Venice: March 1556, 16-31

Pages 377-395

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.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


March 1556, 16–31

March 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 428. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
At the conference mentioned in my last between the Admiral and the Count de Lalain, they exchanged the ratifications of the truce made by their princes, without altering the agreement in any way; and the one made by the Emperor and the King of England was sent hither to his most Christian Majesty by the said Admiral, the Imperial couriers who arrived here on their way to proclaim the truce in Italy having departed with other couriers despatched by the King of France for the same purpose. Subsequently other couriers arrived on their way to do the like in Spain, and have already gone on.
Last night news arrived of the rout given by the French to the Imperialists under San Lorenzo, some commanders and artillery having been captured, which gave satisfaction, it seeming here that after the conclusion of the truce the Imperialists should by no means have continued hostilities, although it had not been ratified; and here it is said that if after the proclamation by the couriers they desist, the French will do the like, and give back the guns and prisoners and everything else taken since the conclusion, provided the Imperialists act similarly.
The King will depart hence to-morrow for Tours, to remain there three or four days, and will then return hither to pass the rest of Lent and the Easter holidays.
Amboise, 16th March 1556.
March 17. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 429. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Has no occasion, with this opportunity for sending the duplicate of his last letter dated 10th instant, (fn. 1) to add anything, nothing having occurred worthy of the Signory's notice, the Queen being for many days without notices from beyond sea. Her Majesty still awaits anxiously the return of her courier Francesco, it being supposed that the King detains him so long a while that he may bring back the positive resolve about his Majesty's coming.
Notwithstanding the Queen's regret that Cardinal Pole should be away from her, he has, however, obtained leave, though with difficulty, to go for a few days to take possession of his archbishopric of Canterbury, making his solemn entry on Lady-day the 25th instant, and on the following Palm Sunday he will sing his first mass, and preach in public, to commence the full exercise of his office. By reason of the great reverence and respect which all the chief personages of the kingdom bear his right reverend Lordship, it was their wish to accompany him on his entry, had he not prevented it for the avoidance of cost and inconvenience both to himself and to them; nor will he admit (admetter) any but the nobility and gentry of Kent who are within his diocese, and some of the chief personages here of the court, whom he cannot refuse, and even they will be too many. On this occasion the Queen presented him with episcopal robes and ornaments (paramenti et ornamenti episcopali) estimated at 10,000 ducats, the Cardinal has also increased his household by 180 mouths and upwards, including gentlemen and servants.
For many consecutive days a comet has been visible, as it still is, (fn. 2) and with this opportunity a gang of rogues, some twelve in number, who have been arrested, went about the city saying we should soon see the day of judgment, when everything would be burned and consumed. These knaves, with a number of others, availing themselves of this device, agreed to set fire to several parts of the city, to facilitate their project of murder and robbery, and if this be true, due punishment will be inflicted on them.
London, 17th March 1556.
March 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 430. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
Lodgings for 300 persons have been prepared for the Admiral of France.
The Landgrave of Hesse has disbanded all his troops with the exception of four infantry regiments, his suspicion of an attack from the Prince of Orange having now ceased entirely.
The Duke of Ferrara has staid the recall of his ambassador now resident here with the Emperor and the King, either from repentance, after hearing of the conclusion of the truce, or because he made this stir in aid of France during its negotiation, or perhaps from finding himself deceived in the treaties on foot between himself, the Duke of Parma, and the most Christian King.
Consultations have been held lately about entrusting the African expedition to the Cardinal of Toledo and the other lords of Spain, or that the King should send thither troops from his other States, paid at his own cost. Nothing has as yet been settled, nor has his Majesty answered the Cardinal. The Finance Committee is discussing the means whereby to free the King from the heavy interest he is now paying, and amongst various schemes two were debated at great length yesterday; one that, as the new successor to these Provinces, his Majesty should take himself all offices of profit, and receive a good sum of money on confirming the old ministers, or appointing new ones in their stead; the other, that he should establish wardship, reserving all the property of minors until their majority, giving them seven per cent, interest per annum and security on some of these towns, thus saving five per cent, out of the twelve which he is now paying to the merchants.
The Emperor is still in bed with the gout.
Brussels, 18th March 1556.
March 19. Original Letter Book, penes me, Letter No. 65, pp. 218, 219. 431. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
To-day had audience of the Pope, who in reply to your Serenity's advices from Constantinople, said, “It is evident that the armadas of Sultan Soliman are always fitted out for our detriment; as against the Sophy, he has merely need of a few galleys to guard his territory when proceeding in that direction. May God assist us! Would that we could witness a good peace between these princes, and thus have we always said to their ambassadors—we say a good peace, and not merely a peace, as was said also by Christ, pacem meam; that is, I give it you good, tranquil, and real; adding, should anyone not have understood, 'non quomodo mundus dat.' This truce is making great progress; the King of England has written to the Marquis [of Sarria, Don Fernando Ruiz de Castro; not Sir Edward Carne] his ambassador here, to tell us that he was content to sign it, thinking to do us pleasure, as he knew that we had urged him thus to do, through our legate, Cardinal Pole, by means of the ambassador here [Sir Edward Carne], whom we charged to write to him in our name, and by our nephew the Signor Ferante di Sanguini, who went lately to that court; his Majesty ending his letter very respectfully with regard to us. Then to-day you saw here the French ambassador and the Prothonotary de Noailles, who has brought us a letter, written throughout in the King's own hand, telling us the same; which letters of either sovereign we have given to our right reverend secretary, that he may answer them becomingly, and we will show them to you should the secretary not have gone away;” and then having had him called, and as he was not in the antechamber, the Pope continued, “As he is not here, you will content yourself with what we have told you, which is their substance.”
