Venice: August 1556, 1-15

Pages 551-569

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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August 1556, 1–15

Aug. 1. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 6 B. 565. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
To-day I went by appointment to the Pope, between 3 and 4 p.m., and as he had kept me waiting for an hour, during which he was reposing, immediately on my entering the presence chamber he addressed me thus: “Excuse me, for as we do not sleep at night, we are compelled to rest by day; the heat, and our troubles, owing to the malignity of these traitors, are so great that they deprive us of our sleep by night. Had not the Almighty helped us, this Cornia would have succeeded in perpetrating the greatest act of treason imaginable, as it entailed the change of state.
Their plots and acts of treachery have been discovered; the citadel of Nettuno was recovered immediately; those poisoners (venefici) have been executed, and these other assassins arrested; and Ascanio puts the seal to everything. We may rest quite assured that the evil they omit to do proceeds from their inability to do it, but we neglect no means. We understand that in Flanders they have practised (praticato) with your ambassador, and not satisfied with that they have sent an envoy (fn. 1) (un huomo) to Venice, who went first to the Duke of Ferrara, but we know that you are sage, and conversant with their tyrannical acts. When the Emperor chose to cross into Provence [A.D. 1536] we were in Venice, (fn. 2) and went to visit Don Lopez de Soria, who was ill, as he was our friend, and we had known him when he was in the service of the Catholic King, and in his house we found Don Luis de Avila, who was sent by the “Tyrant” to the Signory to treat a defensive league, (fn. 3) which meant that you were to defend and secure his States, that he might go into Provence to beat the King of France, and on his return requite your merits by seizing your territory. We remember that to this proposal the Signory replied that the treaty of Bologna which they stipulated with him had been observed, and that they would continue to observe it, nor would they have any other treaty. We are of opinion that in like manner at present you will know how to regulate yourselves, nor will you trust to their promises, for the vespers of the Papal states would be the eve of your holiday; and if you think otherwise you deceive yourself, their tyranny is but too manifest; they are people who come one knows not whence (sono genti che non si sa di che luogo); they are endowed neither with goodness nor valour, nor any quality fitting them to rule a castle, and they lay claim to the whole world being theirs; your cities, the cities of the Church, and Rome itself, they call theirs.”
The Pope then repeated what he has so often said against the Emperor, his son, and the whole Spanish nation, and he moreover again said that their procedure was rebellion, as they failed towards their prince; that he was their lord, both as Pope and master of the kingdom of Naples; and here he took a copper casket, in which he keeps the recognition made by the King of England for the investiture of the fief of the kingdom of Naples, stamped with a large golden seal, and threw it out (la cacciò fuori), making my secretary read it, the document purporting in short that Philip acknowledged the investiture of that kingdom from the mere grace and liberality (dalla pura gratia e liberalità) of the See Apostolic, naming the favours of Julius II., and saying on oath that he will always be mindful of them, and that he sends that patent (patente) to the most holy Paul IV., in testimony of this his recognition.
When the secretary had finished reading it the Pope said, “We have shown it to you that you may be able to bear witness to it to the Signory, and that it may be seen of what sort these traitors are. We have borne with them with very great patience, from our anxiety (gelosia) to justify ourselves before God and the world, including most especially my Signory of Venice, against the charge of being so martial as to wish for war unless provoked and compelled; but we have not chosen to be so inert as to remain unprovided, lest the times of Pope Clement be renewed in ours, sunt enim assueti his proditionibus et his vinculis, in which case you also would fare badly. We compare the body politic (li stati) to musical concord (un armonia), nor can one State be touched without putting them all out of tune, and Italy is so afflicted that the dismemberment of one State, even of the small ones, would endanger the rest; so we would hazard all we have, not only for the Signory of Venice, but for any other Prince and petty Baron of Italy whatever. Until now we have never demanded a league, nor anything else of you, merely laying before you the common peril, hoping indeed that, nobis etiam, tacentibus, you would perceive the opportunity for rendering service to God by defending the Church, the universal mother, freeing Italy from tyrants, and rendering yourselves glorious, as becoming your valour and goodness, and as was done by your ancestors, by which means you will profit yourselves and all your posterity. The King of France is our good son, and in truth the first-born of this See Apostolic, nor will he fail us, even should he have to come in person. You have so great a part in Italy that with one single finger you will make the scale turn on whichever side you please; should you make it go down on the good side, blessed be ye; if on the other, you will have the reward you deserve, namely, the ruin of your State. For the present we pray you to regulate yourselves well, as by doing so you assist us to establish our affairs. The Duke of Alva has sent to us the Count of S. Valentino, a relation of ours in the female line, to whom we were unable to give audience until yesterday by reason of our many occupations. He complained of these arrests made by us, but we are of a contrary opinion, for we would have done the like by the tyrants their Princes. He gave us a writing about certain frivolous matters, which we will answer expressly in due season, and cause you to receive a copy of it for transmission to the Signory, and will do the like with regard to what shall take place, so that by perceiving the course of events they may provide for their need. Our wish has been, and is, for peace, but when an enemy does what he can to injure us, though unable to accomplish it, the act must nevertheless be resented. We cannot trust them; we would rather trust the Turk. We know them, and will tell you that they bear you no better will than they do us; and rely on this, for we know the fact, they try all means to make themselves masters of Italy. They are treating with the Farneses to bring them to their allegiance; we do not know what will take place. We believe, indeed, that the spiritual and temporal interests of that family in our territory will prevent its members from stipulating the agreement.” And then, having again told me to pray your Serenity to regulate yourself well, and not to lose the opportunity, the Pope dismissed me.
Rome, 1st August 1556.
