Venice: September 1556, 1-5

Pages 588-601

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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September 1556, 1–5

Sept. 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 594. Giovanni Michiel, Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The departure of the Earl of Pembroke and Lord Paget for Calais, and of the others for Dover, to meet the most serene King, which according to the custom of this country (secondo lo uso di qua), was determined on more instantaneously and hastily than the need required, failed subsequently to take effect, and has moreover so cooled as to be no longer mentioned and is scarcely thought of; and although by his last of the 27th ulto. the King confirms his wish to come, he nevertheless in what he writes to Cardinal Pole neither promises nor announces any intention of being here beyond that of coming as soon as he can get away, after the Emperor's embarkation and departure, without specifying either day or time, neither commending the Legate's journey to Canterbury to meet him nor consenting to it, in order, he says, not to remove him from the Queen, to whom his presence is so useful, as also that he the King may not be delayed or hindered when passing through that city. From these and other indications, no person of any grade, however inferior, having yet arrived on account of the King, or of any member of his court, although he must be preceded by many officials to provide necessaries, few of the English think he will come, or they expect his coming to be tardy, and without the court, merely to show himself (per dar una volta solamente), and for a few days only.
The payment of the loan was appointed to be made during the present month into the hands of the Queen's comptroller, (fn. 1) which increases the suspicion and resentment (querela) of the people (di costoro), its exaction not having been assigned, like the other public taxes, to the Lord High Treasurer (Tesoriere Generale), (fn. 2) they being of opinion that this was done in order that the Crown might less scrupulously avail itself of the money through the hands of so very confidential a minister and creature of Her Majesty than through those of the Treasurer, who is a public official of the kingdom.
Ecclesiastics of all grades, whether prelates or others, were not exempt from the loan, which was exacted irrespectively from all persons supposed to have the means of payment, whether citizens, merchants, or burgesses, though no one was taxed above 100l. nor under 20l. In addition separate loans have been obtained from private individuals, and the like will be done by all the chief cities, towns, and boroughs of the kingdom, London having a few days ago contributed to the amount of 8,000l., independently of what will be paid by the most wealthy of the City companies, who are rated for larger sums; so that the entire loan is expected to yield 400,000l., or four times the original estimate.
Viscount Fitz-Walter, the new Lord Deputy (Vicerè novo) of Ireland, has gained a victory over the wild Irish (quelli salvatici), who, with the assistance of a number of Scots, had rebelled, and were ravaging the country. Lord Fitz-Walter in person attacked them with a large force, drove the Scots out of the island with great slaughter, and subdued the Irish, with the loss of only three or four of his own people; and thus for the present all is peaceable in that kingdom.
Sir John Masone, the ambassador of this Crown with the Emperor, having taken leave entirely, has returned from that court, an ambassador being no longer needed with his Imperial Majesty, who lately sent for from hence, to take with him to Spain, his former confessor Father Soto, who was public lecturer in theology in the university of Oxford, his departure paining the Queen, by reason of the service she received from him there, and yet more the Cardinal, who loved him most dearly above all the other (sopra tutti gli altri) [Spaniards?] by reason of his goodness and many virtues. He received handsome presents from both one and the other, and Cardinal Pole at his own cost had him accompanied across the Channel beyond the English territory.
