Venice: December 1556, 21-31

Pages 877-893

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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December 1556, 21–31

Dec. 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 770. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The King has been in constant consultation, whether he should decide on delaying the war in Piedmont or move it at once, nor did the Constable fail doing all he could to persuade his most Christian Majesty to take time, alleging as his principal reason, that the war having been moved for the Pope's defence, the result of these negotiations for agreement should be awaited; and on the other hand, the King with the assistance of the Cardinal of Lorraine demonstrated that the dignity of his name did not admit, after having sent an army for the defence of the Pope, who in the meanwhile negotiated an agreement without his knowledge, of his Majesty's making it halt; by so much the more he having announced to the King of England that by attacking the Pope he attacked his most Christian Majesty, by reason of his having assumed the protection of his Holiness; yet even had the latter made an agreement, the King's honour nevertheless was not satisfied; and having used other arguments besides, his most Christian Majesty said that there was no farther need of debate, as he had determined that the Duke de Guise should push forward (si spingesse inanti) in that direction, wheresoever he might think most to the purpose; so that should the Pope not have made any agreement, the King would show by deed the commencement of his defence, in the hope of diverting the Duke of Alva; and should the Pope have made terms, the King of England would know how much it had mattered to offend his dignity. The Constable, who, whenever he sees the King determined on any resolve, endeavours to gratify his will, making it appear that these arguments convinced him, said he thought this would be the best (che questo fusse il meglio), because should it be necessary to continue the war, it was well for the King to be the first to invade, and should an opportunity present itself for settling some fresh agreement, he might make it more to his advantage; in addition to which, M. de Guise by effecting some enterprise would also satisfy his honour (si satisfarebbe anche all' honor suo). Signor Carlo was despatched immediately, with orders to go first to the Duke de Guise and communicate this resolve, urging him to continue his journey, and that he do then enter Piedmont and arrange everything possible about secret understandings (intelligentic) and other matters, so that immediately the army is embodied it may attempt some expedition. With these orders Carlo Birago departed on the day before yesterday, taking with him pecuniary supply (provisione) for the four arrears of pay due to the veteran infantry, and other funds for the fortresses.
Then yesterday M. de Morette arrived from Rome, where he left all the private letters which had been consigned to him, and he brings word that in three or four days the Lord Giulio Orsini will arrive here in the name of the Pope, who is sending Monsignor Fantucci to his Catholic Majesty, to exhort both sovereigns to devise the form of adjustment between his Holiness and King Philip, who it is said offers the Pope Sienna as compensation for Paliano. His most Christian Majesty evinces great suspicion and anger, so that when Cardinal Caraffa's agent appeared before him, the King by three or four frowns gave him tacitly occasion to withdraw from his presence.
The gentleman who came to the King in the name of the Count of Pitigliano, has been despatched with letters of favour praying the Pope to send the Count hither as a prisoner, in order that as he is a knight of the Order [of St. Michael], and in the royal service, his Majesty may sentence him as becoming.
Poissy, 21st December 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Dec. 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 771. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Court has not yet made the expected demonstration to remove the general suspicion about the depreciation of the coinage (l'abbassar la moneta), the fear of which has so increased both here and in the country that with difficulty can any necessaries (cosa alcuna che sia di momento) be bought save at high and exorbitant prices; and the chief lords of the Court, contrary to their custom, having paid a great part of their creditors, owing to the opportunities thus afforded them (per quelle commodità che hanno havuto) [by payment of their arrears?], the alarm has by so much the more augmented, in such wise that yesterday whilst we were accompanying the Queen (fn. 1) I was assured by the Regent Figueroa that at his suggestion (he considering the matter of such importance as it is) the ministers, by her Majesty's order, were to meet to-day to make some provision, which, in one way or the other, is more than necessary, and he was of opinion that no change would be made, although others think differently, judging from the payments made by divers public officials. (fn. 2)
Yesterday, St. Thomas's eve, the Queen, before her departure for Greenwich, which will take place to-morrow, chose to see the Benedictine monks (li monaci di S. Banedetto) in their habits, in the Abbey of Westminster, whither she went to vespers, being received in state by them and their abbot, 28 in number, all men of mature age, the youngest being upwards of forty, and all endowed with learning and piety, as proved by their renunciation of the many conveniences of life (le motte commodità che han lasciato), the poorest having a fixed annual rental of 500 crowns, besides ready money, and some 1,500, besides the abbot, who had upwards of [blank] and was Dean of St. Paul's, which, after that of the bishops, is the chief dignity of the English clergy. Words cannot express how much this rejoiced the Legate, who is already preparing another monastery for the regular canons (canonici regolari) who are coming shortly.
