Venice: September 1556, 16-20

Pages 620-637

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, 16–20

Sept. 16. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 7 B. 616. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The cannonading of Anagni was heard from certain heights in this city; after which, yesterday, the Imperalists made two assaults upon it, and were repulsed, with the loss of some of their men; but the Signor Torquato [Conte], seeing that they could not withstand the third, made his retreat from another part of the town, and is said to have saved himself in Paliano with the entire garrison. To-day the Imperialists are reported to have occupied Viguar (sic, Vicovaro?), an important place very near Tivoli. (fn. 1) Last night the Count di Luino, who is in Montefortino, made a foray with a few horse as far as Frascati, where there was a company of horse of the Captain Ludovico Rasponi, which on discovering the enemy, retreated to Rome; and simultaneously it was heard that they had occupied Cavi, Valmontone (sic), and that they had sent to mark the quarters at Palestrina; which news so increased the panic in this city, that all persons sent their families away; the Government gave leave for the women readily, but do not choose the men to depart, nor that property of any sort be sent out of the city. A few nights ago, the government held the people armed, and in the morning they were reviewed. Cardinal Caraffa also inspected the paid troops who are in Rome, and at the muster they numbered 6,000 Italians and 3,000 Gascons, though many of them are supposed to have been passengers (passagieri), that is to say, persons who appear at the muster at the request of the Captains, without performing farther service. Fifteen hundred men, Germans and Gascons, are expected, they having been taken out of the most Christian King's fortresses in Tuscany, and replaced by Italians. They have had an inventory taken of all the arms in the houses of the Spaniards, both offensive and defensive, and they say they shall disarm them, but the Cardinals S. Giacomo and Pacheco complained of this to the Pope, saying that should they be disarmed they run the risk, in case of the slightest disturbance, or should any rascal bent on robbery utter the least word, of being cut to pieces; so they demanded either that their weapons should be left them, or that they be given leave to quit Rome, and his Holiness replied that he would think about it. The Pope and Cardinal Caraffa lay the blame of the disorders which have taken place hitherto, and of the loss of so much territory, to the Duke of Paliano, to whom they spoke so harshly about it, that his quartan-ague has increased, the poor nobleman running some risk of having a dangerous illness. The Cardinal, also, is rather distressed, and the Pope greatly agitated.
These important events have caused his Holiness to give audience to the envoy from Duke Ottavio [Farnese], and to send him back with fair words, without showing any mark of resentment. The Cardinals S. Giacomo and Pacheco have not failed urging the Pope daily to make peace, so that his Holiness was content that S. Giacomo should send the Dominican friar Tomaso Mansich (fn. 2) (sic) (a very learned and authoritative person, related both to the Cardinal and to the Duke of Alva,) to the camp, to hear the Duke's demands; and he is also the bearer of a letter from the Cardinal “Decano” [de Bellai] addressed to the Duke in the name of the College; and although there has been neither Congregation nor Consistory, this is supposed to have been done with the Pope's knowledge and consent; and a person who has seen the letter tells me it is to the effect that, the College having heard that the Imperial captains administer to the places taken by them the oath of allegiance to the College of Cardinals, they cannot pass this fact over unnoticed, as their silence would imply consent, and they would render themselves schismatic, they having a most holy head (havendo un capo Smo. come hanno), as is the fact; wherefore they wish to hear from his Excellency whether similar acts are done by his will.
This friar departed yesterday morning postwise, and it remains to be seen what he will bring back, many persons anticipating much difficulty about the terms, which become more advantageous daily for the Imperialists; and it will be difficult for this side to obtain what might have been had heretofore; whilst on the other hand, unless an agreement be made speedily, inevitable mischief is evident, and besides many other misfortunes, as the Imperalists are masters of the open country, it will be impossible to sow for next year, so they run manifest risk of faring very badly. Last evening, the Reverend Commendone, Bishop of Zante, came to me by the Pope's order, to say that his Holiness was sending him to Urbino, Ferrara, Venice, and Parma, to perform the same office as frequently performed by his Holiness with me, justifying his cause; showing that the Imperalists moved the war; that they sent him defamatory libels; and that whilst talking of peace to find favour with the world, they are intent on occupying the Papal territory; demonstrating the danger to which all Italy would be exposed, were this State (which God forbid) occupied; exhorting and praying the [Italian?] Princes, and above all your Serenity as the most powerful, and who had defended the religion on other occasions, to ponder the matter, and provide in time against so great a peril, not only as Christians, but as personages so greatly interested in the matter; and the said Reverend Commendone told me that he has orders to write hither what he can elicit from your Serenity. I replied that his lordship would receive good greeting from your Serenity, both on account of the Pope as also for his own personal merits, and wished him a good journey; and thus did he depart to day at noon, postwise.
Rome, 16th September 1556.
Sept. 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 617. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador at Ghent, to the Doge and Senate.
At this very hour, 8h. 15m. p.m., news has come that this morning at 8h. 40m. the Emperor embarked; so it is believed that although the King departed hence very early and with great speed he will not have arrived in time to see his Imperial Majesty on shipboard. The Emperor did not choose anyone to go in his own vessel, except M. de la Chaulx (fn. 3) with 36 servants for necessary purposes (con trentasei persone, che serveno all' uso delle cose necessarie), and for his own amusement a Fleming, by name Malineo, who reads a variety of things to him, (et per suo trattenimento un Fiamengo nominato Malineo, che li legge diverse cose, (fn. 4) ) and Master Gianello of Cremona, (fn. 5) with the clocks which he made for him heretofore; and the two Queens go together in another ship.