London, 2nd September 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Sept. 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 595. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday his most Christian Majesty told me the Emperor was to have embarked on the 28th ult., and that before he left Ghent he sent for the French Ambassador, and told him he had determined on going to Spain, and felt certain he should never return, wherefore he requested him to write to King Henry that as his son remained the heir of all his realms, he wished him to succeed to the goodwill borne by his Imperial Majesty towards the most Christian King, whom he prayed to return it to him in like manner, and the ambassador made a suitable reply and took leave. The ambassador also writes that his Majesty is in very bad condition, his pronunciation being impeded, and his hands and feet crippled; notwithstanding his mind was evidently very sound, although his memory seemed rather feeble. His most Christian Majesty added that, as I must have heard, the King of Bohemia had been to the Imperial court, and went away dissatisfied, and one day, when the French Ambassador was visiting him, his Majesty, with a very loud voice, so that many persons in the chamber heard him, did not abstain from openly expressing this his dissatisfaction to the Ambassador, to whom it seeming strange that he should speak in so loud a tone, he made him a certain sign, inviting him to lower his voice, which the King perceiving, his Majesty said, “No, no; I choose to speak loud, as here there are no Spaniards, nor will I have any of them; these being my Germans, with whom I choose always to proceed without reserve;” and, continuing his discourse, he said that he had never chosen to allude to the Emperor either about the things which belonged to him by right nor yet respecting favours, as he knew that had he demanded anything whatever, the Emperor would instantly have commenced about the renunciation of the Empire, to which the King of Bohemia would by no means condescend (la quale in modo alcuno non voleva fare), but that the Queen his wife had negociated, she demanding of his Majesty wherewithal to subsist, by giving her what belonged to her, and what he had promised her heretofore; which having moved the Emperor, he promised her for herself and her children (dandogli quello che gli aparteneva, et altre fiate gli havea promesso; dal che mossa la Mta Sua Cesarea, gli havea promesso per lei et soi figlioli) 50,000 crowns annual revenue on the kingdom of Aragon, 50,000 on the kingdom of Naples, and 50,000 from another source not specified. The King of Bohemia told the Ambassador, in conclusion, that he understood his most Christian Majesty purposed approaching the frontiers, in which case he wished for an interview with him, requesting the King to send one of his gentlemen to meet him on the road, in the territory of the Duke of Wurtemberg; wherefore his most Christian Majesty had despatched M. de Sipierre; and when I asked him whether he knew what the King of Bohemia wanted, he said, “Certainly not,” adding, with a laugh, “It cannot but be something of importance;” and then, continuing, he said, “The Marquis Albert remains in Germany well satisfied, and writes me the most loving letters in the world, continuing to assure me that should I need infantry or cavalry I am to let him know, as he will bring me more than I want.”
I also asked the King what was brought by a courier who had come in haste from Rome, and he answered me, “The Pope is in distress, these Imperialists having pushed forward, but he has 16,000 infantry, and has no cause to fear, nor, according to my promise, will I fail him, so far as possible.” Thereupon I said that the Pope's need seems very imminent, so that I knew not how assistance from his Majesty could arrive in time.
The King rejoined, “I certainly cannot do more than what is possible, but will not fail him with regard to money; the deposit is already made, and his Holiness can make use of it, and now also I will place a certain sum at his disposal, either on account of the said deposit or in addition to it, at the Pope's option, as I do not choose to fail him, and I believe I am doing what is agreeable to all the Princes of Christendom.” He told me besides that his Holiness had commenced laying aside the violent language habitually used by him, having answered the Duke of Alva very becomingly, “and to tell the truth” (said His Majesty) “I had this office performed with his Holiness, as that mode of proceeding did not seem to me at all praiseworthy.” So I requested his Majesty to let me know what he thought would be the end of this stir, as the advices varied so greatly that it was impossible to form a complete opinion (intiero giudicio).
His Majesty replied, “Such is assuredly the case, for whenever a hot advice arrives it is followed by a colder one, and sometimes they even make me remain in suspense, though to tell you the truth I do not believe that matters will advance very far, both because I never thought that the Imperialists having seen that I should defend the Pope, his Holiness would attack the Emperor, and still less do I believe it now, since the departure of his Imperial Majesty, who, in truth, made all these motions with his council (si perchè non ho mai giudicato che vedendo Cesarei che volea difender il Pontce, che egli volesse romper la guerra con sua Mta Cesarea, et meno io lo credo adesso che sua Cesarea Maestà è partita, la qual per il vero faceva Lei con il suo conso. tutti questi moti); but at any rate they will not find the Pope unprovided, and we shall wait to see.” I then inquired, “In case of any rupture (qualche disconcio) between the Pope and the King of England, would your most Christian Majesty consider the truce broken?” He replied, “The Imperialists would fain persuade me to the contrary, but I answer them that I know not whether they would see it in this light were I to seek to overpower any of the parties mentioned in the truce as their nominees, like the Pope and his family find themselves included amongst mine.”
