Venice: April 1555, 16-30

Pages 51-59

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

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


April 1555, 16–30

April 20. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. cl. x. 58. Cardinal Pole to the Archbishop of Conza [Girolamo Muzzarelli], Nuncio at Bussels.
Last evening by her Secretary of the Council, the Queen sent to show Pole the letter she is writing to her ambassador in France charging him to tell the King how much she rejoiced at his being so well disposed towards the peace, and that she likewise had performed every good office with the Emperor, from whom, on account of his indisposition, she could not receive his nomination sooner. As already stated, he appointed five persons for the conference, (fn. 1) leaving the choice of the sixth to the Queen, who, although she had already made it, would not mention the name until she knew the Emperor's will. The Queen herself will send the Chancellor, the Earl of Pembroke, and Paget, saying that for the public service Pole likewise would go; and as to the time, she supposed it would not be delayed beyond the 10th of May; and Secretary Robertet departs with this decision. Pole has written to the Bishop of Viterbo, that on hearing the time appointed for the departure of the Queen's commissioners, he will proceed to cross the Channel, being now, by God's grace, in a state to do so, (fn. 2) and refers himself for the rest to the letters written by him to the Abbot of San Saluto.
From London, 20th April 1555.
P.S.—Having written thus far, received letters from the Sacrea College of Cardinals announcing the Pope's death, and inviting him to Rome for the election of his successor; but the distance, and Pole's inability to perform so long a journey speedily, being weak since his illness, excuse him amply, in addition to which there is the important affair of the peace now in course of negotiation. Pole wishes to know if Conza has recovered his health, and whether the Emperor and the King of Fiance are content that he and the Bishop of Viterbo should attend the conference, which would give Pole great satisfaction.
April 20? MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. cl. x. No date of time or place. Printed in Vol. 5, pp.7–9, “Epistolarum Reginaldi Poli,” &c., without any date whatever. 59. Cardinal Pole to Pope Marcello II. (fn. 3)
Congratulates him on his accession to the popedom. The new Pope has always desired the reform of the Church, and will now have the comfort to receive the ambassadors sent to Rome by England who can bear witness to him how that realm, which so greatly disfigured the Church (in quo ecclesia maxime fuit deformata), has returned to the faith. On the other hand, the moment is not far distant when the sovereigns will be at peace, and at the conference about to take place the most Serene Queen of England and his Holiness's Legate will act as pacificators. By this consolation the new Pope is encouraged at this arduous commencement of his reign. With regard to himself individually, in like manner as Pole heretofore was linked to him by voluntary affection, so is he now, in right of obedience, which is so pleasant to him that, instead of being sent on a legation from his Holiness's side, he would fain give assistance beside him, and serve in his presence (non jam de latere S. V. missus, legations pro eâ fungi, scd ad letus ei assistere, et coram inservire); this indeed would be most pleasant to him, but whatever the Pope shall command him will be yet more agreeable.
[London, 20th April 1555?]
[Latin, 48 lines.]
April 21. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. cl. x. 60. Cardinal Pole to Henry II., King of France.
Monsieur de Fresnes delivered to him the King's most gracious letter, and announced his Majesty's constant good disposition in favour of the peace, much to his comfort. Subsequently the Emperor's decision was received, as the King will hear from Monsieur de Fresnes and from the ambassador of the Queen, who has ordered him to acquaint the King with the whole, that he may see how well and zealously disposed she is towards this holy affair, to which Pole hopes the Almighty will grant the desired result.
From London, 21st April 1555.
April 21. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. cl. x. 61. Cardinal Pole to Anne De Montmorency, Constable.
By the letters from the King and from the Constable and from Monsieur de Fresnes has heard, much to his comfort, that his Majesty and his lordship are satisfied with what has been done about the peace. With regard to the nomination of the personages of the Emperor's Council, and the time to be appointed, the Queen has communicated with Monsieur de Fresnes, and charged her ambassador to acquaint his most Christian Majesty with the decision, which Pole hopes will satisfy him, and that without awaiting further reply he will send his deputies to the appointed place at the time proposed by the Queen, knowing that the Emperor, by reason of his ailments, is sometimes wont to delay his resolves.
