Venice: October 1556, 1-5

Pages 655-668

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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October 1556, 1–5

Oct. ? MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. pp. 70 verso & 71 recto. No date of time or place in MS. 637. Cardinal Pole to the Archbishop of Granada.
Is much surprised that in his letters dated the 6th August the Archbishop makes no mention whatever of having provided for payment of the money due to Pole last St. John's day, and yet more is he astonished that after the admission of his claims by the judges appointed by the Archbishop's agents, he should persist in not paying him in golden ducats of the treasury coinage according to the tenour of the bulls, thus compelling him at each payment to make fresh protests, as he does at present, and to proceed against Granada by the usual course of censures, as he shall be forced to do, should it prove impossible by other means to make him pay in full, as the Archbishop will be obliged to do with greater inconvenience, having to pay the arrears all at once. It is needless for the Archbishop to allege his necessities for the purpose of inducing Pole to let him retain the money, as, from his grade and on all other accounts, Pole's need in this respect is much greater than the Archbishop's, and his income (le facultà sue) much less. Is certain that the intention of the Emperor [who made the assignment on the see of Granada] was and is that he should receive the pension in full, and without any diminution or drawback. For the rest, Pole will always be ready on every occasion to exert himself for the satisfaction of the Archbishop, nor would he hesitate to cede his rights to him, were he as much his superior in revenue as he is in station (di carico). Will await the Archbishop's orders in this matter after the receipt of the present letter, that he may know how to proceed.
[London, October (?) 1556.]
Oct. 1. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 7 B. 638. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Last night when about to despatch the accompanying packet, I was told that between 8 and 9 p.m., a courier arrived from France, and also that Ferrante di Sanguini had been for two hours with the Pope and Cardinal Caraffa, to resume the negotiation for an agreement; so I detained the courier until to day, and thinking I might perhaps obtain some knowledge of these two important matters, I sent my secretary to the palace of St. Mark to speak to Cardinal Caraffa, whom he did not find, as he had gone out on horseback for the purpose, he said, of inspecting the walls, though it is believed to hold a secret consultation with the French ministers, who in like manner were all out riding. The secretary spoke to Aldobrandini (who may be styled the second person after the Cardinal), who, with regard to the letters from France, said he had not yet been with Cardinal Caraffa, so he knew nothing more about them, and thought that the courier was come merely from Lyons, and that as for Ferrante de' Sanguini he did not believe the Pope would listen to him, as the terms brought by him from the Emperor's Court (and which he is now endeavouring again to bring forward) purported that Paliano, not being fortified, should be held for the Church; that as compensation the King would give the Duke 14,000 crowns annual revenue in the kingdom of Naples; on the other hand, if fortified, the warder of Paliano to be a person in the King's confidence to guarantee him against its seizure by the French; which terms, imposing law on the Pope in his own territory, were rejected at the time, nor did Aldobrandini expect them to be accepted at present. All my diligence has failed to elicit anything farther, but I will write again on Saturday; and in the meanwhile to the bearer of this packet, in addition to what I write by the accompanying letter, in case he arrive on Sunday at daybreak, be your Serenity pleased to give four more crowns, as promised him by me should he reach Venice by Saturday at sunset.
Rome, 1st October 1556.
Oct. 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 639. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Since the protest made by the King to the Spanish ambassador, and the determinations about the Switzers and Germans, I hear that to both one place and the other the usual pay when making levies has been sent, orders being given that should the troops already raised in Germany by the King of Spain march towards Italy, these now made for France are in the like manner to move towards Piedmont, but if the Spanish levies remain stationary, those made for France are also to await farther orders; his most Christian Majesty being of opinion that if Spain keeps paid troops, it is for his dignity to do the like. In addition to this, on the expiration of the 20 days term taken by the Spanish ambassador, they are to be in complete marching order, and the like will be done by the 400 men-at-arms, but not before the 20th of this month, on which day in several places in France they make the muster-general of all the armed gendarmerie (gente d'armaria armata), which is a very rare proceeding, and in the meanwhile they will wait to see what takes place in Italy; though it is believed that the Spanish troops will retire, both as it is supposed that the Spanish ambassador would not have taken upon himself to promise their retreat unless commissioned by his King to do so, and also because the confirmed opinion here is that King Philip does not choose to go to war with France, which is yet more ratified by a positive report, in circulation of late, that his Majesty will cross over to England for a few days, and proceed thence to Spain, whither it is said that he has determined to go and reside permanently, being persuaded thus to do by his Council, and to rule the rest of his States in the best way he possibly can; and the Abbot of San Saluto vouches for this. Therefore, notwithstanding all these disturbances, it is hoped that the negotiation for the peace will continue, most especially as it is understood that a person came hither lately about this matter from the King of England to the King of France, and went back with a reply of some sort.
