Venice: October 1556, 11-15

Pages 696-712

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, 11–15

Oct. 12. MS. St. Mark's Library, Col. xxiv. Cl. x.pp. 181 recto & verso. 658. Cardinal Pole to King Philip.
The Regent Figueroa, when delivering the King's letter of the 7th instant in reply to his last, communicated to him the news from Italy, which cannot but distress all those who desire the quiet and common weal of Christendom. Although Pole would have been convinced that his Majesty's piety must make him regret that matters should have been brought to their present state and wish speedily to put an end to this discord and distrust, yet can he not omit beseeching him, above all other considerations, always to bear in mind, as becoming a Catholic Prince such as he is, the reverence and observance due to the Pope and the Apostolic See, in which God has chosen His Vicar to reside, and, as head of the Church there, to be respected and revered to the utmost by all its members, and how by doing so, sure hope of the Divine grace and favour is given to all men, whilst by failing in this respect great fear may be entertained of the contrary, of which the Church has many examples both ancient and modern. Whilst on the one hand Pole's great affection and respect for King Philip, besides other motives, cannot but cause him great anxiety, on the other, nevertheless, his opinion of his Majesty's pious and Catholic disposition comforts him with the hope that by remedying the turmoil already commenced he will prove clearly to the whole world that no accident whatever can affect or diminish his filial affection and observance towards the Church and its supreme head, as in its present debilitated state it ought to be greatly consolidated by the King's example, to the honour of God and edification of all Christendom, as Pole will constantly pray, beseeching the Almighty to favour and prosper his Majesty for the service of the Lord, and for the benefit of Christendom.
London, 12th October 1556.
Oct. 12. Original, Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 7, B. 659. Febo Capella, Venetian Secretary, to the Doge and Senate.
I left Venice on Sunday at noon, and although I encountered many difficulties, owing to that blessed suspicion of plague, which delayed my journey for a day, in the territories of Ferrara and Ravenna, and finally at Urbino, through which district, however, the Duke gave me an escort, I nevertheless, very early on Thursday, arrived at Otricoli, distant five posts from Rome, where I was compelled to stop to obtain information about the journey and accommodation with regard to horses and guides for my conveyance to the camp, without coming to this city, as I must have done had I crossed the Tiber at the usual ferry, the abutments (bande) of the others having been removed.
On Friday morning before daybreak I set out, and having crossed several mountains arrived late in the evening at Palombara, a place belonging to the Savelli family, from whence the next morning I sent to the Duke of Alva for a trumpet, who took me to Tivoli, where his Excellency was, and wishing to have audience of him immediately, on that same evening I made the demand, and he sent me word that it would be more convenient the next morning, as I might be tired from the fatigue of the journey; and so being introduced to him, accompanied by some captains, who came to escort me in his Excellency's name, after presenting my credentials I stated my commission, which I found to be so precise that it seemed necessary to me merely to add a few words about your Serenity's love and esteem for his Excellency, both from respect for the most Serene King, whose person he represented in his Majesty's kingdoms and states in Italy, and for his Excellency, by reason of his lofty and noble descent, and worthy parts. He listened to me attentively, and reciprocated my first expressions in loving terms, declaring that your Serenity will always find in his Majesty the same goodwill, as witnessed by you in his most serene father, he having the same intention and the same desire to be your good friend.
His Excellency seemed much gratified by my coming to him, offering always to be your Serenity's very good friend, as he had been, and as shown by him on such occasions as presented themselves. With regard to the statement made by me to him in your Serenity's name, he said that by his reply I should learn who was inclined towards the agreement, and who was not; and that first of all he would tell me this, that he desired no better testimony of the Pope's will and mind (volontà et animo) than could be rendered by your Serenity, through the demands made of you by his aforesaid Holiness for union and a closer understanding. He then commenced telling me from the beginning the injuries received by his Majesty from the Pope, calling to mind the seizure of the galleys, the privation of Marc' Antonio Colonna, the arrest of his Majesty's friends, that of Don Garcilasso de la Vega, of the postmaster, and of the other prisoners, justifying their proceedings, all which things, he said, the King went tolerating (andava, tollerando) from the wish always entertained by him for peace and quiet, hoping indeed that his Holiness would desist from them. At that identical time, his Excellency was preparing to betake himself into Lombardy, without the slightest thought of having to come to this extremity, but subsequently the privation of Ascanio della Cornia, and the writ of outlawry against him, the cause of which was assigned to his having gone over to the Pope's enemies, amongst whom the Emperor and the King were thus included, and the demand made in Consistory by the Fiscal Advocate (fn. 1) to deprive his Majesty of the kingdom of Naples, on which occasion and on others they did not fail to allude to their Majesties in terms which his Excellency would be ashamed to repeat, compelled the lord Duke to defend his Majesty's states (le cose della Maestà sua); so he mustered the army, not to attack his Holiness, but to deprive him of the means for attacking the kingdom of Naples, it being lawful for the son to disarm his father when the latter purposes striking him. It thus appears (he said) that his Excellency had been compelled to take up arms, solely in self-defence, whereas had it come to pass otherwise, and had not your Serenity urged him to lay them down, and moreover taken them up against his Excellency, you would have omitted to do what became you, but that he nevertheless did not expect the most Christian King to break the truce, as he had no reason to do so, but that he was at liberty to do what he pleased, as had been done by him on other occasions.