Pole took the liberty of exhorting Monsieur de Fresnes to remain longer than he was inclined to do, hoping that the King would approve of this office, and be satisfied with the decision. Refers him for farther particulars to Monsieur de Fresnes, the bearer of the present letter.
From London, 21st April 1555.
April 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 62. Phebo Capella, Venetian Secretary in France, to the Doge and Senate
Received their letters of the 5th instant, with the Turkish advices down to the 2nd March, and also those of the 6th, acquainting him with the statement made the day before by the French ambassador about the future conference between the ministers of the Emperor and his most Christian Majesty. Not knowing for certain on what day the most noble Soranzo would arrive, and wishing to execute the commission given me, I went to the Court, and was introduced by the Constable to the King, to whom I said how agreeable and satisfactory had been the loving office performed by his ambassador with your Serenity, and how greatly you desired the peace and union of Christendom; to which he replied that if God granted him the grace to stipulate a peace or any other agreement, your Serenity would be mentioned in it amongst his chief friends. After I had communicated the advices from Constantinople, the news of the Pope's election having arrived the day before, the King said it pleased him, hoping that, from his Holiness's past life, he would be a good Pope; that he had retained his own name, and would be Marcello II., and chose to be crowned immediately, to avoid cost and pomp. The whole court approves of the election, and the cardinals, who were to have gone by sea, and Vendôme by land, will return without having endured much fatigue on the journey, or suffered in the conclave, which was of very short duration. On the first news of the conference, his most Christian Majesty sent Robertet to England, both on this account and to fix the time; and the French ministry, thinking that his return is too long delayed, and that his remaining thus in England might perhaps discredit France, the Constable told the writer that they had desired him to return immediately, as should the English have anything to say about the time of meeting or other matters, they can impart it to the French ambassador; but yesterday, when Capella left the Court, Robertet had not yet come back.
The Emperor is said to have a large number of infantry near the French borders, but not united, and he has lately had 60 pieces of artillery taken to Arras.
Melun, 21st April 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
April 22. Lettere del Collegio (Secreta), File No. 20. 63. The Doge and College to the Proveditor Of Peschiera. Their reply to inquiries about the Bishop of Ely and Viscount Montagu.
In reply to yours of the 19th instant, demanding our orders about admitting into the fortress of Peschiera the ambassadors of the most Serene King and Queen of England on their way to Rome; we inform you that, according to advice received from our secretary at Milan, we are well nigh certain that the said ambassadors are not coming at present to this city, nor will they even turn aside into our territory, but proceed down the Po, in order to betake themselves to Rome by the shortest road. (fn. 4) As it might nevertheless happen to them to change their course, our opinion is that you do admit into that fortress the ambassadors aforesaid, together with 25 or 30 of their attendants in all, apologizing on the plea of limited space and inconvenient accommodation, making the rest of their retinue lodge outside in the other places and neighbouring villages as well as may be (al meglio che si potrà); to which effect we have given orders to the governors of Verona to provide those places with hay and oats for the horses, and other necessaries, so that they be lodged commodiously; and you will see to their getting what they require, for their money.
We desire you to evince every becoming mark of goodwill and courtesy towards these ambassadors, in conformity with the orders given to our other governors, and as suited to the good friendship maintained by us with the aforesaid most Serene King and Queen.
With regard to your election of an overseer, in lieu of the one deceased, we can only tell you that we will let you know our intention and will about that election as soon as possible.
Ayes, 27. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
April 28. Original Despatch. Venetian Archeves. 64. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
The Emperor has written to the Queen of England, and desired the Bishop of Arras to tell her ambassador that he is ready to send the commissioners to Gravelines whenever the Queen pleases. The ambassador replied that Her Majesty was in daily expectation of the decision from the King of France, to whom she had written to send his commissioners to Ardres on the 20th May; that on hearing of their election she would send three commissioners with Cardinal Pole; and that she had written to the Emperor to send his commissioners.
