Venice: July 1556, 11-20

Pages 518-534

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, 11–20

July 11. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 6 B. 543. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
To-day when a general congregation of all the cardinals and ambassadors was held, Cardinal Morone said that not only did he believe, but knew for certain, that the Emperor and the King of England as Christian Princes did not bear the Pope ill-will, as demonstrated by so many of their actions, and lately by King Philip, whose marriage with the Queen of England was made solely for the purpose of bringing back that kingdom to its devotion and obedience to the See Apostolic.
The ambassadors being then called, the Pope said he would speak in the vulgar tongue (in lingua volgare) to render himself intelligible to all, telling them briefly that the Divine Providence had caused letters of great importance to fall into his hands, whereby he had obtained proof of the guilt of the persons arrested, expatiating much in praise of the Imperial ambassador, the Marquis of Sarria, as his Holiness knew for certain that they had not confided their projects to him, and that in short the Emperor and King Philip would have cause to consider themselves better served by the Marquis, who had always used his good offices for peace, than by those petty traitors (traditorelli). The Pope then said that his brothers the right reverend Cardinals, besides offering to serve him readily, being anxious for peace, and knowing how he had always sought and desired it, as clearly seen at present by his mission of the two Legates, declared that the prisoners might have acted without any order from their Princes, and gave him to understand that it would be well to avoid hostilities; so he assented to their suggestion that they should speak with the ambassador, and afford him the consolation of attending in peace to the peculiar office of a Pontiff; but that in the meanwhile he would arm, and should not choose to be found unprepared, saying that he had chosen to convoke all the ambassadors that they may not write “vanos rumores” of war, which he by nature abhors, but tell their Princes the truth, viz., that he was arming in self-defence and to resist the treasonable projects discovered by him; and with this he dismissed the Congregation.
Rome, 11th July 1556.
July 11. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 6 B. 544. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday, at noon, Capilupi, the agent of the Cardinal of Mantua, was imprisoned in the castle, which arrest is held in great account by reason of the individual, who was beyond measure beloved at this court, as he in truth deserved, and because it is feared that these arrests may proceed so far and in such number as perchance to compel the Imperialists to come to a decision without further scruple.
Rome, 11th July 1556.
July 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 545. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Secretary Dardoes (sic) returned lately from Brussels about the ransom of the prisoners, and brought back word that M. de Benincourt [Ponce de Lalain, Seigneur de Bugnicourt] had determined, as the Constable rejected the offer to reduce his son's ransom from 80,000 crowns to 60,000, he (Benincourt) would no longer abide by the modification, and that knowing the Constable to be able to pay that sum, he insisted on receiving the 80,000 in full. Dardoes (sic) also says that at the Imperial court he perceived that the more they were convinced of Montmorency's wish to get back his son, the more they daily raised difficulties about the ransom, on hearing which the Constable was greatly enraged. The Abbot of San Saluto has been to the Constable to continue negotiating the peace. His Excellency seemed to hold it in small account, saying the King would no longer talk about it, which he repeated several times. Parpaglia nevertheless, perceiving that he had the matter much at heart, did not cease continuing the office commenced by him; and he told his Excellency that should these recent movements at Paliano not cause the King of England to change his mind, he supposed that his most Christian Majesty was still of the opinion expressed by him to his Excellency about giving the Milanese, on the terms written by me to your Serenity; but perceiving the Pope's determination to fortify Paliano, his Holiness saying clearly that he did so in order that the King of France might have one foot on the kingdom of Naples, he, the Abbot, did not believe that the King of England would tolerate this, as were he at the commencement of his reigns (delli sui regni) to give scent to the world of his being so cowardly, he would put all his States into confusion, and in great part alienate the affection of his subjects; but that if the Pope could be induced to desist from fortifying the place, or at least to consign it to a person in the confidence of both parties, until the claims of Marc' Antonio Colonna had been heard, and sentence passed according to law about his State, he, Parpaglia, considered it certain that King Philip would lay aside all ill-will, and again confirm his first desire; but that if his most Christian Majesty continued to proceed advancing (as was understood to be the case), sending troops and other supplies for the Pope's service, his inference was that matters could but get from bad to worse.
The Constable replied, with many marks of mental perturbation, that the King of France could by no means fail defending those whom he had declared his friends in the treaty of truce; that if the King of England desisted from hostilities, his most Christian Majesty would do the like, but if he chose to prevent the fortification of Paliano, France could not fail to assist the Pope; and he then expatiated on the injustice of wishing to prevent the Pope from fortifying his own home (casa sua), and doing what he pleased there. To this the Abbot replied that what his Excellency said seemed true, but was contradicted by circumstances, because the sending Legates to treat the peace and the Council, and simultaneously to erect a fortress with the intention of attacking the kingdom of Naples, appeared to be facts at variance with each other. After many other remarks the Constable said, “The most Christian King very well knows that the Imperialists are preparing for war in every direction, but they may rest assured that they will find us in like manner more ready for them than they think;” so the Abbot added, “Monseigneur, as I see matters taking this course my stay here is superfluous, so with your good grace I shall return to Italy;” and thus, after the usual complimentary phrases, the Constable embraced and dismissed him.