The day before yesterday the courier Francesco Piamontese came to the King from the Queen his consort, and was sent back secretly a few hours afterwards without taking letters for anyone; and I am told by an English captain that he came to inform his Majesty that payment of the 200,000 crowns obtained by her from the English merchants being now due, should the disbursement of the money prove inconvenient to him at present, it is necessary to find means to prolong the term of the said bills of exchange; acquainting him with the great difficulty she had experienced in getting money from several private individuals, and with the loud complaints and foul language current on this account, it being supposed that she does this for the purpose of giving the money to his Majesty, thus impoverishing the country; or to make use of it herself to favour the design attributed to the Emperor of going to England, and together with her, either by persuasion or force, to crown the King (o per via di persuasione, o con la forza, incoronar S.M.R.); or else to induce the Parliament to wage war on France, which it does not seem inclined to do (il qual parlamento non mostra volersi ridurre). He told me besides that the Earl of Pembroke, who is the most powerful personage in England, and who has always shown himself inclined to serve King Philip, goes daily more and more estranging himself both mentally and also personally (si va di giorno in giorno più allontanando, et con l'animo, et ancho con la personal); adding that the Queen had again written very earnestly to the Pope, not only to pray and exhort him to abstain from disturbing his Majesty's affairs, but to let him know that the people of England, from this cause, are greatly encouraged to resume Lutheran opinions (ma per farle sapere, che i popoli da ciò prendono grande ardire di ritornare nelle Lutterane opinioni).
The Princess of Spain has sent a courier to the King with letters from the Count de Alcaudete, giving her account of what the Turks and Moors are doing at the siege of Oran, and saying what extreme need the place has of succour, declaring that unless he sent it in a few days, the place will fall into the hands of the enemy; whilst to his Majesty he writes that he will never be the bearer of such news, but that from others he will at one and the same time hear of the loss of that fortress and of his (the Count's) own life; adding that as he perceived such great delay on the part of the ministers in providing what was necessary, he had placed his hope in two things solely, the one in certain movements of troops made on those borders by the Sceriff (il Sariffo), who did not choose the Turks to go on prospering there; the other in a certain fear which had seized the said Turks and Moors, they having made a trench at the harbour to secure themselves, either on account of the Sceriff (de'l Sariffo) as above mentioned, or from doubt of some considerable succour which might come from Spain.
The Spaniards say that the cause of the delay about the supplies proceeded from the trust had by the King in the many offers made heretofore by the Cardinal of Toledo to undertake that expedition at his own cost, but which he failed to do subsequently because the King either could not or would not comply with the demands which were made of him by his right reverend lordship for exemptions and other things; so his Majesty has at length been compelled to order a levy in the kingdom of Murcia of 4,000 infantry and a certain amount of cavalry; in addition to which supplies, the said Princess writes that the King of Portugal, at the suit of the Queen his wife, the Emperor's sister, in order not to witness the loss of Oran, has given hopes of sending the 12 caravels, 2 galeasses, and a galleon, provided King Philip can simultaneously send a certain amount of galleys to succour that kingdom; so for this purpose they last evening sent off to Barcelona a courier, who has offered to go in seven days, with letters to be sent on by a frigate to urge the immediate despatch for this purpose of Prince Doria's galleys, which are bound for Spain (a sollecitar quelle galee dal (sic) Principe Doria, che sono, destinate a dover passar in Spagna tale effetto).
The same courier brings news that in Navarre some persons had been discovered who favoured the designs on that kingdom of M. de Vendome, some outlaws, also, who went thither for that purpose having been taken, and they were all hanged. One of the chief ministers says he heard from the King's own lips that he intends going in a few days to Antwerp, thinking that his personal attendance will enable him more certainly and in less time to conclude the contracts which he purposes making with the merchants, in consequence of the decision he came to with the delegate from the feudatories of Peru. At the intercession of the French ambassador, the Duke de Bouillon, in this his very serious illness, has been removed from the castle of this town and placed in an abbey with a guard of 10 halberdiers, his ransom also being diminished by 10,000 crowns; and he (Lei) has limited the ransom of the Count of Velasco, the brother-in-law of the Grand Constable, to 20,000 crowns; and when performing this office the said ambassador told the King, as of himself, that he hoped the disturbances of Italy with the Pope would be settled by negotiation, and his Majesty replied that he wished it, and that in like manner as he heretofore gave the Duke of Alva liberty to move war on the Pope, so had he subsequently sent him authority to treat about agreement on fair terms.
Immediately on the King's return I will execute the commission enjoined me by your Serenity's letters of the 29th ulto. concerning the damages done in the waters of Cyprus by the three galliots fitted out at Messina, and will perform the office in so earnest a manner as to give me hope of obtaining the result desired by your Serenity.
Ghent, 16th September 1556.
