Venice: September 1556, 21-25

Pages 637-643

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, 21–25

Sept. 22. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 7 B. 626. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The four Cardinals who were appointed to treat the agreement, namely, S. Giacomo, Trani, Pisa, and Caraffa, met in the house of S. Giacomo, who was unable to move owing to gouty pains; and to these four were added Morone, Carpi, and Pacheco, to whom the Duke of Alva had announced his wish for them to confer with his envoy Don Francisco Pacheco, which they declined, saying they had nothing to do with the Duke of Alva, and that they depended on the Pope, until his Holiness desired them to attend the conference, at which Don Francisco Pacheco represented that the Duke of Alva, from his wish for peace in conformity with the intention of the King his lord, besides what he wrote, and according to the request made by him of the Pope, had sent him, Don Francisco, in order to try and carry this his good will into effect; and he then specified the conditions, as your Serenity will perceive by the enclosed copy. (fn. 1) He was answered that they were too hard, and that the Cardinals supposed that the Duke being so well disposed as he said, had given him other fairer conditions apart.
Don Francisco rejoined that he had no other commission than what he had stated, and that he was also desired not to delay his departure beyond 2 p.m. on the morrow, whereupon the conference broke up, telling him that Cardinal Caraffa would report to the Pope, and that he should have his Holiness' reply on the morrow. I understand that, on hearing the terms, the Pope got into a rage, saying they could not ask more were he their prisoner in the Castle at Naples; so the conference having assembled again yesterday, Cardinal Caraffa said, “The Pope has not chosen to reply, because he knows that peace is demanded verbally, but that practically they wish for war, though he charged me to tell these right reverend cardinals to consult all together, and see if they can devise any fair form of adjustment, as he would never reject it.” Many things were said, but the conclusion they came to was, that if the Pope approved of it, Cardinal Caraffa should have an interview with the Duke of Alva, who, Don Francisco Pacheco said, would accept it; and they exhorted Cardinal S. Giacomo to go likewise, although he is indisposed not only from gout but also from a slight attack of fever, as it is not a very long journey, and he can perform it in a litter, which he very readily offered to do. Then to-day the aforesaid Cardinals met again together with Don Francisco Pacheco in the presence of the Pope to hear his decision about this interview.
His Holiness commenced by abusing the Emperor and his son, as he often has done, and perhaps more vehemently than ever; saying that he (the Pope) was armed, and chose at any rate to chastise the rebels of God, and of this Church, and the iniquitous ministers of these schismatic Princes, so that it was expected the conference would break up thus; but nevertheless by degrees the Cardinals S. Giacomo and Caraffa induced him to determine to confer with the Duke, he saying to them, “But do not, however, cause anything to be done of such a sort as we never imagined;” after which words the Cardinals Carpi and Trani, having withdrawn into a private chamber, wrote a letter to the Duke of Alva, announcing the resolve of the committee about the interview; and the Government (questi Signori) being thus requested, allowed Don Francisco Pacheco to see the prisoners in the Castle, and principally Don Garcilasso de la Vega, to be able to report him alive and well, and perhaps not so ill-treated as was stated. Don Francisco will depart to-night to fix the site and time of the interview.
The gossips here (qui quelli che discorrono) believe that should any agreement be made, Cardinal Caraffa and all this family will declare themselves Imperialists, which they say might easily come to pass, as they have been deceived in the high hopes entertained by them of assistance and favour from the most Christian King. There is a general fear, or rather panic, amongst the few persons now remaining in Rome; so the desire for the adjustment of this difficulty is incredible.
Rome, 22nd September 1556.
Sept. 22. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 627. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The return of Francesco Piamontese has greatly increased the Queen's hope of the King's coming, he being the bearer of autograph letters from his Majesty to the effect that after the Emperor's departure he would set out as soon as possible, and attend to the despatch of his business with all haste and diligence. Her hope was subsequently redoubled by news received from her Admiral [Lord Howard of Effingham] on Saturday the 19th, that on the morning of the day before, the 18th, the Emperor, with the Queens [Eleanor of France and Maria of Hungary], passed between Dover and Calais with the whole fleet of about 50 sail; and (to give the contents of the whole news-letter) the Admiral, on presenting himself to his Majesty to accompany him with his squadron, as he did, when he went on board the Emperor's own ship to pay his respects, found him seated at table for dinner, not the least sea-sick (senza punto di perturbatione posta a tavola per desinare), and he saw the Queen of Hungary in the same state, very brisk indeed (gagliardissima), never having been sick, which was not the case with the Queen of France, who suffered greatly.
