Venice: October 1556, 6-10

Pages 669-696

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, 6–10

Oct. 7. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 7 B. 646. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Last night I received your Serenity's letters of the 7th desiring me instantly to inform the Pope that the magnifico secretary No. 7 13. Capella was gone to the Duke of Alva to persuade him in your Serenity's name to make the agreement, and that I was also to let his Holiness know the reply given by you to the reverend Comendone, so I sent this morning to demand audience of the Pope, who sent me word that I was to go after his dinner, which was at 1 p.m. On my entering the chamber his Holiness dismissed Cardinal Saraceno, who was with him, and I then said, “Holy Father, the most serene Signory, both from their wish for the quiet of Christendom and of Italy especially, and from their devotion to this Holy See and to your Holiness in particular, have on every occasion performed many offices with the Emperor, with the most serene King of Spain, and with the Duke of Alva's agents (who went to Venice), for the purpose of commencing the peace on fair and reasonable terms, as by their order I from time to time informed your Holiness; and not content with the offices performed hitherto, they have determined to send one of their most distinguished secretaries to let the said Duke know by word of mouth the many evils and inconveniences attendant on wars, and those which would proceed from the present one were it to continue, and the uneasiness it would cause the Republic from their wish for the peace, praying him to come to some fair adjustment with your Holiness, who (from your natural goodness and by reason of the charge of 'Universal Father' deservedly held by you) the Signory felt certain would never reject it, were it reasonable and fitting for the benefit of Christendom.”
I said that the secretary would then come to give account of his mission to his Holiness and to pray him to be pleased to concede to the world this precious boon of a good peace, his chief aim and object, as he had so often told me, adding that the reply made by the Signory to Monsignor Comendone was to that effect.
The Pope replied, “Magnifico Ambassador, we did not expect one whit less from the Signory, not only out of regard to us—for they indeed owe us something by reason of the great love we bear them—but on account of God, of religion, and of the faith of Christ; but remember that these enemies of God will do nothing whatever, but will content themselves with words, and in the meanwhile do the worst they can. We can do no more, we are well nigh exhausted; but thank God, they also are unable to do as much as they would; they are a handful of poor wretched fellows (sono 4 scalzi), and also in a state of semi-mutiny (et anco mezi amutinati), for the Italians are not on good terms with the Spaniards. Hitherto they have ravaged the open and defenceless places, being unable to do more—they did not even look at Paliano and Veletri; we outnumber them in infantry, but have fewer cavalry, and therefore hesitate to take the field. But to return to the subject: they will do nothing about the agreement; they will demand things which we will never do, as we would die rather than consent to an indignity; we will repeat what we have so often told you, because we know for certain that their intention is to subjugate the whole of Italy, commencing with the Papal States as the most easy.
“The sack of Rome [in 1527] tended hereto; for the same purpose the Emperor came to this city [in 1536]; and to this effect may be attributed so many of his other evil operations at various periods. What they are doing at present is with this view, and” (to use the Pope's own word) “they have ensnared a truce with that other one” [the King of France] “to enable them to accomplish it more conveniently; they are all barbarians;” (“et hanno imbrogliato (per dir la parola di S. Sfa.) una tregua con quell' altro per poterlo far più comodamente; sono tutti barbari;”) “for we may with truth call this truce another League of Cambrai. They are indeed things so evident that even the blind perceive them, in like manner as it is also apparent that the more the States of the Church are dismembered, the more is the ruin of yours approaching. Good God! what a fine opportunity you are losing! you might in fact be the arbiters of the world and direct Italy at your pleasure; were there living amongst you some of those subtle intellects (di quei belli spiriti) who existed heretofore, we should assuredly rid our shoulders of this expenditure, and close this door so that they [the barbarians] would never again enter it.
“Magnifico Ambassador, there is no time for delay; write to those lords of mine to do now what they will be compelled to do a short time hence, and let them do it whilst we have the breath of life, for this is their weal and defence, as the tyranny of those who make war on us without any cause is too manifest; and whereas at first they made the inhabitants of the places occupied by them swear fealty to the College of Cardinals and to the future Pope, so at present do they make them take the oath to persons appointed by the Emperor and the King of Spain. We have comported ourselves in such a form that neither you nor others can say with truth that we have given cause for this their impiety; we will indeed tell you that from the scrupulousness of our conscience we omit the performance of certain acts to which we are bound, such as privation of fiefs, kingdoms and empires, and if you wish us to tell you why, it is because we are surrounded by Cardinals of divers factions, nor do we choose them to have it in their power to say that we by our too great rigorousness (con la troppo rigorosità nostra) have brought the war upon ourselves; but when we can no longer stay here we will go to a place where we shall be able to exercise our authority, and the galleys are already prepared; if necessary for the performance of our office, we will go to the end of the world (andaremo nell' estremità del mondo se bisognerà per poter far l'officio nostro). Rely on it that we will die rather than commit a baseness, and you will remain between the shears (nelle forfice), and in your distress will think of me, who told you the truth, and posterity will wonder at you for having lost so fine an opportunity.”
I commended the Pope's adroit mode of proceeding, saying it was prudent to delay doing any things which can be done at any time, and which once done give many occasions for troubles. The Pope rejoined, “This is [the cause of] our forbearance (questo è il nostro rispetto), and we are glad you praise it; we will await this secretary of yours, for this office pleases us, but much more would it please us to hear that the Signory was preparing to defend her own territory. In a word, is it possible that those Signors, who of yore were so far-sighted, do not now see whither this flood tends (ove tende questa piena), and will not guard against it? They will wish to do so when no longer in their power, rebus excisis et perditis, yet would they still be in time; and in conclusion, Magnifico Ambassador, we tell you that although we know assistance to be remote, and that in the meanwhile these Imperialists (questi) can do us great mischief, yet will we not consent to terms unworthy of the grade held by us, we not being like the other Princes who can renounce what they have for the avoidance of greater detriment, whereas for us who maintain the cause of God, its abandonment is forbidden, and life and everything else must be sacrificed for it.”
After repeating to his Holiness that the world, and Italy in particular, and above all your Serenity, could receive no greater boon from him than peace and an adjustment made on fair terms, saying to him, “omnium oculi in te sperant, Domine,” I took leave, and having expressed a wish to see Cardinal Caraffa, the Pope replied, “You will do me great pleasure by seeing the Cardinal.”
I found the Cardinal in bed, surrounded by his mother, his sister-in-law [Violante Garlonia, Duchess of Paliano], and other relatives, whom having sent away, he made me sit down by the bedside. I asked him about his malady, and he replied that it was a complaint of the stomach, which could retain nothing, accompanied by a very troublesome cough, and occasionally by fever which was then upon him, and that since many nights he had been unable to sleep, adding, “I wonder I did not die, having on my arrival found matters in the confusion they were, for it was impossible to imagine greater, and to see the Pope plundered (che non si potriano imaginar maggior, et veder il Papa assassinato), and led astray (abarrato) (sic) by his ministers, upwards of 2,000 crowns having been spent in raising infantry, of which not 10 were fit for service, some of the commanders being either lads, or men who had never seen war. God forgive the Lord Camillo Orsini, who has attended to nothing but fortifying Rome, commencing bastions in a thousand places, and not finishing one of them, and by destroying houses, vineyards, (fn. 1) and monasteries, causing a general outcry. It was well to fortify Rome, but her real strength was in making provision for Frosinone, Veruli, and Anagni, and to keep the enemy at a distance, and not to show this population the fear of war, for your Excellency will have seen the terror of the city on hearing that the enemy was so near; besides which, there was a want of every sort of victuals, though since my return I have had some 30,000 measures (cubij) of grain collected, and wine, and other necessary things, as also some ammunition, of which there was very great scarcity; and of this I lay the blame on the Lord Camillo, of whom I had so good an opinion by reason of what he did at Parma, that when I was in other habits, I wished for an opportunity to go to a war in which he was commander-in-chief, that I might learn; but the fact is that vigour in military matters departs with age. Though I do not acquit the Duke my brother of these disorders, yet is there some excuse for him on the plea of illness, and then (to say the truth) he is not much of a soldier (esso non è soldato più che tanto). The Pope has many thousands of soldiers, but I know not whom to trust to fight a battle, for there are no commanders good for anything. I remember that when I was a soldier I used to make diligent inquiry about any projected expeditions, that I might request the commanding officers to send me with them; but now, no one offers to do anything, and if sent, they know not how to act in any way; and when I wished to avail myself of the commanders who came with me [from France ?] without any charge, they were never able to lead the soldiers to the attack. I made 1,000 infantry march out of Veletri to Nettuno, where the enemy had only 750 men; two Neapolitan soldiers who were amongst the 1,000, pushed on in advance and killed the first sentry, and because the second discharged a harquebuse all the others ran away; but I am expecting 7,000 foot soldiers, part from Romagna and part from La Marcha [d'Ancona], with which I hope to replace these vagabonds.”
