Venice: September 1556, 11-15

Pages 605-620

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, 11–15

Sept. 11. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 7, B. 607. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
News has arrived that the papal town of Frosinone on the borders, in a very strong position, had been occupied by the Imperialists. This fortress, in the time of Pope Clement, defended itself against the Imperial army, but its present garrison, consisting of three companies, abandoned it because they had neither ammunition nor other defensive stores, although it was abundantly supplied with victuals for upwards of a year; and the troops withdrew to Paliano.
On hearing this intelligence, the Pope called congregation of all the Cardinals, before whom he made Pirro Offredo appear, and state his commission, which was in conformity with the letters brought by him, and sent by me to your Serenity. On going out from congregation, whilst descending the stairs, he was arrested and taken into the Castle. In Consistory the Pope announced the arrival of the Duke of Alva at Ponte Corvo, the stripping of the company of Trentasette, and the capture of Frosinone. He said that it was no longer time to talk of peace, but to provide for war, to which effect they were to arrange to give him all the assistance they could as in duty bound, most especially horses and arms. The Cardinals replied, that they would not fail to spend all they had, for his Holiness' service; and when congregation was dismissed, Cardinal S. Giacomo remained in the palace with the Pope, and Pacheco with the Duke of Paliano, to discuss the possibility of devising some form of adjustment, they promising to exert themselves with the Duke to obtain amends from him for what took place; but it does not seem that means were found for doing any good. In the mountains of Abruzzi, the Imperialists also took all the cattle belonging to the Romans, which were there in very great number, upon trust; the Romans purchasing the right of pasturage there, and the venders guaranteeing the animals. The troops who took Frosinone, after leaving a sufficient guard there, and taking some other insignificant little places, went under Veruli, where they made an assault, which was repulsed with the loss of some of their men; but subsequently, the garrison not having the necessary stores, and their small stock of powder being exhausted, they surrendered on condition of their lives being spared; and their captain, who is considered a good soldier, by name Bargello, being made prisoner, the soldiers were locked up in a church, and after being disarmed received permission to depart; nor were the people of the town molested in any way. Persons acquainted with Frosinone and Veruli, say that had they been suitably provisioned they would have held out. The Urbino troops have been recalled into Rome by the Duke of Paliano, who sent some other companies in their stead to Anagni, (fn. 1) which place has been entered by Torquato Conti, a Roman gentleman who distinguished himself on the borders of Picardy when in the service of France; but not being sufficiently supplied with powder, lead, &c., its defence is considered doubtful.
Cardinal Caraffa arrived at Civitavecchia on the 7th instant, and came post-wise to Rome in the evening, when he went in his boots to kiss the Pope's foot. His Holiness evinced very great satisfaction, and embraced and kissed him a thousand times; and the Cardinal said that at a more convenient moment he would narrate to his Holiness the goodwill of the King of France towards this See Apostolic, and all the other necessary particulars. He came in two days from Antibes to Rome, with twenty galleys, and was accompanied by Marshal Strozzi (who is indisposed), M. de Lansac, the soldier Monluc (Monluch il Soldato), and by many French gentlemen, with eight companies of Gascons, said to be 1,500 in number. It is believed that Monluc will go and take the command of the fortresses held by the King in Tuscany; but the gentlemen will serve the Pope, as men-at-arms.
The Cardinal of Pisa has also arrived, he having accompanied Cardinal Caraffa from Lyons.
Rome, 11th September 1556.
Sept. 11. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 7 B. 608. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
To-day at 10h. 30m. a.m., immediately on my entering the chamber, his Holiness said to me, “Will you now give us some credit? will you at length comprehend that what we told you about the treachery of the Imperialists (di costoro) is true? Is it indeed manifest to the world that they have made war on the See Apostolic? and you continue laughing at it, and allow yourselves to be cajoled by them, and do not perceive your ruin, which is at hand! They demand passage for Germans, to annihilate you, and you grant it them.” I said, “Holy Father, the most serene Signory could not do less, wishing to maintain the friendly terms on which she is with all parties, that being her object; in addition to which, it would be impossible to prohibit it, owing to the roads they have in many places and in the Republic's territory, a fact of which your Holiness is aware from experience.”
This argument convinced and pacified him completely, and he then continued, “These enemies of God have commenced a war to destroy the Catholic faith and the liberty of Italy, anticipating tyrannical dominion over the whole of this wretched province; these are projects formed 40 years ago, and people are found who ridicule them. We will do what we can to prevent the attainment of this their accursed will, and we trust in God, who can assist us more than all others. The fact is, that perceiving such great carelessness on your part, and that of others, for the common weal and the impending danger, and that you remain contemplating your neighbour's misfortune, we suspect that God purposes punishing Italy for some sin committed heretofore; as when His Majesty wills to chastise anyone, He first of all deprives them of their reason. This we choose to have told you, because to you in great part poor Italy will attribute the injury received by her; and we leave this upon record, Deo, cœlo, elementis, et hominibus.