As his Majesty continued conversing so freely, I, in order not to lose the opportunity, asked him in what state the affairs of the Duke of Parma were. He said, “The current reports have caused me some suspicion, but as I know the Duke Ottavio to be a man of honour, and likewise his whole house, but himself in particular, I have always been hard to believe that he would forfeit his honour, and by so much the more as my treaty with him speaks very clearly, and says that he and all his brothers are to be in my service contra quoscumque, with the exception of the See Apostolic, nor may they ever make an agreement or compact (compositione) with the Emperor or his son, even should they restore Piacenza, without my consent and especial leave; and the Duke ordered Virginio Orsini, who came hither lately, to tell me he would never do anything unworthy of his honour, and that he was always staunch for my service, and he made a similar announcement to the Pope, and sent him 200 of his cavalry; but I have despatched Forenoē (sic) to him, from whom I have as yet no reply, but expect it in a few days; and to tell you freely what I have in my mind, I am of opinion that had the Duke wished to form some resolve he would not have so long deferred it; but we will await the end, though should he bear me ill-will he would be in the wrong, as the world has seen what I have done for him, nor have I given him any cause of complaint.”
After thanking the King for so long a communication, I told him it was reported that the Ambassador from Ferrara had arrived, and he replied, “It is true, but he is in Paris with the Prince, nor have I yet seen him; the which Prince is very ill, with double quartan ague.” I inquired whether the Duke had yet decided; and he replied, “I do not yet know, but we are so linked together that he cannot fail, but neither can a man's nature fail to show itself,” alluding to his being very close (stretto) where his profit was concerned.
Morette, 2nd September 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Sept. 4. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 6 B. 596. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
On Sunday Don Pirro went to the Pope for the reply, as his commission compelled him to depart. His Holiness said that on the following Wednesday he would give it. On that same day I had a copy of the letter which he brought to the Pope in Spanish, (fn. 3) and the translation, together with the Spanish copy of the one written to the College of Cardinals. The contents of the letter to the Pope are in substance such as given in my last, except the paragraph about the Duke of Alva's referring himself for the adjustment of these disputes to the Italian Princes.
I subsequently received your Serenity's letters of the 28th ulto., desiring me to let his Holiness know that to preserve your friendship with all parties you had conceded passage to 4,000 Germans at the request of the King of Spain. I sent to ask for audience yesterday, which the Pope appointed for 12.30 p.m., when I found him discoursing at table. He greeted me with a joyful countenance, saying I was to go into the audience chamber, and he continued his discourse, which was one of those usually made by him against the Spanish nation, vituperating their audacity in molesting the See Apostolic without any cause, except that of plundering Rome; and addressing the Roman cavaliers, repeated what he had said to them before, thus, “These Imperialists having sacked and dishonoured you once before, think they have obtained a right to return and do the like whenever the grass has grown sufficiently to afford them a good crop by cutting it; but don't lose heart, for God is on our side, and the time will perhaps have come for taking revenge. Who knows what God will do? Persevere in fortifying this city, for it is the best thing that has been thought of for the last thousand years; should it be necessary we will come with you to carry the barrel (barilla), as for the honour of this Holy Sec, and for the liberty of this city, we are prepared to risk our life a thousand times, were it granted us to be born again a thousand times; nor do we regret the cost of so good a work, to which we will make all the Papal States contribute, it being very fair for the members to assist the head. These Imperialists (costoro), alas, can no longer be tolerated; remember the injuries and shame inflicted on you by them, and that will suffice to rouse you from sleep; nor shall we otherwise consider you Romans, but men of the vilest nation in the world; in my opinion the contumely (lo stratio) is worse than the loss.” His Holiness then commenced abusing the Imperialists according to his custom, calling them heretics, schismatics, a mongrel race of Jews christened a week ago (sangue misto d'Hebrei batezzati da otto giorni), who have encouraged heresy, and are so clearly convicted that what they have already done suffices for depriving them of Empires, Realms, and States; saying that it merely remained to make the publication, adding many other things of the sort so often written by me.
On rising from table the Pope passed through the audience chamber, and having made me a sign to wait, entered the library and sent for the reverend Bozzato (fn. 4) and Aldobrandini, which last when following the Pope into the library was accosted by the secretary of Cardinal Cueva, who made some demand in his master's name; and Aldobrandini, drawing him towards the window where I was, said to him in a very loud voice, “Write to your Cardinal to do me the favour to tell the Duke of Alva that by what he says in his letter to the effect that the protest made by me lately in Consistory was foul, iniquitous, and rash (brutta, iniqua, e temeraria), he lies by the throat (se ne mente per la gola).” The secretary being astounded went away, and Aldobrandini, drawing yet nearer to me said, “Old as I am, would to God that I could end the disputes with this Duke with sword and tabard (con la spada e cappa); should the affair proceed I will let him see what I can do, and will disclose to the world his wickedness, and that of his master.” He then added “I ardently desire the return of Cardinal Caraffa, and an hour's delay seems to me a thousand years.” In the meanwhile the Pope had a slight attack of dysentery, which detained him so long that the Cardinals of the Inquisition were kept some time waiting; so on coming out of his chamber he sent for me, and said, “You see our occupations, some of which, moreover, are unexpected; excuse us, and be pleased either to wait or to return on Saturday, as tomorrow Consistory assembles.” I replied that as I thought his Holiness would be tired after the Inquisition, I would return on Saturday, preferring his convenience to everything else.