Yesterday M. de Forcovoe (sic) departed on his way to the Duke of Ferrara, with the fresh resolve formed by his most Christian Majesty, which is to give him the title of his Lieutenant-General in Italy, with the authority usually given to the King's sons; he will have an annual salary of 24,000 crowns, and an additional 4,000 for his Lieutenant; he will be paid for 100 men-at-arms, according to the French fashion, which in that number comprises also 150 archers, and will be at liberty to pay them in the Italian manner, rating the archers likewise for their portion as so many men-at-arms; and in like manner they will pay him for 200 light-horse and 1,000 infantry in time of peace, and 2,000 and more in time of war, besides the pension and men-at-arms conceded to the Prince his son; but as the demand made quite recently by his Excellency was to have 1,500 paid infantry in time of peace, and as the King promises him but 1,000, the conclusion is not yet settled, though I have heard his Excellency will be content with this decision; but besides this, there is an article in the league made heretofore between the Pope, the King of France, and his Excellency, that, in case offensive war be waged, the Duke of Ferrara on his part is to make a deposit of 300,000 crowns.
On Michaelmas-day the King held a chapter of his Order [of St. Michael] here in Paris, in the church of “Notre Dame,” with the greatest solemnity possible, in the presence of 24 knights, not including himself, many years having elapsed since so great a number have attended. The King created three new knights, namely, M. d'Andelot, the Admiral's brother, who returned hither a few days ago on his release from prison; M. de Senarpont [Jean de Mouchy], captain of Boulogne; and the Marquis d'Elbœuf, brother of the Duke de Guise and the Cardinal. A few days ago the wife of the Duke de Bouillon, daughter of Madame de Valentinois, departed for Flanders to see her husband, whose bodily health is not good, and he is known to be of rather weak mind at intervals from melancholy owing to his imprisonment; and she will shortly return with him at liberty, his ransom having been agreed to for 60,000 crowns.
Paris, 1st October 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Oct. 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 640. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
A friend of mine who is much in the confidence of the Spanish ambassador, tells me that the said ambassador assured him that his most Christian Majesty made no protest whatever to him about breaking the truce, neither did he, the ambassador, ask the term of the 20 days to effect the retreat of his King's forces; but that his most Christian Majesty did indeed speak to him very strongly (assai gagliardamente) with reference to the Pope, telling him that he regretted (si doleva) the course pursued, by his King with his Holiness, whom he should be compelled, to defend, according to the promise made to him, but that he, King Henry, nevertheless assured King Philip that he had no other league with the Pope than for his defence, and not for the purpose of attacking or invading the kingdom of Naples or any other State belonging to him. To this the ambassador replied that whenever his most Christian Majesty should be content to treat the peace, even with the inclusion of his Holiness, King Philip offered to withdraw his forces, and to restore what had been occupied belonging to the Church, and that for this purpose Don Ruy Gomez would come here to the court, whenever it best pleased his Majesty, who answered him that he was always ready to negotiate the peace, and that Don Ruy Gomez would be always welcome; and when my friend inquired of the ambassador whether he was commissioned to offer this visit from Don Ruy Gomez, or whether he proposed it of his own accord, he replied, “I said it spontaneously, but I well know what I say.”
I subsequently spoke also with the Abbot of San Saluto, who told me that the ministers here (questi signori) delayed giving him the answer to what he had proposed to them in the name of Don Ruy Gomez longer than they had promised him, and that the Constable, according to his usual fashion with him, spoke very harshly, complaining of the forms (modi) adopted by the King of England against the Pope, and that his most Christian Majesty was compelled to resent them, using other similar language; but that afterwards the Cardinal of Lorraine told him plainly that the most Christian King wished to give ear (voleva attender) to the negotiation of the peace, but with the inclusion of the Pope; and therefore, having considered the three forms of negotiating proposed to him, he was content, if the King of England would send hither, to send some one in like manner to his court; and if it pleased him to have a conference held between the ministers of one side and the other, he, the King of France, would be content to send his to the place appointed, but that he let King Philip know that let him send whom he pleased,—though his most Christian Majesty wished Don Ruy Gomez to be present,—he himself had determined that, on his part, this business should be treated by none but the said Cardinal of Lorraine and the Constable; all which the said Abbot told me he had written to Don Ruy Gomez, and awaited a reply to it.