Sept. 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 618. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
By my last of the 14th I wrote to your Serenity what his most Christian Majesty said to San Vitali, when he took leave of him to return to the Duke of Parma, as also what the King wrote to the Pope, requesting him not to proceed to any fresh act against the Farnese family, all which was subsequently confirmed to me, with this in addition, that his Majesty also dismissed Cardinal Farnese's secretary, with the same words in substance as uttered by him to San Vitali; and as to the renunciation which the Cardinal wished to make of the bishopric of Cahors, and other benefices in this kingdom given him by the King, he was told that there was no need to make any change for the present, as, should the Farneses on their part not fail him, his Majesty will continue performing every office and demonstration of goodwill towards their family. In order, however, not to diminish his firm and friendly relations in Italy, the King sent for the Prince of Ferrara, who, having almost recovered his health, came immediately to the Court, and according to report his Majesty will entirely adjust with his Excellency the difficulties which have hitherto prevailed with the Duke his father, who, although (as written by me) he seemed to be content with an annual pension of 50,000 crowns, to be spent as seemed best to him for his territory, and with the pay for 100 men-at-arms, yet, after this resolve formed by the Duke of Parma, his Excellency has again announced that he would then have been satisfied with that stipend, the State of Parma being as it were a bulwark for his territory, whereas now he required more substantial defence, and that, should his Majesty come to a decision, it would be necessary for him to pay the guard of 2,000 infantry, as promised him by the treaty; and from what I have heard on good authority the King will grant him the aforesaid treaty in full without difficulty, giving his Excellency what he disbursed for the garrison of Parma, which, together with the Duke's salary and that of his son, will amount to 15,000 crowns, and they will again send back his Excellency's ambassador.
The Abbot of San Saluto is at the Court of the King of England, and had communicated to Don Ruy Gomez the words uttered to him by Cardinal Caraffa about the agreement between his Holiness and the King of England, to which Ruy Gomez replied that he could not believe that Cardinal Caraffa really wished for peace; and although the Constable and the Cardinal of Lorraine took it rather amiss that Parpaglia should have gone away without any notice, Lorraine nevertheless has been heard to say that knowing his integrity and goodwill, he does not believe him to have gone save for some good work in favour of peace, and that they expect to hear something of importance, knowing that King Philip wishes for peace. Although Ray Gomez uttered the aforesaid words to the Abbot, he nevertheless told the French Ambassador that his King was by no means inclined to break the truce, and that those troops who had done so in the kingdom of Naples did not purpose to offend the Pope, but to hold their own; and that as King Philip's goodwill is real, so he wished his most Christian Majesty to let the Pope know this, to quiet his mind, and possibly to find some way for laying down arms, concerning which Lorraine said that his most Christian Majesty had written to the Pope.
Morette, 16th September 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Sept. 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 619. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
A few days before the Abbot of San Saluto departed hence, when talking with me about what seemed to him the most reasonable means whereby to induce his most Christian Majesty and the King of England to make peace, he said to me, that although the French ministry had often told him largely (largamente) that his most Christian Majesty would accept Savoy and Piedmont for the Duke of Orleans, renouncing his claim to the State of Milan, on condition that the King of England should give it to the Duke of Savoy, by which means, the other disputes being settled, a good peace might be effected; yet knowing how much the French had the upper hand, they might be suspected of making it appear that they were content with this, rather because they thought the treaty would never be concluded, or if concluded, never be realised, (as was the case at the Conference of Soissons,) than because they in fact desired it. He therefore thought they would prefer holding in security what they had, preserving the affection of their subjects instead of leaving them in doubt about their nationality, and that they would not promise to give what they have in hand with the uncertain hope of receiving what shall be promised them. In addition to this, they gave it to be understood that although his Majesty wished to give State (di dar Stato) to the Duke of Orleans, yet, nevertheless, remembering the many inconveniences to which this Crown had been subjected by the ambition of younger sons, they did not care to exalt him so greatly as to let him suppose hereafter that he could do without this Crown.
On the other hand the Abbot said that as he knew the King of England to be in a state of great decadence, both from the Emperor's having become a useless personage (già ridutta la persona dell' Imperator inutile), and from his Majesty's small experience of the affairs of the world, as also because the persons about him were not of such a quality as to have firm reliance placed on them for what related either to peace or war; in addition to which, all the revenues of Spain are already alienated for ever, whilst those of Milan are pledged for five years, and the Neapolitan taxes for seven, and the means of finding money elsewhere for a war being scanty, Parpaglia inferred that King Philip would be compelled to make peace with the King of France, chiefly to quiet the affairs of Italy, and that if King Henry refused it him, the King of England must then make friends with the Princes of Italy, compelling them to prevent France from making himself master of Milan, and consequently of Naples also, and perhaps of the greater part of Italy, for the accomplishment of which he saw no better way than that the King of England should in fact divest himself of the State of Milan; he therefore purposed going to his Court and discussing all these things with the King of England and his ministers, and to see whether they really intended renouncing this State of Milan as they said they would; in which case he would confirm the King in his opinion, and should he perceive any hesitation endeavour by argument to persuade his Majesty to yield to the necessities of the times, laying before him, how through this resolve he might raise a considerable sum of money with which he might better adjust his other affairs, which greatly needed it. On the formation of this resolve, which he seemed to consider almost certain, he purposed proposing to the King that in case his most Christian Majesty proceeded slowly about the treaty of the peace, he should let him know freely that he was determined to give the State of Milan; and if his most Christian Majesty would make peace, that he would give it to the Duke of Savoy, leaving the whole of Piedmont and Savoy to the Duke of Savoy, both sides renouncing their claims and rights; but should his most Christian Majesty show himself averse, he was then to let him know that even without making peace he, the King of England, purposed divesting himself of the said State, and therefore, on his most Christian Majesty's rejection of the aforesaidy terms, that he would give the State of Milan to some person most to the satisfaction of the Princes of Italy, endeavouring to do it in such a way that the said Princes should be compelled to defend the new Duke.
