Venice: March 1556, 1-15

Pages 361-376

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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March 1556, 1–15

March 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 416. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
The Nuncio has again been commissioned by the Count of Montorio to assure both the Emperor and the King that the Pope remains armed, and mentally agitated, just cause for this being given him by the ministers and dependants of their Majesties, and not because he purposes acting in any way hostilely against their Majesties; he, on the contrary, being well disposed towards them; and the Nuncio in like manner vouched vehemently for the present obsequiousness of said Count towards their Majesties, and said that he purposes persevering in it, in which strain the Nuncio discourses with everybody, though no one believes these offices to proceed from the heart either of his Holiness or of the Count, but they are performed designedly, coming especially through the medium of this Nuncio, who is supposed to be an agent extremely partial to their Majesties here. Colonel Aldana and Don Enriquez, and other Spanish gentlemen, have told me that the Pope did his utmost to prevent this truce, and they demonstrate the ridiculousness of believing what the Queen of England wrote to her consort, that the most Christian King had chosen to condescend to the stipulation of the truce, being moved to do so principally by the words of the Pope, and then by the Queen herself. Many personages of the chamber and court of the King of Spain arrived here to-day, and to-morrow his Majesty will leave Antwerp on his return to the Emperor, by whom I understand he has been urged to come.
Sir John Masone, councillor of the Queen of England, has been to pray his Majesty in the name of Cardinal Pole, and by a letter from his right reverend lordship, to be pleased to let him know at what time he purposes crossing over to England, he being very anxious to receive from the King the following favour, that having to sing his first mass his Majesty should be present at it. The King answered him that he should be glad of the opportunity, and hoped that his passage would take place soon, as on arriving here he would speed the despatch of many of his affairs in order to return to the Queen his consort. But according to what some persons say, the King seems but little inclined to go to England speedily for the satisfaction of the Queen, she showing herself but luke- warm in fact, although ardent in appearance about such things as it seems she might do for the King's honour and profit (ma per quanto dicono aleuni, poco mostra infatti il Re di voler andar in quel Regno speditamente per dar satisfattione alla Regina, non si mostrando Lei se non tepida in quelle cose che pare che ella potria far per honor et utile del Re); but he will go thither in order to show the world the authority exercised by him in that kingdom, and also because it is convenient for his necessary voyage to Spain, which is generally expected to take place without fail in three or four months; and the Bishop of Arras and M. de la Chaux told the Mantuan ambassador, who repeated it to me, that according to their belief the Emperor will give leave to all the ambassadors who shall choose to do so to serve the King.
Don Luis de Avila, (fn. 1) the senior chamberlain in the Emperor's service, and Don Ernando de la Cerda, also an official of the Imperial chamber, as likewise several other Spanish gentlemen, twenty in number, have in like manner demanded their discharge (which they obtained) in order that they also may go to Spain, some by land through France, and some with the ships of Don Luis Caravajal, on board of which divers effects of the King, which were considered unnecessary, have been embarked.
This determination of de Avila to depart was caused in great part by his extreme resentment at not having been appointed to any office, especially in the council of state of the King of Spain, neither in the first election of councillors, who were six, nor in that of six others which his Majesty made subsequently, who are said to be absent, their names not being published, and they are all Spaniards.
It is said that the King of Spain has written to the Duke of Albuquerque, viceroy of Navarre, that he purposes sending him to reside in England during his absence, as he has experience of that country; and it is supposed by the Spaniards that he will not accept that post, in which case, it is said, that for the present year he will send Don Diego de Azevedo.
There have arrived at Antwerp the Marquis of Arranti, who went as ambassador in the King's name to the Lords of the Rhine and the Dukes of Wurtemberg and Bavaria to inform them of the renunciations of these States made to him by the Emperor; and there has also arrived Alvise Vanega, the King's harbinger major (forrier maggiore), sent by him some time ago with part of the money for his sister the Queen of Bohemia, and to perform sundry loving offices with the Kings of the Romans and of Bohemia.
The Duchess of Lorraine says she will not send anyone to condole with her sister on the death of the Elector Palatine, as the Emperor and the King did, but will go herself in person, and then purposes returning to Lorraine to enjoy her property, hoping that the most Christian King will grant her son the grace to replace him in his duchy.
The Landgrave has his cavalry and infantry in readiness, but as yet he gives no indication of marching them out of his own territory so immediately; it is also said that he is supposed to have armed from suspicion of the Prince of Orange, rather than on any other account, it having come to the Landgrave's knowledge that when the truce was proclaimed a great number of soldiers said they would go and serve the Prince gratis, by reason of the good treatment they had received from him.
