Venice: April 1555, 1-15

Pages 35-51

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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April 1555, 1–15

April 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 42. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Besides what was heard four days ago by letters from the English ambassador in France (fn. 1) of the 20th ulto. about the most Christian King's appointment (immediately after the arrival of Prothonotary Noailles) of the Constable and the Cardinal of Lorraine to attend the proposed conference, the Secretary Robertet arrived here two days ago, having been sent express for this purpose, confirming the fact, and saying that the personages aforesaid will delay their departure until the Queen and the Legate shall have minutely arranged and established the day of the conference, adding that his most Christian Majesty's successes in Italy did not render him so proud and elate as to prevent his having more regard for the universal interest and benefit of Christendom than (et) (sic) [che?] for his own personal and particular advantage, with many other words of this sort, which give assurance of his most Christian Majesty's good disposition in this matter; reminding the Queen and Cardinal Pole that they should urge the Emperor to make choice of persons such as those of his King, so that, knowing the mind of their Prince, and being very sure of it, they may by their authority, without delay, solve many doubts and difficulties which others could only do after a long interval. They therefore sent immediately to the Emperor about this nomination, urging him to make his own, in order that the conference may be held as soon as possible, the Queen in the meanwhile detaining the secretary until the reply arrive, though, as to the conference, however much it may be hastened, they do not think it can take place until after Easter, as it is so near at hand.
During this interval they do not fail providing as much as possible, chiefly by money, for the affairs of Italy, bad news of some sort being received daily, such as the loss of the castle of Casale, received three days ago, and, although foreseen by many persons, it nevertheless greatly disquiets everybody, and they are afraid of worse, Colonel Cesare of Naples, who is in Volpiano (fn. 2) having sent to protest that unless speedily succoured with a large supply of money and other supplies of which he is destitute he shall be compelled to make terms from inability long to hold out, and the senate of Milan writes that the affairs of that state are in a bad way.
The Duke of Alva therefore solicits prompt supplies, not choosing to stir without a certain and secure pledge in hand, as therein consists the entire remedy for all the irregularities (disordini) and losses hitherto incurred; so until he hears what has been done by Erasso and King Philip's treasurers (et gli thesorieri di questa Maestà), who were sent across the Channel for this purpose (nor can their report be long delayed), he will not set out. Don Alonso de Pimentello was immediately sent hence to Spain to embark and bring by way of Genoa the 6,000 Spaniards, of whom the levy which was ordered some months ago is supposed to have been effected, and which on his arrival, he having been appointed colonel of a part of this force, may be marched towards the coast, King Philip (questa Maestà) having determined to increase the amount of the Spanish soldiery in Italy to 14,000 or 16,000 men, for distribution in his territories, thinking that they will serve him more faithfully and advantageously than those of other nations.
With regard to the suspected conspiracy at Cambridge, the Lords of the Council are proceeding to the examination of the prisoners (procedono alla examinatione delli incarcerati), and it is said that fresh arrests are made daily; but, as usual with them, everything is done very privily, no one daring (non havendo alcun ardire) to speak about it, so that with difficulty can the, truth be ascertained, save at the end, when on the sudden we shall witness either the punishment or the acquittal; wherefore, as yet, opinions about this case vary, some persons representing it as very momentous, anticipating great discoveries (con expettatione di grandi cose), whilst others treat it very lightly, as mere suspicion, which, if of usual occurrence elsewhere, may here be said, to have dominion (la qual se in alcun' altra parte suole haver luogo, quì si può dire che sia nel regno suo).
To comfort the Queen, and give her heart and courage, three most beautiful infants were brought last week for her Majesty to see, they having been born a few days previously at one birth, of a woman of low stature (picciola statura) and great age like the Queen, and who after the delivery found herself strong (è rimasta gagliarda) and out of all danger; and the sight of this woman and her infants greatly rejoiced her Majesty.
London, 1st April 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered, by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
April 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 43. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
Don Ferrante has just been to visit me, saying that his affair being settled favourably, and having determined to return to Italy, he wished to acquaint me with the whole for your information; and he said that not having chosen to obtain (che per non haver voluto ottener) the charge of “primo cavaliero” of the King of England, a newly-invented grade, and so many difficulties having been made about giving him the others, he resolved to return to his own country, to which the Emperor had consented, having given orders for his good-service certificate to be made out for him, (fn. 3) and giving him 4,000 crowns annual revenue, derivable from feudatories (vassalli) in the kingdom of Naples, and the expectancy for his son Andrea of a commandery yielding from 1,500 to 2,000 crowns, as also 20,000 ready money for the expenses incurred by him at this court; and that with regard to the 90,000 crowns for which he is creditor, the Emperor sent Secretary Erasso to tell him that he would provide for it subsequently, Don Ferrante remarking to me, that this might be, either for the purpose of keeping a curb upon him, or from inability to make the payment at present.
