Venice: April 1556, 1-15

Pages 395-412

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 6, 1555-1558. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1877.

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April 1556, 1–15

April 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 444. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
M. d'Ibremon, (sic) a gentleman of the Emperor's chamber, sent to condole with his niece (fn. 1) on the demise of her consort, the Count Palatine, reports that the Duke Otho Henry went armed with upwards of 800 horse to take possession of the Electorate, and met with no impediment.
The Admiral of France is now on the point of departure, and many of the nobility of these two courts have gone to his lodging to accompany him outside the town.
Brussels, 1st April 1556.
April 3. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 445. Cardinal Pole to the Constable of France.
As the Abbot of San Saluto is returning to Italy, Pole has willed to pay his respects to Montmorency, and although convinced that he is well disposed to favour Parpaglia, thinks it his duty to request him to do so for love of Pole likewise, who will thus be especially obliged; and touching Montmorency's reply to Pole's last letter, delivered by Lord Clinton, has merely to thank him for his affection, and pray God to aid the Pope's pious wish about the peace, to effect which, he is understood to have appointed legates to these princes [Philip and Henry II.?], and to preserve and prosper Montmorency.
London, 3rd April 1556.
April 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 446. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
The Admiral of France departed on the 1st instant, going by way of Antwerp to see that place; and, besides presents, the King gave him leave to negotiate the ransom of his brother by the mother's side, M. d'Andelot, whose captors keep him now in the Castle of Milan.
The Bishop of Arras has been several times to negotiate at his lodgings with the French Ambassador, (fn. 2) who says his right reverend Lordship now transacts business so timidly as clearly to show that he has not that favour and authority with the King of Spain which he enjoyed with the Emperor. The Ambassador also said he heard that the King of Bohemia, although he gives hopes to the Emperor and King Philip of coming to see them according to their wish, does not intend to do so unless he be fully assured that the Emperor will renounce unconditionally (liberamente) to the King of the Romans the government of the empire, and that the private differences between all their Majesties be in a state to render an adjustment possible.
The Ferrarese Ambassador has had letters from his Duke, commending him for not having obeyed the order to return, and desiring him to inform King Philip's ministers that he will send an ambassador in his stead; the ministry replied courteously, and hence proceeded the commission given to Don Federico de Enriquez to pass through Ferrara and visit the Duke, when on his way to take possession of Sicily.
Brussels, 4th April 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
April 4. Original Letter Book, penes me, Letter No. 68. 447. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Imperial Ambassador's mode of going out of Rome has been very angrily resented by the Pope and Cardinal Caraffa, it seeming to them that he evinced little respect for their commands, and that the gates, which ought to be held in such great account, had been forced; so when on Palm Sunday the ambassador came to accompany the Pope to chapel, his Holiness, on hearing that he was in the palace, sent to tell him to depart; whereupon this Marquis Sarria was much confused, and after consideration and consultation with the Cardinals Pacheco and Cueva (whom I saw draw aside with him), a fresh order supervened for him absolutely to go away, and by the advice of the Cardinals he did so. He subsequently endeavoured by all possible means to appease the Pope, but none of them as yet have succeeded; and having demanded audience for Tuesday, his Holiness promised it him, with the intention of sending him to Castle St. Angelo, and of perhaps doing something worse to him; of which having been warned by a person averse to so great a stir, and so very unusual a proceeding (et tanta novità), he did not keep the appointment. (fn. 3) They do not, however, fail to draw up a very minute process about this circumstance of having forced the gates, and some of his servants have been arrested on account of it. To all those who speak to him about the matter, the Ambassador excuses himself by saying that the Count of Montorio had told him that he might always at his pleasure pass the gates whenever he chose; and that when the gates were closed to him, he inquired of the officials whether they did this by order of his Holiness, or of the Cardinal, or of the Count of Montorio, and they answering in the negative, and saying the command had been given them by one of their captains, whom the ambassador knew to be a man who had been outlawed from the kingdom of Naples, and was the Emperor's enemy, he therefore inferred that the order was given for the purpose of affronting him personally, and consequently chose to open and pass through the gate.
It is moreover said, that with this opportunity they are forming a process about the death of an individual who was killed heretofore, in the house of the said ambassador, whose friends and adherents tell the story thus:—
A certain Portuguese having come to Rome, and being lodged in his house, went mad, and amongst other proofs of insanity he is said to have killed his wife without any cause, and, in the ambassador's house, causelessly wounded one of his servants. In his own chamber this individual killed a groom who waited upon him, and who was found dead. The Marquis of Sarria, that he might not die by the arm of the law, it seeming to him dishonourable for one of his countrymen (uno della sua natione), and lodged in his own house, to be put to death in public, he sent him for trial to Naples to Don Bernardo, that he might send him to the gallies, or do what he pleased with him. The people here say that the dead man was put to death by the ambassador's command, and that to prevent the truth from ever being known, the perpetrator of the crime was immediately sent off to Naples. People are very anxious to see what turn this affair will take, and those best acquainted with the Pope's nature are of opinion that it cannot be advantageous for the ambassador. I understand from one, who heard it from the lips of Cardinal Caraffa himself, that at least the Pope will not allow the ambassador ever again to negotiate with him, nor acknowledge him; and the Imperialists say this mode of proceeding will make the Emperor and the King of England determine on no longer keeping here either ambassador, agent, or secretary.