Paris, 2nd October 1556.
[Italian, in cipher, deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Oct. 2. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 7 B. 641. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome to the Doge and Senate.
To-day at 1.30 p.m. I went to the Pope, and found him giving the batoon to the new Governor of Rome, the Archbishop of Sienna, of the Bandini family, who has been outlawed from that city, there being present the Cardinals Saraceno, Ariano, (sic) and Caraffa, and the Duke of Paliano. After dismissing them, the Pope called me, and walking up and down (et passeggiando), said, “You see, Magnifico Ambassador, to what we are brought by the tyranny of these heretics, whom God has accursed; they may be said to have approached to the gates of this city, and go plundering all the weak places of the Church, like iniquitous pilferers as they are (come scelerati ladronelli che sono), not having the courage to touch the fortified places, such as Paliano and Veletri, but we hope in God that he will punish them, as they come against His Spouse without any cause, save because the Vicar of Christ will not be subordinate to them (non vuol star sotto di loro); nor were they ashamed to proclaim such great impiety by the very unfair terms which they proposed to us. We will rid ourselves of them; they are scarcely 10,000 infantry; and an inexperienced youth having by the grace of God become master of so many kingdoms, his first exploit is to take up arms against the See Apostolic, he choosing, under these auspices, to give proof of himself, and the why is, because he chooses to command us within our own territory and to prevent us from punishing one of our own vassals, an unprecedented instance of impiety, to conceal which they said that we purposed waging war on them, and that they, from fear, were arming in self defence; yet have they manifested to the world who wished the war, and who declared it.
“Think, Magnifico Ambassador, in what condition we should have found ourselves at present had we not been provided with this small force at our command! From any evil some good may be derived; through the loss incurred by us hitherto, we have gained the means of attesting our patience and great toleration (although provoked by many injuries) by not stirring, as the eyes of the whole world were upon us to see if we attacked. Now, no one will be found of such gross and vitiated intellect as not to see who moved the war, nor of such sorry judgment and ill-will as not to say that what we shall do will be done with every reason in the world.”
It then seeming to me a good opportunity for executing your Serenity's commission about the office performed with the Emperor's ambassador, I said, “Holy Father, it is still possible that the Duke of Alva will come to some fair agreement, nor has the most Serene Signory failed to perform an office with the Imperial ambassador who is leaving Venice on his way to the most serene King of Spain, praying him to let his Majesty know, both by letter and by word of mouth, the extreme importance of this war, which might proceed in such a way as to render it impossible to apply a remedy when wished, beseeching his Majesty to give orders for coming speedily to some fair agreement with your Holiness”; and that your Serenity would also write accordingly to our ambassador with King Philip; the Spanish ambassador, before his departure, strongly urging the Duke of Alva to the like effect; which the said Imperial ambassador promised to do.
The Pope said, “We cannot but commend this office on the part of those most sage Signors, but know that here the Duke of Alva, although very vain and inconsiderate (vano leggiero), is however not so utterly empty (coto) as to have moved in so important a matter without a commission, in addition to which we know the determination of the Imperial Council, in which there are a pair of arrant heretics (un par d'heretici marzi,) (fn. 1) and we have discovered that that last conference which was determined on was full of fraud. Magnifico Ambassador, those lords of mine must make themselves heard in another form, because tyrants, like thieves, are naturally timid. You, by force and by making yourselves heard, made them make a Duke of Milant (fn. 2) (voi li faceste far un Duca di Milano per forza et per lassarvi intender), and we know that the fear they had of you induced them to do it. We will tell you freely, not as Pope, but as your loving friend, that should you not put your hand to this, you in this instance (qui) lose your honour and authority, for if Christ (who can do it) should do the work without you, you would thus incur great contumely, for you cannot say, It does not concern us. Are you not Christians? is not this a country common to all? have you not your share in it? and if this is the case, can it be said, It does not concern me? and if you see your mother cruelly treated can you, her sons, stay looking on? For how much slighter a cause, and how many times, did not your ancestors undertake their honourable expeditions?