Aug. 1. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 6 B. 566. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The most Christian King's secretary, M. de Buecchiée (sic), has arrived from the French court with letters dated the 19th ult., and on Thursday afternoon he kissed his Holiness' foot, being graciously received and caressed. The Duke of Paliano told my secretary that Buichié (S. Fermo ?) announces the goodwill of the King, both with regard to peace, as also his determination to assist the Pope should he be molested by the Imperialists, and that he had therefore detained the Legate [Cardinal Caraffa] until the arrival at the Imperial court of the Cardinal of Pisa, to see if any good could be effected. Yesterday Cardinal Sermoneta told my secretary that his brother wrote to him from France that the King gave the Pope a diamond worth about 12,000 crowns, and that he had it taken to Cardinal Caraffa by the Constable, saying that as that stone was the most durable of any, so would the King's promise and determination to run one and the same chance with his Holiness be adamantine (così la fede del Re e la volontà di correre un' istessa fortuna con Sua Santità saria adamantina). Cardinal Sermoneta is of opinion that Cardinal Caraffa will have left the French court immediately on hearing of the arrest of Don Garcilasso. Sermoneta also said that had Beucchiè (M. de S. Fermo) (fn. 4) found Cardinal Tournon here he would not have let him depart, as he brought him letters from the King and the Constable telling him to remain, they having also written to the Pope and to the Duke of Paliano to make use of Cardinal Tournon, as he was worth more than all the other ministers in his Holiness' service (perchè valeva più, che quanti altri ministri potesse havere). Cardinal Sermoneta added that Cardinal Tournon departed because he did not choose to assent to a rupture without the King's express commission, not choosing in this his old age that it could be said he had been the cause of the King's breaking the truce. In conclusion, the secretary having asked Cardinal Sermoneta about the affairs of the Farneses, he replied that the negotiation with the Imperialists was quite certain, and that if not concluded it would proceed from the difficulty of finding means to make the parties trust one another, and not because Cardinal Farnese was averse to it.
Rome, 1st August 1556.
Aug. 1. Original Letter Book, Vol. 7, III. B., p. 110, Venetian Archives. 567. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Council of Ten.
During this day's conversation with the Pope, he told me he was “advised” from Flanders that the Emperor and the King of England had been profuse in their caresses and promises to your Ambassador, but that he answered them, that the Signory took it much amiss that their Majesties should wage war on the Pope; and his Holiness said that he thanked your Sublimity, and considered himself under an obligation to you.
Rome, 1st August 1556.
Aug. 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 568. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Cardinal of Pisa is waiting at Mezières for instructions from Cardinal Caraffa, who has sent the Gascon Captain Cencio to him to tell his right reverend Lordship to go to Lyons, from which place they will proceed together to Rome, and Caraffa says that Motula's retreat was made by order of the Duke of Paliano.
Besides the three proposals made by Caraffa to his most Christian Majesty, he has also required him to keep 10,000 Switzers; but the Legate is very doubtful about the reply, as the Constable shows himself averse to these concessions, assuring him, however, that the King will not desert the Pope, though those (chi) who have hitherto evinced most haste fo rthe war exhort him to persist in his demand, as the King will not allow him to depart dissatisfied. The decision will be delayed for some days to await advices from Cardinal Tournon; and in addition to this it does not seem reasonable that before he gets back his son the Constable should form any fresh resolve which might be prejudicial to him.
Paris, 2nd August 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Aug. 4. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 6 B. 569. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Imperial ambassador [Marquis Sarria] having several times within the last few days demanded of the Pope in person leave to quit this city and withdraw to Siena by order of his Princes, he was answered that his Holiness chose this request to be made in Consistory, or else in a congregation; so last Sunday the underwritten cardinals, the greater part being Imperialists, were called (chiamati) to dine with his Holiness, namely, Carpi, Morone, Saraceno, Savello, Pacheco, Medici, Mignanelli, Trani, Reumano, (fn. 5) Sermoneta, and Simoncelli, the Duke of Paliano being also with them, and the ambassador likewise. When the tables were removed and withdrawn (levate e retirate), the Pope desired the ambassador to propose his departure, and that all the cardinals should give their opinion. All the Imperialists counselled the Pope not to let him go away, as during these present events the departure of an ambassador would be considered a matter of great importance. Sermoneta in his turn (al luogo suo) said that if Sarria was ordered to depart for the performance of some other mission, he approved of the aforesaid counsel, but that if the order was given for the sole purpose of removing him from Rome, he did not think it for the Pope's dignity to detain him. The Pope approved Sermoneta's opinion, and having withdrawn into his chamber with the Duke, told the ambassador alone that if he was ordered to depart for the purpose of quitting Rome without being employed on another mission, he would give him leave, although his presence was very agreeable to him (sebene molto volontieri lo vedea), and his wish being that he should remain. The ambassador said that he took the leave, and would again inspect his commission better, in order, moreover, if not at variance with his sovereign's orders, to comply with the desire evinced by his Holiness for him to remain.
