Venice: July 1556, 1-10

Pages 501-517

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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July 1556, 1–10

July 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 532. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
On the day after their Majesties' departure, the counsellors of state, with the exception of the Bishop of Arras, who remained here, went to them, nor is any ambassador or negotiator allowed to go to any of the places where the Emperor and the King of England are lodged, unless on urgent business, as was the case this morning with the Florentine ambassador, who moreover said that he should return this evening. The victuals required for the table of their Majesties, and of the few persons who accompanied them, are sent from hence daily. The plague does not increase so as to render residence here dangerous, many people merely withdrawing to the neighbouring gardens, as I have done; so everybody infers that their Majesties departed more to discuss and decide in quiet and secrecy the important matters now in course of negotiation with the Pope and the Kings of France and Bohemia, than from fear of the plague. Yesterday King Philip, with his counsellors, went to the Emperor at Laura, where they remained with his Imperial Majesty and Queen Maria until night. The harbinger (forriero) of the King of Bohemia has arrived, and was preceded by Count Salm and the Provost of Trent, the chief intimates of the King of the Romans, they having come to pay their court and wait upon his son, who they say will be here on the 15th instant, with a large retinue of several lords of Germany, and according to report King Philip will go to meet him at Louvain. By advices from “Laura” it is heard that in the council there was a discussion with the confessors about the repeal by the Pope of the concession from Julius III. to the Emperor, allowing his Majesty to take to himself, and alienate at his good pleasure, certain estates of the order of Calatrava, to the amount of 600,000 crowns, nor is it yet known whether they have determined to obey his Holiness or not; but, as Don Bernardino de Mendoza at this consultation, and at all the others when there was a question of the Pope, said, their Majesties would go dissembling so long, that they will repent themselves of it; and as he always recommends no farther delay in commencing the war, the French ambassador, therefore, on hearing this language said very wrathfully that if the Imperialists followed this advice, and encouraged Marc' Antonio Colonna, as they were understood to do, they will find that his most Christian Majesty will not endure it.
Brussels, 1st July 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
July 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 533. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
King Henry informed him that the Legate Caraffa had heard that the Imperialists, under the name of Marc' Antonio Colonna, were making military movements to prevent the fortification of Paliano, and to sack Rome; and that subsequently these statements were heard to be mere reports, devoid of facts, and still less could there be fear of the sack of Rome, for which much greater forces would be needed. He continued that he would not omit to do what his predecessor had done for the defence of Holy Church; wherefore, should the Emperor or his son assist Marc' Antonio Colonna openly, he also would do the like by his Holiness, and if they did so secretly, that he in secret would give similar assistance; but that if Marc' Antonio Colonna, with his own forces and without assistance from others, resist the Pope, he would not interfere; but to show the Pope that the promise given by word should be followed by deeds he had ordered the 3,000 French infantry, destined to garrison the fortresses in Tuscany, to disembark at Civitavecchia.
His Majesty added that the Constable had told all this to the ambassador resident here from the Emperor and his son, and that he professed to know nothing whatever about it; and that in his opinion matters would not proceed much farther, because the Emperor, on hearing that he, the King, purposed resenting any attack on the Pope, would not choose to break the truce, and that had he intended to act in earnest, he should have commenced by doing something, and threatened afterwards; but by giving time, and hearing that his most Christian Majesty took the Pope under his protection, he would have more to do than he had imagined, although his Holiness of himself was very strong, having already 6,000 infantry in readiness, and was raising 4,000 more, besides his 8,000 militiamen, and will not have any want of money. That had the Pope chosen to take his advice, he would not now be in this trouble, as his Majesty counselled him first of all to fortify Paliano, and afterwards to give the Duke the investiture of it; neither did he approve of the coming hither at present of Cardinal Caraffa, as it would have been better for him to have remained at Rome, the Cardinal being a soldier, and a very able one, and the Duke a good sort of man (una buona persona).
In conclusion, his Majesty said that the day after to-morrow the Cardinal would be back from Paris; that on Sunday he would christen his Majesty's daughter, and depart a day or two afterwards. The words which passed between the Pope and Cardinal Tournon have been heard here, and although it is said that after they parted the Pope sent to visit him, retracting all the injurious expressions which he had addressed to him, I am told he will return to France, the King not choosing to keep at Rome a chief minister who is not agreeable to his Holiness.
The King sent M. de Rambouillet to Rome with the orders for the French troops to land at Civitavecchia, and for those who are to remain in Tuscany, where M. de Montluc, Knight of St. Michael, will go as the King's lieutenant, and to tell the Pope in his name that he will not fail giving him every assistance for his defence, but that he requests his Holiness to proceed so as not to be the first to cause the rupture of the truce, because as his Majesty believed that everybody will take in good part the assistance which the King will give him for his need, so he does not wish the world to suppose that the breaking of the truce could have proceeded from himself. The whole court is sorry that war should be waged on any account whatever, it being wished that the truce should be maintained; and were it not universally believed that the Emperor will not give cause to move war, still deeper regret would be evinced by all. During the last few days the Imperial ambassador has negotiated with the King, for that in lieu of the money, which in virtue of a clause in the truce he is bound to pay the Duke of Savoy annually, he do assign a fund (un fondo) in Piedmont; but the Constable has so protracted the matter that the day of St. John the Baptist, when the first payment was to have been made, has passed, and has put off the decision until the coming hither of M. de Brissac.