He said, moreover, “The satisfaction derivable from this truce consists in this, that ardour of theirs has abated, it having hitherto prevented them from listening to anybody or to any good suggestions. There being now a cessation of hostilities, some attempt might be made to bring them to a good peace, which may God of his mercy grant, as without the hope of peace this truce cannot prove to our satisfaction, as the conditions it contains forbid its duration; and lest there be some secret understanding it is our duty to keep well on the watch, to guard against their deceiving us. We remember the disastrous results of the League of Cambrai. We pray you, Magnifico Ambassador, not to be scandalized and think us garrulous (che habbiamo il prurito nella lingua), for we know how to be silent when we choose. This opening of our heart, and committal of it to your trusty ears, and to those of the Signory, proceed from the very great love we bear the most Screne Republic, so that it would seem to us greatly to wrong you also, were we to suppress anything we have on our mind; write therefore to those sage signors that if ever there was a time to preserve friendships and form new ones, and to have a good mutual understanding, it is the present one, for this is the way to preserve one's own and augment it, and to inspire terror to such as entertain mischievous projects; for the sovereigns note everything, however trifling it may be, and of a straw they make a beam (e d'una festuca fanno una trare), which we discovered lately in these negotiations of ours, when they laid great stress on matters of little importance; so you may now judge what important feats they will perform, and whether, whilst thinking of their own safety, they will meditate an attack on their neighbours.”
The Pope also said, “It seems a great sign of the goodness of God on earth, that when any one, however iniquitous he may be, is about to perpetrate a crime, he cannot rid his heart of that fear and torment called remorse (sindéresi), which was felt by these Imperialists when they came to our frontiers from the kingdom of Naples and Tuscany, and confessed to everybody that they came from fear (che venivano per paura); so we answered them, There is something more than fear, what are you afraid of? that we with four or six thousand infantry intend to wrest from you the kingdom of Naples? They put us to great expense, for long since we have had a considerable force under arms; but to return to what we were telling you, God knows with how much love and charity we say and assure you that we choose the enemy who attacks your Signory to know that he will have to attack us also; and we choose to have the same care for our sons and feudatories, the Dukes of Ferrara and Urbino, and the Swiss cantons, and we pray the most illustrious Signory to hold them dear, both because they deserve it, as also for the welfare of your Republic. The Duke of Ferrara is a Venetian nobleman much attached to the State; his late father was in the habit of going to Venice for recreation; the Duke of Urbino is your son and servant, for the sake of his father and for his own sake. You are aware that we told you heretofore, and we believe you wrote to the State accordingly, that we gave him leave to enter your service; but even had they not been such we should have chosen them to become so, and to serve the Signory like ourselves in person. The Switzers are attached to you; they are the bulwark (antemural) against Germany, and armed, so that you can make use of them instantly. Write to the Signory to caress and treat them hospitably, allowing them to trade in the Venetian territory, so as to bind them yet more to you. Should the Republic be of this opinion, we promise not to fail you; but if, on the contrary, the State thinks differently, let them make themselves heard, as we will listen to you quietly, though we should indeed wish those most potent Signors to ponder with their usual prudence, that the sole way to eradicate the evil designs of the barbarians is to form a good alliance amongst friends. We will not fail to gratify these Switzers as much as we can, in order that they may remain staunch to us, and that the other cantons which have seceded may return, as we choose to hope may come to pass; and here we will tell you a thing which we have never communicated to any one, namely, that to make more sure of this nation, had we found in it any individual—I will not say of most consummate learning, but of moderate literary acquirements, and a man of worth and universally popular amongst the Switzers—thinking thus, through such a person, to gratify all the cantons—we would have made him cardinal, but we have not found him, the nation (as notorious) seeking its glory in the field; but we obliged the other nations, German, Spanish, and French, though not on the demand of any one, as we choose the Princes to be convinced that at their suit we will not name even one. We promoted Groppero by reason of his repute for goodness and learning; the Archbishop of Toledo, because he leads an exemplary life, is a great prelate, and with regard to the interests of this Holy See, has opposed even the Emperor himself; Reumano, 'Auditor di Ruota,' because he has always given good account of himself, and by reason of the integrity of his awards (et della sua innocenza in giudichare); as also in order not to elect any great personages whose election might have caused a suspicion of our naming them at the suit of the King or others. Where was the abuse in this (che abuso era questo)? Of our predecessors the Emperor demanded at least eight Cardinals, and we said to them, let Him ask, and do you make the Cardinals, at the suit of Christ. Magnifico Ambassador! it was impossible for us more clearly to demonstrate the love we bear the Republic, and our care for it, than by unbosoming all our thoughts to the Signory, and reminding them of what is to their advantage and honour, and we choose to have it in our power to say that thus have we done. As soon as we are sure of this truce, and when it is confirmed to us, we shall relieve ourselves from expenditure, but not entirely, as it is our intention to keep provided; we shall disband the multitude (la moltitudine) and retain the men of worth (gl' huomeni da bene), who are in great number, as they come more willingly to serve us for small stipend, than they go with considerable pay to fight for ultramontane Princes whom they profess to serve under compulsion, and for the sake of emolument—God knows how far this may be true—and we from good companionship share what we have with them. In truth, Lord Ambassador, we receive endless letters from personages of importance who wish to come and serve us, and those we engage will always be yours, as whatever we have we choose to hold in common with your most illustrious lords.”
