Venice: May 1555, 1-15

Pages 59-72

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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May 1555, 1–15

May 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 69. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate
The Bishop of Arras has left post-wise for Antwerp, and will soon return and go to Gravelines by the same conveyance. The reply from the Queen of England to the Emperor has arrived, purporting that the King; of France consents to send the commissioners, and wishes to shorten the term, by their betaking themselves to Ardres on the 10th instant, instead of on the 20th, as written by the Queen.
Brussels, 1st May 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
May 1. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. cl. x. without date, Printed in vol. v. pp. 9–11. “Epistolarum Reginaldi Poli,” etc. dated as above. 70. Cardinal pole to pope Marcello II
Has received two briefs from the Pope, the one addressed to himself, confirming the charge given him by the late Pope, concerning the matter of the religion in England, and the negotiation for the peace with the ministers of the Emperor and of France, who are to attend the conference. In the other to the King and Queen of England, the Pope acquaints them with his accession, and requests them to exert themselves for the auspicious result of the conference for the peace. The King and Queen received the brief willingly, and expressed their readiness to obey the Pope's holy exhortations in all things. The joy (alacritas) with which Pole received the Pope's mandate is not to be told; as previously, with whatever authority invested, on hearing of his Holiness's election, he felt himself well nigh powerless without the papal authority and command, which seem to him to warrant fair hopes.
Richmond, 1st May 1555.
[Latin. 33 lines.]
May 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 71. Glacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate
The Cardinal of Lorraine and the Constable will be at Ardres on the 20th, that being the day appointed for the conference; many noblemen and others accompany them, so that their joint retinues (le loro corte unite) will amount to about 4,000 horse. Both have fitted themselves out with great pomp, especially the Constable, incurring vast expense both for their attendants, as also for household furniture of gold and silk, being aware of the importance of this congress. Although scarcely arrived, has ascertained on good authority, that his most Christian Majesty is not much inclined towards peace, and does not care greatly about any adjustment, it seeming to him that his affairs have hitherto proceeded very prosperously; nor, above all, has he any need of money, having accumulated a considerable sum of gold. But what induced him to send to the conference, was, that being requested to make an agreement, and refusing it, he would seem, as it were, to offend all Christendom; in addition to which, his own people being much straitened by the incessant expenditure, and the nobility impocerishted, had he refused to say a word, about adjustment, they would hare remained dissatisfied, and less ready for the future to take the field. By sending to make the adjustment, in case it be not effected, this demonstration may be of great use to him; and should a truce be made, to which he seems most inclined, he would derive the advantage of greatly recruiting his subjects, and he himself would increase his pecuniary supply for future occasions. Understands, on the other hand, that the Emperor does not seem to give ear to a truce of any sort; hut that should it be chosen to make an adjustment, he wishes it to be for peace, implying apparently a hope that the King of France will restore something either in Piedmont or Picarely, by means of a marriage; but from what the writer hears, the most Christian King will give back nothing. Has been told tbat consequently it would not be easy to discover a way to make peace, but that the miracles performed by God in the affairs of England were manifest, most especially with regard to religion; wherefore it may be believed that in this matter likewise God will find a way. There is also another consideration of no slight importance, which seems to warrant hope of some agreement, namely, the private interest of the Constable, whose son, being the Emperor's prisoner, and he himself growing old, without having hitherto benefited his family in the least, he may be supposed to wish greatly for his release, whereupon it may be considered certain that his most Christian Majesty will make him his Great Master, as he has already promised. Besides this, has heard that active negotiation has been on foot for the marriage of this son of his to his most Christian Majesty's bastard daughter, and is assured that the negotiation is so far advanced that, were this release to take place, it might be supposed that the match would follow. But although such important considerations might, to a certain extent, warp the Constable's judgment (offuscare la mente del Contestabile), and prevent him from considering his most Christian Majesty's advantage, it will be so maintained by the intervention of the Cardinal of Lorraine, that their reciprocal rivalry will prevent any agreement save such as shall be beneficial to the French crown; and this is the motive which prevented the Cardinal' from going to Rome for the Pope's election.