“But besides the religion, besides the faith of Christ, besides the honour of Italy, are not the interests of your State concerned to the utmost? who is so blind as not to perceive that this is the vesper of your ruin! God forbid that they should succeed here, as they would come straight to visit you, for, as we have so often told you, there is nothing else remaining for them in Italy. Magnifico Ambassador, it is no longer the time for words; you must no longer delay; write what we tell you to those lords, for this matter concerns their profit and honour. We believe—nay, we are as sure as if we saw it—that foreseeing that we were about to effect the reform in earnest, and not fictitiously like the others, and that we had commenced eviscerating (spolpar) ourselves at a cost of some 300,000 crowns annual revenue, and that the rest of the Church revenues must necessarily follow (et che a questo ne seguiria di necessità il resto), the Devil therefore instigated his satellites to molest us with this war to turn us aside from so good a work; but the whole of hell will not have power to make us swerve from so fixed and holy a purpose, to which we are attending as we best may, and from day to day remove some of the many existing abuses; for to tell you clearly, there is nothing that remains in the forms appointed by our Holy Fathers, and indeed those who read their decrees, and consider to what they are now reduced, will not recognise them, so greatly have they been perverted.”
In reply to this, when I said that the Lord God would effect the peace, to give his Holiness an opportunity for rendering so pious and eminent a service to the world, and that he displayed such vigour as to warrant hopes of his living for many years to come, he rejoined, “Magnifico Ambassador, you are too partial to us, and too desirous of our welfare, but to promise one's self life is contrary to the commandment of the Lord God;” and he alleged the authority of the most Holy Gospel, vigilate quia nescitis diem, neque horam; quod vobis dico, omnibus dico; (fn. 3) on which same topic his Holiness, after quoting the verse by Horace “Omnem crede diem tibi illuxisse (fn. 4) supremum,” commenced discoursing about the said Horace, saying he was an excellent poet and a good moral philosopher, and that had be been of Christ's faith he would have proved such a preacher as to have made the world run after him (saria riuscito tal predicator che si haveria fatto correr dietro il mondo); (fn. 5) and the Pope having then quoted several of his verses on various subjects, I, to soothe him, having added some others, commending his Holiness' recollection of things abandoned since so many years, I put him into so good a humour (la ridussi in tal dolcezza) that I thought I could not find a better opportunity for executing the Senate's commission about the affair of the right reverend Elect of Aquileia; (fn. 6) so availing myself of the very prudent reasons already learnt from your Serenity, and certain others suggested by his right reverend Lordship's agent Randonio, I besought the Pope to repeal the sentence of the “Rota,” and send back the case in partibus, as it exists in prima instantia (et remetter la causa in partibus come quella che è in prima instantia), but that nevertheless, to gratify your Serenity so far as he could, his Holiness should be pleased to take information on the subject; and the Pope having called the reverend President of the Chamber (della Camera), desired him to let the “Decano” of the Rota know, that after taking precise information about this case from the person whom I would send to him, he was then to go and report to his Holiness.
Thereupon I told the Pope that as the “esecutoriali” were already issued, and perhaps moreover near the end (vicini alla fine), I therefore requested him to suspend the execution until he had informed himself, lest the right reverend Patriarch designate incur some censure. The Pope endeavoured to turn the conversation, but as I insisted on this important point so earnestly committed to me by your Serenity, he told me freely that all he could do for the pre- sent was to inform himself. I will have information given to the “Decano,” and have already contrived so that the commission should be sent to him immediately, in order that, if feasible, some good may be done as soon as possible. I would also have spoken about the “accessit” for Brazza, had not the words uttered just before by the Pope (as above), viz., that the whole of hell should not have power to turn him aside from so fixed and holy a project as that about the reform, counselled me to delay.
I had the Turkish news-letters, contained in your missive of the 23rd ulto., read to his Holiness, who laid great stress on the forces of Sultan Soliman, as when he was not supposed to have 50 galleys out of Constantinople, he had 105 at sea, the Pope adding that with such great power it was impossible to prevent him from cudangering everything; and having then been nearly two hours with his Holiness, I took leave.
Rome, 2nd October 1556.