In reply I told his Holiness that I would write what he had said to me to your Serenity, as I always had done, and according to my duty. He rejoined, “Write it to them, as we would moreover fain have it in our power to utter and affirm it to them with our own lips, as it proceeds from nothing but what is aforesaid, namely, our thought for the preservation of Italy, since it has pleased God to give us this charge;” and thus, having been a very long time with him, I took my leave.
Rome, 19th March 1556.
March 21. Original Letter Book, penes me. Letter No. 66. 432. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The letters from the Imperial court, to which I alluded in my last, were dated the 22nd and 29th ultimo, from the Nuncio; and those from private individuals, and from the King of England to his Ambassador here [Sir Edward Carne; or Don Fernando Ruiz de Castro, Marquis of Sarria; or Don Juan Garcilasso de la Vega] were of the 2nd instant. In the morning the Count of Montorio sent his secretary to show me their contents, as your Serenity will perceive by the enclosed copy, and although the letters are stale, it is nevertheless not amiss to see what was then said at that court about Italian affairs, and the opinions formed there about them. The letters from the King of England contained what I wrote in the accompanying despatch, as told me by the Pope; and this same packet also brought a distribution of pensions to sundry gentlemen and others at this court, which pensions, being upon bishopries, have to pass consistory; it is not known what the Pope will do, but as some months ago those of the most Christian King were made valid, his Holiness will do the like by these.
The Cardinal of Augsburg has been unable for many months to obtain audience of the Pope, because he gave it to be understood that he intends asking for money to pay certain creditors of his, and leave to repair to his principality, which he said was in great danger, as the Lutherans have so increased in his dioceses that, unless he go thither in person, something scandalous may occur.
To-day, having sent my secretary to the palace, as usual, to hear whether there was any news, Cardinal Caraffa called him, and exhibited a paragraph from a letter written by the Bishop of Arras to the Signor Giovanni Battista Gastaldo, containing the following precise words, “The truce has been made, as your Lordship will have heard; I took no share in it (io non ci sonno intervenuto), as had I been present it would not have taken place; or, if ratified, the terms would have been more honourable; but being such as they are, it will prove of short duration;” after reading which words, the Cardinal inquired whether I had anything to this effect. The secretary answered him in the negative, adding that had the intelligence reached me, I should have communicated it either to the Pope, or to his right reverend Lordship.
Rome, 21st March 1556.
March 22. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 433. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
The Admiral of France arrived at Cambrai with upwards of a thousand horse, and having understood that lodgings had been prepared for him at Brussels for only three hundred persons, and as on this occasion he was compelled to take with him a much greater number, he requested accommodation for a more numerous retinue. M. de Lalain wrote therefore to the King of Spain, who replied that there being resident here the courts of the Emperor and his own, as also of the Queens [dowagers] of Hungary and France, and of so many other lords, the lodgings are so occupied that the purveyors did their utmost by finding the place already assigned him for three hundred horse; so he was to tell his Lordship as of himself to take patience, as he, M. de Lalain, would also go with fewer persons to the King of France.
The Emperor and the King have been written to from Rome that the Pope by divers signs has evinced extreme regret for the most Christian King's consent to the conclusion of the truce, and that when the French Ambassador, speaking to the Pope on this subject, and demonstrating the cogent reasons which had induced him so to do, presented him with a letter from the King, his Holiness eyed him askance (lo guardò con torto occhio), using language showing his dissatisfaction; concerning which fact the chief ministers of the Emperor and the King express themselves beyond measure violently against the Pope.
Don Ruy Gomez, in reply to the Ferrarese ambassador about a request concerning the nomination to the vacant archbishopric of Milan, said that at the present time there was reason to perform offices the reverse of good with regard to the Duke of Ferrara, instead of favouring his kinsfolk or dependants, as the Emperor and King Philip had received notice that during the negotiation of the truce his Excellency had done many things to their disservice, and that they even knew the following particular, that the Pope had said with his own lips that during those emergencies the Duke of Ferrara had offered him both money and troops, and his own personal services, for no other end than to do what was agreeable to the most Christian King. Don Ruy Gomez also alluded to the clandestine departure of the Ferrarese secretary, and to his language, saying that these proceedings impugned the Duke's character for prudence, his forces not being such as to allow him, of himself, without leaguing with others, to form a resolve (to use his own words) “like a Signory of Venice” (come una Signoria di Venezia). The ambassador after apologizing for the Duke by saying that regard should be had for deeds rather than for words, and having endeavoured to soothe Don Ruy Gomez, inquired whether perchance his Lordship wished him to write this to the Duke, and being answered in the affirmative he said he would do so.
Some of the deputies of these provinces have implied that they will give his Majesty as much as a million of gold, in order that he may not carry into effect the intention already announced by him of levying one per cent, on immoveables, and two per cent, on moveables; and his Majesty has said that he does not purpose altering his proposal, as he knows that this sum of money would be taken from the poor, and that the rich would not pay in proportion to their wealth.
Brussels, 22nd March 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
March 24. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 434. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The suspicion about the conspirators (coloro) who purposed setting fire to several quarters of the city for the sake of plunder, had a different root and origin to what was reported, a plot having been lately discovered of such a nature that, had it been carried into effect as arranged, it would doubtless, as generally believed, considering the ill-will of the majority of the population here on account of the religion, besides their innate love of frequent change and innovation, have placed the Queen and the whole kingdom in great trouble, as it was of greater circuit and extent than had been at first supposed.