On the morrow Marquis Sarria returned to the Pope, and told him that after mature consideration of his commissions he could not do less than depart, with the good favour of his Holiness, who, having again confirmed the leave, dismissed him very graciously, and with great demonstration of remaining satisfied with his service. On hearing this I visited him before his departure. He received me joyfully. He said he will soon depart (leaving, however, his household here), as commissioned by his Princes, for Siena, awaiting there the result of present events; should they take a good turn, he would come back, and if not, he will go whither commanded; that he could not in honour remain here, being deprived of his post office, (fn. 6) his letters being intercepted, and report being made to him daily of much language very unbecoming the dignity and grade (professione) of his masters; that nothing less became the Emperor than the epithet of “heretic,” or that of “simpleton” (dapoco), as applied to Philip, and that these were the least abusive and defamatory words uttered against them; that the Emperor's worth, life, and character were well known to me, I having been so long a while ambassador with him, (fn. 7) and that he assured me on the word of a gentleman that all the paternal virtues abounded in the King his son, and that he would prove worthy of such a father; that he was slow in giving way to anger or disgust (noia) towards anyone, but when he formed a decision it was immutable, although it might endanger all his realms, and that he prayed God the Court of Rome might not have proof of his resolute and steady nature; that he (Sarria) yesterday spoke with the Countess, the mother of the Duke of Paliano, telling her that the Pope's obstinacy would be his death, should things go wrong, as they must, and that her son would be deprived of the duchy of Paliano, the stones, and yet more human nature, forbidding that an ancient estate should without reason be taken from its natural lords and given to others; that Cardinal Caraffa, were he to succeed the present Pope, would scarcely tolerate it, and that they ought therefore to accept the offer made them of as much and more territory in the kingdom of Naples, leaving Paliano to Marc' Antonio, thus keeping her son loyal to the Emperor, his natural sovereign, removing the cause of war, and lengthening the days of the Pope, on whom the whole fortune of her family depended; and that they should remember that the Imperialists had 15,000 infantry, the greater part well-paid veterans, and 3,000 horse, besides as many Germans as they pleased. He also told her that they ought not to have acted so disrespectfully against Garcilasso, a public minister, and that if they considered themselves wronged, they should have sent him back to his Sovereigns with the letters, requiring them to punish him, as was done heretofore by King Francis of France with regard to a Fleming, who, as ambassador from the Emperor, purposed seizing a certain fortress in his kingdom, on the borders of Picardy. Sarria also said that the Countess thanked him, saying she knew it was but too true, and that the Duke her son would accede to anything, but that the Pope was of such a nature that he could not be spoken to, and that he insisted on the Duke's retaining this dignity. To this Sarria replied that the Pope was a worthy and sage man, and were the axe laid to the root he would always listen to advice and regard it. To lay “the axe to the root” would be not to give ear to Zuan della Casa, to an Aldobrandini, and to a Bozzuto, (fn. 8) all outlaws and desperate characters.
The Marquis also said: “To avoid war we offered the new Duke of Paliano as compensation an equal amount of territory, more valuable, in the kingdom of Naples, and if this did not please him to leave him Paliano provided the fortress were destroyed, or else to place the fortress in the hands either of Ferrante Sanguini or Gio. Bernardo Carbone, who are the Pope's very near relations, and in his close confidence, to make sure of its not being made over to the French. What more could be done; what more could we offer them? These terms, which were drawn up by us, the Duke of Alva did not choose to have put into writing by this agent of his, who is lodged in my house, and four days elapsed before he had audience, and God knows when he will receive the answer. They also endeavoured to disgust (annoiare) and make me break with Garcilasso, saying that he had used evil offices with regard to me, and showing me that part of an intercepted letter in which he wrote to the Duke of Alva, The Emperor's affairs here are ruined, and in very little repute, or rather in none at all; to which I replied that greater truth than this Garcilasso could not write, as I knew not whether any private Duke was ever held in less esteem than his Imperial Majesty, and for saying that I was the cause of the affairs of my Lord the Emperor being brought to this pass, I was bound to be obliged to him and to love him better than ever, as he wrote the truth.”
Rome, 4th August 1556.
Aug. 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 570. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The coming of Don Francisco de la Chaux (Lasso), master of the horse of the King and Queen of Bohemia, to return the compliment received by them from her Majesty through Lord Maltravers, is the cause of my writing these lines. Don Francisco came post-wise in two days from Brussels, with a handsome retinue, and was received with great honour, his Princes' embassy being accompanied by a jewelled fan richly wrought, there being inserted on one side of it a crystal mirror, and on the other a watch; a device highly artistic and of beautiful design (cosa di bella arte et bella inventione), perfectly suited to the season, and which being presented to her Majesty in the name of the Queen of Bohemia, seemed to give her very great pleasure. Don Francisco then added on behalf of her consort King Philip, saying he was charged thus to do by word of mouth from his Majesty in addition to what had been written by him, that as immediately on the departure of his Princes from Brussels, the Emperor purposed embarking for Spain, he the King could not do less than accompany him to Ghent, from whence he would forthwith come to her post-wise; which announcement gave zest to the embassy (che fa, come Vostra Serenità può pensare, il condimento della ambasciata).
Don Francisco would not remain more than two days, on one of which he came to see this city, and on the morrow took leave to depart, as he did two days ago with the same haste. I was present at the court [at Eltham ?], on his dismissal, having then gone thither to see him as an old friend of mine, and performing such offices as due in the Signory's name. The Queen gave him three holograph letters, two of which were for his King and Queen and the third for her Consort; and as a mark of great honour had him accompanied by the whole Royal Council as far as the last gate of the palace, and then as usual sending to his lodging a present for him, though the particulars of it are unknown.
At the time of his entry, the Queen hearing that I was at the court sent for me. I congratulated her on her well-being and on the King's speedy return. With regard to the King's return, the Queen answered me that everybody besides Don Francisco announced it to her; and then spontaneously, she began asking me about your Serenity's creation, showing that it had greatly rejoiced her, owing to information received of your merits and qualities, having also, as she herself remarked with satisfaction, understood that you were of the family and kindred of Monsignor Luigi Priuli, who, on account of the most illustrious the Legate, is known and beloved by her Majesty, who before I took leave desired me twice to greet your Serenity affectionately in her name. To say the truth the Queen's face has lost flesh greatly (dal volto grandemente diminaito di carne) since I was last with her, the extreme need she has of her Consort's presence harassing her, as told me, she having also within the last few days in great part lost her sleep.
In a long conversation held with me by the aforesaid Don Francisco, I clearly comprehend the design (mira) of his Princes on this kingdom, by reason of some hope and intention (per qualche intentione e speranza) given them, as evident to me from his language, of the marriage of the Archduke Ferdinand (fn. 9) to this “Miladi Isabella,” though he would not be too communicative (benchè non volesse andar troppo oltre), which I think it fit for your Serenity to know, although as yet on this side (dalla parte di qua) there is not the slightest suspicion of it.