I said that the provision made by his lordship was such as expected from his valour, but that yet better for the whole of Christendom and for Italy in particular would a good peace be, towards which I knew he was inclined; and I then told him what your Serenity had done about sending the secretary Capella to the Duke of Alva, and the reply given by you to the reverend Commendone.
The Cardinal said, “God grant that some good may come of it, as always desired by me for the universal benefit, and for the especial satisfaction of the most serene Signory, and of you yourself, lord ambassador, whom I wish extremely to oblige. God knows how much I did to bring about the peace, and how disposed I was to go to the conference, although sure to die, and not merely to be made prisoner as was their intention, and I can prove it, as I am informed that they debated about arresting me under pretence of the Pope's having imprisoned Pirro dell' Offredo, but his Holiness did not consent to my going. I told these Imperialists what was for their good, and reminded them of what befell them heretofore when they chose to occupy the Papal States, instancing Lautrec, and other precedents, and alluding moreover to the peril they expose themselves to (besides the censures already incurred by them) lest the Pope make a great number of Cardinals opposed to them, so that they can never hope to have a Pope, I will not say their dependent, but not even a neutral one. Then when in the congregation (nella congregatione) I demonstrated the unfairness of the articles proposed by them, that they might have cause to modify them, and I showed them the discordance between the first and second and the others; for the two first were fair and suitable, the one was that of an inferior, the other of an equal; but the third and fourth, and the others were those of a superior, and imposing law on the Pope; and as those who favoured them made a distinction in the affair of the prisoners, between his Holiness' subjects, and public persons the vassals of the Emperor and the King of Spain. I let them know that the only public person in the business was Offredo, against whom no case is made out (non si fa caso), nor indeed ought he to be proceeded against, as he is in fact guiltless if he was deceived by his master, who sent him to treat peace and simultaneously waged war. I showed that Garcilasso, having finished his embassy, had taken leave of the Pope and left Rome, and then returned to plot against his Holiness and this city, and there are the letters from him confessing this. The Abbot Brisenga had been the agent of the late Viceroy of Naples [Don Pedro de Toledo], after whose death, remaining a private person (restato privato) like the other prelates, he was commissioned to poison a Cardinal (hebbe maneggio di attosicar un Cardinale), to which effect there are the letters of Don Bernardino Mendoza and of the Duke of Amalfi. Against the Signor Giulian Cesarino and the two Colonnas (Camillo and the Archbishop) there is no lack of private complaints, besides this last plot of Camillo's wife which was revealed to me by a religious (da un religioso), who came one night to St. Mark's to tell me that a certain woman had prayed him in the confessional (in confession) to let me know that in a certain house there were four individuals who were privily raising troops against his Holiness; I had the spy arrested, and they were discovered; and a young Moor (un Moretto) in the service of Farnese confessed everything, how he had been sent to the camp by the wife of Camillo Colonna to urge them to come to the principal gates of Rome (alle porte maggior) (sic), and in the morning, as they would be open; and when the Moor asked the lady what he was to reply in case of inquiry as to who kept guard in those parts, she answered, Ask no more, for they well know who guards them. In this manner everything was discovered, as also the written notes which went in and out of the Castle; (fn. 2) so this lady has been arrested, as also those servants of theirs who were concerned in the plot, which was the cause of my changing all the guards. In the next place, as they said that Marc' Antonio Colonna had been deprived of his state because he was the servant of the King of Spain, I told them that it was untrue, as proof existed of his having been to Paliano to persuade the peasantry there to hold out against the Pope, as he (Marc' Antonio) would soon succour them, and there are letters of his urging the Duke of Alva to march against the Pope; and as they inquired, What has his father the Lord Ascanias done? I let them know that he had been deprived by Pope Paul III., and that the mode of his restoration under Julius III. was notorious; in addition to which, after having been cited to Rome by a monitory at the suit of some of his creditors, not only did he not obey, but caused the houses of those poor suitors who had had him summoned, to be levelled with the ground; or if he was unable to appear because a prisoner, let them allow him to do so now, when the Pope will not fail to do him justice, as he did by the Lord Paulo Giordano Orsini, who made his appearance, whereupon his state was restored to him, and he is in the Pope's service.”
I thanked the Cardinal for this information, and when I asked him what the Imperial army was doing, he replied that the Italian infantry disagreed (dissantiva) (sic) with the Spanish, and that the cavalry suffered (pativa); that the Spaniards were quartered in Tivoli with the Duke in person, the Italians at Vicovaro (Vignar), St. Angelo, and other small castles, and the cavalry at Palestrina. When I asked in what direction he thought they would turn, he replied, “Some say to Rieti, others to Velletri, but I think they will come upon this river, and I understand that some boats to form bridges have already arrived at Nettuno. They will make the bridge in order to forage on this side the river, at least with the cavalry, to damage us and victual themselves conveniently, as although they have found great plenty of grain and other necessaries, the army nevertheless suffers, because the captains have taken possession of everything, as nowadays (hoggi di) war has degenerated into trade” (la guerra è ridotta in mercantia).
I did not go to the Duke of Paliano, as this is his bad day (suo giorno cattivo).
There is no ambassador nor agent here from the King of Spain, nor from the Duke of Alva, but in order not to omit doing all that can be done, as I see is the wish of your Serenity, I will go and speak to the Cardinal S. Giacomo, the said Duke's uncle, that he may exhort his Excellency in favour of this so greatly desired and advantageous peace.
Rome, 7th October 1556.
Oct. 8. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives, No. 7 B. 647. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
On Sunday last a Cardinal who professes great friendship for your Serenity sent for my secretary, and in a long conversation with him said, “Secretary, we are in a bad way (siamo a mal partito); every day we are losing fresh places, and of such a sort that if provisioned they might be called impregnable, and we shall continue losing for the future, as there is neither town nor castle that can hold out, as the inhabitants, who heretofore defended themselves spontaneously, in order to remain under the See Apostolic, now compel the soldiers to surrender, seeing that the Imperialists, so far from maltreating them, repeal the exactions with which we had long burdened them by quartering there ill-paid cavalry and infantry, who live at discretion, as you see they do here likewise; 'quid facient hostes captâ crudelius urbe?” and if this small army has made itself master of so much that if during the winter they have time to fortify it, 20 years would not suffice for the whole Christian world to expel them thence, what will be done on the arrival of the Germans, the troops from Tuscany, and those Spaniards that they are expecting? Those who think to keep Rome when the surrounding country is taken deceive themselves, for a city in which the Pope and the Court reside canno stand a siege, by so much the more when it contains, as this one does, a population discontented on several accounts, both by reason of the useless destruction of public and private buildings, as also because of the imposts and the insolences of the soldiery, and from extraordinary dread of immediate famine, or next year at the latest, from being unable to sow; nor does any one dare say that the enemy will not cross the river, as they can do so whenever they please by means of the bridge they have, but even if they had it not, when the fleet is in these seas can they not go where they please? And, moreover, might they not blockade the Tiber with galleys and bridge them over (et sopra farvi il ponte)?
“I assert that we could not be in worse condition, both because the enemy is powerful, as also because we are very weak. We have no money, and there is no merchant remaining in Rome who could disburse 1,000 crowns, nor have we either ammunition, victuals, or a commander-in-chief, for the Duke of Paliano neither knows how to act nor can he (non sa nè po far); the Cardinal never had command of more than a company; the French commanders disdain to serve under others; the Lord Camillo [Orsini] attends to Rome alone, and will destroy it through the loss of the Campagna (et c'ol perdere la Campagna la roinerà). The command of the cavalry is in the hands of the Count of Pitigliano, who has never seen war; the infantry (according to report) having for its commander Paulo Giordano [Orsini], who to-day appeared at the muster in that capacity, he being a lad 17 years old, who never saw a sword out of its scabbard. The succours are remote, the King of France being unable to send either the Switzers or the men-at-arms across the Alps before the spring, and God knows whether he will choose to do so. Who assures us that the two crowns will not make peace together, as much to the disadvantage of Italy as they can? Is it perhaps not evident in what small account they hold us?
“But leaving aside ultramontane assistance, were the potentates of Italy to determine on assisting us at present, they could not do so in time—utinam sim falsus vates. In a month we shall have lost the rest. Our sole hope is in the agreement, which is very difficult, for the terms are iniquitous, and will daily become worse, and our obstinacy is very great; but we must not fail to insist and exhort, as the lesser evil. As nothing else can be done, is it yet worse to lose all temporal power and to hazard that which is spiritual than to accept such terms? God knows that I do not say this as an Imperialist, which I am not, nor ever will be such, but as a Cardinal, the Pope's servant, and as an Italian, who would not wish to see the King of Spain King of Italy, as we go the way to make him. I tell you that the Duke of Alva has given it to be understood that unless peace be made now, the time may come when it will no longer be in his power to concede it, or to prevent the mischief which accompanies war, after the arrival of the Germans and of the other troops expected by him.”