Four days ago at Mechlin three male Anabaptists were arrested, as also a woman of the same religious tenets, from whose house they removed her son, a youth 14 years of age, and christened him in public, and she and the three men were burned yesterday; and before their deaths they accused many others of this same heresy. The President Viglius, (fn. 2) when speaking about this matter, said that in Holland, according to the list received by him, the number of persons condemned to death for similar opinions and for Lutheranism in 18 months, and who had been either burned, hanged, or drowned, amounted to 1,300, and that for the avoidance of greater cruelty the execrable intentions of these sectarians must be tolerated as much as possible, they being in too great number.
The Duke of Cleves also writes to King Philip that there are so many of his subjects who would fain communicate sub utrãque, that were he to proceed against them as they deserve he would find it impossible, and that he is aware of being unable any longer to keep them to their duty.
In order to perform the office enjoined me by your Serenity, I sent my secretary to M. de la Chaux to ask for audience of the Emperor, but the answer was that his Majesty, being troubled with the gout, could not grant my request at present, but would do so willingly when he is free from it, and on the arrival of the King of Spain I will announce to him your Serenity's election of Messer Michiel Suriano to reside with his Majesty.
Brussels, 1st March 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Lwigi Pasini.]
March 3. Senato Terra, vol. 40, p. 93. 417. Additional Cost of the Present voted for the Marquis of Exeter.
On the 15th ulto. this council authorised our college to spend to the amount of 100 ducats on things (robbe) and refreshments to be presented to the most illustrious Lord Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devonshire, and as the cost incurred for the aforesaid present comes in all to the sum of 128 ducats, 1 grosso, and 16 soldi, it being therefore fitting to defray this cost,—
Put to the ballot, that of the moneys of our Signory there be given to our officials of the office for old accounts (rason vecchie) the above-written 128 ducats, 1 grosso, and 16 soldi, to settle with those from whom the things and refreshments aforesaid were taken.
Ayes, 152. No, 1. Neutral, 2.
Read on the 21st February 1550.
March 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 418. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
The King of Spain arrived yesterday with his whole court, and dismounted at the Emperor's villa (casino). Early this morning he returned to the Emperor, with whom he heard mass and had a very long conversation. M. de Lalain departed for Cambrai to show the Admiral of France the signatures of the Emperor and the King of Spain affixed to the articles of the truce, and to inspect the French King's signature, and also to have the truce proclaimed on the borders of their Imperial and Spanish Majesties, as was done many days ago on the French frontiers, after which he was to proceed, the Admiral, on the other hand, coming to these courts.
Since the departure of M. de Lalain the subjects of one side and the other have occupied certain villages in several quarters; the French have also arrested divers subjects of the King of Spain, and four couriers who had been sent through France, two to Spain and the others to Italy. Certain Frenchmen write to their relations and friends from the French frontiers that they were moved thus to do from having seen that their King's subjects had been sent away from Antwerp, and prohibited to enter San Thome (sic) and other places, and that not only had the Spaniards not proclaimed the truce, but were the first to seize certain places, claiming the right to do all this until the proclamation; whereas the French maintain that the truce should take effect from the day of its date, and that this long delay in proclaiming it must have been for the purpose of gaining some place and territory, or from a wish to gain repute with the world by acting in this way. On the other hand the Spaniards say that after the arrival in France of M. de Lansac they believe that the King or his ministers, from certain hopes given to his most Christian Majesty that the Pope would declare himself openly owing to the affairs of Tuscany, delayed the Admiral's mission to King Philip, although he had announced it to his Majesty by M. de Lalain; so to deprive the French of an opportunity for revoking what has been stipulated, a courier was despatched yesterday to M. de Lalain desiring him to write to the Admiral that the Emperor and King Philip were content that whatever had been occupied since the date of the truce should be restored to its former state. To-day the Regent of Milan when speaking to me about this matter, said that on the 11th instant they will receive the true reply concerning the will of the French, and that he hoped that what he and the other commissioners stipulated at Cambrai would take effect, provided the French do not grow malignant (caso che Francesi non colessero malignare), the only remaining difficulties relating to the chief prisoners; and that to confess the truth freely, these ministers of the King of Spain had also erred by not having the truce proclaimed immediately, as they ought to have done, thus to reciprocate the proceedings of the French in this matter.
The articles of the truce, printed in France, have arrived at Antwerp, and for the sake of no longer detaining the ambassadors of the powers concerned who earnestly demanded them, their suit has at length been granted, the Florentine having received his copy some days before the others. Encloses a transcript of them. Don Ernando de la Cerda, an official of his Majesty's chamber, and some other Spanish gentlemen have left for Spain, and as they had safe-conduct from the King of France before the stipulation of the truce, it is supposed they will be allowed to pass.
