Venice: June 1556, 16-30

Pages 484-501

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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June 1556, 16–30

June 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 514. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The office performed with Miladi Elizabeth by the two personages sent to her in the Queen's name, agreed with what. I wrote on the 9th, as heard on their return. According to the chief commission given them, before leaving her, they placed in her house a certain Sir Thomas Pope, a rich and grave gentleman, of good name, both for conduct and religion; the Queen having appointed him Miladi's governor, and she having accepted him willingly, although he himself did his utmost to decline such a charge. I am told that besides this person, they also assigned her a widow gentlewoman, as governess, in lieu of her own who is a prisoner, so that at present having none but the Queen's dependents about her person, she herself likewise may be also said to be in ward and custody, though in such decorous and honourable form as becoming.
The despatch of the prisoners continues, though slowly, according to the custom here. Yesterday three others were arraigned, but the only one condemned was the court official [Leukner] who had the care of the cards and dice at the gambling tables. The other two were sent back until another day; one of them being one of those three servants arrested in the house of the Lady Elizabeth; the other, a captain, or of some such profession.
Other affairs here proceed quietly as usual, but with risk of great sickness and yet greater famine than the last, owing to the heat and extraordinary drought of the season, as, contrary to the wont of this climate, and to the need of the soil, four months and upwards have passed without any rain to do good.
The Queen remains more distressed than ever, from hearing that fresh impediments arise daily to prevent the return of the King; but what grieves her most is the not having had news of his malady for several days, neither her chamberlain nor any of the couriers over there (di là) having returned; nor does her ambassador write, which yet more increases her sorrow and suspicion; as, although it is heard by advices from others that his Majesty has almost quite recovered, she, nevertheless, receiving no intelligence to this effect from her agents, will not give credit to the others, nor be pacified.
London, 16th June 1556.
June 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 515. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Cardinal Caraffa came to the court to-day in his official habit, the King, accompanied by the Constable, descending two steps of the stair to meet him. He is lodged at the court with as much honour and convenience as possible. It is said that he will attend to the confirmation by his most Christian Majesty of the protection promised to his family, and also a little to the negotiation of peace likewise (et poco a trattatione di pace ancora); and those who have spoken with his right reverend Lordship, report that by word of mouth he evinces a great wish for it, though it is believed the matter will proceed in appearance rather than in reality (che passerà più presto con apparentia che con effetti). As soon as they hear of the arrival at the Imperial Court of the right reverend Motula [the Legate Scipione Rebiba, Bishop of Motula], couriers will be sent to and fro to make a good display; though it is quite true that the Imperial ambassador gives it amply to be understood, and moreover told me this very day, that should these cardinals choose to mediate even moderately in this negotiation, they will find such largeness (largezza) on the part of his Princes as to have it in their power to produce some good effect, provided the King of France choose to reciprocate towards them fairly.
Morette, 16th June 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
June 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 516. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday I went to visit the Cardinal Legate Caraffa with regard to the matter which he was come to transact with the most Christian King; he said he would not fail to aid the Pope's good intention, and that he entertained fair hope, not only because the Princes on both sides were weary, but also because many years had elapsed since a Pope had acted as mediator in a similar negotiation with such an intention as now instigated his Holiness (che non era stato già molti anni un Pontefice il quale con quella intentione s' havesse interposto ad una tale trattatione, come faceva al presente sua Santità), and that he had found his most Christian Majesty so disposed as greatly to increase his (the Cardinal's) hopes. The Cardinal also told me that on the day before yesterday he stated to the King the instruction received by him from the Pope, who sent his Majesty principally his blessing (la quale principalmente gli mandava la sua benedittione), and the good announcement of peace; and he added that in virtue of his office the Pope had despatched two Legates, one to the Emperor and his son, the other to his most Christian Majesty, to exhort and pray them to turn their eyes to the common weal of Christendom, which not merely by so many wars, but also by heresy, was already half exterminated and in great straits (strettissimo termine). His Holiness, therefore, as universal father had determined to convoke a general Council in Rome, a place convenient for all nations and for the Pope, who could not by reason of his advanced age so easily proceed elsewhere; the which Council he would announce in a few days, by fresh nuncios to all the Christian Princes; but he did not see by what means he could effect so just a wish without the settlement of peace between the Christian powers; so that he prayed his most Christian Majesty, the other Legate doing the like by the Emperor and the King of Spain, to be content with what was fair, and to find a mode of adjustment.