During this week the Pope has performed the holy rites in the [Sistine] chapel with great devotion, and in robust health, remaining erect in his pontifical habits without ever moving, thus inspiring all persons with much piety, and surprising them by such strength and vigour at his age.
It was a fine sight to see the Vicar of Christ (who in all his other actions maintains so much dignity) with his own hands washing the feet of 13 poor men, clad in white at his cost, and to each of whom he gave a medal, with his Holiness' arms on one side, and on the other the figure of our Saviour kneeling to wash the feet of his disciples; which medal is of the value of two treasury ducats, and was accompanied by two silver “giulij” for each of them. The first of these individuals was a man who declares openly that he is 116 years old. I do not know whether such be his age, but I saw him, and his age seemed to me very great. All the others became confused (si contaminorno), nor could they restrain their tears, save this man, who remained firm and intrepid. The Pope chose to lay out a considerable sum on the holy sepulchre, so that no man living remembers to have seen it represented more magnificently and decorously, he having given it to be understood that for things of this sort the Popes ought to spend largely.
Rome, 4th April 1556.
April 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 448. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Last Saturday, in London, the heralds and royal officials proclaimed twelve individuals, who although not of great consideration, yet are for the most part gentlemen of Devonshire (in the province of Cornwall), of which county Lord Courtenay bears the name and title, rebels and traitors, for being privy to the conspiracy, and sharers in it; (fn. 4) part of whom went abroad, or were dispatched thither, before its discovery, perhaps for some hidden purpose; and part, anticipating the moment, took flight before they were sought for and summoned. Amongst them is one Henry Dudley, of the same family as the late Duke of Northumberland, to whom he was related; (fn. 5) he, like the greater part of the rest, having escaped beyond sea to France, as reported; all of them being considered factious individuals of bad life and worse intentions.
I understand that Lord Courtenay's agent, about whom I wrote, has been placed in yet closer confinement; another person, who also at the beginning used to be his servant (che soleva in quel principio esser servitor suo), having also been arrested. His name is Stadan, (sic) (fn. 6) he being the step-son (figliuolo della moglie) of one of the wealthiest aldermen in London, and has the reputation of being a very meddlesome busybody, and not devoid of ability (persona tenuta molto curiosa et non senza ingegno). Of the prisoners in the Tower, I am told that eight or ten will be condemned and deservedly executed after these Easter holidays. Not only does it seem that Sir James Crofts was never arrested, but that they did not even summon him, which rejoices everybody, by reason of his universal good character; and the captain of the Isle of Wight [Sir William Uvedale] after being examined, was set at liberty, not having been found guilty of anything; but it is again confirmed that the conspirators purposed withdrawing into that island. The Lords of the Council, in short, proceed so secretly in this matter, that nothing can be known about it, save from the result.
From the daily increasing suspicion of the King's tardy return, as besides the letters of the 25th ultimo, brought by Lord Fitzwalter on his return from Brussels, the Queen has heard of fresh impediments and fresh excuses; her Majesty is determined to send this very day to the Imperial Court Lord Paget, now Lord Privy-Seal, (fn. 7) whose mission, with that of his colleague the Bishop of Ely, seemed not only suspended but given up. Lord Paget is sent under pretence of congratulating the Emperor and the King on the truce, and in order that with this opportunity he may perform such office as was announced in my foregoing letters with regard to the King's return, reminding him as impressively as possible not only of the desire of the most Serene Queen, and of the entire kingdom, but also of the need and necessity for compliance by reason of her Majesty's age, which does not admit of delay; and, as told me by Cardinal Pole, Lord Paget will request the King, should he be delayed by the wish to wait for the King of Bohemia, or any other impediment, as his Bohemian Majesty has come so far, to let him proceed even to England, where the King and he can treat and decide all that and other business (tutti quelli et li altri negotij), as conveniently as in Flanders, her consort being no less at home here than there; and in the meanwhile the most Serene Queen will not distress herself.
With the opportunity afforded by this commission, Lord Paget will be enabled to discover the inmost determination (volontà) of the King and of the Emperor, and being deep in the confidence (confidentissimo) of both one and the other, ascertain whether this delay is caused by any hidden motive; or because the King wishes for greater authority, and greater public marks of respect; or greater convenience and scope (larghezza) for availing himself of the revenues of the realm than he has had hitherto; or matters of a similar sort, which sovereigns are not in the habit of communicating save to persons in their confidence, and least of all when they fancy themselves questioned and catechized. And in case of the necessity for coming to any adjustment (compositione), should a medium be required, Lord Paget, both now and ever, will always be the mediator and regulator (compositore) between the most Serene Queen and the King; he thus establishing himself in the closest confidence of both one and the other, and increasing his repute to an unlimited extent, warranting his hopes of every possible reward from their Majesties. Thus, as told me on good authority, the wish and aim cherished for a long while by this shrewd and clever (accorto et valente) statesman, for this legation, will have its full effect (la sua piena satisfattione).
From what I hear, Lord Clinton (fn. 8) is destined to perform a similar office of congratulation on the truce in France; but his appointment has not yet been published.
It seems that here they have again resumed a certain negotiation for the peace, by means of the Abbot of San Saluto and the French ambassador at this court; on which account, the one has delayed his intended departure for Italy, and the other has despatched his secretary to the ministry in France. Will endeavour to ascertain particulars, and if successful, will transmit them from day to day.