Paris, 5th May 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
May 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 72. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate
On Tuesday the last of the month, at daybreak, a report circulated that the night before, between the 5th and 6th hour (half an hour after midnight, the sun setting at 7.30), the most Serene Queen had been delivered of a male child with little pain and no danger. Owing to this news, as firmly believed and asserted by everybody, even by the magistrates and royal officials (ministry regij), the people made public demonstrations of joy, by shutting the shops, processions in the churches, ringing the bells, public tables being spread with wine and viands for all comers; and although it was day there were bonfires in the streets, which was astonishing (che fa una cosa grande). But in the afternoon, several persons having returned from the Court with a truer account, the falsity of the report became manifest, for not only had the delivery not taken place, but neither had any of the symptoms which precede delivery manifested themselves; nor is it to be told how much this dispirited everybody.
The original source of this report is not yet well known, and many persons suppose the thing to have been done designedly by order rather than by accident (volendo molti die studiosamente ciò fusse fatto fare, più presto che a caso). As this, however, is all conjecture, it will suffice for me to refer it to your Serenity's judgment. (fn. 1)
The Earl of Pembroke has been unexpectedly recalled from Calais, he expecting to remain there some time, having sent for his wife, who was already on her way. Persons the best informed attribute this return solely to King Philip's wish to have him about his person at the time of this delivery, relying greatly, let happen what may, on his fidelity and power (assicu randosi assai in ogni caso che potesse succedere nella fede et poter suo), and on being able to make better use of him here than across the Channel; and should it be necessary to make any provision, either by covertly mustering troops, as has apparently been ordered, or for anything else, through his numerous followers (per il gran seguito che ha) he will be able to do it better than all the others.
As written by me, the Lady Elizabeth came to the Court very privately, accompanied by three or four of her women, and as many more [male] servants (accompagnata da tre, ò quattro delle sue donne, et altrettanti servitori), but was neither met nor received by any one, and was placed in the apartment (nelle stanze) of the Duke of Alva, where she lives in retirement (retirata), not having been seen by any one save once or twice by their Majesties, by private stairs (per vie secrete). (fn. 2)
I am told by a person of authority, that as Don Fcrrante refused to stir, after his Majesty's second invitation and offers for him to come hither, it being necessary to appoint a president of the Council, the Bishop of Arras (Monsr. di Arras) ivill come to assume that post, the Duke of Savoy being appointed, but not proclaimed, Captain General of the States and Provinces of Flanders; and it is also told me that on his return from Italy, his marriage with the Duchess of Lorraine, which was treated here, and is supposed to be nearly settled, will take place.
The election of the Pope (fn. 3) has greatly comforted Cardinal Pole, who considers it advantageous; his Holiness has sent him the confirmation of his legatine office, and given him notice at the same time of a strong representation (un gagliardo officio) made to him by the ambassadors of the Emperor and the King [of France?], both in the same terms, touching the peace, the Pope charging him to carry on the negotiation. His Holiness has also written to King Philip to negotiate the peace, his Majesty in return being about to send a gentleman to visit and congratulate him especially (particolarmente) in his own name, the Queen's ambassadors being ordered to tender obedience in two forms (di prestar doppia obedientia), both respecting the union of this Church with the Church of Rome, according to their [original] commission, and with regard to that which is usually tendered by all Catholic princes on the creation of pontiffs.
Yesterday the French ambassador's secretary arrived with letters from France, dated 30th April, purporting that when his most Christian Majesty heard of the Emperor's appointment of the six commissioners for the conference, he did not think fit to add to the number of his own, contenting himself with the two named by him at first (contentandosi delli due primi) who will assuredly be at the appointed place on the 20th instant; so the commissioners here (questi Signori che sono quà) will set out in the course of this week. Lord Paget and the Earl of Pembroke had been appointed in addition, to attend with the Chancellor, all three in the name of her Majesty, but the Earl having been recalled, Paget and Gardyner will go alone (ma essendo stato richiamato il Contc, andaranno li dui).
Father Sot (sic) (Soto), heretofore the Emperor's confessor, has arrived here, called by their Majesties, by the advice of Cardinal Pole, to assist in regulating (a riordinar) the affairs of the monasteries and religious institutions; his right reverend Lordship deferring greatly (attribuisce assai) to his judgment, as he is a very exemplary person.