Here the Legate, becoming very much excited, both in language and countenance, added that he had assured his Majesty that should he see himself fed with words, he would ascertain from which side the omission with regard to pursuing this good result proceeded; and when convinced of the fact, would act against the one with whom he should know the defect to rest, both by excommunications and every other sort of weapon, spiritual and temporal, having recourse also to those of his friends. To this the King, he said, answered most graciously that as to the Council, he commended beyond measure the goodwill and desire of his Holiness, and that as for himself he was always quite ready to send his prelates, at the Pope's pleasure, and that forthwith, without waiting further for a new nuncio, he would give his said prelates to understand that they were to prepare so as to be ready for any command. With regard to the peace, the King lauded the paternal office performed by the Pope, and said that respecting himself he had always been ready to come to an equitable adjustment with the Emperor and his son, but that now he was more so than ever, being moved by his Holiness' persuasions; wherefore whenever the said Princes may choose to restore what they hold belonging to him, he would give back what he ought (quello che doveva), and that should any difficulty arise about this, he was content to refer all his differences to the Pope; and he requested his right reverend Lordship to announce this resolve to him, so that he (the Legate) was now despatching a courier to Rome to give his Holiness account of all this, and to-morrow he would send another courier to Brussels with the same information for his colleague the Legate, whose arrival at that court could not be long delayed; and should he find the Emperor and the King of the same mind as his most Christian Majesty, sure hope of peace might be entertained. On the other hand, in case of delay, Cardinal Caraffa said he should take leave of the King to return to Rome, as he could not prolong his absence, both on account of business and also by reason of the Pope's age.
After thanking the Cardinal for this communication, I inquired if he had asked the King what States he claimed from the Emperor, and whether the other Legate would do the like. He said he had not, but that should the Emperor consent to what satisfies the most Christian King, the demands will then be made, and transmitted to the Pope, who, as Prince of Princes, will give judgment. He then discoursed about the life and goodness of his Holiness, praising him beyond measure, and principally for the “reform,” and said that in a few days the bull against simony would be issued, and that chamber clerkships (chieregati di camera), and other similar offices, will no longer exist, everything being given gratis, as was done with regard to the affairs of the “Dataria,” and that in the Pope's palace all his attendants were intent on nothing but fasting, and praying God for the peace of Christendom, all the vices which prevailed in the time of former pontiffs having been banished; and in like manner his Holiness would never be seen to alienate anything belonging to the Church; and indeed if able to recover what it had been deprived of, he would be content to shed his own blood for that purpose.
Then the Cardinal dwelt much on the insults received from the Imperial ministers who had compelled the Pope to arm for his defence and dignity, and he greatly vituperated the Imperial ambassador at Rome, calling him an assassin and a traitor; and then in a long speech he narrated all the offences committed by him against the Pope and himself; of which things processes having been made, he chose the whole world to hear them, and although a long time had elapsed without expediting them, this was caused by the Pope's wish to render the charges so clear and justifiable that no one could confute them; but that although he (the Cardinal) had been grievously offended, as they even plotted to murder him, yet he had referred all the injuries done him to God, but that the Imperialists would not see him (non lo volevano vedere), as the offending party never forgives, and always attributes the same sentiments to the person offended; but that his own conscience amply sufficed him, as it acquitted him before God; vowing that on many occasions he had mitigated the Pope's anger, who would otherwise have gone much further; and that when his Holiness insisted at any rate on imprisoning the said ambassador in Castle St. Angelo, with the intention of beheading him, he appeased his Holiness by telling him that were he to make so great a stir (che quando facesse questo gran moto) he would give the world to understand that he thus gave vent to the dissatisfaction caused him by the truce. The Cardinal said he would never desist from these offices, because in like manner as with all faith, and to his honour, he had served the Emperor as a soldier during 18 consecutive years (although he was ill remunerated for it), and subsequently the most Christian King, who had maintained his honour and his life, so at present, having quite contrary to his opinion become the soldier of the Holy Church and of Christ, in like manner would he serve this his new Captain with all faith and sincerity, consigning entirely to oblivion his former profession.
Throughout his discourse the Cardinal has always the name of God on his lips, and evinced so much zeal for religion, that had he lived always in the cloister rather than in the camp he could not express himself in more reformed and Christian terms.
Morette, 20th June 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
June 20. Senato Mar. Vol. 33, p. 74, tergo. 517. Motion made in the Senate concerning the appointment of a Venetian Consul in London.
In order that the interests of our merchants and subjects dwelling in London may not suffer from lack of a consul or vice-consul, as has been the case for some years, during which, to their serious detriment, their differences have been terminated by a foreign judge, an infringement of our privileges and jurisdictions of no slight importance, as frequently notified to us by former ambassadors, and by our present representative with the King and Queen of England; wherefore, Put to the ballot that—
By authority of this council, be it enacted that our five sages for the Board of Trade (cinque savij nostri sopra la mercantia), and our proveditors for all three of the factories (et i proveditori nostri sopra tutti tre i cotimi) (fn. 1) do assemble immediately; and after pondering what is worthy of consideration, and hearing what the merchants who make the English voyage would wish to say for the benefit of their trade, the said committee (collegio) do then decree and decide whatever they shall think necessary, both by ordering what is to be done in London by the council of twelve there, and also by their own appointment here of a consul from amongst our noblemen, or of a vice-consul from amongst our citizens resident in London, as may seem most expedient to them, they moreover appointing such salary as they shall think suitable. (fn. 2) The committee to be also empowered and to exercise the power of limiting all the expenses incurred on account of said factory, both there in London and here, establishing such regulations about its management, as shall seem useful and necessary to them. The committee to be moreover authorised to tax the amount to be levied on the goods imported and exported on this voyage, in conformity with the acts passed in this matter, as much to the benefit and advantage of the merchants as possible. Any resolve formed by the said committee and decreed by two thirds of its ballots to be stable and valid as if carried in this council, by whose authority the consul or vice-consul who shall be elected is to be written to, that the acts passed by it, as stated, are to be, and caused to be executed in every respect and thoroughly (debba in tutto et per tutto esseguir et far esseguir); of the which acts copy to be sent; and the committee is not to be considered a “quorum” unless at least nine of the eleven members be present. Each of the five sages of the Board of Trade, and of the proveditors for the London factory, to be allowed to make such motions as shall seem to them profitable and necessary, each member of the committee being put upon oath to ballot conscientiously.
