Venice: April 1556, 16-30

Pages 412-424

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, 16–30

April 18. Original Letter Book, penes me. Letter No. 71. 459. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
On Sunday the Pope ordered consistory for the following Monday to give the cross to the legates, which he, however, did not do, the supposed reason being that the pecuniary supply for their departure was not yet made, on which account his Holiness did not choose to keep them so long confined to the house, as after receiving the cross they are accompanied by the cardinals beyond the gate of Rome, and thenceforth do not again show themselves in public.
It is said that Caraffa purposes making a very grand display, both as being cardinal—nephew of a pope, and also because he is an Italian, wishing to demonstrate in France the magnificence and dignity of this most noble province; so besides the Archbishops of Cosenza and Santa Severina, the Bishop of Pola, Giulio Orandino, auditor di Ruota, and other theologians, he will be accompanied by some sixty Roman, Neapolitan, and Bolognese noblemen, including many captains, and Marshal Strozzi, all with their attendants in livery, but at their masters' cost. It is also said that the Archbishop Orsino [Archbishop of Sta. Severina], son of the late Lord Valerio, and whom I knew at Padua, a very genteel personage, may with this opportunity remain Nuncio in France, whilst Commendone, Bishop of Zante, who accompanies Cardinal Motula, will remain with the King of England; and although he (Commendone) has received money for his outfit, he told me he could not stir without the aid of 300 crowns, and a certain monthly assignment on account of his salary, he being very poor. The defrayment of these costs will require a good sum of money, on the provision of which they are very intent.
On the day of the consistory, the Cardinal of Augsburg [Otho Trusches] departed very dissatisfied, although on that day he dined with the Pope, not in public, but at his little table (tavolino), where he rarely has a guest. His Holiness, after promising 10,000 crowns, gave him only 1,000, which the Cardinal said he would not have accepted had he not feared putting him into a passion; but when at Venice he purposes buying trifles to that amount, and sending them to his Holiness.
By letters from Naples dated the 11th it is heard that the donative of that kingdom has been fixed at a million of gold, and 25,000 crowns for the Viceroy, the Duke of Alva, as usual, the news of which donative will be conveyed to the King of England by the Lord Marc' Antonio Colonna.
On Wednesday last, at the hour of the Pope's dinner, the Emperor's ambassador sent his brother, Don Rodrigo, to ask for audience, as he had some business of his Prince's to negotiate; and he also had a memorial presented to his Holiness, who, putting on his spectacles and beginning to read it, got into such a rage that, laying both memorial and spectacles on the table, he said in a loud voice in Spanish, “God's life ! let him not come. (Non vegni, vivit Dominus.) We will give him the punishment he deserves; we will have his head cut off;” repeating the words “head cut off” several times, and saying, “We have already ordered that should he come there will be a short halter for him” (Già havemo ordinato che venendo, li sia corta la capezza); adding, “We have had too much patience; the processes have been drawn up; we shall send them to the Princes that the world may know that if we have not punished him, it was to prove how anxious we are for peace, as to avoid thwarting it we have put up with so much insolence from this man, whom we no longer hold to be ambassador.” Having expelled Don Rodrigo from his presence, the Pope said to a number of persons who were present to see him dine, “Do not suppose that we failed to have him beheaded from lack of heart, as would to God we had not too much of that; but we acted thus in order not to impede the negotiation for peace, as the truce made by them is neither good, true, nor durable. It is necessary to make a good, true, and durable peace, or to declare open war, and to wage it more briskly than ever.” Then, perceiving the Count of Montorio, he said, “If one of you our nephews had done what that man did, we would have had you beheaded;” and the Count replied, “We should have deserved it.”
D. Garcilasso [de la Vega] having subsequently gone daily to the Pope for audience in vain, being kept waiting in the antechamber from three to five hours, departed yesterday morning for Naples to see some of his relations, and will then return hither, hoping in the meanwhile to receive some order from his Princes as to what he is to do.