On the same day the Admiral arrived at the court [William Lord Howard of Effingham], who, according to his own belief, as he told me, was sent for to give orders for the ships now at Portsmouth to put back towards Dover, to be ready for the King's passage. He also informed me that of the captured pirates, 40 were hanged last week, between the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth harbour, besides a few here in London; some of the ringleaders remaining, their punishment being delayed for the purpose of examining them better. It is understood that this Channel and the whole of the coast of Normandy is so frequently infested (visitato) by other pirates, that to prevent the losses daily incurred by the Londoners, some of the wealthiest aldermen here have provided a considerable sum of money, so that besides the provision made by the government, they may be yet more vigorously pursued and destroyed.
Having written thus far an express from the King at Brussels brought the distressing news of the death of Lord Maltravers. He was a young man 22 years of age, of most handsome presence and no less virtuous, nor was there anyone in England of greater promise. He was the only son of the Lord Steward the Earl of Arundel, one of the chief noblemen in the kingdom, to whom there now remain but two daughters, already married, (fn. 10) and although he is of vigorous age (di fresca età), his wife nevertheless, being infirm, cannot give him hope of having other children; so on his demise this ancient and most noble family will become extinct, which adds immeasurably to the universal regret. In his letter to Cardinal Pole, King Philip charges him, until his Majesty shall despatch a gentleman express for the purpose, to impart the news to the unfortunate parent, offering him such Christian remedies and consolation as no one else would know how to administer, though as yet they have taken but little effect on him. The confirmation contained in this same letter, of his Majesty's return hither on the Emperor's departure, should it not entirely relieve the Queen's sorrow for this death, will in great part mitigate what would otherwise have been insufferable. The King also complains to Cardinal Pole of the recal of the Legate the Cardinal of Pisa [Scipione Rebiba] (fn. 11), saying he had sent the Prince of Ascoli and Count Chinchon as far as Mastricht to meet him, having made preparation to receive and treat him with such honour as becoming. Again requests his own recall.
London, 4th August 1556.
Aug. 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 571. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Before the King departed hence, the Constable sent for the Cavalier Tiburcio, the Duke of Parma's agent, and told him that his most Christian Majesty had received advices to the effect that the aforesaid Duke was treating some agreement with the Imperialists, who had offered him Piacenza, they retaining the castle, if he would withdraw from the service of this Crown. This greatly perplexed the King, as if the Duke continued bearing his Majesty the same good will, he ought to have communicated to him the offers he had received, and not allow them to be made known to his Majesty by others. The Cavalier replied that, as he knew the mind of his Prince, he could assure his Excellency that he would never negotiate anything without imparting it to his most Christian Majesty. Then next day the said Cavalier received a courier from the Duke, telling him that an Imperialist being a prisoner in Parma, some one who went thither to negotiate his ransom, proposed to his Excellency, in the name of the King of England, that if he would leave the service of his most Christian Majesty, the said King would give him Piacenza; which he charged the cavalier to communicate to the Constable. Then his Excellency introducing him to his most Christian Majesty, he made the same statement, adding that as the Duke would never do anything to the King's disservice, so he requested his Majesty to remember that he had frequently said that whenever his Excellency could get back Piacenza it would gratify him. The King replied that he had always known his Duke's good will, and remembered having expressed to him this wish for the restitution of Piacenza; but in these times, when there was no certainty either of peace or truce, he would do well to consider how he ought to negotiate, because should the King of England now choose to give him Piacenza, it would be to alienate the Duke from his most Christian Majesty's service, and therefore he had determined to send M. Forcevoe (sic) to Parma to hear the truth from the duke himself.
On the day of the King's departure he had a long conference with the Constable and the Legate. The King said he would not desert his Holiness, but that at this moment there was no fear of the Imperialists doing anything of importance by reason of their great penury (grande strettezza), but as the Pope laid so much stress on being compelled to keep a certain amount of troops in Rome, he would contribute a pecuniary subsidy for some part of them. This did not seem to satisfy the Legate, and afterwards, in conversation with other persons, he said openly that unless his most Christian Majesty formed some other resolve, it might be feared that the Pope would think of adjusting his affairs in the mode best suited to their security.
Paris, 5th August 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Aug. 8. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 6 B. 572. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Ascanio della Cornia is at Naples, and a captain sent by the Duke of Alva to Germany with money for a levy of 4,000 men has arrived at Genoa. The Duke's despatch (scrittura), brought to the Pope by Count Valentino, is being answered by Monsignor della Casa, by Bozzuto, and by Aldobrandini, with the advice of the Duke of Paliano and Camillo Orsini. The Pope will settle all these drafts, and is expected to add much of his own, and then send it to the Duke in reply to his writing, of which I enclose a copy. (fn. 12)
In the Congregation held on Sunday, after Marquis Sarria withdrew, the Pope abused the Emperor and his son violently, in Spanish, in the terms usually employed by him, ordering Cardinal Pacheco to write it to both one and the other, which the Cardinal said he would do, such being the will of his Holiness.
To clear himself from any suspicion about Don Alonso, the Duke of Ferrara has desired his ambassador here to tell the Pope and the Duke of Paliano that he had him accompanied by one of his gentlemen to your Serenity, he having brought him very gracious letters from the King of England, reminding him of the good treatment received from King Philip's ancestors by Duke Alfonso, (fn. 13) and saying that although he was reported to have leagued with the Pope and the French, and to be their captain general, the King of England did not believe he would do anything to injure the Emperor and him. To this the Duke of Ferrara replied that he had been and was anxious for universal peace and quiet, above all for Italy, which as a good Italian would never cease to be his object, adding that if he caused Don Alonso to be accompanied to Venice, it was on account of the suspicion (per causa del suspetto), and to avoid omission of such courtesy as was becoming. All has been taken in good part here, and the Ferrarese ambassador told my secretary that the Duke of Paliano said to him he supposed Don Alonso went (as already hinted by the Pope) to demand of your Serenity a league.