The Abbot next explained the means whereby through this cession the King of England would be able to raise money thus: to your Serenity he might sell Cremona and the Ghiarad'adda; to the Genoese, Asti, and the neighbouring places; and give Piacenza to Duke Ottavio, in the best way he could; nor, even should peace be made, could the King of France complain of this, whilst the Duke of Savoy being deprived of everything would content himself with what he could get, and the Princes of Italy be more and more satisfied should the Duke of Milan be less powerful. Parpaglia then said that if France rejected peace, he would exhort the King of England to make the aforesaid sales (venditioni), giving the rest of the State either to the Duke of Savoy or to the Archduke Ferdinand, at the option of the Princes of Italy, by which means it would behove them to league together, not merely for the defence of the new Duke, that he may maintain his position, but also for the safe custody of what each of them shall have purchased; and although this second project presented much greater difficulties than the first, he said he would neverthelesss not fail to propose the whole, so that the best arrangement possible might be made; telling me, in conclusion, that he greatly hoped these ideas might come to a good end (being tolerably well acquainted with the disposition of the King of England), unless the negotiation be impeded by the King of France on his hearing of the aforesaid sales.
Morette, 16th September 1556.
[Italian, in cipher, deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Sept. 19. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 7 B. 620. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Fra Tomaso Manrich (sic), has returned from the camp with two letters from the Duke of Alva, one to the Pope, and the other in reply to what was written to him by the Cardinal “Decano” [de Bellai], as by enclosed copies. (fn. 6) The contents of the letter written to the Cardinals enraged the Pope greatly, and in the Congregation of the Inquisition he uttered his usual violent abuse of the Emperor, nor would he receive the letter addressed to himself, but Congregation being ended, Cardinal S. Giacomo remained with his Holiness, though he despaired of doing any good; notwithstanding which, with the assistance of Cardinal Caraffa, he at length induced his Holiness to receive the letter and to appoint a committee of four Cardinals, namely, S. Giacomo, Trani [Bernardino Scoto], Pisa [Scipione Rebiba], and Caraffa, who on that same night at 11 p.m. sent back the Friar to the Duke of Alva, and this evening [of the 18th ?] he returned, bringing with him, in the Duke's name, to negociate the peace, Don Francisco Pacheco; and at 8 p.m., on coming away from audience of his Holiness, I saw the Friar enter the Pope's chamber. The Florentine Ambassador says that should the Pope not be obstinate, and if he will somewhat modify his intense vigour, the peace might be made, as he the ambassador has received intelligence from his Duke, with orders to confirm it to the Pope, that the Emperor and his son do not wish for any territory belonging to the Church, but merely to hold their own.
On Thursday morning, something having been heard to the effect that the Roman people did not intend to defend themselves, and that should the army advance to this city they purposed making terms, Cardinal Caraffa went to their council hall at Campidoglio, and told them that they had no reason to fear for this city, by reason of the great provision made, and that, to convince them of this, he would reside in Rome in any place they chose, so as to run all chances with them, both good and bad, wherefore they should determine to defend themselves and show that they were truly Romans. The Cardinal was told in reply that to give courage, not to them who had plenty of it, but to the populace, it would be well for his right reverend lordship to come into the palace of St. Mark in Rome, (fn. 7) and that with regard to defending themselves, in the evening they would give their answer, which purported that they will always resist, provided Rome be sufficiently supplied with infantry and ammunition, which the Government (questi Signori) says it is abundantly; and the Cardinal will perhaps come to reside in St. Mark's to-morrow.
On that same day the alarm was given in this city, either from some false discovery made by the sentries, or possibly by order of the government (questi Signori) to see how the soldiers and the populace behaved themselves, which caused great confusion and terror to the majority, some women having miscarried, and the aspect of the whole city being piteous, women running dishevelled through the streets with infants at the breast, everybody being intent on saving themselves and their property. Cardinal Caraffa sent the Archbishop of Cosenza to tell the Pope not to be disturbed, as the report had been raised by accident, and not because there was any danger. The paid soldiers, especially the Gascons, were found obedient to the cry, “To arms!” speedily in battle array, and ready for defence. The like was not the case with the battalions of the people (del Populo), for the heads of districts (li Caporioni) were very ill followed. This tumult has caused many persons to quit Rome, whilst others have sent their effects into the “Borgo” for greater security.
Marc' Antonio Colonna with the cavalry has ravaged his whole territory; and to-day two squadrons came as far as the aqueducts, and in the direction of St. Sebastian, within two miles of the walls of this city, carrying off all the cattle. On receiving this intelligence from a light-horseman who had been sent out to reconnoitre, Cardinal Caraffa sent to tell the Pope to be under no apprehension, as it was nothing of importance, and his right reverend lordship rode in that direction because the Duke of Paliano was confined to his bed by quartan-ague, sending in advance 150 helmets, and having 300 harquebusiers for his own escort as a reinforcement; but the enemy, having made their booty, retired, and when these troops went out of the gates of Rome they were already at a great distance. It is said that one squadron went towards Marino, and the other in the direction of Frascati. The Friar, when asked about this foray, replies, that on his way to the camp the guides mistook the road, so that he arrived too late, the cavalry having been already sent out for that purpose; and he also says that on his way hither with Don Francisco Pacheco, the postillion abandoned them in a wood, carrying off the cloak-bags (valigie) containing Don Francisco's clothes; nor will I omit to mention what the said Friar told some of his friends, as follows: Ascanio della Cornia inquired of him how his (Cornia's) heir was (meaning the Signor Mattheo Stendardo), (fn. 8) and when the Friar replied that he was well, Cornia continued, “Tell him to take good care of the property”; and when the Friar asked to see Marc' Antonio Colonna, Cornia said, “Care not about him, lest you be excommunicated.” The Friar also says that the soldiers were sorry to see him depart on his pacific mission.