The Emperor has despatched the Flemish Secretary Bave (Bares) to Antwerp, to Queen Maria, to let her know what the English ambassador had said to him about the peace, sending her also a letter from Cardinal Pole, which was delivered by the Nuncio's secretary to the chamberlains, the Nuncio having been prevented going by indisposition; and his Majesty gave the secretary orders about the choice of commissioners, the election of whom seems difficult to everybody, the Emperor having need of the Bishop of Arras about his person, whilst Mons. de Praet is grievously ill, and his Majesty has desired the Duke of Alva to come to Brussels immediately; for the purpose it is said of proceeding to Italy. Some of the chief personages have asserted that his Majesty might avail himself of Don Ferrante, and of Gio. Battista Gastaldo, and that he ought to do so.
Encloses a list of Cardinals made for the Imperial Government, and showing how they may be expected to vote at the coming election.
Brussels, 2nd April 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
April 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 44. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador has sent his secretary to me to say he has had a courier from the Queen with commission to go immediately to inform the Emperor that by the reply received from the King of France, he says he is content to send to negotiate the peace, and that he has appointed as his commissioners the Cardinal of Lorraine and the Constable, whom he will send to Ardres, as soon as he hears that the Emperor has made choice of his commissioners and sent them to Gravelines, and that the Queen would send her commissioners to Calais, that they may confer, first with one side and then with the other, to adjust matters; and that his most Christian Majesty gave him to understand that the affairs being so entangled as they are, he thinks it will be difficult to arrive at any adjustment, yet he believes that the Queen having it may be said effected miracles concerning the matter of religion in her own realm, the like may possibly be witnessed through her Majesty's medium in this negotiation. The English secretary has asked for audience of the Emperor, as the ambassador wished to speak with his Majesty on the subject, and they gave him hopes of obtaining it, although the Emperor is in bed and seriously indisposed, as he is to urge the speedy nomination of the commissioners.
The Mantuan ambassador Signor Giulio Cavriano departs to-day, on his way back to the Duke, and to wait upon the Cardinal in case he require his attendance for the journey to Rome, and in the most loving terms possible he vowed to me that the Cardinal, the Duke, Madame, and Don Ferrante, have for their true aim, always to be considered the good servants of the Republic, adding that Don. Ferrante, as a prudent personage, for the security of his affairs, is solely intent on not giving umbrage to the Emperor and the King of England, with regard to his failing to serve their Majesties; telling me that he really did not know what the Emperor would determine with regard to sending his Excellency to England, as there was he knew not what difficulty, on account of the Duke of Alva, which impedes the whole affair. In the course of the conversation he complained of the very great. . . . . [calumnies to which?] Don Ferrante . . . . . [had been subjected?] for the reason which he sent to tell the Cardinal [Ercole Gonzaga], namely, that he had served the Emperor more fervently than he had served God, and that he [Giulio Cavriano] having spoken to the Emperor on the subject, after telling him why he had been sent to his Majesty, requested him to make better acknowledgment for the service of his Lords, and to punish those who had calumniated them; and when the Emperor asked him who these enemies who had slandered his Lords were, he replied that his Majesty might well know them, meaning to imply the Bishop of Arras. The Emperor rejoined, that as for the Cardinal, his slanderers needed no other punishment than to be stigmatized for their French bias, as the Cardinal's deeds might have convinced every one, and that towards Don Ferrante he would shew himself loving in what he could. (fn. 4)
The messenger who came hither in five days from Trent, having brought from the Cardinal the news of the Pope's death, was sent off immediately by his Majesty to the King of England. The Cardinal of Burgos says he will go post-wise, but will await more certain news than was brought by the messenger of the Cardinal of Trent, who wrote that the Pope was at the extremity, but that, according to an advice received by the Cardinal of Mantua, he had expired. From what is said by the chief personages of this court the Cardinal of England will not go to Rome, even should he see the Emperor persist in this opinion.