London, 7th April 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
April 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 449. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
The King of Spain returned yesterday from the monastery where he passed Passion week, attending divine service, washing the feet of the 12 poor men, and listening to the discourse of his confessor [Francisco Alfonso de Castro] concerning the conscientious bestowal of offices, especially with regard to the restitution of Piombino. He also hunted several times in the forest where the monastery is situate.
Yesterday I sent my secretary to secretary Vargas, reminding him to take to the King, for his signature, the letter addressed to the Viceroy of Sicily [Don Juan de Vega]. He replied that he would do so, but, being well aware how important delay is, on account of the merchandise, I sent my secretary to Don Ruy Gomez to request he would give a fresh order for the despatch of this letter. Don Ruy Gomez expressed surprise that Vargas had not taken the letter to his Majesty, and told him that he must present it to his Majesty this day; and he replied in the affirmative, but said that he had not yet drawn it up (di non haverla anchor spiegata), which is contrary to what he told my secretary; so it is evident that the public report of his favouring the interests of the Viceroy in various ways is true.
Of this secretary Vargas I hear great complaints from the agents of Genoa, Malta, and Monaco, and from all the Sicilians.
Brussels, 8th April 1556.
April 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 450. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
A gentleman of these provinces who was sent by the King of Spain to purchase hunters and hacks (cavalli da caccia et da viaggio), brings back word that the French have taken away all the war-horses, and well nigh all the others of every description; so some of the chief personages of these courts say openly that the King has great cause to fear the proceedings of these Frenchmen, as through the opportunity afforded by this truce, they go about inspecting the fortresses in these provinces and elsewhere, forming many sorts of designs, for the purpose of finding an opportunity, on his departure for Spain, to break the truce to their advantage; and they say that the Admiral of France went away dissatisfied, because he was unable to obtain the release of his cousin the son of the Lord High Constable; and although the King allowed him to treat for the release of his brother, M. d'Andelot, with the persons whose prisoner he is, they nevertheless will insist on so heavy a ransom, and devise such means to protract the negotiation, as to prolong the truce likewise; these two prisoners, and the Duke de Bouillon, the son-in-law of Madame de Valentinois [Diane de Poitiers], being of such great importance, that they will be the cause of its continuance. A suit of tapestry worth eight thousand crowns has been purchased by the Queen of France [Eleanor of Austria], widow of King Francis; and she is said to be sending it to the present King, in order more easily to obtain the revenues of her dowry, and her pecuniary arrears.
The King's confessor has been heard to say that in the privy council there has been a long debate about finding means thoroughly to secure the affairs of Italy; so that should the French break the truce before the expiration of the five years, or subsequently, they may find such precautions taken, as to disable them from giving such trouble as they have done hitherto; and amongst other things, it was proposed to elect as Duke of Milan a private nobleman the dependant of his Majesty, that they may thus induce all the potentates of Italy to support him against the French, and secure their other Italian states.
Lord Paget is expected here, being sent by the Queen from England to visit the Emperor, and congratulate him and the King on the conclusion of the truce, and also to give her consort account of several events chanced in that kingdom since his departure, and of things necessary to be done there, for which his Majesty's presence would be both profitable and necessary; but from what I hear on good authority, the chief cause (la principalissima causa) of his coming, is to elicit the true reason why he does not return, and whether he really wishes to go, and when; it being heard here through several “advices” diversi avisi) that the said Queen is beyond measure exasperated (sdegnada) by what she considers this well nigh contemptuous treatment received from her consort; so it is supposed that by means of this Lord Paget, she chose to be quite assured of his Majesty's going, that she may put her mind at more ease than she enjoys at present; and it is said that in like manner as for this purpose she could not send any person of more subtle intellect, or more dear to the King, so will he exert himself more willingly than anybody else, from the hope, by doing good service, of getting into greater favour with the Queen than he is, by reason of his favouring the Lutheran opinions.
The Regent of Milan has told me that should the reply of the King of Bohemia be such as to confirm his coming, according to the hopes given by him to their Majesties, King Philip will not go to England until September; but should the decision prove contrary, he will proceed thither much sooner than is believed, it not being for his advantage (non tornandoli bene) that the Queen's angry remonstrances should be converted into hatred.
Count Filippo Doria departs this day postwise on his way back to Genoa, nor has he been able to obtain Castellamare, which he demanded, the place having been given heretofore to his father, nor any other recompense, nor authority to fit out two gallies, to be paid and included amongst his Majesty's other vessels.
Brussels, 8th April 1556.
April 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 451. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to Doge and Senate.