From what I have heard through several good channels, from Cardinals well affected towards your Serenity and my friends, the Pope entered Consistory to-day in a great rage, and without giving audience to anyone, commenced saying that he was but too much harassed by these enemies of God; that at first he had held the Duke of Alva in some consideration, although he did not know him even by sight, because his grandfather had been a great man, but now deemed him the silliest person living (il più da poco che viva), so ignorant and inconsiderate that if he had to fight him he should anticipate certain victory by reason of his stupidity (dapocaggine). His Holiness said that, by Count Valentino, Alva had written certain frivolous things to him, and wishing to reply advisedly, not choosing to call Consistory daily, he appointed four Cardinals, of whom, the Pope said, “we have greatly to complain, as they never said anything; nor can we but think ill of their disposition, and that they bear but little love towards this Holy See. The Cardinals are the 'Decano' [Bellai], Carpi, Morone, and Saraceno.
“We nevertheless replied, as God inspired us, and subsequently the Duke sent Pirro (we do not know whether he is descended from the King of the Epirots) with a letter, the most accursed that ever was read; arrogant, false, without substance, and without nerve, which we believe has been seen by everybody, for we understand that it is almost in print (perchè intendiamo ch'è quasi in stampa); and another to the College.” This last he had read, adding, “We will reply, and as these four who were appointed by us did not do their duty, we have convoked you all, that even the juniors may ponder, and suggest something in congregation, which shall be assembled by us in two or three days; confer together, and discuss the matter. In the College you have an uncle of that Duke, and one of his kinsmen, namely, S. Giacomo and Pacheco; see if there is any mode of adjusting these difficulties with dignity—we no longer say for ourselves, as the Imperialists (costoro) outrage us, but for the See Apostolic,—and that they guarantee us against attack; as if we disarm, they who have usually a standing army might do the like in a few days; for should means be found, we would accept any fair agreement, nor would we mind (e non ci curaremo) releasing the prisoners, although they deserve fire and sword; and we moreover wish you to decide whether they have now made war on us, for we are informed that in the direction of Ponte Corvo and of Tagliacozzo they have crossed into our territory to carry off cattle.”
When the Pope had finished, the right reverend “Decano” [De Bellai] rose to speak, but the Pope told him to hold his tongue. His right reverend lordship prayed the College to beseech his Holiness to let him say but two words, but the Pope again enjoined silence, and after giving the bishopric of Nepi to Fra Michiele of the Inquisition, he dismissed Consistory. One of these Cardinals tells me that San Giacomo and Pacheco told him they will go and tell the Pope that if he on his part will assure the Duke of Alva that he will not molest their Sovereigns' territories, they, S. Giacomo and Pacheco, will induce the Duke to give similar assurance in such form as possible, the only three modes which occur to them being either hostages, or merchants' securities, or a promise from the Italian potentates; but they doubt obtaining any good result, as matters have proceeded too far.
Rome, 4th September 1556.
Sept. 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 597. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador at Ghent, to the Doge and Senate.
The King of Spain returned to this town two days after he had accompanied the Emperor to the place where his Imperial Majesty embarked for Zealand, in which same place the Emperor gave him his blessing, and their Majesties took leave of each other with many tears. Since then the Emperor, together with the Queens, is residing on one of the islands of Zealand, called Arnemuiden (Dermuia), where the harbour is, and the ships destined to take him to Spain, are in number fifty-one, and will be joined by a number of merchantmen; nor is anything awaited but a fair wind, the present one being foul.