The aforesaid authority to continue both in the present and in the subsequent five sages and factory proveditors until the entire and total despatch and regulation of the said voyage, it being declared that the aforesaid salary of the consul or vice-consul and all the other expenses be defrayed with the moneys of the factory aforesaid.
Ayes, 184. Noes, 7. Neutrals, 2.
Read to the College on the 15th April 1556.
June 20. Dispacci Roma, Venetian, Archives, No. 7, B. 518. Bernardo Navagero to the Council of Ten.
Having gone to the Pope to-day for audience, he took me by the hand and led me into the library of Julius III., where after saying that many days had elapsed since he last saw me, to which I replied that I had regard for his occupations and the late excessive heats, he replied, “Never have this fear of troubling us, for we discourse with you as willingly as with the Duke our nephew, as you will this moment comprehend, for we shall impart to you our whole mind, with the hope, nay with the certainty, that everything communicated by us, through you, to those most illustrious lords will, on several accounts, be kept secret. We are informed that after we deprived these Colonnas (questi Colonna) as they deserved, being unable to tolerate them so near our home, and after it was heard that we had given their territory to our nephew, than whom a person more suited to this charge could not be found, that schismatic and heretical Emperor, whom we know to be a heretic, as at their first commencement he always favoured those opinions, to depress this Holy See and make himself master of Rome—as not only does he believe that this city belongs to him, but also the whole of our state, all Italy, and your city itself, which has always been free, and by the grace of God will thus continue as aforesaid—has proposed three things in his council: first, to wage war on us openly; secondly, to withdraw the obedience from us; thirdly, clandestinely to reinstate these Colonnas. Should they wage war on us openly, when thinking to attack us they will be compelled rather to think of self-defence. We will raise the whole world against them should they show the slightest sign of withdrawing the obedience; woe betide him (vœ illi)! we will deprive him of the Empire, of his realms, and of his existence as a human being and a christian (dell' essere huomo e christiano), and let them see what a servant of God can do in virtue of and through the authority given him by Christ. Should they really choose to aid these vermin magots (questi vermetti) for the recovery of their State, we have already provided against that, as you will have heard from the Duke. You also know that on account of his insolencies we no longer consider the Marquis of Sarria ambassador here; the Cardinal of Santiago (S. Giacomo) came to us lately requesting very mildly and respectfully that we should take him into favour again, and negotiate with him. We replied that we would think about it during the night, and having thought, we determined to comply with the Cardinal's wish, but on condition of being able to do so without offending God, as the said ambassador, having done what you know, was excommunicated by us; so we desired the Cardinal not to bring him to us until he was absolved and free; and as the Cardinal is our friend, we, to give him yet greater authority, desired him to hear the Marquis, and for his sins to inflict on him a penance, in pias causas, (fn. 3) as we understand has been done, and we expect him to-day at 4 p.m. Were we not unwilling to weary you by so long a stay, we should wish you to be present at this spectacle. What we have told you hitherto is nothing; our reason for taking this ambassador again into favour is that having done an act of justice by degrading (privandolo) and holding him in such small account as we did, it perhaps became our clemency and graciousness so to do, which you will believe of us. It might also be said that we were thus induced by the prayers of the Cardinal and many others, which also would have been credible, as homines sumus et humani; but to you, that is to say, to our heart, we say why it is that we did so, to be enabled (should these Imperialists insist on troubling us) in his presence by sound of trumpet to let them know what we are, and exercise that authority of which we told you just now.”
On this the Pope expatiated at great length, repeating what he had said at present and on many other occasions against the Emperor, and about the cause of the death of the Abbot Nania and the captain who suffered with him; and he added, “That heretic [the Emperor] hates us, because he knows that we are better acquainted with his defects and tyrannical designs than anyone else.” He then began commending the good-will always evinced by your Serenity towards the quiet and liberty of Italy, and said he was very sure the Signory would never fail in this her natural inclination; to which I replied that your Serenity's aim was quiet and peace; and in conclusion, embracing me closely, he said, “We desire peace, and my Lord God knows it we have sent to seek it, but should they compel us to make war they may regret it; and who knows what Divine Providence may bring to pass;” and then, whispering in my ear, and with his hand on my shoulders, he said, “This will perhaps be the way to free this poor Italy; and this much have we to tell you down to the present time.”