After this the Cardinal, with the map before him, spoke in detail about the whole of the Papal States, showing in how short a time, and with what facility, the Imperialists can get possession of everything, saying, “What they may be unable to occupy will go into the hands of the French, under pretence of their being defended in the same way as in Piedmont, and during an interregnum of the Papal See each side will keep possession; and should a Pope be elected to the disapproval of either of the parties, the dissenter will hold what he has in hand, the consequence being that the Popes must of necessity declare themselves either Imperialists or French, and therefore be constantly at war. For God's sake let us not demur about points of honour, as by drums and harquebuses we have already lost what authority and dignity we had. In the German Diets these new opinions of the Protestants (de' protestanti) gain strength daily; and here, in the camp, and at Naples, where, to say the truth, they have incurred the censures and interdicts, they perform divine service solemnly and hear their masses. You see what account they hold us in.
“The Duke of Florence has not yet stirred, and seems to be urging the agreement, but he does so by pregnant letters (lettere pregne), which make me very suspicious, as he writes that the whole point consists in satisfactorily guaranteeing the Imperialists against direct or indirect molestation in their kingdoms and states, as they do not choose to remain in fear, having been but too much harassed of late years.” Concerning this matter the Florentine ambassador told my secretary heretofore that the Imperialists considered it certain that the Pope had agreed with the King to make war on them in the spring; so the Duke desired his ambassador to let the Pope know this (as he had done), that his Holiness might be aware that the whole point consists in ridding them of this suspicion, which they call certainty, and that the terms demanded by them tended to this end; the ambassador adding, “Think not that my Duke would wish to see the Emperor or the King of England greater in Italy than they are, as it is not for the interest of any one, and this may be inferred from his having tolerated the revolution of Sienna, in which he never interfered until he saw the French make themselves masters of it, his Excellency's object being to preserve his state by such means as are in his power, this being fair, and thus will he do always.”
In conclusion, the Cardinal said to the secretary, “Let the ambassador know what I have told you, that he may not lose any opportunity (in which respect I am informed that he has not been deficient hitherto) for exhorting the Pope to make peace, for the good of all Italy, but pray his Magnificence not to speak about this to any one, a request which I make to you also, as you know with whom we have to do, whoever does not speak in their fashion being pronounced a rebel, though whatever is said is evidently for the common weal, and especially for that of the Pope's family.”
Rome, 8th October 1556.
Oct. 8. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives, No. 7, B. (Second Letter.) 648. The Same to the Same.
Vicovaro (Vignar) (sic) was taken as written by me, and the army halted at Tivoli, according to Cardinal Caraffa's account.
Here it is greatly feared that, let them go where they will, they with little labour will make themselves masters of great part of the Papal States, by reason of the good treatment hitherto received from them by the captured places, whose inhabitants moreover are much attached to the Colonnas and other barons of the Imperial faction now humbled (abbassati), such as Santa Fiora [Guido Ascanio Sforza], Cesarini, and others, and it is already seen that Nepi, 20 miles from Rome, the first fortress of the Church (prima fortezza della Chiesa), has not chosen to admit the garrison of 200 infantry which was sent thither, and to excuse themselves the inhabitants sent ambassadors, to whom the Pope has not yet given audience. On Sunday they made the muster of the infantry and cavalry now in Rome; they made their appearance well armed, and the review took place beyond Borgo towards Belveder, at a site called “the Meadows.” There were 13 standards (stendardi) of cavalry and 48 ensigns (insegne) of infantry; but the former did not amount to 600, and the latter were under 7,000, both horse and foot, including many “passadori,” that is to say, persons who appear at the muster and do not serve; and these troops are now being paid, company by company. On that same day, at 4 p.m., some cavalry arrived here with money from Venice for account of the French to the amount of 50,000 crowns (though it is said to be much more), which have been placed in a chest in Rucellai's bank, and the Pope for his third had added 20,000, as according to report such is the agreement, namely, that for the defence of the Pope the most Christian King is to defray two thirds of the cost and his Holiness one third, the additional 10,000 crowns being in liquidation of supernumerary expenses incurred by the Pope.
These 20,000 crowns were obtained with great difficulty, persons having been sent here and there to borrow them. Great severity is used against those who delay giving the horses, of which note was taken (as written by me) for the harquebusiers; they send the sheriff (bargello) and the superintendent of the galley slaves (l'aguzzino) to seize them forcibly, and they moreover arrest the owners if by chance they fail in the least to use due despatch. It is said that the value of the horses will be placed to their credit in the Chamber (in Camera), but on condition that such horses as return alive shall be taken back in the state in which they may find themselves.
The Gascons continuing to kill and rob all persons found by them abroad by night, and many naked corpses having been found in the streets and floating down the Tiber, the “conservators” purposed speaking to the Pope about it, but the Marquis of Montebello, who is lieutenant of his Holiness' guards, prevented this by fair words, telling them to speak to the Cardinal and the Duke, who would make provision, without giving this trouble to his Holiness. It remains to be seen what will take place, but unless a remedy be applied some great disturbance is expected.
The new Governor, who is paying his visits to the Cardinals, was commissioned to tell each of them in courteous terms that in these present times when victuals are so scarce, it would be well that they should disburden themselves of part of their attendants, dismissing the Spaniards, Flemings (Fiamenghi), Walloons (Fiandresi), and the like; and that if they have heavy harquebuses for artillery practice (archibusoni da posta), falconets, or any other sort of heavy fire-ordnance (arma grossa da fuoco), they must give them for his Holiness' service; and a great Cardinal says that in reply he requested the Governor to let the Pope know in his name, with all reverence, that the expulsion of the subjects of the King of Spain will be effected by one order and their non-return by another, because [when recalled?] they will with reason think themselves authorised to say, “Go not thither, as they expelled you,” and they will thus palliate (honesteranno) the withdrawal of their obedience; and, touching the fire-arms, he said that but little trouble was needed to ascertain what Cardinals had any, as they have such a variety of servants in their houses that they cannot keep anything whatever concealed.
This same Cardinal also said that he had seen letters from the Duke of Florence, dated the 3rd instant, purporting that Spaniards, Germans, and Italians were still embarking for the camp, so he believed the Duke of Alva had halted to await their arrival. His right reverend lordship complained bitterly of the present calamities, and of the obstinacy (durezza) of the Pope, whom he believes to be quite bent on war, so that he considers the ruin of this Court to be well-nigh appointed by fate. He said that Bortolo Camerario, of Benevento, who has been lately appointed commissary-general for the victualling department, told one of his most intimate friends, as a great secret, that if he wishes to supply provisions he should do so speedily, as in a few days such innovations are to be made that a morsel of meat will cost a crown, and other things in proportion, implying that everything will be taken for the Chamber (per la Camera). Even at present the sale of wood is prohibited, and some extravagant tax is imposed daily on every sort of food, so in a few days it is feared that we shall be reduced to a scarcity of everything.
This Cardinal added that the Imperialists have drawn up a number of processes about all that the Pope has done and said, to be able to justify themselves before the world. Your Serenity perceives how confidentially everyone speaks with your representatives and servants, by reason of the trust they have that the whole will be kept quite secret, and if by misfortune the contrary were to happen (a thing I am not afraid of, by reason of the singular prudence of the most excellent Senate) your Serenity may imagine what a loss of credit and authority it would entail, and how the channel through which authentic intelligence is obtained would be closed, to the Signory's very great detriment; so with every sort of reverence and submission, I beseech you that not only at present but at all times my letters may be kept with such secrecy as is peculiar to the most illustrious Senate of Venice.
The day after my last, the wife of the Lord Camillo Colonna was put into the castle (of St. Angelo), and although many persons assign various causes for this, I refer myself to what Cardinal Caraffa told me.
It is not to be told how much consolation has been derived by the whole of this city from the news from Venice of the mission of the secretary Capella, and how much everybody commends the prudence of your Serenity; and many Cardinals having sent to ask me if it is true, I answered them in the affirmative, adding that your Serenity omits no office whatever for the attainment of peace. That Bortolo Camerario, who has been appointed commissary-general, is a native of Benevento, and of yore the Emperor and his ministers made use of him in many matters, and most especially in raising money; subsequently, he got out of favour with the deceased Viceroy of Naples, Don Pedro de Toledo, in consequence of which he departed and came to the Emperor's Court, when the most noble Messer Domenego Morosini and I were at Spires; (fn. 3) and as he was not despatched to his liking (et perchè non hebbe quella espedition, che le desiderava) he went to France, and is now here in office as written by me, and with a monthly salary of 100 crowns. He is considered a man of ability, and abounding in contrivances (et ricco di partiti).