The Prince of Orange is said to have been commissioned by the Emperor to give positive notice of his departure for Spain to the Electors of the Empire, and to exhort them to hold the King of the Romans in the same account as they did the Emperor in person. Some persons attribute the Prince's delay to his having been rather unwell; some to his having had an express order not to set out until quite sure that the Emperor and all the ships are at sea; the Bishop of Arras likewise being desired not to send the seal to the King of the Romans until certain that his Imperial Majesty has set sail; whereupon the Vice-Lord-Chancellor of the Empire, and the secretaries, who are already dismissed, will depart, they having declared themselves authorised by the Emperor to enact several privileges before his departure for Zealand (fino che ella non sia partita per Zelanda). On the King's return, the ambassadors accredited to the Emperor, with the exception of the Nuncio, who took leave, went to tell him that they had been commissioned to remain with his royal Majesty; and I also performed the like office, saying your Serenity had desired me not to leave him until the arrival of the most noble Surian already appointed to his Majesty, who told me that as the Pope had said so publicly that he would deprive him of the kingdom of Naples, he had sent orders to the Duke of Alva not only to march to the frontiers, but to enter the territory of one who sought to injure him, and that owing to the crisis in Italy, he thought of sending for the ambassador accredited by him to your Serenity to obtain some information.
The Abbot of San Saluto [Parpaglia Vincenzo] has arrived here from the Court of France, to continue his usual custom of talking about peace with one King and the other, and also because he was commissioned by Cardinal Caraffa, at the hour of his departure, to let the ministers here know that if they will be the first to suspend hostilities, the Pope will do the like, and they will settle the disputes by negotiation.
The French Ambassador, also, went immediately to the King, making a similar statement, telling him that his most Christian Majesty offered himself as mediator for this negotiation, and had given him orders not to talk about peace with Don Ruy Gomez until he heard that a commission had been sent to the Duke of Alva to suspend hostilities. King Philip answered him, and Don Ruy Gomez gave the same reply to the Abbot, that he was most anxious for peace, and that if the King of France would undertake to bring things to such a pass as not to cause apprehension about the kingdom of Naples, he was content to charge the Duke to desist from war.
The Abbot told me that he had assured Don Ruy Gomez that the Cardinal of Lorraine had given him his word that the King of France would consent to make peace with the King of Spain; placing the Duke of Savoy in the State of Milan, his Excellency renouncing the rest of Piedmont and the county of Nice; and that Savoy be given to one of the sons of the King of France, with a daughter of the King of Bohemia for wife, their heirs to be always Dukes of Savoy; and that his Majesty would give his sister to the present Duke, whose children were to succeed in like manner; and, in default of heirs to either one or the other, such rights as their Majesties now have to revert to them. Don Ruy Gomez answered the Abbot that when an arrangement shall be made in earnest (da dovero) for discussing the peace, the answers will be so reasonable that both their Majesties may be satisfied with them; nor would he proceed to farther particulars, because the French Ambassador told the King that until the affairs with the Pope are settled nothing was to be said about peace.
Three days ago a servant of Don Antonio [De Zuñiga?] came hither to inform the King that when intending to cross into Spain his master was arrested, as an act of reprisal for the seizure there of a Frenchman, said by the Spaniards to have been detected at Fonterabia secretly making plans of that town; concerning which matter the French Ambassador was spoken to, first by Ruy Gomez, and then by the King, showing him that this was done illegally; but although Don Antonio is one of his Majesty's chief gentlemen, it is nevertheless said that according to the agreement the truce cannot be broken for the sake of one or two private individuals.
The agent of Genoa tells me that the mission thither of Don Juan de Ayala was not (as he had been given to understand) so much for the purpose of visiting the Signory there and Prince Doria, as to devise some means, when conversing with that Prince, whereby to give the fleet a real commander (un vero capo) in lieu of his Excellency, as Marc' Antonio dal Carretto did not command it, and Gio. Andrea, son of the late Zanettino Doria, commanded his (le sue) [galleys?] imprudently; it being of consequence at the present time to have the said fleet united, either to send it to succour Oran as intended, or as assistance for the affairs of Italy in case the King of France, delaring himself in favour of the Pope, should choose to send his fleet to harass the kingdom of Naples.
Ghent, 4th September 1556.
Sept. 4. Lettere del Collegio. (Secreta). File No. 20. 598. The Doge and College to the Venetian Ambassador in England.
By the authority of the Senate charge him to communicate, as usual, the enclosed advices from the Levant.
Vigore partis diei 3 su~pti.