Next day Parpaglia went to take leave of the Cardinal of Lorraine, and by the words of his right reverend Lordship he found him to be utterly opposed to the opinions of Montmorency, for he said to him that it would be well not to allow these matters to proceed, but to find some mode of adjustment, in favour of which he would not fail to exhort his most Christian Majesty; and when the Abbot told him they must desist from fortifying Paliano, the Cardinal said, “They are matters for mature consideration, and therefore I do not choose you to depart, but we will have another meeting.”
Thus the Abbot promised to do, and moreover said to him, “Monseigneur, great part of this sin rests on your shoulders, for it was not the office of a cardinal to go to Rome and form a league with the Pope and the Duke of Ferrara, for the purpose of making one of the sons of the most Christian King, King of Naples, this being the cause of all these disturbances;” to which the Cardinal replied, “It is true that I went to Rome and stipulated the league, but I did so at a time when the Emperor was the most Christian King's enemy, my duty then léading me to do whatever was for the service of my King; but now that matters are in another state, I shall exert myself to the utmost for the quiet of Christendom.”
The Spanish ships at Marseilles which had been released at the suit of the Imperial ambassador have now again been detained.
Morette, 12th July 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
July 13. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 6 B. 546. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
To-day at 4 p.m. the Pope sent for me; he said, “Loving the most illustrious Signory, as known to God, and also holding you in such account as we do, we choose to tell you some of our designs and conceits. We are not in a place whither we can call the Doge, or the Chiefs of the Ten, or the Senate, or the Grand Council, to lay before them our inmost thoughts. You here represent them all; to you we will tell what we design, and choose to tell it long before it may take place, that those lords, your masters, may see that from us you have always known what is passing, and all our thoughts much beforehand. We see the treacherous devices of those Imperialists (di costoro); we also consider their small forces, that being Lutherans and half Jews (e mezi giudei), they are odious in the face of heaven, and detested by mankind, as tyrants and insufferable. We have it almost within our reach to free the kingdom of Naples; the opportunity must not be neglected, to speak to you more clearly than we ever have done. The King of France is so obedient a son to us, and so anxious to do us pleasure, that he lately commissioned Cardinal Tournon and his ambassador here to assist us, not with a limited supply of money and troops, but with as much as we please, and as shall be needed, and in truth without his aid we should also have fared badly before now. Should the opportunity present itself we also believe that the most illustrious Signory will not fail (non mancherà), we say will not fail (dicemo che non mancherà), on perceiving matters so well arranged that they can take part in them gladly; and as it might be asked what benefit Venice is to derive from this undertaking, we, to speak freely with you, purpose making you masters of Sicily, which, if obtained, would be of more importance than the whole of the territory between your city and Constantinople. Sicily, as you know, besides so many other resources, was the granary of the Roman people, and if compelled to wage war, as we suspect, owing to the deceitful nature (per la natura et inganni) of these Imperialists, we, without the slightest scruple, by a legitimate process, and by a sentence so tremendous that it will darken the sun (e con una sentenza così tremenda che annuvolerà il sole), shall deprive the Emperor and the King of England, as our vassals who have perpetrated felony and rebellion, of all their realms, releasing the inhabitants from their oath of allegiance, giving part of their territories to those who shall occupy them, investing the King of France with part, and reserving part for my most illustrious Signory, namely, the coasts and ports held of yore by the Republic in Puglia, thus giving the Signory the means for making use of all the advantages (bellezze) and fertility of the kingdom of Naples, and we know that we can render no greater service to God, nor any greater satisfaction to the people there, who still remember your rule, (fn. 1) and in the centre of their hearts is engraved the image of St. Mark. Nothing could gratify us more than this, for we have always desired your greatness; and were I told that through this addition of a considerable part of the kingdom of Naples, the King of France would become very powerful and formidable, we should say that by us and by you the greatness of the King of France is less to be feared than that of the Emperor, by reason of his claims on our respective territories (li nostri comuni stati); but we tell you besides that, by giving this part of the kingdom to one of his sons, the King of France will in a very short time create an Italian king, as heretofore; and as must be your intention and ours, should you choose to take part in this (se voi vorrete mettervi la mano), the thing will doubtless succeed. By reason of the singular affection evinced towards us by the King of France, and which he continues to show us, we make sure of being able to persuade him to do what we have told you, namely, to get back all that was heretofore yours on the coast of Puglia, and the kingdom of Sicily besides; and we also believe it impossible for us to confer a greater benefit than this on the See Apostolic, because you having those harbours and coasts, and so much additional territory, will be by so much the more powerful and have greater means for defending the Popes, by preserving whom you will also preserve your own liberty, whereas at present if dependent on your assistance we should have to go half round the world (ch' adesso se vossamo aspettare aiuti da voi, bisogneria circondare mezo il mondo).
“Had it pleased the goodness of God to give us sufficient forces to enable us to act of ourselves, and gain the kingdom of Naples for St. Peter, we should not have need of anyone; our courage (animo) is greater than our forces, and we therefore had recourse to the King of France; and we have chosen to tell you as aforesaid, nor do we know for what purpose, save that we felt a worm within gnawing us (che ne rodea) not to speak freely and before the time, because, as we told you before, thus does one do by friends and those we love. Write this in such form as familiar to you, we not doubting that the whole will be kept very secret.”