That his Majesty (King Philip) was not desirous of territory (stato) in Italy, as shown by the restitution of Piacenza, and that he would moreover prove this by depriving himself of other places when able to do so with honour and security, so great being his goodwill and wish for quiet. That from the Pope he wished for nothing, but that his Holiness should be pleased to consider him his son, as he does the other Christian Princes, and that he would favour and assist him to preserve the [Roman Catholic] religion in England and in German, and to increase it; nor from his Holiness would he ever wish for anything but what was more than fitting, and that his he promised him in his Majesty's name. That as for the affair of the peace, by reason of his desire for it he had betaken himself to Grottaferrata, and until nearly sunset he awaited there the Cardinals who were to have gone thither, but perceiving that they did not come, he returned to the camp, although 800 harquebusiers had been placed in ambush in that direction to capture him, but that his Excellency went well provided with an escort as required for his security, and on account of this journey he made the camp halt, which in the meanwhile might have attacked Veletri. From these facts, the Duke deduced instability, evil counsel, and also a mind averse to peace; concerning which his Excellency said he was of the same disposition as he had been heretofore, but should there be any question of treating it, he knew that it could not be done through any better medium than that of your Serenity, as he should not trust others, knowing your authority, goodness, and comprehension of those matters; it being his wish to make it in such a way as to give sure hope of its being durable, and not for three or four months. His Excellency added, that so long back as Friday or Saturday last they purposed again sending Friar Don Tomaso Manrique, (fn. 2) but as he has not come it may be supposed that the Papal Government (questi signori), having heard of my coming, chose to wait and see, and that therefore, when communicating this circumstance to your Serenity's ambassador here, it should be well pondered. He then said to me that he also desired this peace for his own personal sake, as he had need of rest, and of not always risking his capital (il cavedal), as thus to do so often as his Excellency had been compelled to do was perilous; that he had obtained seven fortified towns which might have held out, and many other places; that deputations had been sent a distance of 30 and 40 miles to tender him obedience, their constituents wishing to be relieved from the many burdens to which they are subjected, and that his Excellency had granted them this, exonerating them from the duties and taxes; that all these places will be restored to the College of Cardinals immediately on the Pope's death, without awaiting a fresh creation or any other order from his Majesty.
He told me, besides, how the Papal Government purposed giving the French admission into these parts by fortifying Cività Vecchia, and placing in the castle 30 (sic) soldiers of the most Christian King; and fortifying another small place (loghetto) near at hand of which I forget the name, so as to connect it with Pitigliano, and Pitigliano with Mont' Alcino. In conclusion, he told me he was expecting hourly, with the galleys, 500 infantry, and that 300 horse would also be sent, and that two days hence he thought of moving in advance from Tivoli.
This conversation lasted for a good hour, and after repeating some words in praise of his wish for peace, and exhorting him to persevere in it, I took leave and rode hither, being accompanied a good way, amongst other persons by Ascanio della Cornia, who never spoke to me about anything but his own justification with regard to having been compelled to desert to the Imperialists.
Your Serenity's most humble servant, Febo Capella, secretary.
Rome, 12th October 1556. (fn. 3)
[Italian, partly in cipher, with contemporary decipher.]
Oct. 12. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 7 B. 660. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, and Febo Capella, Venetian Secretary accredited to the Duke of Alva and to the Pope, to the Doge and Senate.
To-day at 1 p.m., the hour appointed us by the Pope, we had audience, and I, ambassador, told his Holiness that according to the commission given by your Serenity to this Magnifico, your secretary, he was come to give him account of what he had negotiated with the Duke of Alva, adding that he was the son of a great servant of his Holiness.
He replied that he would hear him willingly, and showed that he remembered his father, who had often visited him in company with the most noble Messer Agustin da Mula, and concerning his grandfather he said he knew that he had been Grand Chancellor, (fn. 4) and that as the secretary was of such good and honourable ancestry nothing but good could be expected from him. I, Secretary, kissed his foot and then in the identical most prudent words of my commission set forth your Serenity's wish for peace, the offices performed by you on every occasion with their most serene Majesties the Emperor and the King of Spain and with the Duke of Alva for the quiet of Christendom, and what your Serenity had done through my medium with the said Duke, together with his reply, which was in substance a justification of the rupture (la rottura) made by him and a demonstration of goodwill towards the peace, on such terms as to make sure of its stability, adding a few words of most earnest exhortation, praying his Holiness to accept the agreement on fair terms and confer on Christendom so precious a gift as a good peace.
I did not tell the Pope what the Duke said to me, “that having to treat peace he did not see how it could be made through a better mediator than your Serenity, as he should not trust others,” we before going to audience having determined not to mention it, thinking that the Pope also might assent to this mediation, it not seeming fit to us to utter a word which might bind your Serenity to what you would perhaps not approve, but rather secure ourselves by writing it to your Serenity, from whose will we shall not depart. But this our scruple about the Pope's assent was vain, as you will perceive by his Holiness reply and that of Cardinal Caraffa and the Duke of Paliano.