The plot was, that a number of gentlemen here (molti di questi nobili), together with some officials and subordinates (ministri) of the court, agreed to rob all the public money as by an understanding with the officials of the Exchequer, whither all sums levied both in London and in the country are taken and preserved there, and in which place, on account of the subsidy lately levied, they expected to find a considerable amount. To facilitate this scheme, as already mentioned, they had arranged to set fire to several parts of the city and of the court itself, so that the greater part of the population being occupied with the fire, they in the midst of that turmoil and confusion might more conveniently do their own business, and after its accomplishment make their escape more securely and save themselves, for which purpose they had already prepared two of the Queen's ships, very well armed and provisioned, and which are here called pinnaces (spinazze), (fn. 3) and are good for any service either by oar or sail, they having been kept during several days near at hand here in the river, their commander, who was in league with the conspirators, giving out that he was bound for Ireland on the Queen's service, to quell the insurrections there, and to protect some of the inhabitants of that island, who were so hindered that even the fishermen could not put to sea to gain their livelihood; but according to current report here hitherto, his intention was to escape with the money and the conspirators to the Isle of Wight, in front of the harbour and town of Hampton, having moreover an understanding with the captain of the island, (fn. 4) to fortify themselves there, and by means of the money raise troops and an army with which to effect a national rebellion, having perhaps yet more important negotiations and designs which are as yet undiscovered.
It, however, did not seem fit to the goodness of God, to whom alone the preservation of the Queen and the protection of the realm is manifestly committed, that such wicked projects should be realized, as by good fortune some 20 days ago a person, either from hope of reward, or to exculpate himself (which yet remains a secret), revealed the plot to Cardinal Pole. (fn. 5) The Lords of the Council, proceeding with good method, secured themselves in the first place as silently as possible against the threatened danger and robbery, by privily removing the money from the Exchequer, and by dissembling, giving the conspirators opportunities to pursue their project unmolested, and then, when the matter seemed ripe, the government showed itself, having it may be said seized three or four of the ringleaders in the act; and although others are discovered daily and the arrests will continue, yet am I told that had the ministry delayed the demonstration for two or three days they would have captured the whole gang. As yet upwards of 40 persons have been imprisoned on this account, and arrests take place daily, all hope and opportunity for flight being removed by a very rigorous order, issued on Wednesday the 18th (the day of the first arrests), forbidding embarkation at all the passage ports from that time forth, all the vessels being in like manner placed under embargo.
Amongst the prisoners are the commander of the two ships (il capitanio delli dui navilij), one Master Cardin (sic), (fn. 6) official of the Queen's wardrobe, and some other gentlemen (nobili) and officials of the Court, persons who, although not of much consequence, are, nevertheless, some of them, supposed to have an annual rental of from two to three thousand crowns, besides some of these Londoners, and certain searchers and custom-house officials on duty at Gravesend and Dover, through which places the conspirators were to pass; an individual who resided here as agent for Lord Courtenay having also been imprisoned, (fn. 7) and they have sent for the captain of the Isle of Wight to come hither. The Lords of the Council confess, as told me by the Chancellor [Nicholas Heath], and the Treasurer [William Paulett, Marquis of Winchester], (fn. 8) that they were and are much alarmed, owing to the great danger which they know they have incurred, and from fear lest yet more important facts may transpire. I will not fail to acquaint your Serenity from time to time with whatever occurs, although as the passage-ports still remain closed and inaccessible, it is difficult to send letters or messengers across the Channel, the couriers of last week having been detained, and the present despatch likewise may perhaps share the same fate.
This casualty, in addition to the regret which Cardinal Pole's absence would have caused the Queen, induced her Majesty absolutely to forbid his going to his archbishopric, and she made him defer the singing of his mass until after Easter, and perhaps until after the return of the King, his Majesty having written by the courier Francesco Piamontese, who has returned, that he also hoped to be able to be present at it, again promising the Queen that as soon as the proposals made to the states of Flanders, which alone hinder him, are despatched, he will set out, evincing a great wish and desire to come back, as written by him in a letter to Cardinal Pole, which I read, and wherein he apologizes for having so long delayed announcing here and elsewhere the conclusion of the truce, because he wished first of all to witness its ratification.
The Legate nevertheless, did, not fail to have himself consecrated archbishop, as he had determined, the ceremony being performed last Sunday publicly, with great state, in the presence of the Queen and the whole Court; (fn. 9) and to-morrow, the Feast of the Annunciation, he is to come to London to take the “pallium” sent him by our Lord [the Pope], in a church dependent on his diocese, and to commence preaching and making himself heard therein.
On Saturday last, the 21st, Cranmer, late Archbishop of Canterbury, was burned, having fully verified the opinion formed of him by the Queen, that he had feigned recantation (che si havesse fatto mostra di disdirsi), thinking thus to save his life, and not that he had received any good inspiration (et non per buon spirito che le fusse venuto), so she considered him unworthy of pardon; and thus, immediately on hearing that there was no remedy, and that he must die, relapsing into his usual heresies, he retracted in public all that he had uttered and signed with his own hand. At the moment when he was taken to the stake, he drew from his bosom the identical writing, throwing it, in the presence of the multitude, with his own hands into the flames, asking pardon of God and of the people for having consented (consentito) to such an act, which he excused by saying that he did it for the public benefit, as had his life, which he sought to save, been spared him, he might at some [future] time have still been of use to them, praying them all to persist (a persister) in the doctrine believed by him, and absolutely denying the sacrament and the supremacy of the Church. And finally, stretching forth his arm and right hand, he said, “This, which has sinned, having signed the writing, must be the first to suffer punishment;” and thus did he place it in the fire, and burned it himself. An English translation of this writing was published in London, and as it was signed by Father Soto and his associate, (fn. 10) both Spaniards, resident at Oxford on account of the university, where Father Soto is public lecturer in holy writ, and had long laboured to convert Cranmer, the Londoners not only had suspicion of the document, but openly pronounced it a forgery; so the Lords of the Council were obliged to suppress it and to issue another, witnessed by Englishmen. This circumstance, coupled with the execution, will cause greater commotion (scandalo), as demonstrated daily by the way in which the preachers are treated, and by the contemptuous demonstrations (li dispreggi) made in the churches.