I replied, that, as done by me always, I would write, not only the conceits, but so far as my memory served me the very words of his Holiness, and I thought fit to add that on the day before yesterday the whole Sacred College and the ambassadors departed joyfully, seeing him so entirely disposed towards peace and quiet, hoping that through the Cardinals appointed by him some good result might be obtained in accordance with his pious intention, and having so long resided in Venice no one could be a better witness than himself of how remote your Serenity was from ambition of additional territory. “Yes,” said the Pope, “but in matters of great importance one must rouse oneself (bisogna svegliarsi), and we, when a Cardinal, never sought anything else but to excite the Popes to make you great, and now that we can do it of ourselves we are encouraged so to do;” and with this he dismissed me. I rather hesitated to transmit these particulars by an express, but his Holiness having sent for me this day and spoken as he did, and being certain that he very well knows that from to-day until Saturday, the ordinary post day, it is a long while, and deeming it well for Princes to be forthwith informed of certain important requests about to be made them, I determined to despatch the present courier, Zuan Ponchino, to whom I have given 18 gold crowns, and your Serenity will be pleased to give him 10 more if he arrives at Venice by 9 a.m. on Thursday.
Rome, 13th July 1556.
July 14. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 6 B. 547. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
To-day at the 11th hour (11 a.m.) there assembled in the house of the Deacon (fn. 2) the right reverend De Bellai, five other cardinals, vidt., Carpi, Morone, Saraceno, Savello, and Santafiore, they having been appointed by the Pope to discuss the peace. The Duke of Paliano was likewise present and all the ambassadors, except the one from France, who is still infirm and suffering from gout, and the Ferrarese, who is ill of flux. I was summoned by a public cursitor to go to the said palace at the same hour, and when all were assembled, the right reverend Deacon commenced by saying that the College being aware of the fatal consequences of the war evidently in preparation between the Pope on one side and the Emperor and his son on the other, and which if once commenced would involve not only the princes of Italy, but all the Christian powers besides, and perhaps Sultan Soliman, who would not allow this opportunity to escape him; the Deacon, therefore, at the last general Congregation, besought the Pope in favour of peace and quiet, and his Holiness, adhering to his Christian and pious intention, not only assented to this request on the part of the College, but exhorted them to find means for stilling and pacifying everything, and that this was the cause for which the present assembly was held, that its members might give such advice as seemed fit to them for the common weal. Then turning towards the ambassadors of the Emperor and of the King of England, their sovereigns being the first and most interested, he prayed them to be good instruments for so holy a purpose; and to all the others he said that peace being what everybody must wish for, they also were not to fail proposing and counselling deliberately whatever might seem fit to each of them for the extinction of so important a conflagration as this would prove.
When he finished speaking thus, Cardinal Carpi (fn. 3) commenced saying that he left his house with much greater hope of obtaining his wish, which is for peace, than he has at present, having just met the Duke of Paliano, who told them all that the matter had advanced so far as to warrant its being considered the commencement of war; but nevertheless as this disagreement and these suspicions or offences had arisen between the Pope and the Emperor and his son, and as unfortunately the person who ought always to be the common father of all men, has become one of the parties, considering his good intention, he, Carpi, chooses to hope the best, and trusts greatly to the other side, the Emperor and the King of England, having shown many marks of their goodwill and desire for peace; nor did he see any better means for arriving at this good result than to request the Duke of Alva, who has such great authority in Italy, and from whom alone some catastrophe might be feared, in the name of the Sacred College of Cardinals, to suspend hostilities in case he meditated an attack, so that during this interval not only from hence at Rome, but from all the other princes and potentates of Italy, earnest application might be made to the Emperor and his son in favour of quiet.
This opinion was commended by all the other Cardinals, who spoke in rotation according to their grades; Cardinal Morone affirming that the Emperor and the King of England would never fail consenting to so pious an act. The Duke of Paliano, being then requested to speak, replied that he had been sent to listen and report to the Pope, and not to speak; and when the Imperial ambassador was about to open his lips, the Cardinal Deacon (De Bellai) said, “Allow me to utter a few words of great importance,” and then added, “I went to-day to the Cardinal de Tournon, the King's superintendent of affairs (sopraintendente delle cose del Re), that as the ambassador could not come he might be present here, but being unable to do so, he told me that in this Congregation, should I think it necessary, I was to say that the King cannot ever fail the Pope (should anyone choose to attack him), succouring him both with the fleet and with infantry (e con l'armata e con fanti), and with all his forces in Italy, and in short with whatever may be in his power, and that orders had been already given in case of need.” After these words the Imperial ambassador [the Marquis of Sarria] spoke, saying that the Emperor and the King his lords believing that in consequence of the recent events he was now out of Rome and at Monte Pulciano, according to the intention written by him, he has received no advices for many days, nor any order about negotiations from his court, nor had anything been communicated to him by the Duke of Alva, and that therefore he knew not what else to say save to promise that whatever may proceed from him will tend towards this aim at peace, which has been sought by him invariably hitherto; and in reply also to what the Deacon had said, in conclusion, he affirmed to everybody that the Emperor and the King were Princes of such a sort that never would they be moved to do anything by fear either of galleys, infantry, or money; though on the other hand their goodwill and desire to keep their subjects well satisfied by means of peace, and not to harass anyone, were indeed motives which they acknowledged; and that he chose to believe that the most Christian King, as a virtuous Prince, would neither break the truce nor his word.