The Pope answered, “Lord Secretary, the office performed by you in his Sublimity's name with the Duke of Alva pleases me, and we thank you for it, nor do we listen to any Prince more willingly than to him; nor to any one will we give fuller account of our actions than to him, both by reason of the singular love we bear him, as also on account of the great interest he has in Italy, and because on every occasion the Signory has evinced readiness to assist this Sec, for which they have often suffered because their allies failed them in many matters, for they were once masters of the coasts as far as Constantinople; and lost much in order to adjust their affairs as they best might. You know about the affairs of Prevesa and Castelnuovo [in 1538], the victuals (vittuaric) from Sicily, and other matters; and to give you, Secretary, the means for making a profitable statement to those lords of mine we must commence by narrating to you the Emperor's qualities, as by knowing his nature a better estimate may be formed of his mind.”
The Pope then commenced repeating what he had so often said to me, Ambassador, and as I wrote at the time, how he had been in Spain by commission from Leo X., how he departed (fn. 5) (together with M. Marcello, who had been in the service of Ferdinando the Catholic) because he could not bear the tyranny of Charles of Spain, although the future Emperor was then young, and to see that all his proceedings and those of his councillors tended towards the ruin of the world and of the faith of Christ; how he fomented the heresies of Luther because they made him master of Rome; alluding to the sack of this city and to his expedition against Tunis, and the miraculous victory obtained by him there, for which instead of returning thanks to God and dedicating it to Christ, the King appointed by him was a Moor who put out his father's eyes; how he returned in triumph by way of Sicily and Naples and came to Rome to remain there, “and already had his attendants provided victuals for a long stay, but the prudence of Paul III. prevented this by arming secretly and making the King of France descend into Piedmont, whereupon the tyrant challenged the most Christian King.
“The barons in the neighbourhood of this city have always been favoured by him that he may have them ready to favour his designs for occupying the Papal States, and thus give him opportunity to keep the Pope always under his feet, of which the instances are recent, for being unable to speak of Marcello, who only reigned for a few days, let us take Julius III., whom the Emperor's ambassador did not deign to command in person, but sent him an undersecretary (un secretarietto) to say, do so and so (fà così et così). If their satellites by night under pretence of going on pleasure excursions with their harlots (mostrando di andar a spasso con le loro puttane) committed murders and plundered from 7,000 to 8,000 crowns at a time, under the Pope's eyes, it was tolerated; and if another individual compelled a great lady to marry her daughter to his son, although they were kinsfolk, then her son-in-law murdered her, with so many dagger-thrusts. (fn. 6) If any one, on being summoned to Rome, plundered or burned the houses of those who had cited him, nothing was said about it, (fn. 7) and if a complaint was made to the Pope, he replied, What would you have me do? What are you to do, poor miserable creature? (che far poveraccio?) Was it for this you were made Pope? (è questo l'esser Papa?) Is this the care you ought to have of the flock committed to you? We, then, on being raised to this charge by the will of God,—although we did everything to avoid it, and of this testimony can be given by all the Cardinals, towards whom at all the consistories and congregations we never showed any respect (mai havessimo alcun rispetto), in order to make them lose the wish to elect us,—we did not think fit to put up with these indignities, but to repress them, using however great mercy. When the Imperialists (costoro) saw they could not be our masters, they, from the very first day of our Pontificate, commenced plotting against us, and hence the poisonings, hence the murderers, hence all the acts of assassination against us and our kinsfolk which can possibly be imagined. (Et qui li veneni, qui li sicarij, qui tutti li assassinamenti che si possono imaginar contra di noi, et contra li nostri.)
“These outrages were always dissembled by us for the respect which we so often mentioned to you, Ambassador, nor can any person, however malignant, say that we commenced the war. Had this not been the case we should perhaps not be in the state in which we are at present, and the war would be in their territory (in casa loro). We even put up with the synagogne (sinagoga) held by them in the house of that Cardinal, which was an act of high treason; (fn. 8) and although the qualities of the Colonna family were known to us by many proofs, and by what is written in the sixth book of Decretals, chap. “De scismaticis,” (as shown by us heretofore to you, Magnifico Ambassador,) we tolerated Marc' Antonio Colonna, and honoured him even to the extent of making him worthy to sit at our dinner table with Cardinals. He asked leave of us to quit Rome; we conceded it to him, and he went to stir-up the people against us and to urge the Emperor's ministers in the kingdom at Naples and at Milan to wage war on us, which was the cause of his privation. The Imperialists, unable to tolerate our being masters of our own territory and maintaining that dignity which Christ has conferred on us, and it seeming to them the fitting moment to do what they had purposed since so many years, namely, to occupy this State in order subsequently to deal with the rest of Italy, moved and advanced so far as is known to you, without any cause, for we at the beginning of our pontificate commenced preparing the reform and wished to assemble councils (convocar consilij) to do something worthy of the grade held by us, which is quite contrary to war, and the first troops raised by us were for the service of the Imperialists (a servitio loro), to the discontent of the French, because the levy was made on account of the passage of the Turkish fleet; and the Marquis de Sarria, the Emperor's ambassador here, thanked us for it several times; the French, on the other hand, complaining of it, as they wished us to trust to them who had been the cause of the coming of the said fleet; but we, regardless of this, chose to arm (though on a small scale) (mediocremente però) but sufficiently to guard these coasts, in order that the populace of Rome might not take flight as it did under Paul III. when Barbarossa passed.
