the “Protector” of the Benedictine order of Monte Cassino.
  • 4. The Benedictines were replaced in the Abbey of Westminster, on the 21st November 1556. (See Machyn's Diary.)
  • 5. Neither of these documents have been found.
  • 6. As mentioned in the despatch from Navagero, dated Rome, 30th November 1555.
  • 7. The estate of Catzenclo-Vogen. (See Foreign Calendar, p. 244, letter of Sir John Masone to Queen Mary, date Antwerp, 28 February 1556.)
  • 8. In Grey Friars Church, 20th March 1556. (See Hook, p. 316.)
  • 9. The word is not to be found in Pasini's Italian and Latin Dictionary, but in Frizzi's History of Ferrara (vol. 4, p. 407), it is said to signify circumcised Portuguese and Spaniards, of whom he says, that in the year 1590, there were 200 in the Jewry at Ferrara.