After the arrival here of the news sent by the Vice-Legate of Bologna to the Nuncio, announcing the election of the Pope, five days elapsed before the Emperor received confirmation of the same from his ministers. Although the Nuncio had ordained that when celebrating the masses his Holiness should be named as usual, his Majesty did not choose his chaplain to make mention of him until he had the advice for certain (fino che non havesse l'aviso certo), and also because at first the Spaniards did not all believe this intelligence, showing that it displeased them. But having heard that the Cardinal of Trent was the first to “adore” his Holiness (ch'el Cardinal di Trento è stato primo ad adorar sua Santità), they say they hope he may be a good one, and that His Majesty is very glad of it, he having appointed Don Juan de Mendoza, gentleman of the mouth (gentillhiuomo della bocca), (fn. 5) who will depart in two or three days postwise, to congratulate the Pope. The Emperor has also written to the King of England to send hither the ambassador destined to reside in ordinary [at Rome] in lieu of the one now there, that he may convey his Majesty's congratulations likewise.
Brussels, 28th April 1555.
April 28. MS. St. Mark's Library. Cod. xxiv. cl. x. 65. Cardinal Pole to Queen Mary; translated into Italian from the English.
Having been informed last evening by Secretary Petre that Cardinal Santa Croce [Marcello Cervino] has been created Pope, he was extremely glad, having experience of his goodness, doctrine (dottrina), and other rare and excellent qualities; so the best may be hoped for the consolation of the Church committed to his care, and for all Christendom; and Pole having heard that to-day would not be the moment for troubling her Majesty by going [to Hampton Court], (fn. 6) he congratulates her and the King on this event, being certain that by reason of their great zeal and affection for the Church, the more testimonials they receive of the merits of the person whom it has pleased God to elect for its head, the greater will be their satisfaction. Can render testimony to this effect, from his experience of the present Pope, and the intercourse he has had with him, being always of opinion that he deserved this grade. Pole's joy is also increased by this election, as he considers it an evident mark of the Almighty's great graciousness; and in like manner as He granted it to the prayers of his Church, it being, as it were, a parturition, giving to the world such a common (fn. 7) [father], so may He also do with respect to the two other births which are expected, giving the Queen a son for their Prince and King, and to Christendom that peace which is desired. They should the more fervently continue praying for these two acts of grace, from the hope derived from the first; and thus may God omnipotent of his mercy grant, long preserving Her Majesty in all prosperity, not only for the advantage and consolation of England, but of many other countries likewise.
From Richmond, 28th April 1555.
April 28? MS. St. Mark's Library. Cod. xxiv. cl. x. No date. Printed in Vol.5, pp. 36, 41, “Epistolarum Reginaldi Poli,” &c. without any date. 66. Cardinal Pole to King Philip and Queen Mary
The death of Julius III. [23 March 1555] did not make their Majesties forget the gifts sent them through the Nuncio, Antonio Agostini, nor did the malady which seized Pole the day after he received the demand of the King and Queen for an explanation of their meaning, make him forget his obligation, (fn. 8) which he satisfies the more willingly, as the explanations he has to give them represent without any record the duties of a sovereign.
These gifts being blessed by the Vicar of Christ on earth, to whom He gave the right of blessing, the sword with the cincture and cap (pileo) [of maintenance], (fn. 9) which was the first gift, is blessed on the night of the birth of Christ, whom, as Scripture says, God to us benedicentem misit, to remind those who obtain the advantage of the sword (utilem gladii), which is the power of justice, that if they wish to exercise it rightly and salutarily, they must first comprehend that they derived it from Christ himself, with whom justice is twin-born, his birth being celebrated on the night on which the sword is blessed.
The true use of the sword is shown by the cap, decorated with pearls, representing a sort of dove; so as, according to the Apostle, the covering of the head indicates its having a Lord to whom it must obey. (fn. 10) Those who, together with the sword, receive the cap, are clearly taught that the power of the sword is not to be used by them according to their own arbitrament, but according to that of Him from whom they received it, who is the head and Lord of all; this head being the Holy Spirit, of which the purity (candor) of the pearls and the semblance of the dove are symbols.