“These accursed of God (questi maledetti da Dio) [the Imperialists] who were seeking an opportunity, armed at the confines, and increased their forces constantly, with the intention of doing what they have done, which is but too much, and to your detriment. It is manifest to everybody, who willed the war and who commenced it. They now talk of peace, to put to sleep those who are interested in the matter, and in the meanwhile to play their own game (far il fatto loro), as they also did when this renegade Morisco (Marano) [the Duke of Alva] moved war, whilst Pirro dell' Offredo was negotiating the agreement. We have made this discourse to you, in order that knowing their tyranny, and the constant wish they have to make themselves masters of Italy, you may be able to tell those lords to open their eyes to their own welfare, and to rest assured that after us the ruin of their State will follow, and they will be compelled to do in self defence what might be done by them now to their very great honour and profit, as if they understood the matter as they ought, they and we should be capable of ridding ourselves of this plague; and the Signory would have the glory of having made a King of Naples and a Duke of Milan, and of bringing back Italy to her former harmony; whereas should she wait to see, she will let us be ruined and ruin herself likewise, to her eternal infamy.”
I the Ambassador then said, “Holy Father, the ruin of these two States will not ensue, because your Holiness on fair terms will concede to the world and especially to Italy this precious boon of peace; an operation truly worthy of a vicar of Christ, and bequeathed as an heirloom to all those who had to succeed Him.”
The Pope said, “Although we are so ready to make peace that we might consider it an affront for any one to exhort us thus to do, yet will we always listen patiently to everybody, and above all to you, and if you have any condition to offer us, tell it, as there is no more fitting medium for this than the most illustrious Signory; but you must know that those Imperialists (costoro) are astute, and perceive that you and the King of France and the others will be compelled to rouse themselves for their own good (we now omit the point of religion, which ought, however, to be held in great account by Christian Princes), and therefore the Imperialists by talking of peace are cajoling you that they may do as much mischief as they can, so long as you permit them. We have but little strength remaining; we will not do anything unbecoming our dignity; if able to escape alive out of their hands, we will embark on board ship, and go and exercise our office where we can, because we are the same in every place; and you, when the flood (la piena) pours in upon you will remember this poor old man (questo povero vecchio), and regret not having made provision in time, when you had a Pope from whom you might have hoped for more than from any former one.”
I the Ambassador replied that I would not anticipate so much evil, and hoped that God would effect the peace without detriment to his Holiness' dignity. He replied, “Our dignity would have required us to declare them accursed, excommunicated, deprived of fiefs, kingdoms, and empires, as we are bound to do, and as we shall do, (for we have already appointed Cardinals to examine this sentence,) and release their subjects from their oath of homage, conceding also their states and kingdoms to whomsoever shall gain them; and should they then come as suppliants to ask mercy of us, and we were to ponder whether we should concede it them after receiving compensation for all damages and losses, this would be for our dignity. Imagine whether they will do it. At least, as for the reason assigned by us heretofore to you, Magnifico Ambassador, we delayed effecting this privation, let them cease hostilities and leave us alone; but to choose to give law to us, and to prevent us from chastising our own vassals, will never be considered fair by any one, be he who he may. They wish to make us by force reinstate our rebels, those very ones whose reception by them has subjected them to the 'censures,' and they deserve the 'privation,' as also on account of their heresy, which is sufficient to 'deprive' a Pope, not merely Kings and Emperors. A fine enterprise to be the first one undertaken by the King of Spain, qui nondum attigit limen regnorum suorum, and goes to war with a poor Pope. We lament our own misfortune, and see that of others, and are not credited; but, by God! they will believe us when they find themselves in the midst of it. Secretary! tell those Lords to remember when the Imperialists [in 1509] deprived them of their territory on the main-land, and the sieges of Padua, Treviso, and Brescia, and to prepare to do what is for their advantage, without having so many respects, suspicions, spites, and delays (tanti rispetti, suspetti, dispetti, et aspetti), as these are what ruin the world. Let them do at once, what they will be compelled to do very shortly, at their very great cost and peril, for if they permit the Imperialists to occupy this state, by God! they will be unable to defend their own. We choose to have told and protested this to you. God knows that what I let them know is what they ought to do for their benefit and honour.” I the Ambassador told him that the Secretary before his departure would return to kiss his Holiness' foot, and that we would now go to his most illustrious nephews; and he having said that he was glad of it, although the Cardinal had been ill, we took leave.
Rome, 12th October 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher, with contemporary decipher.]
Oct. 12. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No.7 B. 2nd Letter. 661. The Same to the Same.