The ambassador [Marquis de Sarria], who until now had not written anything to the Imperial Court about the affair of the gate, and of the altercation with the Pope, nor yet of the maltreatment constantly received from his Holiness, on the evening before last sent a very minute account of the whole to the Emperor and the King of England, and was heard to say, “The Pontiff bears me ill-will, and is right, as thus does he repay the good offices performed by me in his favour with my Princes, which pains me more than the injuries received here, as they will suppose that I deceived them when representing him as a good and holy Pontiff, and anxious for the welfare of Christendom.”
On the night of the day when the Pope uttered the aforesaid words, the guns of the castle and of the palace were shotted, and the Pope's guard was doubled, their harquebusses being loaded, and the men keeping with their fires (ad ordine con li suoi fuoghi); it having been also said that there was a talk of seizing all the ambassador's attendants.
Concerning the “Reform,” I hear from persons who say they had it from the Pope's own lips, that his Holiness, perceiving the diversity of the votes given by the few first-class members of the commission, (fn. 1) and considering that the matter involved both much time and great variety of opinion, has well nigh determined to issue an edict according to his own opinion, which is that in no case, not even from such as give spontaneously, should it be allowable to accept any present, whether demanded or offered voluntarily, for spiritual advantages (per uso delle cose spirituali); and that his Holiness dwelt particularly on the dispensation of marriages, as prohibited by law, saying that not only did he choose similar dispensations no longer to be conceded, but also wished that such as had been granted hitherto should (so far as possible) be remedied; but I do not know how it can come to pass that those who are married should become single.
Rome, 18th April 1556.
April 19. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 460. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
On the 13th instant Lord Paget arrived here, who had audience of the King of Spain immediately, and has returned to his Majesty every day, holding long conversations with him, and I understand that the chief object of his discourse was to inspire the King with that hope, on his return to England, of his being crowned, which has never yet been given him by the Queen his consort; and besides performing this office in her name, he of himself, as it were, proposed various means for adoption whereby to obtain the desired result, with the consent of those who can be induced to give it, and without risk from those who might choose to oppose the measure. He also communicated to him several things which it is necessary to do in that kingdom at present, and to provide for there, hereafter; representing to him in detail what has been extorted (ritratto) from the confessions of a part of the prisoners, and what had been said [spontaneously?] by some, that the insurrection (motto) which they purposed raising had for object to make Lord Courtenay their king, and that amongst these conspirators are ten persons of quality, against whom there are not sufficient proofs to warrant capital punishment, nor yet so few as to justify acquittal, especially by reason of what they might do subsequently, using most earnest language to induce his Majesty to go to England as soon as possible, both for his own benefit and to comfort the Queen, adding moreover that in like manner as he should not despair of her giving him heirs, so may he rest assured that there is no time to lose for his going thither, as she is not of an age to be able to delay any longer.
Lord Paget himself, whom I visited, told me the King had answered him, that ten or twelve days after the coming hither of the King of Bohemia he would certainly go to England postwise, and without proceeding to Spain return to the Emperor after having remained some weeks with the Queen. Subsequently Lord Paget had audience of the Emperor, to whom he presented letters of credence as ambassador, and after performing the office of congratulation on the establishment of the truce, repeated what he had said to the King about the causes which ought to induce his Majesty to return to his consort. He then asked counsel of the Emperor, in the Queen's name, concerning the mode in which the affairs of the religion in England could be regulated, as of one who might be able to know, by reason of the many troubles sustained by him on this account in Germany, it being seen that the numerous executions failed to bring back those sectarians (quelle genti) to Catholic opinions, as had been hoped. The Emperor received him very kindly, reciprocating the courteous offices performed in the Queen's name, but I have been unable to learn what he said to the demand about the religion; but with regard to his most serene son's departure for England, he said it could not take place so immediately, because, as he had heard, there was necessary cause for the coming of the King of Bohemia, who he thought would be here in the course of the month of May.