Oct. 3. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 7, B. 642. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
I was lately visited by the Signor Aurelio Fregoso, who told me that one of his vassals in the service of a gentleman in the Imperial camp, made his escape from it because he had killed a Spaniard, and down to this time he reports the army as numbering 10,000 infantry, viz., 2,500 Spaniards, very fine troops, there not being a mere pikeman nor harquebusier amongst them without a steel cap, the rest being Italians, raw, and without armour (disarmati), but the infantry from Tuscany are expected shortly, and certain Germans and Spaniards shipped at Spezia. The cavalry amount to about 12,000, the men-at-arms and the Neapolitan gentlemen, whose service is obligatory, being in good order; but the light horse are not very good, and in no respect to compare with those of the Pope, nor do they amount to 200. He says they have a bridge more than 100 paces in length, with its pontoons, to throw over the Tiber, and that it is the intention of the Duke of Alva to come to Rome. Fregoso added that they will not storm this city, but that (to use his own words) they will take it by bread, as by raising a fort to defend their bridge they might cross the river whenever they please, and cut off their supplies from that quarter.
He said, besides, that on his return to Rome on the night when he made his last cavalry expedition (cavalcata), he found a guard of 50 foot soldiers at the gate, and the nearest reinforcement was more than two miles off, so that any night the enemy might force a gate before succour could arrive, which he represented to Cardinal Caraffa, and provision has been made by forming fresh bodies of guard forces to correspond one with the other, and they have divided the care of the fortification and the custody (guardia) of the city between Cardinal Caraffa, the Duke of Paliano, Marshal Strozzi, Montluc, and the said Fregoso, who also told me that he suspected that after the enemy has crossed the bridge the Duke of Florence will declare himself, to compel the Pope to come to terms before succour can reach him from any quarter. The Signor Leonardo della Rovere, who was with Fregoso, told me that when with the Duke of Paliano, who was visiting M. de Giuri (the colonel of the last Gascons that came with Cardinal Caraffa), he being ill in bed with a double tertian ague (con due terzane), he heard the said Duke apologise for the irregularities (li desordeni) which have occurred hitherto, and are imputed to his Excellency, by saying that at the commencement he wished to go with the greater part of the forces to Frosinone, to dispute the enemy's passage, but was dissuaded by one who was more believed than he was, adding that if his retirement into private life could adjust the present disturbances, and that he who can command permitted him, he would do so willingly.
Aldobrandini being asked by one of his confidants about the monitory which the Pope in Consistory said he would send to the army, he replied that there had been much discussion about this, and that the Pope's opinion and his was to make a declaration that these Imperialists (che questi) had incurred the censures contained in the bull “In cœnâ Domini,” and the penalties of being deprived, &c., and that he, Aldobrandini, drew up one minute, another being made by those who have more experience than he has about certain clauses required for similar matters, so that they might be in order, but that it was not yet quite determined to publish the monitory; the concession being moreover discussed of the greatest “indulgences” possible to those who shall assist the See Apostolic, as conceded to those who visit the Holy Land and perform similar acts of devotion. M. de Montluc has returned from his foray (cavalcata), having merely burned a few boats on the banks of the river, to deprive the enemy of them, for which he is blamed, as they might have been brought to Rome, where they are needed, most especially for the conveyance of wood. The Romans, to meet the present necessities, are asking a loan from the prelates and the few wealthy merchants who have remained, promising them good security on their municipal revenues. Knighthoods of “the Lily” have been disposed of to the amount of 50,000 crowns, with which money they have purchased wheat, and also cattle from the slaughter-house; and this month they have commenced making the bakers give the Chamber (la Camera) from day to day what they get from the flour, amounting (the Chierico di Camera, Vitellozzo, says) to 15,000 crowns per month.
The Romans have asked leave of Cardinal Caraffa to send to the camp for an escort to enable them to sow, which he refused them for two reasons, the one that what was sown would be for the enemy, the other that the husbandmen would serve the army for spies.
Yesterday, on leaving the Pope, Cardinal Caraffa, feeling rather unwell, went to bed to repose, but to-day he got up to dine, and when I sent my secretary to visit him he replied that he hoped not to be ill, and on being asked whether there was any news, he said that the enemy's army was scattered over the places in the neighbourhood of Tivoli, towards Vicovaro (fn. 7) (Vignar) (sic), under which place a part of it is encamped, and the troops within made two or three sallies, and somewhat molested those outside; and the Cardinal expected the besieged to defend themselves, as the position was a very strong one. He also said that the Duke of Alva has several times had it intimated to Signor Ferrante de Sanguini that he must depart hence, and he replied that he was commissioned by the King of Spain to reside with the Pope for his Majesty's service, in addition to which he replied that he had been ill all this time, as known to everybody; so the Duke told his son Fabricio that his father had misconducted himself by not obeying, as, had he been sure to die at one mile's distance from Rome, he ought to have departed thence, and that it was the office of him, the Duke, and not of the Signor Ferrante, to interpret the King's commissions; so it is believed that he will be forced to come away.