A Neapolitan nobleman of the Brancacio family has also arrived as ambassador from Queen Bonna of Poland, (fn. 4) to offer congratulations on the auspicious events of religion, and he has brought as presents a very beautiful fount, and some other pieces of plate, together with several fine horses and sables (gibellini). (fn. 5)
The surrender of Sienna was heard first by letters of the 21st ultimo in 11 days, and subsequently through Messer Averardo de' Medici, who was despatched for this purpose by the Duke of Florence, and although the joy he brought was great, it would have been greater still were they to see the end of the war in those parts (et non ha portato, anchor che molta, tutta quella allegrezza, che havrebbe fatto, se si vedesse finita la guerra in quelle parti).
London, 6th May 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
May 8. Filza No. 134. Miscellanea di Atti diversi Manoseritti. Venetian Archives. 73. Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devonshire, to Mr. [Sir Francis?] Englefeld and Mr. James Basset.
Mr. Basset, I have received your letters, by which I perceived the pains that you have taken in furthering the order of my affairs, for which I most heartily thank you. I like the indenture and letter of attorney marvellously well, and accordingly have set my hand and seal, requiring you that touching the sale of my manor you and the rest will vouchsafe to use great circumspection, for the land is wonderful good, having on it 200 acres, at the least, of timber, with many other commodities, insomuch that I had an offer made me of 30 years purchase and more for it. I think it very necessary that there be a survey thereof first made substantially, whereby the value may perfectly be known, and how most money may be made thereof, of which I pray you let me have knowledge before it be clearly made away.
Touching my abode here, it only hath been, as I doubt not you both confide and know, for the despatch of these my private and most necessary affairs, and for my letters to Mr. Gresham, for the receipt of my thousand marks, the which I could by no means go without, the declaration whereof I most instantly require you not to omit when time and occasion shall serve. And now that I am at a point with the premises I intend, God willing, to-morrow morning very early to go forward with all expedition possible; howbeit I am of force constrained to go first to Antwerp before I go to Brussels, forasmuch as the little furniture that I have with me cometh thither, and I [have] with myself nothing else than only such things as I should ride in post withal; howbeit I intend to make none abode there, but without delay to go from thence to the Emperor's Court.
I have promised Mr. Loo and Mr. Blunt that they shall receive 200l. at the coming-up of my money, to be divided between them, the which I pray you let them not fail to have. I pray you to have me humbly commended to my Lord Chancellor, and to render unto him my most hearty thanks for this letter that he hath sent to Mr. Gresham touching me, and to my Lord Treasurer also, and let not my most hearty commendations and thanks to Mr. Comptroller be forgotten. I shall also require you not to omit my commendations to Mr. Waldgrave and his bedfellow, to Mr. Ryse, and to Mr. Kempe your bedfellow, with such other my friends as you shall think convenient. And I pray you let the shortness of time and the haste of my journey be my excuse unto such as doth justly look that I should have written unto them. I pray you also to do my humble commendations to my Lord Cardinal's grace, to my good father the King's confessor [Alfonso de Castro], and Father Angelo, and to Signior Ruy Gomez, and I most instantly require you that though these be not the first that be put in, yet let them not be the last that be done. I have accordingly to your advice put Mr. Solicitor jointly in commission with you, as you may by the letter of attorney perceive, unto whom I shall think myself very much bound if he will now in my absence take some pains and show me friendship accordingly, which I shall not fail by God's grace to acquit, thus praying you to take in good part that I cumber you with these my private affairs. I recommend you to Almighty God, praying Him to acquit you for the infinite benefits which I have and daily do receive by you, and amongst the rest I may not forget to give you thanks for particularly that you writ unto me of the good estate and health of the King's and Queen's Majesties, for whom I shall not cease daily to pray, and that God will shortly send us a prince to make us all merry withal.
This viiith of May 1555, scribbled in great haste, by yours most assuredly, from Calais.
(Signed) E.D.
I pray you let Mr. Englefeld be always one at the passing of my great affairs, as he both hath some sight in the laws, and I have in him also an assured trust that he will use some diligence therein. Touching my man Bedlowe, I would not you should esteem him so as I mean or meant to use him as a counsellor, but as a messenger. I have no other to signify unto you worth writing now, and therefore for this time I commit you to God, in great haste as you may see.