Postscript.—The English ambassador sends me word that he has had audience of the Emperor, who first made him wait a long while in the antechamber, and having found him in bed, his Majesty apologised for the delay on account of his great indisposition, and that he could scarcely move or speak, and in reply to what the ambassador said about sending commissioners, promised an answer in two days. (fn. 5)
Brussels, 2nd April 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
April 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 45. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday, betimes, Don Ferrante departed, having given out that he was going away in the afternoon, so that no one might pay him ceremonious compliments, as told me by Misser Nadal Busi, his Excellency's agent, who came to me in his Excellency's name to acquaint me with the conversation which took place with the Emperor when he took leave of his Majesty, saying that Don Ferrante told the Emperor that, as he was no longer fit to serve either him or the King of England, his lord, he would, with his Imperial Majesty's good leave, go and reside at Mantua, assuring the Emperor that he should always continue to serve him mentally, in like manner as he had done practically during 33 years; adding that he had no hope of ever seeing his Majesty again, both because his Excellency himself was old and indisposed, and also because he thought the Emperor was going to enjoy the repose of life in Spain. He thanked his Majesty infinitely for the reward conceded him, which he held most dear, both as it would enable him to render testimony to the world of his being in favour with the Emperor, and because he should thus defend himself better against the treachery of his enemies, and especially from the Duke of Parma, which he had acquired for having served his Majesty well; and he requested him to have payment made him for the guard and his other stipendiaries, who were creditors for nine arrears (nuove paghe). Then kneeling before the bed, beseeching permission to kiss his hand, the Emperor replied, putting an arm round his neck, and his words being choked by a flood of tears, said that he also thought they never would see each other again, both on account of age and by reason of their ailments, which gave them cause to be weary of this world, showing his hands crippled with gout, saying he had now the worst of life, (fn. 6) and that he considered himself so well served by Don Ferrante that he could not but greatly commend him for fidelity (fede), courage, intelligence, and counsel, but that he (the Emperor) would tell him freely that, what with his long malady and constant occupations of late, which had prevented him from examining and acquainting himself with his affairs, as was his wont, and what with Don Ferrante's great calumniators, he had conceived some doubt of him in his mind, but that was entirely dissipated, and that the cause why the King his son had not given him the charge of maggiordomo maggiore was attributable to the interests of his dearest ministers, who did not let him know Don Ferrante's great worth; but as they were nevertheless his good servants, they will at some future period remind his Majesty that he should make use of him, which he (the King) will perhaps not be able or willing to do; (fn. 7) and that although he might have given this command to his son, he had not chosen to compel him, in order not to disturb the current of his thoughts (per non interromper i suoi pensieri), and because nothing good could have been effected unless both had been of the same mind; apologising for his son greatly, and blaming his ministers greatly, and, putting his hand to his heart, he swore on the word (sopra la fede) of a true gentleman and prince that he intended (che haveva in animo) severely to punish those who had calumniated Don Ferrante; and that, as a greater mark of the love he bears him, he gave him, besides the other rewards, a life annuity of 6,000 crowns, payable in Genoa, so that it could never be impeded by the ministers; promising to cancel his bond, as soon as possible and release the effects given by him as security for the 90,000 crowns which he spent for the need of the war in Piedmont, and that he would readily oblige him by paying his retinue and the guard for his escort into Italy. On his departure he said to him that, although he, the Emperor, did not believe that any other resolve would come from the King, he nevertheless requested Don Ferrante to remain some days at Antwerp, so that in case he sent him the grade of maggiordomo maggiore, he might be pleased to go and serve him, according to the promise given. This his Excellency assured the Emperor he would do, and departed, the tears in his eyes; and in the antechamber, turning to the persons there present, he said aloud that he thanked God that his enemies had not had the power to make him lose the Emperor's favour. The agent told me besides, as of himself, that he knew Don Ferrante to be very anxious to serve the Republic, and that it would be advantageous both for himself and the State, but that having now received such great reward from the Emperor, he, the agent, suspected he would be inclined to repose instead of any longer subjecting himself to the fatigue of the military profession, commencing a long discourse about his great valour, experience, and sincerity, so that it seemed as if he had come on purpose to make it; and he said that his Excellency would then go with speed to Italy, without stopping more than two days with the Elector Palatine, with whom he is slightly connected, and who has invited him; and another day at Augsburg, to pay his respects to the King of the Romans.
The English Ambassador, by command of his Queen, is urging the Secretary Vargas to obtain a speedy reply from the Emperor about the choice of commissioners [for the conference]; and his Majesty having heard the opinions of the Queen [Maria of Hungary] and the Bishop of Arras, with regard to the orders to be given to the Ambassador at Rome touching the election of the Pope, has determined to send him his instructions by the Abbot Brisegno [Trissino?], who is one of those who made out the list of Cardinals sent by me, and is said always to have served the Emperor by discovering the opinions of such as are inclined towards his Majesty or opposed to him. The Emperor has promised to remunerate him handsomely at the first “Consulta,” and he will depart post-wise. Don Garcia [di Toledo] has come from England, and will not go to Milan until the arrival here of the Duke of Alva.
Brussels, 6th April 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
April 6. Deliberazioni Senato (Secreta), vol. 69, p. 108, tergo. 46. The Doge and Senate to the Venetian Bailo at Constantinople.
Have heard through several advices, that the Emperor and the most Christian King were to send commissioners to the borders of Picardy, to treat a certain composition between their Majesties; with the intervention also of the agents of England, which news he is to communicate to the Porte.
Ayes, 135. Noes, 4. Neutrals, 3.
April 6. Deliberazioni Senato (Secreta), vol. 69, p. 108 tergo. 47. Motion made in the Senate concerning the Conference of Marck.
As we are expecting shortly, from the Imperial and French courts, and also from England, letters announcing with greater certainty and foundation the result of this conference and negotiation for peace or agreement:
Put to the ballot, that the present matter about writing to Constantinople be deferred until the arrival of the letters aforesaid, so that the news to be despatched thither may be pondered exactly (integramente).