“We speak to you thus, not for our own interest (as we will patch (reppezzaremo) that as well as we can), but for the common weal. These Imperialists bear you greater hatred than they do us. You, indeed, know what part of your territory they claim, and what we told you about the answer given by us to them, thus, that you are Venetians, and hold by right the province of Venice. Believe us, they intend to make the whole of Italy one colony, and they commence with the weakest part, because were they to commence with you they would encounter greater difficulty and general resentment on behalf of the other Powers; but should they be able to seize the Papal States, they will attack you immediately, and whatever mischief they might do you, you would deserve yet greater. Pardon us for speaking to you in this manner, magnifico ambassador, as it proceeds from the love we bear you, and from your impending peril, and when in the midst of it you will regret not having believed us. Do you not perceive how much they possess in Italy? the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily, Tuscany, the greater part of Lombardy, Liguria—what else do they want but our State and yours, in which are the remains of the majesty and dignity of this afflicted province! You are in a corner, with a ray of hope from the sea, like the frogs, who, when pursued by land, jump into the water.
“We know for certain that canimus surdis, but choose to justify ourselves by having said it; speaking with you who represent the entire body, and will, we think, write it. God knows that we love the Republic, like the State itself of the See Apostolic, and wish the Signory to rule itself well; praying God, indeed, not to permit that when thinking to benefit ourselves you make some mistake, fraught with your own destruction and ours, and that by putting your own head in the fire you make us also do the like. Who does not know that they have plenty of fine words, and that if you chose they would promise you whatever you could demand? You are now good and fair in their eyes, but when they have done their business, by God! they will make you pay scot ten times over (per Dio che vi faran pagar il scoto a dieci doppie). You well know their treachery, if you choose to know it. We will pass over the leagues of Cambrai, and other old stories; cannot the affair of Prevesa enlighten you? Remember how that 'White Moor' (quel moro bianco) treated your most powerful armada, (fn. 2) and then to what extremity of famine they reduced you, by refusing the promised exportation of grain, (fn. 3) which enormous iniquity, at the time it was perpetrated, broke our heart. Can you forget the breach of faith about Castel-Nuovo? (fn. 4) which took place by the will of God, as it led those rascally Spaniards to that miserable end which they made.”
At this point the Pope, stopping short in the middle of the chamber, said, with great vehemence, “Is it possible that they will not rouse themselves, and comprehend by facts the ill-will of these . . . . .” (repeating the terms used by him to me on other occasions), “as for what other purpose did they permit the increase of Luther's heresy, unless it were to depress this See Apostolic, and thus make themselves masters of Italy? and the Signory remains aloof, laughing at this (et se ne stanno a rider); and there are persons who believe them, and apologise for what they are doing, yet is it manifest to the world that they—and not we, as they wish to have it believed—moved the war (hanno volto la guerra), doing so, moreover, treacherously, as whilst giving us words here through Pirro dell' Offredo (whom we have had put in the Castle) they pushed forward and occupied the towns of the Church, as you know, by which injury they have conferred on us the benefit of showing the world that we were not anxious for the war, but that they wage it on us without any just cause. We will endeavour to defend ourselves and to hold the important places, as to attempt the protection of each village would require 100,000 infantry. We know not what end God will put to these affairs, but we indeed pray His Majesty not to allow us to deviate from His holy will, as we desire nothing else, and are then prepared to receive from His powerful hand whatever it shall please Him to send us, hoping that His infinite goodness will not choose to hold virgam pecca- torum super sortem justorum.” I then said, “Holy Father, no better hope than this can be given us, nor will the Lord God abandon your Holiness.”
The Pope then said that the Duke of Alva continued talking of peace, his Holiness adding, “as they did by means of that Offredo; they speak of peace, and wage war on us; but it is no wonder, this being the peculiar and natural conduct of these traitors, nullum non lapidem moverunt even such as relate personally to ourselves,—you see the affair of the Farneses and of Ascanio della Cornia.”
Knowing that the Cardinal S. Jacomo was waiting for audience, I then said that Cardinal S. Jacomo, the Duke of Alva's uncle, might produce some good effect, and comfort everybody. The Pope replied, “He can do nothing, although he seems a good friend, as the Duke acts by order of his Princes; we know it, and have had a copy of their consultations; we tell you that they intend to occupy the whole of Italy, because it does not seem to them to hold (perchè non li par tenir) that part which tyrannice possident, unless they set foot on the neck of everyone.” And then, stamping on the ground, he continued, “We deeply lament that this ill-will being so manifest, it should not be credited, and therefore we fear some judgment from God, which you who by the law of nature are destined to survive us will witness, and then confess that we told you the truth.” After saying that I prayed God to preserve his Holiness for many years, I asked him whether the Imperial army was brought together, and if any stir was heard of in Tuscany. He replied, “They are still mustering, and the Duke of Florence has raised certain troops, and garrisoned his places on the borders; for although addictus to the Imperialists (a costoro), he does what everybody who has territory and wishes to preserve it ought to do, by making provision in so horrible a conflagration as is kindled by these enemies of God.”