The Signor Mattheo Stendardo has had 1,000 crowns with which to commence raising his 1,000 mounted harquebusiers; and 60 of the 100 light horse for which a commission had been given to a son of the late Signor Alessio Vitelli, arrived here lately. Yesterday, on my way to audience, in the Hall of Constantine, I met the right reverend “Decano” [Cardinal de Bellai], who, detaining me for a long while, said, “I have not failed to perform every good office for the peace, and just now I spoke about it to his Holiness, but it requires great address, for all that one raises up is subsequently pulled down.” I told him that his right reverend lordship's good offices were known to everybody, and had therefore increased his popularity universally, because all men, in short, desire the peace as beneficial to the community, to which he replied, shrugging up his shoulders, “This consolation will remain to me, that I have done what it is in my power to do.”
Had the Imperial army determined to cross the Tiber during these last two days, it would have been unable to do so, as the river is much swollen, so much so that I, who reside on its banks, have incurred some loss of wine and hay, in addition to so many other expenses which the nature of the times has subjected me to ever since the first day I assumed this legation until now, and God grant that yet greater be not in store for me; and I was compelled to stable my horses away from my habitation, but today the flood is subsiding, the sirocco sea wind which increased it having ceased.
It being now 12h. 30m. p.m., I hear through several channels that Vicovaro has been taken, (fn. 8) because the townspeople, despite the soldiers, opened a gate to the enemy, and the enclosed note has also been sent to me, purporting that it was taken from want of victuals. I cannot give your Serenity farther particulars, the hour being so late as to prevent me from sending anywhere to ascertain them, but I will not fail to do my duty in my next letter.
Rome, 3rd October 1556.
Oct. 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 643. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador at Ghent, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday the French ambassador gave the King his most Christian Majesty's reply about maintaining the truce or not, on account of the Duke of Alva's proceedings against the Pope, and it purported that should the Duke not go to Rome his most Christian Majesty will on his part observe the truce, but in case the Duke attempt to do that also, he chose to be at liberty to make war where he pleased, being unable and unwilling to desert the Holy See Apostolic, exhorting King Philip at great length to charge the said Duke not to proceed farther, but attempt rather to settle the disputes by way of agreement. The King replied that, he being inclined towards peace, it always pleased him to hear words tending to that end, wherefore it was satisfactory to him to learn that his most Christian Majesty would observe the truce, as by his order the Duke of Alva was not to go to Rome, as he had already told the ambassador; and that as to coming to any agreement with the Pope, his most Christian Majesty might be always very sure from what was said above on the subject how much he desired it, but that the Pope had shown himself too averse to such a thought, though the King knew that the Duke of Alva being well acquainted with his Majesty's intention would not cease speaking about it.
The ambassador then stayed to converse with Don Ruy Gomez, who spoke to him in the same terms, adding that he was determined some day or other to do what he had so often told the ambassador he would do, and go in person and confer with the Constable Montmorency, and remain four days with him in one and the same habitation (in una medesima stantia), as he was mentally convinced that they would effect some good adjustment. The ambassador answered him that his intention was good, but that it would be better first of all for them to treat together here about the means for subsequently bringing the peace to a good end.
The personages of the Court here in general evince very great joy at the progress made by the Duke of Alva, and praise him vastly, saying that the King of France will not break the truce, more from inability than from disinclination to do so, wherefore the Pope will be compelled to come to some agreement; and they lay much stress on the Pope's anger against the Duke of Paliano and his other kinsfolk for having shown themselves so greatly inclined to accept the advantageous proposals made to them by the Duke of Florence in King Philip's name. It is also said that the 2,000 Spaniards who were mustered in the kingdom of Murcia to succour Oran will now be sent to reinforce the Duke of Alva.