Ayes, 63. Noes, 0. Neutrals, 0.
April 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 48. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Abbot Brisegno [Trissino?] departed this morning post-wise for Rome, and the Emperor, after having had many letters given him addressed to Cardinals, sent to say that when mounting on horseback, he was to go to his Majesty, who chose to tell him by word of mouth on what persons his Ambassador may rely, with regard to their exerting themselves well, to rule the others in their election of the Pope; and whom he is, in fact, to support without causing suspicion, they being (I have heard) Morone and England. The Emperor sent the list of these Cardinals to his son, and to his [the Emperor's] brother, that they may write in conformity.
The Queen of England writes to her Ambassador, and Cardinal Pole to the Emperor, that the King of France informs him that he is content to send his commissioners, on the 20th or 25th instant. When this was announced to the Bishop of Arras, (who returned from Antwerp last evening,) with a request that he would communicate it to the Emperor immediately, that he might decide forthwith, the Bishop replied that the Emperor had sent for him, for no other purpose than to decide about the commissioners for the conference; saying that to-morrow he would give him the reply; adding as it were with a laugh (fn. 8) that the term which the King seemed to desire, was too brief; and that would to God he wished for peace as truly as the Emperor does. Monsr. Benincourt [Bugnicourt], Governor of Artois, after being despatched by Queen Maria, with the hope of having speedily to make the necessary preparations, has returned post-wise to the Emperor to let him again know that the French are so increasing their forces everywhere, and have so many means, that unless he speedily strengthen his garrisons and send to pay the soldiers, he will lose many places; the governor exonerating himself from any disaster which may occur hereafter; and that the Spaniards in Hesdin had demanded the three arrears of pay which were due to them within six days, as otherwise they would mutiny.
Will not ask for audience, not merely because the Emperor is ill in bed, and refused it to the Ambassador from Florence, who demanded it most earnestly for many days to speak to him about the provision to be made for the affairs of Sienna, but because it was denied thrice to the English Ambassador, who wished to speak to his Majesty about the peace, and had orders from the Queen not to allow himself to be referred to the ministers, and also because Don Pedro de Vargas told him, Badoer, that many maladroit Ambassadors, and others, regardless of the Emperor's serious indisposition, and great present anxieties, complain of not being able to have audience of him.
Brussels, 7th April 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
April 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 49. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Wrote last on the 4th instant, (fn. 9) on which day they heard the news of the Pope's death, as transmitted express from Augsburg by the most Serene King of the Romans, and confirmed subsequently by Monsignor Bia, a gentleman in the service of the Cardinal of Trent, who despatched him in haste to the Emperor and King Philip. Though as yet neither the King nor the Legate have any news or certainty from Rome, yet do they not doubt the fact. (fn. 10) Cardinal Pole, being utterly devoid of all ambition and desire, (lontanissimo da ogni ambitione et passione) will remain here, as intended by him, he being also indisposed with catarrh causing a little fever, which has confined him to his bed for the last two days, though thus far it is not considered a thing of any importance. It is not thought that the King and Queen will urge him to move, even should the conclave be prolonged, and that he could go thither conveniently. Nor is it supposed that the conference appointed to be held on the other side of the Channel will on account of this death, be impeded or delayed by the Emperor, the nomination of whose plenipotentiaries is expected hourly; but on the part of France they rather anticipate delay, not only by reason of the absence of the Cardinal of Lorraine, one of the negotiators, appointed by the King, and who is expected to set out for Italy immediately with the other Cardinals, but also because his most Christian Majesty will perhaps choose to delay and await the election of the new Pope. So as soon as the Emperor's nomination is known it will be sent off to France immediately, and as the Secretary Robertet is waiting here for the purpose, he will soon dispel this suspense.