Mr. Englefeld, I have received your letters of the 6th of this month, whereby I perceive you be contented to take pains and charges with my affairs, for which I most heartily thank you; in recompense whereof, and a great many other benefits, if it may lie in my power to do you any pleasure, I would think myself very happy, and in few words you may be assured I think myself most bound to be yours in respects whereby I may stand you in stead. I have according to your advice put Mr. Solicitor in the letter of attorney, jointly with you, wherein I shall not fail to acquit if he will vouchsafe to take in hand the charge and pains thereof. Where you persuade me with speed to depart to the Emperor's Majesty, I most heartily thank you for your good advice therein, and you shall understand that my stay hitherto hath been constrained (as I doubt not you know and consider) for the despatch of my private affairs, but these now being somewhat in frame, with all expedition I tomorrow morning go forward towards the Emperor's Majesty, trusting to be there very shortly. I have in a letter to my friend Mr. Basset touched matters more particularly, the which I doubt not he will signify unto you; wherefore for this time being utterly without more leisure, with my hearty commendations, I end, beseeching God to have you in his keeping.
This 8th of May 1555, from Calais.
Yours most assuredly
(Signed) E.D.
Basset, I pray you let there be no general survey of my whole revenues until you hear further from me, but only of this one lordship. And I pray you, before you pass any matter of weight, I may hear from you, if I be not so very far from you that the distance of the place enforce the same.
(Endorsed by the same hand:)
To Mr. Bassat and Mr. Englefeld, the 8th of May 1555.
(And again endorsed by the same hand:)
To Mr. Englefeld and Mr. Bassat, 8 May 1555, from Calais.
[Original draft, with corrections.]
May 8. Filza, No. 134, Miscellanea di Atti diversi Manoscritti, Venetian Archives. 74. Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devonshire, to Mr. William Cordell, the Solicitor General.
Right worshipful, after my right hearty commendations unto you. Understanding by my “very friend” Mr. Basset and others the earnest friendship (more ways than one) you have always borne towards me, I cannot but render unto you my very hearty thanks for the same, assuring you (as occasion may serve me) you shall find my good will ready to acquit the same. And now because I am constrained through my absence from my native country to trouble divers my friends (among whom I accompt upon you, as one of my most assured), I am at this time much desirous to pray you, with Mr. Comptroller and others, to take the pains about sundry my affairs, according to a letter of attorney [which] doth import the same, wherein I have put your name, and have sent the same, signed and sealed, according to the draft I have received from yon. Thus I commit you to God.
From Calais, the 8th of May 1555.
Your assured friend,
(Signed) E. D.
(Endorsed by the same hand:)
To Mr. Cordall, solyciter, from Calais, the 8th of May 1555.
(And again by the same hand, on another fold:)
Mr. William Cordell, solycitor, 8th of May 1555, from Calais.
[Original draft, with corrections.]
May 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 75. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The day after to-morrow Lord Paget and the Earl of Arundel, who has been appointed by the Queen in lieu of the Earl of Pembroke, depart on their way to cross the Channel, being both sent in advance to prepare in the [open] country, on such site as they shall find most convenient for all parties, where the frontiers of France, Flanders, and England join, the quarters for these personages who are to attend the conference, it not being thought fit for them to assemble in a castle, or walled place. Should there be time, they will have wooden houses built; if not, they will pitch tents and pavilions in the military fashion (ad uso di guerra) for their habitation merely during the day, as at night they will all lodge in some town of their own hard by, and not remain in the [open] country. The whole of this cost will be defrayed by the most Serene Queen, who has not failed to give Cardinal Pole l,500l. sterling, to enable him to spend more largely on this occasion, as will be done by his most illustrious lordship, and all these personages. (fn. 6)
The Cardinal of Lorraine and the Constable will be accompanied, not as principals but as their dependents, by the Bishops of Orleans and of Vannes, (fn. 7) namely De Morvilliers, heretofore ambassador at Venice, and De Marillac, late ambassador here, they being “of the long robe” (uomini di robba longa), as their countrymen style them; and with them comes the secretary Aubespine.