The Queen lately contracted with the merchants-adventurers for forty thousand pounds sterling due from her in Flanders next April, to be repaid three months afterwards by means of several assignments. On account of these and other conveniences received by the Court the Royal Council has conceded to them that henceforth woollens, exported by aliens to Flanders, shall not be landed elsewhere than at Bruges, under heavy penalties; the ketches (le scute) being bound to take them thither and to bring back to the English custom-house (qui alla costuma) a certificate to that effect. For this reason the woollens which had been shipped and were on the point of departure, were stopped, it being chosen that they should either go to Bruges or not put to sea. This is extremely inconvenient and detrimental to the merchants of all nations, many of whom, although they have already been to complain of it, were answered that the order cannot be repealed. Those here of our nation have not yet made their appearance on account of two holidays, but they cannot do less than avail themselves of your Serenity's authority, and through my medium prefer all possible suit to be exempted from the obligation, though I consider the undertaking very arduous and difficult, as was that of unloading the ship at Hampton, which order they are compelled to comply with and execute.
The long delay of the return from Brussels of the courier Francesco Piamontese, who was despatched thither 18 days ago, makes the Queen believe that her consort detains him on purpose, intending to send through him post haste (con diligenza), as is his custom, some decision about the affairs of Rome, on which his Majesty's return apparently depends.
London, 21st December 1556.
Dec. 21. MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. pp. 182–183. 772. Cardinal Pole to Cardinal Morone.
Has understood what Giberto writes about the Pope's conversation with Morone, evincing dissatisfaction because he had not heard that the Queen showed regret for the war waged on his Holiness, nor that she exerted herself with the King to prevent it, being told indeed on good authority that she had aided it with money, which had greatly exasperated him against the Queen, towards whom he has always shown hitherto so much affection, and of whose great piety he had so good an opinion; his Holiness having moreover said that if Morone proposed persons to him for vacant benefices in England, he should hesitate to admit the nominations, as made by sovereigns who had thus incurred censures, &c. Morone may imagine how much this distresses Pole, and although his Henry (Enrico mio) [Penning] whom he sent post to Rome a week ago will have arrived long before the present letter, and by telling the truth have been enabled to dispel all umbrage from the Pope's mind, Pole nevertheless will not omit to repeat and assure Morone that the Queen on every account has been very greatly distressed at seeing her Consort in disagreement and discord with the Pope, lamenting to her heart's core that matters should have proceeded so far; nor did she fail to demonstrate this her regret, not only to Pole but to the King, and other persons likewise, and had the King been in England, Pole believes for certain that her Majesty's good and pious offices might perhaps have stayed this conflagration; nor did Pole, whose duty it was to be less reserved, omit writing with importunity to the King several times, laying before him the many and great inconveniences of such a war, and that he should rather do anything than come to a rupture. Had Pole received information from Rome he would, had it been necessary, gladly have undergone the toil of going in person to his Majesty, whose replies always showed that he of himself (da se) was very averse to any discord with the Pope, but at the same time expressing his strong suspicion of an attack on his kingdom of Naples, by reason of the fortification of Paliano, and from other circumstances which seemed to justify this apprehension, and that he desired nothing but a good guarantee of some sort; and in his last letter to Pole the King alluded to his goodwill, as proved by the fact of the proposals which he said he had lately charged the Duke of Alva to make. Prays God that they may have been such as to satisfy the Pope and produce some good agreement, of which great hopes were entertained, as heard by the last letters from Rome.
With regard to the suspicion of a supply of money from the Queen, Morone may believe and assure the Pope most amply in his name that what he heard is utterly false, although in England likewise this same report was circulated by malignants, the enemies of God and the religion, who have no other object than to render the Queen odious to all parties, rejoicing at these disagreements in proportion to her Majesty's regret for them. Respecting the presentations to the churches, Pole hopes the Pope will have received them in the same spirit in which they were made by the Queen, who, besides other motives, delighted greatly in this opportunity for demonstrating her piety at the present moment by this testimony; and should it chance that the Pope, from some bad impression about her, reject these presentations (havesse mostrato di non volerle admetter), the enemies of the Catholic faith and of the Apostolic See would have extreme reason to rejoice in proportion to their regret for any effect produced by the obedience of the Queen and of the kingdom to his Holiness, who may well congratulate himself on her Majesty's piety, as much as any other Pope whatever since many centuries, on that of any other most Christian and Catholic sovereign; and many persons have even had the audacity to endeavour now to dissuade the Queen from sending her presentation to these four bishoprics.
By these same letters from Giberti, Pole has understood Morone's opinion about what he thinks the King should do, having also communicated it to the Duke of Alva, evincing a wish for Pole likewise adroitly to intimate it to the King, which he will not fail to do when the opportunity presents itself; but prays God that some good adjustment may already have been effected, and that the Pope being freed from these great troubles and his manifold occupations, may with his whole soul attend to the execution of his holy projects, to the honour of His Divine Majesty, and advantage of the Church.
London, 21st December 1556.