Cardinal Caraffa passed the last night restlessly, and without sleep; this morning he took medicine, which although it operated copiously, yet has no great improvement taken place.
It is this moment heard that the Prince of Bisignano, with cavalry, and 12 ensigns of foot, has arrived in the Imperial camp, about which, if true, I will let your Serenity know more in detail by the first opportunity.
Rome, 8th October 1556.
Oct. 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 649. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Abbot of San Saluto has been with me a long while today, and discussing present events he told me he believed that the affairs of these Kings, both on one side and the other, were proceeding towards war, in such wise that if they advanced a little farther it would be more difficult to find the remedy than it was at present, because at the commencement of the negotiation it seemed that his most Christian Majesty was content to give Piedmont to his son the Duke of Orleans, the King of England giving the State of Milan to the Duke of Savoy, but that both one side and the other had retracted; whereas were it treated for each side to keep what it holds, the King of England would be content, he considering it a hardship to deprive himself of the Milanese, whilst the King of France has great hope of obtaining it speedily, both because he is so persuaded by the Marshal de Brissac, and also because he is firmly convinced of the feebleness (debolezza) of the King of England, who, although he treats the Pope haughtily, yet does so solely for the sake of making a more advantageous peace, as for the rest he is assuredly in such a state as to be unable to make war.
Considering, therefore, of what importance it would be to the rest of Italy were his most Christian Majesty to make himself master of the Milanese, besides having this fresh understanding which he is about to conclude with the Duke of Ferrara, the Abbot had written to Don Ruy Gomez (making a similar announcement here to the Ambassador of the King of England) that it was no longer time to remain inflexible, but, considering the interests of King Philip, devise fresh and more opportune remedies, amongst which one of the best was that his Majesty should take counsel with your Serenity for the quiet of Italy.
Parpaglia then dwelt much on the extreme importance of this understanding between his most Christian Majesty and the Duke of Ferrara with regard to hampering (per stringere) the Milanese, and he also remarked that his Excellency [the Duke of Ferrara] could have no greater inducement than that of augmenting his State, which he might conveniently do by means of the French forces, his most Christian Majesty in the treaty made heretofore by the Cardinal of Lorraine having promised to give him Cremona and the Ghiarra-d'Adda, if they were conquered; and the Abbot told me that in the aforesaid letters written to Don Ruy Gomez he had again represented what he said to him at. Ghent about giving the said places to your Serenity, by which means they would greatly slacken the resolves of the said Duke.
The mode whereby Parpaglia proposed giving those places to your Serenity was that Cremona and the aforesaid Ghiarra-d'Adda should be mortgaged to you for such a sum as becoming, offering simultaneously to place all the money disbursed by you in deposit, so that your Serenity may place an equal amount for the defence of the Milanese, thus endeavouring to renew the league which the Emperor had with your Serenity; offering you besides, if within a certain fixed period King Philip appoint a duke of Milan, that the places mortgaged to you should remain freely yours, adding, moreover, an additional sum of money; and should his Majesty not name a Duke, that he be at liberty to return the money and to get back the aforesaid places. The Abbot also told me that the aforesaid. Ambassador resident here considered this discourse much to the purpose (molto a proposito), and immediately dispatched a courier with his letters to the said Don Ruy Gomez. All this Parpaglia chose to let me know, being aware that your Serenity, desiring the quiet of Italy more than any other Prince, would well weigh the present negotiations; and talking with me at very great length of the wish evinced by your Serenity at all times to have a Duke of Milan, he said that the present King of England was of all the sovereigns in the world the most fitting to effect this, but that nothing would influence him so much as to know that your Serenity shared his wish, which he had often evinced to his father; and continuing the conversation, he at length allowed it to escape him that he should not be surprised were King Philip himself to propose to your Serenity to appoint a Duke to his satisfaction. Having listened to the Abbot attentively, I answered him in general terms, assuring him that nothing was more desired by your Serenity than the quiet of Italy and peace between these Crowns.
Paris, 8th October 1556.
[Italian, in cipher, deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Oct. 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 650. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
After the office performed by his most Christian Majesty with the Spanish ambassador, he gave the same commission to his own ambassador in Flanders that he might make a similar announcement to King Philip, and although here they wish it to be believed that his most Christian Majesty made the protest, it was not true that in his discourse he used that word, but he indeed described it to him (ma bene gli lo descrisse) without naming it to him, together with other words which had the same force. The reply received by the Spanish ambassador here purports that his King will be content to withdraw his forces from their attack on the Pope provided he be assured that both his Holiness and the King of France will neither injure nor molest the kingdom of Naples, and even if in the meanwhile his most Christian Majesty will not desist from his defence of the Pope, he prays him (la prega) that at least in all the other parts excepting that one the truce may be understood to continue in force, adding, in conclusion, that should his most Christian Majesty continue to raise troops, King Philip cannot but do the like; and with regard to the coming hither of Don Ruy Gomez, he replied that as the negotiation for an agreement has been commenced at Rome, it is superfluous for him to come hither, as he wished to do heretofore, for the sole purpose of setting on foot the aforesaid adjustment. The ambassador having made this statement to the Constable, his Excellency answered him that he knew these words were uttered with a view to keep back the most Christian King, who was nevertheless determined to assist the Pope.
Then, last evening, Secretary Buchiero (fn. 4) arrived from Rome with letters dated the 24th, and the advices about the Papal States; he brings word that an agreement was being treated, and, that Cardinal Caraffa was to confer with the Duke of Alva, but the Pope informs his most Christian Majesty that he will not make agreement provided he receive from him the necessary assistance, or even should the King wish his Holiness to give ear to the agreement, he would not stipulate it without his goodwill and consent; but he requests a speedy reply, and reminds the King especially that having been compelled to draw to himself (di tirar a se) a certain amount of troops which he had in garrison at Bologna and in Romagna, his Majesty might induce the Duke of Ferrara to declare himself in his favour, and advance some forces in that direction, so as not to leave it unprovided. From what I hear, the King, on receiving these advices, bearing in mind that the Pope is in such a state that he must either incur a serious defeat or make a disgraceful agreement, which might subsequently prove prejudicial to his most Christian Majesty, considering also that the reply given by the King of England shows that he wishes rather to make use of peace for treating (più presto volessi servire a trattatione di pace), his most Christian Majesty chose instantly to despatch the Ferrarese ambassador to his Duke with orders that should he not have made up his mind, completely, on receiving the agreement conveyed to him by M. de Forcovoe (sic), that he (the ambassador) was to adjust it, as also any other difficulty, in such wise that nothing else may remain for concordance (da concordare), laying before the Duke the position of his Holiness, and the King's wish to assist him, persuading his Excellency to aid the Pope as much and as speedily as he thinks he can, especially by sending a certain amount of troops to garrison Bologna and Romagna, as requested by his Holiness.
It was lately determined to confirm the engagements of the companies of infantry and cavalry in Piedmont, and as they are creditors for eight arrears of pay, four have been sent them, with a promise to provide the others on the departure of Marshal de Brissac, who it is said will certainly return to Piedmont in a fortnight, with the Signori Biraghi and Francesco Bernardino Vilmercato, and other captains now here, the government being still intent on despatching them and the other affairs of Piedmont, together with the delegates who came hither some time ago, and have been sent back quite satisfied.
I wrote to your Serenity many months ago that all the designs of the Constable were directed towards the establishment of his family, owing to the promise received by him from the King that his Majesty would give his natural daughter, the widow of Duke Horatio Farnese [Duke of Castro], to his Excellency's eldest son, who was lately released from prison, for which reason the Constable was content to pay 50,000 crowns, nor would he otherwise have disbursed so considerable a sum. On his arrival here, the King, besides giving him the order of St. Michael, appointed him governor of Paris and of the Isle of France, promising, in honour of the marriage, to create him Duke and Great Master of France; and, besides the dower, his most Christian Majesty, to gratify the Constable, had also added an estate yielding him 15,000 crowns annual rental. At the very moment when his Majesty was with his Excellency, to stipulate the contract, the said son informed his father, through his brother, M. de Damville, in the best form of words he could, that there was no occasion to proceed farther with this marriage, because he had married a maid of honour to the Queen, by name Piennes (Pienna), who is very noble and also extremely rich. On hearing this, the blow struck his Excellency to the heart, so that he has been away from the court in retirement for two days, a prey to intense sorrow, although the King has been to visit him daily, doing his utmost to comfort him.