Next day, Sunday, the 20th, news also arrived of the progress of the fleets; that on that same Saturday, the 19th, they had passed the Isle of Wight, being well nigh beyond the shoals (intrichi) and perils of this Channel; and it was supposed that as the wind changed afterwards, and became contrary, they will therefore ride at anchor (intertenersi) at the extremity of the island, either off Falmouth or Dartmouth, and that having already done the most by getting out of the Channel, the slightest breath of wind, with the help of the tide, will suffice for the continuation of the voyage.
Owing to such good news, the Queen, in a transport of delight, wished instantly to send the Earls of Pembroke and Arundel and Lord Paget towards the seaside, and also to march thither the archers of the guard, had not Cardinal Pole, to whom, through other channels, information is given orally and by letter, with less reserve, concerning the causes and impediments whereby the King is detained, and which will perhaps detain him some days longer, persuaded her Majesty to await further intelligence before despatching these lords or anybody else, and in the meanwhile to send back another courier to the King with the news of the Emperor's passage (although he will have heard it already, a messenger having of course been despatched from the fleet immediately); the Queen with this opportunity reminding and entreating him, as he has now no longer any legitimate cause for absence, to fulfil his obligation and promise without delay, knowing the great importance and need of his return.
Cardinal Pole and the Regent [Don Juan de Figueroa] have been occupied with this despatch for two consecutive days, indicating thus that they have perhaps also given account of other secret matters now in course of negotiation between them; but as to the coming of the King, with the exception of the Queen, who feeds herself with these vain hopes, being desirous and too apt to believe, the Cardinal and all the others, owing to these last advices, notwithstanding the Emperor's departure, consider it more remote than they anticipated.
They have commenced regulating the expenses of the court, retrenching such as are superfluous, and to save as much as possible, having already broken the 50 gentlemen pensioners of the axe (pensionarij gentilhomini dell' azza), after the French fashion, each of whom had an annual salary of 50 pounds sterling, besides their liveries and board at the court (le lor livree et la tavola in corte), and with them also the other 50 yeomen of the guard (gientilomini serrenti), who had half that stipend; and they have at length recalled the ambassador Vannes, resident with your Serenity, it being their intention for the King's ambassador to suffice for the Queen likewise, having already sent the necessary credentials, previously signed by Her Majesty, to the King, that he may countersign them. There is also a talk of recalling the ambassador in France, that the one from King Philip may represent both crowns.
Three days ago the Queen returned to London, Michaelmas term being at hand, but yet more because, according to her belief, her consort's return is proximate. On coming back, she embarked on the other side of the river at Lambeth, the palace of the Archbishop of Canterbury and personal residence of Cardinal Pole, opposite to Her Majesty's (opposito a quello di sua Maestà), (fn. 2) and not only chose to enter it, but, ascending the stairs, had herself conducted by his most illustrious lordship into his own chamber, and through the gardens, and everywhere, staying for luncheon, with infinite familiarity and kindness, asking two or three times for Monsignor Priuli, who failed to present himself.
London, 22nd September 1556.
Sept. 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 628. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
On the day I wrote my last of the 19th, the Court received a courier with the news of the capture of Frosinone and Pontecorvo, and that the Colonnas had advanced as far as Tivoli, 14 miles from Rome, carrying off men and cattle. Letters from Corsica also inform the King that the Genoese had taken a fort in which were 16 French soldiers, whom they cut to pieces, and then with four guns attacked a place called Belgodere, but failed in the attempt; and the Lord Giordano (fn. 3) writes that the enemy had landed troops three times, and it was said they purposed making an expedition against the island, appointing Antonio Doria commander-in-chief, and that he, Giordano, had neither troops nor ammunition, so that unless his most Christian Majesty sent him fresh supplies speedily, the affairs of that island seemed to be in great danger.