Before he left the court the Legate Caraffa despatched a courier to the Legate Motula at Brussels, and should he not be there, to the Nuncio, to let them know what he had negotiated here about the peace and the Council; and the courier brings back word that Motula not having arrived, the Nuncio acquainted the Emperor and King Philip with the announcement from Caraffa, and they replied that on Motula's arrival they would give the reply; but it is understood here that by the Pope's order Motula has stopped on the way.
Morette, 2nd July 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
July 3. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 6 B. 534. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Although what the Pope said to me to-day at audience is nearly the same as said by him heretofore, and as written by me, yet I will not omit notifying it in detail, so that your Serenity may clearly comprehend his mind. After the usual civilities expressed by him with extreme affection and gentleness, he said in the course of conversation, “It is astonishing that now, when that inquitous ribald, the Emperor (quell' iniquo e tristo huomo dell' Imperator), a cripple both in mind and body (storpiato e del corpo e dell' animo); and that Philip, both from his lack of ability and experience, is not to be held in any account; and that they have lost repute, and find all their realms in ruin and despair; that Spain cannot endure them; whilst England rejects their yoke; that they should choose to kindle war. If they wage it, we shall suppose it to be the mere will and providence of God for their punishment; nor may it be imagined that we will fail to have recourse to those final and tremendous weapons given us by Christ; depriving him of the greater part of his forces, which are the tenths, the half-fruits (mezi fruti), the appointments to bishoprics, and other benefices. Do you suppose that we will fail, by legitimate processes, to convict and deprive him as a heretic? Do you believe that as feudatory of the kingdom of Naples, we for open injuries and misdemeanours, we, who represent the Pope by whom he was invested with the fief, cannot deprive him of it? To tell you frankly, had there not been one single respect which restrained me, everything would already have been in flames; that respect is, that being placed where we are by the goodness of God, and by the duty of our office having always sought peace, we choose never to incur the reproach of having been the first to violate it. We have borne much, and will continue to do so, as long as we can with our dignity. The King of France evinces great wish for peace, and we can turn him whichever way we please; if the others were equally well inclined we should already enjoy peace and quiet. In short, we will not be the first, we will not call the Signory [of Venice] save in case of need. That kinsman of ours, De' Sanguini, has arrived from the Imperial court, telling us much about the goodwill which the King of England said he bore us; the better the words uttered by him, the greater and more reasonable is our suspicion of him, and we have ordered additional provision to be made. Should they advance, we will send the Duke, our nephew, to show his face to them.” Having finished this long discourse, in which he often said the same things over and over again, I thanked the Pope for what he announced to your Serenity.
Rome, 3rd July 1556.
July 4. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 6 B. 535. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
I sent my secretary to Cardinal Tournon, who said that the King wrote that were the Imperialists to attack the Pope, his most Christian Majesty should not consider himself a christian were he to fail assisting him, and therefore if they make war he will render his Holiness every sort of assistance. When the secretary enquired if by rupture (rottura), he meant assistance given to Marc' Antonio Colonna for the recovery of his state, the Cardinal replied, “I would fain speak with those who counsel the King of England to assume this undertaking, to show them how little a Paliano signifies, and how sure they may be that a future Pope will avenge them; and were they to say to me, 'We act thus, lest Paliano with the assistance of the King of France become another Parma,' I should answer that the way to render it such, is war; as were the Pope to demand a French garrison for its defence, we should give it him. I would prove the danger to which they expose themselves, should they choose to make war on the Pope, because, as the King of France will not allow the Pope to be harassed (sbattata), so is it credible that the other Christian powers, especially the Italians, will not tolerate it. For my own part I can do no more, and am very sorry to see this stir.” The secretary then went to Cardinal Medici. (fn. 1) His right reverend Lordship said to him, “I will tell you the discourse I held with the Duke of Paliano for the benefit of all Italy and of this Holy See, as an Italian and a cardinal, not as the dependant of any faction, because I am the Pope's servant, and came back from Milan contrary to the advice of many persons, to run the same chance (per correr la medesima fortuna) as his Holiness. I have told the Duke of Paliano that it would be well to find means for quieting the present disturbances, as they may produce infinite mischief, as, for instance, to render the King of England master of what little remains of Italy; it being but too manifest that he may be said to surround all the States of the Church with the forces of the kingdom of Naples, of Tuscany, of the Milanese, and of Liguria; and having so many paid troops, the greater part being foreigners, that they may go wherever they please without opposition; besides which they are the masters of this sea; nor may it be said that the King of France or the Italian powers will give assistance, for they are unable to do so in time; and if by misfortune the Imperialists make themselves masters of Rome, how long would they wait before disbanding their forces? The last time [in 1527] when the League had so large an army, they remained for two years, and did not depart until Lautrec went to Naples to divert them; nor should reliance be placed on popular discontent, as it has been seen not to succeed. The extreme harshness of the Pope's language to the Imperial ministers should be somewhat mitigated; he ought to make them certain concessions in Spain and elsewhere; he should cease insulting those Princes, and rather soothe them, and remove the suspicion reasonably entertained by them, and they would then, perhaps, not care about a Colonna fief, if not from goodness of nature, at least for the sake of attending to some of their greater anxieties, such as the establishment of the kingdom of England, and the affair of the Empire.”