Brussels, 5th March 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
March 7. Original Letter Book, penes me, Letter No. 58, pp. 203, 206. 419. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Pope has desired me to tell you that the ratification of this truce being so long delayed, and knowing its articles to be so disadvantageous for the Imperialists, he suspects them of having benefited themselves by some secret clause, which can relate to nothing but the States of the Church, or to those of your Serenity; and that as to himself he will make such provision as not to be found unprepared. He then added, “With regard to your affairs we are convinced that the same thoughts have occurred to those most prudent senators, who otherwise would be neither good nor sage, but traitors to themselves. We tremble also at that name of Cambrai, so fatal to your Republic, and indeed to Italy, which reminds us that those who made this truce are barbarians, and that it is for their own interest, the Constable choosing thus to recover his son, and Madame de Valentinois her son-in-law, without even waiting two days for the Cardinal of Lorraine, who by that time would have arrived at the court. We believe it was for the sake of depressing the Guise faction (questa parte) which is opposed to him, and who knows what the Cardinal of Lorraine may effect after his arrival; he is the soul of the King, and has so many brave brothers, and is well acquainted with the affairs of Italy. And to conceal nothing from you as usual we will add two things; one is, that when these Switzer ambassadors were passing through a part of the territory of those friends” [the Imperialists] “the most illustrious governor there,” — the Count of Montorio, who was present, adding, “His Holiness means the Cardinal of Trent,” — “inquired whether it was true that we had sent to raise 4,000 Switzers; to which the ambassadors replied that his Holiness had not sent to raise any amount of troops, but that if he required them they would give him not 4,000 but 10,000, and as many as we might choose, and that even the women would come for our defence, by reason of our grandeur (per la nostra grandessa); on hearing which reply, obmutuit, non aperieus os suum. The other is, that we are in hopes that a part of the Germans (di quelli di Germania), qui discesserant a nobis, may through a good medium be brought back, and if not brought back on account of the religion, they always will, and say they will, be on our side, owing to their natural hatred of these kings and tyrants, who usurp the liberty of others, and plot against it. We have chosen to unbosom everything to you, because we believe that we can talk with you as with our nephew here, the Count of Montorio, and all our conceits will invariably be communicated to you. Represent them in the form which we know is familiar to you to those sage elders and consummate statesmen (a quei savij vechi consumati nel governo de' stati). If it were in our power we would go in person to Venice, but some day we shall perhaps send you, Count; and this magnifico the ambassador” (speaking of me) “will not fail to write, as he has done hitherto, what we have said to him.” I replied that thus would I do according to my duty; and after returning thanks for the great confidence evinced by his Holiness in your Serenity and in me, as also for his very manifest care for the most Serene Republic, I took leave.
Although aware of the great prudence of the most excellent Senate, I will not omit respectfully to suggest, that on several accounts, it cannot but be beneficial for the State to keep what I write very secret.
Rome, 28th February 1556.
March 7. Original Letter Book, penes me, Letter No. 60, pp. 206, 207. 420. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Whilst the court was in suspense about the non-signature of the truce, letters arrived from the French court dated the 20th, addressed to Cardinal Farnese by his agent the Reverend Tiburtio, together with a copy of the treaty in French, containing a clause which stipulates that the Princes are to sign it within six weeks.
Rome, 7th March 1556.
March 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 421. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
Concerning the truce, I have nothing more of importance to communicate; all the personages of the Imperial and Royal courts most strongly suspect the King of France of intending to find an opportunity for making his ministers cancel (disconciare) what has been done. This suspicion is increased by all the letters from Italy, and especially from Rome, informing their Majesties and all the ministers that the Pope, although he made a show of rejoicing at this truce, regretted it extremely; his mind being more restless than ever, and his thoughts turned chiefly to the affairs of Tascany; and although the Nuncio congratulated the King of Spain in the Pope's name on the renunciation of the states made to him by the Emperor, and that his Holiness is excellently disposed towards their Majesties, yet nevertheless there is no minister nor any person, be his condition what it may, who in the least believes what this Nuncio said, and continues saying to everybody; many persons being of opinion that the Pope, in order to cause the Emperor and the King of Spain to have a good opinion of him, made the Nuncio perform these offices, knowing that being an Imperialist at heart, and interested on account of his archbishopric of Conza in the kingdom of Naples, he wishes matters to proceed favourably for the King of Spain.