Dec. 24. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 773. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador at Brussels, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday, before communicating to the King the contents of the last Turkish news-letters, I congratulated him and all Christendom on the reasonable hope of the present truce being followed by peace between the Pope and his Majesty, who, after thanking you for the advices from Constantinople, inquired of me whether your Serenity was of opinion that should Sultan Soliman go into Hungary, or send thither so great an army, he would also put a fleet to sea next year. To this I made answer that your opinion in this matter was unknown to me, but that heretofore in similar cases I had remarked that the said Sultan, notwithstanding the land expedition, did not omit to send out a fleet, though not so large a one as he was accustomed to do when remaining in Constantinople. With regard to the peace, his Majesty then said that he knew not what authentic news to give me, as the advices from the Duke of Alva brought by Don Francisco Pacheco had not yet been deciphered, and that the peace was desired by him in such manner as he had frequently told me, and which I said I believed, and that he hoped it would take place, but that it nevertheless frequently happens that what is most desired comes to pass least of all, and that hereafter your Serenity would know better how inclined his mind is towards a quiet existence; all which he said to me in earnest language and with a very cheerful countenance. I replied that with much satisfaction did I hear him speak of such goodwill in so important a matter and so desired by all good Princes in Christendom, and particularly by your Serenity, who I knew had the best possible opinion of his Majesty, and I said I would write what he had said to me, respectfully exhorting him to persevere in so good a resolution, the effect of which would obtain for him extreme commendation. With this opportunity I heard in the course of conversation with Don Ruy Gomez that Don Francisco Pacheco brought word to the King that the Pope announced his very firm intention of desiring the peace (di voler la pace), and that he would satisfy the King greatly in what he wishes, but wished him (ma voleva) to refer himself to his Holiness, and earnestly requests him so to do.
I exhorted his Lordship, in the same form as used by me with the King, to take this important business to heart, and to be the instrument to effect so signal a work. Don Ruy Gomez answered me with much reserve, saying that as yet he was not acquainted with all the particulars written on that subject by the Duke of Alva, and showing (et mostrando) that he approved of my intention and my exhortations, and commended them.
Yesterday Count Americo di Lodrone was despatched to raise the 4,000 Germans in the Tyrol as garrison for the Milanese, a thing which to many persons of the court seems contrary to the hope of peace; but many others nevertheless consider the measure a wise one, both to be prepared in case the peace do not take place, and also for the purpose of effecting it with more repute. Through the said Don Francisco Pacheco the Duke of Alva has very earnestly asked the King's leave to come and reside with him, apologising on the plea of indisposition for being unable any longer to bear the fatigues and inconveniences of the war, and it is already reported that in his stead they will send either the Count de Feria or Don Bernardino de Mendoza. The 16 Spanish companies (insegne) in Hesdinfort have mutinied and expelled all their commanders and officers, electing fresh ones from amongst themselves, this mutiny having been caused not only by the nonpayment of their arrears, but through their rage on hearing that provision had been made several times for paying them in full, in like manner as it was reported a few days ago that his Majesty had assigned them the 150,000 crowns received at Antwerp on the word of the Queen of England, and notwithstanding this only a small part of that was taken to them, to the very great displeasure of his Majesty and all the chief ministers here.
The day before yesterday three delegates from Burgundy arrived here, they having been sent hither to the King by the clergy, the nobility, and the people, to obtain, as from a new Prince, the confirmation of their privileges.
Brussels, 24th December 1556.
Dec. 26. Venetian Archives, No. 7 B. p. 103, tergo. 774. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
On Wednesday consistory assembled, and although as it does not usually meet on a day so near to that of Christmas, a sudden promotion of cardinals, or some other important event, was expected, as it sat until 3 p.m.; the greater part of the time had been nevertheless spent in audiences, after which the Pope “proposed” the church of Cambrai, and then, having conferred a monastery in France, he dismissed consistory.
Everybody here is surprised that the Duke of Alva, having had fresh orders from the King of Spain about the agreement with the Pope, has hitherto not only made no announcement whatever, but is designing a new fort at Monte-rotondo, to make himself master of the river above Rome, as he already is below, through the one built at Hostia, and with the other on the stream (fiamicino), though Marshal Strozzi says this last, from being small and commanded (imboccato) by the one which the Papal engineers are building opposite to it, can always be taken whenever the Romans slightly outnumber the enemy. It is also said that the Duke of Alva has prohibited the exportation of victuals from the kingdom of Naples to Rome, as is in fact proved by nothing having arrived as yet, which might also proceed from contrary weather.
The French ministers, and principally Marshal Strozzi, have frequent consultations with the Duke of Paliano, and sometimes with the Pope, the chief topic discussed by them being the scarcity of grain, for which they say the chief remedy would be to give bounties (doni) to those who import it.