He then said that the matter of the Council was most pernicious for the Church in these present times, as not being held with the consent of the Powers, there was very great danger of schism, which could not but entail war. In conclusion, Cardinal Medici said he told the Duke that without infringing the truce, the Imperialists might put the Pope to great straits, by keeping on the frontiers with their ordinary paid forces, thus compelling his Holiness to incur a monthly expenditure of 40,000 crowns; and he added, “The Duke seemed to me very well to comprehend these reasons, which I shall also repeat to the Pope, should he choose to listen to me without anger; and God knows that I do it for conscience-sake, as I perceive the manifest peril of our being taken unawares without commanders, without money, without men-at-arms, and without foreign troops, which is tantamount to leaving the whole of the Campagna to the enemy.”
Rome, 4th July 1556.
July 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 536. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday arrived here Don Cesar de Avalos, brother of the Marquis of Pescara [Governor of Milan], who has sent him to King Philip to protest that unless his Majesty send him such supplies as necessary for the preservation of the State of Milan, he shall lose it. Three couriers have arrived from Italy, from the Marquis of Sarria, and the Duke of Alva, and the Duke of Florence. The Marquis informs their Majesties that having determined to leave Rome he was commanded not to go out of the city, nor is this considered a good sign of his Holiness' disposition, but a fixed project for detaining him until the convenient moment arrive for a rupture with their Majesties. On the arrival of his courier, the Florentine Ambassador went to the King at Laura, and gave news that the Pope has sent an order to the Cardinal of Pisa not to come to their Majesties without a fresh commission from his Holiness. The French Ambassador having heard that their Majesties' ministers say they hope that Marc' Antonio Colonna will recover his state, said very angrily to my secretary that his most Christian Majesty would never permit the See Apostolic, or the person of his Holiness, nor any member of the Caraffa family, to be injured, because they have been named in the truce, and between his Holiness and his Majesty, a secret league has been already made. He added that he had presented a memorial to the King of Spain with regard to the frontiers claimed by his King in these parts, and King Philip had the matter despatched immediately by the council, which sent it back to the Bishop of Arras for him to announce the decision to the ambassador, who is satisfied, as the points which remain for settlement are few and unimportant. The captains of the five hundred cavalry on these frontiers have been ordered to hold themselves in readiness, as they are to be sent into Italy 10 and 15 at a time, and they will receive money for the cost of the journey; and Count Amerigo Lodrone, who came hither to demand the arrears of his soldiers, and of his father, who died at Casale, was told by Don Bernardino de Mendoza that the King will soon give him employment in Italy, and that he was therefore not to depart, as he had said publicly he would do, and with dissatisfaction, from inability to obtain the aforesaid arrears.
Four days ago the Emperor sent for his confessor, having chosen to confess and communicate on the festival of the visitation of the blessed Virgin Mary, and when the confessor returned he told the Nuncio that his Majesty affirmed to him on his conscience, that he much desired to execute his resolve of going off to Spain to end his life in the monastery selected by him. Not the slightest word is said of the return hither of their Majesties, and indeed it is generally supposed that they will choose to keep all the ambassadors and negotiators at a distance until they have settled the affairs with the King of Bohemia; and they sit every day in the Council of State together with Queen Maria, to whom King Philip shows every mark of affection and honour, so as to dispose her favourably for the business he has to transact with the King and Queen of Bohemia, she being a very suitable instrument for mediation between one and the other of their Majesties. The deputies of these provinces departed without awaiting any reply to the three demands which they made of his Majesty, seeing that the Duke of Savoy, who remained here as head of the government said nothing more about the million and a half of gold demanded of them; he is now gone to Mechlin to have some pieces of artillery cast on a new principle by a famous cannon founder there, and the Bishop of Arras alone remains in this town, which causes some comment, some persons being of opinion that the King does not wish for him in his privy council, choosing it to consist solely of Spaniards; whilst others say that his right reverend Lordship would not go there, knowing that his repute would be far inferior to that which he enjoyed when serving the Emperor, and that King Philip chooses Don Ruy Gomez to be head of everything.
Brussels, 5th July 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
July 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 537. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday all the ambassadors here were invited to the christening of the King's daughter; the godfathers were, the Cardinal Legate Caraffa, in the name of his Holiness, and the Duke de Guise, and the godmothers, Madame de St. Pol and Madame de Montpensier, and the infant was named Vittoria, which was the name borne by the mother of his Holiness. (fn. 2) We afterwards supped with the King, but at a separate table. After supper the Legate came with the Nuncio to take leave of us, and state the causes of his departure; regretting being compelled to go back to Rome, and leaving this negotiation for peace and the Council imperfect, but that the rumours current in Italy compelled him to do so, although it might be said that in a certain way he had performed the office assigned him by the Pope, having made his statement to the most Christian King, and received from him the reply which he had communicated to all of us.