On entering Cardinal Caraffa's chamber we found him risen from his bed, and I, Ambassador, after congratulations on his recovery said that this Magnifico Secretary, who by your Serenity's order had been to the Duke of Alva, would tell him what he negotiated, and I, Secretary, stated my proposal and the Duke's reply, as already done by me to the Pope, requesting his most illustrious lordship to aid the agreement with his Holiness. The Cardinal replied, that in like manner as he had done hitherto, he would not fail to urge the peace, provided it could be made with dignity to the Pope, saying, “You, Lord Secretary, if they told you the terms, may judge whether they are fair;” and he then commented on the articles proposed, as he did to me, Ambassador, last week. He said much in justification of his Holiness' cause, and especially that he went to the most Christian King solely for the universal peace, being content to stipulate it and die the next day, and not for any other purpose or other understanding, although at the Emperor's Court much had been said on that subject.
He apologised for not having gone to the Conference for the reasons in like manner assigned to me, Ambassador, and which I wrote to your Serenity, adding that he was known to be a gentleman, and had served the Emperor for 17 years, receiving from him such remuneration that to save his life he was compelled to enter the service of the King of France, having often told both of them that he would never cease serving them, save in case the Signory of Venice were in need, when he would leave anyone, to serve your Serenity, and that now in his present grade he is ready to serve you, by so much the more as owing to the demonstration made by you towards him and his whole family, accepting them as sons and servants, (fn. 9) he was bound to do so. In the next place, concerning the agreement, he said that should the Imperialists propose suitable terms, neither the Pope nor his dependents would fail to accept them, and that there was no better net, nor one more suited to land this fish (et che nessuna rete era meglior nè più a proposito per tirar questo pesce a riva), that it may be enjoyed (acciò si possi galder), than your Serenity, who, by mediating and following up the conclusion, might warrant hopes of its durability, because respect for your Serenity would cause the Imperialists to attend to what they promised, but that the Duke of Alva, under semblance of demanding peace, was now doing what he did at the beginning, when he sent that agent of his (quel suo homo) to the Princes, to pray them to mediate for the agreement with his Holiness, and simultaneously commenced war. He complained of the irregularities (disordini) which had occurred hitherto, and said that he was making such provision that the Imperialists would perhaps not make the progress they had imagined, and might become more accommodating (più piacevoli); saying in conclusion, that although the Pope's forces might go to Naples, and hope to take it, he would not fail to recommend peace, provided it was to the dignity of the Pope and of this Holy See, for which he would risk his life, as he held the grade of Cardinal.
He then said, “I will not omit to tell you one of the fine proceedings of those Imperialists (una delle belle operation di costoro), besides the oath of allegiance to the College and the future Pope imposed by them on the inhabitants of the captured towns. Ferrante dell' Offredo, who is in the Abruzzi preparing to invade the March of Ancona, wrote à letter to Ascoli summoning it to surrender, because King Philip would treat it well, take off the taxes, and then restore it to the future Pope, because the present one was not elected canonically; so they are not making war on the Pope, but on the Cardinal of Chieti; and this letter I will show you when I get the original, for which I have sent. Think of what quality they are, and what wish they have for peace.”
To this I, the Ambassador, replied that as the peace was evidently advantageous for both sides, and desired by all Italy, I hoped that through his mediation and authority it would be effected, to the glory of God and to the satisfaction of the whole world.
I, the Secretary, performed the same office with his Excellency as with the Pope, and Cardinal Caraffa replied in the words so often uttered by him to me, Ambassador, justifying the Pope's cause and demonstrating his wish for peace, because he knew very well that it suited his Holiness, was advantageous for the world and for Italy, and most advantageous for his own family, adding, “What need is there for words? Do thus; let the Duke of Alva refer this cause to the most serene Signory of Venice, for I am certain that the Pope would consent to it and abide by the Signory's decree. You will see that they will reject it, because in words they wish for peace and by their deeds for war, but it is possible that God may assist us, although hitherto, on account of some of our sins, He has chosen to punish us. They will not get all the share they expect; but at any rate I shall never perform any other office than that of counselling the agreement.” We commended this so pious a determination, and then took leave.
Rome, 12th October 1556.
Oct. 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 662. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Went to the court to-day. The Constable asked me whether your Serenity was making any preparation in aid of the Pope, and when I said that I had no advice of any, he replied, “When one's neighbour's house is on fire, it is necessary to assist it, as otherwise one's own likewise is endangered.” As I made no rejoinder to this, he then took me to the King, who, in answer to my inquiry whether he had any news, replied, with his usual graciousness, that he would say nothing to me about the state of the Pope's affairs, as he believed I was aware of the capture by the forces of the King of Spain of certain places, but that they were merely open places, and that they had abstained (astenuti) from such as were fortified, although had Anagni been provided with ammunition it might have held out, but that the Pope's affairs had been mismanaged, as the Duke of Paliano was a good gentleman, but had not much experience in military matters; nor did the Romans much commend Camillo Orsini; and this maladministration encouraged the Duke of Alva to advance with upwards of 10,000 infantry, with a certain amount of cavalry, and eight pieces of artillery; which troops the Pope would have no cause to fear were his affairs well managed, as the King hoped would now be the case, his Holiness having 28,000 paid troops (28 mille paghe), including 4,000 Gascon and German infantry sent from Montalcino, and 1,200 cavalry; but that he was in hourly expectation of fresh advices, to hear the result of the conference that was to be held.