The Imperial ambassador having gone to the palace with the Cardinal of Santiago, according to the arrangement mentioned above, I sent to hear something about it by my secretary, who having met the Duke of Paliano, his excellency desired him to tell me that Marquis Sarria had returned into favour with his Holiness, and then showed him a letter from the nuncio at the Imperial Court, dated the 3rd instant, containing a paragraph thus, “The fortifying of Paliano and Nettuno is taken very much amiss at this court and by their Majesties, not so much on account of the Colonna family as for the security of the kingdom of Naples, especially as they say those places will be protected by the French; and it was discussed in council to prohibit this by force, but they subsequently determined to have the Pope requested to cause the suspension of the works. They say they will appoint a successor to the Marquis of Sarria on the arrival here of the Cardinal of Pisa, who will, I hope, quiet these and other things which are constantly disseminated by the malignants.” Having finished reading the letter, the Duke said the works would not be discontinued on this account, and that they shall await the demand, in reply to which the Pope will have no lack of very good arguments. (fn. 4)
Rome, 20th June 1556.
June 20. Dispacci Roma, Venetian Archives, No. 6, B. 519. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Cardinal Tournon told my secretary that he has heard from France that the King of England has released on parole (sopra la fede) Monsr. de Montmorency and Monsr. de Bouillon, together with some others, treating them with great kindness and distinction; saying besides that in no other quarter than here at Rome is war spoken of, and that with the personages in authority here he (Cardinal Tournon) is unpopular, because he gave it clearly to be understood that he disapproved of the war, and that his sacerdotal robes forbad him to prefer it to peace. Touching this topic I also understand that the Pope sent for the said Cardinal Tournon, and requested pecuniary assistance from him for the cost of the troops now being raised for [the defence of] Paliano. The Cardinal replied that he could not do it without the King's order; and when the Pope rejoined that the King had written that in any need of this Holy See and of his family . . . . . . . [France would assist him?] (fn. 5) the Cardinal said it was true, but that he, as minister, could not descend from such a general order to details without an express command, which he would apply for and then execute it diligently. Thereupon the Pope replied angrily, “I am then deceived by the King;” and when the Cardinal said that his King never deceived any one, the Pope continued, “In that case I am deceived by you.” To this the Cardinal answered, “I have served two kings, and many pontiffs and princes, nor could any of them say that they were ever deceived by me, and if your Holiness has this opinion of me, give me leave and I will depart.”
Rome, 20th June 1556.
June 20. Dispacci Roma, Venetian Archives, No. 6, B. 520. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Chiefs of the Ten.
A gentleman in the service of the Duke of Alva, who came from Naples under pretence of bringing the Duke of Urbino the decision about the Duchy of Sora, is ordered to tell the Cardinal San Giacomo, and the Emperor's ambassador, that they would do well to leave Rome.
Rome, 20th June 1556.
June 21. Dispacci Roma, Venetian Archives, No. 6, B. 521. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Concerning the Duchy of Sora, which the Cardinal of Urbino wishes to resign to the Duke his brother, permission to this effect has been received from the King of England, but it is said that the Duke has not yet determined to accept it.
Rome, 21st June 1556.
June 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 522. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Em peror, to the Doge and Senate.
The Nuncio has been commissioned by the Pope to acquaint the Emperor and King Philip with the departure of the Cardinal Pisa (fn. 6) on his way to their Majesties. He told the King that the Cardinal would prove that all the proceedings of his Holiness had been just, and for the dignity of the See Apostolic, and that the suspicion entertained by their Majesties arose from the advices of malignants, and from the imprudence of the Marquis de Sarria, and his misunderstanding with Cardinal Caraffa. The King gave fair words in reply. Not one of the chief ministers, however, nor any other person in these two courts, be his quality what it may, believes what the Nuncio tells everybody (va dicendo a ciascuno in conformità); they, on the contrary, are convinced that his Holiness pursues this course designedly (studiosamente) to deceive their Majesties, saying that such has been the Pope's nature always, and that for many years he has hated the Emperor mortally. Don Ruy Gomez and the Bishop of Arras say they have advices that Cardinal Caraffa has ordered the Legate Pisa to come hither slowly, so that he (Caraffa) may obtain a firm promise from the King of France of the things desired by the Pope, and then give notice to his colleague, so that, according to their tenour, he may elicit the object of their Majesties' negotiations. They consider it a bad sign that in certain briefs sent lately by his Holiness to Spain, to the Princess the Emperor's daughter, he used disrespectful terms, giving her no other title than that of “noble lady” (nobil donna), in consequence of which the Spaniards apply the grossest epithets imaginable to the Pope, and repeat them to his own Nuncio, who has written to the Papal ministers that he does not think it fit to transmit them, as they are so coarse (cosi brutte) as to be unworthy of recital. Owing to the Nuncio's fair words it was debated in council whether to send a new ambassador to the Pope, and they determined to await the arrival of the Cardinal of Pisa. It was also discussed whether they should send back Don Bernardino de Mendoza to Naples, and remove the Duke of Alva, their Majesties being so dissatisfied with his past operations that in the event of war they are afraid of losing that kingdom; nor does his Excellency's brother-in-law, Don Antonio de Toledo, who is a member of the privy council, nor any other relation or friend of his, dare to defend him against his many accusers.
When congratulating the King on his recovery, I used the most loving expressions possible, by reason of several letters from Rome expressing suspicions of your Serenity's having a secret understanding with the Pope, it being said in particular that you had given two galleys to the Duke of Paliano. The King answered me so lovingly that I could not but attribute his words to good will, and I then visited the Bishop of Arras, who, when speaking of the Pope, told me they had intercepted certain letters whereby they had ascertained your Serenity's good will as to peace; and then with a smile on his face he said he had determined to retire, the Emperor his master having renounced all his States and statesmanship (tutti i Stati et negotij); and when I replied that the King would not brook the bereavement of his well-tested ability and great worth, he rejoined that I should in fact see that on his Majesty's departure he would not follow him, but remain at his bishopric, and do what good he could in these provinces.