The conclusion of this marriage was effected in secret by them five years ago, and whilst M. de Montmorency was a prisoner of war he continued to be of the same mind, and on his return, although aware of his father's wish and design, he chose yet more stringently to confirm the aforesaid promise, from fear that the first was not perfectly valid; so as both one and the other are constant and of the same will, no means have yet been found for separating them. (fn. 5)
Paris, 8th October 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Oct. 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 651. The Same to the Same.
The Ferrarese ambassador not having yet departed, I can add that the Spanish ambassador went yesterday to make the same statement to the King as was made by him yesterday to the Constable, showing that his sovereign would treat peace both with the Pope and with his most Christian Majesty provided he was sure that the kingdom of Naples should not be molested. His most Christian Majesty replied positively (formalmente) that he would never be the first to break the truce, and that he had often heard the fair words of his King, but that he was determined not to abandon the Pope. It seeming to the ambassador that by saying he “would not be the first to break the truce,” the words were doubtful, and that his Majesty did not declare whether he considered it broken or not, he said to him that, having this doubt, he wished him to declare himself better; but as the King, in reply, repeated the same words, the ambassador then took leave, and was subsequently visited by the Abbot of San Saluto, who wishes by all possible means to renew the negotiation for agreement. Parpaglia inquired of him what he thought would satisfy his King, so as to make him sure that the kingdom of Naples would not be molested. The Ambassador answered that he would tell him, as of himself, that he thought King Philip would be satisfied provided his most Christian Majesty promised him that the kingdom of Naples should not be molested because (per causa) of Paliano, or of the fortresses made in those places.
All this was related by the Abbot to the Cardinal of Lorraine, who replied that neither the King nor his ministers know how to negotiate with this Ambassador, as he always professes to speak of his own accord, nor is any result in conformity with his words ever witnessed; adding that the most Christian King was determined not to abandon the Pope, and that great news would soon be heard, though he could not mention the particulars, as his most Christian Majesty had put all his counsellors under oath not to say anything about them; notwithstanding which, never having had the wish to wage war, if the King of England, no longer by the mouth of his Ambassador, but through a special envoy sent by him for this purpose to the most Christian King, would let the King of France know what he wished, he would find him of the same good mind and disposition. When the Abbot rejoined that even without sending hither, the same inti- mation might be made to the Pope, with whom the agreement was being treated, the Cardinal added, “It cannot but be well for his Majesty to announce what he pleases to his Holiness, but I tell you that if the King of England wishes for anything from his most Christian Majesty, he must let him know it in detail (particolarmente) through a person sent hither by him for this purpose, because, as I have told you, we do not understand the mode of negotiating of this Ambassador;” all which the Abbot repeated to him, and this evening they are sending a despatch to King Philip to acquaint him with it.
The talk about war, and the preparation for it, still continue, and a gentleman named Mendoza, who is always employed in ordinary to levy Switzers, is being also sent presently to Piedmont for that purpose, it having been moreover determined to send thither 20 infantry captains.
Paris, 9th October 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Oct. 9. Original Letter Book, Vnetian Archives. No. 7, B. 652. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
I went this morning to the Duke of Paliano, and having told him what your Serenity and the Senate commission me about the going of the secretary Capella to the Duke of Alva, and the reply given to the reverend Commendone, I requested him to be pleased, together with the Cardinal his brother, to exhort the Pope to make peace, although his Holiness of his own accord, as he had frequently told me, was very ready to do so; and on this I expatiated, as the importance of the matter requires. He replied that it would give him little trouble to convince me of his promptitude with regard to the agreement, as he remembered having told me heretofore, with that loyalty and sincerity which he had always used in his conversations with me, that for the service of God and of Christendom he would be content to remain without state, and deprived of life, rather than be the cause of so much disturbance in the world as perceived by him to be impending (which I wrote at the time), and that he would now tell me besides, that he would never say a word about his state [of Paliano] nor about compensation, so as to prove first of all to the Pope, and then to everybody else, that he never chooses his own private interests to prove the slightest obstacle to peace; and that he assured me that his brother the Cardinal was of the same goodwill, as they saw clearly that the war was very injurious for their family, but that for the Pope's dignity they are bound readily to risk all they have, including life itself; for the which dignity his Holiness has at all times had so much thought, that now it will never be possible to make him do anything to blemish it. He then told me that what the Imperialists said about being induced to wage the war, because the Pope, with the assistance of the King of the France, purposed attacking them in the kingdom of Naples, was known to be a decided calumny (espressa calunnia), his Holiness not having sufficient forces for the invasion of a territory so full of infantry and cavalry, and of victuals, and so well guarded; and then to say that the most Christian King would lend a hand is too heavy an accusation against his Majesty, who would thus have made the truce with the intention of breaking it so immediately; adding, “This was not the cause which induced the Duke of Alva's attack, for he had his eye solely on certain fortresses at the frontiers, and being of phlegmatic temperament (et come quello che è di matura freddo) did not think of assaulting, but the passions of the parties concerned, such as Marc' Antonio Colonna and Don Garcia de Toledo, and above all, Ascanio della Cornia, urged him to do so, the two first by means of their authority, and the last by imparting to him the small provision made by us, for he was present at all the consultations held here; and the Lord have mercy on the person who was the cause of our not having him in our hands.”
He then told me that it had been his intention to go to Nettuno first, circulating a report that his object was to inspect those frontiers, and then proceed to Veletri to arrest him, and he continued, “but the Lord Camillo [Orsini] said it would not be to my honour; I then thought of sending thither the Duke of Somma, but the same objection was made, viz., that it would be undignified for a Prince invested with the order of a King of France to go on such a business; so I was compelled to make choice of Papirio Capizucco, knowing that he was on bad terms with the said Ascanio; I gave him autograph letters to the captains there, (not choosing to trust secretaries), ordering him also to enter the place and do the deed (et far l'effetto), but the poltroon, who does not deserve the bread he is eating, went with armed men, to beat of drum, which was the cause of Della Cornia's escape. I must bear this patiently, as I also did the non-provisioning of Frosinone and Anagni, which was not altogether my fault, as besides the fit of illness which seized me, I was, moreover, dissuaded by those in authority; for I wished to go and shut myself up in Frosinone with a considerable force and keep them at a distance, as I well knew that we outnumbered them in infantry, in like manner as their cavalry exceeded ours; and knowing very well what sort of infantry can be raised in the kingdom, as the recruits are all pickpockets (ladroncelli), who take a first instalment of pay and then abscond (che pigliano una paga et fugono), as chanced to the Duke of Alva, some 2,000 of whose infantry disbanded. It is true that in the town of Otranto, and in Calabria, and in the neighbourhood of Naples, some 6,000 good soldiers may be raised; but our misfortune is, and thus have my sins willed it, that the Imperialists did more than they expected, being impelled principally by Ascanio della Cornia; but my Lord Ambassador, non est abbreviata manus Domini. Although we might hope to recover our losses, and to make progress against the enemy, I shall always recommend peace, for the common weal and for the most serene Signory's satisfaction and yours; and I am grateful for the announcement made to me through your Magnificence of the mission of this secretary; but God grant it may take effect with these Imperialists, whom I know very well from my long experience of them, which convinces me that after gaining a finger they choose to have an arm, and then the whole body. Perhaps for the future they will meet with greater difficulties than they have encountered hitherto.”
Having uttered these words, his son the Marquis entered the room, saying that the Cardinal would dine there, which caused the Duke to tell me that on Wednesday night his right reverend lordship's life was in danger, five days having passed without his being able to retain food, nor could he sleep at night; then came a fit which left him quite senseless, even his pulse ceasing to beat, and the fever which was not perceptible externally was at work within, so that they feared the worst; but in the morning the Duke with great difficulty made him take a little manna, which saved his life, for it purged him of so many and such malignant humours that it got him out of danger, and gave hope of his being soon well.