It is very evident from the language of the chief Spaniards of these two courts that neither the arguments adduced by Paget, nor the adroit means employed by him to make the King go to England will take effect, unless he has a certain promise from the Queen that she will crown him, in virtue of such authority as it is said she might legally exercise, and with the support of those who may be dependent on their Majesties by reason of offices and benefits received from them. (Si conosce dal parlar assai chiaro dei principali Spagnuoli di queste corti, che S. M. R., nè per le ragioni delte da Pagel, nè per gli accorli modi ch' egli usa per farla andare in Inghilterra, ella non si moverà se dalla Regina non li viene data cerlezza che Lei sia per incoronarla con quella auttorità che da se stessa, dicono, poter usar per le leggi, et col favore di quelli che dalle loro Maestà possono dipendere per officij, et beneficij havuti.) The French ambassador uses all diligence to ascertain whether his Majesty will go to England or not; and according to news-letters which he says he has received from thence, he shows that the coronation may take place, and that Queen Maria of Hungary is the person who well nigh daily writes autograph letters on this subject to the Queen of England, exhorting her to put aside every consideration and her timidity, and to crown her husband, and assuring her that otherwise she will fail in what is due to herself and to right, and that consequently she will not have him (the King) with her.
It is said that Queen Maria acts thus by reason of the extreme desire she has to resume the Regency of Flanders, in which she cannot succeed unless the King depart hence. The said French ambassador negotiates every day about the release of the prisoners, and says he always finds fresh difficulties about the decision.
Their Majesties have despatched the Lieutenant d'Amont, appointed ambassador in ordinary to the most Christian King, with whom the chief personages of these courts are [now] as much satisfied for the honour done to M. de Lalain, who went for the establishment of the truce, as they were at first malcontent, owing to the delay in expediting him.
During the last few days the King has practised tilting with other noblemen in the park, with the intention subsequently of jousting in public, which was lately appointed for to-day, and his Majesty having said that it should be deferred until the arrival of the King of Bohemia, the lady at whose suit it was proclaimed informed Benavides, the challenger, that by allowing it to be deferred for so long a while, and also for a doubtful event, he will either prejudice his own honour or the love which he seems to bear her; so King Philip, moved by the prayers of the said challenger and of other gentlemen, has allowed them to hold it when they please, and all are ready for next Sunday.
The deputies of these States have not yet answered the King's demand for one per cent, on moveables, and two per cent. on immoveables, on which he insists, they considering it beyond their means; so everybody murmurs greatly, the blame being laid on their governor the Duke of Savoy, who, at the suggestion of a Florentine, persuaded his Majesty to make so novel and injurious a demand.
Brussels, 19th April 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
April 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 461. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In addition to the precautions announced in my last of the 14th, which were taken for the Queen's security, by reason of the suspicion that the conspirators, besides plundering the Exchequer, had plotted against her royal person, and that she therefore still continued to have greater guard kept, and to live more secluded than usual, it has moreover been determined, lest during these summer months (which are considered more perilous than the others) any sudden rising should take place, to fit out a certain number of ships, which, although destined, as is said by Cardinal Pole, for Ireland, to quell the late disturbances there, lest they spread hither likewise, are nevertheless, as I hear, first of all to put into Portsmouth Harbour, near Hampton, and to anchor in other harbours towards the south-west (Ponente Garbino). This implies that they are for the purpose of yet more curbing and intimidating the population by these prompt and speedy precautionary measures in every direction against all ill-disposed persons.
Sir Anthony Kingston died last week of “stone,” which seized him whilst on his way to prison here under escort, a more fortunate catastrophe for him than to have died a violent death, as would have been the case, for it seems that on examination he confessed to having been an accomplice in the conspiracy, which, as it is said clearly, had for object to kill not only the Queen, but all foreigners indiscriminately, so as for the future entirely to rid all aliens of any wish ever again to come to England. Sir Anthony Kingston's estates, however, will not be confiscated, he not having been, according to the statutes of the realm, “indicted” such is the term in use here) publicly, it being the common custom to serve an “indictment” on any accused person.
The Lord Treasurer has returned from the Isle of Wight, after issuing there, and throughout the adjoining territory, such orders that at the slightest signal the entire population will be quick and ready to do the Queen good service; and his attendants say that neither on the island, nor still less in Hampshire, did they find anyone implicated in the plot or even suspected of having had a hand in it, everybody remaining in office and in trust. The Treasurer also made sure of Portsmouth, so that there is no fear of any commotion in those parts.