Brussels, 21st June 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
June 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 523. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador has complained bitterly to his most Christian Majesty that some of the new rebels of his most Serene Queen, who lately made their escape to France, having joined others who were already here, fitted out two French ships in Normandy, and captured two English vessels laden with merchandise; to which his Majesty replied that he knew nothing whatever about it; and when the ambassador rejoined that by existing treaties between the two kingdoms it having been stipulated that his Majesty was not to allow any armed vessel to go out of his harbours without a licence, and after giving security not to molest the English, he did not comprehend how these ships could have got out without the King's knowing anything about it; whereupon the King repeated that he did not know of it, but would apply such a remedy as would satisfy him. Shortly after this the Admiral sent to show the ambassador a letter giving account of an English corsair who had captured four French ships; and the ambassador told me that the said rebels had also armed the two English ships taken by them, and that they were all four at sea, adding that at this commencement it would be easy to adjust everything, but that if matters went further he apprehended some great disagreement between these two crowns. The French ambassador resident in England [Antoine de Noailles] has obtained leave to return hither, and in his stead one of his brothers [Gilles de Noailles] has been sent, with the title of agent, and it is apparently intended to run on (di scorrere) in this fashion. In addition to the 800 French infantry in garrison in Scotland, his most Christian Majesty is sending another 1,200, so that the entire amount will be 2,000.
Morette, 23rd June 1556.
June 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 524. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Treaty of peace proposed by Vincenzo Parpaglia, agent of Cardinal Pole (despatch in cipher throughout). (fn. 7)
The Imperial ambassador resident here [Simon Renard, Lieutenant d'Amont] has lately held several conversations with the Abbot of San Saluto, and having demonstrated to him a great wish for these Majesties [Henry II. and Philip II.] to conclude a peace, repeated several times that there could be no more opportune moment than the present. To this the Abbot replied that from his conversations with the Constable he did not find him unwilling, provided the Milanese were given either to one of the sons of his most Christian Majesty or to the Duke of Savoy, but that otherwise he did not see by what means any belief in peace could be entertained. The ambassador replied that should this be the only difficulty, his king would doubtless give the said state, but that he did not see how King Philip could rely on the termination of the disputes after this cession, as the French even then would raise their demands, and that three marriages might be made, the one binding the other, and all three together binding this negotiation. The first, that of the eldest daughter of the most Christian King to the Prince of Spain; the second, that of a daughter of the King of Bohemia to the Duke of Orleans; and the third, that of the Emperor's daughter Joanna, widow of the Prince of Portugal, to the Duke of Savoy; on condition that should the French choose to have the Milanese for Orleans, they must restore to the Duke both Savoy and Piedmont, but retaining those states for Orleans. They must then allow the Milanese to be given to the Duke of Savoy. These terms being deemed worthy of consideration by the Abbot, he asked the ambassador whether he had any commission. The Lieutenant d'Amont replied that he spoke of himself, but with confidence (ma che sapeva come). Parpaglia then asked him whether he might speak about it to the Constable, whereupon, he having replied that he prayed him to do so, the Abbot subsequently suggested (propose) to his Excellency whether the King would settle all his differences with the Emperor and his son (without saying anything to him at the moment about marriages) on receiving the Milanese in one of the two aforesaid forms, as he, Parpaglia, had been given to understand by his Excellency. To this the Constable replied that his most Christian Majesty would never desist from his claims without the cession of the Milanese, but that were the Emperor and King Philip to give it, either for one of the King's sons or for the Duke of Savoy, he thought his most Christian Majesty would be content to agree to a fair peace (di divenire ad una bona pace), though he did not believe they would give it. When the Abbot rejoined that he would repeat this expression of good will to the ambassador, and write also to Brussels, the Constable told him to do as he pleased. With the ambassador's consent the Abbot wrote to Gio. Battista Schizo, Regent of Milan, that their Majesties were well inclined towards some amicable adjustment, and acquainted the Regent with the discourse held with the Constable, the letter purporting that, should the Emperor and the King of England determine on one of the two aforesaid ways of giving the state of Milan, he, the Abbot, perceived this side to be favourably disposed with regard to the settlement; wherefore he was to speak about it with their Majesties, who, should they assent to it, might give such orders as shall seem fit to them. Yesterday the Abbot showed me the copy of the said letter, and at that moment a packet was delivered to him from Brussels, and amongst his letters was one from the Regent of Milan, dated the 6th instant, stating that although his Majesty held dear the state of Milan, yet were he to know that the most Christian King would be disposed to see an end put (di veder con questo modo terminar) to all the difficulties and establish quiet, he, the King of England, would give the said state of Milan, but that the Regent perceived the Emperor and his Majesty to be more inclined to give it to the Duke of Savoy than to others, but on condition that the affairs of Piedmont and Savoy should be so arranged that he could remain satisfied; though this good proposal was much disturbed by a certain Italian potentate, who in like manner as he sought either by a league or by other means to strengthen (ingagliardire) his most Christian Majesty's adherents (le parti di sua Maestà Christianissima), so did he irritate the King of England, and compel him in self-defence to think of arming; the cessation of which hindrance would also increase his most Christian Majesty's good disposition. Having read this letter, I inquired of the Abbot the signification of the words, “but on condition that the affairs of Piedmont and Savoy should be so arranged that he could remain satisfied;” and he told me that the King of England would wish his most Christian Majesty to cede all those states freely to his son the Duke of Orleans, detaching them entirely from the crown of France, and acknowledging their tenure from the Empire, so that they could never again be incorporated with the French crown.