Rome, 11th September 1556.
Sept. 12. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 7 B. 609. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Such a panic prevails in this city that everybody is endeavouring to escape, but great vigilance is used at the gates to prevent the departure of anyone. Besides the soldiers, artisans likewise are sent to work at the bastions; the monastery del Popolo is tottering (è ridotto in pontelli per andar giù), and the poor friars are also in fear for the church. The Roman Government (questi Signori) content themselves with holding, in the direction of the kingdom of Naples, Velletri under the command of the Duke of Soma, and Paliano, which is held by Giulio Orsini, both of whom demand succour of troops and ammunition. Last night they made the Gascons, who accompanied Cardinal Caraffa come, into Rome, and they are quartered in Borgo. Matteo Stendardo, late the Pope's seneschal, and who it is now said will have charge of the cavalry, has been to the stables of the Cardinals and marked such as he thought good ones, a proclamation having been issued for all who have horses to present them within three days under penalty of 100 crowns to the aforesaid Signor, that he may mark such as are good and desire their owners to keep them in condition, so that when wanted they may be fit and fresh (belli et freschi). It is said that the best will be given to the French gentlemen who came with Cardinal Caraffa, they having to serve as men-at-arms, and the others will be for the mounted harquebusiers, of whom 500 must be raised.
They are attending to pecuniary supply, and have made a list of prelates and wealthy merchants, to each of whom according to their means they have assigned two or three knighthoods of the Lily, the revenues of which to be derived from an increase of the gabels, and, however unwillingly, they are compelled to purchase them, in addition to which a loan of thousands of crowns is demanded from the richest of them, there being also a talk of depriving everybody of their silver utensils, and the treasurer has assured me that before touching the sum deposited in the Castle the Pope will have recourse to every possible expedient. Yesterday, the Romans having been requested to raise a certain sum of money, they in council imposed a tax of one quatrino on every pound of meat in Rome for three years, for which they will contract, and hope to derive a considerable amount. Here they are paying many more soldiers, perhaps twice as many, than those really in existence; the grade of captain is given to men who never were in action, and others who never saw a pike or a harquebuse pass for soldiers.
Cardinal Caraffa, the Duke of Paliano, Marshal Strozzi, the French Ambassador, and M. de Lansac, have frequent consultations, which are held in Cardinal Caraffa's apartments in the chamber of the Marshal, whose double tertian ague continues.
I have been to visit the Cardinals Caraffa and Pisa, by both of whom I was greatly caressed, and after offering his services both public and private, Caraffa told me of the French King's good-will towards the See Apostolic, whose eldest son he might be styled; mentioning also the great honours received by him from his most Christian Majesty, and that from time to time he had communicated the events there to your Serenity's ambassador, whom he found very affable and discreet. Pisa, after the usual compliments, told me he regretted extremely having been unable to go and speak with King Philip, as he had relied on rendering him as friendly and affectionate towards the Pope as any sovereign whatever, but that he comforted himself with having obeyed the commands of his superior.
Four days ago the secretary of Marquis Sarria, the Emperor's Ambassador, was arrested. (fn. 5) The cause is unknown. The Marquis left him here when he went to Sienna, and according to report letters from him to the secretary were intercepted at the Porta del Popolo, some persons saying that the secretary (who at the suit of the Cardinal San Giacomo was released this evening) had been compelled to give up his cipher.
The day before yesterday the Pope sent for Cardinal St. Angelo [Alessandro Farnese], who, leaving his attendants in distress, obeyed the order with great fear of being put in the Castle, but his Holiness having demanded possession of Castro, the Cardinal replied that it was not in his power to give it, as he had neither the countersign nor any authority in that State, but that he would write and send a messenger express to pray and persuade his mother and those who have charge of it to obey his Holiness, who, anticipating a refusal from them, has sent the Bishop of Pola to Duke Octavio.
The Pope's nephew, Gioan Carlo Camponesio, who slept in his chamber, has died, to the grief of the whole Court; he was learned, virtuous, and affable; his Holiness' tears were witness to the love he bore him, and as yet the vacant place is filled by Don Alfonso Caraffa, son of the Marquis de Montebello.