The following words of the Florentine ambassador caused comment: “On my departure the Duke my lord charged me always to assure his Holiness that it was not only his wish but also his firm determination (risoluta opinione) to be the obedient son of this Holy See; he always writes to me thus, and I availing myself of the opportunity make the declaration in this right honourable Congregation, although there is no lack of malignants who disseminate the contrary.” It seemed to some persons that he spoke too freely in the presence of the ambassador of the Emperor and of the King of England, and the Cardinals alone then drew aside for awhile, and on their return Cardinal De Bellai, standing, again urged the ambassadors of the Emperor and the King of England to do their best for this peace, even at the risk of somewhat exceeding their commission, as in the long run (a lungo andare) they would perform an act worthy of praise and agreeable to their sovereigns, he himself occasionally when negotiating having done the like successfully, and to the satisfaction of his King.
The Marquis of Sarria replied, that in a matter of such great importance he could not venture to go beyond his orders; that by letter he would perform every good office, as he always had done; and that he was of opinion it might be rendered effectual by removing Garcilasso from the castle and consigning him (on receiving security) to him the Marquis, at his residence, (fn. 4) and also that Zuan Antonio de Tassis should either be set at liberty, or put at least in less close confinement, thus warranting some hope that matters might at length proceed towards the end desired by everybody; whereas, to say the truth, the rejection of these two demands would be interpreted in a very sinister form, both at the court of his Princes and by the Duke of Alva. All the Cardinals then prayed the Duke of Paliano to gratify the Marquis and the English ambassador, as this would be a great commencement, and whereby to soothe and quiet everything. The Duke replied that he dared not make such a proposal to the Pope, and that neither the Marquis nor Sir Edward Carne would tell their Princes to release state prisoners, even were they persons of greater importance than Garcilasso and Tassis, but that the Marquis should go and make his request to the Pope, who would perhaps grant it, or assign a reason for not doing so; the Duke declaring that his knowledge of the Pope's magnanimity and clemency enabled him to assert that were it possible to effect an adjustment, neither Garcilasso nor anyone else would receive injury. At length it was settled that the Pope's nephew should narrate the whole to his Holiness, and in the act of departure the Cardinal Deacon De Bellai said to me, “Believe me, lord ambassador, that I never speak anything but the truth. The King will have (Il Re haverà questo (sic) gagliarde forze) such powerful forces in Italy as to enable him not only to defend but to attack anyone.
Rome, 14th July 1556.
July 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 548. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Of the three individuals sentenced to death, only two were executed, but being of noble birth (ma essendo nobili), it was granted them as an especial favour not to be put to death at Tyburn (al luogo publico), but on Tower Hill, the place of execution for chief lords and gentlemen.
By their dying speech delivered to the populace as usual, they seemed to make so Christian and Catholic an end (di morir cusì Christiana et Catholicamente), that neither greater faith, nor more true and certain knowledge of God, could have been desired in anyone, so that not only were the people greatly affected, but also many noblemen and persons of quality who had flocked thither; no one having been able from compassion to restrain their tears, whilst all, both good and bad, admitted that the execution was just and holy.
The capital punishment of Lord La Warre and of the other three convicted criminals is supposed to be put off from day to day for the sake of giving them more time to repent and reconcile themselves to God, and for the salvation of their souls, to which above all the Queen wishes the greatest attention to be paid, rather than because either they or others may hope for pardon, as the persons aforesaid neither by their own deserts, nor through the intercession of persons in great favour with the Queen, and very dear to her, have been able to obtain it. According to report, although it seems improbable, Carew will adjust his affairs by payment of a fine, some persons telling me that he has already done so, by agreeing to disburse 2,000l. sterling. Cheke has again demanded a conference with the theologians, after having lately dismissed them, persisting obstinately in his heretical opinions, which, unless he retract them, will cause him likewise to be burned in public.
Francesco Piamontese has returned from Brussels, but without any letters from the King; his Majesty having subsequently despatched Don Francisco de Mendoza, esquire carver (gientilhomo della bocca), who arrived four days ago. As yet his mission is not known to have been for any other purpose than that of visiting the Queen, and of making known to her his Majesty's great wish to return; apologizing for the delay on account of the very momentous impediments which daily cross him, assuring the Queen, however, although he will no longer bind himself to any stated time or day, but that it will be soon; he having already ordered the stable department (la stalla) and a great part of his household to move and proceed in advance. Subsequently the said Don Francisco had private audience of the Queen, which has yet more increased the previous opinion about a secret treaty and negotiation (la opinione di pratica et maneggio occulto); nor hitherto can it, through any channel, be ascertained, neither can I as yet learn, whether the despatch for Rome, on which Cardinal Pole was lately so intent, has been brought back by Francesco Piamontese, or sent forward on its way.
Lord Maltravers, a youth two-and-twenty years old, one of the most noble and virtuous in this kingdom, son of the Earl of Arundel, (fn. 5) has been appointed by the Queen to visit the King and Queen of Bohemia, in her name.