The courier now despatched conveys the renewal of the ambassadors' commission in the name of the present Pontiff, to enable them to perform the office enjoined them.
London, 9th May 1555.
May 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 76. Glacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate
To-day, when with one of the chief personages of the Court, who was formerly his very confidential friend, heard from him that the commencement of this conference proceeded from the Constable, who desired the brother of the French ambassador in England to take an opportunity for letting the Bishop of Winchester know that his Excellency wished for the peace, and that the Queen of England herself should be mediatrix for it; to which Her Majesty having given ear, several letters passed between the Constable and the Bishop of Winchester. The Emperor having assented to the negotiation, the Constable then informed the Bishop through the same channel, that he wished for the conference, which the Queen, by means of Cardinal Pole, having proposed to both sides, his most Christian Majesty named the Constable and the Cardinal of Lorraine. Although this same personage (who knows the fact) assured me that as yet there has been no commencement of any particulars, everything being reserved for the conference, he nevertheless said that knowing the Constable to be so inclined towards the peace, as my informant said he certainly was, the matter is very doubtful, and must be judged at the close (che conviene stare molto in dubbio e giudicare il fine); and he moreover said for certain that as yet the Emperor has announced no intention whatever of a truce.
Melun, 10th May 1555.
[Italian, in cipher, deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
May 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 77. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate
The day before yesterday, the Bishop of Arras returned from Antwerp with four posters (con quattro poste), having been sent for by the Emperor, that he might send him off to Gravelines, for which place he will depart postwise tomorrow, and the other commissioners have already set out travelling by day [with their own horses?] (si sono già incaminati in giornata). The Lord Legate Pole, and the other commissioners of the Queen of England, write to the Nuncio here, and to her Majesty's ambassador, to urge the departure of the Bishop of Arras, as the French commissioners are hastening the conference for the 10th or 15th instant. It is said that the Emperor having heard that the French commissioners are coming with great pomp, has assigned large salaries to his own commissioners, so that all may entertain the English commissioners (aeciochè tutti tengano tavola ai commissarij Englesi), who will be the first to go and see the Imperialists; and then that they may reciprocate the French demonstrations, in case they confer together, the Emperor gives each of the Flemish commissioners twenty crowns per diem, and sixty crowns per diem to the Bishop of Arras; and to all of them he has given money for one month.
Dr. Malopra, who was left here by the Duke of Savoy as his ambassador, (fn. 8) asked leave of the Emperor to go to this conference for the negotiation of peace, in order to further the interests of his master, and having obtained it, departed yesterday for Gravelines.
The Nuncio here, in like manner, wrote to Cardinal Pole that he also wished to attend, and Pole replied that, although invested with Legatine authority, yet is he not authorised to grant that which appertains to the Pope alone, or may be conceded by the Emperor. (fn. 9)
The Earl of Pembroke, who was at Calais, having been appointed third commissioner for the Queen of England, has crossed the Channel on a summons from the King; some persons say because the ministers know him to be unfit for this negotiation, as he neither speaks nor understands any other language than the English. Others are of opinion that the King and Queen wish to have him near them in case of any accident in those parts, he being their Majesties' lieutenant, a faithful subject, and one who has very great authority in that kingdom.
Lord Courtenay has arrived at Calais, announcing his intention of remaining some time at this court, and then going to Italy to see Rome and Venice; but I have heard that the Emperor gave orders to cause him, by adroit means (con destro modo), to leave England, and especially before the Queen's delivery, he being a personage of such great authority in that country, as known to your Serenity.
The Earl of Bedford has come hither with letters of recommendation from the King of England to the Emperor, he also saying that he purposes going to see Italy; and he took occasion to assert that he, however, does not wish to speak to the Emperor, nor does he intend to ask any favour of him, but that the King gave him the letter spontaneously.
Three days ago Filippo Doria arrived here, and two hours afterwards was sent for by the Emperor, who despatched him to England.
Brussels, 10th May 1555.
