Venice: January 1557, 1-10

Pages 893-907

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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January 1557, 1–10

1557 Jan. ? (fn. 1) St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. X. p. 178 recto. No date of time in MS. 779. Cardinal Pole to the Duchess of Parma.
Having always greatly regretted the prolonged troubles of the Duchess, of her consort, and of the whole Farnese family, is now greatly comforted to see them terminated by so good a conclusion, as always hoped for by him, most especially since he has had knowledge and experience of the good and pious disposition of King Philip, and from perceiving the Emperor's paternal affection towards the Duchess whenever he had an opportunity of speaking to him about her. God has now chosen to reward the filial piety always maintained by her towards his Imperial Majesty; and by this letter, and by the gentleman its bearer, Pole congratulates her with his whole heart, praying God always to continue favouring her and her most illustrious family, and kissing her Excellency's hand he recommends himself to her with all affection.
Greenwich, Jan. 1557. (fn. 2)
Jan. 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 780. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
In my last of the 27th ultimo I alluded to some suspicion of distrust with regard to his Holiness, and therefore endeavoured to ascertain the most Christian King's disposition towards him, and have heard as a great secret that M. de Lansac sent one of his secretaries to the most Christian King announcing the conclusion of the truce for 10 days, and giving such intelligence that his Majesty supposed the peace was already made without anything being communicated to him; so he very angrily expressed his resentment to the Nuncio here, who, not being informed of the Pope's mind, knew not what to reply. But subsequently, the King being better informed, through the coming of M. de Morette and another subsequent courier, that the Pope continues to bear his same goodwill towards this crown, and that the truce took place for no other object than to give time for the passage of M. de Guise with the army, and that even had the Duke of Alva proposed terms of peace, nothing would have been settled without his most Christian Majesty's assent, in like manner as his Majesty remained well satisfied with the Pope, so was all his anger turned against M. de Lansac, whom he has recalled from Rome, desiring him to return hither. It is believed that the cause which moved him to write this, without sufficiently investigating the matter, was perhaps his wish that thus should it be, to favour the opinion (per favore della opinione) of the Constable, who has always been opposed to this war, and Lansac is his confidential servant, This induced the order sent to the Duke de Guise through Carlo Birago, before the arrival of M. de Morette; and although this present Nuncio was sent hither as a person much trusted by the Pope, yet matters proceed so secretly that he merely receives ordinary “advices,” the business (il negotio) being kept on foot by private letters to the King and to the Constable.
Yesterday evening the son of the Duke de Nevers took leave of the King to go and see his father in the army, which his Majesty told him had (he believed) passed Turin. This son is about 14 years old, and goes with a company of right honourable gentlemen to see the war, his father being the richest prince of this kingdom, and governor of Champagne; so the King has desired him and the Admiral, who has the government of Picardy, to order the removal of all the cattle from those confines, and since my last no farther provision has been made for those parts. Giulio Orsini is expected hourly, he having already arrived at Lyons. It has been heard here by several “advices” that Cardinal Caraffa was to go to your Serenity, which has made everybody suppose it to be for a matter of great importance.
Poissi, 1st January 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Jan. 2. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 781. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Cardinal San Giacomo [Juan Alvarez de Toledo], sent his secretary to the Pope lately to let him know that if it pleased his Holiness he would endeavour to obtain from his nephew, the Duke of Alva, a prolongation of the truce. The Pope replied that the truce had been made by Cardinal Caraffa, that to him he left the charge of prolonging it, and that he would be here before its present term expires. It is also said that a courier has been sent to Cardinal Caraffa, recalling him immediately, and last night Cardinal Pacheco wished to despatch a courier with letters received from the Duke of Alva at Naples addressed to Cardinal Caraffa, and Pacheco conversing with the Pope, his Holiness told him that the Cardinal his nephew was certainly at Venice until yesterday, but that he knew not whether he would be there until Monday. The Government here (questi Signori), however, did not choose Cardinal Pacheco to despatch a courier, but they sent one to-day with the aforesaid letters. The ambassador of the Duke of Ferrara says his Prince writes to him somewhat resentfully because this Government (questi Signori), knowing that he purposed going to Venice to give account to your Serenity of his resolve, Cardinal Caraffa went thither without communicating or causing anything to be communicated to him about it; and that not having yet heard whether his lordship, on his return, would pass through Ferrara, he will endeavour to ascertain the fact, because should be not do so, the Duke would go to the seaside (alla marina) to meet and honour him. To the said Lord Duke the Pope is sending the sword which he usually blesses on Christmas eve, not having done so then, because on that night his Holiness did not come into chapel, but delayed the ceremony until Christmas day, when he performed it in the chamber where he usually robes himself. It will be conveyed by the Cavalier del Sagrà, a Ferrarese, the Pope's chamberlain. Orders have been sent from hence to Bologna and to the “Marca” [of Ancona], to make preparations for quarters and victuals for the passage of the French army. The Duke of Paliano, with the agents of the most Christian King and the Commissary General, have held a long consultation together how to obtain ready money without interest, or at least by alteration of the coinage to see about benefiting themselves somewhat (veder de avvantaggiarsi alquanto), but although they have taken the opinion of many experienced merchants, they know not how to find a remedy. Both here and in the other places where there are soldiers, a fifth part of the troops desert from one pay day to the other, and Flaminio da Statio, who has the custody of the Pope's galleys and of Civitavecchia, says that in that fortress there are only 500 infantry, while it requires 2,000, and that he has reminded the Duke of Paliano to send him at least a thousand, because now that the Imperialists have the fleet the place is in danger of being stormed (should they find it unprovided) before any succour can arrive.
