Venice: November 1556, 11-15

Pages 782-787

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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November 1556, 11–15

Nov. 11. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives, No. 7 B. p. 73. 699. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
On Monday morning Cardinal Caraffa, Marshal Strozzi, and these other lords went out of Rome with 5,000 infantry, four standards of cavalry, and six pieces of artillery, saying they meant to build a fortress at Magliana and to halt there, the site being convenient both to prevent the enemy from crossing the river, and for succouring Hostia, for which latter purpose they made the bridge mentioned in my last, with the intention of laying it across the river according to circumstances. Then at an early hour yesterday they decamped from Magliana to go to Porto (opposite Hostia), where they say they will raise the fortress. One of the chief captains here tells me that should these lords build this fort he fears they will commit a gross blunder, because on the arrival of the Duke of Alva's reinforcements, they will throw a bridge over the river between Porto and Rome, and cross at their pleasure, it being impossible to prevent them, as the banks of the Tiber on their side are so high that they can batter the whole of the opposite shore, which is a mere open plain, so that being masters of both sides of the river, the garrison of the fortress must either die of hunger or abandon it and retreat to Rome, thus renewing the terror and dissatisfaction of this city, which, when the troops went out, expected them to prevent the march of the enemy and to succour Hostia, neither of which things being done they would be more alarmed than ever, as already seen by experience, for it is heard to-day that 400 Imperial harquebusiers have crossed the Tiber between Porto and Hostia, which, showing the Romans that they cannot prevent the passage, has caused them not to commence building a fortress anywhere, the foot soldiers who were at Porto having halted at Magliana, and the cavalry burning what victuals they can find in this direction. The day before yesterday M. de Montmorency, son of the Lord Constable, arrived here with 40 posters (40 poste), and is lodged in the apartments of the Cardinal, with whom he went out yesterday. The Bishop of Liesina has told me that the Diet of Germany, which was to assemble on the 15th, is put off until the end of the month, and he hopes for a further prorogation until Christmas. Amongst the other supplies made for Castle St. Angelo and the Borgo, from hen-holders they take one out of every five.
The Florentine Ambassador, after exhorting the Pope not to place his fortresses in the hands of anyone, proposed to give Camerino to the Duke of Paliano, recompensing the Church with the state of Paliano, but dismantling the fortresses to prevent their seizure at anytime; nor did the Pope resent this, though he said his wish was to preserve for the Church the whole territory received by him; and to-day the said ambassador made the same proposal to Cardinal Caraffa, who answered him that there were many difficulties, and when he rejoined that they would all be removed if the Cardinals consented, as they would readily, from their wish to quiet the present disturbances, the Cardinal ended by saying he would consider the matter and then send for him, and reply on better foundation. The negotiation of the agreement between the Cardinals Caraffa and Santa Fior advanced so much that Caraffa has been twice to Santa Fior in his own house, and told him the French demand such exorbitant security that they want even his shirt (che vogliono fin la camiscia); whilst on the other hand he hopes to get here (spera haver de quì) the Archbishopric and Priory of Naples, which, both together, yield an annual revenue of 10,000 crowns, and that they have promised him another 10,000 from the King of Spain in the kingdom of Naples, and perhaps in the principality of Salerno; and that the duchy of Camerino is also proposed to the Duke his brother (et che anco al Duca è proposto il Ducato di Camerino); with which terms they are beyond measure satisfied, and firmly believe that the College of Cardinals will very joyfully assent to them; wherefore Caraffa desires the peace, and expressed himself so earnestly that Santa Fior feels sure he is not deceived, but nevertheless suspects the Pope of being otherwise inclined, so that notwithstanding Caraffa's reasonable desire, Sforza does not see anything solid on which to base his hope and wish for peace; and the more as even yesterday the Pope said to the Cardinals Decano [de Bellai] and Morone, that he hoped to live long enough to expel these treacherous Spaniards, the enemies of God and of Italy.
I hear that a conference is being negotiated between the Duke of Alva and Cardinal Caraffa, from which, if effected, much good might be hoped.
Rome, 11th November 1556.
Nov. 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 700. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
After what I wrote on the 6th about the King's intention to send a despatch to Constantinople for the fleet to put to sea, and as I wished to make more sure of the fact through another channel, I cautiously obtained such confirmation as to ascertain that the decision about the despatch was formed, and its bearer was to have been M. de Cambre; but when he was on the eve of departure, his most Christian Majesty received advices about the mission of the gentleman sent to Rome by the King of England, with a report of his going to settle the agreement; other intelligence warning the King of France, moreover, of certain proceedings on the part of Cardinal Caraffa, from which he might be suspected of some change of mind; so the journey of the said Gambre was delayed until the receipt of fresh advices about the aforesaid agreement, and according to their tenor his Majesty will decide more positirely.