During the last three months a Spanish courier, by name Gamboa, has often gone to and fro between this and Brussels, he having also been sent off last evening by the president here, Figueroa, not without suspicion of some secret negotiation between him and the most Serene Queen; which doubt having induced me to investigate the matter, I have at length heard from a good quarter that they talk (che si tratta) of removing hence “Miladi” Elizabeth and taking her to Spain; nor was it chosen to tell me anything further (non mi essendo stato o voluto dir più oltra). Whether the project take effect or not, it will be solely for the sake of securing themselves against any disturbance which might arise on her account, the danger being more at hand and more certain in this quarter than in any other, the affections and wishes of the majority already inclining towards her, owing to the small hope of descent from the most Serene Queen. As the negotiation, supposing it to be true, is kept very secret, it will be well for your Serenity to do the like, by enjoining, should it seem fit to you, such silence as the matter deserves.
The Queen of Scotland has sent to congratulate her Majesty on the conclusion of the truce, the King of France also having through his ambassador here given her account of the loving offices passed in the name of the Emperor and of her consort by the Count de Lalain with his most Christian Majesty.
The last summaries of your Serenity's letters, dated the 29th ult., have been communicated as usual to Cardinal Pole and the Lords of the Council.
London, 21st April 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
April 22. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 462. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Lord Clinton arrived here to-day with 36 posters, having been sent by the Queen of England as ambassador for the purpose, so far as is heard hitherto, of presenting congratulations on the conclusion of the truce, and again offering her Majesty as mediatrix for the peace between these Princes, but he has not yet had audience of his Majesty.
Blois, 22nd April 1556.
April 25. Original Letter Book, penes me. Letter No. 74, pp. 245, 246, 247. 463. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
I hear from a person, who says he knows it for certain, that the Pope's familiars (questi del Papa) have some idea of causing the Imperial ambassador's servant, who accompanied his master outside the gate, to be hanged, and also that yesterday in the Treasury congregation the attorney-general (il Fiscale) proposed that as the Pope no longer acknowledged the Marquis of Sarria for ambassador, he should be made to pay the ordinary gabels, but the Treasury (La Camera) determined not to do so without the Pope's order. The legates are intent on getting themselves ready, most especially Cardinal Caraffa, who is incurring very great expense for himself and his retinue, for I hear that to each of the gentlemen who accompany him he has sent 21 yards of damask and 12 of velvet, having also provided himself with some of the finest in Rome as a present for the most Christian King. I understand that he has hitherto received 15,000 ducats, which have all been expended on the household and attendants he takes with him. Cardinal Motula has not yet received any money, neither has Commendone, who is to remain nuncio with the King of England, although he begins to make preparations, and in order to do so has sold one of the offices held by him.
Yesterday consistory was held, but the Pope did not give the cross to the legates because he says he chooses them to depart immediately on receiving it, according to the ancient rite.
Twelve renegades (marani) were burned lately at Ancona, and the others, 42 in number, have offered, should their lives be spared, besides their property, which amounts to 50,000 ducats, to give an additional 40,000, and are content to be sent to the galleys; so I understand that letters have been written to stay the executions until further orders; it being said that the report of the Turkish fleet's putting to sea in great force has caused this countermand, lest with thispretext it come to Ancona, and they regret having gone so far.
Rome, 25th April 1556.
April 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 464. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
In the renunciations of the States made heretofore by the Emperor to his son, he reserved for himself Burgundy, which he has now renounced to his Majesty, which at that time he did not choose to do, chiefly because being at war with the King of France, and the agreements between their Majesties stipulating the neutrality of the Burgundians (et stando tra l'una et l'altra Maestà li capitoli che quei communi sudditi dovessero esser neutrali), he could not treat the confirmation of the neutrality had the renunciation been made then.