Rome, 19th September 4 a.m.
Sept. 19. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 7 B. 621. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The ministers of the most Christian King, and above all, Marshal Strozzi, knowing that his Majesty, beyond the assistance of men and money given by him hitherto for the defence of the Pope, either could not or would not give anything more, strongly dissuaded his Holiness from giving cause to the Imperialists to move war, and they now exhort him to make an agreement; but here they encounter great difficulty, as the slightest word from France, and any hope given from that quarter, inspires the utmost confidence; though now they might be perfectly convinced, having received two advices, the one contradicting the other, according to the custom of the Constable [Montmorency], whose wont it is to promise largely in the first place, so that, the opportunity presenting itself, the parties concerned may make advantageous use of his letters; but immediately afterwards, he sends account of the matter as it stands, and what the result will be.
Thus has he done at present in reply to the courier sent by the Pope after the departure from the court of Cardinal Caraffa, and who met his right reverend lordship at a distance of two posts from Lyons; whereby his Holiness requested the King to break with the Emperor.
His Majesty despatched M. de Vinovo (sic), promising to raise 6,000 Switzers, to send 500 men-at-arms and 500 light horse with M. de Termes, and to make other provision; but two days afterwards the Constable wrote by an express that there were many difficulties about carrying into effect the projects transmitted through M. de Vinovo, including amongst other things the affair of the Farneses, complaining of Duke Ottavio; and saying that the Switzers must pass through the territory of the Grisons, who would refuse the passage unless some of them also were levied, to do which would disturb everything, they being sorry, disobedient troops, as seen lately in Tuscany; and, in short, he came to the conclusion that nothing more can be done, and that to act hastily is disadvantageous. Some persons also say that Duke Ottavio having notified his agreement to the King of France, his Majesty did not disapprove of it. The letter to the Pope is very bland, but to the ministers he writes very clearly that they must endeavour to make peace, as nothing more will be done.
This enraged the Pope greatly, and it was fortunate that the express arrived before M. de Vinovo, as otherwise his Holiness would have blustered more (saria stata più su'l bravo); and my informant says that possibly despair of being able to get what they desire from France may make these lords (questi signori) condescend to the agreement, and the more, as they are compelled to garrison Rome, because the enemy can come whenever they please from two quarters, without fear lest Velletri or Paliano either prevent them or cut off their victuals. The one is by taking Hostia—which at the sight of a cannon would surrender—and coasting the river, come and quarter themselves at S. Paulo, protecting their flanks with two forts, and procuring victuals by sea, by means of caravans of lighters (caravane di barche) towed by galleys along the channel of the Tiber, as far as S. Paulo; nor could they by any means be prevented from doing this; and even should the sea remain stormy for a week, the small places in the “Campagna,” which are abundantly supplied, will prevent any scarcity of provisions. The other way is in the direction of the Porta del Popolo, where, moreover, Rome is weaker, should they choose to take it by storm, after making themselves masters of Tivoli, which is unable to stand battery; and then encamp at Ponte Molle, obtaining victuals from the Papal territory thereabouts, the whole of which would be in their power, except Paliano and Velletri, which places, however, should the Imperialists choose to obtain their supplies from the kingdom of Naples, could not prevent it, as they have no cavalry, whereas the enemy can leave a squadron thereabouts, with foot-soldiers from the Abruzzi to escort the sutlers.
He said besides, that he does not think the Imperialists will attempt Paliano or Velletri, as the first is impregnable unless by siege, but that it is provisioned for a year and more; and with regard to the second, it would not answer them to toil for its capture, as besides giving them much trouble, it would be of no use at all when taken—Sermoneta, a strong place, being at a short distance from it, and better suited for the interception of victuals than Velletri, being nearer the road by which they would have to pass; though this person does not think they will avail themselves of provisions from the kingdom of Naples, by reason of the great distance, and because they can get them from the Papal States; and even should they choose to be supplied from the Kingdom, it will be by sea as aforesaid. Without my saying anything more, your Serenity's prudence can comprehend of what importance it would be, on several accounts, were this conversation to be made public, so I should beseech you to enjoin the closest secrecy.
Rome, 19th September 1556.
Sept. 19. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 7 B. 622. The Same to the Same.