On Easter Tuesday the Count de Lalain arrived here at the Court, having been met in the King's name by the Duke d'Enghien, brother of the King of Navarre, by the Prince of Salerno, by the Duke de Longueville, and by the Prince of Mantua, with a numerous company, and went to his Majesty; he presented the King with two letters of credence, one from the Emperor, the other from his most serene son, and then visited the most Christian Queen and the other ladies (dame). On the morrow he went to mass with the King, and on its termination a tabernacle with holy relics was brought to him, and the treaty of truce having been read summarily, his Majesty swore to its observance on the aforesaid relies, and then made the said Count dine at his own table; he being subsequently banqueted by the Constable and the Cardinal de Chastillon [Odet de Coligny], the Admiral's brother. I visited his Excellency, and congratulated him both on the conclusion of the truce, and on his having been its chief minister. His Excellency thanked me cordially for my visit, and stated his good hope to make a lasting peace between the two powers. I hear from several quarters that in long conversations held by him with the King and the Constable, he exhorted them to prepare for this negotiation, giving assurance that the Emperor and his son would be no less well inclined, as stated also by M. de Sipier, (fn. 9) who has been sent hither to the King by the Admiral, with the ratification confirmed under oath by the Emperor and King Philip, and he brings word that the Emperor told the Admiral to exhort the King of France in his name to incline towards the peace (che l'essorlasse alla dispositione della pace), as he would not fail to perform every office of the same kind with the King his son; and in reply his most Christian Majesty made exuberant professions to the Count of his desire for the quiet of Christendom, though as yet I do not hear that any precise proposal has been made, nor any arrangement about the mode of negotiating; but on the arrival of the Imperial Ambassador, the Lieutenant d'Amont, who has been detained on the road by a fit of the gout, something more may perhaps be elicited.
The aforesaid Count de Lalain departed this morning, the King having presented him with two chests containing wrought silver (due credenze d'argenti lavorati), each of them being valued at 4,000 crowns.
Yesterday a courier arrived in six days from Rome to acquaint the King with the dispute between the Pope and the Imperial Ambassador, who forced one of the gates of Rome in order to go out hunting; but here apparently they do not attach much importance to this; and Cardinal Caraffa, by a letter to the Cardinal of Lorraine, confirms his coming to this court.
Amboise, 10th April 1556.
April 11. Original Letter Book, penes me, Letter No. 69. 452. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Imperial Ambassador wishing to mitigate the Pope's anger, about which I wrote in my last, and considering Cardinal Caraffa the best mediator, had a long conversation with him, the result of which was that the Cardinal said there was no other remedy than to ask pardon of his Holiness, which the ambassador does not refuse to do, but would fain not utter such submissive words and in public as those which the Cardinal says are necessary. The matter is still turbid, but with hopes of the possibility of an adjustment; most especially as the ambassador's servants (who as written by me were arrested at the commencement) have been released, with the exception of one, who, when he may be said to have forced the gate (quando in certo modo sforzà la porta), went out of Rome.
A few days ago, certain prelates being present at the Pope's dinner, he sent for them into his chamber, and speaking pure elegant Latin fluently, as is his wont, he reproved them for not going to their sees, said they left their spouse a widow, and the flock without its shepherd, and that at least until the enactment of the reform, which would compel them with greater force, they were to go to their residences, and not waste their time in visits and banquets, and perhaps also at the gambling table, as it was a very great shame that in the chapels where so many bishops sat, they should select friars, and even laymen, to teach their flocks, as for the most part they are the persons who preach the sermons which ought to be delivered by the bishops themselves; which discourse made by the Pope was well nigh half a pledge for what he purposes doing (una meza cappara di quel che dissegna fare).
The Pope has lately busied himself much in having “Agnus Dei's” made with the wax of the Paschal torches, and on Thursday he hallowed them with much devotion, after having made them remain a night beneath the bodies of the apostles Peter and Paul, under the custody of his own chaplains, and of those of the cardinals. (fn. 10) It was a ceremony which caused a display of great piety on the part of those who witnessed it, but the only persons admitted by the Pope were the cardinals and bishops. His Holiness said the mass, hallowed the water, incorporated the chrismatic oil, and washed the “Agnus Dei's” being, indeed, assisted by the cardinals, though they officiated alternately, whereas the Pope never desisted until the end, the ceremony lasting from the 13th to the 19th hour (half-past 10 to half-past 1); and he said he performed the ceremony so minutely, and gave the blessing with so much mental satisfaction, because heretofore when in minoribus he had proof of the efficacy (della virtù) of these “Agnus Dei's,” for that a house adjoining his own being on fire, he threw into the flames an “Agnus Dei” of this sort, and they were quenched, the Agnus Dei remaining intact; and he still preserved and held it dear, as a sign of the goodness of our Lord God, and of the authority given to the High Pontiffs. To-day in [the Sistine] chapel these “Agnus Deis” were distributed as usual, there being a very great concourse of persons to see the sight. It is customary to perform this ceremony in the first year of every new pontificate, and subsequently every seven years.
There preached here this Lent, in the church of the Holy Apostles (in Sto. Apostolo), the Franciscan of the order of Friars Minors, who is I believe well known to many of your Excellencies, from his having preached in various places at Venice. This father, having adroitly induced many of the prostitutes of Rome to go to the sermon on the day when the gospel is read about the sinner supposed to be Mary Magdalen, (fn. 11) he persuaded them to change their mode of life, availing himself also of a circumstance which occurred on the preceding day, when a scelerat, a Veronese, for the purpose of robbing her, murdered a woman of this sort, her housewife, and a little girl, in her own house, inflicting many wounds on their breasts. He promised the prostitutes that they should be married, received into convents, and assisted in various manners, so many of them betook themselves, for the purpose of conversion, to the houses of divers Roman gentlewomen, and although they were several hundred in number, I delayed until now my account of this proceeding to your Serenity, suspecting that a variety of circumstances might make them change their minds after the holidays, as came to pass, for of 257 that they were, only 20 now remain; and these last also are uncertain, as the hopes given them proved vain, and the effects were at variance with the words.