London, 24th March 1556.
March 24. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 435. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
In reply to two letters from your Serenity, the one desiring me to congratulate the King and the Emperor on the conclusion of the truce, the other charging me to acquaint King Philip with the seizure of the ships by the Viceroy of Sicily, complaining seriously, and requesting his Majesty to send a positive order for their release; the King desired me to give him a memorial, promising to have it speedily despatched by his council. As his Majesty expressed himself kindly and with cheerfulness, I said I knew his ministers could not do otherwise than was required by me, but that I wished him to tell them to do so quickly, and on taking leave I presented the memorial, knowing it to be his custom to ask for similar documents. On quitting his Majesty, I narrated to Don Ruy Gomez the circumstances in detail, urging him to favour this just demand, but perceiving that the courtesy used by him towards me did not seem such as was desired by me with regard to this business, I inferred that the Viceroy's agent at this court had given him some sinister account of the capture of the galliot; and having told him how it took place, he replied that my reasons were so strong that he could not but suppose that Don Juan de Vega had acted ill in this matter, promising both in the council and with the King to perform every good office, and the more willingly, knowing that I, at the time when the league was being treated in Italy, not only assured those with whom I conversed that your Serenity would not meddle with it, but my language utterly removed any suspicion of the sort, and that as you were of the same mind as his King, he would some day discuss several matters with me at full length, in order to keep up this constant good friendship between his Majesty and your Serenity, saying that one of these Easter holidays he would come and dine, and pass the whole day at my lodging in conversation.
Brussels, 24th March 1556.
March 25. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 436. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
On the 19th the Admiral left Peronne for Brussels, accompanied by 500 horse, the Count de Lalain having crossed into France, being lodged on the way in the Constable's mansions (luoghi) and received honourably, and he was to arrive in Paris yesterday with a retinue of 300 horse. He will remain there for two or three days, and then proceed to Blois, where he will remain until Easter day, after which he will come hither to meet his most Christian Majesty, when the ratification of the peace will be effected, which act it is supposed will have been performed some days previously by the Emperor and King Philip, unless delayed by the Emperor's indisposition or some other accident, as the journey from Peronne to Brussels is much shorter than to Amboise from Cambrai, from which place M. de Lalain took his departure. Persons who profess to understand these forms say they are superfluous and not usually observed, save in a treaty of peace; so in this matter the Admiral is reproached with having gratified the Imperialists, as they are said to have proclaimed that the term of six weeks was reserved solely for the Emperor and King Philip, and not for his most Christian Majesty, although this is contrary to the truth. M. de St. Julien has arrived from Rome, and gives account of the many public demonstrations made by the Pope in proof of the satisfaction felt by him for the conclusion of this truce; but it is understood that in secret he, together with all his dependants, remains, much disquieted; and here, in like manner, everybody is surprised that as yet his Holiness should not have had any office of congratulation performed in his name with his most Christian Majesty.
The King returned hither yesterday from Tours, nor could I follow him, from violent fever.
Amboise, 25th March 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
March 28. Original Letter Book, penes me. Letter No. 67, pp. 220, 222. 437. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Marshal Strozzi has returned from Tuscany, whither he is said to have gone for the purpose of giving the French agents there advice respecting the mode of government to be observed by them during the present truce, and the amount of soldiery to remain as garrison of the fortresses held by them. He went publicly to see the Pope eat, on which occasion, as he frequently does, the Pope exhorted all men to pray for universal peace, owing to the ratification of the truce, and to forgive their enemies. He moreover first of all explained the allegory of the “rose,” which he had blessed according to the ancient rite, saying that it signified the flowers which preceded the fruits of our Lord's passion; wherefore it was hallowed the week before that passion. His Holiness has not yet given this rose to any personage.
A few mornings ago the Imperial Ambassador [Marquis de Sarria], on his way out hunting, having to pass the gate of Saint Agnese, the soldiers closed it, and levelled their harquebuses at him; but having taken patience on former occasions, and having been told in reply to his complaints that he might go, and would be allowed egress, his attendants therefore disarmed the guard, and opened the gate, through which he passed; which being reported to the Count of Montorio, his Excellency remained somewhat pensive in suspense (alquanto pensosa sopra di se); and then replied that the ambassador had done well and that the guard had acted indiscreetly. (fn. 11)
On Monday consistory sat, at which they gave the pallium to the right reverend Patriarch of Venice, and after disposing of three churches, one in France, one in Spain, and one in Portugal, they conferred the archimandicate (l'archimandichato) on the Cardinal of Messina, with the pension of 1,000 crowns to Cardinal San Clemente; so it is supposed that having made this beginning, there will be no further difficulty about allowing the pensions which come from the Emperor's court to pass. On Thursday in the house of the Decano (Cardinal Bellai?) the first-class members of the congregation for the “Reform” assembled, and the result was that 12 gave their votes on the point sent by me to your Serenity, and there were three opinions—one of the Bishop of Feltre that money might be taken for the use of the spiritual power; the second of the Bishop of Sessa, that by no means could it be exacted; the third of the Bishop of Senegaglia, that it may be taken, but not at stated periods, nor with fixed conditions. They will meet again after the holidays, and the remaining members will give their votes, either by word of mouth or in writing, and the two other classes will do the like; about which the Pope will use diligence, as he is desirous of seeing the end of the business.