Through a secretary of M. de Lansac who arrived lately from the French court, it is heard that the King is preparing for war towards Flanders. This secretary passed through Lyons on the 12th, and brings letters from the Duke de Guise dated the 14th, purporting that he has orders to commence the war in Piedmont, leaving M. de Brissac there, and to continue his march; and this secretary, who is trustworthy, believes the King to have ordered the attack, lest the Pope make terms with King Philip, of which the truce and these conferences have made him suspicious. The secretary says he saw the Constable's letter to Marshal Strozzi exhorting and praying him to write the truth about this affair of the agreement, and what he hopes with regard to it, knowing that he took part in all the negotiations and understands it, the Constable adding his belief that Strozzi is a man who will not conceal the truth from him. This secretary also said that the Marshal is dissatisfied with the French and especially with the Guise family, which at the instigation of the Cardinal of Ferrara has endeavoured to ruin him; but that he put up patiently with many things to enable him to justify himself with the King about the imputations laid to his charge, and that now, having done so, he wishes to retire, and would gladly live in such a place as Venice (in una Venetia), being at any rate unable to serve in this war, because in the French camp there is no place for him, nor will he accept command in the Papal army, though he has told the Pope that he will serve him without grade and without stipend in whatever he shall be good for (in quello che sarà buono); nor will the Pope by any means allow him to depart. The Duke of Ferrara has also made a demand for Camillo Orsini, which the Pope will perhaps concede, and the Ferrarese ambassador says that he will be lieutenant of the most Christian King wherever employed, with considerable stipend and 50 men-at-arms, the old companies in Piedmont being conferred on his sons, and that the brief of “leave” (il breve della licentia) is already drawn up, but that the Pope postpones his departure until the return of Cardinal Caraffa; so the ambassador has written to the Duke of Ferrara to endeavour to settle this and other remaining matters with Cardinal Caraffa in person (presentialmente).
The French say that the Duke de Guise, who left Lyons on the 15th, will cross before the Imperialists are ready to prevent his passage, and they believe that Duke Ottavio will give him victuals (vittuaglia), not for love but from inability to do otherwise, and to save his territory from fire and sword.
A certain Cardinal, who is in a position to know what is passing both through the French and the Vatican (questi de palazzo), asserts that the Duke de Guise will exert himself to cross into Italy, because the most Christian King does not choose to lose the opportunity of a Pope so determined on the expedition against the kingdom of Naples, and of a Duke of Ferrara who has declared himself in his favour; and the Pope being attacked, other Princes of Italy will either assist him or not be opposed to him; and it is not credible that the King of France would have incurred such great expense for Piedmont alone, as by the treaty the Pope does not contribute to the cost until the army is beyond the French frontiers; which treaty, this Cardinal says, is made greatly to the Pope's advantage, the quota to be disbursed by him not amounting to one third of the entire cost, nor is the payment to commence until the aforesaid period. His Majesty does not ask for more than four Cardinals, and will even consent to the Pope's making them all dependants of his own family. Moreover, should the expedition against the kingdom of Naples succeed, he is content to leave to the See Apostolic certain territory in the Abruzzo, and also a part of that of Campagna. (fn. 3) binding himself, moreover, to appoint a King of Naples not possessed of any other state.
This Cardinal said besides that possibly some of his colleagues will soon be in Castle St. Angelo, though he merely infers, not knowing anything certain as yet, but he thinks the Pope will choose to make sure of some of them (che S. Stà. si vorrà assicurar de alcuni); and in conclusion he remarked with regard to King Philip's difficulties and embarrassments in this war, how much on the other hand he had to hope and trust that so large an army in these parts, which were already laid waste, would have to fight with famine more than with the enemy, although the grain in the March of Ancona will greatly aid them to make shift (a scorrer) until the next harvest, which in these parts is reaped very early.
The last post brought news that Cardinal Caraffa was at Chiooggia a week ago, and that your Serenity had made preparation to honour his right reverend Lordship according to the very magnificent custom of that most excellent dominion, which has been heard here universally, but above all by the Vatican (dal Palazzo), with much satisfaction.
Letters from Venice state that the Duke of Ferrara was on his way thither with Cardinal Caraffa; the Ferrarese ambassador here saying that even without this opportunity his master had intended to visit your Serenity; adding, that the Duke having desired him to let the Pope know that the Turkish fleet would come to rarage the kingdom of Naples, he knew not how to make the announcement from fear lest it might cause displeasure; but having muttered something to that effect, the Pope replied, “Ah, dogs” (meaning the Imperialists), “they compel us to let even Sultan Soliman come;” so then the ambassador told him that the King of France had sent to ask for it.
During the present Christmas week, when the Pope “celebrated,” and as on such occasions he is glad to be left alone, I made no demand for audience of his Holiness.
Rome, 26th December 1556.