May 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 78. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
The ambassador from the Queen of England, having this morning received a courier, went immediately to the Bishop of Arras, and told him that Her Majesty had got a positive reply from the most Christian King. Touching the election of the six commissioners made by the Emperor, with regard to the Duke de Medina Celi, the King of France said no one could have pleased him more, by reason of the recollection he has of the many courtesies received by his father King Francis from the said Duke's father, who had him in custody during his most Christian Majesty's imprisonment; and respecting the Bishop of Arras, he said that as the Emperor considered him his right hand, he could not but approve of him; and he also seemed satisfied with the four Flemings, as they were honourable gentlemen, and the good kinsfolk of some of his own vassals. The French King added that he could only send five commissioners, the sixth having been taken ill, but that he was nevertheless content that the Emperor should not dispense with any of the six; and then went on to say that, although the Constable said heretofore that they would assemble on the 10th or 15th instant, it would be well not to do so until the 20th, in order to go more conveniently. Sir John Masone then presented a safe-conduct from his most Christian Majesty, authorising the Imperial commissioners to resort to Ardres; requesting the Emperor to have a similar pass made, that it might be sent to the French commissioners. The Bishop of Arras replied that he augured well of the result of this conference, the most Christian King having expressed himself so well disposed towards all the commissioners of his Imperial Majesty, to whom he would make the report and ask for the order to draw up this safe-conduct; that as for the procrastination, it suited him individually and the other Imperial commissioners, as it would give them time to put their retinue into mourning; and that, although he had intended to depart to-day, he would delay his journey.
Brussels, 11th May 1555.
May 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 79. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
I have visited the Duke of Alva, and congratulated him in your Serenity's name on his well-being, and on the great dignity conferred on him by the King of England in reward for his great merits (molte virtù), expressing my belief that by reason of his good will and address he would regulate matters in such a way as to produce great quiet in Italy. He told me in reply that the intention of both their Majesties was that whilst in Italy, and especially in the Milanese, he should, to use his own words, do service to the Signory, whose good friend and servant he would be; and it is said his departure will be now hastened, owing to the fear at this court lest the Cardinal of Ferrara be elected Pope, concerning which matter the Duke of Ferrara and the Emperor's ambassador at Rome have sent two couriers, who arrived yesterday, the ambassador asking the Emperor's orders, and suggesting that the Marquis of Marignano, with such troops as he had at his disposal, should approach Rome.
The Bishop of Arras departed post-wise this day for Antwerp, where he will remain two or three days to serve Queen Maria and the King of England by assisting the conclusion of certain loans which are being negotiated; and it is said that Domenico d'Arbeo, who came heretofore, has already contracted one for 150,000 crowns, and 100,000 are expected hourly by the ships from Spain, part of which will be given to the ambassador of the Duke of Florence, who sent his son to the Queen to urge this payment, and the Emperor gave orders for this money to be paid him, on account of the expenses incurred for the affairs of Sienna. The Bishop of Arras will also confer with the Queen about the new reform which she purposes making at present of the law officers of Antwerp, and concerning the despatch of the rest of the prisoners, (fn. 10) for whose satisfaction she has added three councillors of the town of Antwerp, in addition to the council of Brabant. When these affairs are settled, his right reverend Lordship will depart to negotiate the peace, and the most Serene Queens (fn. 11) will return hither.
Don Francesco of Este has written to the secretary of the Duke [of Ferrara], his brother, to present a letter to the Bishop of Arras, and to obtain a reply. It is said he demands 7,000 crowns due to him from the Emperor. The English ambassador, having been very earnestly requested by the Earl of Bedford (fn. 12) to obtain leave [for him] to depart for Italy, has been twice to the Bishop of Arras, telling him that the Earl does not require any favour from the Emperor, nor has he any occasion to speak to his Majesty, although the King of England was pleased to write the Emperor a letter of recommendation for him, and that therefore, with his Imperial Majesty's good leave, he would set out. The Bishop of Arras answered Sir John Masone that the Emperor wished to see the Earl of Bedford, and that he should therefore remain until his Majesty was somewhat better, and that the Duke of Alva would introduce him; and the Earl was heard to say that it seemed to him as if he were kept prisoner here. It is supposed that the like will befall Lord Courtenay, for the reasons written by me to your Serenity.
Brussels, 12th May 1555.