He then complained of the Colonna family, and said that although his Holiness was so supreme a prince, that his affairs were not to be judged by anyone, but it was his province to judge every other prince, yet had he drawn up the process and published it, that it might be known that his Holiness merely exacts what is just, and that the Colonna family deserve every punishment, as was also known to Pope Paul the Third, who deprived the Lord Ascanius of his territory (stato), which he recovered on the accession of Pope Julius, who, from being low-minded (per bassezza d'animo), would not continue the judicial prosecution; to which excesses were added fresh outrages by Marc' Antonio Colonna (calling him a rascal, “furfante”); so the Pope had chosen to punish him, and although he was taking up arms, yet the Almighty would assist his Holiness, and those who aid and favour Marc' Antonio Colonna, should beware of the anger of God. On this matter the Legate expatiated rather angrily, repeating the same expressions more forcibly, and turning for the most part towards the Emperor's ambassador, who replied in Spanish (although he speaks Italian well) that he did not suppose the Legate had called the ambassadors but to perform an office with them on this his departure; but perceiving him to enter on another topic, with regard to which, having no commission from his princes, who sent him to increase his most Christian Majesty's good will, and not to find opportunity for disagreements, he should therefore make no answer; and that even had the Legate wished to speak to him about particulars, he ought not to have done so in the presence of so many ambassadors, who would estimate the importance of this proceeding, but rather call him aside, when he would perhaps have answered to the point, and maintained the honour of the Emperor and of his son.
The Cardinal then interrupted him, saying that if the ambassador would go to his chamber the next morning he would speak to him freely, and, in case of any reply, should have such a rejoinder as became him; but should he not make any reply, and that it be made by others elsewhere, the Pope was well able to answer anybody; but that it was evident that Marc' Antonio Colonna was not of sufficient force to wage war without the assistance of others, his auxiliaries being Spaniards, and troops of other nations drawn from the kingdom of Naples, to be joined by those in Tuscany with the Duke of Florence; and then, turning to me, the Legate, with the fury of speech then upon him (con quell' ardor del parlare nel quale era), said, “If the Venetian ambassador chose to announce the advices which he has naturally (ragionevolmente) received from Venice, everybody would know how these matters are proceeding, for it is notorious that Marc' Antonio Colonna has been to Venice, and that Aldana went to bring him away from there; and everybody knows that Aldana is a Spanish captain, and I know him very well, as I do all those in the service of the Emperor, whom I served for 18 years, and owing to the misbehaviour (li mali portamenti) of his ministers I was obliged to depart, and subsequently served another prince, until I changed my habit, and now serve Christ and His Church, for which I am disposed to die;” adding that he had no doubt but that God would assist the Pope to chastise his disobedient vassals; and that as they threatened to sack Rome, he, Caraffa, was compelled to stay with his Holiness and the other Cardinals, and that if necessary they would all die willingly, increasing the number of martyrs who had shed their blood in that same city.
When the Cardinal became pacified, having thus far spoken very angrily, the Imperial ambassador again rejoined that he was glad his right reverend Lordship had found his most Christian Majesty so well disposed, but that he could not complain of his [Simon Renard's] Princes, at whose courts no Legate has yet been accredited, and they had been unable to state their intention; and that his right reverend Lordship ought not to depart hence, preferring his own cause to that of the public, but continue the negotiation; or at least he ought not to incite his most Christian Majesty to change his good purpose. Thereupon the Legate, again flying into a passion (accendendosi), said that he knew what he had to do, and did not require to be prompted, and that he was an honest man, and had always acted as men of honour do; but that when a sack of Rome was threatened, he did not consider it so slight a cause as not to take precedence of all others. Then M. de Lansac, drawing near, said it was already night, and that it would be well for everybody to go to rest.
Thus ended this colloquy, which was heard by many persons, Cardinal Caraffa speaking for the most part in a very loud voice. The English ambassador [Dr. Wotton] added that he hoped that if his right reverend Lordship went to Rome he would not fail to perform every good office for the quiet of Christendom; after whom I also approached him, and said that having heard that he was on the eve of departure, I would take good leave without troubling him farther, but he answered me immediately, “No, no, I choose you to come and see me again,” as I think of doing the day before his departure, which will take place in three or four days.
This conversation held with the ambassadors has seemed strange to everybody, as neither the time nor the place were adapted to it (che nè il tempo nè il loco lo ricercasse), and I individually regretted what Cardinal Caraffa said about the advices from Venice, to which I did not think fit to make any answer at the moment, for the avoidance of untoward discussion; but when we ambassadors were returning all together [from Fontainebleau to Morette], I on the way said to the Imperial ambassador that I was surprised at the Legate's having uttered those words, because I declared that neither from your Serenity nor from others had I received notice of these things; and he, showing me that he held this in no account, requested me, on the other hand, to bear in mind what I had heard for such occasions as might arise, and he also performed the like office with the Mantuan ambassador. A good opportunity having presented itself, I also adroitly made a similar communication to the English ambassador.
Morette, 6th July 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
July 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 538. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On the 30th ulto., Lord la Warre (Milord Alvard) was condemned to death, (fn. 3) and was to have been executed two days afterwards, together with the two who were sentenced to death a long while ago, (fn. 4) and who until now have been in hopes of pardon, for after the populace had already assembled to witness the spectacle, the officials and the necessary ministers being in attendance, the execution was delayed, and is now expected to take place to-morrow; after which, some others will be despatched before the Queen's departure next week for the seat (luogo) of the Archbishopric of Canterbury 17 (sic) miles hence, where—the King approving—she will remain, awaiting his Majesty's return, and then go to Greenwich; and in the meanwhile, to say the truth, a change of residence is not merely requisite but necessary for her, by reason of the present intense heat, owing to the unusual and extraordinary drought, on account of which, although processions are made continually, they nevertheless as yet seem to profit little.