Morette, 23rd June 1556.
[In cipher throughout; deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini, in the year 1872.]
June 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 525. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Wrote in my last how distressed the Queen was on account of the King's indisposition, having, through the neglect of her agents in Flanders, remained ten days without news of him; so being extremely anxious (gielosissima), and suspecting it to be more serious than had been told her, she gave orders for the immediate despatch of another messenger, together with one of his Majesty's chief physicians who had remained here, regardless of his being upwards of seventy years old, and so gouty and infirm as to require great convenience and length of time for such a journey. Finally, at the very hour when these persons were departing, her chamberlain and the courier Francesco Piamontese returned, and being so fully assured of her consort's health, she on the other hand was yet more troubled to hear of his and the Emperor's current disputes with the Pope, being apprehensive lest they be now at open war with each other, and that the like many forthwith follow in every quarter with the French, who, as reported here, have declared themselves the protectors and defenders of the Pope's nephews and of his family, which, besides the other inconveniences it will cause, the one that most affects the Queen, is the further delay of the return of her consort, besides the increase of disturbance in England by reason of the encouragement which these movements, and the opportunity afforded by a fresh war, would give universally. As for many months the Queen has passed from one sorrow to another, your Serenity can imagine what a life she leads, comforting herself as usual with the presence and counsel of Cardinal Pole, to whose assiduous toil and diligence having intrusted the whole government of the kingdom, she is intent on enduring her troubles as patiently as she can.
Of late the most illustrious Legate aforesaid has been incessantly occupied about despatches which he is sending to Brussels and Italy in great haste, he having perhaps remonstrated (fatto officio) in her Majesty's name, and on his own account as Apostolic Legate and member of the Papal See, not only with the Emperor and King Philip, but with the Pope likewise, to appease both parties, and if possible prevent such a stir, laying before them, in addition to the other disasters, the great detriment and rain which the strife between them would cause this kingdom, where with great difficulty could the religion and the present state of things be maintained by reason of the many poisonous plants and roots (male piante et radice) in being there, these proceedings greatly encouraging the malcontents, to the injury and disservice of the sovereigns aforesaid.
Cardinal Farnese wrote lately very earnestly to Cardinal Pole, desiring him to use his influence with King Philip to obtain the restitution of his church of Monreale in Sicily, and of his pensions in Spain, as also the territory of his sister-in-law, the Duchess of Parma, in the kingdom of Naples, saying that the most Christian King had commanded him to endeavour to effect this in virtue of the stipulation of the truce. The most illustrious Farnese aforesaid evinces a great wish to recover the favour of King Philip; and he writes that he has now withdrawn from public business solely that he may not have occasion to injure his Majesty and his interests in anything. In order to do him better service, Cardinal Pole awaits the King's return that he may make more efficacious suit by word of mouth than by letter. I do not know whether he will now change his mind owing to these risks of a rupture in every direction.
The trials and sentences of the conspirators continue, the two who were not despatched at the last trial having been condemned, namely, “Miladi” Elizabeth's servant, who confessed to having known of the conspiracy, and the captain of the soldiers, by name Turner, their execution being deferred, perhaps for the purpose of adding to the number.
The proposed move of the Court to Dover and the sea has been countermanded, the King having written that he did not wish the Queen to take that road, perhaps to avert suspicion of things utterly at variance with his intentions, so in case of a change of residence her. Majesty is expected to go (in the opposite direction) to Richmond.
It is also said that the ships will be ordered back and disarmed.
London, 23rd June 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
June 24. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 526. Cardinal Pole to King Philip.
Although he has communicated his opinion concerning the affairs of Rome both to the Regent Figueroa and to the Father Friar Bartolomeo Miranda, in consequence of the reports which had reached him from many quarters, he nevertheless deems it his duty to write to the King also on the same subject, having been unable to do so yesterday by reason of the haste with which the Queen despatched the courier. Will first of all repeat what he has already told the King of the great comfort derived by him as usual on hearing through his Majesty's last letters of his constant goodwill towards the Pope and the Apostolic See, as also towards the general peace, for the universal benefit of Christendom, his goodness and piety in this matter being the more praiseworthy, as it is evident that the enemy of the human race labours continually to interrupt the commencement already made by fresh temptations, and to effect a greater rupture than has been ever witnessed in our times, as might easily come to pass, unless God of his infinite goodness deter King Philip from being induced to attempt anything by force of arms, save in accordance with clear and manifest justice, maintaining that sincere obedience to the Church in which he has been most holily educated.