Dec. 27. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 775. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I went to the Constable and made the statement contained in your letters of the 11th. His Excellency listened to me attentively, and then replied briefly that the most Christian King would be glad to hear that your Serenity was satisfied with his goodwill towards the See Apostolic, and that as his Majesty had always shown himself desirous of peace, so he would not fail to continue of the same mind. He then added that by advices received from his ministers at Rome, the King had heard with great satisfaction of the good office performed by your Serenity's secretary with the Duke of Alva, showing how much these hostilities carried on by him distressed you, and that should he not condescend to some fair form of agreement, you and all the Princes of Italy would be compelled to resent it (di rissentirsene), for which office your Serenity deserved great praise. My reply was that I did not know whether your Serenity had caused this or any other office to be made so distinctly (così particolarmente) as his Excellency told me, but that I well knew that both with the aforesaid Duke and with the Pope you had not failed to demonstrate how greatly you desired that war might not be roused in Italy. I then communicated to him the summaries from Constantinople, to which his Excellency replied merely by a nod (con un cenno del volto), saying with a sigh that he was greatly pained by the troubles of Christendom, and without adding anything farther led me into the King's chamber.
When the King entered I went to him and performed the office enjoined me. He listened graciously, replying that he greatly commended your Serenity for these good offices performed by you, and that he was extremely glad you were aware of his good inclination towards peace, and that, as he had told me heretofore, he confirmed to me that he desired it greatly; nor would he complain of the expense incurred by him, even should he spend twice as much, provided it could be the cause of a good peace; and that from the advices brought by M. de Morette (di Moreta) he had heard of this prorogation of the truce which had proceeded principally from your Serenity's good offices with the Pope, who was doubtless induced by them, though he had always been disposed to accept any fair agreement, and that his Majesty understood that the Duke of Alva was inclined towards it, wherefore he prayed God to effect it; but that should it not take place, he hoped that your Serenity on your part likewise would resent it (ne rissentiria). I asked his Majesty in what state the negotiation was, and he replied, “I really do not know for all the advices refer to what will be brought by the Lord Giulio Orsini, who is expected hourly;” to which I rejoined that it was nevertheless understood that Cardinal Caraffa had communicated the whole to his Majesty's ministers. “Yes,” said the King, “the Pope continues performing every sort of loving office with regard to me as usual.”
I then inquired where the Duke de Guise was, and the King said he was to pass Christmas day at Luneburg (sic), and depart on the morrow for Turin, where he would arrive in four days. In reply to my question whether the troops had crossed the Alps, and in what number, his Majesty said, “I believe that by this time they have all crossed, as by the last advices 6,000 Switzers had passed, and the other 4,000 were at a distance of three days march, and all the French except two companies, and that the number would be from 28,000 to 30,000 infantry,” and the cavalry to the amount as already stated by him to me, and that it had crossed so prosperously that nothing better could be wished for. I then continued, “And what will this army of your Majesty do, when all got together under its commander-in-chief?” to which he replied, “The cavalry will rest a little, though they are already refreshed, as it were;” and I went on to say, 'Will the Duke de Guise continue to advance, or rather halt until we hear of this resolve from Rome?” and here the King, weighing his words (masticando le parole), said, “Accordingly as matters shall proceed;” adding, “As I told you, I on my part will not fail to perform such offices as I always have done for the benefit of Christendom.” To this I made answer, “Your Majesty has always shown yourself inclined towards peace, and I will tell you that if, after sending your army for the defence of the Pope, you in like manner recall it in consequence of the peace, your Majesty will gain greater glory with the whole world than if you had obtained any kingdom whatever.” As he gave me no answer to this I communicated to him the Turkish news-letters, which he said were in conformity with his own advices; and then, continuing to discourse with me as usual, he told me he had advices from his ambassador at Brussels that the Catholic King was informed that the King of the Romans had shown some signs of mental aberration (alienatione di menle), inquiring of me whether I had heard anything about it. I replied, 'No sire, and does your Majesty believe it to be so in fact, or rather reports which are circulated?” His Majesty replied, “I cannot affirm it to you, but my ambassador writes me many particulars to that effect.”
I then asked if he had advices from England. He said, “Yes, I have advices that the Queen sent for the Lady Elizabeth to the Court, and proposed to her to marry her to the Duke of Savoy, to which she replied that the afflictions suffered by her were such that they had not only ridded her of any wish for a husband, but that they had induced her to desire nothing but death, and then by a flood of tears she brought them also to the eyes of the Queen, who seeing that she still persisted in this opinion of not choosing to marry, dismissed her from the Court, and purposed assembling Parliament to have her declared illegitimate (per farla declarar bastarda), and consequently incapable of succeeding to the Crown (inabile alla successione del Regno).” His Majesty then said that the [Queen's] Council was not well agreed together (non s'intendeva bene insieme), and that some misunderstanding (qualche mala intelligentia) had arisen between Cardinal Pole and Lord Paget, and that the Cardinal was no longer so popular as he used to be, Paget having invented (inventato) certain charges against him, but that his Majesty, knowing the integrity of his right reverend Lordship's life, did by no means believe them. Continuing the conversation, he said, “Have you heard what befell the son of the Duke of Ferrara?” “Yes, sire” (said I), “something,” and the King chose to narrate the whole to me much in detail, which I will not repeat, knowing you must be well informed about it, but he said the poor lad (il povero pato) had been deceived, nor did he himself know what he wished to do, as in fact, had he chosen to make his escape he might have done so; and the two causes of his displeasure were that he would neither stay in Ferrara nor be a churchman, and his father denying both demands, this gave occasion to that Savoyard (fn. 4) to suggest what he did to him. Thereupon, after returning many thanks to his Majesty in your Serenity's name, I took leave.