The minds of sovereigns should be pure as pearls, and their faith remain guileless as the dove; they defending those who do the like (qui idem faciunt) with the power of the sword, which they are to wield solely against such as either openly profess themselves the enemies of the Catholic religion, or corrupt the purity of the faith, or transgress against morality and the laws. This is the true use of the sword; this is the signification of the cap.
The golden rose is blessed on the fourth Sunday in Lent, called by the Church “Dominica Lcetare;” sight and smell rejoice in the flower; and with regard to its being blessed, the Pope, when blessing either the sword or the rose for transmission to kings and princes, prays that from God, through Christ, they may obtain the grace to rule righteously. The two emblems signify that whether when inflicting punishment or bestowing reward, the sovereign has always need of the blessing of God. (fn. 11)
London, 28 April 1555?
[Latin. 114 lines.]
April 29. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 67. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate
By my letters of the 8th instant I wrote it was hoped soon to witness the release of the Lady Elizabeth, so I now inform you that to-day or to-morrow she will certainly be at the Court with their Majesties, whence for every good reason she will not depart until after the Queen's delivery, it being supposed that in case of her Majesty's demise (from which may God preserve us), the King's safety and security would depend more on her than on any other person, not only from the hope of being able with the favour of the great men here (questi grandi), whom he has already gained and, won by rewards, to succeed to the kingdom, by making a second marriage with her, it not being improbable that she also might spontaneously incline that way, as she is well acquainted with his proceedings and character; but even should she, or the country, deny him this, yet by her presence here, and she being in his power, he would at least expect to secure himself better against any rising and danger to himself and his followers, he and they, under her favour, being enabled all of them to depart in safety and security. (Non essendo difficile che anco ella da se vi inclinasse come ben informata del proceder et natura sua, ma quando pur ciò, ò da Lei, ò da questi del Regno, non li fusse permesso, almeno, perchè con la presentia di Lei, havendola in poter suo, pensarebbe di poter meglio esser assicurato di ogni sollevatione et pericolo contra di se et delli sui, et con il favor suo potersene andar tutti sani et sicuri.) Besides this release, they moreover do not fail guaranteeing themselves against these dangers (nelli quali pericoli, non si resta, anco oltra questa liberatione, di attendere quanto più si puù ad assicurarsi per altre vie) by other means, having not only desired all such of the great men here as are considered by them more true and faithful to their Majesties than the rest of the nobility, to assemble at the Court all their retainers (of whom, according to the custom of the country, they have generally a great plenty), but also given orders to raise (as adroitly and secretly as possible, for the avoidance of any display of fear, suspicion, or distrust) a large amount of troops, to be quartered in the neighbourhood of the Court, for their greater defence and security, and also to take thither a few pieces of artillery. This same precaution (diligenza) has been enjoined in this city (fn. 12) on account of the many idle rogues here, to whom, in case of any misfortune (qualche sinistro) at the time of the delivery, the slightest cause would become the greatest possible for enabling them to sack the houses of the citizens [and] inhabitants (persone) [and] all men of wealth indiscriminately (in universale tutti i ricchi); so by night a good guard is kept both at the gates and throughout the body of the city, and patrolling it watchfully at all hours, they investigate and observe all that is doing.
The Earl of Devonshire (il Conte di Dansier), either from his own choice (sia sua elettione) or by the counsel and suggestion of others, or rather command, is to depart hence, to-day or to-morrow with all his retinue (con tutti li sui), and cross the Channel on his way to Brussels, to kiss the Emperors hand in acknowledgment for the boon (mercede) obtained from King Philip, the chief cause (principal autore) of his release, and to reside some time (un pezzo) at that court, not only for the purpose, as he says, of learning its manners and customs (lo uso et pratiche di quella), knowing himself to be devoid of all experience, having been reared and educated in prison until now (essendo si può dir cresciuto et fino a questa età allevato in prigione), but also that he may be present and see the war, which, should the adjustment not be effected, will it is feared break out on those frontiers (quelle frontiere), it being his intention, after some little while, to go to Italy. Many persons assert that with this plausible pretext they colour (colorando) the boundary assigned him, and the commutation of his imprisonment (et la commutatione della prigione), though a person in his confidence has told me that the Chancellor [Gardyner] assured him in the Queen's name that, provided he departed (che andando), he might return at his pleasure without further leave from her Majesty, his absence at the moment of the delivery sufficing them (basta che non si trovarà. quì in questa occasione et tempo del parto).