Cardinal S. Giacomo having spoken to the Pope after my audience of yesterday, some hopes of peace were again entertained, and a Cardinal much in his confidence, who is also my friend and anxious for quiet, sent me word that were they less obstinate here, and but for the facility with which the Imperialists see that they take everything, being also informed of the slight remedies applied here and the little provision made, which causes them to hope for much more than they intend (non li facesse sperar di conseguir molto pià di quello dissegnano), matters might still be adjusted, nor can words express how much this is desired by everybody. In accordance with your Serenity's most prudent order I have not failed on every occasion to remind his Holiness of this peace and quiet, to which I hear on very good authority that the French ministers here exhort the Pope and Cardinal Caraffa, pointing out the forces of the enemy, their own scanty provisions, and the delay of the assistance of the men-at-arms to be expected from France; concerning which matter I will also mention that to-day Cardinal Pacheco was with Cardinal Caraffa about this affair of peace, and told a person very much in his confidence, who repeated it to me, that contrary to Caraffa's wont and to his own expectation, he found him much disposed towards peace, and that he exhorted Pacheco to speak to the Pope, as he, Caraffa, would persuade his Holiness in favour of quiet; so Pacheco determined to go to his Holiness to-morrow and urge him as strongly as he could in favour of it.
Rome, 12th September 1556.
Sept. 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 610. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador at Ghent, to the Doge and Senate.
On the 10th instant the Emperor had the effects required for daily use on shore by everybody put on ship-board, keeping for himself his bed alone and his clocks, perceiving that the weather gave signs of being fair for his voyage to Spain, but the wind having again turned contrary, he has not yet left Zealand, where he does nothing all day but superintend the making of various little conveniences of life (varie cosette per commodità della vita).
The Bishop of Arras has returned from Zealand; he does not say why Queen Maria sent for him, but according to report it was for her own private service, and also for that of the Bishop himself, who wishes to be favoured at the election to the see of Cambrai on the death of the present bishop, in lieu of whom the Provost ofErsa (sic) [Anversa?] has been already elected. It is also said that, as counsellor of the United Provinces, the Bishop of Arras went in the King's name to ask the Emperor's advice about the course to be taken with the deputies of Brabant, who, as the Duke of Savoy told the King on his return from Brussels, will by no means consent to contribute their share to the subsidy demanded, and on the contrary require exemption from certain ordinary taxes, using also bad language. I heard besides that he was ordered to acquaint the Emperor with all that has passed between the Pope and the King since his Imperial Majesty left this town, asking him whether, owing to what has been heard from Rome about suspending hostilities and settling matters with the Pope by negotiation, the King should repeal the commission given to the Duke of Alva to march with the army to attack him, or, continuing still to consent to talk about an agreement, remain on the defensive.
According to report the Emperor's reply was that the King must bear with those brains of Brabant, which are too obstinate (quei troppo ostinati cervelli di Brabent), and by diminishing the demand end the business as well as he can; and as to the affairs of the Pope, he commended the suspension of hostilities (deponer l'armi), warning him, however, not to be duped by cunning.
The decision given by the King to the Abbot of San Saluto purported that he was either to go back to Cardinal Caraffa, or send him a reply to the effect that his Majesty was very content to treat the suspension of hostilities (di deponer l'armi), security to be given by one side and the other, and that he would write to the Duke of Alva to exert himself with the Pope's ministers to find means to that effect; and that respecting the peace with his most Christian Majesty, he would not reply to the particulars told him by the Cardinal of Lorraine, though he indeed assured him of this, that should he truly determine to send personages so that the peace might be treated, he will find greater advantage in its settlement than by giving assistance to the Pope through the breaking of the truce; the King having said the like to the French ambassador. With this resolve the Abbot departed postwise last night, and with him the Nuncio's secretary, who is subsequently to be despatched to Rome from the Court of France.
To-day one of the chief ministers of the Duke of Savoy came to see me, assuring me in strong terms (con efficaci parole) that he heard from the said Abbot that King Philip has told him in writing (gli ha delto in scrittura) that he is content that he should talk with the Cardinal of Lorraine, and also with the King of France, about making the said Duke of Savoy Duke of Milan, but on such terms as will be (to use his own words) to the taste of King Philip (secondo il gusto di S.M.R.)
After much conversation with me about the Duke's advantage, the satisfaction and especial convenience of your Serenity, and the quiet of Italy, he then said that now that King Philip has taken so great a step, were the State to perform such offices as her great authority and prudence would enable her to do, the matter would be supported, and not fall to the ground, as he feared would be the case in the end, because, owing to the league between the King of France and the Pope, and the fashion adopted (et li modi usati) by his most Christian Majesty in pushing forward his forces, he feared that King Philip would at length lose Milan, the Duke of Savoy being thus deprived of all hope of ever obtaining compensation for what he had lost, and your Serenity likewise experiencing greater regret from having the French nearer to you than the Spaniards. He exhorted me to write to you on this subject as from myself, and not to give this intelligence as having come from him; saying, besides, that he knew that the Duke, within two days, would send to invite me to dine with his Excellency, to talk to me about this, but that being too timid, from fear of making the King suspicious of him, he would not speak to me so freely as he could wish, thinking that if I wrote on the subject it might be known at this Court.