The nephew of the Cardinal of Trent, Signor Federico Madruccio, has arrived here, and from his conversation I comprehend that he is come not merely to kiss the King's hand and to offer him his services after his long imprisonment, but by the Cardinal's order to ask his permission for him to come hither in person to tell him by word of mouth what he cannot communicate either by letters or agents, about the many things required for the state of Milan, telling me that the revenues there are forestalled until the year 1560; that the necessity for expenditure increases daily, and that had not his right reverend lordship increased the salt-duty by 49,000 crowns annually, and obtained permission to sell this fund, he would not have known how to provide for these exigencies.
The King received his nephew graciously, promising him employment, but would not consent to the Cardinal's coming hither, saying he had already sent him 200,000 crowns and every instruction by Count Landriano, who departed three days ago with an especial order for 100,000 crowns to be set apart exclusively for the fortification of several places on the frontiers towards Piedmont; and to-morrow Signor Federico will return postwise to the Cardinal.
To the Count d'Egmont the King has confirmed the commission he gave him to raise 600 horse at present according to his warrant in time of peace, and with an additional 1,000 in time of war.
The deputies of the towns of Brabant departed hence, announcing some intention to the King of performing good offices to induce their constituents to contribute to the subsidy demanded, and from the account transmitted by the Counsellor Fisnach (sic), who accompanied them for this purpose, they persist in not paying, and used much foul language; so it is generally reported that the King is inclined to go in person and speedily to some of those places to inflict chastisement on the ringleaders (capi) of those towns who acted thus, and to reward those who showed themselves favourable to him.
The Spaniards accuse the French ambassador of having been in some degree the cause of this, by inciting his landlord, who is one of the chief persons of Brussels, not to consent to this demand; and they in like manner lay to his charge that he violently urged the Ferrarese and Mantuan ambassadors to write to their masters that they do very wrong not to assist the Pope to save him from perishing.
Yesterday I went to visit the Duke of Savoy, who is somewhat indisposed and had sent to say he wished to see me, and after telling me that by his advice the King would soon go to Brabant to punish several sectarian rascals (diversi tristi huomini settatori), (fn. 9) he then commenced talking about the advices from Italy, concerning what had hitherto taken place with the Pope, uttering very earnestly the following precise words:—” Lord Ambassador, according to my belief, God and the most Serene Signory can alone avert the great disasters hanging over Italy, so it would be well for the said Signory to mediate between the Pope and King Philip, who, it may be credited, will certainly not fail to accept fair terms of agreement.” This his Excellency repeated several times, showing that he spoke designedly, and not by chance, always using very respectful words in honour of the Signory, and rather more so than is his wont; repeating what he had told me on other occasions of his firm intention to send an ambassador to reside permanently with your Serenity, and wishing you to consider him your son and servant. I assured his Excellency that your Serenity had not omitted hitherto to perform many good offices with his Holiness and King Philip, by reason of the extreme desire for peace naturally entertained by you, and that I thought you would not fail to continue thus to do by means of your ambassadors, reciprocating his complimentary expressions, and adding that he might rely on good greeting for his ambassador, as deserved by reason of his own many most excellent qualities.
Ghent, 3rd October 1556.
Oct. 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 644. The Same to the Same.
The warder of Oran has been sent to his Majesty here, by the Count of Alcaudete, to give him particular account of all that has taken place since the retreat of the Turks and Moors from the siege of that place, and to let him know that if he will give him 10,000 paid infantry for a short time, he will make the expedition against Bugia, promising on his honour that should his Majesty form this resolve he will have cause to be satisfied. The said warder has been much caressed by the King and all the chief ministers, and they assured him positively that he should be despatched speedily. It is said that in proof of the Count's exploits having been very acceptable to the King, his Majesty will confer on him the dignity of Councillor of State, and on one of his sons, who is a churchman, a bishopric yielding an annual rental of 10,000 crowns.
To-morrow the Duke of Savoy will depart for Brussels to make the last trial whether the Brabant deputies will or will not consent to the demand for money, and on receiving his reply and news of the Emperor's arrival in Spain, the King will go to some towns in Brabant.
To-day the French ambassador went to the said Duke to inform him that the Duchess of Bouillon, who has come hither to see her consort, is the bearer of 30,000 crowns in ready money for consignment to his Excellency, and to request of his courtesy that he will grant time for payment of the remaining 30,000 to complete the sum stipulated for his ransom.
Ghent, 4th October 1556.