Since this act, he says daily to all his familiars and to those who negotiate with him, that he shall leave for Spain this summer, and that he has given orders to Don Luis de Caravajal to prepare the fleet for this voyage; and six days ago he read with King Philip the rolls of the persons of his court whom he purposes leaving in the King's service, and of those to be dismissed, and whom he takes with him; and the Queens [Eleanor and Maria of Austria] again show signs of accompanying his Imperial Majesty as they did the last time. Finzino, the secretary for the German tongue, has said that before his departure we shall hear of the renunciation of the Empire, though few persons expect him to put this resolve into execution; but several are of opinion that he speaks thus for convenient respects of his own, amongst which the principal one is because should King Philip have to go for his coronation to England, and meet with any impediment, the Emperor through his authority and by fitting out the armada (l'armata), may facilitate this design.
The day before yesterday Lord Paget went to visit the French ambassador [Basse Fontaine], and in the course of conversation Paget told him he had been sent to congratulate the Emperor on the truce, his Queen having done the like by his most Christian Majesty. The Frenchman replied somewhat angrily that he knew him to have come nominally for that purpose, though the true cause was for the sake of inducing King Philip to go to England, by giving him sure hope that he should be crowned; and that he (Basse Fontaine) informed him (Paget) that should they purpose doing this without the consent of the people of England, his most Christian Majesty, having named that kingdom in the capitulation [of the truce], would be compelled to favour it, in order that it should not be forced to do anything against its will (et che li faceva sapere, che trattandosi di far ciò senza la volontà di quelli del Regno, saria costretta S. M. Christma, per esser da lei denominato esso Regno nella capitolatione, favorirlo, perchè egli non fosse astretto a far cosa contraria al voler suo); and to this the English ambassador merely replied that he was come to perform the aforesaid office of congratulation.
Lord Paget, when visiting me yesterday, said King Philip had assured him that after the coming of King Maximilian, he would go to England at the beginning of June; and when Paget inquired what his Majesty would do in case the King of Bohemia did not come, he answered him that even in that case he would keep his promise, and depart postwise with a few attendants. Lord Paget, in the meanwhile, will go to the baths of Aix-la-Chapelle and inspect several towns in these provinces, returning hither in due time to accompany his Majesty.
The French ambassador has complained to the King of Spain of being unable to obtain any favourable decision from the Bishop of Arras about getting back his prisoners, and said that this being done contrary to the promises given heretofore by his Majesty's commissioners, he demanded justice from him; and that his most Christian Majesty had this matter so much at heart, because it was principally on account of these prisoners that he made the truce, in order to prove to those who risked their lives, and to as many other gentlemen as may do so, that his Majesty has the same care of them as for his own welfare; praying King Philip most earnestly to have this carried into effect, saying that otherwise he did not know how the truce could last, and that his King would stand acquitted before the world. The King replied that this matter being one between private individuals, the resolve must necessarily proceed from them, and that for the sake of justice, and for the maintenance of the truce, he would not fail doing the best he could; and told him kindly that after the arrival of M. de Lalain it would be more easy to despatch this business.
The Pope has taken it amiss that they should not have sent him a special envoy to announce the oath taken to the truce, but nevertheless, in order not to fail performing such offices as appertain to the head of Christendom, he had chosen to appoint legates to their Majesties and to the most Christian King to negotiate the peace, but the chief ministers of these courts say openly that the appointment of Cardinal Caraffa to France makes them suspect that it may be for the purpose of negotiating matters to break the truce rather than to make the peace.
The son of the Count di Populi [de Pepoli?] has departed, after kissing the Emperor's and the King's hands, without having been able to obtain either the title of duke or the 5,000 crows annual revenue, nor the other things demanded by him for his services, he having deserted the Pope. He was answered courteously, that when the opportunity offered the King would not fail him. The ambassadors from Nuremberg have also departed, having been much honoured by their Majesties, with whom they performed most humble offices, making loving offers in case of need.
The deputies of these provinces arrived last evening to answer the King's demand for the one per cent. on immoveables and two per cent. on moveables; and it is understood they are commissioned not to consent to it, but to promise him as much as a million of crowns, and even half as much more, rather than ever condescend to such a demand.