Cardinal Pole, being now quite well, is preparing for his passage across the Channel, and merely waits to hear that the French negotiators have set out, but his right reverend Lordship will be preceded by the Chancellor, that he may make the necessary preparations, so many and such illustrious personages having to assemble in one place. It is already supposed that neither party can be there on the day appointed, which is the 10th proximo, so that the term will be prolonged until the 20th.
King Philip conferred a great favour lately on two noblemen, Lord [Henry] Maltravers, son of the Earl of Arundel, and Lord Fitzwalter, (fn. 13) son of the Earl of Sussex, for both being bridegrooms he was pleased to honour their weddings. He came hither on purpose from Hampton Court with all his chief courtiers to that of Lord Maltravers, which was solemnized (che si sono finite) in his father's house, and gave the bride a jewelled necklace, said to be worth a thousand ducats; and at Fitzwalter's wedding, which was solemnized at the court, his Majesty in person, as a mark of greater honour, took part in person with many other gentlemen at a tourney on foot, and armed himself and fought like the others. By such demonstrations he from day to day gains the good will of all.
London, 29th April 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini]
April 29. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 68. Phebo Capella, Venetian Secretary in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Cardinal of Lorraine and the Constable will depart for the site of the conference.
Laon? (Lion), 29th April 1555.


  • 1. The letter containing this notice has not been found.
  • 2. Trovandomi hora per grazia di Dio in dispositione di poterlo far.
  • 3. Pope Marcello II. was elected on the 9th April 1555, and died on the following 1st of May.
  • 4. “The journey of the Queen's Ambassadors unto Rome, anno 1555,” published by Lord Hardwicke, shows that the Bishop of Ely and Lord Montagu were at Milan in that year, from the 12th to the 17th April, when they went to Lodi and Piacenza, at which last place they remained the 20th and 21st; arrived at Cremona on the 22nd, remaining there the 23rd; they then went to Mantua, and were at Ferrara on the 25th.
  • 5. “Esquire carver” in Mr. Turnbulls Calendar, Mary, p. 172, entry 369.
  • 6. The reason may be inferred from the following entry in Machyn's Diary: “The last day of April tidings came to London that the Queen's grace was delivered of a prince.”
  • 7. “Un tal co'mun” (sic).
  • 8. By the correspondence of the Ambassador Michiel, it will be seen that Cardinal Pole's illness commenced early in April, his complete recovery being announced on the 29th April, so I date this letter the 28th.
  • 9. One of these steel caps, preserved in the Correr Museum at Venice, is precisely of the form of the caps of maintenance represented in English blazonry.
  • 10. Nam cum velamen capitis, ut Apostolus interpretatur, indicet habere Dominum cui pareat. “Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head” (St. Paul, Corinthians I, chap. 11, v 4.)
  • 11. Such is the account of the last rose, blessed by Julius III. in Lent 1555. In March 1556, Cardinal Pole's rival, Paul IV., when blessing the golden rose, said it was a symbol of the flowers which preceded the fruits of the Passion, and that therefore the ceremony was performed the week before the Passion. “Disse anco prima, quel che significava la rosa che essa havea benedetto secondo il rito antico, che volea dimostrare i fiori che precedevano i frutti della Passione di Christo, et perciò si benediva la settimana avanti quella.” This is recorded by the Venetian Ambassador, Bernardo Navagero, despatch No, 67, date Rome, 28th March 1556 (MS. penes me). Pole and Caraffa' were at variance on many points, but with regard to the golden rose, the Pope's explanation of the emblem is probably more correct than that of the Legate.
  • 12. As already mentioned, the Court moved from London to Hampton Court on the 3rd April.
  • 13. Thomas Ratcliffe, fourth Lord Fitzwalter, married first Lady Elizabeth Wriothesley, daughter of Thomas, Earl of Southampton, and secondly Frances Sydney. (See Burke's Extinct Peerages.)