I am assured that the Duke of Alva, besides the other causes and considerations assigned by me, is detained here by the Emperor until the decision of Don Ferrante be known, it being contrary to his Majesty's custom, and indecorous for Don Ferrante, to await the Duke's removal before succeeding to his post, unless he be first provided for (se prima non e provvisto et rissoluto ciò che habbi esser di lui). This decision must by this time be manifest, for two days ago King Philip sent back the courier Portiglio with his answer to the Emperor's letter on this subject. From what I hear on good authority, it is not at all in accordance with the will (al voler) either of Don Ferrante or of the Emperor, for (perchè), although his Imperial Majesty (sua Cesarea Maestà) by an autograph letter (bollettino), insisted on his being requited (compiaciuto) with the post of Lord High Chamberlain [of King Philip], and Don Ferrante announced his acceptance of it during the Duke's absence, binding himself to give it back to him should he resign his governments of Italy, provided he [Don Ferrante] were then given the government of Naples; yet notwithstanding this, all the Spanish noblemen of the Court made strong suit (gagliarda instantia) against Don Ferrante, having risen to a man, though not one of them had the courage to remonstrate with the King by word of mouth, but through his confessor (fn. 11) (to whom they had recourse as to a person who is active and busies himself much in negotiations and speaks freely) they let his Majesty know, that were he to confer this office, they would all desert him and go back to Spain, making a semi-protest (con un mezzo protesto), that they would not receive commands from Don Ferrante, laying to his charge so many acts of rapine, infidelity, insolence, and other crimes, that it would be more to the honour and service of his Majesty to have him beheaded as an example for other ministers, instead of keeping him about his person in such a capacity. This announcement made by the Friar (fn. 12) greatly disturbed and irritated the King, who thus perceived the opinion entertained by his courtiers of Don Ferrante (vedendo in qual opinione delli sui, esso Signor si trovi), and how great a commotion would take place here in his court were the post of Lord High Chamberlain to be conferred on him, so that although at first he was inclined to obey the Emperor, he has now determined (as told me on excellent authority) by no means to gratify Don Ferrante (a modo alcuno compiacerlo), persisting in the first offer sent to him through the Secretary Erasso, of 40 . . . . crowns (scudi) annual revenue, on feudatories (vassali) in the kingdom of Naples, and 20,000 crowns (scudi) ready money as a gratuity whether in or out of service (servendo ò non servendo). Requests these particulars may be kept secret as they deserve to be.
Whilst writing this letter, is informed that [Edward] Courtenay, Earl of Devonshire, has at length obtained his entire release (fn. 13) through the graciousness and clemency of their Majesties, and is to go to the court this day, to kiss hands; and that it will soon be followed by that of the Lady Elizabeth likewise. (fn. 14) This act is the more agreeable to the whole kingdom, as it was quite unexpected, everybody supposing that they would not be thought-of until after the Queen's delivery; but the prudence and judgment of these princes have made them choose to render their clemency and liberality more manifest by demonstrating it precisely at this most critical moment (nelli tempi a ponto più suspetti), and evincing reliance on the public mind (mostrando di assicurarsi dell' animo di ciascuno), most especially on the nobility and chief personages.
On the departure of the court, (fn. 15) they did not fail to give orders for the removal of all those ordinaries (ridotti) where gentlemen usually assembled to eat and gamble, and in which many persons got together and talked seditiously; the masters of these places having been commanded, under heavy penalties, never for the future to give admission to any one.
A few days ago, 40 miles hence in the county of Essex, a slight insurrection occurred (occorse meza solevatione) on account of the religion, because Lord Ricre (sic) [William, third Lord Dacre, of Gillesland ?] having by order of the Government escorted certain heretics condemned to be burnt, so great a concourse of persons assembled at this spectacle, that it was incredible; and when about to be executed, they most vehemently exhorted the multitude to persevere in their religion, and endure as they themselves did, any persecution or any torment; which so moved the people that the Governor was apprehensive of an attack on himself and his officials (li sui ministri) and of their being maltreated, very strong language (parole gagliardissime) having been used against those who ordered the execution (che faceva la esecutione), and passed this sentence, on men of such piety and constancy, whom they, the people, considered the holiest of martyrs. (fn. 16)
London, 8th April 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
April 8. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. cl. x. 50. Cardinal Pole to King Philip.
Has received the letter which the King wrote him by the Marquis de las Navas; (fn. 17) and thereby, and by the Marquis's verbal statement, has heard how much his Majesty regrets the news of the Pope's death, thus demonstrating his great piety; and for what the King is pleased to tell Pole, condescending to ask his opinion, he thanks him with all due respect and affection, nor will he weary his Majesty by saying anything farther; having made such reply as necessary to the Marquis.
From London, 8th April 1555.
April 8. MS. St. Mark's Cod. xxiv. cl. x. 51. Written reply of Cardinal Pole to the Marquis De Las Navas.
As for his greater satisfaction, the Marquis requests an answer in writing to the proposals made by him in the name of King Philip on occasion of the Pope's death; Pole tells him in the first place, with regard to his remaining in England or going to Rome for the election of the new Pope, that as the death of his holiness has not cancelled Pole's legation, and the affairs of the religion and the peace being already advanced as they are, he should not think it fitting his place and station now to abandon and leave them imperfect unless he received some other express commission from the College of Cardinals, most especially as his presence at Rome could only influence the election by one single vote; nor is it probable, owing to the length of the journey and his age, that he could arrive in time. Secondly, as to what King Philip should do, Pole would think it becoming their Majesties' piety, that they should write a letter to the Sacred College condoling in the first place on the death of his holiness, and exhorting and praying the cardinals to elect such a person as the great need of Christendom, and especially of England, requires, so that the obedience to the apostolic see there may be maintained and confirmed. When sending this letter to their ambassadors, (fn. 18) their Majesties might desire them to send it by an express to the Sacred College, they also writing to condole, etc., and enquiring either by letter or by word of mouth through their messenger, what they are to do, whether to go straight to Rome, or to wait in some neighbouring place, until the election. Thirdly, with regard to the matter of the peace, perceiving the good commencement made, Pole would be of opinion that this unforeseen event ought not to cause any change, but rather be a reason for hastening the conference, which, besides being for the general advantage, may cause the election to proceed more quietly. Pole is also of opinion that their Majesties would obtain a great reputation for piety, were they to observe in England the holy order issued by Gregory X. at the Council of Lyons, that on the death of the Pope, obsequies be celebrated by the clergy in all the great cities and towns, after which prayers to be offered up daily for that the election of the new Pope may prove a good one.