Three days ago Don Ruy Gomez went to Antwerp to contract an exchange (un cambio) of 400,000 crowns, to pay the officials of the two courts, those of the Emperor being creditors for 22 arrears of salary (22 paghe), and the King's for 12; well-nigh the whole of which sum will be expended for this purpose; and he will endeavour to raise another of 200,000 (both to be paid in Spain), to satisfy the cavalry and infantry on these frontiers.
Before his departure a joust was held in the park, the chief on one side being the King, and on the other the said Don Ruy Gomez. The jousters were seven on each side, making their appearance with very handsome liveries, and the King chose those on his side to be of various nations, having selected the Spaniards Don Antonio de Toledo, Don Rodrigo de Benavides, and Don Luis de Caravajal, the Flemish Count d'Egmont, the German Count Schwartzburg, and the Italian Marquis d'Hirazzi (sic). Those on the side of Don Ruy Gomez were all Spaniards, and the judges were the Duke of Medina Celi, the Prince of Orange, and Don Juan Manrique. The King's side was the most commended, principally for the fine strokes made by Count d'Egmont, and they will also joust this evening and to morrow.
Brussels, 26th April 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
April 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 465. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
Don Ruy Gomez returned from Antwerp, having contracted for the exchanges of the 600,000 crowns to be disbursed in Spain at the rate of 23 per cent. interest, and in four or six days the officials of the courts of the Emperor and the King will receive their salaries.
The Bishop of Arras announces that the Emperor this day commissioned M. de la Chaux to send cogent orders to Holland for preparation of the ships required for his voyage to Spain, having declared that in the course of May he will quit Brussels and go to Ghent, remaining there until all he requires is ready; and to-day the Queens have left for Tournai, where they say they shall arrange all their affairs and then return, in order to depart with the Emperor. The Emperor's chief butler, M. de la Chaux, says he has been desired to go to Burgundy to take possession of that county (contea) in the name of King Philip, and will depart speedily; and having asked the Emperor's leave to remain a month with his relations after performance of this office, his Majesty allowed him but eight days. But when he was asked by a friend (as he is a very free-spoken nobleman) whether the Emperor's departure would take place so immediately, he answered yes, adding coldly, that some accident, as on a former occasion, might make him change his mind. Concerning this resolve, and with regard to his going so immediately as his Majesty says, discourse varies; some say he will go thither (to Ghent) to carry into effect this his firm design, and especially now as by letters from M. de Lalain, and from other signs, he strongly suspects the King of France of not observing the truce and of favouring the affairs [of the Moors?] in Africa; and he is supposed to circulate this report for other personal respects, especially to enable him by keeping an armada in readiness to facilitate the coronation in England of his son, whose journey to England continues also to be reported, as there is but little hope of the coming of the King of Bohemia.
Should the Emperor depart and not choose to be followed by the ambassadors, I shall remain with the King until the arrival of the ambassador Surian; and on the King's subsequent departure for England, after accompanying him as far as Calais, I will return home, as I am most anxious to do, that I may more conveniently remedy my disease of the “stone” than I can do here.
Brussels, 28th April 1556.
April 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 466. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Of the prisoners brought to the bar only two of the ringleaders were convicted, (fn. 2) there not having been then time for the others, who will be despatched in due course (di mano in mano), it having been told me that they are all to be judged this week.
Of the two above mentioned, one is of the Throckmorton family, a gentleman (nobile), and a person who, although suspected with regard to religion, yet nevertheless, considering his age, which does not amount to 28 years, has the reputation of being a man of spirit and ability, and was a long while in Italy and at Venice. He most stoutly persisted in denying all the charges brought against him, although he was convicted on the evidence of the conspirators themselves (fn. 3) in his own presence, they being brought face to face with each other. He defended himself with great boldness and eloquence, hoping that the twelve jurymen would not so easily agree to convict him as they did, but after being sentenced he became of another mind, humbly imploring pardon, and beginning freely to confess his crimes.
The other is a man called Wdal (sic), keeper of one of the fortresses in the Isle of Wight, where he was to receive the conspirators.