Rome, 28th March 1556.
March 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 438. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
The Admiral of France arrived here on the 25th instant. He was accompanied by the French ambassador in ordinary, who is to reside here at the courts of the Emperor and the King, and by many honourable French noblemen and some Italians, including the sons of the late Cesare Fregoso, and of Count Caiazo, numbering in all some 300 persons. The chief personages of these courts went to meet them outside the town, and the Prince of Orange and the Count de Feria performed the offices of ceremony in the name of their Majesties, and accompanied them to their lodgings. On the morrow King Philip sent the Prince of Orange to bring the Admiral to audience of his Majesty, who received him in public, and with a gladsome countenance moved a few paces to meet him, doffing his bonnet, and not allowing him to kiss his hand as the Admiral humbly showed a wish to do. After reading the letters of credence, the King listened to him for a long while, and in reply reciprocated his loving expressions, nor did any of the bystanders hear a single word; and after taking leave of his Majesty, he embraced the Duke of Savoy, and made the Constable's son first of all kiss the King's hand, the like being afterwards done by some of the other chief personages; and on his departure likewise the King went a few paces with him.
On the same day and yesterday the Admiral was visited by the ambassadors and other chief personages of these courts. I also did the like both by the Admiral and the French ambassador, each of whom made many inquiries of me as to how the conclusion of the truce was liked here; in what state the Emperor finds himself with regard to health; how I was pleased with the rule of his ministers, and many other similar inquiries, saying they made them of me confidentially as to an ambassador from your Serenity, who could speak freely and ought to do so, without offending their Majesties here. I made such replies as fairly satisfied them, dilating on several things observable at these courts touching the mode of negotiating. The Admiral then told me that shortly before, the Bishop of Arras had been to him in the Emperor's name, to apologize for not having been able to give him audience sooner, laying the blame on his indisposition, owing to which he should perhaps be unable to come into church to take the oath, so the Bishop thought it would be well to perform this act in his Imperial Majesty's chamber. To this the Admiral said he made answer that he was not come to regulate the Emperor's affairs, but to give him such satisfaction as lay in his power. He said besides, that his King had treated and concluded the truce principally with the Emperor, and that he had no commission whatever from his most Christian Majesty to speak about peace, the like being told me by the ambassador also; and by the personages who have come with them, this truce is said to be rather a retreat for the purpose of mustering greater forces, than any design for negotiating peace. He also told me that, contrary to the custom of other ambassadors, he will not discuss such business as he may have to transact with the Bishop of Arras, but with the Emperor, save in case of some great difficulty, when for the avoidance of trouble to his Imperial Majesty he will be content to examine it with the Bishop of Arras in their respective houses alternately.
This morning the Admiral and the ambassador heard mass in the chapel of the palace, with King Philip, being opposite to him, seated on a bench covered with cloth of gold, and on the conclusion of the mass his Majesty moved from his place to the high altar, the Admiral and the ambassador doing the same from the other side; and there the Bishop of Arras in his episcopal habits, having uttered a few words in so low a tone as to be inaudible, presented the missal to the King, who placed his hand on it, swearing to observe what had been already said by the Bishop of Arras, who then gave him the image of our Lord to kiss; and this ceremony being accomplished they left his Majesty; and the Duke of Savoy kept the Admiral to dinner. Yesterday the Emperor rose from his bed, and to-morrow will give audience to the Admiral and the ambassador, and take the oath in his own chamber; after which the Admiral is expected to take leave, having said that he shall depart in three or four days.
Brussels, 28th March 1556.
March 29. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 439. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
The Lord of Monaco (fn. 12) charged his agent to complain to King Philip that his ministers have not named him specifically in the truce, he inferring that they considered him a vassal; and he requests his Majesty, knowing the agreement (capitolatione) between them, and that he is the King's servant solely by election, to give orders for him to be specified, as otherwise he shall renounce his service; and the said agent having communicated this to some of the ministers, was promised the grant of this demand, the commissioners being apologized for on the score of inadvertency.
There has arrived here Sir Henry Dudley [sic; Sir Henry Sidney?] (fn. 13) an Englishman, destined by the Queen to be Governor of Ireland (è arrivato quì il Signor Herico Dudleo Inglese destinato dalla Regina Governator d'Irlanda), and he is come hither to kiss first of all, by her order, the hand of her consort, to whom she has also written the cause of the arrests made by her, as your Serenity will already have heard from the Ambassador Michiel; saying moreover that she entertained no little suspicion of their having an understanding with that kinsman of the Duke of Northumberland who lately escaped to France, (fn. 14) and had plotted against her. King Philip is requested by the said Queen, and by the councillor [Sir John Masone] whom she keeps here, to expedite certain writings which were sent him a long while ago; and I have heard that he delays this business owing to the difference of opinion between the privy councillors (i secreti ministri), some saying, with regard to his titles, that first of all he should be styled King of Spain, and secondly King of England; whilst others maintain that in matters relating to the kingdom of England this order should be reversed, as the English would never tolerate the other style; this councillor [Sir John Masone] having said that Henry VI. of England, who was crowned King of France in Paris, when in that country, gave it precedence when writing to England, whereas when residing there and writing to France he did the contrary. Don Juan Manrique, a member of King Philip's privy council, has declared (and the like is said publicly) that nothing will be said about his Majesty's departure for England before September; and that next May the King of Bohemia will come hither, and be perhaps accompanied by his consort, to whom the King of Spain has sent 14,000 crowns for the expenses of the journey, his Majesty wishing his sister to come, in order through her medium the more easily to settle entirely the existing disputes between them, and such as might arise hereafter.