London, 8th April 1555.
April 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 52. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador of the Queen of England has sent to tell me, that the reply received by him from the Bishop of Arras, about sending commissioners to treat the peace, was that the Emperor is willing to send them to Gravelines, but on the 26th instant, and not on the 10th proximo, nor merely two as the King of France said he wished, but four commissioners with two secretaries besides, who are already designated in the Emperor's mind, with the exception of one whom he would refer to his son: that he had sent for Queen Maria to proclaim them (per proclamarli) and give them their commissions; and that it was well that the Ambassador should not yet despatch the courier, but await the reply until her arrival, when she would immediately acquaint him with the decision, and he could write to his Queen to announce it through the secretary Robertet to his most Christian Majesty, who would answer whether it had his approval. This reply, being unexpected by the Ambassador, caused him to say he suspected that his Queen being too simple (troppo buona) was labouring in vain, because this did not seem to him the way whereby to arrive at the conclusion of the peace with such speed as necessary. It seems, however, to certain persons acquainted with the Emperor's affairs, that his Majesty knows that by awaiting the Queen's delivery—which if auspicious, as he hopes, may greatly benefit all his interests—and procrastinating until he sees this result, in that case, his son might dispose of England, which he evidently cannot do at present.
Besides the commission given by his Majesty to the Abbot Brisegno [Trissino?] about the Pope's election, and the letters to several cardinals, the Emperor wrote a general one to the College saying he had no partiality (affettione) for any candidate, and would oppose none, but wished for a pope of any nation who shall procure the real welfare of Christendom; and besides the Cardinals Morone and England, the Florentine Ambassador says the Emperor has at heart the Cardinal of Fanno (sic) [Fano?].
The delegates from Pavia and Cremona who were returning from England with Dr. Rosses (sic) the Spaniard, and others, are said to have been taken by the French on their passage across to Calais.
Brussels, 9th April 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
April 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 53. Phebo Capella, Venetian Secretary in France, to the Doge and Senate.
On hearing of the Pope's death, seven cardinals departed hence for Marseilles in order to embark on board the fleet which has been recalled from Corsica for this purpose, and that they may go to Rome by sea. Two have remained behind, on account of old age, and Lorraine that he may attend the conference. The seven who went, are Tournon, . . . . Vendôme, Guise, Chatillon, Lenoncourt, and Hannebaut; those who remain are Bourbon and Giuri.
Melun, 10th April 1555.
April 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 54. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
Queen Maria has appointed as commissioners, the Bishop of Arras, Monsr. de Lalain, Governor of Hainault, Monsr. de Benincourt, Governor of Artois, Dr. Viglius, President of the Queen's Council, and the President of Mechlin, the sixth being reserved for the King of England; and when the Queen's Ambassador enquired his name, they would not tell it him, hinting that it might be the Duke of Alva, should the King not think it more necessary to send him to Italy, in which case Don Ferrante, or the Signor Gio. Battista Gastaldo, will be taken into consideration. Monsr. de Praet, whose nomination I announced, has excused himself, by reason of his being seriously indisposed. Concerning the time of their departure, Queen Maria and the Bishop of Arras said that the Emperor referred it to the Queen of England.
Brussels, 11th April 1555.
April 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 55. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
After Queen Maria had told the English Ambassador the Emperor's resolve about the commissioners, the Bishop of Arras and the Secretary Vargas went to the Nuncio, who is ill in bed, to tell him the whole, that by writing to Rome he might testify the Emperor's good will and the means employed by him to effect an adjustment with his most Christian Majesty, and desiring him to give notice of this to the Cardinal Legate Pole in England, who has written to the Emperor, that he will not renounce the negotiation of the peace, which is so important for Christendom, by going to Rome for the papal election, exhorting his Majesty to determine forthwith on the nomination of commissioners, as, on hearing of their appointment, the Lord Chancellor of England would cross to Calais to hasten the meeting of those elected by both sides; and to-day the English Ambassador despatched a courier (who had been kept back) with this announcement.
Don Ferrante remains at Antwerp, because the reply from the King of England, which the Emperor told him to await, has not arrived, and because they have not paid him, either the twenty thousand crowns ready money, or the nine thousand for which his guard and retinue are creditors. To obtain these sums, Secretary Erasso went to Antwerp, but was unable to get the money from the merchants, as they demanded security from Don Ferrante, who said he would not give it, as should the twenty-nine thousand crowns not be paid he would have to pay them himself; but that he would be security for Erasso, provided he bind himself to make the payment at Milan from certain funds (which could not fail) mentioned by Don Ferrante, they being given as security to the merchants. His Excellency, and many persons at this court, greatly marvel at this mode of proceeding towards him contrary to all the promises which he received from the Emperor; and he said that with or without the money, he shall depart immediately.