Of the remaining prisoners in the Tower, Sir William Courtenay, Carew, and Cheke have so much liberty, that their wives are allowed to go thither freely to pass the night with them; and with regard to Cheke, the theologians continue gaining ground with him in the matter of religion (continuano li theologi di guadagnarlo nella religione).
The affairs of the conspiracy are apparently at an end, many days having elapsed without further arrests; and as nothing more is elicited, it remains but to despatch the rest of the prisoners; so unless other events come to pass unexpectedly, there will be little to tell, everything else proceeding quietly; and the Queen by her orders still continues to maintain her neutrality, although harassed as usual owing to the present suspicions between the Pope and her Consort, (fn. 5) on account of which Cardinal Pole was on the point of sending an express to Rome, but apparently awaits the return of Francesco Piamontese.
Cardinal Caraffa wrote from France to Cardinal Pole that he had kept the Abbot of San Saluto with him, not only to have full information about the past negociations concerning the peace, but to employ him about it, if necessary, which does not seem to have much pleased Cardinal Pole, who had previously written to the Abbot ordering him distinctly not to await Caraffa's coming to the French court, but to depart thence previously, for the avoidance of any distrust on the part of the Imperialists; because as the Abbot is known to be the dependant of Cardinal Pole, they might suspect some secret scheme to the discredit of his right reverend Lordship and of this kingdom; but San Saluto, not having received the order until after Caraffa's arrival, could not go away without seeing him. The order for his departure is now at any rate repeated, although it is supposed to have been already complied with, it being reported here that Caraffa likewise has departed.
The ships were disarmed and paid off in Portsmouth harbour; only seven being detained to serve for the King's passage whenever the time for it shall arrive.
London, 7th July 1556.
July 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 539. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
On the 6th instant, the Legate communicated to me confidentially through one of his gentlemen that although he had served the Emperor and other princes for many years, he had always been determined to abandon everyone whenever an opportunity arose for your Serenity to avail yourself of his personal services, and that he continued of the same mind; adding that the words uttered by him the other evening were not for the purpose of performing any bad office whatever, but merely to call me as witness for the affairs of Italy.
On the morrow I went to the Cardinal, who told me he had heard that the Emperor gave your Serenity's ambassador at his court to understand that he, the Legate, was come to France not to treat peace, or matters relating to the Council, but to establish a league between his Holiness, the most Christian King, and the Duke of Ferrara, with the determination (deliberazione) to drive everyone out of Italy except themselves, the three allies (coligati), make an Italian Duke of Milan, crown one of the sons of his most Christian Majesty King of Naples, cause this Queen of France [Catherine de' Medici] to renounce her rights to the State of Urbino in favour of the Pope, and expel its duke; and that without any farther call upon your Serenity to join the league, he, on his return to Italy, would promise you, on behalf of the said league, certain towns in Sicily, (fn. 6) the names of which he did not remember; their intention being, after all these undertakings, and having raised fresh funds, to turn the forces of the league against the remaining princes of Italy; and that the Emperor offered your Serenity a defensive Italian league, which, if accepted, he would give you in effect those towns in Sicily which others had merely promised you by word. But the Legate declared that these things were all false, and that he had not negotiated any other public business with his most Christian Majesty than what related to the peace and the Council; but that finding it impossible to trust the Imperialists, he had endeavoured to render himself secure through another sovereign, and thus guarantee himself against their plots. Then he narrated the Pope's disagreements with the Emperor, and the outrages to which he had been subjected by his Imperial Majesty for many years, in like manner as the Legate himself, after the war of Germany, at which time his term of service with the Emperor expired; and he said that these and other causes prevented him from ever trusting his Imperial Majesty.
In reply I thanked him, and as to the words uttered in the presence of the ambassadors I said I took the whole in good part.
Cardinal Caraffa then commenced speaking about the affairs of Paliano, and told me the orders left by him at Rome for the defence of that city, as also of Paliano and Orvieto, and of other places towards Tuscany, in case the Duke of Alva move troops; and he added that the Imperialists had sent the Pope's relation, Don Ferrante di Sanguini, to exhort him to suspend the fortification of Paliano, and to treat an agreement, but that the Imperialists, understanding that it was already rendered almost a fortress, stopped him on the road; and the Legate thought that in fact by this time its fortifications were completed, and he had advices purporting that 1,300 infantry, with 16 pieces of artillery, had entered the place; the most Christian King having also ordered the 3,000 foot soldiers destined for Tuscany to march for the Pope's service if necessary; but that he hoped the Imperialists would not advance farther, but merely guard their own places.
I enquired of his Lordship the time of his departure, and he said he thought it would take place this week, and he would stop both on the road and at Lyons in order to hear the reply received from the Emperor, and should it be such as to give hopes of concluding a good peace, he would return to the court.
The Legate said he knew the King would grant him everything were it not for the Constable, who, partly to save the King the expense, and in part from his rivalry with the house of Guise, would not let him do it; and he then added, “When the Cardinal of Lorraine was at Rome I did him the utmost honour, and neither he nor any of his family have made any demonstration towards me, not even a glass of wine (pur d'un bichier di vino), but I do not care about it, and all the honour done me proceeded from the Constable; but, thank God, I have obtained all that I needed from his most Christian Majesty's good grace without the assistance of anyone.”