To-day at audience, the Pope said to me, “We shall now have little trouble in giving you news, as the affairs of these schismatics are but too manifest; it is thus clearly seen how they treat us, and you can be convinced of what we have so often told you about their malignity, and our great scruple not to be the first to make war, although we saw our advantage, but this sacred place compelled us to prove our candour to the world by tolerance, on which we dwelt so much as to neglect self-defence. We have often told you of the malignity of the Imperialists (di costoro) and of their desire to occupy this State, that they may then seize yours likewise, as nothing else of importance remains in Italy; but, like Cassandra, nunquam credita Teucris, we have never been believed. To-morrow, or next day, we shall depart this life; and you will remain, and in the ruins will remember this poor old man, and lament not having chosen to provide in time against our downfall (li danni nostri). We protest to you as ambassador, that our forces are but scanty (che noi non habbiamo più forze che tante), and we have determined to recommend ourselves to Christ and say as He said to the Father Eternal, and as so many of our predecessors have said, Fiat voluntas tua. We cannot know the judgment of God, nor why he blinds those, quorum interest, that they may not see their destruction. It is indeed very marvellous that you should remain looking on at the loss of this State without caring about it in the least, and that you do not perceive that unless you bestir yourselves speedily, this festival will be the eve of yours. Think not by means of your fortified towns to resist single-handed the tyrannical force of those people (di costoro), for he who has the plane has the hill; neither suppose that you can retain the mainland; and place no trust in them, for they will do by you as they did by Paul III., who, by the assistance which he gave him, rendered the Emperor master of Germany, and he to reward the Pope had his son assassinated, and robbed him of a city (et esso per mercede li fece amazzar il figliolo, et li rubbò una citta). (fn. 9) Had Paul taken our advice, there would, perhaps, not have been war in Italy; and we should have Germany Catholic, for they believe what suits them with regard to their annual incomes and freedom of living, so that, had they been negotiated with, a good understanding being formed to guarantee them against oppression, they would have done anything; nor, when this enemy of God is reproached with having encouraged the Lutherans and excuses himself on the plea of having waged war against them, does he speak otherwise than falsely, for, on the contrary, there were more Lutherans in his army than in the Landgrave's; but nomine the war was against the Lutherans, and re against Germany, in order to subjugate it; and to a Roman, his prisoner, after asking him what they were doing at Rome, most especially the Pope, the Landgrave said, 'We have not so much difference with the Roman church as to prevent our adjusting it speedily; but the difficulty is with the Emperor, who seeks to deprive us of our liberty.' In short, the Imperialists aim at universal monarchy, and as this shadow of religion on which they have turned their backs remains, they seek to debase it. You know the injuries done to the Spanish clergy, the usurpation of the territory (del stato) annexed to the Archbishopric of Toledo. Besides, we have complaints from the clergy of Milan and Naples; we also know the resolve formed by the Imperial Council when the Lutheran sect first sprang up, that it should be encouraged, because it would render the Emperor master of Rome. Why is credit denied to facts, manifest daily? And having been unable to entangle us by relationship through female bastards as they did Paul, (fn. 10) and to put their foot [on our neck] as they did on the neck of Julius by bullying (per braura), on us they have made open war; and you allow yourselves to be lulled by them; they demand troops, saying the strangest things in the world—that we chose to make war on them!! With what armies, with what fleets? For the love of God believe us that this blandishment is most pernicious both for you and the others.”
To this I replied, “Holy Father, with regard to this very point I am commissioned to tell your Holiness that the Duke of Alva has sent a messenger to give account of his proceedings; that what he was about to do would be for the purpose of carrying the war—of which he was apprehensive—into the enemy's country (in casa d'altri); but that he would not fail to make peace readily, whenever your Holiness chose; and he prayed the Signory to intercede with you for the quiet desired by all; nor can I but hope for the best, as I see Fra Tomaso going backwards and forwards, and know your Holiness' pious intention, as so often heard from your own lips, and written by me to the State.”
The Pope replied, “To prove our hearty wish for peace, we have placed it in the hands of Cardinal S. Giacomo, the Duke of Alva's uncle, but mark well that these words of theirs are uttered to put us to sleep and do their own business, and that they will keep advancing and demanding terms which cannot be conceded, and thus endeavour to detain you and the others from their duty, for the defence of the See Apostolic, and for the sake of Christ and their own interest. Believe me, they are very cunning, and know how to restrain you from action; they send you these messengers, having done the like by the Dukes of Urbino, Ferrara, and Parma. They have no need to send to Florence, as he is theirs, and as Parma likewise speedily will be, because they choose to have the Duke's children in their hands. We tell you that these are delays, and that they only desire peace in order to command us. As we are not credited, it will suffice us to have done our duty; we shall not be the first Pontiff persecuted and martyrised by tyrants; but you will come next and be the first oppressed; and then the King of France, who thinks that he can stay the shot. By God! you will find yourselves deceived. Why do you not make yourselves heard, that you will not permit our persecution? Vivit Dominus! the time will come when, at your very great cost, you will wish to apply a remedy, and will be unable to do so; we tell it you plainly, and make you this protest, both in virtue of the post we fill, and by reason of the love and affection we bear the Republic, for God knows how much her misfortune will pain us; we will not bear the blame of this either in the face of the world or before God.” I answered in suitable terms, and then took leave.
Rome, 19th September 1556.
Sept. 19. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 623. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador at Ghent, to the Doge and Senate.
From certain merchants who came along the coast from these neighbouring French towns, it has been heard that the Emperor had already passed Nieuport near Calais, and was continuing the voyage with a very fair wind; so the sailors here are of opinion that should his Imperial Majesty not touch England, he will in seven days arrive in Spain, in Asturia, at the harbour of Laredo, where he is expected to land, and will find the attendants, horses, and baggage waggons (cariaggi) which he sent through France. The Spaniards say that he will send a part of those ships to join the Portuguese caravels, and to go with the Spanish fleet to succour Oran. His first journey by land will be to Valladolid, to see the Princess his daughter, and the Prince of Spain [Don Carlos] his grandson, whom he had never yet seen; and after endeavouring to obtain a donative for King Philip, he will go to the Hieronomite monastery of San Yuste (San Giusto) near Plasencia, where he says he has destined to end his days, the place, for its healthy climate and the delightfulness of the country, being considered the most beautiful in Spain.