Intelligence has likewise been received of a plot which was discovered at Metz, and which had been made by the Spaniards with the townspeople, but Cui (sic) made a counterplot, which was also discovered by those outside the town; so some Spanish regiments which were within four leagues of the place retreated.
It has in like manner been heard from Germany that 6,000 Germans were being engaged for the King of England to be sent to Italy, although some persons say they were to have been employed for the above-mentioned plot against Metz.
Immediately on receipt of this intelligence his most Christian Majesty sent for the Cardinal of Lorraine (who was with the Queen of Scotland) [Mary Stuart], she not having yet recovered her health) and for the Marshals de Brissac [Charles de Cossé] and St. André [Jacques d'Albon], in order that together with the Constable and the Duke de Guise, who were with him, they might discuss the steps to be taken, and they are now sitting in consultation, but as yet no one knows the result, though it is expected that the decision will leave the rupture of the truce doubtful, as should the King choose to dissemble they will say it is not broken, and if he is determined on war they will unanimously say the truce has been violated.
In the meanwhile the Abbot of San Saluto arrived at the Court, and the first thing the Constable asked him was, whether Cardinal Caraffa had given him an express order to go to Flanders, or whether he went of his own accord, and in reply Parpaglia assigned the causes as in my last, telling him what he had negotiated with Don Ruy Gomez, and his three proposals for agreement with the Pope. With regard to the general peace he said he urged Ruy Gomez to state distinctly the terms on which he wished this matter to proceed, and he replied that this was not the time to tell him anything more, but that should his most Christian Majesty act (ma che incamminandose sua Mta Xma) he would be convinced of the goodwill of King Philip, who would give him cause to be his good friend and to be well disposed towards his realms and States, and that any adjustment made might be corroborated, by marriages and by anything else most to King Henry's satisfaction. When Parpaglia told Ruy Gomez that until he condescended to greater details the French on their part would be equally reserved, he rejoined, “Prithee, let the most Christian King be content not to give law to our King about our affairs, in like-manner as the King of England does not seek to dictate to his most Christian Majesty about those of France, and whenever he may wish to treat either by messenger or letters, or through ministers, he will always find my King disposed, and we shall then be able to enter into such details as necessary.” After the Abbot had made this statement, which he also delivered in writing, the Constable replied that he was to return to the Court in three days, as in the meanwhile he would show the paper to the King and then give Parpaglia the answer. The Abbot then communicated to him the stir (li moti) at Rome, to which his Excellency did not seem to attach much importance, as evinced by him also to others who spoke to him on the same subject. Parpaglia next told me apart that he held some conversation with Don Ruy Gomez about the arrangement written in my last with regard to alienating a portion of the Milanese, which he seemed to listen to complacently, and said that the present was not the moment for these considerations, but that he would nevertheless not fail to impart them to his King.
The Constable wrote to me yesterday that on the morning of the 17th the Emperor set sail with a fair wind, and that on the preceding evening his most serene son went on board to visit him and the most serene Queens.
I enclose a copy of the agreement (capitolatione) between the King of Spain and Duke Ottavio.
Morette, 23rd September 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Sept. 24. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 629. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador at Ghent, to Doge and Senate.
The French ambassador had audience of the King to-day, complaining in his master's name that, having frequently heard by King Philip's letters and from what he told the Abbot of San Saluto about his greatly wishing for peace, his most Christian Majesty had subsequently heard that these assurances were contradicted by the proceedings of the Duke of Alva, who had already taken several places belonging to the Church; wherefore he again let him know that he had already promised to assist the Pope by all possible means, and was now determined to do so; but nevertheless, in order that the truce might last, and for the benefit of affairs in Italy, he would first tell King Philip that it would be well for him to send stringent orders to the Duke of Alva not to continue the war, because otherwise in like manner as the most Christian King had heard with great regret what has taken place hitherto, so in a few days will his royal Majesty hear news which will distress him yet more. King Philip replied that the words uttered by him to the ambassador and to the Abbot of San Saluto about wishing for peace were really in conformity with his intention, and that an intimation to this effect having been made by him to his Holiness, the Pope in his last speech took occasion to say that he would give the reply when he had got together an army of 30,000 men; (fn. 4) so, considering it certain that these words signified nothing but a desire for war, the Duke for the benefit of his affairs had now commenced it, but that notwithstanding this, he, the King, would still not discontinue treating about peace, not only with his Holiness but also with his most Christian Majesty. The ambassador rejoined that he would write accordingly to his King, who, however, had no intention of discussing peace until this fire against the Church was extinguished.