The aforesaid Secretary Erasso, and a treasurer sent by the King of England, are endeavouring to obtain a loan of 200,000 crowns from the Fuggers, for the passage (l'andata) into Italy of the Duke of Alva, and from other merchants [they are contracting] for 100,000 crowns, receiving as security, for twelve years, a new duty upon alum which was being treated with the commissioner sent heretofore by the late Pope; about which merchants he (Badoer) had written to the Doge in a former letter.
Brussels, 12th April 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
April 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 56. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
The Secretary Erasso has paid Don Ferrante six thousand crowns of the twenty-nine thousand which were promised him, saying that he would soon provide the rest; and his Excellency, having received through Don Diego de Acuña, the reply that the King of England gave him full permission (le dava buona liccntia), he seemed satisfied with it, and departed for Italy with a few followers, as the Spaniards of his guard, after receiving their pay, remained in these parts by his leave.
Brussels, 13th April 1555.
April 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 57. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Duke of Alva returned hither this day from the Court, (fn. 19) the King having despatched his business and dismissed him for Italy, and in a day or two at the latest he will proceed to the sea-side; several armed vessels having, at his request, been long waiting at Dover to convey him. He is the bearer of 200,000 ducats, provided for him lately by King Philip's treasurer (il Thesoriere di questa Maestà) at Antwerp, through a loan (parlito) raised there, and takes with him, together with his two sons (the one being legitimate and his eldest, the other, of whom he is very fond, illegitimate), the Duchess, his wife, whom he will leave immediately on landing, and proceed post-wise. He is also accompanied by Colonel Hieronymo da Pisa; all the captains and soldiers who were here having preceded him, all having been promised employment. It is said that this colonel will have the post of Quarter-Master General (Maestro di Campo); he was so well received here at the court, and in such esteem there universally, above all with the King, that on departure, his Majesty gave him a gold chain worth a thousand crowns, promising him, at his first consultation (consulta) with the Emperor, to obtain for him a commandery yielding a thousand crowns revenue, to pair well with the order of St. James, conferred on him by his Imperial Majesty. It is said that by means of this colonel, four of the chief noblemen and gentlemen of Italy have taken service with King Philip; their names, as yet unknown, to be divulged on the Duke's arrival.
Owing to this departure of the Duke, it has been under consideration (si è parlato) to form a privy council (consiglio secreto), for the affairs of the war and of state; of which King Philip has great need, remaining here alone, without anybody about him of sufficient authority and experience in similar negotiations. I am told on good authority, that his Majesty—on finding Don Ferrante determined to return to Italy, as he was not employed to his liking, and that not only had he taken leave of the Emperor, but had already quitted Brussels, and perhaps Antwerp, on account of not having received the reply expected by him, and which he promised the Emperor he would wait for there,—perceiving his dissatisfaction, and stimulated by the great need his Majesty has of some such person in the Council,—changed his resolve, and sent an express after him with a long autograph letter purporting that he again calls him to his presence, promising to give him such post about his person as shall be to his honour and satisfaction; it not being known whether the post will be that of Lord High Chamberlain (maggiordomo maggiore), or some other. I am told that the courier has orders to follow him on his journey until he come up with him; and that on the evening before last was . . . . . [words in MS. corroded] secretly, which if true, will soon be known.
Cardinal Pole's indisposition which at first seemed not to be [severe] increased so violently, a malignant fever having never left him for five consecutive days, that not only his own attendants (li suoi) but the physicians themselves despaired of his life; and the former being more tender and apprehensive than the latter, their extreme affliction and dismay, especially that of Monsignor Priuli, was too piteous a sight; but through the aid and grace of the Almighty, his right reverend lordship is not only better, but out of danger, having already passed four days without fever, though so weak and exhausted that all who see him well know how much he must have suffered; he himself confessing that he has escaped a very great danger. He is now intent on taking rest and gaining strength, that he may be able, if necessary, to cross the Channel for this conference.
King Philip has written to the Imperial Ambassador at Rome, and given him orders in conformity it is supposed with those of the Emperor to prefer Cardinal Pole to all the other candidates for the Popedom, and that this be made known to all the Cardinals his Majesty's adherents (che sia preposto a tutti gli altri nella elettion del Papato, et che così sia fatto sapere a tutti li Cardinali confidenti di sua Maestà).