Morette, 8th July 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
July 9. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives, No. 6 B. 540. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
At 2 a.m. last Wednesday morning the Emperor's postmaster and all his attendants were arrested, but after examination these last were released, the postmaster alone and two of his servants being detained, as also the letter-bag (lo spaccio) which he was preparing for the Imperial court. Proceedings of such importance made me go to-day to the palace for audience of the Pope. Whilst I was waiting in the [audience] chamber (nella camera), there arrived Don Garcilasso, (fn. 7) who told me he meant to ask leave of his Holiness, adding that the Papal government (questi signori) had seized a letter of his (una sua lettera), but that as minister of the Emperor and the King of England he thought himself at liberty to write what he pleased for the benefit of his sovereigns. The Pope, passing through the chamber where I was, most graciously laid his hand on my shoulder, telling me to be pleased to wait until he had despatched certain business, when he would give me audience, and he withdrew with the Duke of Paliano, the fiscal advocate (il fiscale), and the secretary Monsignor of Avignon. In the meanwhile the Imperial ambassador Marquis Sarria arrived for audience, and when the Duke came forth the Pope gave it him, and as the Signor Ferrante di Sanguini had brought Don Garcilasso he caused a demand for audience to be made of his Holiness, who replied that there was not time, as he had to attend the congregation of the Inquisition, which he did, telling me to take patience and not to go away.
The ambassador and Don Garcilasso departed, and on going downstairs Don Garcilasso was arrested and taken into the castle. The ambassador resisted somewhat, saying that he had been with his Holiness who spoke him fair (la quale l'havea usato buone parole), and gave him no cause to fear such an act, and that if they took Don Garcilasso away prisoner he also would go with him; but the Signor Ferrante di Sanguini told him to return, as he would accompany Don Garcilasso into the castle. Simultaneously they sent to seize his papers in the house of Cardinal Pacheco, where he lodged, which occupied them until past 8 p.m., when the congregation broke up, the Pope departing much exhausted both from the heat and because he had looseness of the bowels (et anco perchè se li mosse il corpo), and he sent the Duke of Paliano to tell me that he was tired, and to return on the morrow. The Duke proceeded to say that “one Franzozin, the Imperial postmaster's servant, was found near Terracina on foot without either sword or travelling dress, which causing suspicion he was arrested, and on his person three letters were found, one from the postmaster without any signature requesting the Duke of Alva's secretary to obtain for him the agency (la commissaria) between Terracina and Velletri; and two from Garcilasso, one in cipher (fn. 8) and the other without, which was so clear as not to need the ciphered one, telling the Duke that Marquis Sarria the ambassador was a simpleton (era un dapoco), and that nothing good must be expected from him, as two good words from the Pope blinded him to the honour and advantage of his Princes, and that the way to do deeds was to push forward with the cavalry and come double quick time with 4,000 Spaniards and 8,000 Italians to Rome, taking what could be got on the march, and sending the galleys to Nettuno and Civita Vecchia. When these letters were given me, and after opening them, not choosing to trouble his Holiness, who had already gone to rest, I left the palace with a single groom and went to the governor, ordering him to arrest the postmaster and all his subordinates, as he did. The postmaster was examined, and not having been asked about the agency demanded by him, I had him re-examined on this point, and he confessed to having asked for it, whereupon being asked his reason for doing so, he replied because he thought they would make themselves masters of the whole of the Papal territory. Being then tortured (messo alla corda), he confessed to the recommendation given by them to the Duke of Alva about the infantry, cavalry, and galleys, and about coming to Rome, and I believe it, because, as I told the Pope, this was the way to attack us, but the Lord will assist us.”
Having heard that there were letters from France about which nothing was known, I asked him for a word on the subject, and he answered me, “From you nothing can be concealed; I have letters from the King and the Constable dated the 1st, promising to assist the Pope on every occasion, and also not to fail with regard to my duchy, and moreover that they had told the Imperial ambassador resident with the King of this their resolve, communicating it also to the French Ambassador at Brussels.”
The Duke also told me that the King had already remitted 60,000 crowns, which are here in a bank, and that he would give orders for the Pope to be assisted with 6,000 French infantry, of whom 1,500 may be now at Civitavecchia. He said besides that the Papal nuncio at the Imperial court informed him that the ambassador Marquis Sarria was in favour with the Emperor because he had always sought quiet and performed good offices for the Pope, whilst Garcilasso on the contrary had always done his worst, endeavouring to disparage the ambassador and render him odious to the Emperor.
The first arrest of the postmaster was considered important, but this of Don Garcilasso most important, the Duke of Alva having the greatest possible regard for him; so here the war is supposed to have commenced.
Rome [Friday?], 9th July 1553. 10h. 15m. p.m.