At 1 p.m. on that same afternoon I went to the Cardinal St. Giacomo [Juan Alvarez de Toledo], and after narrating to him your Serenity's wish for peace, and the offices performed on your behalf with the Emperor and his most serene son, and with the Duke of Alva, and what will always be done with the said Duke by the secretary Capella, I told him you had commissioned me, were there any ambassador or agent here of those most serene Princes, or of the Duke of Alva, to do the like with them; so, as there were no such representatives in Rome, knowing how much authority his right reverend lordship had with the Duke by reason of their close relationship, and his own great goodness and good will (voler suo), and knowing also how much he desired the quiet of the world, and what good offices he had performed on every occasion, and that although grievously indisposed, he had determined to attend the conference, I went to him with the certainty that he would not fail to persevere in the good offices performed by him hitherto, and moreover, multiply them by reason of the increasing need, both with the Duke of Alva and with the Pope, so that one side and the other should be content with fair terms
The Cardinal replied, that he thanked your Serenity for the good office you are performing, and me for the good opinion I had of him, saying, that if the conference took place, the peace would certainly be concluded, and that he would go to it willingly, although at the risk of his life, as God was his witness that he would gladly by death obtain this quiet for the world, adding that the Pope, whom he believed to be well disposed, stood too much on punctilios about dignity, and that he, the Cardinal, had told his Holiness that the honour of the world differed from that of God; that the honour of the world required certain vain [demonstrations of] repute (alcune vane reputation), and that of God, the relinquishment of part of one's own to avoid a greater evil; but that the Pope listened to him sometimes, and sometimes he did not; notwithstanding which, he, the Cardinal, would not utterly despair, and now that he began to recover from his illness, would not fail to perform the same offices as formerly, saying, he did not believe in ill-will on the part of the Imperialists, as the King of Spain was a good Christian, and in like manner the Duke of Alva, but that it had been proposed to them by their counsellors, whether it is not fitting to take the knife out of the hands of the raging father (al padre furioso) who wishes to kill his son, this being caused by the words so often uttered at table by the Pope against the Emperor and the King of Spain and the entire Spanish nation, adding that he would take the kingdom of Naples away from them, and deprive them of all their States. The Cardinal continued thus, “God knows how often I have prayed his Holiness to abstain from them, as it was not to his honour; that a Pope ought never to utter a word until he had weighed it ten times, and that those he had spoken were such as would not be said of private individuals, still less of such great Princes, and who make profession of being good Christians.” In short, the Imperialists having advanced with good intentions, and solely to secure themselves, he would still hope for the best, provided this side was not wanting (non mancava); and having again exhorted and prayed his right reverend lordship in favour of so holy an operation, I took leave.
Rome, 9th October 1556.
Oct. 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 653. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador at Ghent, to the Doge and Senate.
Received yesterday your Serenity's letters of the 24th ulto., with copies of the announcement made on behalf of the Senate to the Ambassador Vargas, and of what was written to the King, as also the news-letters from Constantinople; so this morning I had audience, and on entering the usual chamber was stopped by Don Ruy Gomez, who told me his Majesty was somewhat occupied, but that he would soon come, and when I told his lordship that after negotiating with the King I wished to have a long conversation with him, he requested me to say what I wanted immediately, as he had very much to do afterwards. When I commenced telling him what your Serenity had said to the Ambassador Vargas about some fair adjustment between the Pope and his Majesty to prevent the progress of hostilities and the many evils which they might produce, he interrupted me, saying he well knew that some of those most illustrious senators would fear that it was intended to take Rome; and then, with rather a troubled and angry countenance, he assured me that this was not his Majesty's intention, but rather to come to an agreement, which the Pope had hitherto failed to do, but that he hoped soon to hear of its having been effected. As he was then silent, and seemed to expect a reply, I told him that to my extreme satisfaction I understood his lordship to assure me that the King persevered in his wish for the agreement, and that his own opinion was it would take place, and that there was no fear of the Duke's going to Rome, but that I was anxious to know what I might write authentically to your Serenity on this subject, and that I therefore requested him to tell it me.
He replied that I should hear it from his Majesty, but that he would tell me confidentially that of his own accord he had thought of praying him to adopt the expedient of referring all his disputes to your Serenity; and with this he departed, telling me he would go to the King, with whom he remained a long while, so that he had time to tell him everything. When his Majesty came, after hearing from me all that your Serenity had said to his Ambassador Vargas about the adjustment with the See Apostolic, he replied, “As I have often told you, I do not wish for war, either with the Pope or with anyone else, nor is it in my mind to take territory from anyone, nor will I allow myself to be deprived of my own; and as the Pope wished to take the kingdom of Naples from me, not only according to the words uttered by him, which would have mattered little, but by the fact of his arming, I gave orders to the Duke of Alva to do what was best, both offensively and defensively, and he according to military science (segaendo la ragione della militia) has not chosen to keep the war at home (tenere la guerra in casa), because, had he done so he would have been prevented from availing himself of the Neapolitan revenues, provisions, and other necessary supplies; and write to the Signory that I am very ready to make peace, provided I be sure of receiving no farther molestation in my kingdom of Naples, the which peace would perhaps have taken place had not Cardinal Caraffa failed to have an interview with the Duke as was arranged.”
His Majesty being then silent, I said that with that assurance conceded by him to me heretofore to speak freely, as he knew my words to reflect the sincerity of my mind, I would tell him that having often written to your Serenity that his Majesty had assured me, as confirmed by Don Ruy Gomez, that he merely desired peace and the preservation of his own territory, I found that the operations of the Duke of Alva were at variance with what I knew to be the excellent intention of his Majesty, whose great prudence made me expect that he would take into consideration the many and various evils which might befall Christendom, as already represented by me to him, since by rendering the Pope desperate so great a conflagration would be kindled that it would be impossible to extinguish it so immediately, even if desired. I therefore told him respectfully that I wished for a more precise reply, indicative of the true object (vero fine) of the good intention demonstrated by him, because on former occasions I had written to your Serenity the substance of what he had said to me, and almost his precise words. On his repeating that he knew not what else to tell me, I rejoined, with a joyful countenance and in earnest language, that his Majesty being no less judicious, he by a little mental exertion would find so sure an expedient, that it would produce a good pacific adjustment; and after several other things said by his Majesty and myself, he came to the conclusion that after thinking better about this matter he would give an answer either through one of his ministers or by sending for me. At length, after having said that I hoped the Almighty would enlighten him with regard to what he had to do, I prayed him to let me have his decision before the despatch of a courier received by him, to my knowledge, from Cardinal Pacheco. This his Majesty promised me to do, doffing his bonnet very graciously, and using courteous language, evincing extreme satisfaction at what I had said in honour of the magnifico Ambassador Vargas, and announcing his firm intention of sending him back to your Serenity.
Ghent, 9th October 1556.
Oct. 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 654. The Same to the Same.
In the afternoon his Majesty sent for me, as he said he would, and on my entering his presence expressed himself word for word as follows:—
“I have very well pondered all that you said to me this morning in the Signory's name and of your own accord, as you did very lovingly and with prudent judgment, and like that good ambassador such as I have always known you to be; wherefore I, with my council, have determined to refer all my disputes with the Pope to the Signory. Let her act in one of two ways, either write to her ambassador at Rome, or make choice of another ambassador, to hear in the presence of the Cardinals the disputes between the Pope and me, and he will know with whom the blame rests; or else, provided the Pope consent, let the Signory judge these disputes without Cardinals or anybody else, as I place such trust in the State by reason of its deeds and from the words repeatedly uttered by you to me about the goodwill your Republic bears me, and always has borne his Imperial Majesty, that I think the Signory will do what is just and fitting; and I will write all this to the Duke of Alva and to my ambassador at Venice, should he not have departed, in which case his secretary will tell the Signory the whole, and you will know by facts that the things I told you, and which you say (as I believe) you wrote to the Signory, about my being inclined towards the peace, and not wishing for what belongs to others, are true.”
These words he uttered heartily (con animo), evincing much sincerity, and also with a cheerful countenance. After thanking his Majesty for the great trust which he said he had in your Serenity, and for the great esteem in which he held you, commending also his excellent intention of at any rate ending the disputes by means of an agreement with his Holiness, I added that this confirmed what I had written about him to your Serenity; and I then told his Majesty, as of myself (come da me), that I supposed the Duke of Alva in the meanwhile would not advance farther, but suspend hostilities, to give a true sign of knowing his King's wish to make peace with the Pope.
His Majesty answered me, “I really do not know what he will do, but I believe that he will do what shall be fitting, nor would I that this should render the Signory suspicious, and make them believe that I have given him some secret order, which is really not the case, but I will indeed tell you that it is not to the purpose (non esser a proposito) for me to desire the Duke to suspend hostilities, because the Pope, on hearing this, would never come to terms.” I therefore, on taking leave, told the King that I departed with the firm intention of assuring your Serenity that his Majesty willingly and with great prudence would give all such orders to the Duke of Alva about this most important matter as were fair and necessary; whereupon the King, with a joyful countenance, and without farther rejoinder, dismissed me.