Three days ago I announced to the King the appointment of the ambassador Suriano, and congratulated his Majesty on the conclusion of the truce. He answered me with a very cheerful countenance that these loving offices resembled those invariably performed by your Serenity with the Emperor; and that having been made the heir of his states, he chose also to inherit the good friendship invariably maintained by his Imperial Majesty with your Serenity; and that as to the truce he had inclined towards it for the benefit of Christendom, for whom he should always desire a good peace. Concerning the affair of the galliot taken by the Proveditor of the fleet, as nothing was said to me either by the King or any of the ministers, I said not a word about it, and to such courtiers as discussed the matter with me, I made such replies of my own accord, as commissioned by your Serenity, nor do I find anyone who does not commend what was done, or who is otherwise than convinced of your goodwill towards the Emperor and King Philip, both by reason of the election of the ambassador, as also through the “advices” from Venice and from Rome, demonstrating that you have not the slightest thought in conformity either with the Pope or with others about moving, should it be chosen to make a stir of arms in Italy. I was unable to perform similar offices with the Emperor, as he does not give audience to any ambassador, being in bed with the gout, which has molested him in such wise as to cause a violent paroxysm of fever, from which, however, he is now freed, and the pain is somewhat diminished.
The deputies of these provinces have arrived here, and the King will demand 600,000 crowns from them, it being said that but little less would suffice for payment of the officials of these two courts, and of the Spanish and German troops on these frontiers.
Brussels, 9th March 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
March 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 422. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
In execution of the Signory's missive dated the 21st ultimo I went to-day to his most Christian Majesty, having been first, as usual, with the Constable, who told me that in Corsica Giordano Orsini had recovered 200 Christian slaves who were wrecked on board the Imperial galleys, having released all of them save a few Spaniards and other commanders (capi) who were on board; doing the like also by 600 Turks and Moors, it being his most Christian Majesty's intention to free the Turks and send them to Sultan Soliman at Constantinople. He had also recovered some guns, and hoped also to get some more, forming a total of 70. The said Signor Giordano has imprisoned some of the crews, to ascertain what these Imperial galleys had intended doing, as on board of them he found a great number of long scaling ladders, nor could he as yet learn positively whether they purposed plundering San Fiorenzo and making themselves masters of the old harbour.
After returning thanks to his Excellency for this communication, I told him that I was commisioned by your Serenity to congratulate his most Christian Majesty on the conclusion of the truce, and to thank him for having included your Serenity in it, and also to congratulate his Excellency, who might be called the principal author of this boon conferred on Christendom. To this he replied that so great was the conformity between the course of fortune which the most Christian King ran and that of your Serenity that it was not surprising if what was agreeable to the one should gratify the other; and that, as to himself, he had never failed performing every good office for the quiet of Christendom, without any consideration for the imprisonment of his son, his brother-in-law, and his nephew M. d'Andelot, and he thanked your Serenity for the honour you did him. I asked him when the Admiral would go to the Emperor to effect the ratification, and he replied, “The King will not ratify until after the decision about the affair (la materia) of the prisoners;” and then, having reached the King's presence, after delivering your Serenity's congratulatory letter, his Majesty replied that he greatly thanked your Serenity for your goodwill, and that thinking that the conclusion of the truce would be agreeable to your Serenity, and that it had also taken place advantageously for you (et non meno l'esser seguito con avantagio suo), he had chosen to acquaint you with it immediately.
With regard to the nomination of the Signory, the King said that it was much less than he wished to do on any occasion that might present itself to him: and after receiving my thanks he added, “The Emperor has already made (fatto) his ratification, and sent it to M. de Lalain, as I also did mine to the Admiral, and the said Lalain wanted to send his that he might come to me as customary, but I did not choose this, and indeed I sent an express order to the Admiral not to receive it, nor to send mine, until a conclusion be come to (sino che non si concluda) about the prisoners, as I do not intend the matter to remain thus;” and he then continued, “It is usual for the commissioners on both sides reciprocally to convey these first ratifications, with which they subsequently enter the respective territories, and mine will then go to the Emperor and the King of England, and his will come to me, in presence of whom, and in public, the final ratification will be solemnly made.” Thereupon I said, “Sire, your Majesty treats me so confidentially that I shall venture to tell you what is said at the court. That everybody remains in suspense, perceiving that on the part of the Emperor no proclamation whatever is made, it being indeed reported that the Marquis of Pescara declares he knows nothing at all about it, and that he was continuing the war; and it seems that the Pope likewise is in some trouble; in addition to which it is not yet heard that any communication whatever has been made, even to the Queen of England.”
To this his Majesty replied, “Ambassador, believe me that the Count de Lalain is most earnest about the ratification, although I had him answered as I told you; and with regard to their wish for it I will give you the following proof—that immediately on hearing of the conclusion certain French merchants went about their merchandise into the Emperor's territory, where they were arrested, and having complained about this to the Admiral they were all released immediately, their captors being punished; but the reason why neither this business nor any other obtains despatch at the court of the King of England is that as yet he has not much experience, and there is so much disagreement amongst his ministers that what is done by one the other would fain undo; and the following particular I can tell you for certain, that the Bishop of Arras avoids interfering in the negotiations as much as ever he can.” I asked his Majesty when the term appointed for the ratification expired. He said in nine days, within which period, should the affair of the prisoners not be settled, he has consented to its prolongation. My belief is, though he did not really say so, that in the meanwhile they will either send a messenger, or something more will be heard than we know at present.