My replies were loving and general, demonstrating in particular that your Serenity would wish the Duke, not only this, but yet greater good fortune, and thus will I regulate myself should his Excellency send to invite me.
Don Câesar, the brother of the Marquis of Pescara, departed to-day for Milan with the decision about various matters demanded by the Marquis, both with regard to his ordinary charge of military matters, and for what may be necessary in case of war with his Holiness, and should the truce with the King of France be broken; and he was told, in short, that Don Bernardino de Mendoza will be sent to Antwerp to raise a good supply of money for transmission to his Excellency.
To-morrow the departure will also take place of the Count of Landriano and Paolo Santo Fiore, who will be followed by the agents of Gio. Batt. Gastaldo and of Count del Bagno, all well satisfied with some fresh rewards received from the King, who also yesterday gave his maggiordomo, the Marquis de las Navas, 12,000 crowns, and the grade of maggiordomo of the Princess his sister. These acts of liberality are much more commended than usual, because part of the personages in question received no present from the Emperor, nor in like manner, on this his departure, did he give anything to several of his household servants (diversi servitori della casa), and none of the ambassadors received the usual present of chains. The Duke de Bouillon is at the point of death, which the Duke of Savoy greatly laments, from fear of losing the ransom conceded him by the King for his credits, and as reward, his Majesty not having chosen to release Bouillon for 50,000 crowns offered by the French ambassador, of whom he demanded the other day 70,000.
Ghent, 13th September 1556.
Sept. 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 611. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador at Ghent, to the Doge and Senate.
I was sent for this afternoon by the King, who, on my arrival, said that in pursuance of his desire to maintain a sincere and close friendship with your Serenity (which I had assured him was reciprocated) by communicating events of importance, he wished me to know the settlement of the business which he told me heretofore was pending with the Duke of Parma, who, having sent him a doctor of laws with the form of agreement which he wished to make, his Majesty had conceded him, besides all the other things received formerly by the Farnese family from the Emperor, the city of Piacenza, with the exception of the citadel, which fortress he had retained, more for some good reason, suggested by others, than from his own will; adding that the Duke's agent wished nothing to be said about this until the result was known of another affair which the said Duke was treating through another agent with the King of France.
After returning due thanks for this confidential communication, I said he might rely on my saying nothing about it to anybody, but that I had long ago heard the matter talked about, and since the coming of the Duke's agent, telling the King that I mentioned this merely as my own apology in case his Majesty might hear that the news had been divulged. He rejoined that he believed the matter to have been long discussed, but that the truth was that only to-day had the business been concluded, and that he had not yet signed the agreement. He then added that he would always continue to let me know many of his affairs as they occurred, in testimony of the goodwill he had to bind himself yet more closely in friendship with your Serenity, and to form a confederacy with you.
After these matters, I commenced talking with his Majesty about the state of the weather, which seemed to promise fair for the Emperor's passage; he told me it was so good that he thought his Imperial Majesty would soon put to sea, and that to-morrow morning he purposed going to kiss his hand once more before the departure, and to see those islands of Zealand where he had not yet been, and that he should be back in four days.
I then remained with Don Ruy Gomez, from whom I heard that yesterday the French ambassador told the King in the name of his most Christian Majesty that he again offered to be mediator to treat the peace between the Pope and him if he considered his most Christian Majesty good for that purpose; to which the King answered him freely, that as the King of France confessed to having a league with the Pope, he knew not how he could accept such an offer, but that nevertheless if he proposed conditions to him he would listen to them very willingly. He also told me that letters had come from the Duke of Alva to the effect that the Pope had uttered words and shown signs of wishing for a suspension of hostilities, but that his Holiness did not give indication of proceeding sincerely, not having given back to the fiscal advocate the writings received from him depriving the King of the kingdom of Naples, and the Emperor of the Empire.
In conclusion he told me that, as I might have comprehended on former occasions from his conversation and that of the King, he wished there to be an understanding and true love (vero amore) between his royal Majesty and your Serenity, not about things in general, but with regard to particular matters; and then, looking me full in the face with a kindly expression of countenance, he stopped. I answered his lordship that he might always keep his mind at ease with regard to this, that your Serenity would for ever bear his royal Majesty affection and great honour, and wished him every happiness.