Oct. 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 645. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Admiral returned with the fleet eight days ago, and being with him at the court, he told me he had accompanied the Emperor beyond the last headland of the island off Brittany (sopra la Bertagna), his Majesty not having chosen him to go farther, and that he left him on the 23rd ult. proceeding on his voyage with a fair wind, in such good health and so cheerful that he seemed to him to have become younger; and the Admiral was of opinion that as the contrary wind had delayed his return for five days, keeping him in Southampton harbour, during which time it blew fair for his Imperial Majesty, he, in a little more than three [days], will have either made the harbour of Laredo or Logroño or of Bilbao in Biscay.
Yesterday, the festival of St. Francis, whilst the Royal Council and the Legate were accompanying the Queen to vespers in the palace, they found in the antechamber of the chapel the Dean of St. Paul's [John Feckenham], with Sir John Cheke (il Signor Chich), they having been sent for purposely to that place, where, having thrown themselves at her Majesty's feet, the Dean then presented Cheke to her, earnestly beseeching his release, saying that, having recanted and returned (ridotto) to the true sense of the religion, he was deserving of the Queen's grace and clemency. Thereupon Cheke (il Chico), although briefly (as was told me), expressed himself in the same terms, to the effect that, having heretofore relied more on his own judgment than on that of so many theologians and doctors, very grave and most holy men, he had allowed himself to fall into (si era lasciato incorrer in) certain heretical errors, and that by the words and light (lume) of the Legate, and of the said Dean, and of some of her Majesty's chaplains, being convinced of the said errors (conosciuto li detti errori), he acknowledged (confessava) the reality and true presence of the body and blood of our Lord in the sacrament, and the supremacy (il Primato) of the Pontiff and the Roman Church, entreating her Majesty that in like manner as she had been gracious to him, so would she be benign to others, who, guided by the same judgment, had fallen into similar errors (fussero incorsi in simili errori); nor did he omit certain discreet praise of her Majesty and the King (non pretermettendo modestamente alcune laudi di sua Maestà et del serenissimo Re); everybody saying that, according to their fashion (secondo il lor costume), he spoke very suitably and piously, and gave general satisfaction. The Queen herself answered him, repeating briefly the summary of what he had said, and telling him that if, according to his demonstration, he did all that he had said, heartily, and continued to lead the life he promised, besides her grace and the King's, he would gain that of His Divine Majesty, which mattered more; and thus ended the case of this Sir John Cheke (di esso Signor Chich), he remaining now at liberty, and restored to his family and wife (et restituito alla casa et moglie sua).
Nothing further has been heard about the King's return, and the Queen has determined to-day to despatch Francesco Piamontese, and to make Cardinal Pole again write to his Majesty, urging him not to fail giving both the Queen and the whole country the satisfaction which he has been so long promising them, and which is seen to be so necessary.
London, 5th October 1556.


  • 1. Query, Bernardin Antonio de Mendoza, and Antonio de Toledo. (See the list of King Philip's privy councillors in a despatch from Badoer, dated Brussels, 9th August 1556.)
  • 2. Francesco Sforza, appointed Duke of Milan by the Emperor Charles V., in the year 1529. The demand was made of him at Bologna by Gasparo Contarini, the Venetian Ambassador. (See Andrea Morosini, Venetian History, vol. i, p. 324.)
  • 3. Gospel according to St. Mark, chapter 13, verse 33.
  • 4. In the modern editions of Horace, this line in his epistle “ad Albium Tibullum,” is printed “omnem crede diem tibi diluxisse supremum.”
  • 5. Horace was born at Venosa, in the kingdom of Naples, 65 years before the Christian âera. Paul IV, thus implies that the Saviour had read Horace, who anticipated a passage in St. Mark's Gospel.
  • 6. Daniel Barbaro, coadjutor of the patriarch Giovanni Grimani. (See Venetian Calendar, vol. 6, errata; in the text of vol. 5, p. 333, printed erroneously “Giovanni Querini.”)
  • 7. For notices of Vicovaro at this period, see despatches of Sir Edward Carne in Foreign Calendar, Mary.
  • 8. Sir Edward Carne announces the capture of Vicovaro in a despatch dated Rome 10th October 1556. (See Foreign Calendar, Mary, p. 265.)
  • 9. The sectarianism of these “rascals” was not religious, but political, and displayed itself by their leaguing together against payment of the subsidy required from Brabant.