Yesterday, Easter day, a great outrage (un grandissimo caso), was committed in the parish church of St. Margaret, Westminster, for whilst the priest in canonicals was standing at the altar with the chalice in his hand, full of consecrated wafers, giving the communion as usual on that day to the parishioners, he was suddenly assaulted by an Englishman, said to be a plebeian (fn. 20) (persona popolare), with a naked sword in his hand, and in a violent rage, who, after saying that by the idolatry which he committed he deceived the crowd of souls there assembled, with other disgusting language (con altre parole stomacose), gave him two such deep wounds, one on the hand, and the other on the head, that he fell as if dead, causing such an uproar and tumult, in part from the shrieks of the women and the multitude of persons there present who witnessed this frightful scene, and partly from the crowd drawn thither by the noise, and who on entering the church pursued this wretch with drawn weapons to put him to death, that it was wonderful. Persons who did not know the cause, and especially the strangers, believed that with that opportunity the English had risen for the purpose of killing the Spaniards and all the other foreigners who dwell for the most part in that quarter; so everybody, most especially the Spaniards, were in great alarm. But on hearing what had happened, quiet was restored, the malefactor being seized; and the popular clamour not allowing of his being put to death, he was given into the hands of the law officials to be kept in charge for greater and more severe punishment and penalty.
London, 15th April 1555.


  • 1. In Mr. Turnbull's Calendar there are no letters of this date from Dr. Wotton.
  • 2. A town in Piedmont, 5 leagues N.E. of Turin.
  • 3. Che le fosse fatta la carta di bon servir.
  • 4. Et che verso il Sigr. Don Ferrante si dimostreria amorevole in quello che la potesse.
  • 5. Sir John Masone gives a full account of this audience in his letter to Queen Mary, date Brussels, 11 April 1555. (See Foreign Calendar, p. 162.)
  • 6. Esser al presente peggio della vita.
  • 7. Li quali però per esserli buoni servitori vorranno a qualche tempo ricordargli che se ne serva de lui et ch'egli non potrà ò non vorrà forse.
  • 8. Aggiongendo con un modo di rider.
  • 9. Letter not found.
  • 10. Pope Julius III. died at Rome 23rd March 1555. (See l'Art de vérifier les Dates.)
  • 11. Alfonso de Castro, a Franciscan friar. (See Fox's Martyrology, Part II. p. 145; in Strickland's Mary, p. 547.)
  • 12. Alfonso de Castro, whether right or wrong with regard to Don Ferrante, was a conscientious and free-spoken churchman, for early in February 1555, after the burning of prebend Rogers, the rector Saunders, Dr. Taylor, and Bishop Hooper, “he preached “before the Court a sermon, inveighing against the wickedness of these executions, “boldly declaring the truth, that the English Bishops learned not in Scripture to burn “anyone for conscience sake. This truly Christian sermon produced an order from “Court, whether from the Queen or her husband is not known, to stop the burnings for “upwards of five weeks.” (See Fox's Martyrology; in Strickland, as above.) Francisco Alfonso de Castro was a native of Zamora; he accompanied King Philip to England in 1554, and died at Brussels, 13 February 1558, aged 63 years. (See Biographical Dictionary, Bassano, 1796.)
  • 13. The Earl of Devonshire had been removed from the Tower to Fodringham Castle in Northamptonshire, where he was to remain under the care of Sir Thomas Tresham, on the 25th March 1554. (See Collins' Peerage, vol. 6, p. 258. Ed. London, 1812.)
  • 14. The Lady Elizabeth arrived a prisoner at Whitehall from Ashridge on the 23rd February 1554; on the 18th March she was lodged in the Tower; on the 19th or 20th she was conveyed by water from Tower wharf to Richmond, and next day proceeded thence to Woodstock, where she was still a prisoner when the Venetian Ambassador wrote this despatch.
  • 15. In Machyn's Diary, the removal of the King and Queen to Hampton Court is dated 4th April.
  • 16. Thomas Causton and Thomas Higbed, men of some small property in Essex, Pigot and Knight, suffered in different parts of Essex; Lawrence was burnt at Colchester. (See Froude, vol. 6, pp. 333, 334.) Pigot was a butcher, Knight a barber, and Lawrence a priest. Lord Dacre seems to have been a soldier by profession, as Machyn, date 22 July 1557, records the presence in London of his “lyght hors-men to go [beyond] see,” so it may be inferred that a military force presided at these executions, and that Lord Dacre, being in the pay of the crown, was ordered to Essex for this purpose.
  • 17. The Marquis de las Navas, Don Pedro Davila, was Maggior Domo to Philip II. (See Mr. Turnbull's Calendar, 1553–1558, Index.)
  • 18. The Embassy set out from Calais on the 27th February 1555, and seems to have been at Milan on the 12th April 1555. (See Hardwicke's State Papers, vol. 1, p. 81.)
  • 19. The King and Queen removed from London to Hampton Court on the 3rd April, (See Machyn, p. 84.)
  • 20. This plebeian, a monk of Ely, by name Fowler, alias Branch, was burnt for this assault on the 24th April following, outside St. Margaret's churchyard. (See Machyn's Diary, pp. 84, 85.)