The Imperial ambassador [Marquis Sarria] left Rome yesterday.
Rome, 8th August 1556.
Aug. 9. (fn. 14) Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 573. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday afternoon, at 4h. 30m. p.m., the Emperor departed for Ghent, being accompanied by his son for the distance of one league beyond the town, with a few personages of the courts, and the archer-guard, amounting in all to about two hundred horse. Shortly before his Imperial Majesty's departure, there came to take leave of him his natural uncle the Bishop of Liège, and the other bishops of these provinces, and many of these noblemen, and of the principal citizens of the neighbouring towns, good part of whom, on returning from the presence chamber, were seen to shed tears, the Emperor always exhibiting a serene countenance, until on going out of the gate of the town he was seen to weep bitterly, turning back repeatedly to look at the walls. The Queens Eleanor and Maria will leave this in two days, and one or two days afterwards the King of Spain, with the whole court, and the ambassadors, including myself, will proceed to Ghent. The King is supposed to have remained here after the Emperor, because three of the six privy-councillors are in bed with fever, namely, Don Bernardino de Mendoza, Don Juan Manrique, and Don Antonio de Toledo; and especially that he may have their opinion about the decision to be formed respecting the Duke of Parma, there having come hither Girolamo da Correggio, who nevertheless gives out that he has come on his own private business, and to oblige the Cardinal of Trent, having to tell the King several things relating to the Milanese. The Bishop of Arras has asked the King's permission to stay here, and has obtained it, and will remain about the person of the Duke of Savoy (presso il Duca di Savoia) as counsellor of these provinces, with an annual salary of 2,500 crowns; and by the Emperor's command (voler), the King three days ago elected in his stead Don Luis de Avila; and the Regent Figueroa is expected from England; so that all the six councillors will be Spaniards.
It has been impossible to induce the deputies of these Provinces to give the King a million and a half of gold, and they have been told that if they will not make the grant whilst he is here they must go to Ghent, where, owing to the Emperor's departure, they are expected more willingly to give this subsidy to his son, who has been counselled thus to order them (e così ho inteso esser stato consegliato di farli venir a Gant). It has also been resolved that it is well for the Emperor to go to Spain now rather than at any other time, as this departure will benefit all the affairs of his son; the counsillors being of opinion that the Pope and the King of France will be less ill-disposed towards King Philip than towards his Imperial Majesty.
It is said that the courier who departed for Italy this evening conveys notice by letter to all the Princes and ministers, as also to the Princes and States of Germany, of the Emperor's departure.
Brussels, 9th August 1556.
Aug. 10. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 6 B. 574. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Was visited to-day by the Count of S. Valentino, who said he had been desired by the Duke of Alva to communicate the three mandates (istruttioni) which he received on leaving Naples. The first alluded to the Count personally, and desired him to lodge in the ambassador's house. The second charged him to acquaint the cardinals and ambassadors with what he was desired to represent to the Pope, telling him besides that if his audience was delayed he was to depart. It also ordered him to demonstrate that the fortification of Paliano had solely for object to give the French passage into the kingdom of Naples. The third was to the effect that should the Pope answer him, that when Paul III. deprived Ascanio Colonna of his state no war was waged on that account, he was to rejoin that Paul III. contented himself with depriving Ascanio; nor did he invest anyone with his estate, neither did he fortify it. After reading these writings and instructions, Count St. Valentino continued: “I have been to the cardinals, as enjoined me, and to the French ambassador, who answered me that his King wishes for peace, but that, should the Pope be molested, he will not fail to succour him with the forces of his kingdom and with his own personal assistance; as if he purposed aiding the Pope, in case we be compelled to resent the many injuries he has done us and to defend ourselves (come se quando fossamo astretti a propulzare le molte ingiurie del Ponte e deffenderci, esso lo volesse ajutare). Should the Duke of Alva, who is a minister of peace, be compelled by the receipt of orders from his court to advance, it will be because they can no longer tolerate the Pope's misconduct (mali portamenti). He sent me hither with orders to make this communication to the cardinals and ambassadors, amongst which last the first was your lordship, as ambassador of a republic most friendly (affettionatissima) to the Emperor. I must now go to the Pope, and try to depart to-day or to-morrow; nor ought I to have remained so many days, having heard that he is sending the reply by an envoy of his own.”
In conclusion Count St. Valentino said, “What answer am I to give the Duke of Alva in your name?” to which I said that I could assure him of the Signory's good will towards the Emperor and the King of England, telling him also that the continuance of peace and quiet will always be the chief end and object of your Serenity.
Rome, 10th August 1556.
Aug. 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 575. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
His most Christian Majesty will not fail to do what the Pope needs for the defence of Holy Church and of his family; and therefore having heard the four proposals made by him, requiring that a deposit of 500,000 crowns be placed at his disposal, that 300 men-at-arms be sent into Italy, and twelve galleys to Civitavecchia, 10,000 Switzers being also kept in readiness, although his Majesty wished to satisfy his Holiness, yet the season having approached so far towards the winter, the proposal could not be carried into effect at present, but he nevertheless on a better opportunity would not fail (non era per mancare); and as he knew the Pope to have need of money for the garrison of Rome, he would give orders for the contribution of some part, and also promised him to pay the troops required for the garrison of Paliano, as he does those at Parma and Mirandola, promising the Duke of Paliano an annual pension of 12,000 crowns, and 6,000 to Don Antonio Caraffa.