On leaving his Majesty I remained purposely to hold a long conversation with Don Ruy Gomez on the same subject, in order better to impress upon him the necessity for carrying into effect the com- mission for the Duke of Alva; and after telling him what the King had said to me, and commending his Majesty as seemed fit to me, he replied that facts would always prove what he had said to me about the King's love for peace in general, and desire to be always your Serenity's good friend; and, giving me his hand, he added that I was to rest assured that between his lordship and myself we would make our two princes (to use his own words) “love each other like brothers.” As proof that he had at heart what I said to him heretofore, and his own promise always to expedite your Serenity's affairs speedily and favourably, he had suggested to the King, and thus was it determined, to insert amongst the first articles of the commission to be given by his Majesty to the Duke of Medina Celi, whom he yesterday appointed Viceroy of Sicily, that in affairs relating to your Serenity's subjects, the said Duke, without writing to his Majesty, is of himself to decide any doubtful matter in favour of your Serenity. After fully reciprocating all his lordship's courteous expressions, I mentioned to him the following particular, that it had been my intention to request his Majesty, before the said Viceroy's departure, to have his Excellency called when I was present, and to charge him to have at heart your Serenity's affairs, but that I must confess that his lordship had done more than it was lawful for me to ask, of which courteous office I said I would give notice to your Serenity, whom I inform that the courier, who is in haste to depart, prevents me from giving any other news, save that by a courier just come from Spain it is heard that the Emperor arrived there safe.
Ghent, 9th October 1556.
Oct. 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 655. The Same to the Same.
This morning a courier from the King of France came to his ambassador, who, being in bed with fever, did not go to the Court, but from his discourse he is understood to have had a much more stringent commission than the former ones, to protest to King Philip that should the Duke of Alva go to Rome the most Christian King will break the truce in every particular (in ogni parte); but the Spaniards make it appear that these threats prove that they will not break it, as they say the French are accustomed to be silent when they mean to do deeds of this sort, and to talk when they have a contrary intention.
King Philip had licensed a printer to print the very long letter written by the Duke of Alva to the Pope before the war broke out, and subsequently he sent him an express order not to print it.
Yesterday a courier arrived here with letters from the Queen of England to his Majesty, congratulating him on the progress made by the Duke of Alva, saying, besides, that as he can feel sure of his Excellency's proceedings he ought to return to England; it being supposed that the said courier was also despatched on account of the news received [in London] of the death of Lord Courtenay, (fn. 6) and in order yet more to encourage his Majesty, as by going now to that kingdom he with this opportunity (in tal occassione) might better arrange such things as are desired by him, and which as yet he has been unable to obtain; and since the coming of the said courier it has been reported that King Philip will have the stable department (la stalla) and the pages sent towards England, but few persons who are conversant with affairs here believe that this will take place so soon.
His Majesty has also written to the Duke of Savoy, at Brussels, that if the people of Brabant will change their obstinate opinion, and accede to the demand made by him heretofore for money, he will go to Antwerp to comply with their privileges in that particular, but that should they continue pertinacious he will come to Brussels to punish the refractory; and I understand that orders have been already given to send thither secretly some companies of infantry (in the same way as the Emperor did a year ago, when he sent Queen Maria to Antwerp) to secure himself against any stir which might arise should the King go there or have his intention carried into effect by the Duke of Savoy, who wrote to him yesterday that he found them almost as obstinate as at first.
The Grand Vice-Chancellor of the Empire came to me yesterday and said he was departing to-day on his return to Bavaria, his country, the Emperor having revoked the order given heretofore to send him, with the Prince of Orange, to the Electors of the Empire to let them know the cause of his going to Spain, and the powers left to his brother the King of the Romans, it having been determined to allow these powers to be printed, in order that all the “Estates” (li Stati) of the Empire and the world may know his intention. The Vice-Chancellor told me that as yet they had not allowed these commissions to be published here, having perhaps chosen them to be sent first of all to the Princes and Estates of the said Empire; and having had them translated into Latin, I send your Serenity a copy. (fn. 7)
King Philip has conferred the reward mentioned by me on the Count of Alcaudete, and to the warder of Oran he has given a perpetual pension of 300 crowns and a donative of 1,000.
Ghent, 10th October 1556.
Oct. 10. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 7 B. 656. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Imperial army remains quartered in various places as mentioned in my last. The dependents of this Court say that it has halted from scarcity of victuals, and because they have not yet decided on their next undertaking, as also because many Italian soldiers have deserted. The adherents of Spain, on the other hand, say they have halted merely to give the men and horses a little rest, and to wait for the troops on their march from the kingdom of Naples and elsewhere; that the Prince of Stigliano has already arrived, nor can the Prince of Bisignano fail to follow him shortly. A friar who has returned hither from Tivoli, where he remained two days for his own private affairs, says they cannot prevent the troops there from doing injury, most especially to priests and friars, and that the horses are stabled in the churches.
Yesterday, the Duke of Paliano told me that the Prince of Stigliano narrowly escaped falling into an ambuscade laid not far from Paliano by Giulio Orano, not for him, but for the purpose of making some plunder, adding, that he would have been a good prisoner, as he is extremely rich, so that he does nothing but buy, and may be said to have purchased half of the kingdom of Naples. Some particulars about this army, narrated by an eye-witness, may be read in the enclosed note. (fn. 8)
A trumpet, who returned from the camp last evening, says they had commenced paying the troops, and the Duke of Alva asked him whether they paid at Rome, and on being answered affirmatively, he added, “In that case we shall soon perform some fine feat,” to which the trumpet replied that here they desired nothing else, and Ascanio della Cornia charged him, in his name, to kiss the Duke of Paliano's hand. The seizure of horses for the harquebusiers which was being made here is now modified, the Duke of Paliano having desired Matheo Stendardo by no means any longer to send the sheriff (barisello) to effect it, but to convoke the owners of the horses specified, and to ask for them civilly (con amorevolezza), having them valued immediately, promising payment to the masters from the commanders, exempting the Roman noblemen natives of Rome from this seizure, but not those who have obtained that grade by privilege.
The Romans continue requesting leave to treat with the Duke of Alva for permission to sow, and hope to obtain it, as they have softened Cardinal Caraffa and the Duke of Paliano, though it is true that the Pope still shows himself averse to it. The Florentine ambassador has had letters from his Duke expressing regret that the conference did not take place by reason of his wish for the peace, both for the benefit of all Christendom and for theservice of the Pope, whom he wished to see out of so much trouble, desiring the ambassador to tell him that he will always show himself his most affectionate servant, and that he chose the said ambassador to serve his Holiness as he would himself.
With this letter he had audience after me on Wednesday, and the Pope being quite soothed by it, and having said that the Duke had reason to wish for the peace, as it turned to his account, the ambassador rejoined that it was true that the peace turned to the Duke's account (facca per il Duca), because he had a State between his Holiness and the forces of the Emperor, that the Lord God, and no one else, had given it him, and that he sought to preserve it by all means in his power, but that as the Duke had commissioned him to serve his Holiness as he would his Excellency in person, he would do so; that he merely served the Duke by always telling him the truth, and that thus would he do by his Holiness, were he pleased to hear him.
The Pope replied that he was to say on, and the ambassador (from what he himself gave me to understand) added, “Holy Father, we must not hold in account what belongs to others; if my Duke (may God save him from it!) were to lose all his State, and your Holiness (which on many accounts I should not desire) to lose a particle (particella) of yours, which would grieve you most, the total loss of the Duke's state, or that of your own small portion?” He replied, “My own small portion” (il mio poco). “Then” (continued the ambassador), “let us attend to what is for your Holiness' advantage without thinking of the interests of others. I will now tell you a secret, that the war, besides the other inconveniences to which it subjects your beatitude, causes you not to be Pope (fa che ella non è Papa), and if you ask me how, I will tell it you; it is because your ministers do what they please without your knowing anything whatever about it; (fn. 9) and that it be true, I sent an express to the Duke, with an account of my conversation with your Holiness at my last audience, since when five days have elapsed, in the course of which I ought in reason to have received an answer; so as it does not make its appearance it may be supposed to be intercepted, and that there are persons who choose to know what you discuss with the ambassadors, that they may be enabled to thwart your good intention with regard to the peace. As they did this, thus do they act in other matters also; and this being the case, how does it seem to your Holiness with regard to being Pope (et essendo così che par alla Santità vostra che sia Papa”)?
The Pope remained pensive, and said, “We thank you for having given us an idea, of which we will avail themselves.” The ambassador added, “Holy Father, you must remedy another matter, and not exalt certain persons who through the war are great and esteemed, and in time of peace find themselves in low condition, as outlaws; and others, who here are “Monsignori” of this place and that, and when in France remain six months without seeing the King. Were your Holiness to close your ears to those folks (costoro) I know you to be of so good and holy a disposition that you would embrace the peace, and comprehend that the Imperialists are moved solely by their suspicion of your having made some agreement with the French, or that our wish for peace is not true. Your Holiness cannot deny having said so several times publicly, and the Pope's words are credited (as I told you heretofore), because the Duke wrote it to me. By relieving the Imperialists from this suspicion everything else will be adjusted according to your own wishes. I do not say that you should tear (strazzi) yourself from the French, to become an Imperialist, as it would not be well (non staria bene), but that your Holiness with all your family should by facts show yourself neutral; and if Cardinal Caraffa, perchance owing to some promise given by him to the King, cannot consent to this, let your Holiness act alone, as his right reverend lordship can always say that he was unable to oppose your will.”