Sept. 5. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 7 B. 599. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The advices received from Naples, dated the 1st, state that the Duke of Alva was gone out of that city, and had sent the artillery towards San Germano, the troops on the frontiers being still reinforced; so here they continue to increase their forces, and the drummers perambulate the city daily, shouting “who will take [earnest] money (chi vuol toccar danari); and they are diligently fortifying. As Trastevere likewise is to be enclosed, those palaces which were to have been thrown down are made to contribute heavily, including the habitations of the Farnese family, (fn. 5) of the Prior of Rome, and many others, who are paying thousands. The cavalry of Parma and Mirandola, in number 150, have entered Rome, and in like manner yesterday the infantry and 50 horse from the Duchy of Urbino made their entry; all of which are considered good troops, and have been quartered in Trastevere, the Gascons being removed from thence, their consummate insolence exceeding that of the other soldiers; as they rob, murdering the men and ravishing the women, some serious disturbance is apprehended daily.
I understand that the Pope has taken very much amiss the agreement made by the Farneses, and dissembles it, this not seeming to him the fitting moment; nor can he tolerate that, when they were about to conclude with the King of Spain or had already done so, they sent word to him by an envoy that they had not yet done, nor would they do anything without his Holiness knowing and approving of it; which instruction (instruttione) having been shown to him by Duke Octavio's agent, the Pope kept it for himself, as it was signed with the Duke's own hand, nor would he give it back. The same agent has now returned to give account of the conclusion, going daily for audience, and to-day I saw him in the ante-chamber, where after waiting a long while he was dismissed, being told to return.
Rome, 5th September 1556.
Sept. 5. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 7 B. 600. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
When I went to-day to the audience appointed me by the Pope, his Holiness said to me, “Magnifico Ambassador, you must have heard what we did yesterday in Consistory for the sake of administering a handful of correction to the Cardinals for these proceedings of theirs, saying we have a bad opinion of them, because when there is such danger of the greatest conflagration the world ever witnessed, they seem neither to care about it nor to give it a thought. We told them, almost in form of a protest, that we wished for their opinion as to whether these enemies of Christ, by invading and plundering our territory in the direction of Ponte Corbo and Tagliacozzo, have made war, or whether we are to expect something greater, besides the famous libel sent to us by that Duke of Alva, I mean his letter, of which you must have had a copy; it being so contemptuous and asinine (tanto trascurata et asenesca) that we may tell you we are fortunate in having to do with a most insolent and foolish man, and a simpleton (cum homine insolentissimo, studlissimo, con un da poco). This morning, one of the Cardinals wrote us a letter on this subject, but it does not satisfy us. We would fain have peace, but to enable us to obtain it we will so add to our forces as to defy the enemy's attack, and by so doing we think to do our duty by this gift received from above; and on the other hand, what is due to you and the other Princes of Italy, who would be weaker (li quali sareste più deboli) were we through our stupidity to allow them to occupy this State. We have put up with the insolence of these Imperialists (di costoro) and will still continue to do so, from the respect we owe to this sacred office, until the whole world shall say, 'What is this silly fellow the Pope doing, that he does not avenge the injury (che fa questa bestiola del Papa che non si risente?)—what is he waiting for?' and then we will go at them (et all' hora daremo dentro), and make them know that the delay will not have been for lack of courage, and we hope in God that He will assist us against these enemies of His, qui fidem catholicam penitus evertere cupiunt. His Divine Majesty has chastised other similar offenders; we hope He will do the like by them also, and who knows but that He may choose it to be in our time? His Majesty knows that this is contrary to our wish, as we desire peace, and would shed our blood for it.”
Thereupon I said, “Holy Father, I will hope for the best, as is also hoped by the most Serene Signory since my announcement of the return of Messer Domenico del Nero, and that a person was expected in the name of the Duke of Alva, as it is not credible that the Lord God should leave your Holiness' desire for peace ungratified. His Divine Majesty will miraculously cause your Beatitude, though your extreme prudence, to find means for the adjustment of everything.” “Christ grant it!” said the Pope; “but as we have told you heretofore, however much we cudgel our brains, it is impossible for us to imagine any form or way whereby to enable us to put trust in them; it would be folly were we to negotiate with this Duke of Alva; his Princes are far away; nor can we place trust even in them, for the father never kept faith (non hebbe mai fede), of which the son may be supposed to have still less. On the word of the Duke of Alva we will never rely, as, were he to break it, the Imperialists (coloro) would say, 'Why did the Pope believe him?' or, 'He (Alva) was his (the Pope's) minister; we know nothing farther, go to him and get redress.'