When visiting the Cardinal of Augsburg, he said that the Diet of Germany had been prolonged, and the King of the Romans will not attend it again without a fresh intimation, and that the renunciation of the empire will soon be treated. He has also had letters from Munich, informing him that the subjects of the Duke of Bavaria have made four anti-Catholic demands of their sovereign—to eat meat every day, to communicate sub utrâque specie, that churchmen (chierici) be allowed to marry, and that the gospel be preached freely (et la libera predicatione dell' Evangelio), the petitioners declaring that they would neither pay taxes nor give assistance against the Turks unless these demands were granted.
The affair of the peace between their Majesties and the most Christian King draws to a close. Don Juan Manrique, writing to Don Garcilasso de Vega, gives great hope of a good settlement. The Pope has determined to send legates, Cardinal Caraffa to the King of France, and Cardinal Motula (fn. 12) to the King of England, and yesterday unexpectedly summoned congregation of the cardinals for this purpose, saying that hitherto, those sovereigns being irritated, he had not chosen to send anyone, but the truce being made, and as they gave ear to discourse about peace, he would send legates, to which the cardinals assented; but when the persons were proposed, Cardinal de la Cueva opposed the nomination of Cardinal Caraffa, because it would have been well to send some other individual more in the Emperor's confidence; to which the Pope replied that Cardinal Caraffa was very good for this purpose, and that although he had served the King of France lately, he had previously been in the service of the Emperor, and quitted it from cause, and he was now serving this Holy See and his Holiness himself, who was the universal master, and the friend of all of them; whereupon the cardinals acquiesced and confirmed the appointments. On Monday, in consistory, the legates will receive the cross, as the Pope chooses them to depart shortly. Caraffa assumes this mission very joyfully. From what he this day told me himself, all business will be in the hands of the Count of Montorio.
Rome, 11th April 1556.
April 11. Original Letter Book, penes me, 2nd Letter, No. 70. 453. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
To-day, although the Pope was very tired, owing to the distribution of the “Agnus Dei's,” I went to him, when he said to me, “Yesterday we elected two legates; our nephew the cardinal to the King of France, and to the King of England our old and most affectionate servant the Cardinal di Motula. In truth we can no longer trust any but these two, who we know for certain will infallibly do as we shall order and write to them from time to time. Cardinal Caraffa will be very well received in France, both for his own sake and ours, and he is also adapted (atto) to any great undertaking, as he is good and courageous (perchè ha bontà ed animo). Then of the other, even the Spaniards here seem to place confidence in him. The legates will depart speedily, and amongst their other commissions they will be charged to have as much regard in this treaty for the State of Venice as for our own. Had there been time we should have wished our nephew to pass through Venice, and to offer his services in our name to the Signory, and this not being possible, it will suffice for you to do so.” On my answering, “Your Holiness will have received some intelligence to the effect that peace may ensue?” the Pope rejoined, “There are, in fact, some advices,” but speaking with you, who are the mind and mouth-piece of the Signory, even should there be hope of peace, it rests on the same grounds as the truce, which (as we told you heretofore) they stipulated, not voluntarily but of necessity, and by reason of the fear they had of us, whereas we hear from some of them that they now curse it. Unless this fear of us and of the Signory induce them to make peace, we know not what can be hoped. The King of France is a good man; he would do anything for us, and would send the Queen and his sons as hostages. We have had experience of him in many matters. The Emperor no longer exists, and the Lord has chosen to punish him for his so many sins by depriving him of his intellects, as manifest to the world. We believe that he will have left a son like unto himself. I knew this Emperor in 1513, when by order of Leo X., in the first year of his pontificate, I was sent ambassador to England, (fn. 13) and as the nature of the times required it, I went to my legation by way of Germany. I then found him a lad 13 years of age; and on my return from England, also by order of the same pontiff, I accompanied him to Spain. So long back as at that time, magnifico ambassador, one discovered in him certain flowers of those fruits which have since been savoured” and here, exciting himself by extraordinary gestures, he continued), “a thirst for domination, an insufferable pride, a contempt for religion, for we will ask you what other emperor but Charles would have held councils and so many diets with the intervention of heretics and Lutherans? Who would have dissembled so much as he has done for the purpose of reigning? Who refused to acknowledge pontiffs, nay, kept them prisoners? Who but he sacked this city, and perpetrated that horrible impiety? for, although absent, he ordained and was gratified by those misfortunes of this Holy See, and of all Italy. Magnifico ambassador, we could not refrain from telling you everything. He believes that your territory, that of this Holy See, and of the world, must be his, and we have occasionally said to some of his adherents, if this lust (libidine) of dominion and of mastery over all men, which you cannot conceal, proceeded from a wish to render cities and empires abounding in all things wealthy and fertile, it might perhaps be tolerated; but what province, what noble, well-stored, and wealthy city ever fell into your hands that did not remain miserable, impoverished, and starving and in such a state that worse could not be imagined. Do you wish to do so by the rest of the world? By us they shall not act thus, nor should they do so by you, for they do not love you, and if they do not entirely declare themselves, it is because they have not seen a good opportunity, though so far as they could they have shown their will. You must remember about the export—permits of Puglia, with how much difficulty they gave them to you, and with how many fresh imposts. Of this Prevesa may bear you good witness. We tell you everything with such affection, as you perceive, because we have no less care for that blessed city, and the State of Venice, than for our own. Vœ vobis (as the poet, full of spirit, says) qui adjungitis domum ad domum et conservatis agros usque ad terminum loci!