The Duke de Guise will depart on the 16th, but will not travel with such speed as was said at first, for the reason aforesaid; Madame his wife, with another numerous company of ladies (con altra grossa compagnia di dame), going as far as Lyons.
Poissi, 11th November 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Nov. 14. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 7 B. p. 74. 701. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Imperial army, having occupied the island opposite Hostia, threw their bridge over the Tiber below Hostia, towards the sea, thus crossing over to the said island (col qual passa sopra la ditta isola), so that his Holiness' troops under Marshal Strozzi could not recover it, though they passed the neighbouring stream, and skirmished for a long while, doing the enemy some mischief, in which encounter they say that the German and Gascon troops behaved well, but the Italians very badly. These forces receive their victuals from hence by mules, taken from cardinals and persons of every other grade, and Cardinal Caraffa has been to inspect matters on the spot, where they have made a trench along the stream, but the general opinion is that the enemy's army cannot be prevented from crossing. To-day the Imperialists commenced battering Hostia with five pieces of cannon, which were distinctly heard all over Rome. The firing ceased at 10 a.m. but recommenced at 2 p.m. Here they greatly fear that the place will be lost, and by so much the more to the shame of these Lords, the place being taken in the face of their army. A person present at the consultation tells me that Marshal Strozzi demanded of Cardinal Caraffa eight companies (insegne) of infantry, in addition to those he has, and Aurelio Fregoso in person; but the Cardinal determined to give him neither one nor the other, so as not to endanger Rome, and sent him a few Gascon harquebusiers; it being also told me that Strozzi refused to take the command of these troops and act here until he was ordered to do so by the King of France. This evening the marshal's head-quarters were to be at Campo Salino, four miles from Magliana, and at no great distance from Porto, as convenient for safe retreat, and for such operations as may be indicated by circumstances. Strozzi's troops are not more than 2,300 foot and 200 horse, and in this direction off the island the force does not exceed 700 men, so that in fact the amount is less than was reported. Yesterday at 10 a.m. some 700 of the enemy's cavalry showed themselves on an eminence half a mile from St. Paul's, under the command of Marc' Antonio Colonna and Ascanio della Cornia, they having come to escort the foragers, who plundered a grange (un casal) near at hand full of hay. Aurelio Fregoso went out with 50 horse and commenced skirmishing, being reinforced by the rest of the cavalry, in number 200, including the Cardinals Caraffa and Sermoneta, both in camp attire (alla corte), and with 500 infantry in their rear. The skirmish lasted three hours, both sides having had some of their men wounded, four horses being taken from the enemy, who after plundering the grange retired, and the Signor Aurelio pursued them, behaving bravely.
A proclamation has been issued to the effect that all persons bringing grain into Rome shall receive 5 giulij per rubbio, which shows that this city is not so well provisioned as was hoped. On the day before yesterday a Gascon soldier who had stolen a horse, being reproved by the Prior of the Aldermen at Rome, had the insolence to strike that gentleman with the flat part of his sword, so the Roman populace seized and took him to the Campidoglio, arming themselves lest the Gascons should attempt a rescue, as they intended to do, so they gave the alarm; but Cardinal Caraffa went in his coach to the Campidoglio, and had him hanged from one of its windows, for which he was greatly commended. The effects in Rome of the Cardinal della Cueva, who is at Naples, and of the Cardinal of Burgos, who is at Sienna, have been registered. On Thursday, in the congregation of the Inquisition, it was determined that unfrocked friars (li sfratati) may neither hold offices nor celebrate the mass, and that they must bear a badge by which to be recognised, the monasteries not being bound to readmit them, and the bull will soon be published.
The negotiation for the peace, which was being treated by the Cardinals Caraffa and Santa Fior, has somewhat cooled, because the Pope will not hear of peace, and Cardinal Caraffa being unable to oppose him, has evinced and continues evincing to the Imperialists how dissatisfied he is with the French, and his wish to adjust matters so as not to remain at utter enmity with the Imperialists. Cardinal Sermoneta said the agreement must not be thought of, the Duke of Alva persisting in his demand for Paliano, or that it be dismantled, and that no fortresses be erected in the Papal territory; the Pope on the contrary being determined that nothing shall be said about his towns or his subjects, of which he chooses to be the free prince (volendone esser principe libero); and whilst on this topic I will quote what the Pope said in the congregation of the Inquisition above mentioned, viz., that the Imperialists by proceeding to hostilities had offended two (haveano iniuriate doi), the Majesty of God for one, and the person of his Holiness for the other; that for the injury done to himself he would and did pardon it readily; but that he neither ought to pardon the injury done to God, nor could he do so, and that he hoped to avenge it. Notwithstanding this, Cardinal Pacheco continues sending his messengers to the camp, and Fabricio di Sanguine is gone to the court of Spain, taking with him (according to report) from Cardinal Morone an opinion (un consiglio) founded on many reasons, persuading his Majesty to make the Duke of Alva retreat. I am assured that he is sent by his father, Signor Ferrante, to give account of affairs here, and the Cardinals with whom he spoke before his departure tell me that he does not convey anything of importance, as there is no hope of concluding an agreement without the Duke of Alva, between whom and Cardinal Pacheco there is evidently not a good understanding.