This evening the King is expected to return from Zealand, where he had an opportunity of paying his respects to the Emperor, who, although he had departed, was compelled by contrary winds to put back twice. Gonzalo Perez, the King's chief secretary, says his Majesty will certainly go to Antwerp in a few days, and proceed to inspect all these frontiers, accompanied by the Duke of Savoy and Don Alvarez de Sando (sic), late quartermaster-general (maestro di campo) in the Milanese, to whom he has given the command of the Spanish infantry and of all the frontiers garrisoned by Spaniards. I hear that the King purposes sending a gentleman to visit his brother-in-law the Duke of Parma and his sister, (fn. 11) to congratulate them on the close of the negotiation for the benefit and satisfaction of all parties. The Duke's agent, who went off to-day with the signed agreement, says his master will come shortly to kiss the King's hand, and that his Excellency's son the [Prince of Parma] will go to wait on Don Carlos in Spain.
The French ambassador and some other persons here, say publicly that there is a secret clause between the King and the Duke, stipulating that after a certain time his Excellency be bound to accept compensation for Piacenza, and to give it back to his Majesty; and the aforesaid ambassador abuses the Duke in the grossest terms that can possibly be imagined.
They are expecting here this evening Count Giovanni Angusciola, one of the conspirators who murdered his Excellency's father, it being said that the King sent for him to reward him, and that they will do the like by the others, to try and arrange matters with the Duke, lest from despair they restore that city to the Church, or give it to France. After despatching the Duke's agent, the ministers here sent for the agent of Don Ferrante, and told him that of the 180,000 crowns claimed by his Excellency they had liquidated 75,000, assigning payment on the mines and other things in Spain, Sicily, and Milan. The deputies of Brabant, contrary to what they said they would do, have come hither, but (as they say) not to settle with his Majesty about the demand for money.
Ghent, 19th September 1556.
Sept. 19. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 624. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Last evening, the Abbot of San Saluto, returning from Ghent, came to me here, on his way to the Court at Val Luisant (Valosant, Vauluisant?) (fn. 12) and apologizing for having left Paris without any hint about going to Flanders, he told me that, wishing both to elicit some good decision on the part of the King of England with regard to his mind about the Pope, and also with a view to advance the negotiation of peace between these two Princes, he came to the conclusion that his letters alone would not suffice, but that by going in person he might do something more; and not choosing to acquaint the Constable with his departure, thinking that although his Excellency might approve he would not say so to him, to avoid showing himself anxious for these negotiations, and that he would rather dissuade him, he determined on giving no hint about it to his Excellency or to any other person, but to depart suddenly. On arriving at the Court in Flanders he addressed himself to Don Ruy Gomez, and through his means to the King of England, to whom he repeated the words uttered to him by Cardinal Caraffa about the wish evinced by his right reverend lordship with regard to laying down arms provided the Imperialists proceeded with the same goodwill. He told me that after speaking with the Cardinal of Lorraine (who keeps this scheme alive), and then with his most Christian Majesty and the Constable, he would let me know King Philip's reply and what took place subsequently; but wishing to give your Serenity immediate advice of the whole, I so plied him, that at length, this morning, after requesting me earnestly not to name him, he said that the reply which he received from the King of England was that the French ambassador had already performed the like office with his Majesty, offering the mediation of the most Christian King, and that the ambassador was to return [to King Philip] on the morrow for the answer; so after leaving the King, Parpaglia spoke to him, and he confessing everything, the Abbot greatly commended his following up this undertaking. The ambassador, being ill of quartan ague, delayed going to the King of England, and, letting his Majesty know that he was indisposed, withdrew from the negotiation; but the cause was, that in the meanwhile he had received orders from France to that effect.
The Abbot, notwithstanding this, returned to Ruy Gomez, who, after many words, ended by telling him that his King was disposed to be at rest (di abbracciare la quiete) with all parties, and therefore that if the most Christian King wished the adjustment of the disputes with the Pope to be treated first, the King of England was content; and if on the contrary his most Christian Majesty wished the treaty of peace between the two Crowns to take precedence of it, the King of England would condescend (condescenderebbe) to that likewise. The Abbot then requested me to bear with his not telling me at present what he knew about this affair of the peace, hinting, however, that it was something of importance relating to the conversation he held with me, about which I wrote to your Serenity on the 16th inst., as he wished at any rate to speak about it first with the Constable; but that as to the negotiation with the Pope, Don Ruy Gomez had offered him three conditions (partiti): that His Holiness should raze the fortresses, or else place them in the hands of the College of Cardinals, whereupon it should be investigated according to law whether the acts passed against the Colonnas were passed canonically or not; or in case his Holiness would not accept either the first or second of these proposals, whether as a third alternative he would give back his territory to Marc' Antonio Colonna in the same state as when he deprived him of it, in which case the King of England would give other territory as recompense, which would be no less agreeable to the Count of Montorio than Paliano was. With regard to the two first proposals the Abbot replied that he already knew clearly that the Pope would accept neither the one nor the other, because in truth he could not do so decorously; and as to the third, Parpaglia viewed it in the same light, because the Pope would never be satisfied with having a State in King Philip's realms, as he might always doubt the security of his kinsfolk, but that should his Majesty choose to make some other independent compensation such as it would not be difficult to find better hope might be entertained; and the Abbot proposed giving him Sienna, to which Ruy Gomez replied that the Duke of Paliano had often had this hinted to him, and that he believed that provided the most Christian King likewise on his part would give him the fortresses held for France in Tuscany, the King of England would also transfer the rest to the Duke of Paliano, provided the Pope reinstated Marco Antonio Colonna. After taking leave, Parpaglia put the whole of this conversation to writing, both about the willingness of the King of England to negotiate the agreement with the Pope, either firstly or secondly, at the option of his most Christian Majesty, as also respecting these three proposals, and he took the writing to Don Ruy Gomez, who, having read and approved of it the Abbot said that with his permission he would give it to the French ambassador, to which his Excellency apparently assenting, Parpaglia gave it accordingly, and the ambassador having sent it hither, as heard by me on good authority, it was forwarded to Rome by the express who took charge of my last letters to your Serenity.