May 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 80. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Two days ago the Duke de Medina left for the Imperial court, having been preceded by Lord Paget on his way to Calais and Guisnes, for the purpose already mentioned. To-day the Chancellor departed; the Earl of Arundel will do the like to-night, and the day after to-morrow Cardinal Pole will indubitably follow them, as having taken leave of their Majesties [at Hampton Court] we expect him here to-day. They all take great retinues with them, having put their household and attendants (la casa et servidori loro) into livery, so they will make a fine show, and cause many persons to wish themselves present at so noble and renowned a congress.
Supposes that its negotiations will be much more quickly and better known to the Doge through the Venetian ambassadors on the other side of Channel than through him, owing to the impediment and difficulty which he experiences by reason of the sea passage, and from which they are exempt. There came hither lately the Count of Arignano, having been sent by the Duke of Savoy, not only to reside here as his Excellency's agent (homo di Sua Eccellenza) during his absence from these parts, but, as told me by one who knows, to protect the negotiation for his marriage with the Duchess of Lorraine, that it may not proceed farther (chè non vadi più oltra) until the result of this conference be seen, the Duke himself desiring to be free and not bound by words, nor by anything else (nè di altro), with regard to marriage during the whole time of this negotiation, that he may then decide as he shall deem most to his honour and advantage according to the offers [made him]. France on her part likewise, as I am told (come intendo), has announced the intention and given hope of doing him more honour and accommodating him better than will be done here (chè non sarà di qui), hinting that he might possibly marry the King's sister, Madame Margaret; so the Duke informed Cardinal Pole, considering him a good instrument for the purpose.
Certain knaves in this country (alcuni tristi di questo paese) endeavour daily to disturb the peace and quiet and present state of the kingdom, so as if possible to induce some novelty and insurrection, there having been privily circulated (occultamente publicato) of late throughout the city a “Dialogue,” written and printed in English, full of seditious and, scandalous things against the religion and government, as also against the Council, the Parliament, and chiefly against their Majesties' persons (et la persona principalmente di queste Maestà); and although all diligence has been used for the discovery of the authors, no light on the subject has yet been obtained, save that an Italian has been put in the Tower, he being a master for teaching the Italian tongue to Milady Elizabeth, some suspicion having been apparently entertained of him. (Et sebbene si sia fatta, et si facci tuttavia ogni diligentia per trovar li autori di tal compositione, fin quì non se ne ha alcun lume, eccetto che è stato posto in Torre un' Italiano, maestro di insegnar la lingua Italiana a Miladi Elisabet, sopra il qual pare che si habbia qualche sospetto.) The edition (publicatione) of the “Dialogue” was so copious (è stata in tanta copia) that a thousand copies (volumi) have been taken to the [Lord] Mayor, who, by order of their Majesties (di queste Maestà), commanded all those who had any of them to bring them to him, under heavy penalties.
Since Thursday last, the 9th, the most Serene Queen has lived even more private and retired than before, not quitting her chamber nor giving audience to anyone, being in such good health as greatly to comfort everybody.
By letters dated Bologna the 3rd from her Majesty's ambassadors, sent in haste, the Pope's death was known here this morning, with no less surprise than universal regret, by reason of the great prospect of good afforded by his election.
London, 13th May 1555.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
May 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 81. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
Sir John Masone received the safe-conduct from the Emperor for transmission to the French commissioners, in conformity with the one given by his most Christian Majesty to the Imperialists. On the 13th instant the Duke de Medina Celi and Lord Paget arrived at Calais, where they were expecting Cardinal Pole and the English commissioners. It is said that the Duke will first of all come post-wise to the Emperor, to acquaint him fully with the wish of the King of England about concluding the peace, and then return immediately to Gravelines. Lord Paget has sent a post with letters to the Bishop of Arras, exhorting him not to tarry longer at Antwerp, as he wishes to speak to him before the arrival of the French at Ardres; so the Bishop departed immediately post-wise for Gravelines, having written to the secretary Bavé, who remained here, to depart instantly, as he will find him to-day at Bruges; and to-day the Cardinal of Lorraine and the Constable, without the other French commissioners, were to be at Montreuil.