As the King's discourse with me about his wish for peace may perhaps seem to your Serenity in contradiction of what I wrote concerning the resentment which he displayed on two occasions to the Nuncio, who did not communicate to his Majesty the prorogation of the truce until to-day, I can now tell you that I have again had confirmation of the contents of my letters, and on Christmas day, when at mass with the Spanish ambassador, and talking together about the state of the present times, he said to me, “Discourse is no longer of any use, as I know for certain that the King has sent orders to the Duke de Guise to make an attack in any quarter where there is the best chance of success, and I know that they had some understanding in Genoa and in Paria, but they were discovered.” Thereupon, to endeavour to make him talk, I said that I did not hear that this was quite settled, and he rejoined, “I have had confirmation of the fact through three channels, and about this I have written a despatch to my King.” Nor will I omit to tell your Serenity, moreover, that from a very sure quarter I have heard that at Rome, with regard to these negotiations for agreement, they did not make such communications to the French ministers there as entirely to satisfy his most Christian Majesty. In addition to this, be it known that the provisions for the war continue more than ever, and very secret consultations are held daily about money, 12 infantry captains having been despatched yesterday, eight for Picardy, part of whom have already had pay, and four departed immediately for Corsica; and it has been determined to give six galleys under the command of Captain Bacchio Martelli, that they may guard the island constantly; and for the rest they are also despatching the Lord Giordano Orsini, who will return to his usual government of that island, the which things I also hear from that quarter; but what may happen, whether they will proceed absolutely to war, or whether the most Christian King, being armed, will content himself with such advantageous treaty of peace as may be offered him, I shall leave for time and your Serenity's judgment to make manifest.
Poissy, 27th December 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Dec. 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 776. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I went yesterday to Court (a corte) with the merchants of our nation resident here, to prefer suit as I did to the Royal Council, that the facility (comodità) conceded them by the kings of England, and which they had enjoyed uninterruptedly during so many years, for exporting freely woollens and all other merchandise whithersoever they chose beyond sea, without either place or time being ever prescribed them, might not be impeded or altered. I demonstrated as well as I could that the inconvenience and loss of the merchants of Venice would bring neither convenience nor profit to the English merchants-adventurers (in favour of whom the measure is solicited), as even were they (as said by them) to renew the ancient custom—already determined on in accordance with the Flemings, and with the consent of the Emperor and the King—(d'accordo con i flammenghi et col consenso dell' Imperator et del Serenissimo Re)—namely, to limit (di obbligar) the English and all foreigners in like manner to four [cloth] fairs annually, they attending the two first at Bruges and the two last at Antwerp, although they were at liberty to do what they pleased for the benefit of their own merchants, yet as when this custom was observed, the merchants of Venice were not subjected to that limitation, but might export freely at all seasons, so at present they should be allowed to enjoy the usual ancient liberty, without innovation, as the Venetian exports [from London] to Flanders merely pass through [Germany] (non servono ad altro che per transito) on their way to Venice by the public conveyances, for the service of those by whom the goods are ordered, nor—as alleged by the English— are they sent to Flanders to compete with their trade. I also added many objections and replies, both about the inconvenience of Bruges, and the detriment which would result from the order were it carried into effect, but obtained no reply on decision at the moment, being told that they would send the answer to my house immediately; and I suspect it will not satisfy our merchants, not so much for the sake of disobliging them, as to gratify the [merchants] adventurers, by reason of the many and great conveniences derived from them, both public and private, and God grant that they may not obtain a monopoly of woollen exports, closing the sea to any but themselves. (fn. 5)
With regard to the affairs of the money, a public proclamation was issued on the 23rd for no one to dare speak of its debasement or alteration, or to refuse it at its current and ordinary value, under penalty of their Majesties' displeasure, which has somewhat diminished but not entirely removed the fear (il che ha alquanto minuito, ma non levato in tutto il timore).
I am told that 200 men have been ordered for service across the Channel, besides those sent with the Earl of Pembroke, for the greater security of the fortresses there, both by reason of the evil demonstrations made by the French, as also on account of their reinforcements on the borders.
On her way to Greenwich the Queen conferred as usual a great favour on Cardinal Pole, for being prevented by the ice from going down the river, she crossed to his right reverend Lordship's palace, and chose to dine with him, together with the greater part of the personages who accompanied her, nor was Monsignor Priuli prevented, as on the last occasion, from being seen by her Majesty, whose hand he kissed, as did all the other Italians in his right reverend Lordship's service; and she then got into a litter, and continued her journey by land.
London, 28th December 1556.