Then on the morrow the Abbot returned to Ruy Gomez, and when discussing this particular, having said that the Count of Montorio might well be content with the city of Sienna and the whole of that State, his Excellency told him instantly that the King of England did not intend to give the city of Sienna, though he would cede the rest of what he holds in the Siennese territory; and although the Abbot rejoined that Ruy Gomez had told him he would give the whole, and that he, Parpaglia, showed him the writing to that effect, and then with his permission gave it to the French ambassador, he could not move him from this (no lo potè mover da questo), that the King reserved the city of Sienna, but would give all the rest of its territory. The Abbot returned with this intelligence to the ambassador, who answered him that he understood the ambassador of the Duke of Florence had remonstrated strongly about the matter in question, and that at his suit Don Ruy Gomez raised this difficulty; whereupon Parpaglia, after taking leave of the King of England, left the Court, and on arriving here, as mentioned by me, went to make his report to the French Ministry.
Morette, 19th September 1556.
[Italian, in cipher; deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Sept. 19. 625. Copy of the Articles stipulated between the King of England and Duke Ottavio Farnese concerning the Restitution of Piacenza.
The King of England restores Piacenza and its territory (il Piacentino) to Duke Ottavio, reserving for himself the fortresses, the garrisons of which to be paid by the Duke.
He gives him back Novara, and its territory (il Novarese), keeping for himself the fortress.
He also restores to him the estate (stato) in the kingdom of Naples, and that of Madame [Margaret of Austria, Duchess of Parma, the Emperor's natural daughter], and Monreale to Cardinal Farnese, but on condition that nothing be said about the past fruits.
The King of England also chooses the Duke to promise him that he will allow the heirs of the deceased conspirators to enjoy their property, and that for six months he will not molest the conspirators now alive (ch'alli heredi de' congiurati morti si lasci godere i lor beni e ch'alli vivi non si dia molestia per sei mesi), allowing them to sell what they have in the territory of Piacenza; and should the King please to recompense them in the Duke's States in the kingdom of Naples, or by means of the revenues of Novara, he may be at liberty to do so.
The King recommends to the Duke, the Count of San Secondo, and Gio. Francesco Sanseverino, whom, should they show themselves good vassals, he is to treat well, and if not, to punish them.
The Duke is also to dismantle Fontanella, Roccabianca, and Toricella, and the King gives him Borgo San Donino, fortified as it stands.
The King also chooses that, at the time when Piacenza is restored, the Duke do send his son the Lord Don Alessandro to remain for some days at Milan.
[Document enclosed in the foregoing despatch of Giacomo Soranzo, without any date of time or place.]


  • 1. Vicovaro was four leagues to S.E. of Tivoli.
  • 2. Manrique? (See Foreign Calendar, Mary, Index.)
  • 3. Jean Poupet, Seigneur de la Chaulx.
  • 4. The real name of the Emperor's reader was Guillaume Van Male, about whom, see “The Cloister Life of the Emperor Charles the Fifth,” by William Stirling (3rd ed., pp. 69, 292).
  • 5. Alias Giovanni Torriani, alias Dalla Torre.
  • 6. These copies do not exist in the Venetian Archives, but their substance may be read in Foreign Calendar, Mary, pp. 253, 254.
  • 7. The Palace of St. mark, built by the Venetian Pope Paul II. (Pietro Barbo), in the latter half of the 15th century, was given to the Republic of Venice in the year 1564 by Pope Pius IV. (See Andrea Morosini, vol. 2, p. 331.)
  • 8. When Ascanio della Cornia betrayed him, the Pope confiscated his property, and gave it to his own kinsman Mattheo Stendardo.
  • 9. Pier Luigi Farnese, Duke of Parma and Piacenza (which he received from his father Paul III. on the 12th August 1545), was assassinated at Piacenza on the 10th September 1547. (See L'Art de Verifier les Dates, p. 845. Ed. Paris, 1770.)
  • 10. The marriage of Margaret of Austria, the illegitimate daughter of Charles V., to Ottavio Farnese, took place in the year 1538, she being then the widow of Alessandro de Medici, Duke of Florence.
  • 11. Margaret of Austria, illegitimate daughter of Charles V., born at Valladolid in the summer of 1523; her mother, one of the daughters of Girolamo Nogarola, an outlawed Venetian subject, received a marriage portion of 20,000 crowns from the Emperor at Burgos, in May 1524, and then became the lawful wife of one Van Geste. The birth of Margaret of Austria is dated in the despatches of Gasparo Contarini, and by Sanuto's Diaries it appears that her mother was a Venetian gentlewoman, by name Michiel.
  • 12. See Foreign Calendar, Mary (8 October 1556, p. 261).