“As you perceive, we speak freely. We wish for counsel from those lords. They are sage; they know very well, through their experiences of the government of the world, what can be hoped for from barbarian Princes (principi barbari), the natural enemies both of the Italian name and of the Venetian Republic, and from those Princes of whom they have witnessed proofs. We, in short, have no hope of peace, save such as we have told you, and the legates will serve to give us true account of those who shall impede it, and for what cause; but the point is for there to be a good understanding between us and you. On our part it will exist always, and what I have now told you is firm in this head.”
Rome, 11th April 1556.
April 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 454. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
This morning, after having communicated to the King of Spain the news-letters from Constantinople, and thanked him for the loving offices performed by his ambassador with your Serenity, and also for the despatch of the matter relating to the ships detained in Sicily,—touching the truce and peace, the King said that he on his part would not fail to observe the one and to make the other, provided the King of France was equally well disposed; and with regard to the orders for the release of the ships, he said he had given them willingly before I spoke to him, but had forgotten to tell me so when I gave him the memorial. In my rejoinder I mentioned the many excesses committed to the detriment of the Republic's subjects by the captain of the galliot which was captured, and this I did designedly, that he may know of himself that the ministers who favour Don Juan de Vega are impassioned.
Don Ruy Gomez dined with me to-day, staying a long while afterwards, conversing very familiarly on various subjects; and when I thanked him for the goodwill shown me in the affair of the ships detained in Sicily, he replied that what he had done was in conformity with the King's mind, and that if the other ministers had not done the like, it was owing to their private passions, and that your Serenity should hold in account the sole words and deeds of his Majesty himself, assuring me earnestly that the King's mind was always to live on good terms with your Serenity.
From his conversation I elicited that he had very little hope that this truce could last long, by reason of the King of France evincing surprise at so much delay in despatching M. de Lalain, who went in the name of the Emperor and King Philip to swear to the truce; and that the French ministers, before confirming it, according to the articles of agreement, endeavoured first to obtain restitution of prisoners and places, here and in Italy.
Brussels, 12th April 1556.
April 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 455. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
A gentleman accredited to the Emperor has arrived from the Count Palatine to perform the due offices on his taking possession of the Electorate. This mission has pleased both courts, as a proof of the Count no longer being ill-intentioned towards the Emperor, who has sent three German noblemen to all the princes and states of the Empire to give them notice of his having sworn to the truce, and with a commission to offer them all the forces of his son for the benefit and honour of the Empire. The French ambassador says he knows that they are also commissioned to request them to make a defensive league, and to authorise King Philip to levy in Germany, for service in Italy, or in any other country where he may require them, such troops as may be needed by him, but the ambassador believes that the design will not succeed.
The two “Commendators” resident with their Majesties here in the name of the Grand Master of Rhodes have lately shown newsletters to the King and his ministers, about the fleet now in course of preparation by Sultan Soliman, with the intention, they suspect, of attacking Malta, for the preservation of which island they request supplies, especially grain from Sicily, and a certain amount of Spanish veterans; and they received a favourable answer to both requests.
Yesterday the Papal Nuncio complained of what had been done by the King's ambassador and the Emperor's [Marquis de Sarria] resident with the Pope, to certain officials at one of the gates of Rome, for which proceeding some persons tax the ambassador with imprudence, whilst others say that by reason of the Pope's aversion to the Emperor and King Philip he resents the acts of their representative, as he would not do were they committed by others.
The Bishop of Arras when talking to-day with the Mantuan Ambassador asked whether, on the departure of the King of England, he purposed following him. He replied that he should act according to the commands of the Emperor, to whom he had been appointed. The Bishop rejoined it would be well for him to ask his lord for leave, as it seemed to him, the Bishop, both fitting and advantageous for the Duke that as he kept an ambassador with the King of France, so he should do the like by the King of Spain, wherefore it would be well for the Duke to order him to follow the King; and that he, the Bishop, would write an autograph letter to the Cardinal of Mantua, offering himself if necessary in any business relating to the Empire to take charge of it, as if he were the ambassador in person.
Brussels, 12th April 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
April 13. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 456. Cardinal Pole to Cardinal Cornaro.
Has to thank him much for his affectionate courtesy in depriving himself during so long a period of the services of their [friend] Messer Andrea. It is needless for him to say how much this has gratified him, as Cornaro can comprehend it, from his knowledge and experience of Andrea's sufficiency, goodness, and other qualities rendering him worthy to be loved by everybody; and as Pole kept him about his person hitherto as the intimate of Cornaro, so does he wish him henceforth to hold the same place with his Lordship, as the intimate of Pole. Did not think it expedient for him to depart until now, when Pole, being appointed to the see of Canterbury knows that he must remain in England to take care of it, and prays God that this may prove to his service.
Greenwich, 13th April 1556.