The Venetian merchants established here came to me to-day, to obtain from the Lords of the Council the license to continue sending their woollens across the sea to Flanders, for conveyance thence by the carriers, as usual, to Venice; a general order and prohibition having been issued lately against the exportation and shipment of similar goods, especially for Flanders, by any person; this being done, they say, at the suit of the English merchants adventurers, as they alone of their countrymen trade in Flanders by special privilege. As I do not think it for the Republic's interest to fail supporting the merchants, I shall endeavour to have them relieved from this grievance, although some have made the attempt privately, and not only they and all the other Italian nations received a flat refusal, but likewise the Easterlings (Osterlini, Hansards) here, who have a privilege exempting them from any impediment at all times, which will render the matter more difficult, though no pains shall be spared.
Your Serenity's creation (fn. 6) has rejoiced the most illustrious Legate Pole, the most of any of these royal counsellors, both by reason of his affection for the Republic, and on account of his especial regard for your family, by reason of the eminent worth and goodness of the right reverend Monsignor Priuli, whom he has so singularly and heartily loved and esteemed.
London, 14th July 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
July 15. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 6 B. 549. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
In a long conversation held by me with the Duke of Paliano, he said that the Imperialists who had been arrested gave very good advice to the Duke of Alva, recommending him to come speedily by way of the Campagna, with 10,000 Italian infantry and 1,000 horse; to send 4,000 by way of the Abruzzi to seize Tivoli, and to embark 2,500 Spaniards on board 45 galleys for the capture of Nettuno. He then added, “They will no longer take Tivoli, as we have garrisoned it; and still less can they now rob us of Civitavecchia, though they might have done so at the commencement. My brother the Cardinal will come with troops and other assistance, nor can we then remain always on the defensive. Should the Duke of Alva delay the attack until farther orders from his Princes (as said in Congregation), an arrangement might be effected by discussing the matter, unless they are quite demented, though the arrest of Don Garcilasso, his relation and friend, might render him precipitate (lo potrebbe fare precipitare).”
With all this talk of peace, the other day at dinner, when conversing with Cardinal Saraceni, (fn. 7) the Pope kindled spontaneously (s'accese di sua posta), and turning towards the Roman cavaliers (i cavalieri Romani) said aloud, “These sorry iniquitous Moriscos (Marani) were plotting to give Rome another sack, as if this city were one of their forests, in which to come and fell timber periodically, after a lapse of so many years. What they did heretofore does not suffice them, and but for Lautrec they would still be here. They purposed marching so many infantry one way, and so many the other, not knowing that we are provided, that we have no lack either of troops, money, or friends. Give sack to this city? We will give it to Naples our country, and will go there in person, with a crucifix before us. We intend to have that fiendish letter (quell' indiavolata lettera) printed, that everybody may know their treacherous proceedings. They have confessed everything, and their lives are at our mercy, but we choose to know more; and do you, Duke” (addressing me [Duke of Paliano]), “leave those rogues with their arms on the cord [of the strappado] until they name their accomplices, for we choose to know them, and let everyone beware of mischance (et ognuno si guardi dalla mala ventura).”
Rome, 15th July 1556.
July 17. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 6 B. 550. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
To-day, after my audience of the Pope, the Duke of Paliano told me that the day before yesterday he received a letter from the Duke of Alva, brought by his captain, Don Geronimo de Urea, saying that couriers, and lately the postmaster, having been arrested, letters also being opened, he sends to complain of this, and to know what has become of the letters. The letter was addressed “Al muy Ill. Senor el Senor Conde de Montorio,” and signed “Alli piaceri di V. S. el Duque de Alva.” By the Pope's order the Duke of Paliano replied that, since his governorship, neither had couriers been arrested nor letters opened; and that if the affair of Terracina was alluded to, he had nothing farther to say, as he knew him to be well acquainted with it, and that by this time he would have heard the whole; he signing himself, “Alli piaceri di V. S. il Duca di Paliano,” and the address being “Al molto Illre. Sigre. il Sigr. Duca di Alva.” The Duke of Paliano also told me that at the first examination Don Garcilasso seemed to jest, but perceiving subsequently that they were carefully confined, “he saw that he was in some danger. He confessed to what I have already told you, and the other day he endeavoured to send out a letter in order, if possible, to make his escape, nor would I tell the Pope this, to avoid exasperating his Holiness yet more, and lest he desire me to put him in a worse and more confined place, it sufficing me to have provided against the possibility of his flight. The postmaster, Gio. Anto Tassis, is the only one who has been racked; (fn. 8) Capilupi confessed to having heard the same things, but merely by way of conversation.”
I thanked his Excellency for this confidential announcement, and he then spoke about the quarantine to which it would be necessary to subject couriers coming from Venice, on account of the plague there.
Rome, 17th July 1556.