To this Don Ruy Gomez replied in the following precise terms: “Lord Ambassador, I am frank by nature, and as it seems to me that I am speaking with a nobleman who is sincere and will take my words in good part, I shall say that I very well know the Signory's mode of proceeding to be in truth most prudent and wise: they see four of the chief powers of the world at discord, and wish to stand well with each of them—with my King, with the King of France, with the Pope, and with Sultan Soliman; but of necessity and according to reason the Signory prefers one to the other, and knows which is best adapted to the Republic's interests; and I know that should any need ever arise, and that the Signory had to select a friend, it would be none other than the present King of Spain, both on account of the vicinity of his territories and of his own natural goodness”; and laughing greatly, he added, “You must pardon me: I have sometimes wished for an opportunity which might subject the Signory to some trouble, in order that the result may prove whether my opinion is well founded. My King must necessarily be the perpetual enemy of the Turk, from whom the Signory has more to fear than from the others, and may always have his Majesty ready with her to give assistance in case of attack. I will not speak of the Popes, because theirs is a state liable to so many changes that no true reliance can be placed in it. With regard to the Kings of France, statesmen conversant with the affairs of the world may well know that they should be held in greater suspicion than the Kings of Spain, and, leaving aside a variety of reasons, principally for this, that in like manner as the Kings of Spain are under the necessity of defending themselves against the Moors and of obtaining provinces (if possible) both in Africa and the Indies, so must the Kings of France, to gratify their wish for aggrandizement, penetrate farther into the states of Italy or of Spain.”
Our conversation lasted for two hours, during which Don Ruy Gomez added many other particulars connected with those already mentioned, and also said that as I knew his statement to be true he prayed me earnestly to perform warm offices (caldamente mi pregava a far caldi officij) in favour of this alliance at present, as hereafter, should it come to pass that his King make peace with the King of France by means of some matrimonial alliance, either with or without the Milanese, it might happen to your Serenity to receive molestation such as his King would never cause you, and some accident might also arise to induce the Turk to act in like manner, so that his royal Majesty having until then received no favour from your Serenity, he could merely reciprocate by general words. He requested me to ponder this matter maturely, and to be pleased to tell him, as from myself, what the King could do for the gratification of your Serenity, so that the friendship might be knitted in another manner, his words and gestures showing that he was very well acquainted with your Serenity's strength and prudence; and amongst his other conceits he used the following, that he had now come to this conviction, that the friendships which his King might have with other Princes were of little consideration as compared with that of your Serenity.
After having listened to his lordship, to his complete satisfaction, I commended as seemed fit to me his noble intellect and the tenour of his discourse, his singular devotion to the King, and his love for the matters intrusted to his extreme good faith and great ability, telling him that his remembrance of past events might well convince him how great and sincere were the friendship and respect maintained since so many years by your Serenity with the Emperor, and then the very loving offices performed in conformity with the King so long ago as on his first passage from Spain into Italy, when I was sent by your Serenity as ambassador, (fn. 6) to say nothing of what you have done in these present troublous times, his lordship himself having told me some time ago that you refused to league with others, notwithstanding the requests made and the advantages offered you; I on my part having told him what you did and are doing with the Pope, in favour of peace, from regard for his Majesty's affairs; the King himself, wishing to be friends with everybody, having just now informed me that he has given Piacenza to Duke Ottavio; and that your Serenity moreover loved peace from choice, owing to your experience derived through so many wars between Christians and Infidels, and from those which yourself had been compelled to wage with both one and the other; wherefore you were also moved, by means of the Ambassador Vargas and Martino Alonso, and by writing to me in like manner, to exhort the Emperor and his royal Majesty to incline their minds towards this peace, of which there was no reason to despair, owing to the signs which he had told me were given by the Pope and the King of France; and would to God that it were already made, as I differed from the opinion professed by his lordship with regard to what might befall your Serenity with the King of France and Sultan Soliman, because—omitting the fact of your having known how to defend yourself against one and the other in war and to attack them, whilst peace had been justly maintained, by you—I believed that were peace made between his royal Majesty, the most Christian King, and the Pope, the Turk would not think of troubling any prince of Christendom, still less your Serenity, against whom there would in like manner be no just reason for the King of France to take up arms; and that by the grace of God your Serenity's forces were such and so many, both by sea and land, and your prudence in directing them so great, and your mind so constantly bent on doing Christian deeds, that I considered it certain that not only would neither one nor the other nor anybody else attack you, but rather wish you well, as an object truly worthy as you were to be universally loved and appreciated.
To my reply Don Ruy Gomez rejoined, with a cheerful countenance and kind words, that he would request two things of me, the one that I would think about giving him the means whereby to do something agreeable to your Serenity, that you might be better acquainted with the King's good disposition, and consequently render the friendship closer; the other, to believe that his royal Majesty had so good an opinion of my sincere mode of proceeding in having always performed excellent offices, believing also that I would continue so to do for the future, that he wished for an opportunity to do something that might be agreeable to me; so, in conclusion, I said to his lordship that to do what was acceptable to your Serenity, and a real favour to me, I knew not either what else to suggest nor what else to wish for, except that he should be the instrument for despatching for me, and all your other ambassadors who from time to time may present themselves, such business as may be committed to them, with readiness and efficacy on the part of all the ministers, thus demonstrating true knowledge of his Majesty's excellent disposition and of the great wish evinced to me by his lordship for your Serenity's gratification.