By the hand of the Constable his most Christian Majesty presented to the Legate a diamond, estimated at 12,000 crowns, to give to the Pope, telling him that in like manner as that stone is the hardest and purest of all jewels, so will his most Christian Majesty's mind be always most firm (durissimo) and most pure for the defence of Holy Church and of his Beatitude.
So far as I have been able to learn, these are the determinations obtained by the Legate from his most Christian Majesty, who, convinced that Caraffa was bent on inducing him to wage offensive war, to which at present he would not consent, whilst comprehending the affection displayed by his Holiness towards the French crown, and the advantage to be derived from the Pope and his family in case of need (con la occasione), has endeavoured to provide practically for his Holiness' defence, giving him the largest promises possible, purposing to avail himself of time and opportunities; and being very intent on strengthening his party in Consistory for the creation of a new pope in due season, he has earnestly urged the Legate to induce the Pope to make, for the most part, cardinals of the French faction, as it answers better for his Majesty to have a good number of cardinals resident in Rome, rather than French who do not stay there, and if they do it is an expense for the King (è un interesse di Sua Maestà; and he had such abundant (large) promises from the Legate that he hopes for the creation of a good number of them.
The Imperial ambassador here has had letters from the Emperor dated the 7th, telling him that on the 8th his Imperial Majesty was to depart for Ghent, and desiring him to let the King of France know that, intending to go to Spain by sea, he had therefore caused some of his hackneys and mules to be sent [overland to Laredo?], which he thought might pass without asking for any farther safe-conduct, in virtue of the truce he had; but as his most Christian Majesty is still at a distance from Paris, the ambassador has been unable to execute this commission. The Constable's son, the Duke of Montmorency, late a prisoner, was expected to arrive yesterday in freedom at Peronne.
Paris, 13th August 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Aug. 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 576. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Since what I wrote yesterday about the despatch of the Legate I had an opportunity of speaking with a friend of mine, who, from his position, being interested in these negotiations, is therefore much in the confidence of the Legate, and having had a long conversation with him lately at Anet about the decision announced to his right reverend Lordship, I learn from my friend that it agrees with what I wrote, purporting besides that the most Christian King would demand passage from your Serenity for the troops which he purposes sending into Italy, should circumstances require it; and to keep the enemy in doubt of what road they may take, he would also make the same demand of the Duke of Mantua, and send an agent to the Switzers that they may be in readiness; but all the arguments used by him to persuade the King that offensive war would not cost more than to stand upon the defensive, failed to take effect, nor would his most Christian Majesty and the Constable comply with the wishes of Caraffa, who, however, thought he might feel sure that in case the Imperialists molest the Pope his Majesty would defend him with all his forces, which being at so great a distance the Legate demonstrated that they could scarcely arrive in time for the Pope's need, should the King of England choose to attack him; the Cardinal thus showing that he was not altogether well pleased.
The Queen of Scotland is rather better, as also the Legate's nephew, his most illustrious Lordship being expected here this evening.
Paris, 14th August 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Aug. 15. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 6 B. 577. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
On Wednesday night Messer Domenico del Nero, one of the hundred cavaliers, departed with the reply to the Duke of Alva, the substance of which had been communicated to the Count of St. Valentino, who also left that same day.
A few days ago, at table, the Pope, talking with the Roman cavaliers, said, “Don't suppose that although we are having Borgo fortified, we mean to defend you within these walls; we shall take the field with our army, and should those fellows (coloro) cross their frontiers, by so much as the distance of this tooth-pick”—placing on the table the tooth-pick with which he was picking his teeth—” we will give it them boldly (daremo dentro animosamente), for we shall have forces to do it, and God will help us.”
The eight French galleys which brought the Gascons to Civitavecchia went to Corsica, and have returned with some more, amongst whom are a number of gentlemen under M. de Mola (sic). They were mustered at a distance of some 20 miles from Rome, and are said to be 1,800, though it is believed that they do not exceed 1,200. The government (questi signori) has not yet settled where to put them, though it is said that some will go to Viterbo, but in the places where they have been quartered hitherto they have done very great mischief.
A secretary of Duke Ottavio (Farnese), by name Giovan Domenico degli Orsi, has arrived here. He is come to give account that what was said about Piacenza has taken no further effect, although the Emperor has frequently had it told to the Duke his son-in-law, who knows that he ought to do as desired; and that he (Duke Ottavio) will do nothing without the knowledge and good pleasure of the Pope and the King of France.
The Duke of Florence has apologized through his ambassador here to the Pope and the Duke of Paliano for allowing the Duke of Alva to raise troops in Tuscany, by reason of his obligations to the Emperor and the King of England.
Rome, 15th August 1556.
Aug. 15. (Second Letter.) p. 272. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 6 B. 578. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
[The Pope threatens to deprive King Philip of his crown.]