Writes thus not without great cause, having heard from various quarters that his Majesty has been counselled, in case fortresses be raised in the territory lately given by the Pope to the Count of Montorio [Giovanni Caraffa], to prevent their erection by armed force, which would evidently be the commencement of war with the Pope, and as a necessary consequence many other disturbances must follow, to the very great detriment of the religion and of all Christendom. Requests his Majesty therefore, with all earnestness, well to ponder what is fit to do in this matter, he being so just and religious a sovereign as he is, and to bear well in mind, besides the many other favours granted him by God, the magnitude of that one, whereby he was made the chief minister for the restoration of the religion in England, and of her obedience to the Church, a victorious exploit, worthy of a greater triumph than was ever merited by any other prince for many centuries; so that if it is unbecoming for any Christian prince whatever to wage war on the Vicar of Christ, it less befits King Philip than any other; in addition to which, most especially he has a particular obligation towards the Roman Church, holding the kingdom of Naples from it in fee (per feudo). Should any person be of opinion that to prevent the raising of these fortresses a recourse to war is justifiable by reason of the danger and disturbance which they might cause to his said kingdom, be his Majesty pleased to consider that no sovereign has just cause to wage war on a neighbour for fortifying any place in his territory, although such fortification may seem detrimental to him, unless, however, there be some express stipulation to the contrary. Does not doubt but that the King of his innate justice and prudence knows this very well, and should anyone say that King Philip has cause to prevent this fortification, not so much on account of the Pope, as on that of other princes, one might allege to the contrary the example of Marc' Antonio Colonna, who being in the service of France, fortified Paliano itself, without being impeded by anybody, and nevertheless no such disturbances as those now apprehended took place; and although the nature of the present times may make these fortifications appear prejudicial to the kingdom of Naples, yet is this no just reason for preventing the Pope from fortifying his territory in such form as may seem best to him. It remains therefore for the King, not choosing to exceed the limits of justice, in due and becoming manner to endeavour to persuade the Pope (in conformity with the order which is said to have been already given by him) to desist from raising this fortification, lest it give cause for disturbance and trouble hereafter, if not in the Pope's time; and should his Holiness notwithstanding think fit to continue thus fortifying, the King on the other hand, if such be his pleasure, can fortify in that direction on his own borders, and be thus prepared for defence against any attack. By no means should the King allow himself to be induced to wage war on the Pope, especially on account of the truce which had been made; so, as equity forbad the attack, he might reasonably anticipate not merely great praise before the world, but moreover hope for certain favour and protection from God against any person who at any time may seek to injure him.
Has chosen to write his opinion in this so important a matter freely to the King, as he considers himself bound to do so for several reasons; nor has he failed, nor will he fail, on the other hand, to perform such offices with the Pope as he has deemed suited to the post held by him, and to the obligation he has to represent to his Holiness whatever he believes to be for the service of God, and advantage and quiet of Christendom, and especially of England, whose welfare he is certain the King has duly at heart. Prays God to remove all cause of disturbance and fresh turmoil in Christendom, and to preserve the King pure and undefiled for his service in the administration of the realms committed to his Majesty's keeping.
London, 24th June 1556.
June 24. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 527. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
The inhabitants of the kingdom of Naples are inclined to favour the ideas and projects of the Pope, and when consulting about what is to be done with regard to the affairs of his Holiness, there is always a diversity of opinion between the Emperor and the King, his Imperial Majesty arguing in favour of proceeding boldly (che si proceda gagliardamente), whereas the King is averse to doing anything that may cause war.
Two persons have died of the plague near the Emperor's villa (casino), one of whom is his druggist's shopman; so his Majesty, having become very apprehensive, caused the high road gate to be closed, opening the one through the park, and has desired his son not to give audience to anyone in public. He has also sent to Ghent to know whether that city is infected with this disease, his Majesty thinking of departure hence, and that the King also should go thither. It is feared especially, that owing to the number of persons who are coming hither with the King and Queen of Bohemia and the Duke of Cleves, as also those who have already arrived with the Duke of Brunswick the younger, the plague might spread in consequence of the unavoidable ceremonies. The queens have already left, and intend to remain for some days at a place three leagues distant from Brussels, seeing that the regulations enforced do not produce the desired effect.
Brussels, 24th June 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher, the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
June 27. Dispacci Roma, Venetian Archives, No. 6, B. 528. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Imperial Ambassador had audience of the Pope yesterday, and was greatly caressed by his Holiness, who told him not to fear, as even should the war break out he would always be respected and held dear. They spoke at great length about these disturbances, and settled for the ambassador and the Duke of Paliano to meet at the house of Cardinal St. Iago [S. Giacomo], to try and find means for pacifying matters, and the Duke has told his confidants that he will do so, though no one must suppose that the Pope will disarm unless they give him the best possible security.
Letters have been received from Cardinal Caraffa dated the 17th, giving account of his reception at the French court, as by the enclosed copy of one to Aldobrandini from his son, who is with the Cardinal. His negotiations with the King are reported variously. Many persons, and some on the authority of the French ambassador, say the King will never fail the Pope, and that he has already sent orders to give him pecuniary and military assistance.
Rome, 27th June 1556.