Dec. 29. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 777. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador at Brussels, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday, on receipt of your Serenity's letter of the 11th instant, with the reply to his Majesty's missive, and orders to perform an office in conformity with its purport, I went to the King, and, having presented the letter, said your Serenity had charged me to thank him very affectionately for his constant trust in you, and for the goodwill he evinced to do what was to your satisfaction, nor could anything content you more than to see him reconciled to the Pope in such form as required for the quiet of Italy and Christendom, and that you now hoped the peace would easily be effected, your ambassador and secretary at Rome having informed you that its negotiation was referred to his Majesty. The King answered me, “I thank the Signory much for their goodwill towards me, and for their good opinion of my being in favour of the peace, of which you can be a good witness, from the things repeatedly said by me to you; and I will now once more again tell you what I said to you heretofore, which is to pray you to write to the Signory in such wise that they may really believe my mind to be well disposed towards the peace, as a proof of which I will again give such commissions that they and the world shall know this my goodwill, and I will authorise the Duke of Alva to do all that he suggested to me as fitting for the conclusion of the peace, both from love of the Signory, and from the reverence which I choose (che voglii) always to bear the See Apostolic. I will also write to him not to fail to make the said peace, which will I hope at length be effected, and the Signory have proof positive of my goodwill in this matter and in all others hereafter, and I believe that by reason of our reciprocal goodwill there will always be sincere friendship between us;” adding very graciously, with a laugh, “and you, owing to the good offices you have performed, will bear the blame of this.” To this kind jest on the part of his Majesty I replied that he conferred great favour and honour upon me by speaking in this manner, and that nothing but the sincerity practised by me in all the negotiations could deserve such praise, assuring him that in the preceding letters I had informed your Serenity that his Majesty told me very positively that from day to day you would be much more convinced of his good disposition towards the peace, and that I hoped your Serenity and the world would yet better know this his just mind and singular prudence through the effects accomplished by his order than by my verbal testimony.
Both before and after my conversation with the King I also spoke at very great length with Don Ruy Gomez, acquainting him thoroughly with what your Serenity wished in this matter, and which would prove to the benefit of Christendom and advantageous for his Majesty. His Lordship answered me word for word as follows:—“Those most illustrious lords will find that the King my lord wishes for the peace with the Pope, both from his own will and to render this his intention clear to the Signory, to effect which he will do everything possible, and moreover what is in part impossible,” repeating these words several times; “and thus will the commissions be sent by his Majesty to the Duke of Alva.” I then said to his Lordship adroitly, I would ask him to tell me whether these commissions would be such as to satisfy what he told me was the Pope's wish, namely, to be at liberty to settle matters as he pleased, his Majesty keeping as security that hope which he had caused him to receive, that thus would the peace be made to the satisfaction of both parties. To this his Lordship replied, “His Majesty's commissions will be many and various, but I cannot affirm on which of them in particular the conclusion of the peace will depend, and when it is effected the Signory and the world will know that it proceeded from the will of my King; and should it not take place the Duke of Alva will have all the offers shown to the ambassador, or he will send them to the Signory, who will then be able to judge whether the King wished for the peace or not;” adding, “The Pope wishes to make the peace greatly to his own repute. My King is content to obey his Holiness, and restore what he has taken, and to benefit the Pope's kinsfolk; but his Majesty would also wish for the security of the kingdom of Naples, because, after having satisfied the Pope in all that his Holiness desires, he might nevertheless choose to give the King of France Paliano.” He then said that he requested me very earnestly to speak with him as a friend and not as an ambassador, and tell him whether I should venture (se mi fiderei) to place my affairs in the hands of a person who I had great cause to suspect would wish to deceive me. I replied that to give his Lordship satisfaction I would speak freely; that in any negotiation of my own I should wish first of all to justify my conscience with God and manifest my goodwill to the world, hoping that His Divine Majesty's protection and the general approval of mankind would be of such assistance to me that I might believe I could defend myself from any powerful enemy. Don Ruy Gomez rejoined, “I pray your Lordship to oblige me in one of two things, either to tell me who is in the wrong, and to hint (cegnar) (sic) to my King what he ought to do to bring about the peace, or else to remain in your usual neutrality, for my King is not so afraid of the Pope, the King of France, the Duke of Ferrara, and the Switzers as many persons believe him to be, nor are our forces so feeble as to be insufficient to prevent the French from passing through the Milanese;” and he then entered into several details about the number of the most Christian King's troops in Italy, and also of those in the service of King Philip, and of the levies he will make to defend himself; after which, when I was in the act of departure, he took my two hands, pressing them (stringendomi), and said in conclusion, “Lord ambassador, take away this opinion, that his Majesty, to gratify the most illustrious Signory, will do whatever shall be possible, and even in part what is impossible, as I said, and I will hope that, knowing this, they will neither suffer it, nor wish well to such as shall continue to harass Italy and Christendom, and that they will remain such good friends to my King that in one of two ways they will benefit him, either by counsel or through your ordinary neutral peace.” I made answer that with this good opinion I would depart, writing to your Serenity that at any rate, on the part of his Majesty, the peace will take place.