Brussels, 29th March 1556.
Postscript.—I hear that the Admiral and the French ambassador have now been to the Emperor, and that after a long conversation together his Imperial Majesty took the oath, the King of Spain not being present.
March 30. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 440. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Lords of the Council are still diligently intent on the examination of the individuals imprisoned because of the conspiracy, having already detected a great part of them, and possibly the whole of their plot, as is proved by the opening of the ports, by the release of the ships, and by the permission for the passage of couriers. According to report hitherto the persons accused are solely military men, soldiers, and captains, who both on account of their religious opinions, and, as the kingdom has had a long peace, being doomed to idleness, without any pay, are consequently worse satisfied than the rest of the population, more anxious for change, and more bold and daring in attempting it. Amongst them mention is made, and according to report a warrant has been issued for his arrest, of one Master Croft, (fn. 15) an individual who from the proofs afforded by him both here and elsewhere is considered one of the chief military commanders in the kingdom, having been heretofore Lord Deputy of Ireland, in which government he acquired great honour and repute, though subsequently, having been concerned in Wyatt's conspiracy, he was condemned to death, which he escaped, together with many others, in virtue of the amnesty elemently conceded by the Queen on the King's arrival. Besides these persons, I hear that they have also arrested Sir Anthony Kingston, the gentleman who some months ago, for the very bold and licentious language used by him in Parliament, was put in the Tower; and then, with the same elemency, her Majesty set him at liberty. The quality of the prisoners shows that the plot was not as represented by many persons, for the mere purpose of rubbing and carrying off the plunder to enjoy it in revelry abroad, but that it had a much more important object, it being said that there was an understanding with some foreign prince or potentate (principe o signor). Another individual has been arrested here in London solely for having written letters to and received letters from Lord Courtenay, besides the other person who was his man of business. At the Court no one dares any longer to mention the affair, by reason of the secrecy maintained by the Lords of the Council, nor even with me has Cardinal Pole chosen to enter into any particulars, but the punishment, which will be very severe, will soon throw light on the matter.
Since the discovery the Queen has no longer chosen to appear in public, being greatly troubled, both on this account, as also by reason of the last news received from Brussels about the postponement of the King's return, because he is expecting there the King and Queen of Bohemia; and although the Regent here, Don Juan de Figueroa, endeavours to comfort her by saying that the visit of those princes was not quite settled, his Majesty having sent them a courier to ascertain whether they were coming or not, as he did not intend to be delayed . . . (fn. 16) nevertheless it appears to him it should be soon . . . . . . (nondimeno pare li sia presta, and then follow other words corroded), and that it would be agreeable to the Queen, as repeated in my presence by Cardinal Pole, in case of the arrival of the Princes aforesaid, that they should all come hither with her most Serene husband.
The sight of the most illustrious Legate (fn. 17) was most welcome to this entire population, and yet more so the office he performed by preaching the sermon, to the edification of many souls; and as his right reverend Lordship gathers such good fruit from his seed, he will show himself frequently, part of this city being under his ecclesiastical jurisdiction. He will thus make amends for being justly restrained by the Queen from going to his archbishopric, her Majesty not choosing by any means, during the King's absence, that he should be at the slightest distance from her, most especially when she has daily to encounter such serious and important troubles, for extrication from which she knows that none of her ministers can give more sincere or more prudent counsel than he does.
To the church of Winchester, vacant through the death of the late Chancellor, the Queen has appointed the Bishop of Lincoln, a person of exemplary doctrine and good life, but she has not yet conferred the see of Lincoln. They will subsequently send to Rome for the due ratifications (a far le debite espeditioni).
London, 30th March 1556.
March 30. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 441. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to Doge and Senate.
The Count de Lalain wished to come straight on to the court to despatch his business before the holidays, but his most Christian Majesty requested him to delay until after Easter, because they wish the Admiral to perform the office first with the Emperor and his son, it seeming that to be the last to perform this complimentary act (questo complimento) is more honourable.
March 30? (fn. 18) MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 442. Cardinal Pole to Genova (al Genova).
Heard with great pleasure by his letter received some months ago of his satisfaction at having married (collocata) his daughter so well, on which Pole congratulated him by a letter which perhaps miscarried. Genova now sends him his very learned discourse on the two commandments about charity, which Pole always understood as explained by St. Augustin and the other doctors of the church in many of their treatises against the Pelagians (Palagiani), nor has he now time to discuss the subject more at length with him, being so fully occupied that he has as yet been unable carefully to read Genova's discourse, in which he hopes to recognise his usual learning and sharp intellect, and his love for Pole in communicating to him this his conceit, for which he thanks him greatly. To give Genova some account of his state, informs him that having been elected Archbishop of Canterbury by the Pope, he lately had himself consecrated as bishop (io mi sono ultimamente consacrato da Vescovo), and hopes soon to go and reside at his see (andar far la mia residentia), where, with God's assistance, he trusts to do what is necessary for His service. Master Thomas Clement, an English law student, who was recommended heretofore to Genova by Pole, wishes to be remembered to the eminent Doctor [LL. D.] Pancirola, (fn. 19) which office Pole requests Genova to perform in Clement's name, and in his own likewise; and any especial favour and assistance in his studies obtained by Clement through Genova from Pancirola will be no less agreeable to Pole than if rendered to his own kinsman, as Pole considers him such on account of Clement's father, his old and very dear friend. Pole offers his services to Pancirola, and informs Genoa that Monsignor Priuli is well, and salutes him affectionately.
London [30th March 1556?].