July 10. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives, No. 6. B. 541. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
I went to-day for audience of the Pope, who said to me, “We daily detect their acts of treachery. Tassis has disclosed much and will also reveal other matters. We have arrested Garcilasso, nor would we scruple to do the like by his chief [the Duke of Alva?] also, were he here. We would fain learn further particulars from Garcilasso likewise. They recommended a march to Rome, and had divided our territory, vivit Dominus; they will perhaps be compelled to defend their own. We have no lack of forces; we have powerful Princes who will give us assistance; they will be unable to rob (robbar) us, as is their wont, of any place of importance, as we have opened our eyes. Should they choose to attack us overtly with armies in the field, they will repent them of it. We purpose speaking about this in public Congregation in the presence of all the ambassadors, and shall perhaps convoke it to-morrow, and we now pray you also by no means to absent yourself. We mean to proceed cautiously, imitating the most illustrious Signory, who always acts slowly and with much consideration, as should be done in state affairs. This tyrant of an Emperor is no longer to be held in account; he does not possess the great forces attributed to him, and what proof has his son given of himself? He enjoys no repute either as a soldier or as a statesman. Their territories in short are like an old house from which the removal of one single stone brings the whole structure to the ground. If we begin to give them a little cudgelling (qualche bastonata) here in Italy, everything will go topsy-turvy (ogni cosa anderà sotto sopra). The King of France is truly of a royal mind, and so much our friend that he can no longer be single handed, but have assistance even from the Almighty, who cannot bear tyrants. He worsted him as you know in Piedmont, Germany, and Flanders, thus showing others how they ought to do. That tyrant has no one in greater detestation than you and us; your freedom and this See Apostolic agitate him, and are the furies by whom he is driven wild. Should matters advance, we have determined to form an understanding with the most illustrious Signory, and almost to protest against losing this opportunity for freeing Italy, and as there is no one whom we love better than our nephew the Marquis [of Montebello] he will be the person to make known this our intention. Is it not evident that they have arrived at such a pitch of insolence as to arm even against us, and parare, undique insidias, because we punished our vassals who deserved it? What would they say had we dared to threaten them even with words for punishing any of their own subjects? In a cause so unjust this tyrant our vassal dares raise his horns against his Prince. God will punish him, and although all our thoughts are of peace, as thou, my Lord, knowest them to be, thou who seest and hearest everything (and here he quoted a Greek verse in Homer to this effect), yet are we compelled sometimes to think of ourselves, of our country, by which we mean all Italy, and of the whole Christian world, as by God's goodness committed to us; and it often happens to us that when we are disposing our mind to peace, we hear a certain spirit which resists us, saying, Leave direction to the Lord, who allows opportunities to present themselves that they may be availed of. We have always told you our mind; we believe that you have written it; we will not fail to tell it you for the future, and to have it told to the Signory; and even had we been silent, and were we to continue so, the prudence of those most sage senators, and the opportunity afforded by the times, would be my spokesman. In that devilish soul of Charles in that filthy body (in quello sporco corpo), although its vigour is extinct, there yet remains that active malignity which of yore conceived universal tyranny, but he knows not what we have the power to do in the kingdom of Naples. An ancestor of mine, Antonio Caraffa, our father's grandfather, was the man who in the name of the last Queen, (fn. 9) who died without heirs, induced King Alfonso of Aragon to expel the house of Anjou, with which that Queen like a fickle woman was already satiated, and having determined to give the kingdom to this King Alfonso [a.d. 1433], accredited to him Antonio Caraffa, whom she recalled from Rome for that purpose. Having stated the cause of his embassy, the King in council replied that on several accounts he did not think it fit to assume that undertaking, whereupon Caraffa rejoined that having performed his ambassadorial office he would announce the answer received by him, but requested of his Majesty the favour to speak to him as a gentleman and his private servant, which being granted, he spoke to him in such form, being sage and eloquent, as to induce him to accept what he had refused, demonstrating the convenience, the fertility, and the beauty of that kingdom, and giving him to understand that the requests of a queen in affliction and disconsolate ought to be acceded to, and that the opportunities for great exploits seldom occur, and when neglected they never return, conjuring him by the oath he had taken to God as king, to give freedom to the people and to succour those in affliction. King Alfonso undertook the expedition, and after encountering many perils and calamities accomplished it, and therefore who knows but that after so many years another member of that same Caraffa family may produce a similar result, now that by inheritance this unfortunate kingdom has fallen under the yoke of the most vile and abject nation (più abietta e vil natione) in the world, the very worst of any. We will make ourselves heard; and to speak plainly to you, should the Republic choose, the goose shall be spitted (sarà fatto il becco all' oca); we know that the Signory wishes for peace, and you have said so to us, we on our part counselling and desiring it in like manner; but there are certain occasions when one must rouse one's self.”
In the midst of this conversation he was informed that the Imperial ambassador had come for audience, and after replying that he must wait, his Holiness then turned to me and said, “He is come to plead for Garcilasso; we shall answer him in words becoming our station, that if we had the tyrant also in our hands we would do the like by him;” adding, “This ambassador [Marquis Sarria] is a very good person, although he acted so insolently, (fn. 10) he nevertheless bore with much patience the penance we assigned him, which was great, for we kept him aloof (tenendolo contumace), and we are told that he always performed good offices in favour of peace and of us. He perhaps is not aware of the evil offices done him by this Garcilasso, who sought to deprive him of credit and repute with his sovereigns.”
The Pope then repeated much that he had said before about the Emperor's tyranny, the forces of France, and his intention to proceed steadily in acquainting your Serenity with his intentions.
Rome, 10th July 1556.