The ambassador was listened to quietly, and thanked for this office, and he moreover says that if he could be alone with the Pope and dispose Cardinal Caraffa to listen to the proposals (le cose), dissembling them, however, the agreement might be set on foot, as they would not fail to give his right reverend lordship the archbishopric of Naples and something else, and to the Duke such things as would satisfy him and which he could be sure to retain, whereas they may rely on losing what they have at present, immediately on the accession of a new Pope; saying that he knows what he says, because the King of Spain imparts to his Duke the orders given to the Duke of Alva, and perhaps something more; and adding, as a great secret, that the King sent his Duke the commission for the present movements (delli presenti moti) which he was giving to the Duke of Alva, with orders for his Excellency to adjust it as seemed fit to him, and that the Duke cancelled many things which were overmuch (che erano troppo); so if the Pope gave it to be understood that he wished for the peace, and would renounce the French intrigues (le pratiche Francese), it would soon be arranged. (fn. 10)
He said he had chosen to let me know this, as he saw your Serenity intermeddling with this good and holy work. It may chance for me occasionally to write in cipher, as I did the foregoing four times, from suspicion that the letters may be intercepted by one side or the other, which I mention lest at first sight, before reading them, the cipher startle your Serenity. Owing to the outrages perpetrated nightly by the Gascons an order has been issued for no soldier to quit his quarters without a written license from the commanders, and it is believed that this provision will be useful.
Having receiving last night the enclosed letters from the Magnifico Capella, I sent my secretary to the Duke of Paliano, who said he would despatch a trumpet accordingly (a questo effetto), although he might have availed himself of one who on that day went to the camp with the Signor Ferrante de' Sanguini, who has at length obeyed the Duke of Alva. The trumpet departed this morning before daybreak, and by the Duke of Paliano's order came to me to see whether I had any other commands.
There are letters from France written by Cardinal Caraffa's agent on the 31st ulto., and they were brought by a courier who came in eight days and a half, purporting (from what has been said by a Cardinal much in the confidence of the French, and of those in command here) that the most Christian King is determined to assist the Pope, and that M. de Selve, (fn. 11) who left on the 29th, and will remain here as ambassador (the present one (fn. 12) having been made Vice-Chancellor of the kingdom, the old Lord Chancellor [Matthieu de Longuejou ?], although alive, not exercising the charge), bringing word of the despatch of 6,000 Switzers, 2,000 French, 2,000 Italians, 400 men-at-arms, and 400 light horse; and this Cardinal says that Cardinal Caraffa feels certain that this resolve will be carried into effect, although formed contrary to the advice of the Constable. It is not written who will be the commander-in-chief of this army, but it is expected to march under M. d'Aumale, with M. de Termes as lieutenant; and although the straight course will perhaps encounter difficulties, here Cardinal Caraffa tells the Cardinal who gave this account that he hopes to have this succour at the end of November, because he is informed that the Switzers are ready whenever the King's money arrives; so they expect them to cross before the Cardinal of Trent can be ready to prevent their passage. Of these preparations, and of the news brought by this courier, the French agents here have neither any advice nor letters.
Camillo Colonna, seeing that his papers have been found, has confessed everything, and said, “What did my wife mean to do with these papers which she kept in the house?”
Don Fabio of Gubbio, the reverend Decano of the Rota, has been to tell me that having been told in the Pope's name that I was to give him information about a certain case, he had chosen to come to me from his wish to do what was agreeable to your Serenity, as becoming the obligation under which his late father and he are to your Serenity, his father having lectured so much to his honour on medicine at the University of Padua, where he himself in early youth lectured on the same science alternately with Soncino. After thanking him suitably I said that it was a question about the right of preserving the “prima instantia,” which had always been exercised by the Signory, and that therefore your Serenity held this case in account, and that Randonio would acquaint his Lordship with the particulars; to which he replied, “Let him come when he will, I shall not fail, sword in hand, to defend the authority of that most illustrious dominion.” (fn. 13)
Rome, 10th October 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher, with contemporary decipher.]
Oct. 10. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. pp. 180 recto & verso. 657. Cardinal Pole to Cardinal Morone.
The last advices received of the invasion of the Papal territory, have distressed him greatly, as Morone may well imagine, nor does he see what else he can do than pray God as he does constantly to allay this commencement [of strife] as soon as possible.
Both with King Philip and his ministers in England Pole has always performed such offices as he deemed opportune, and wrote lately to his Majesty with such earnestness as becomes his legatine commission, and as the importance of this case requires. Should matters proceed further without taking some good turn. Should the King not come to England as he promises to do shortly, Pole will determine, as required by the urgency of the matter, to cross the Channel, which he will be enabled to do with a better grace, on receiving some particulars from Rome, according to the wish written by him to Morone heretofore, that he may negotiate more securely. Really this rupture and incipient conflagration is such that not merely Morone and Pole by reason of their grades about the Pope and in the ecclesiastical hierarchy, but all private individuals likewise who desire the honour of God and the welfare of Christendom, must be greatly grieved and should be moved most earnestly to pray the Divine mercy to remedy the many and great evils which might thence ensue, and to confirm his Holiness' affection for all Christendom, and especially for such and so great a Prince [as King Philip], and his Majesty's filial observance towards the Pope and the Apostolic See, so that the enemy of the human race may no longer have the satisfaction of fomenting discord between those on whose peace and union the quiet and welfare of Christendom chiefly depend.
Is certain that Morone and Muzzarelli have always performed and continue performing all such offices as they deem expedient for the service of God and the common weal, and that in like manner as from their charitable nature they on every account feel the deepest regret for this universal turmoil, so will they pray devoutly for its speedy and opportune remedy.
London, 10th October 1556.


  • 1. Amongst these vineyards were, probably, the Farnese gardens, the loss of whose trees is alluded to in an undated letter of Cardinal Pole's, which I have placed under the date of 15th September 1556, my supposition being based on a paragraph in a former despatch of Navagero's about the Farnese palaces.
  • 2. From this it may be inferred that “porte maggior” signified the gates of Castle St. Angelo, and not of the city of Rome. The wife of Camillo Colonna was Felicità Orsini di Bracciano. (See Foreign Calendar, “Mary,” Index.)
  • 3. Domenego Morosini was with the Emperor in 1552. (See Alberi, Venetian “Relations,” series 1, vol. 6, p. 67.)
  • 4. Query, Buccioro. (See Foreign Calendar, Mary, Index.)
  • 5. In the Foreign Calendar (Mary), p. 263, there is a letter from Dr. Wotton, also dated Paris, 8th October 1556, giving account of the engagement of M. de Montmorency to Mlle. de Piennes, and at p. 303 we learn on the same authority that M. de Montmorency married the Duchess of Castro on Tuesday the 4th May 1557, although Nostradamus had prognosticated that “on that day would be made an unlucky marriage.”
  • 6. The Earl of Devonshire died at Padua on the 18th September 1556. (See the late Mr. Turnbull's Foreign Calendar under that date, p. 255.)
  • 7. This repeal of the Vice-Chancellor's mission implies that on arriving in Spain the Emperor modified the contents of the last letter written by him to his brother from the Low Countries, dated Zutbourg, 12th September 1556, and which closes the Emperor's correspondence, and may be read in Lanz, t. iii. p. 710–712.
  • 8. Not found.
  • 9. By the contents of Navagero's despatch, dated 4th August 1556, it may be inferred that the persons here alluded to were the Florentine outlaws, Monsignor della Casa and Silvestro Aldobrandini, and the Neapolitan, Monsignor Bozzuto, as also the kinsfolk of Cardinal Caraffa.
  • 10. The italicised passage in contemporary decipher.
  • 11. Odet de Selve. (See Foreign Calendar, “Mary,” Index.)
  • 12. The predecessor of M. de Selve at the Court of Rome was M. Dabanson. (See Foreign Calendar, “Mary,” p. 264, date 8th October 1556, where Navagero's account is confirmed by Dr. Wotton.)
  • 13. As stated in a note to a former despatch of Navagero's, dated 2nd October 1556, this suit concerned Daniele Barbaro. That churchman, before his appointment to the coadjutorship of Aquileia, had been ambassador in England; and the Court of Rome, suspecting him of Lutheran opinions, seem not to have favoured his claims against a certain priest, by name Antonio; but the grateful Don Fabio, having been in the Signory's pay as lecturer at Padua, came to the assistance of the patriarch-designate, and did what he could to obtain justice for him.