March 31. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 443. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
This afternoon I went to the Emperor to congratulate him, in the form enjoined me by your Serenity, and found his Majesty in good bodily health, and as by his eyes and movements he appeared more joyous than I had ever seen him on any other occasion, I told his Majesty, that when your Serenity heard how very well he was, you would charge me to congratulate him on this account likewise, as you did heretofore when you heard that he had renounced his states and realms to his most serene son, and when you heard through their Majesties' ambassador, and my letters, of the conclusion of the truce; but that I, knowing your Serenity's good intention, congratulated him cordially on his excellent health, as a manifest sign of his mental tranquillity, caused by having, according to his will and most prudent judgment, laid down the very heavy burdens of so many states and kingdoms, and from seeing at this commencement, that his most serene son rules them so prudently, and has made such an admirable truce for the benefit of Christendom, which you hoped would produce peace; showing in many words, the satisfaction felt by your Serenity at this most christian work, and assuring the Emperor that you would always maintain with his most serene son, such good friendship, and do him such honour, as his Imperial Majesty could desire; of which I did not think it necessary to render him further oral testimony, as since many years he might have been well able to know it, by a variety of facts; and that as a fresh proof of this you were sending a most worthy ambassabor to king Philip. I then thanked him for the loving offices performed with your Serenity in his name and that of his most serene son, by the magnifico their ambassador, whose great goodness and prudence caused him, I said, to be much beloved by you. The Emperor replied precisely as follows “Ambassador! I have known the Signory's good-will on so many other occasions that it is unnecessary now to repeat it; and as I have always reciprocated, so will I endeavour that the King my son may do” cosi operarò che facci il Re mio figliuolo); repeating himself thus: “for assuredly I have always seen an excellent will on the part of the Signory, and am sure that by reason of her good disposition and policy she will continue to act thus towards him, with whom, although there is no need for it, I will constantly use my influence (farò officio) that he may continue the friendship.” He then said, “I am content that the truce should have taken place, for the causes which made me wish for peace, as I have so often said, nor is it of any use to recapitulate them. With regard to the renunciations, I also willingly accomplished that which it had long been on my mind to do, and continue to be glad of it (et ne resto contento), because from age and illness I am now weary, and because it was time no longer to allow the King my son to remain without giving him command (senza darle governo); in addition to which, by nature I was not desirous of these burdens.” And here he took to laughing heartily (si mise a rider molto), and said, “Now, indeed, Ambassador, are those words verified, which many and many continually repeated, that I wished to make myself monarch of the world; I assure you that I never entertained this thought, though I might have believed in the possibility of realizing it, not only by deeds, but by words” (se ben havesse creduto non solo con fatti ma con parole di poterlo fare). He then showed me his hands, crippled with gout, and said, “I have now no other thought than that of passing the rest of my life with as little inconvenience as possible, and I purpose retiring to some place, there to end it in the service of God.” I thanked his Majesty extremely for having discoursed with me for such a length of time so graciously and kindly; again congratulating myself on finding him so quiet in mind, and with such Christian thoughts as I believed him to have had at all times; and I said I prayed God of his benignity to grant him a state of life (stato di vita) no less long and tranquil than it had hitherto been glorious; without disturbing him with news of the fleet in preparation at Constantinople, and not saying anything about the seizure of the ships in Sicily, knowing that it could not but distress him, as he professes not to choose to be spoken to about any business; and I sent my secretary to communicate the news-letters to the Bishop of Arras, that he might give them to his Majesty, should he think fit, letting him know my reason for not having done so.
Brussels, 31st March 1556.


  • 1. This letter of the 10th has not been found.
  • 2. In Machyn's Diary (p. 101, Camden Society Publication), “the blassyng [star]” is said to have made its first appearance on the 7th March. Stowe, in his Summarie, says it continued for twelve days, having commenced on the 4th March. The Venetian Ambassador now shows that it was still visible on the 17th March.
  • 3. In the “Verney” Papers, p. 65, the vessel destined for the removal of the treasure is called a “crayer.”
  • 4. Richard Uvedale, captain of the Queen's castle of Yarmouth, in the Isle of Wight. (See Verney Papers, p. 61.)
  • 5. The person who revealed the plot to Cardinal Pole was apparently Thomas White. (See Verney Papers, p. 65.)
  • 6. Query John Calton. (See Verney Papers, p. 61.)
  • 7. John Walker. (See Domestic Calendar, p. 80.)
  • 8. Li Signori Cancellieri (sic) et Thesorierj (sic).
  • 9. The ceremony took place in the Grey Friars church at Greenwich. (See Machyn's Diary, p. 102.)
  • 10. The fellow lecturer at Oxford of Father Soto was Friar Garcina. (See Lingard, vol. 5, p. 236, ed. London, 1854.)
  • 11. See Foreign Calendar, 8th April 1556, p. 221.
  • 12. Onorato I. Grimaldi. (See Chiusole “Genealogia delle case più illustri di tutto il mondo.”)
  • 13. See Haydin's Book of Dignities, p. 441.
  • 14. Sir Henry Dudley. (See Foreign Calendar, April 1556, pp. 221, 222.)
  • 15. Sir James Crofts. (See Machyn's Diary, Index.)
  • 16. Illegible in the original.
  • 17. In the church of St. Mary's of the Arches, on the 25th March.
  • 18. No date of time in MS., but in Hook's Life of Pole (p. 316), it is stated that he was consecrated on the 22nd March 1556, so I date as above.
  • 19. Guido Panciroli, one of the most celebrated jurists of the 16th century. In the year 1547 the Venetian Senate appointed him second Professor “degli Instituti” in the University of Padua.