July 18. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 6 B. 551. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Cardinal Tournon quitted Rome this morning. Yesterday he told me that perhaps elsewhere he will be a better instrument for aiding universal quiet, and that he purposes writing freely to the King how matters are proceeding, and performing good offices for the peace. He says that those who tell the Pope that there is no stir of importance at Naples are answered by him that these are deceits, and that they do so to find him unprepared; and he bursts forth, using strange language against the Emperor and the King of England; but that he (Cardinal Tournon) has told the Imperialists that they will have to listen to similar words daily, and must bear with them, having regard for the Pope's age, and for the dignity with which he is invested; and that as to fortifying Paliano, the Emperor ought to be glad of it, because it will thus be a stronghold against the See Apostolic, and that were he in the Pope's place by no means would he have such a fortress, as the Church can have no greater enemies than fortified places near at hand. He told me that he had let the Duke of Paliano know that the truce maintains him, whereas war deprives him of his duchy. The departure of so sage and good a personage, and chief minister of his most Christian Majesty, causes much comment and talk at this court. The majority of the cardinals and of the court regret his departure, it seeming to them thus to lose the best peace minister in this city.
M. de Rambouillet, chamberlain of his most Christian Majesty, has arrived, announcing the constant determination of the King to assist the Pope, and he says Cardinal Caraffa will leave the court on the 8th or 10th instant; and letters from Genoa state that at Marseilles troops were being embarked for Paliano, and that on account of the plague the Genoese government had put Venice, Padua, and Marseilles under quarantine.
The letter of the Duke of Alva to the Duke of Paliano, and the mission of Don Juan de Urea, so enraged the Pope that on the day before yesterday at table, and afterwards to Cardinal S. Jacomo, in Congregation of the Inquisition, he repeated almost the same words against the Emperor, his son, and the Duke of Alva, as he is accustomed to utter, and which have been so often written.
Don Diego la Chaux (Lasso), agent of the King of the Romans, has had leave to quit Rome to go to some baths. He made the demand of the Pope at table, and encouraged by his Holiness' kind words he chose to commence speaking to him about Don Garcilasso, but the Pope told him to hold his tongue and go away, and as he delayed doing so his Holiness rose from the table, saying, “If thou wilt not begone, I myself will depart” (se non voi andartene tù, anderò io), and he withdrew into the chamber. I understand that this Don Diego has already received 4,000 crowns revenue in Spain from his Holiness, but saddled with a pension of 2,000 to Don Alfonso Caraffa. Don Garcilasso also obtained a “reversion” in Spain of some 2,000 crowns, free from any pension, on which account they yet more resent his conduct.
A report circulates here, and many persons believe it, that the Imperialists have gained (guadagnato) Cardinal Farnese and Duke Ottavio by restoring Piacenza, but keeping the castle for themselves, about which, I having asked Cardinal St. Angelo, (fn. 9) and other dependants of the family, they evince great surprise; and yesterday in consistory, in reply to the Pope's enquiries, the Cardinal replied that he knew nothing whatever about this, and did not believe it. His Holiness said, “Enough! whether done or about to be done, we shall take it amiss, and will punish all the parties (e la puniremo sopra ognano).” To this Cardinal St. Angelo rejoined that he could not command either Cardinal Farnese or Duke Ottavio; and that whatever might happen he ought not to suffer for it; and last evening he wrote a long account of this discourse to Cardinal Farnese at Parma, exhorting him to quit that city, as his stay there is the cause of these reports.
The printed bull, depriving Ascanio and Marc' Antonio Colonna of their estates, has been published, and it is said that the “auditor della camera” has commanded the generals of the religious orders to have it placed on the gates of their churches in Naples.
Camillo Orsini has arrived on a call from the Pope, who has assigned him the apartment in the palace formerly occupied by Cardinal Pisani. It is not known whether he will remain to serve his Holiness. These Romans seem to place great trust in him. (fn. 10)
Rome, 18th July 1556.
July 19. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 552. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
The day before yesterday the King and Queen of Bohemia were met by the King of Spain, at a village half a league beyond Louvain, where his Majesty waited for them, which being heard by the King of Bohemia, who was travelling in a coach with his consort, having had two fits of his usual malady, (fn. 11) he got on horseback immediately and came on in advance towards King Philip, on approaching whom he dismounted, and they embraced each other, and then proceeded together to meet the Queen, whose brother having fraternally and affectionately saluted her, the brothers-in-law remounted their horses, and on the road towards Louvain the King of Spain wished to place the King of Bohemia, who would not consent to it, on the right hand. Having thus entered Louvain they passed the night there; and early next morning set out for this town, placing the Queen between them, she also coming on horseback; and they arrived here at noon with two thousand horse, part having come with the King of Bohemia, the rest having gone forth with the King of Spain. The townspeople sent a doctor (of laws) to the gate, who, in the name of the community, congratulated King Maximilian on this coming, receiving his Highness with a great number of lighted torches, according to the custom of these provinces; and the Emperor having sent to tell the King and Queen of Bohemia that as the hour was late they were to dine first, and that he would see them afterwards, they dismounted at the palace, where apartments had been prepared for them, and the Queens Eleanor and Maria, with the Duchesses of Lorraine and Arschot, and other chief personages who were waiting, went down to the foot of the stair to receive their Majesties, and placed between them the Queen of Bohemia, with whom and with the King their nephew they performed such offices as became their close relationship. After dinner the King of Bohemia went to fetch the King of Spain, and the two together took the Queen, with whom they went to the Emperor, and his Imperial Majesty having come down into a chamber on the ground floor, he first embraced his son-in-law and then his daughter, having doffed his bonnet and keeping it always in his hand during their conversation, of which not one word was audible; and then all the chief personages who had come with King Maximilian having kissed the Emperor's hand, his Imperial Majesty called King Philip to him, and having said a few words to everybody, dismissed them. Yesterday afternoon the King and Queen went to the Emperor to talk together; none of the ministers being present; the interview was brief, but after leaving the Emperor, the King of Spain remained a long while with the Queen his sister.