I also asked his Majesty what hope he had of an agreement, to which he replied, “Assuredly I know not; the words of the King of Spain sound well, but they are contradicted by his deeds; we shall see what will take place. They had also said that Don Ruy Gomez would come hither. I very well know that I never believed it, and now the discourse has cooled; though at all times, whether he or others come, I shall see them willingly; but, in the meanwhile, I will not abandon the Pope, both as my friend, and as universal Father; and I believe all Italy will do the like, including also the Signory.” I replied that it was understood his Majesty had sent to raise Switzers and other troops, to give assistance to his Holiness. “Yes,” said the King, “it is true the Switzers will pass into Piedmont, and if necessary, fresh troops from Germany; I have them so near at hand that I can soon get them; nor in like manner shall we fail to make such other provision as necessary.” I asked his Majesty, if the King of Spain also was arming. He said, “I do not hear for certain that he is raising other troops than those with the Duke of Alva, and those Germans for whom he demanded passage of the Signory, but as yet I have no advice of their having crossed;” and he asked me whether I had any news of them. When I told him I had not, he added that the Emperor had arrived in Spain with 22 ships, and that for many days he had no advices about England, nor yet of the King of Bohemia, who was gone to the King his father, as dissatisfied as possible with the King of Spain.
The provision for the war continues, and of late (questi giorni) his Majesty in person has chosen to remain always in the Council Chamber, consulting about the affairs of Piedmont, and from a certain good quarter I hear that these troops will cross the Alps, not only to divert the forces which are acting against the Pope, but also to give support to some important understanding which his most Christian Majesty has in a certain fortress (piazza) belonging to the King of England; and besides the captains mentioned in my letters of the 8th and 9th, M. d'Andelot, General of the French infantry, has also been despatched to inspect the frontiers of Champagne and Picardy, for which parts, in like manner, 30 captains have been appointed, and it is said they will soon depart. The King will wage the war briskly, rather than allow the Pope to make an agreement alienating him from the good understanding which he has with his Majesty. With regard to the affairs of Ferrara, I have had confirmation of what I wrote to your Serenity about the King's determination to comply with all the Duke's wishes, so that he may declare himself his Majesty's lieutenant, and march to succour the Pope, as it is evident that from no other quarter could the King give his Holiness more sure nor more speedy assistance.
I hear that both his Majesty and all these other personages are anxiously expecting the decision from Flanders about this negotiation for peace. Since my last, no advice whatever has arrived, but the Abbot of San Saluto, who keeps this business alive, is expecting news of it from day to day.
The Constable, seeing that his son the Duke of Montmorency, besides the first error committed by him, adds also a second by remaining constant, and choosing to have for wife that “Demoiselle,” with whom not having consummated the marriage, it might have been dissolved, she referring herself to his will, had him lately kept under custody, and subsequently caused the King to order him to go to Rome and obey his Majesty's ministers there, from which place he is not to depart without the King's express order, and he has already set out, more firm than ever in his opinion; and the intense sorrow caused the Constable by this trouble is very clearly depicted on his countenance.
Paris, 12th October 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Oct. 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 663. The Same to the Same.
The most Christian King remains the whole day with his “Council of Affairs,” forming resolves about the war, as written in my last of the 12th, and he has now determined to send the Duke de Guise into Piedmont as his General. The great importance of this measure, by reason of the personal valour of the individual, as also on account of his noble descent, and of the great love borne him by the King, in addition to his being the son-in law of the Duke of Ferrara, will, I am certain, have been pondered by your Serenity, so that it is unnecessary for me to allude farther to it. The cause of his going is the determination of his most Christian Majesty to send an army into Italy to succour the Pope, the forces hitherto destined for the purpose being the 6,000 Switzers, who by this time must be already on the march; and the captains who have been sent to raise Frenchmen at the rate of 300 for each company, forming another 6,000; and the order has been given that after the muster of the men-at-arms, which will be made on the 20th instant, 500 spears are to march towards Piedmont; besides which, 600 light horse will be sent from this kingdom; so that the army will consist of 12,000 infantry, 500 spears, and 600 light horse, and 25 pieces of artillery, which they will remove from Piedmont.
On the other hand, through the Ambassador of the Duke of Ferrara, who went to his Excellency, his most Christian Majesty has requested him to raise 6,000 infantry and 400 light horse, instructing him to take the Venetian money (il denaro di Venetia) [the deposit?]; and they will all unite. After the junction, the Duke of Ferrara may possibly be the General, but it is believed he will leave the charge to the Duke de Guise, and retire into his own territory. Moreover, the Marshal de Brissac will go with his Excellency to support his passage, and he will have with him 4,000 infantry, which it was lately determined to raise, one half Frenchmen and the other half Italians, and 250 spears, together with some 600 light horse, which are in Piedmont; and when the Duke is in safer quarters (in loco più sicuro) the Marshal will return with his forces to Piedmont (la ne (sic) ritornerà in Piamonte), where he will not fail to display his usual activity.