Having sent yesterday to ask audience of the Pope, he excused himself by reason of his intention to say mass on the morrow, but said that I was to go to him to-day immediately after dinner, when he would willingly hear me. I went at the appointed hour, and found him at the end of dinner, and it fell to my lot to give him the napkin with which to dry his hands, (fn. 15) whereupon he immediately rose without giving audience at table as usual; and having made me enter the chamber with him, after apologizing for not having given me audience yesterday, to which I replied that I merely sought his convenience, he said, “We have but little to tell you, save that fresh acts of treachery on the part of those people (di costoro) are brought to light daily;” and his Holiness, leaning with one arm on the ledge of a small kneeling-desk, said, “Things are in such a state that they can no longer be tolerated; those two” (alluding to the Emperor and the King of France) “were first at strife with each other about private affairs, and for our misfortune, or rather owing to the inertness (dapocaggine) of our predecessors, they have become so powerful that they now fight for universal monarchy. Their ambition is such that it makes them aspire to sole empire, most especially the Imperialists, who perceive that they cannot remain thus, as they must either do the rest or succumb, so by various means they have endeavoured to make themselves masters of everything by promising the King of Bohemia to make him King of Tuscany. Think how the Duke of Florence would fare. He is endeavouring to make Philip coadjutor of the Empire; to encourage heresy by attending their diets and councils, to depress this See Apostolic, and make themselves masters of Rome, and then of your State, which they say belongs to them; and we remember having said in your defence that not only were the inhabitants of the lagoon (lacuna) in which Venice is situated named 'Veneti,' but also those of the whole province; wherefore it became the most illustrious Signory to rule them. On account of his wicked proceedings we renounced his friendship, nor could we ever bear him. The tyrant knows well what we did when we were Cardinal; and now that God has placed us in this See, without our seeking it, we are compelled to preserve it or sacrifice our life, which for His glory we do not the least value, and His Divine goodness knows that to-day, at that sacred altar, of which of His mercy he has made us worthy, we renounced to Him the Popedom and our life, and when it shall please Him we will quit this world willingly, but so long as we remain here we choose to preserve intact that authority which He has given us, so as to die an honest man (huomo da bene). Now, as we said, these Imperialists would fain make themselves masters of everything, because they see that they cannot last long in their present state. The King of France, on the other hand, has not so much cause to covet his neighbour's goods, as he has a large united kingdom, walled round by nature, and by the present King's care; he knows that he can defend himself from all adversaries. He has an understanding in Germany, where his authority exceeds that of the Emperor, and he has moreover shown that he has forces for attack, as demonstrated of late years, and as would have been evident much sooner had King Francis allowed him to give battle when Charles invaded France, in which case the name of this tyrant would perhaps no longer exist. This security and greatness of France causes the King to be content with repelling attack and keeping his adversary beneath, that he may not make himself greater; so we may say that we have two sons, the one Cain and the other Abel, for in truth the King of France could not show greater obedience and love than he does; he not only promises not to fail in his duty to assist us, but for our sake he christened his lately born daughter Vittoria, which was the name of our mother; and his great love for us makes him detain the Cardinal, though we hope he will soon obtain leave to return, and from him we shall learn the entire decision about what is to be done. There is no longer any occasion to wait for proof of the evil intentions of the Imperialists (di costoro), as fresh acts of treachery are discovered daily. We know that a person has been sent to Venice to procure the most deadly poison (per pigliare veneno finissimo), and other plots of theirs are known to us. Even the Legate [Rebiba], whom we sent about the peace, has been obliged to make his escape, as he heard that they purposed imprisoning him. When near the court he sent to have lodgings prepared by one of his attendants, whose diligence was such that he discovered this their iniquitous design, and announced it to the Cardinal, who changed his course, and we understand that he is now in a place of security. As we told you heretofore, we have put up with so much malignity that they now deserve reproof (riprensione), were it solely to prevent its being said that we were the first (solo per rispetto che non si possa dire che siamo stati i primi); nor do we see any form of adjustment, for we would not trust them even with security in hand. They thought to anticipate us, but we have been more speedy. Should they increase their forces, we will do the like by ours; if they purpose coming hither, we also shall think of entering the kingdom of Naples. If not content with having tyranically devastated (desolato) the kingdom of Naples, the Milanese, and Lombardy, and after sacking Rome, what would they do with the rest? They think that God sleepeth; non dormit, neque dormitabit qui custodit Israel. The Almighty will no longer permit that teneant virgam super sortem justorum. We will unsheath all the spiritual weapons; we will deprive them of their empires, realms, and states; we will treat them as the enemies of God, which they are, and those who adhere to them; we will proclaim a crusade of all Christians against them, against schismatics and heretics, and shall ascertain for ourselves who chooses to be a Christian; and possibly the apostasy of that nation from the faith may afford a fair opportunity for depriving it of the election of the Empire, as Greece was deprived of yore, and enable us to bestow the right on those whom we shall know to be deserving of it. Should they drive us out of Rome, we will go to some island, there to continue exercising our authority; we will convoke a Council, limited to a fixed number for each side (a tanti per parte); those who are Christians will attend it, and such as are Turks and Pagans may absent themselves. We care not about them (non habbiamo cura di loro), and who knows but that God the blessed may choose, as the penalty of his wicked acts, to show the tyrant in his lifetime the destruction of his accursed race (la desolatione della maledetta sua stirpe). We hope not to be so old as not to witness it.” And then, slapping his thighs with both his hands (e poi battendosi le mani alle coscie), and raising his eyes aloft, he said very violently, “It is impossible for us not to be ashamed of any longer tolerating such impious tyranny at the hands of the vilest nation, or rather of the dregs, of the world (dij, talem terris avversite pestem); and will no truly free spirit arise to prefer death to such hard servitude?”