As yet they are not known to have commenced any negotiation, and the provost of Trent, who is the confidential servant (intimo servitore) of the King of the Romans, and has familiar access at all hours to the chamber of the King of Bohemia, came to tell me, in strong language, that the report circulated by these Spaniards of his Highness having come hither spontaneously, was false, and that he had been induced to make this journey because the Emperor, both by letter and by words, which by his orders were repeated to him, had let his Highness know that he gave manifest proof to him, the Emperor, and to the world, of bearing his kindred (il suo sangue) ill-will. With regard to private disputes he said it would be easy to adjust them in the few days during which his Highness purposed remaining here; but respecting the exchange of these States of Flanders for the Tyrol, Carinthia, and Stiria, and touching the dignity of the Empire, he vowed that no proposal would be made on the part of the King of the Romans and of the King of Bohemia, though he thought it possible, owing to the strange humours of Germany, and the union and projects of the Pope and the King of France, that the Emperor and his son might condescend to propose and settle things of that sort, and something besides, such as no one had an idea of, but he would not specify what it was. The Spaniards assert positively that the Emperor and King Philip will make this exchange of territory, and that the Emperor has written to the King of Bohemia that it would be well for both their Majesties to resign the Imperial dignities to the kings their sons, thus doing honour to both one and the other, and retaining them in their family, notwithstanding opponents whose especial object it is to deprive the house of Hapsburg of those prerogatives; and that the King of Spain will consent to the King of Bohemia being Emperor, provided he elect him King of the Romans. (fn. 12)
The French ambassador has taken an opportunity to say that should the King of Spain purpose making a marriage between the Archduke Ferdinand and the sister of the Queen of England, his most Christian Majesty will give the daughter of the Queen of Scotland, (fn. 13) betrothed to the Dauphin, to Lord Courtenay, to prevent the House of Austria from establishing itself in that kingdom.
The Imperial ambassador in France writes that all visible signs show it to be the intention of the King and the principal ministers, with the exception of the Constable, to break the truce, and on these borders we hear daily of fresh reinforcements being sent thither, Marienburg having been lately provided with a variety of stores; so war is expected shortly, and their Majesties here have given orders for six thousand pioneers to go to Hesdin-fort to complete the unfinished works there. I have heard from a person of quality that yesterday Don Ruy Gomez held a very long conference with the French ambassador, exhorting him most lovingly and earnestly to mediate in favour of peace rather than of war, as indicated by his mode of proceeding, offering to induce the King to appoint commissioners well disposed towards the peace, and that if his most Christian Majesty would do the like, its conclusion might be hoped for; but he comprehended that his expressions, instead of being reciprocated heartily, were answered by ceremonious phrases. A gentleman in the service of the Cardinal of Pisa has arrived here with letters to the Nuncio, for the purpose of finding a lodging for his right reverend Lordship, but although, through the ministers, the Nuncio announced the news to their Majesties, this coming has not greatly rejoiced the court, owing to the determination made in France to send the Gascons in Tuscany to serve the Pope, although under pretence of their garrisoning Mont' Alcino and other places; and also because the Cardinal's letter is dated from Switzerland.
The Grand Conservator of the Order of Rhodes, who resided here with their Majesties, has died, as also the governor of the Prince of Spain (Don Carlos), to fill which post the members of the Council had purposed sending Don Bernardino de Mendoza, but subsequently determined to appoint one Garcia de Toledo, who has the care of the Princess. The plague has ceased entirely, but the scarcity of all the necessaries of life, owing to the very great number of persons who have accompanied the King and Queen of Bohemia, and those from every part of these provinces who have come to see these six crowned heads together, is such that everybody finds the necessary expenditure unbearable, as it in truth is.