April 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 457. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday the King spoke to me about the Count de Lalain, saying that he had comported himself so frankly and with such candour as thoroughly to prove himself the great gentleman he is (per gran gentilhomo come l'era), and he then told me in detail how the Admiral had transacted his business at the Imperial Court, saying that first King Philip swore to the treaty of truce and to the agreement about the prisoners, the like being also done a few days later by the Emperor, whom the Admiral found so debilitated and in such a bad state that it was almost impossible for him to be worse, and that his Majesty himself narrated to him at very great length the state of suffering in which he was, saying that his incessant pains were such as at times to make him gnaw his hand and long for death, wherefore it was superfluous for him to swear to the truce, as he had no longer either States or the wish to undertake any enterprise, but that he would nevertheless take the oath as he did, swearing simultaneously to the agreement about the prisoners; the Admiral writing, however, that although the Emperor's frame was so enfeebled, and well-nigh wasted, yet he recognized in him the same prudence and judgment as ever.
His most Christian Majesty then told me besides that on the morrow the Bishop of Arras went to visit the said Admiral, and having commenced talking about the prisoners and their release, the Bishop said that many of the French had not fairly stated what they ought to pay for their revenues and pensions (che molti delli Francesi non havevano giustamente dato in nota quello che dovevano pagare per le loro entrate et pensioni), and that therefore a fuller declaration would be required for their release. To this the Admiral replied that if there were any of whom they had doubt they might give a list to the ambassador who was coming hither that he might verify the fact, as they would meet with no difficulty whatever; to which the Bishop not assenting he told the Admiral that it would be well for the Duke de Bouillon and the Constable's son to remain as hostages for all, and that thus all the others might be released; whereupon the Admiral replied very angrily that this proposal was contrary to the agreement, and that it would be quite sufficient for the two personages aforesaid to answer for themselves. The Bishop and the Admiral parted in great anger, but on the morrow Don Ruy Gomez having gone to visit the Admiral, the latter complained greatly of what the Bishop had said to him, and in reply Don Ruy Gomez evinced great surprise at the office performed by his right reverend Lordship, who had no commission whatever to that effect, and filled the Admiral (et empì esso Sigr. Armiraglio) with fair words and hopes; “but,” said the King, continuing his discourse, “as yet no result whatever is visible, and I spoke on the subject with M. de Lalain at great length, without being able to elicit anything but fair words, and at length I told him that should they not choose to release them they must not suppose that France would be therefore annihilated, as each of the prisoners has either sons or brothers, and their families will still exist, though as the Emperor and the King took the oath I cannot bring myself to believe that they will fail me (che mi manchino).”
Having thanked his Majesty for these particulars, I said that thus was it to be hoped, and by so much the more as it was also heard that the Imperialists seemed desirous of negotiating a good peace with his Majesty, who rejoined, “The Emperor spoke about it with the Admiral, and the Count de Lalain with me, but both sides limited themselves to general expressions, demonstrating goodwill without coming to anything in particular.” After having answered some inquiries I spoke to him about affairs on the borders of Piedmont, which he said would he hoped be adjusted.
The King added that he supposed I had heard of the disturbances in England, and when I replied that they were known to me in part, he continued, “They wanted to rob the Queen's treasury, and plotted to put her to death, so that kingdom is more upside down than ever (è più sotto sopra che mai), and the Queen wishes for her husband, who cares but little about it (et la Regina desidera il marito, et lei se ne cura poco), but through the coming of these ambassadors whom the Queen is sending the future will be made manifest;” and with this the King closing the discourse I thanked him again in your Serenity's name, and took leave. When speaking about English affairs with the Constable, he said, “Ambassador! I will tell you a thing privately, and do not forget it, as for my own part I believe it will certainly come true. I am of opinion that ere long the King of England will endeavour to dissolve (rompere) his marriage with the Queen, and should this come to pass remember then this prophecy.” General dissatisfaction is visible here, and great doubt of what may happen, though most persons believe that the release of the prisoners will be delayed until this year's season for warfare is over, the Imperialists perhaps suspecting that if they were set at liberty they might turn their thoughts to fresh undertakings.
Amboise, 14th April 1556.
April 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 458. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The suspicion induced apparently by the conspirators on the Isle of Wight has caused the government, in order to secure itself entirely, and discover on the spot whether any of the inhabitants were implicated, and at the same time to provide for its safety (the site being considered of importance, wherefore a certain castle there (fn. 14) is provided in ordinary with a garrison, guns, and ammunition,) to send thither the Marquis of Winchester, the Lord Treasurer, and Lord Howard of Effingham, Lord High Admiral. The latter by reason of his office is bound to make the requisite military provision, both offensive and defensive, for the places on the coast, and to execute the commands of the crown, for which purpose I understand that he has had a large amount of guns and ammunition conveyed thither; whilst the Marquis of Winchester, being a personage in great esteem and authority, not merely in all the neighbouring country where his marquisate and estates are situate, but also on the island itself, will consequently be better able than anyone to ascertain whether clandestine designs in favour of the conspirators were on foot there, and by his presence and counsel easily provide for whatever shall be necessary.