By the ambassador's account he then spoke to his Majesty about the usual affairs of the frontiers, and of the prisoners, and of the Emperor's voyage, about which the King told him he had that moment received news by an express from the Queen his consort that his Imperial Majesty had anchored off Portland, because of the contrary wind, and although the Admiral requested him to enter the harbour, he nevertheless had not chosen to do so, it seeming to him unnecessary, nor would he in any way retard his voyage; and as the Emperor had already set sail and would keep the French coast, the King requested the ambassador to have account sent him of the weather, and from every place, on his Imperial Majesty's passage. This French ambassador asserts in public that he understands Don Bernardino de Mendoza to have said that in like manner as he always counselled his Majesty not so long to put off the war with the Pope, so had he suggested to him that on taking Rome he should place a garrison of Spaniards in Castle St. Angelo, or build a fortress in some place to enable him for the future to keep the Popes in order (che potesse nello avenire contenir in officio i Pontefici); which caused the ambassador to remark that rather than allow such words to take effect his most Christian Majesty would risk his kingdom.
Amongst the causes which induced the Cardinal of Trent to send hither from Milan his agent Trissino, was that of assuring King Philip that the Duke of Ferrara is not so ill-disposed towards him as he is supposed to be, and that he, the Cardinal, knows him to be the King's servant, and that he wishes and offers to form relationship in some way with the House of Austria, which to all his Majesty's chief ministers has seemed a very strange and novel thing to hear; and they lay the blame either on his right reverend lordship's ignorance of the said Duke's mind, or on the too close friendship maintained by him since a long while with his Excellency. Yesterday the Count Thadeo Manfredi told as a secret to a person from whom I heard it, that he will soon be despatched to Milan, and receive assistance to go and recover certain places belonging to him now held by the aforesaid Duke but under the name of others; the King having received authority to this effect from the Emperor before his departure, in execution of the award made in his favour in the Imperial Diet, but never enforced from regard for his Excellency, which respect it is no longer chosen to have for him if he takes part in the present war. (fn. 5) A courier will be sent this evening to the said Cardinal of Trent and to the Marquis of Pescara with news of the protest made by the French ambassador, and with orders to be prepared in case of an attack in Piedmont.
An express has this moment brought news of the death of the Elector of Cologne, very much to the regret of this Court, as he was the best disposed prince of any in Germany towards all the interests of the Emperor and King Philip; and the life of the Bishop of Liege is also in great danger. This morning the King went in procession to return thanks to the Lord God for the victory obtained against the Infidels. To-morrow I shall receive the letters from the King for the Viceroy of Sicily, and will send them by the ordinary post. (fn. 6)
Ghent, 24th September 1556.


  • 1. Not found.
  • 2. Alluding to St. James's, as in Machyn's Diary, p. 114, thus, “The six day of September dyd the Quene's grace remove from Croydun, the Bysshope of Canthurbere's plasse unto Sant James-in-the-Feld be-yond Charyng-crosse, her own plasse, with my Lord Cardenall and . . .” (unfinished.)
  • 3. Giordano Orsini, French Lieutenant in Corsica. (See Foreign Calendar, Mary, p. 147.)
  • 4. Che all' hora li faria la risposta quando si havesse ritrovato in essere trenta mille persone.
  • 5. Thadeo Manfredi was the lineal descendant of the ancient barons of Faenza and other places in Romagna over which the German Empire claimed jurisdiction.
  • 6. In a despatch dated 22nd September, the ambassador writes that orders had been sent to Genoa for the recall of the ships sent to succour Oran, so I infer that the thanksgiving was for some victory gained by the Count of Alcaudete; and by the same letter it appears that Ruy Gomez had complied with Badoer's demands concerning the galleys from Messina which had molested the Venetians in the waters of Cyprus.