The Duchess of Parma arrived here three days ago, being received by his Majesty and the whole court with such honour as I wrote to your Serenity was intended, and when visiting her Excellency to-day I shall express myself in such terms as I know to be your Serenity's intention.
Brussels, 29th December 1556.
Dec. 31. Deliberazioni Senato (Secreta), File No. 29. 778. Reply of Venice to Cardinal Caraffa.
(Put to the ballot)—That the most illustrious and right reverend Cardinal Caraffa be answered as follows:—
Most illustrious and right reverend Monsignor, we could see no person more agreeable to us than your most illustrious and right reverend lordship, both on account of his Holiness, towards whom we bear extreme reverence and devotion, and of your most illustrious lordship, whom we greatly love and esteem by reason of your worthy qualities and parts (conditioni). We have heard from you your statement, in his Holiness' name, of the things which have taken place since the commencement of his pontificate; of the troubles and disturbances of war undergone by him, and which he is still undergoing, in his territory; of the provisions and assistance prepared for the defence; of his Holiness' good disposition with regard to pardoning the injuries done him, as well becomes the greatness and piety of his mind; and, finally, of what he requests of us and proposes on this occasion, in case the peace should not be made. We therefore pray you to be pleased to thank his Holiness in our name for so loving and honourable a demonstration made by sending us the most honourable person about him, and who is so joined to him by blood and love as your lordship, and for the confidential communication which he has had made to us, assuring him that the disturbances experienced by his Holiness have caused us such regret as good and most obsequious sons are wont to feel for the troubles of their father; wherefore, as we knew that by doing so we did what was most agreeable to his Holiness and universally beneficial, every effort was used by us, as known to his Holiness and to your lordship, we performing all such offices as we deemed fitting to effect the peace, which has always been desired and sought by our Signory, as that which with the greatest security and dignity might put an end to every difference, and avoid the detriment, perils, and desolation to which countries are subjected by war. Concerning this matter, the King of Spain having announced to us his good disposition to give every satisfaction to his Holiness, the moment we heard of the prorogation of the truce for 40 days, to facilitate the negotiation of the peace at his Majesty's Court, we wrote in good form to him, and to our ambassador resident to speak in conformity with our letters, saying that we had heard of this his goodwill with very great satisfaction, and that it pleased us much that the conclusion of the peace had been referred to Flanders (de lì), in order that his Majesty may cause facts (li effeti) to correspond with words, assuring him that nothing can cause us more disquietude and sorrow than to see the Holy See Apostolic and his Holiness at war, as he is at present. And your lordship having also sent thither Monsignor Fantucio, we hope that through the Divine goodness matters will adjust themselves to the dignity and repute of his Holiness and to the general satisfaction and contentment, in which case it would be unnecessary to come to any other resolution, our intent being obtained by means of the peace, which every sovereign, and above all his Holiness, will, we are sure, on every account, always prefer: [symbol] so for the present we do not see, until we receive a reply to what we wrote to our said ambassador, which we expect in a few days, how we can becomingly form any farther resolution, though we indeed assure your lordship that we desire the conservation of his Holiness' state as much as we do that of our own, as becoming the very great devotion and reverence which we bear his Holiness and that Holy See.
Ayes, 100.
Amendment proposed by Hironimo Grimani, Sage of the Council.
That to the reply now read, as far as the mark, and thenceforth, the underwritten words be added:—
The which peace, were we to enter at present into any fresh negotiation, some persons might believe that we had given cause for its not having taken place, so we do not see how we can decently give your right reverend lordship any other reply (&c. &c., as in original motion).
Ayes, 66.
Second amendment proposed by the Councillor Marc' Antonio Grimani and by the Sages of the Council, Matteo Da Mula and Domenico Morosini.
That the present matter be postponed.


  • 1. [“The xx day of December the Queen rode in her chariot through the park from] Sant James unto the galere” [Gallery at Whitehall?] “and so [took] her barge unto Westmynster, and landyd [at the palace] and so in-to the Abbay,” &c. (See Machyn, p. 122.) On this occasion, as stated in his “Report,” the Ambassador Michiel and Cardinal Pole were in the royal barge, both going and returning, the only other attendants being the ladies-in-waiting on the Queen; so the conversation with Figueroa must have been held on the way from St. James's to Whitehall.
  • 2.
  • 3. The “Terra di Lavoro,” in the kingdom of Naples, was heretofore called “Campania felix,” from the salubrity of its climate. (See Büsching's Georgraphy, Italian translation, vol. 25, p. 41 (b), ed. Venezia, 1778.)
  • 4. In the original “a quel Savogia,” but the chief adviser of Don Luigi of Este this matter was a Piedmontese, one Anton Maria di Colegno. (See Frizzi, “Memorie per la Storia di Ferrara,” vol. 4, p. 343.
  • 5. In the original this paragraph is much corroded.