Besides the precautions taken in the Isle of Wight, they cleverly (destramente) wrote all over the kingdom to have registers made of all able-bodied men in case of a necessity for arming; and it is told me that all the nobility and gentry of the country (signori et nobili del paese) have been desired to keep on the watch, and ready to present themselves on the first summons; many persons adding that an order has been issued for the recall of all English absentees, both those who have permission to reside abroad, and those who have not, without any exception, and that the proclamation will soon be printed. And a certain rumour purporting that the conspirators had a special understanding with the King of France has been more rife than usual, and that he had promised them every sort of favour and assistance, perhaps in order to anticipate and to rid himself of the doubt and suspicion which grows upon him daily more and more (che ogni dì li crescie maggiore), that the Emperor and the King his son will by force endeavour not only to render themselves stronger and more secure than they are at present, but to make themselves absolute masters of this kingdom; nor for some time have these sentiments been merely written publicly from France, but are moreover confirmed (cosi venendo già alcuni giorni di là publicamente non solo scritto, ma replicato); a friend of mine, a person of authority, having lately seen a letter from M. de James (sic), French resident at Luxemburg, addressed to the French ambassador here, telling him that in that neighbourhood, by order of the Emperor and the King, ten companies of infantry have lately been raised, some others already on foot being filled up, all which are to serve in England, the King intending to bring them with him, having to return hither, for the guard and security of his person, and he gives a preference to German and Flemish troops, because they are less hateful to the English than the Spaniards, or any other nation.
In conformity with these advices, although received after the truce, the merchants wrote recently from Flanders that some soldiery were being raised, but as no subsequent confirmation of the fact arrived it was not credited. It now seems that these last advices have revived the suspicion; and I know that when they were shown to Cardinal Pole from time to time as they came to hand, whereas previously he evinced disbelief of those received from the Court of France (although, to say the truth, they came from the Nuncio, resident there, a person considered acute and judicious), he remained in suspense about these from Luxemburg; the person who showed them to him not having chosen to say that they came through France, lest if they were true, and not artfully disseminated by the French, he might appear their partisan and apologist for the King's understanding with the conspirators (in modo che se fussero veri et non studiosamente seminati da Francesi, per mostrar il confidente di coloro et ricuoprir con questo et discolpar la intelligentia che havesse havuto dare (sic) [il Re?] con li congiurati). If, as premised by me, the advices be true, there would be cause for anxiety in every respect.
In the meanwhile here, not only does there not seem to be any expectation of the arrival of King Philip with these fresh troops, but on the other hand an irritation and anger is manifested against the most Christian King, to whose court, two days ago, Lord Clinton was sent in haste, and so suddenly and in such confusion that neither he nor his attendants had time to provide themselves with many necessary articles of apparel, which for the sake of dispatch were supplied them from the Queen's wardrobe. According to report, besides offering congratulations on the truce, in conformity with the office performed at Brussels by Lord Paget, he will complain to his most Christian Majesty of the harbour which it is understood he gives to English rebels, contrary to the agreements and express treaty between the two crowns.
I am told that Lord Paget will settle the mode to be observed in the heading of Patents and Public Acts, which all commence with “Philip and Mary,” enumerating first of all the titles of their realms, according to their order (per l'ordine che tra essi tengono), it not seeming by any means proper to the English ministry (alli signori Inglesi) that amongst these titles the kingdoms of Spain should take precedence of those of England and of France.
London, 14th April 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]


  • 1. Dorotea, daughter of Christian II., King of Denmark.
  • 2. The name of this ambassador was Basse Fontaine. (See Foreign Calendar, Brussels, 23rd March 1556.)
  • 3. Sir Edward Carne does not enter into these details, but writes that a cardinal had desired him to tell Queen Mary that her consort would do well to recal Don Fernando Ruiz de Castro, and appoint in his stead a representative less disagreeable to Paul IV. (See Foreign Calendar, as before, p. 221.)
  • 4. A copy of this proclamation is in the possession of the Society of Antiquaries, and is dated 1st April 1556. (See Verney Papers, p. 67.)
  • 5. An original document in the State Paper Office shows that Henry, or Harry Dudley was supposed to have been related to the late Duke of Northumberland, but in what precise manner does not appear. (See Verney Papers, p. 59, foot note.)
  • 6. William Stantun, alias Staunton, “late a captain.” See Machyn, p. 195, and Verney Papers, pp. 61, 70, 71.
  • 7. William Lord Paget was appointed Lord Privy Seal on the 29th January 1556. (See Preface to Machyn's Diary, p. xvi.)
  • 8. Clinton, Edward, 12th Lord, 11th Earl of Lincoln. His mission to France is recorded in Foreign Calendar, date 8 April 1556, p. 221.
  • 9. Cipierre, Marcilly, S. Philibert de. (See Mr. Turnbull's Foreign Calendar, 1553–1556, Index.)
  • 10. Sir Edward Carne wrote to Queen Mary that he had sent her a box of these Agnus Dci's, “and a little book in Italian declaring the ceremonies used in making them, and at the end of it their virtue, which is great.” (See Foreign Calendar, 5th May 1556, p. 225.)
  • 11. St. Mark xiv., verses 3, 4, gospel read on the Monday before Easter.
  • 12. Scipione Rebiba, Bishop of Motula in Puglia, made Cardinal by Paul IV., 25th December 1555. (See Cardella, vol. 4, p. 147.)
  • 13. See Mr. Brewer's Calendar, 16th November 1513, vol. i., No. 4,563, p. 702; also Venetian Calendar, 6th February 1514, vol. ii., No. 372, p. 158.
  • 14. According to some notes made by Pietro Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in England in 1618, it seems that at that time the captain of the Isle of Wight received an annual salary of 20l., and his garrison of nine soldiers 12d. per diem each.