June 27. Dispacci Roma, Venetian Archives, No. 6, B. 529. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
As an attack from the Imperialists is expected here, they are reinforcing the infantry and cavalry on the borders, and bringing fresh troops into Rome. The causes of these suspicions, besides what I wrote in former letters, are, that the Duke of Florence is said to have doubled his garrisons at the confines of the papal territory, and to have despatched four captains to make new levies; though the ambassador denies this, saying his Duke is surprised at the malignants about the Pope, who seek to exasperate his Holiness against him. At Naples also there are some galleys in readiness, fourteen of them having gone out of harbour, it is said, to pirate, and (which is considered an important circumstance) the Duke of Alva has had the posts stationed from the Abruzzi to the borders of Paliano.
The Duke of Alva's agent told one of his confidants that he believed the Spaniards would assist Marc' Antonio Colonna to recover his territory. He (Colonna) is said to have left Venice some days ago with the Captain Aldana, the Imperialists (questi) declaring that by this time he will be in the Abruzzi, and to-day Don Garcilasso said he had news of his being at Pescara.
Rome, 27th June 1556.
June?. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. p. 177 recto. No date of time in MS. 530. Cardinal Pole to [Giovanni Bernardino Scotto], Cardinal of Trani. (fn. 8)
Derives no less benefit and comfort from Scotto's letters, than Scotto says he receives from his; they have need of each other's prayers; Scotto is never forgotten in those of Pole, who believes that this good office is reciprocated; and in truth if even private individuals living in quiet, require the aid of their own prayers and of those of others for their defence against the perils and temptations of the world, by so much the more are they needed by those who, holding some public post, must have much to distract and trouble them; but to those who seek to serve Him heartily, God increases His gifts in proportion to their need, and Pole knows by experience that he is never more inclined to ask His assistance than when most impeded. Is certain that Scotto finds himself in the same case, and that although hindered by the present state of affairs he is but the more earnest in his prayers; most especially, considering the current commotions by which the Church is so vexed and harassed.
Of the state of England, Scotto will have heard constantly from Pole's agent. By their familiar, Messer Marianno Vittorio, he sent the Pope the decrees formed by the Synod in London, and together with it another writing on the same subject, and would have wished Scotto to have seen the whole, to hear his opinion about it. The bishops are to meet again next November, to settle what remains for adjustment, according to the necessities discovered by them in the course of the summer when visiting their dioceses; nor can they be few in this vineyard, which during so many years has remained an ill-cultivated desert, in which, however, the infinite mercy of God has preserved and propagated no few relies of his good seed (non poche reliquie del suo bon seme) in England by means of his holy vicars, and of the ministers of the Apostolic See, and above all, of this most serene and most pious Queen, who never fails favouring and aiding by all means the restoration and increase of the religion in England; for the prosperity of which country, and of her Majesty, is certain that Scotto prays constantly, as he says. Monsignor Priuli, and Pole's other familiars, Scotto's affectionate servants, thank him much for his loving salutations.
London [June 1556?]
June? MS. St. Mark's Library. No date of time in MS. 531. Cardinal Pole to the Ambassador [Francesco de] Vargas.
Would have been very glad to see him, had he come to England, but as it is the King's pleasure that he return to Venice, Pole wishes him all prosperity, and thanks him greatly for his loving offers, which he reciprocates, loving him much for his goodness and virtues. The Queen, who is well acquainted with Vargas' worthy qualities, was glad to hear of his being sent back to Venice at this present time, knowing from the past how skilful a minister he is, and how acceptable to that most illustrious Republic; and as her Majesty will in like manner have to make use of him there, it will always give Pole pleasure to hear from him.
London [June? 1556.]


  • 1. The three “cotimi” (a term which I have invariably translated “factories”), were those of London, Damascus, and Alexandria. (See Bocrio's Venetian Directory.)
  • 2. Until this motion was made, it seems that the Venetian factory in London appointed its own consul or vice-consul, who was paid by fees. By a document in the Venetian Archives, dated 19th May 1648, it appears that in 1646, John Hobson was appointed English consul in Venice by “The Trinity House.”
  • 3. A pecuniary fine, to be expended in charity.
  • 4. This letter and others written by Navagero serve to fill up a blank in the correspondence of Sir Edward Carne, English ambassador at Rome, whose despatch dated 9th June 1556, is the only one of that month preserved in the Foreign Calendar, nor has it any sequel until the 3rd of August 1556.
  • 5. In the original some words have been omitted.
  • 6. Rebiba, Archbishop of Pisa.
  • 7. Vincenzo Parpaglia, Abbot of San Saluto, being the confidential agent of Cardinal Pole, I infer that the negotiations detailed in this letter were sanctioned by the Prime Minister of England, who was always intent on peace between the Imperialists and France, and for this reason, the fact being quite unknown at the present day (having been ascertained solely through Sig. Luigi Pasini's recent decipher), I have thought fit to translate this despatch.
  • 8. Such was the trust placed by Paul IV. in the Cardinal of Trani that he consigned the “Fisherman's ring” to him, with full power to sign papal briefs at his own option, and Cardinal Pole's correspondence with him at this period is therefore valuable. A biographical notice of Scotto may be read in Cardella, vol. 4, p. 345.