Rome, 14th November 1556.
Nov. 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 702. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador at Brussels, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday on my arrival in this town I received two sets (mani) of your Serenity's letters, dated the 27th ultimo, with the copy of King Philip's letter to Don Francisco de Vargas, late ambassador in Venice, and with a clause sent by his secretary to the Duke of Alva; so being unable to have audience of the King, who is in bed with fever, I went to Don Ruy Gomez, communicating to him, instead of to the King, your Serenity's wishes that peace with the Pope should be made immediately. I said that to render your mediation effective, it would be fair and very necessary for the Duke of Alva, or others commissioned to treat this negotiation, to come to juster terms than had been proposed hitherto, the which could not be accepted by the Pope without compromising the dignity of the See Apostolic; and that your Serenity thought his Majesty would act most prudently, in conformity with his other sage resolves, by making the Duke adopt the best expedient he could for the remedy of so many evils, which threatened not only Italy but the whole of Christendom; and in conclusion I said that the Almighty having conceded his Lordship such great grace as to be the most important and beloved minister of so great and good a King, he was also bound on occasions so momentous as the present one to perform the best and most important offices with his Majesty, as I firmly hoped he would do; suiting action and gesture to words, so as to impress him, and in this I think I succeeded, for he listened to me very attentively, and moreover, contrary to custom, I saw him several times lower his eyes, answering me precisely as follows: “Lord Ambassador, I know not what more the King my lord would answer, nor what more those most illustrious lords should desire. His Majesty has not only evinced his desire an infinite number of times to promote (di voler) the peace with his Holiness, and made many submissions, but by several letters expressly commanded the Duke of Alva to do as commanded by their Lordships, who, had they chosen to make the experiment, would have found in fact what the King has said several times; but as they have not chosen to accept the offer made by his Majesty with such great goodwill to the Signory, in whom he put so much trust as to place himself in their hands, knowing them to be just and most prudent, let his Serenity [the Doge] at least do this, that his ambassador with the Pope be present at the negotiation without ever saying a word, but that he may nevertheless be able to write who is ill-intentioned, whether my King or his Holiness.” He then added, “The Pope in short would wish to take from his Majesty the kingdom of Naples, nor can he conceal the fact, as we saw the treaty (capitolatione) made with the King of France, with the Duke of Ferrara, and with the Switzers, whereby it is known that their designs tend to the ruin of the affairs of the King my Lord, as may be well known to the Signory, through the requests made of them and the offers to give the State [of Venice] Sicily, or Cervia and Ravenna; and from their goodness so well did those lords conduct themselves, that neither to his Majesty nor to Italy and Christendom would they cause so much trouble and detriment as would have ensued had they stirred.” Then with great earnestness, and in fluent language (preste parole), he continued, “My King from the goodness of his nature, and by reason of the trust he is pleased to place (che vuole haver) in the Signory, owing to his opinion of their sage government, as will be [thus] made manifest to the whole world, will also bind himself to abide by their judgment of his disputes with the King of France, and would to God that the said King would say the same word (che esso dica questa medesima parola) as it would give a long peace to Christendom, and simultaneously take the road for maintaining the said peace, by the Signory's example, availing himself of their prudence and good suggestions, as of those of a [political?] mother and instructress (come madre et maestra), for my King would consent to whatever the Signory might say was well done.” I pledge my faith to your Serenity, that these words were uttered with so much mental energy as to warrant the inference that they proceeded from the most perfect goodwill, or from great necessity, or from both one and the other, rather than from craftiness (astuzia).
After thanking his lordship for such loving expressions, and commending extremely his ardent desire for a general peace, I exhorted him to effect it by devising what his Majesty should again write to the Duke of Alva, desiring him to propose more reasonable terms than those already offered; whereupon he interrupted me very forcibly, saying that your Serenity yourself should be the person to give the Duke such commands as seemed fitting to you, and assume the management of this negotiation in earnest. I replied that your Serenity being convinced of the great prudence and goodness of the Cardinals who are treating this agreement, and that they were his Majesty's confidants (confidenti), it was unnecessary for you to perform any office of that sort, although indeed for the conclusion of this business, the many and very stringent instructions given by you recently to your ambassador and secretary with regard to the Pope were extremely useful; and that in a matter of such great importance, it did not seem fit to you for your personal respects (per suoi convenienti rispetti) to interfere in any other way; and in conclusion I said your Serenity was anxiously expecting to hear that the King through his rare prudence and goodwill would soon find means to effect this peace.
Brussels, 15th November 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]