This conversation having ended thus, we commenced talking about the beautiful site of this palace, and the fine country this is, discussing other similar topics, and having stayed a long while with his Majesty I took leave, and then performed the office enjoined me by your Serenity with the most Christian Queen. Her Majesty received me very graciously, returning you many thanks, and in course of conversation said to me, “We must believe that his Divine Majesty will reward the King for his good intention, as he has assuredly consented to make this adjustment at a moment when the Emperor was at the last extremity (quando l'Imperatore non poteva più), as is evident to the whole world, he having been induced thus to do for the benefit of Christendom, and not for his own advantage; as, besides there being no urgent need of money here, we had the Pope and so many others in our favour that we had nothing more to wish for; but praised be God for everything.” I then went to perform the like office as enjoined me by your Serenity also with Madame Marguerite, (fn. 3) who showed herself beyond measure grateful, thanking your Serenity for it infinitely. She in like manner commended the King's goodness, saying, “The others do not act in like manner by him, for it seems to me that they do not comport themselves like Princes, as they ought to do.”
With regard to this matter, it is heard in secret that the King and the Constable are in some apprehension about these proceedings of the Imperialists, lest it be their desire to protract this ratification as long as they can, in order by any ways and means in their power to make themselves masters of some important fortress (qualche piazza di importanza), and some persons greatly fear that the Pope may incur some detriment, or else that, finding himself deserted here, he may make some fresh arrangement with the Imperialists; and although as yet nothing can be ascertained authentically about the state of the case, there are at least various indications to prove that there is no slight disquiet, and the King remains constantly alone with the Constable, they keeping as much aloof from this negotiation as they possibly can, the Cardinal of Lorraine, the Duke de Guise, and the Marshal de St. André, (fn. 4) these and the Constable being the sole members of the council for affairs (consiglio di affari) [foreign affairs?].
Amboise, 9th March 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
March 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 423. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
This morning the King came to hear mass in the monastery where I am lodged, and I having gone to salute and pay my respects to him, he himself told me what had been told me shortly before in his name by a gentleman, that last night advices arrived from the Admiral announcing a conference held by him with M. de Lalain, at which it was settled that all the prisoners should be now released, except the Duke de Bouillon and the Constable's son on the one side, and the Duke d'Arschot on the other, on the terms already notified, namely, that each individual was to pay one year's annual rental, and in like manner such pension or stipend as was received by him during that same period from his Prince; and those whose fathers are alive, to be ransomed for merely one half of their fathers' annual revenues, the sons paying their entire pensions for one year. With regard to the three above-written personages, Count de Lalain promised on the word of the Emperor, and of the King his son, that within the term of three months the two Frenchmen should be released for such fair pecuniary ransom as should be stipulated with his most Christian Majesty; the Admiral promising the like respecting the Duke d'Arschot. The King told me besides that Spanish couriers had arrived here with orders to go, accompanied by those who would be despatched by his most Christian Majesty, into Piedmont and other parts of Italy wherever requisite, to proclaim the truce, with the express command, that should anything have been taken, or in case of any innovation since the conclusion of the truce, it be immediately replaced as it was on the aforesaid day, according to the tenour of the said treaty, as would be done by his most Christian Majesty on his part; so seeing that the King evinced great joy at this, I congratulated him on it in your Serenity's name. He then mounted on horseback immediately to hunt; and the Cardinal of Lorraine having remained behind, chose that we should walk together, and when I alluded to the aforesaid resolution he said to me, “The King wished for the immediate release of these chief prisoners likewise, but it was requisite to comply with the will of the Emperor, who persevered in his harsh mode of proceeding to the last (ma è stato forcia compiacer all' Imperatore, continuando sino al fine nel suo duro proceder); but it has been stipulated that the ransom shall be paid in money, without even saying a word about the restitution of any fortress for their release.” I then asked him when the Count de Lalain would come hither to effect the ratification; he said it was not settled, the Count not yet having the commission, and the Emperor not having determined on the person to be sent by him as ambassador resident here; nor would Lalain come save in his company that he might present him to his most Christian Majesty, as the Admiral will do by M. de Bassefontaine, who will reside with the Emperor and King Philip. This termination has manifestly caused very great satisfaction to everybody, in like manner as previously, when there was some doubt of it, no slight disquiet (molestia) manifested itself openly.
Amboise, 12th March 1556.