Ghent, 14th September 1556.
Sept. 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 612. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Signor Eucherio San Vitali, who came from the Duke of Parma, took leave of the King lately, and in the act of departure, his Majesty spoke very kindly to him, desiring him to tell the Farnese Lords that as they considered the recovery of Piacenza so advantageous for them, he was pacified (ne restava quieta); and so far as can be heard, the King wrote in great haste to the Pope, praying him not to do any fresh act of hostility against the said Lords, this being apparently induced by the request of the Signor Eucherio that his Majesty would wait their proceedings during six or eight months, being aware that it was not for his interests that the Farneses should declare themselves entirely the servants of the King of England. Notwithstanding it is rumoured that both his most Christian Majesty and all these Lords are dissatisfied with this Farnese family; the whole Court speaking disrespectfully of the Italians, not merely on this account, but by reason of the stubbornness (durezza) of the Duke of Ferrara, who is heard to be treating with the King of England, to give his son the Prince of Ferrara in marriage to King Philip's widow sister, the Regent of Spain. Yesterday, I had a good opportunity for holding a long conversation with the Constable, and his Excellency, discussing various matters very familiarly, alluded to the disputes between these two crowns about the boundaries of the Monferrat territory, and when I asked if they were settled, he said no, but that these delays were beneficial for his most Christian Majesty; adding, “The King of England has proposed referring these disputes to the Signory;” and his Excellency being then silent, I, making it appear that what I heard was new to me, said, “How could his Serenity [the Doge] interfere in these matters? for to me it seems that with difficulty could he find the way.” The Constable replied, “Those Lords are very sage, and know that those who interfere between two parties who are not friends, can with great difficulty succeed.”
Sens, 14th September 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Sept. 14. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. pp. 180 recto & verso. 613. Cardinal Pole to Cardinal Morone.
Although he still hopes that God of His goodness will not allow the rupture between the Pope and King Philip to proceed farther, being convinced of the good and holy disposition of one side and the other; yet nevertheless, should divine providence for the punishment of the sins of mankind have determined otherwise, Morone can easily imagine the trouble and confusion in which Pole would find himself, not knowing well what to do with regard to the constant questions which must arise between him and the King, about the spiritual and temporal government of England. In that case it would be necessary, and beyond measure acceptable, for him, through Morone, to receive notice of the Pope's will, which he cannot believe to be otherwise than excellently disposed always towards whatever may be for the comfort of King Philip and Queen Mary, and beneficial for England, whose welfare, he is very certain, the Pope has most especially at heart, and that he will always manifest this by facts. It is not to be told how much the Queen and all good and virtuous persons are distressed by the continuance of this discord; so he prays God to apply a remedy, and to grant Christendom that peace and quiet which are necessary, to enable the Pope to execute his holy projects for the service of His Divine Majesty and benefit of the Church.
Croydon, 14th September 1556.
Sept. 15 ? MS. St. Mark's Library. Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. pp. 69 verso & p. 70 recto and verso; no date of time or place in MS. 614. Cardinal Pole to Cardinal [Alessandro] Farnese.
In reply to what Cardinal Farnese writes him in his own hand, showing how grievously offended he is with the Lord Camillo [Orsini] for having had the trees in his garden cut down, thus destroying well nigh all its beauty, (fn. 7) Pole assures him that when he first heard of this, it gave him more pain than he ever could have believed himself capable of feeling for such a loss, even had these trees been planted with his own hands; though he is aware of being very sensual (assai sensuale) with regard to delighting in gardens and trees; and his grief was caused, not only by that which he thought must with reason be felt by Cardinal Farnese, but because those trees seemed to him to embellish not merely the Farnese gardens, but the whole of Rome, in whose neighbourhood he never remembers to have seen such tall and handsome trees, so that when he was told they had been cut down by order of the Lord Camillo, it distressed him deeply, both on account of the author of the deed, and for the thing itself; and he reproached Cardinal Farnese's dependants for not having said something to him about it sooner, they knowing how much he is Farnese's servant; not that Pole supposed his friendship with Camillo Orsino could avail more than the authority of others who might have already said something to him on the subject, but he would have been gratified by doing his utmost, as he would have done, to obtain at least a little delay, during which it might have then been hoped, by having recourse to higher authority, to remedy everything. But Camillo Orsini was so expeditious in this matter, as it is his wont to be in all his other proceedings, that he gave no time to those who would have wished to obtain a contrary result to have recourse either to the fountain-head or to other means; which, by those who know his ordinary habit, can be attributed (as he has already said) but to his natural inclination to do whatever he has to do very speedily, and, in the present instance, to his having moreover chosen to be too just Being convinced that for the public good it was requisite to do this, and knowing that he could not secure the walls of Rome without great complaints from many persons of every description, (as it came to pass,) he thought fit to silence everybody by showing that for this same reason the garden of so exalted a personage as Cardinal Farnese had not been excepted.