They were sentenced and declared traitors, being consequently condemned to die, according to the letter of the law, in conformity with which they were both executed this morning, having been first drawn at the horse's tail (tirati a coda di cavallo) through the city to the public place of execution, and then hanged, but not let die entirely, for the rope being cut and the bodies taken down from the gibbet instantaneously, they being thus alive, their middles were cut open and their entrails taken out and thrown on the fire prepared at the foot of the gallows, after which they were quartered in four quarters (da poi squartati in quattro quarti), which will be placed with their heads on the city gates.
They died a Christian death, having confessed and communicated.
The execution was put off for four more days, because Throckmorton gave signs of discovering other particulars and other persons, but this is believed to have been rather for the sake of gaining time than from his having made any communication of importance.
I am told that the business and understanding which the conspirators had with the most Christian King were by means of one Bertoville, who, having been outlawed from France a long while ago, withdrew to this country, where he was pensioned, and lately, perhaps for this purpose, returned into favour with the King and crossed over to France, and being very well acquainted with English affairs, and known for a turbulent soldier, all men of his profession here considered him admirably adapted (attissimo) not only to take part as mediator in such a matter, but to conduct it. It is also told me that Throckmorton had an understanding with him, and moreover spoke with the French ambassador here, which he had at first denied, and that they had been conceded a castle in Normandy as a retreat in which to coin false money, in order perhaps thus to increase the sum to be robbed from the Exchequer, so as more largely to provide for their projects.
The courier Gamboa returned from beyond sea immediately, having performed the journey to and fro in six days, and scarcely had he arrived here ere the Queen despatched Francesco Piamontese, an indication of business and negotiations extraordinary; so it is no wonder that here they should not be understood, as they are transacted solely through the medium of one or two of the Queen's chief confidants, her Majesty not unbosoming herself (non allargandosi) to the others. From Brussels (di là) you may perhaps receive some hint about what was told me lately with regard to the removal hence of Miladi Elizabeth, although there has been vigorous (gagliardo) debate and opposition, by reason of the stir it might create. It has nevertheless been told me that the matter is urged (sollicitata) and earnestly canvassed (procurata) by the Queen in person, who conceives that by removing her (Elizabeth) bodily from hence (che levandosi la persona di costei di quà), there will be a riddance of all the causes for scandal and disturbances, she (I understand) having said plainly that she will not marry, even were they to give her the King's son, (fn. 4) or find any other greater Prince. I again respectfully remind your Serenity to enjoin secrecy about this.
I have heard, according to intelligence received by the Queen, that the Earl of Deronshire was invited and called to Ferrara by the Duke solely for the purpose of tempting and persuading him to withdraw to France and adhere to his most Christian Majesty (et appoggiarsi al servitio del Re), promising him honourable provision, and he has been considered sage, for not having inclined or given car to any of the offers made him. (fn. 5)
The King's letters confirm the assurance that his coming hither will be delayed by the visit to Brussels of the King of Bohemia, solely during the first days of the interview, his Majesty evincing greater wish to return than usual, and for the need of the Queen, please God it may be so.
London, 28th April 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]


  • 1. See before, March 28.
  • 2. John Throgmorton and Thomas Uvedale, alias Wodall, were arraigned at the Sessions House in Southwark, on the 21st April 1556. (See Machyn's Diary, p. 104, and Verney Papers, p. 70.)
  • 3. “The accusars” [were] “Master Bedyll and Master Dethyke.” (See Machyn, as above.)
  • 4. Don Carlos, then in his eleventh year.
  • 5. In the Domestic Calendar, pp. 76, 77, it is seen that Edward Courtenay left Venice for Ferrara on the 21st March 1556, and remained there four or five days. The words of the deciphered paragraph are: “Ila saputo (come intendo) la Serenissima Regina che non per altro fu invitato il Conte di Danzier, et chiamato a Ferrara, che per haver tentato quel Duca di persuaderlo a retirarsi in Franza et appoggiarsi al servitio del Re, promettendoli honorato intrattenimento; et è stato riputato savio, non havendo inclinato, nè dato orecchia ad alcuna offerta che li fusse fatta.”