March 14. Original Letter Book, penes me, Letter No. 63, p. 213. 424. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Last Sunday the Pope did not again appear in chapel because on the preceding night he was on foot until the 9th hour [3 a.m.], so a report arose of his being unwell, which having reached his Holiness, he ate in public, and said he would no longer give audience after sunset to any person soever, and ordered the chamberlains not to dare bring him any message whatever after that time even were it to announce the resurrection of his own father (se ben portasse nuova della resuretione di suo padre); and this he repeated on the morrow when he held consistory, adding that he is old and must take care of himself, and have regard for his life.
At a private audience Cardinal San Giacomo [Juan Alvarez de Toledo], asked leave of the Pope to propose the archbishopric of Toledo for a person in the confidence of the Duke of Florence, but his Holiness got into a violent rage (s'alterò sopra modo), and drove him out of his presence (et se lo cacciò dalla presenza), to the surprise of the Cardinals who did not know the cause, the circumstance having been narrated to me by one of their right reverend lordships to whom S. Giacomo himself communicated it.
On Wednesday his Holiness called congregation of all the commissioners for the “reform,” and made three speeches with his usual eloquence. In the first he addressed himself to the Cardinals alone, in the second to the prelates, and in the third to the whole congregation united. The substance, although his Holiness with marvellous skill each of the three times expressed himself differently, varying his language, was to the effect that to establish this reform as firmly as possible, besides the 10 prelates added to the 24, he had chosen to put in each class including theologians and canonists 27 other officials, in order that every one might suggest and give good counsel for the honour of this Holy See, so that each of the classes will number 50 persons.
His Holiness then said that he would give the “dubbio” (daria il dubbio) in writing, but wishing to do so in clear and explicit terms he required a little time for consideration, it being of the greatest importance; to-day, however, I hear he has issued it in print.
Rome, 14th March 1556.
March 14. Original Letter Book, penes me, Second Letter, No. 64, pp. 215–217. 425. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday I had audience of the Pope, who said to me, “We are still intent upon the reform and the length of time taken by us, is for the sake of doing the thing well, as it is most important, nor do we choose it to be said that it is a whim of ours (un nostro ghiribiccio), and that we acted according to our own fancy without listening to anybody. We choose every one to speak, and the worse they say the better we shall be pleased, as we shall better, once for all, discover the truth. It is not mettlesome discourse (brio di parole); Christ is speaking here, not Augustin, Thomas, or others; gratis accepistis, gratis date. Magnifico Ambassador, we have had this at heart for many years, as in the house of the Lord we saw many things being done which would terrify you. Any man in want of a bishopric went first of all to the bankers' shops (in banchi), where there was the list with the prices; and on a promotion of cardinals, calculation was made of how many tens and hundreds of thousands could be got by it; so immediately God gave us this dignity without our asking it, as His Divine Majesty knows, we said we knew what our Lord wished of us; we must do deeds to purge the head of this malady, and if we did not do so immediately it was because we chose in the first place to make a promotion of cardinals to employ them [in this work] with the certainty of their serving well, although we did not distrust the others. Now we will effect the reform even at the cost of our life; those who say that we shall put too much of our own and not have wherewithal to persevere (che vi metteremo troppo del nostro, et che non haveremo da sostentare), do not disturb us, because we are certain that He, who from the void created all things, will not fail us. It is a miracle, Lord Ambassador, how this Holy See has maintained itself, preceding Pontiffs having, one may say, done everything to destroy it, but it is founded on such stones that there is nothing to fear—those two Apostles who are the ornament of heaven, and then the blood of so many martyrs who have been put to death in so many parts of the world, and especially in this city; and even were we not to succeed, we would content ourselves with cleansing this place, consecrated to God, and then die. And to tell you everything, this congregation of ours will have the force of a council, and we have given it il dubbio' in writing (alla quale habbiamo datto il dubbio in serittura), and we have had it put into print, as we do not choose to send it to the universities, it not being dignified for this Holy See, which is magistra omnium, to go begging the opinion of others, but we are content that it should circulate under-hand (sotto mano), and to hear everyone so that we may be enabled to form a better resolve.”