July 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 542. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
Their Majesties' ambassador in France has sent hither a courier to inform them that his most Christian Majesty, having sent for him, desired he would write to them that it having come to his knowledge that troops were being raised in the kingdom of Naples, should he know them to be destined by their Majesties as succour for Colonna, to the detriment of the Church and of the Caraffa family, he would give such assistance for the defence of the Pope's interests as becoming the denomination made at the time of the truce, of his Holiness personally, and of the Caraffa family. Shortly after the arrival of this courier, the French ambassador resident here sent to Laura to demand audience of the King, circulating a report at Brussels of his intending to negotiate about the prisoners and the rest of the unimportant points about the boundaries. It has not been possible as yet to learn anything about the reply made by their Majesties, it being merely said that the Emperor on receiving this intelligence displayed great anger; and all that the ambassador has chosen to say is, that he was received with a joyful countenance, and that the King spoke him fair; but the persons here about the court say publicly that the truce must be broken. Here there is no news of the Cardinal's having quitted Switzerland, but he tells the courtiers that he will still come to their Majesties, who, in consequence of the nuncio's assertion, have determined not to write anything to their ambassador with the Pope, in exchange for the words uttered to him by his Holiness, until they hear what Signor Ferrante de' Sanguini has effected. The harbingers went to Ghent to prepare the lodgings for their Majesties here (queste Maestà), (fn. 11) for the King and Queen of Bohemia, and for all the courts; but King Philip desired the harbingers to report to the Emperor that there are more cases of plague at Ghent than in Brussels; so their Majesties have determined to return hither next week knowing they cannot accommodate everybody better than here, especially as the persons belonging to the courts are so much in debt to private individuals that in case of departure it would be requisite to pay them, and that the attendants should receive from their Majesties the arrears for which they are creditors.
The King and Queen of Bohemia having arrived at Juliers (distant three days journey hence), a place belonging to their brother-in-law the Duke of Cleves, the Emperor and King Philip sent first the Marquis de Aguilar and then the Duke de Medina Celi to meet their Majesties, for which purpose the Duke of Savoy likewise, being governor of these provinces, will go as far as their boundaries. King Philip, with the whole court, will go to Louvain, four leagues hence. The King and Queen of Bohemia will remain two days at Juliers to act as sponsors for the Duke's new-born son, the Emperor and the King of Spain having wished the Duke to send him hither for the christening, that all, at one and the same time, might do honour to this ceremony in person; but this not suiting his Excellency, M. de Lalain goes to perform this office in the name of King Philip, who has despatched Don Francisco de Mendoza (nephew of Don Bernardino) to England to the Queen his consort, to give her notice of the approach of the King and Queen of Bohemia, assuring her that when rid of their Majesties (che quando sarà dalle Maestà loro spedita), he will go and see her, as he greatly desires. A captain has again come from Middelburg with an earnest demand for money, on account of the arrears of pay due to the fifteen hundred Spaniards there, making known that unless a good quantity of money be sent them speedily they will mutiny; so he immediately received half-pay (mezza paga), and cloth with which to clothe themselves, on account of their credits.
Brussels, 10th July 1556.


  • 1. Gianangelo de Medici, a Milanese, who on the 26th December 1559, succeeded Paul IV., with the title of Pius IV.
  • 2. The Pope's mother, Vittoria Camponesca, was a brave woman, of masculine habits, and a bold rider, and a month or two before giving birth to Gianpietro Caraffa, when galloping along a mountain pass to the sanctuary of Montevergine, she was stopped by a hermit, who desired her to proceed at a gentler pace, because the fruit of her womb was destined to become Pope. The title of “Mater Castrorum,” given to Catherine de' Medici, entitled her daughter to the name borne by the mother of Paul IV.
  • 3. “The last day of Juin was led from the Towre unto Yeld-halle, Wylliam West, sqwyre, odur-wyse callyd lord La Ware, and cast of he [high] treason, to be drane and quartered.” (Machyn's Diary, A.D. 1556, p. 109. Printed for the Camden Society, 1848.)
  • 4. Harry Peckham and John Daniel, the persons here alluded to, were tried at the Guildhall in London on the 7th May 1556, and their execution took place on the 7th July following. (See Verney Papers, Camden Society Publication, p. 70, and Machyn as above, p. 109. From this letter it would seem that the execution did not take place until the 8th July.
  • 5. In the original, “tra sua Maestà, et il serenissimo Re;” Maestà being evidently a slip of the pen for “Santità.”
  • 6. Et senza chiamar altramente la V~ra Serenità nella Liga, al ritorno suo in Italia gli prometteria in nome di essa Liga alcune terre in Sicilia.
  • 7. Juan Garcilasso de la Vega (see Foreign Calendar, Mary, Index).
  • 8. Concerning this ciphered despatch, Sir Edward Carne wrote to Queen Mary from Rome, on the 3rd August 1556, “After Garcilasso's letters had been deciphered in Venice (for none by lack of the original cipher could do it here), it appeared there was some privy treason against the Pope, but the names of persons and places could not be made out.” (See Foreign Calendar, Mary, p. 242.)
  • 9. Queen Giovanna of Naples died on the 2nd February 1435, at the age of 64. (See L'Art de Vérifier les Dates.)
  • 10. When he forced the gate of St. Agnese (see before, despatch dated 28th March 1556.
  • 11. Namely, the Emperor, King Philip, and the Queens Eleanor and Maria.