“This is the state of the case; should they touch us—but what use is it saying, should they touch us, when they have already done so?—we will turn the whole world against them, and the conflagration will be such as to consume everybody, so that there will be need for unusquisque consulat rebus suis, as, seeing this opportunity, even the Turk will arm him in like manner, and perhaps come overland; should this flame be kindled, there will be no one at liberty to extinguish it.”
To this I replied, “Holy Father, by so much the more have I good hopes, as, with these eyes which see everything, your Holiness ponders the infinite misery which would result from such a war.” The Pope rejoined, “What would you have me do? that I should allow myself to be annihilated? we have too many examples of their impiety before our eyes; they have also demanded from the Signory passage (il passo) for German troops.” “Yes, Holy Father,” said I, “for 4,000 men, and the Signory, choosing to remain neutral, could not refuse it, and has commissioned me to inform your Holiness.” “Answer them,” said the Pope, “that boni consulimus (sic), as we believe that they will not fail doing the like by us.” I replied, “Most Holy Father, the Republic will never fail to act as becomes its respect for this See Apostolic, and especially for your Holiness individually, and according to the Signory's wish to remain at peace with all parties.”
The Pope said, “We choose to believe it, and if they concede these things (et se le danno) to the enemies of Christ and of Italy, why should they not give them to us for the defence of the religion and of this afflicted province? and were they to do otherwise, we would make ourselves heard in such a manner as becoming.” And here, most Serene Prince, the Pope's countenance, and pronunciation of these wards, displayed evident dissatisfaction at this passage-permit.
His Holiness added, “We pray God to inspire the Republic to direct herself well, and to do what shall be expedient in so great a conflagration as this will be; and that she may be the better able thus to do, we tell you that on the arrival of our nephew the Cardinal we shall know what will be in our power, as although the slightest offer made us by the King was that of coming in person to our assistance, as one who is a friend in deed, and not merely in word, and who has been exalted by God that he may oppose these other accursed heretics, yet are there certain things which cannot be sent through couriers or other persons, but will be announced by the Cardinal, who, through the familiarity contracted by him with the King, has discovered the heart of his Majesty, who, when he gave him leave (as told us by a person who was present, and came overland express,) wept abundantly; and we shall have the means for raising a larger and braver army than the Imperialists (che loro), in addition to which (although they do not expect it) they will have work to do elsewhere than here; we promise you that they will have turmoil in every quarter.” And putting his hand to his heart, he said, “Believe us, for we know what we tell you.” With this he dismissed me.
Rome, 5th September 1556.
Sept. 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 601. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador at Ghent, to the Doge and Senate.
The Abbot of San Saluto tells me he went to day to complain to Don Ruy Gomez that the Bishop of Arras had had it intimated to him that he was to depart from this Court as soon as possible, informing him that otherwise he would be dismissed with little honour to himself, having come without any apparent commission, either from Cardinal Caraffa or the Cardinal of Lorraine (nè di quello di Ghisa), to negociate so important a matter as that of the peace; telling him that if such was the case, his Majesty chose him to depart to-day. Ruy Gomez entered the King's chamber forthwith, and coming out again immediately, answered Parpaglia, not only that such an order had never been given by his Majesty, but that he was very glad he had taken the trouble (pigliato cura) to come hither and treat about a matter so necessary for the advantage and honour of Christendom, saying he could not believe that the Bishop of Arras had sent to tell him things of such a nature, and charging him not to depart, and to suggest what he thought suitable for the conclusion of the peace. The Abbot told me that to free the King from the present suspicion about the affairs of Naples, through fear of the Duke of Paliano, and to compensate the Pope and Duke for that Duchy, he suggested giving him Sienna (the Emperor having given him authority over the affairs of that city); and that Paliano should remain under the Church, on condition that Marc' Antonio Colonna be allowed to exercise his rights. To this proposal Don Ruy Gomez replied that he was to go back to France, and tell Cardinal Caraffa that should his most Christian Majesty determine to give Mont' Alcino and other places dependent on Sienna to the Duke of Paliano, an answer would then be given him; and the Abbot told me that he was to go again to Ruy Gomez about the matter of the Duke of Savoy, as written by me yesterday, and then depart immediately for France.