Conversing thus, the Pope approached his writing table, and took two copies of this “dubbio,” which he gave me, saying, “You will send one to the most illustrious Signory, the other you will keep for yourself.” He then stopped like a person who wished to say something, but feared to do so (come persona che volesse dire una cosa, nut temesse), and after a pause continued, “We will not withhold from you (non vi vogliamo defrandare) that which is known to ourselves, being very certain that you will write in such a form, and that those most illustrious Lords will in like manner keep what we communicate to them in such wise, as never to give us cause for regret. We hear through a sure channel, for we do not easily believe every one, and choose to ascertain matters thoroughly, that King Philip of England—as the Emperor is no longer mentioned, because as you must know he does not exist, so one may say, Philip late Charles (si può dir Filippo quondam Carlo)—charged those who negotiated this truce by no means to make mention of council,' as they well knew what would happen to them; and this their fear of us proceeds we are aware from the powerful hand of God, for we do not deceive ourselves about our temporal forces. Well do we know that the Almighty giveth and taketh away courage as he listeth. This we have said to you as an introduction to what follows, namely, that our reform will draw many things after it should God grant us the grace to cleanse ourselves (ci da gracia che possiamo netarci), and that there be not said of us, Read thine own book, and Medice, cura te ipsum; we shall perhaps show the Princes that in their courts there is more simony than in this one, and we purpose getting rid of it because we are placed in authority over them as over priests, all being our children; and when needed we will convoke a council in this famous city, as there is no need to go elsewhere, and we, as is notorious, would never give our vote for the council to be held at Trent in the midst, it may be said, of the Lutherans. Although the decision has to be made by the bishops, one may indeed admit learned laymen provided they be Catholics, as otherwise we might be told to include even Sultan Soliman. Thus, Magnifico Ambassador, have we chosen to unbosom ourselves to you completely, as lovingly as we do to Cardinal Caraffa; and we will also tell you that with regard to the truce, we do not as yet know that the articles have been signed. To us, indeed, so far as can be conjectured, it does not seem that it can stand thus, being so very disadvantageous for the King of England, or else it must be inferred that he is in some very urgent need, about which all we know is that neither in Piedmont nor in Tuscany is there a cessation of hostilities, nay, they are doing worse than ever. We do not know what truce this may be. God grant that we may have a good and true peace! In the meanwhile we shall remain armed that they may not be able to deceive us, and were we to ask counsel of your Signory we believe they would advise us to keep prepared. To no one will we give occasion, but should others give it to us we will not fail doing like honest men. (fn. 5) They, perhaps, are more afraid than we are, and we know that already a good many days ago, when in consultation, some of their military commanders said Let us go to Rome, there to do deeds and make ourselves heard,' but by those who altius videbuntur sapere, they were answered, Go to Rome!! to do what? See you not that he is armed and has a city which adores him? that every one would fight for his Holiness? and then, when should we return?' as they know we should wage fiercer war on them in the kingdom of Naples than here. So that, Magnifico Ambassador, apologize for us to the Signory, and tell them to pardon us if we remain armed as we do, for the maintenance of these afflicted relics of Italy, (fn. 6) for it may be said that nothing remains of her but this mitre and that ducal bonnet; (fn. 7) be this Holy See recommended to the State in like manner as we are ready to do everything for its conservation and increase.”
Perceiving that I had been well nigh two hours with his Holiness, after thanking him for so confidential a communication, which I said would not be divulged beyond the walls of the senate hall, I then took leave.
Most Serene Prince, although aware that the Pope has very often said to me the things above mentioned, and that I wrote them to the Signory, it seeming to me nevertheless that it is the duty of an ambassador to transmit all that he hears orally from the lips of the Prince to whom he is accredited, I therefore endeavour to notify to your Serenity not merely the conceits of his Holiness, but his identical words.
Rome, 14th March 1556.
March 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 426. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
Three days ago, in the court of the King of Spain, on the market place of this town (nella piazza di questa terra), and at Antwerp, the truce was proclaimed to the trumpet's sound, in the Spanish, Flemish, and French tongues; after which the bells were rung as a mark of rejoicing, and letters have been despatched to his Majesty's chief ministers with news of this event.
These gentlemen of these two courts have determined to make a joust here after the Easter holidays, and it is said that the King in person will joust, the challengers being Don Ruy Gomez, Don Luis de Caravajal, and Don Rodrigo di Benavides, they maintaining that the women of Brussels are handsomer than those of Mechlin, where Count Schwartzburg is preparing a tournament for his sweethearts (per suoi innamoramenti).
Visited the Bishop of Arras, informing him that I was charged to do the like with the Emperor, but that having heard he was in bed with the gout, I would not ask audience. He told me that the proclamation of the truce had been delayed because their Majesties did not choose to make it until the French confirmed what the commissioners concluded at Cambrai, as it is necessary to proceed very cautiously with them, but that in the meanwhile the ransom of the prisoners had been discussed, and the Admiral of France is expected here from day to day; also that their Majesties in the articles had borne your Serenity in mind, as due, and that you had also been named on the part of the French. We had a long conversation about the many and toilsome labours performed by his right reverend Lordship in the service of the Emperor. He says he is now weary of further work, and tells everybody that he purposes retiring to his bishopric, though this is supposed to proceed from his perceiving it to be the King's intention that everybody is to go and transact business with Don Ruy Gomez, whose apartment is thronged from morning till night by negotiators of all sorts.
On his return from Antwerp I also visited the Duke of Savoy, who, after the usual compliments, abounding in extreme respect and demonstrations of love for your Serenity, repeated his determination to keep an ambassador with you.