Brussels, 19th July 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
July 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 553. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Abbot has again conferred with the Cardinal of Lorraine, who told him that he had communicated to his most Christian Majesty what they discussed together, and that the King commended the office performed by the Abbot, whom he therefore exhorted to persevere, assuring him that he would find his most Christian Majesty excellently disposed to the quiet of Christendom; the Cardinal adding, “Lord Abbot, when giving the State of Milan to the Duke of Savoy, would not the King of England consent to the most Christian King's giving Savoy to the Duke of Orleans, and to his annexing Piedmont to the crown of France?” The Abbot replied that to make such a proposal would be tantamount to disturbing the present negotiation, as the Imperialists demonstrate clearly that one of the chief causes to induce them to form this resolve would be that of preventing the most Christian King from uniting either Savoy or Piedmont to his crown; they, on the contrary, choosing the Duke of Orleans to acknowledge their tenure from the empire (ch' el Duca di Orliens riconosca quel stato dall' Imperio). The Cardinal repeated that the most Christian King would never depart from what was fair, but that it was requisite for his Majesty to see that the Imperialists did not molest the Pope, he being determined not to abandon his Holiness; in addition to which the King of France wished the Pope to be included in this negotiation. When Parpaglia inquired how this could be effected, the Cardinal said the Emperor should make the same reply to the Legate Motula as his most Christian Majesty had made to Caraffa with regard to approving the Pope's good-will about the Council; and that as to the peace, such difficulties as remained unsettled (irressolute) should be referred to his Holiness. Thereupon the Abbot inquired if the Cardinal of Lorraine wished him to write to Brussels, and he said that it would be well. The Cardinal asked whether the Abbot believed that the King of England would consent to place the Republic of Siena under the protection of the Church, like Bologna; and Parpaglia's reply was that he did not know the will of the King of England, but he thought if the King of France would restore Corsica, he, on his part, would satisfy his most Christian Majesty about the affairs of Tuscany. To this the Cardinal rejoined that nothing must be said about Corsica; and this point he considered the most difficult in the present negotiation, as the King of France would not object to refer the affair of Metz for decision to the Imperial Diet, as also with regard to other places occupied by France in Flanders, some compromise (compositione) might be devised, but Corsica would be the most difficult to adjust; and, in conclusion, he said he had spoken as of himself, and left it to the Abbot to write to Brussels as seemed fit to him. Parpaglia tells me that nothing of importance can be effected unless by the Constable, wherefore it would be expedient to mitigate his Excellency's [ill] will (animo) by some better hope of ransoming the prisoners, but that it was above all necessary for the Emperor and the King of England not to show that they held this Paliano in such great account, as it was notorious everywhere that his most Christian Majesty had resolved to defend the Pope.
M. de Gordes, who had been sent thither about the ransom of the prisoners, was informed on behalf of the Emperor and the King of England that it would be well to suspend the negotiation for two months, during which interval thought would be had for fresh means, not only for their release, but for some arrangement whereby to bring about a good peace, which would smooth all difficulties.
Don Ruy Gomez, discussing the same topic with Gordes, told him that for certain important business which concerned his King he thought of going to Spain, and purposed going through France, hoping that his most Christian Majesty would allow him to do so, with which opportunity he would offer him such terms of peace that he felt sure they could not be refused; which having been announced by Gordes to his most Christian Majesty, he desired him to come away from the Imperial court instantly.
Paris, 20th July 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]


  • 1. The occupation by the Venetians of part of the Neapolitan territory, from the year 1495 until 1509, is narrated by the historian Pietro Bembo.
  • 2. “Decano,” the Senior Cardinal of the Sacred College.
  • 3. Ridolfo Pio, whose family had held the principality of Carpi; he died in 1564, in his 65th year, leaving a fine library and collections of statues and pictures, and was one of the most virtuous men of his day. (See Cardella, vol. 4, pp. 173–177.)
  • 4. The imprisonment of Don Garcilasso de la Vega is mentioned by the English ambassador Sir Edward Carne in the Foreign Calendar, date 3rd August 1556. Amongst the other Imperialists then in prison at Rome were Giulio Cesarini, Camillo Colonna, the Archbishop of Taranto, Hippolito Capilupo, and the postmaster, Giovanni Antonio de Tassis.
  • 5. Henry Fitzalan, 18th Earl of Arundel. (See Burke's Extinct Peerages.)
  • 6. Doge Francesco Venier died on the 2nd of June 1556, and was succeeded by Lorenzo Priuli, whose election took place on the 14th June 1556.
  • 7. Gianmichele Saraceni, a Neapolitan, made cardinal by Julius III. on the 20th December 1551. (See Cardella, vol. 4, p. 309.)
  • 8. In a letter dated Rome, 3rd August 1556, and addressed by Sir Edward Carne to Queen Mary, it is seen that although not put to the strappado, “Garcilasso being fed with salt meat was kept without drink for three days to make him confess the names.” (See Foreign Calendar, Mary, No. 522, p. 242.)
  • 9. Ranuccio Farnese, younger brother of Alessandro, Cardinal, Prime Minister of Paul III.
  • 10. This popularity did not last long, and the destruction of the Farnese gardens and other vineyards, as also of buildings in Rome at this period by Camillo Orsini, caused the Romans later in the year to regret the humanity of Câesar Borgia in not strangling Camillo in 1502 (he being then ten years old), when his father Paolo was put to death in Castel de la Pieve, as recorded by Machiavelli. Camillo Orsini was the intimate friend of Cardinal Pole, one of whose letters to Cardinal Alessandro Farnese contains a long lament for the loss of his trees. It is, however, without any date of time or place, and solely through the aid of Navagero's despatches have I been able to fix them.
  • 11. Query epilepsy. The ambassador, Paolo Tiepolo, in his “report” of the King of the Romans, A.D. 1557, said of the King of Bohemia, “Egli patiscé di una sincope ò mancamento di virtù, che alle volte gli viene.” (See Alberi, series 1, vol. 3, p. 151.)
  • 12. Et che 'l Re di Boemia sia Imperatore, pur che lo elega Re di Romani.
  • 13. Mary Queen of Scots had been affianced to the Dauphin in the year 1548. (See L'Art de Vérifier les Dates.)