To-day the King desired Don Câesar (the brother of the Marquis of Pescara) and the Count of Landriano to hold themselves in readiness to return postwise to Milan, as he has given several orders for the benefit of that state, at the request of the said Marquis and the Cardinal of Trent, in case the King of France break the truce in order to favour the Pope. To the Count of Landriano he has given the town of Pandino with 800 crowns rental, and to Gio. Batta. Gastaldo he has conceded the favour of transferring to his son his company of men-at-arms; whilst to the Santa Fiora (Sforza) family, for their deserts, 6,000 ducats annual revenue have been given for partition amongst them; 6,000 more being divided between Marc' Antonio Colonna and his mother. Count Mansfeldt has come here on parole, having lodged security for 25,000 ducats with the Frenchman whose prisoner he was, to ask the Emperor, before his departure, for pecuniary assistance, or for some prisoner to pay his ransom with, he having been captured in the Imperial service; so his Majesty, being well satisfied with Mansfeldt, sent word to King Philip to provide for him.
The French ambassador is now negotiating the release of the Duke de Bouillon, by giving almost the same ransom as was paid by the Constable's son; but the demand made by King Philip was 80,000, which he reduced to 70,000, destined by him for the Duke of Savoy, as compensation for the expenses incurred by him heretofore when General, and for his other credits; but the ambassador would not promise farther, Madame de Valentinois, the mother-in-law of the Duke de Bouillon, having written to him that she could not exceed 40,000.
Some days ago the Duke of Savoy went to Brussels to persuade the deputies of Brabant (who had assembled there, not having chosen to come into Flanders, to avoid infringement of their privileges) to contribute a donative demanded for the King, as the other states had already done, and to treat the mode of defence of these provinces, in case of war with France. From what his Excellency writes, he found them, very determined (molto pertinaci) not to consent to the demand, saying they have requested to see the accounts of what has been already expended, and the reform of the courts of law; for which reasons the Duke has been unable as yet to despatch this business, and he writes to the King that their obstinacy is such that he suspects his Majesty will be compelled to go back to Brussels if he wish to make them change their bad intention.
It is asserted by a Spaniard who has come from Zealand, being in the service of the Emperor, that his Imperial Majesty was heard to say, that unless the weather now become quite fair for his voyage to Spain, he has resolved, not to come back either to Ghent or Brussels, but to proceed in preference to England to await a fair wind there; which words confirm the opinion always entertained by many persons that his Imperial Majesty purposes effecting something in that kingdom for the benefit of his son.
Ghent, 5th September 1556.
Sept. 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 602. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador at Ghent, to the Doge and Senate.
This morning the King heard from the Emperor that the weather gave signs of being fair for his voyage to Spain; so his Royal Majesty said that although he had taken his last leave of his Imperial Majesty, he will go postwise to-morrow to see him. The Spaniards announce that the money-bargain with the delegate from the feudatories of the Indies has been concluded in the form told me by Don Bernardino de Mendoza, as mentioned in my former letters. Yesterday the King's confessor and some other ecclesiastics were sent for into the Council of State to consult about what provision could be made in case the Pope excommunicate King Philip, lest the inhabitants of these provinces either become over-alarmed on this account, and do not yield him that obedience and those subsidies which they do at present, or else alienate themselves from the Church in such a form that it would then be difficult to make them return to the obedience of the See Apostolic; nor is it known as yet that any resolve has been formed.
The French ambassador has told Don Ruy Gomez, as he moreover tells everybody else indiscriminately, that he is commissioned by his King to let King Philip know that if he breaks with the Pope, his most Christian Majesty will not fail to give his Holiness every assistance in his power. The ambassador from Ferrara has been commissioned not to leave this Court according to his first orders, but to remain with the King until he goes to England.
Ghent, 5th September 1556.


  • 1. Sir Robert Rochester, Comptroller of the Household.
  • 2. William Paulet, Marquis of Winchester.
  • 3. An English translation of this letter may be read in “Foreign Calendar, Mary,” pp. 249–251.
  • 4. In Navagero's Report of Rome (p. 391), the name of this Neapolitan is written Bozzuto, and the Florentine braggart who accompanied him to the Pope is there called Silvestro Aldobrandini. They and a certain Monsignor della Casa were the chief firebrands who kindled the war described in this correspondence.
  • 5. This mention of the Farnese palaces corroborates the contents of the note at the foot of Cardinal Pole's letter, to which I have assigned the date of 15th September 1556 (see p. 618).