On the 13th instant the King of Spain made his demand for money from the deputies of these provinces, who according to custom have taken the term of one month to go and report to the towns and to their lords. The demand purported that his Majesty, having incurred debts for the defence of these provinces to the amount of a million and a half of crowns, and having also need of other moneys for matters of extreme necessity, he requested them to give him one per cent, on the value of immoveable property, and two per cent, on moveable, promising not to make any further demand for the next two years. The deputies all evinced greater displeasure at the mode whereby it was proposed to raise this sum, it being chosen thus to ascertain what they are worth, than from having to pay it.
His Majesty has ordered the Count of Meghen to raise six regiments of Flemish infantry, that he may march them to the frontiers of Luxemburg in lieu of the troops from upper Germany (in luogo degli Alemani alti) now there, the cost being less, and the Flemings thus obtaining pay and employment, as desired by them.
Colonel Aldanna has been consulted several times about remedying the defects known to exist in the Spanish infantry with regard to their weapons and discipline.
The King has received letters from the Cardinal of Toledo, wishing to spend his archiepiscopal revenues for the conservation of Oran and the recovery of Bugia, and requesting his Majesty to write to the communities of Spain to receive in pledge all the revenues of his right reverend Lordship, and to lend him 300,000 crowns, to be repaid within six years, the King to bind himself to them by contract that the archbishop's successor will acquit the debt with the revenues aforesaid, or his Majesty to repay the money with that which he is accustomed to receive from the Cortes of Monçon; and the Spaniards say it is intended to spend a million of gold on this expedition, and that in his granaries the Cardinal has the wheat of several harvests to the value of 50,000 crowns.
Brussels, 14th March 1556.
March 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 427. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday Sir John Masone, councillor of the Queen of England, owing to a fresh order from her Majesty, went to pray the King her consort to be pleased to say frankly in how many days he purposed returning to that kingdom, as besides her other reasons she wished to know it for the purpose of continuing or not to incur the cost of the ships already prepared for his passage. Masone, moreover, as of his own accord, warmly persuaded him to comfort the Queen, as also the peers of the realm, by his presence, saying that there was no reason yet to despair of his having heirs. (fn. 8) The King, after the general replies, and answering lovingly with regard to details about the Queen and all the inhabitants of England, said that the causes for detaining him here kept multiplying in such wise that it was impossible to say anything certain about the time of his departure, and that it would be well to get rid of the cost of the aforesaid ships; repeating, however, his intention, as soon as he could despatch all his affairs, of going, that he might gratify his consort. So the said councillor [Masone], having been unable to elicit an especial promise indicating the time, went immediately to Don Ruy Gomez to hear his opinion on this subject, and having received for answer “that he thought speedily” (“che credeva presto“), Sir John Masone rejoined that the non-performance of these promises at any time was so evident that he would write to the Queen to dismiss this thought from her mind for many months; whereupon Don Ruy Gomez added that his opinion was that she would have the King with her next June, and that Masone might notify this to her Majesty. Don Juan Manrique, a member of King Philip's council of state, and other honourable Spanish gentlemen, say that the King has no cause to gratify the Queen in this respect, nor yet in any other, as she has in fact shown but little conjugal affection for him, and that but little can be hoped from her; coming to the following particulars, that not only had the King to pay his own expenses, but also those of a great number of Englishmen, spending so vast a sum of money, and being subjected to so many vexations in that kingdom on account of the Queen, that, were he not bound by this marriage, the imperial and royal courtiers say generally, were there no other cause, he ought to be deterred from going thither by the prognostic of his astrologer, to the effect that in this year the English will form a conspiracy against him; in addition to which, in the month of July (sic), the period assigned by Ruy Gomez for his being in England, he should for his own profit, and also from necessity, visit and inspect all these provinces, which could not be done in less than two months.
Brussels, 15th March 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]


  • 1. His commentaries on the Emperor's war against the Protestants of Germany was printed in Spain in 1546. It was one of the books which the Emperor took with him to Yuste. (See Mignet, Charles-Quint, son abdication, &c., p. 215, ed. Paris, 1868.)
  • 2. President of the Council of Brussels. (See Foreign Calendar, 1553–1558, Index.)
  • 3. Marguerite de Valois, sister of Henry II., and who in 1559 (July 9) became the consort of Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy.
  • 4. Jacques d'Albon, Seigneur de St. André, (See Foreign Calendar, 1553–1558, Index.)
  • 5. Non mancheremo di farla da huomini da bene.
  • 6. Queste afflite reliquie d'Italia.
  • 7.
  • 8. In the Foreign Calendar (Mary), p. 216, there is a letter from Masone to the Queen, date Brussels, 14th March 1556, but it does not allude to the particulars recorded in this despatch by Badoer.