After a short pause he then added, “Ambassador, with you we proceed very discreetly (con molta modestia); we do not ask of you a league, or anything else, but that you should regulate yourselves well, and not make some gross mistake (qualche marrone), as it, would be your ruin. The Imperialists (costoro) have recourse to all means, even to the most insignificant petty Princes and Lords, and not merely to the most illustrious Signory and the Duke of Ferrara.” Considering this an opportunity for communicating to him the reply made to Don Martin Alonso, in conformity with the orders given me by the Senate, I announced it accordingly. The Pope answered me, “It does well (sta bene); it is a prudent reply, for those Lords do not bind themselves to anything. Write to them to keep prepared, that they may be able to do in due time what God will instruct them; but to use worldly arguments with you, is it for the interest of the two States, leaving aside religion, the duty of Christians, and our friendship for the Signory, does it suit you that this State should be ruined? Were we a nobleman of your Senate we should put the same question. Is it for your profit that we should be conquered? Will it be for your service that we should be at war whilst you look on, to see whether, after our downfall, you can remain in safety and enjoy your own? We would recommend you to hang out a carpet, and place a cushion on one of your balconies on the Grand Canal, and that you may stay at your ease, to see who is passing and what is doing (e che comodamente stesse a vedere chi passa, e quel che si fa) and should the Pope ask your assistance, that he be told to give it himself; but if after our ruin yours necessarily ensues, by God you must think what you have to do. If you choose to put the rope round your neck, without waiting for them to perform the office, and to go and beg pardon, do so, as you will meet with the same mercy that you did the year of Prevesa (l'anno della Prevesa) (fn. 16), when you were unable to get the wheat which at exorbitant cost they had promised you, so that your city was on the point of being famished. We are, as we have always told you, and thou, O God, knowest it, always desirous of peace;” which opportunity I would not allow to escape me, and therefore replied, “The Almighty, who has this peace so much at heart, knowing the will of your Holiness, will bring it to pass, to your Beatitude's immortal praise, to the infinite contentment of the whole world, and principally of the most illustrious Signory.” He rejoined, “God grant it, but matters are now so far advanced that we cannot remain thus. We cannot say as of yore on St. Mark's one of your Doges said, having the French ambassador on one hand the Spaniard on the other (one illuminating for a certain victory and the other lamenting it), (gaudere cum gaudentibus et flere cum flentibus, for at present everything is at stake. As we have already told you, we treat you with all discretion; we do not ask a league of you, nor that you should do one thing more than another, though matters are perhaps now coming to such a crisis that they can scarcely be borne any longer; keep at least prepared. We know that you are a Republic, which cannot decide like one sole and absolute Prince; yet do we choose to believe that in time you will open your eyes to your welfare, for to tell you the truth we choose to ascertain this. As the Imperialists (costoro) attack us without any cause, solely because we oppose that universal monarchy on which they have set their minds,—nor will we be their slaves like former pontiffs,—we will wage war on them like a brave man (da huomo da ben.), and let the loss be what it may, we will cease to draw breath before our courage fails us. It might be said, Thou canst not. Christ can, through whom I am God's minister. Go to a hermitage, and make way for one more worthy than thyself.”
The Pope having then stopped, I asked him if he had sent the reply to the Duke of Alva. He said yes, but that it was immaterial, being sent to a minister who had not authority, and was only capable of doing mischief; his Holiness adding that he had given orders for me to receive a copy both of the proposal and the reply, but that the illness of his nephew, the Duke of Paliano, caused the delay, and that if it did not inconvenience me to wait I should receive it now, as he was going to visit him. I replied that if his Holiness would allow me to accompany him, that I also might visit his Excellency, he would confer a special favour on me. The Pope rejoined, “As you wish to confer this favour on one of your noblemen, let us go;” so having descended a private stair, we found the Duke, who, after receiving the Papal benediction and a kiss from his Holiness, said that he had had a tertian ague (una terzanella), that nature had effected a copious crisis (un crisi abondante), the physicians also having blooded him, so he hoped not to take any hurt. I performed such loving office as was becoming, saying I was glad to have seen him, as it enabled me to announce to your Serenity his convalescence; and then the Pope, after many honourable expressions about your Serenity, and his paternal love and esteem for the most illustrious Republic, desired the Duke to give me the enclosed copies of the writings; (fn. 17) and his Holiness, after repeating the provocations received from the Imperialists, his own patience, his wish for peace, and many other things in accordance with what I have so often written, dismissed me, I having previously (as desired by the Senate) congratulated him on the recovery of the citadel of Nettuno.
Rome, 15th August 1556.


  • 1. Francisco de Vargas. (See Andrea Morosini and Foreign Calendar, Index.)
  • 2. This serves to correct Magenis (page 347), who was of opinion that Giampietro Caraffa never returned to Venice after the year 1553. (See Cigogna Inscriptions, vol. 3, p. 347.)
  • 3. This mission, confided by Charles V. to the historian De Avila, is not recorded by ANdren Mirosini.
  • 4. See post, letter dated 17th October 1556.
  • 5. Giovanni Suavio Reumano, a Gascon, made cardinal by Paul IV., 20th December 1555. (See Cardella, as before, vol. 4, p. 349.)
  • 6. In a despatch dated 18th July, Navagero informed the Signory that the Pope by a “motu proprio,” had suppressed all the ambassadorial post offices in Rome.
  • 7. For an account of Badoer's embassy to the Emperor, see his “Report” made to the Senate in July 1546. (Alberi, series 1., vol. 1, pp. 289–368.)
  • 8. By Navagero's Report of Rome, it appears that the two first-named were Florentine outlaws, who who had some wild scheme of a Republic, and the Neapolitan Bozzuto purposed recovering the kingdom of Naples.
  • 9. In the month of August 1556, Ferdinand of Austria, King of the Romans, had three sons, namely, Maximilian, King of Bohemia, Ferdinand, born in 1529, and Charles, born in 1540; the two last, at various periods, were both proposed as consorts for Elizabeth Tudor.
  • 10. Joanna, to John Lord Lumley, and Mary, to Thomas Howard Duke of Norfolk.
  • 11. He was transferred from the see of Motula in Puglia to Pisa on the 10th April 1556. (See Cardella, vol. 4, p. 348.)
  • 12. Not found.
  • 13. In 1512 Ferdinand the Catholic protected Duke Alfonso against Julius II. See Frizzi, vol. 4, p. 254.)
  • 14. I have been unable to find any despatches written by Federico Badoer from Flanders between the 30th July and the 9th August 1556, after which last date there is again a void in the correspondence until the 25th August 1556.
  • 15. “Da sciugar le mani.” At the papal court at this period forks were not in use, and as in their stead the Pope used his fingers, the napkin was presented for use, and not as a mere act of ceremony.
  • 16. The attack on Prevesa in the year 1538 is recorded by the historian Paruta, who also alludes to the refusal of the Imperial governors in Naples and Sicily to concede to the Republic the promised export, permits for grain.
  • 17. Not found.