I am assured that they have not settled the route to be taken by this army, nor will it be decided here; but they will give the General liberty to march in whatever direction he may deem most to the purpose, because by its remaining thus undecided until the moment of the passage, the King of England will have cause for apprehension in several quarters, and to garrison many places, by which means, by dividing his forces, the main body of his army is more weakened, and the French will have additional advantage.
I hear in like manner that after the passage, the point of attack remains undecided, because although they consider it certain that the Duke of Alva will be immediately drawn off from Rome, and that they may march towards the kingdom of Naples, I nevertheless hear that the Pope exhorts his most Christian Majesty to make the expedition to Florence, to which the Duke of Ferrara will consent (condescenderà) more willingly than to any other, by reason of the enmity he bears that Duke. Some persons, on surer grounds, say that the expedition will be against the Milanese itself, without advancing farther, as the army would thus be less inconvenienced, and the King be more benefited; their argument being, that should the Spanish forces take the field, and determine to fight a pitched battle, and the French gain the day, they will be masters of that State, and not finding an army to oppose them, may do whatever else they please; but nothing is known hitherto on this subject except from discourse, save that the Queen [Catherine de' Medici] has spoken to the Florentine merchants here, and has despatched Captain Nicolò Alemani to the outlaws (forusciti) at Lyons to urge them to offer pecuniary subsidy to his Majesty for that expedition, as they did before the truce.
The chief officials of these forces have been already appointed, thus: the Duke de Guise will be commander-in-chief of his own army, and lead the main body; his brother, the Duke d'Aumale, will command the vanguard; M. de Sipierre, as he is general of the light cavalry, will be lieutenant of that corps; and the rearguard will be led by M. de Termes, to whom it is believed that they will also give the charge of the men-at-arms. The Duke de Nemours will be general of the French company; and the Marquis d'Elbœuf of the company of Switzers; whilst of the Marshal's troops his Excellency himself will be general. So long as these forces remain together the Duke de Guise will have the command; and during the absence of the Duke d'Aumale, the Constable's son, M. de Damville, will be general of the cavalry, and M. de Bonnivet general of the infantry.
All these arrangements have been determined on, but are not yet carried into effect, with the exception of despatching the Switzers, and the order for the men-at-arms to march; the rest being deferred until the arrival of a fresh courier from Rome with news of the conference which was to be held, no advices having been received since the letters of the 24th ulto.; and they remain in suspence owing to the resolve formed by the Pope, although in the said letters he assured the King that he would not make any agreement, writing the following precise words, that “he remained with the firm hope that his most Christian Majesty would not fail to perform the promises he had given him; and that should their execution be tardy, he (the Pope), would determine on selling Ravenna and Cervia to your Serenity, and then Bologna to the Duke of Ferrara, to enable him for a long while to continue the war; and when he can do no more, that rather than make an agreement, he will abandon Rome and come to Avignon.”
I hear for certain that should the Pope not have made an agreement down to yesterday, his most Christian Majesty is well nigh sure that he will not make one at all; because the moment he received the aforesaid letters of the 24th, the King despatched a courier in great haste to his Holiness, (and who ought to have arrived in Rome yesterday,) exhorting him to reject any agreement (ad escludere ogni accordo), acquainting him with the provision which is still being made. They are also expecting with great anxiety the definitive reply of the Duke of Ferrara, and although the Prince his son [Alfonso of Este, Prince of Ferrara] performed every office to convince the King that it will be such as he wishes, yet before being convinced of this, his Majesty chooses to witness the ratification by the Duke; and the aforesaid Prince will accompany the Duke de Guise his brother-in-law. (fn. 10) It is also borne in mind, that the season is far advanced towards winter, though it does not seem that on this account his most Christian Majesty will delay executing his resolve, hoping that the valour of the commanders and the vigour (virtù) of the soldiers, and most especially of the veterans in Piedmont, will overcome every difficulty; the which veterans will be removed from the garrisons where they now are, to serve in the army, the recruits now being raised replacing them.
M. d'Andelot departed, as written by me, to inspect the frontiers of Picardy and Champagne; 12 of the 13 captains destined for those parts have been despatched thither, and the others will be sent in like manner as soon as these resolves from Rome and Ferrara arrive.
Pecuniary supply is being prepared by all means, and the King himself chose personally to inspect the account of the obligations imposed by him on the revenues (il conto delle obbligationi che ha fatto sopra le intrade), and from what I hear they are in a better state than was anticipated by him; and there are several merchants who make him large offers of money at the time of the Lyons fairs, at the rate of 16 per cent., but although some bargains have been stipulated, the most important ones are delayed until the arrival of the aforesaid advices.
Paris, 14th October 1556.
[Italian, in cipher; deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Oct. 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 664. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador at Ghent, to the Doge and Senate.
One Captain Julian, a Spaniard, who was prisoner in France, arrived here postwise last evening, announcing that he was come to provide for the payment of his ransom, but from what I hear he went immediately to the King, and in the name of his ambassador resident at the French Court told him that what he was unable or knew not how to explain by letter he now imparts to his Majesty orally, namely, that he must consider it certain that the most Christian King is determined to break the truce, not only from the words uttered by him to the ambassador, and confirmed by the Constable, but also from the orders already sent to the captains of several frontier towns; and that the ambassador told him he thought he should only have a few sets of letters (se non poche mani di lettere) to write for the future, as he expected shortly to be either dismissed or arrested.