Pole does not doubt but that this was the true and sole cause which moved Camillo Orsini to do what he has done in this matter, nor can Pole ever bring himself to believe that he was moved to this by a wish to offend Farnese, most especially as Camillo has often expressed to Pole his very great obligations to the late Pope Paul, and consequently to Cardinal Farnese and to the whole of his most illustrious family. It would be too difficult for Pole to suppose that he was of so ungrateful and base (and to sum up all in one single word) and of so unchristian a disposition, though possibly he may have erred in this matter as on some former occasions, thinking to do his duty regardless of displeasing those whom he otherwise would not have wished to offend; but Pole can never believe that he would have done anything for the purpose of offending Farnese, who, should he ever have heard the apology made by Camillo to Pole when he told him that by this act he had given cause to Farnese to think ill of his sentiment towards him, together with Camillo's testimony of the obligation felt by him to serve Farnese, and his justification of those acts which had a somewhat contrary appearance, Pole is convinced that from the goodness of Farnese's disposition he likewise would be induced to admit Camillo's apology, especially after reading his inclosed letter written on the subject by Pole's advice, and which, having been written so speedily and in such a form, is a sure proof, in addition to the others, that he was never otherwise disposed than becomes the affection and service due from him to Cardinal Farnese.
It now remains for Pole to request Farnese that as his letter caused him great sorrow by reason of the anger it evinced towards Camillo, so will he now on the other hand comfort Pole by saying that he is averse to deprive himself of such fruit as might be expected from the good will of one, who considers himself so much indebted to the Cardinal, as to the person from whom he acknowledges the commencement of his honourable career and the repute now enjoyed by him in the world, on which account he offers his most ready services to Cardinal Farnese, from whose graciousness Pole expects this consolation through his next letter, and humbly kisses his hand.
[London, 15th September 1556?]
Sept. 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 615. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On the return of a courier despatched last week it will be ascertained whether the Queen's hope of her consort's return after the Emperor's departure, will prove vain, as anticipated by everybody else in the palace, or not, even Cardinal Pole beginning to be incredulous, as he told me himself two days ago. He also imparted to me his great consolation, because when some days ago 24 of the pirates lately captured were condemned to death at Southampton, inasmuch as at first, like fierce and desperate characters, they showed themselves utterly averse to have recourse to any Catholic and Christian act, by means of a Franciscan friar they subsequently repented, and died after confessing and communicating, all of them in public having not only justified (approbata) the present religion, exhorting and praying everybody to believe and persevere in it, but condemned the past (la passata), to which they attributed their death, as punishment for the licentious and execrable life led by them, without knowledge or fear of God; which has marvellously edified the whole of Hampshire (tutto quel paese), and greatly rejoiced the Queen and all good men.
London, 15th September 1556.


  • 1. There are many notices of Anagni in the Foreign Calendar, Mary, and their exactness is fully confirmed by Navagero's despatches.
  • 2. On the 8th February 1538, a league against Sultan Soliman was formed between the Pope, the Emperor, and Venice. On the 29th September in that year the allied fleets attacked Prevesa, but the Imperial Admiral, Andrea Doria, rendered the expedition fruitless. (See Andrea Morosini, vol. 2.)
  • 3. This suppression of the export-permits for grain from Sicily and Naples is also recorded by Paruta, part 1, p. 432.
  • 4. The Spaniards would not consign Castel Nuovo to the Republic until it was at the last extremity; the Venetians then refused it, and the Spanish garrison surrendered to Haridan Barbarossa in August 1539. Great part of the commanders and soldiers, who were all either killed or sent to the galleys were present at the sack of Rome in 1527, and therefore both Paul IV. and the historian were of opinion that the Turk avenged the injuries done to Clement VII. and his subjects twelve years previously. (See Andrea Morosini, vol. 2, p. 105.)
  • 5. This arrest is mentioned by Sir Edward Carne (who says the secretary was tortured), date, 17 September. (See Foreign Calendar, Mary, p. 234.)
  • 6. Federico Badoer met the Prince of Spain at Genoa (where he landed from Barcelona on the 27th November 1548), and accompanied him through the Venetian territory to Trent. (See Andreo Morosini, vol. 2, p. 181.)
  • 7. I do not know the precise date of the year of the Pontificate of Paul III, in which the Farnese gardens at Rome were designed, but the damage alluded to in this letter was probably sustained by them in September 1556, when Camillo Orsini was fortifying Rome; as in date 5th September 1556, Bernardo Navagero wrote to the Senate that amongst the palaces doomed to destruction were those of the Farnese family, but which seemed to have been ransomed at considerable cost, though from this letter it is evident that the trees did not escape.