The English commissioners have prepared several sorts of refreshments to send to the commissioners on both sides; and at the commencement the English will go first to one side and then to the other, and make them meet subsequently at Calais, or at a neighbouring place called Ham (sic). The Emperor has ordered all the cavalry bound by contract (tutte le genti a cavallo obligati) who were in this city and elsewhere, to go immediately to the garrisons, and all the native infantry are to hold themselves in readiness for whatever may occur, and to go wherever ordered; three thousand pioneers and the Colonel Count of Meghen and Georych Van Holt (Giorgio Vannol)' (fn. 13) with the infantry raised by Lower Germany, being sent to the neighbourhood of Antwerp, in which place an embargo has been laid on many vessels. These commands, given in haste and peremptorily by the Emperor at this moment, are supposed to have for object, that the peace may be treated with repute, as also, that if it be not effected, the borders and provinces maybe protected, and that he may anticipate the King; and moreover, that in case the Queen of England die in childbed, his Majesty's son may secure himself and his interests.
Brussels, 15th May 1555.
May 15. MS. St Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. 82. Cardinal Pole to Anne De Montmorency, Constable of France.
Has received the Constable's letters of the 10th instant from Monsr. de Noailles, who also told him of the King's good disposition in favour of the peace, and of the Constable's diligence about his journey to the conference, much to Pole's satisfaction; he having moreover heard of the departure of the Emperor's commissioners, which was to take place on the 9th of this month. Without further delay Pole will commence his journey to-day, with the intention of arriving at Calais on the 19th or 20th. Would not have delayed his departure so long had it not been that he wished to give time to the English commissioners, who departed hence three days ago, to make the necessary preparations on the spot; and also because he received a letter from Monsr. de Lansac dated Boulogne the 12th instant, announcing his commission from the King to confer with the Chancellor and Pole on their arrival at Calais, for which reason likewise he will yet more hasten his journey.
From London, 15th May 1555.


  • 1. “The xxx. day of Aprell and the last day of Aprell thydynges cam to London that the Queen ('s) grace was delevered of a prynce, and so ther was grett ryngyng thrugh London, and divers plases Tc Deum laudumus songe, and the morrow after yt was tornyd odurways to the plesur of God!” (See Machyn's Diary, p. 86.)
  • 2. “A week later, on an evening in the beginning of July, Lady Clareuce, Mary's favourite attendant, brought a message that the Queen was expecting her sister in her room. The Princess was led across the garden in the dusk, and introduced by a back staircase into the royal apartments.” (See Froude, vol. 6, p. 358, date July 1555. ed. 1860.)
  • 3. Marcello II. (Marcello Cervino), elected A.D. 1555, April 9, died of apoplexy in the night of the 30th of the same month.
  • 4. Bonna Sforza, widow of Sigismund, King of Poland, and mother of the reigning King Sigismund Augustus.
  • 5. Martens'-skins, not live martens.
  • 6. Et tutti questi Signori; meaning, I believe, the English commissioners. Cardinal Pole represented the Pope at this conference, nor can I ascertain that he had any credentials from Queen Mary.
  • 7. In the MS. “di Vanes” In the late Mr. Turnbull's Calendar (12 December 1556, p. 280), it is seen that Charles de Marillac was then Archbishop of Vienne, to which see he was translated from Vannes in 1555, but I do not know in what month. (See Bibliothèque Sacrée, “Vienne, Archevêques de,” vol. 26, p. 131, ed. Paris, 1827.)
  • 8. The intelligencer, John Sheres, mentions this diplomatist, date 10 June 1557. (.See Foreign Calendar, p. 315.)
  • 9. O può esser sodisfatto dall' Imperator.
  • 10. “The mutineers of last summer.” (See Foreign Calendar, February 8–22 1555, pp. 153, 155.)
  • 11. Maria of Hungary and Eleanor of France.
  • 12. Francis Russell, second Earl of Bedford, then 27 years old. His father, John Russell, died on the 14th March 1555. (See Collins, vol. 1, p. 270, who does not allude to his having left England, or to his having given any umbrage to King Philip and Queen Mary, or to the Government.)
  • 13. In the original despatch the names are misspelt, and the correct orthography—in this as in many other instances–is derived from the late Mr. Turnbull's Calendar.