Then, this morning, the French ambassador went to his Majesty to let him know, in the name of the most Christian King, that it seeming to him at present that the proceedings of the Duke of Alva tended towards another end than that of the defence of the kingdom of Naples, he had determined, should the Pope wish, by means of his confederates, to make war on his Majesty, in order to draw off the said, Duke's army to other parts of Italy, or beyond it, and to give him all possible assistance in every way, without intending that the truce be broken on this account. King Philip replied that in this war with the Pope he had only two objects in view; the one, to secure the kingdom of Naples, the other, to be considered by his Holiness as the most obedient son of the See Apostolic, and to be treated by him as such. His Majesty then said that the most Christian King was at liberty to give assistance to the Pope, but that in doing so he must also bear in mind that it be done in a way to preserve the truce, which on his part would always be maintained, provided he had not necessary cause to act contrarywise. The ambassador rejoined that he was also commissioned to tell his Majesty that should he intend to come to fair terms of agreement the King would give especial charge to Lansac and Montluc to assist at the conferences with the cardinals who have been appointed to negotiate the peace, that they may perform every possible office with his Holiness to cause it to take place; the said ambassador remarking to his Majesty, as of himself, that it would be well to give an express order to the Duke to make some agreement, as little or no profit could result from this war. The reply purported that his Majesty would speak about this with his councillors, and send for him in the afternoon, as he did, but it is not yet known what his Majesty's resolve was.
The Spaniards go saying (vanno dicendo) that this French ambassador thus made a formal declaration of war, speaking simultaneously of peace, in such language that, let happen what may, he will have given satisfaction both to the Pope and to King Philip, to the one by demonstrating to him and to the world that he has not failed him in his extreme need, and to the other that he has not only not broken the truce, but performed an office in favour of the peace.
The ambassador from Florence has been to see me, and somewhat anxiously asked me to tell him what commission I had received from your Serenity and announced to King Philip about past and future affairs in Italy between him and the Pope, as he had heard conflicting accounts from the chief ministers here, one telling him that he understood your Serenity was beyond measure irritated (oltramodo alterato), and the other that in my discourse I had so blended the things uttered in your Serenity's name with what I said in my own that he did not well know what your Serenity intended to do, and that in a matter of such importance he was compelled to write to the Duke his master, he being but too greatly concerned in it should the war in Italy continue, and your Serenity being the chief power there, both for might and wisdom. Without entering into any details, I told him lovingly that your Serenity was most anxious for peace; and, from what he told my secretary, he went to the King to hear the particulars, that he might write them all to his lord, and he said he had heard the whole from his Majesty, who, however, told him not to mention a word about it to any one.
A person of quality tells me that a brother of Count Mansfeldt (fn. 11) departed hence privily, and in anger, from inability to obtain what his brother asked about his ransom, saying in abusive language that he and his whole family would soon show what they were capable of doing; and as he has gone to France, these words of his cause some anxiety to the chief ministers here.
The Duke of Savoy writes to the King from Brussels that he has imprisoned three of the individuals who opposed the money grant, and that some of the chief deputies had taken time to go back to their towns in Brabant, and to think about finding means to satisfy his Majesty in some part; it being also said that on their becoming less obstinate he will consent to the demands being diminished or changed.
Ghent, 14th October 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]


  • 1. See Navagero's despatch dated Rome, 27th July 1556; also Foreign Calendar, “Mary,” p. 250.
  • 2. The missions of this Friar are also alluded to in Foreign Calendar, “Mary,” pp. 253, 270.
  • 3.
  • 4. Febo Capella was Grand Chancellor of Venice from 1480 to 1482, and it was probably in 1527, when Gio. Pietro Caraffa was at Venice, that he knew his son. The title of “Magnifico” was given to the secretary in right of his grandfather.
  • 5. In the years 1518, 1519. (See Cardella, vol. 4, pp. 164–165.)
  • 6. Camillo Colonna was accused of being implicated in the murder of a lady called Signora Livia, slain in her bed on Shrove Tuesday, 1555, by the son of Colonna, who had married her daughter and heir. (See Foreign Calendar, “Mary,” p. 184.”)
  • 7. See before, account of Ascanio Colonna's treatment of his creditors, date 7th October 1556.
  • 8. The meeting of the Emperor's adherents at Rome in the residence of Cardinal Guido Ascanio Sforza, in August 1555, and his imprisonment, have been alluded to at p. 195 in vol. 6, Venetian Calendar, and in Foreign Calendar, “Mary,” pp. 183–184.
  • 9. Allusion to the Caraffas having been inscribed on the Golden Book. (See before, Navagero despatch, 8th February 1556.)
  • 10. The consort of the Duke de Guise was Anne of Este. (See Foreign Calendar, Mary, Index.)
  • 11. Albert, Count of Mansfeldt. (See the late Mr. Turnbull's Calendar, Index.)