On the 22nd ult., the Imperial fleet left the shores of the Duke of Florence (partì dalle marine del Sor Duca di Fiorenza); it remained some days in “Porto Hercule,” and is said to have been seen off Civitavecchia on Thursday, and that the Germans and Spaniards who were embarked some time ago at Spezia will land at Gaeta. It is heard that the Duke of Alva has ordered the Neapolitan barons to hold themselves in readiness, which causes it to be supposed that he purposes sending a body of troops through the Abruzzi into the “Marca” [of Ancona], to endeavour to extend his frontiers, and make himself master of the grain in that province, as the Papal Government (questi) threaten to enter the kingdom of Naples by that way. the ministry here (questi Signori) having determined to send in that direction the “Marchese” of Montebello, who departed to-day postwise with some captains, and will be followed by Gio. Antonio Toraldo, Master General of the Ordnance.
It is suspected here that should the Duke of Alva be quick, he will do more than they fear in that quarter, because there are no strong holds (lochi forti) there, and Toraldo says he urged them to fortify Ascoli, which, by means of four earthen bastions (baloardi di terra), would become of the utmost strength, but that he was not listened to, and now, when they wish to do so, he is afraid they will no longer be in time; and at the last consultation he said that those places cannot be defended, unless by an army in the field equal to that of the enemy, and should this not be done, they will run the risk of the Imperialists making themselves masters of many important places, and of the greater part of the grain (with which they had intended to supply the French army in case of its coming), it being very difficult and almost impossible to store it in safety, both because there are no strongholds there, as also because there are neither carts nor beasts of burden there to bring it into the cities, where they might defend it.
The Duke of Somma, who is at Veletri, having written thence that that place and Paliano are victualled for only two months, and, moreover, some of the inhabitants of Veletri having come hither demanding their daily bread publicly of the Pope at his dinner table, as they had not wherewithal to live, his Holiness fell into a rage, and expressed himself dissatisfied with his most illustrious nephews and others in command (et altri che governano). For three consecutive days neither mules nor draught horses were allowed to go out of Rome, and on Thursday night they loaded 700 of them with grain and wine and sent them to Veletri, Marshal Strozzi having escorted them with all the horse and foot in Rome; and Flaminio da Statio said that Strozzi gave it to be understood that this going with a military force (con massa di essercito) by the places garrisoned by the Imperialists is an infringement of the truce, but that in a matter of such importance it was impossible to do otherwise. The Imperialists having seized a French gentleman, a culprit of great importance (according to their account), and taken him to Sienna, M. de Montluc, the French Governor of Mont' Alcino, had some Spaniards arrested, and, moreover, stopped the Florence post (il procaccio di Fiorenzo) in several places, to see if there were any Spaniards with him; and in the Papal States he had some Florentines arrested and taken to Chiusa. The Duke wrote to his ambassador to impart this to his Holiness, who, he believes, will not tolerate such unfitting acts, but provide against them, as, if they continue, the Duke would not lack the means for retaliating. The ambassador spoke about this to the Duke of Paliano, who answered him that they had been released; but two days later he, nevertheless, went to the palace to make his complaint to the Pope, and having been unable to obtain audience, he left the letter that it might be shown to him.
It has been said that Don Alvaro de Sande will go to Sienna as military commander, it appearing that the Cardinal of Burgos has not much experience, and also that he and the Duke of Florence have not a good understanding together.
They write from Genoa that galleys and ships are coming from Spain with 3,000 Spaniards and a good quantity of money, of which a great part belongs to King Philip. The Cardinal San Giacomo, having been asked the cause why the Duke of Alva has never announced the receipt of fresh orders from his King about the agreement with the Pope, he replied that he believes the Duke has reason for doing so, as since those orders were given, so many novelties have taken place both with regard to conferences and truces, as possibly to have altered them; so as he has notified the whole to the King through Don Francisco Pacheco, it is but fair to await the reply.
The Pope lately addressed two briefs to Cardinal Farnese and to Duke Ottavio, exhorting them to be good sons and vassals of the Church, and to give passage to the French army and to supply it with victuals; one of which briefs he sent to Ferrara, and the other to the Duke de Guise.
The day before yesterday Cardinal de' Medici dined with the Pope in order to have audience afterwards; whilst at table his Holiness called the Duke of Ariano and the Marchese of Monte Sarebio, who are both outlawed the kingdom of Naples, telling them to be of good cheer as he would soon restore them to their homes; and in his own chamber the Pope said to the Cardinal, who was lamenting this war, that he must not be apprehensive, as his Holiness would expel King Philip from the kingdom of Naples, from the Milanese, and even from Spain; to which the Cardinal says he replied that if the Pope knew these things by inspiration he submitted, because he was a man of this world (era homo mondano), but that so far as could be seen from human discourse, these designs could not succeed, the House of Austria being so powerful as it is; and that he indeed on the contrary was afraid of some great disturbance befalling the See Apostolic both temporally and spiritually; there being risk of the Imperialists doing in the “Marca” [of Ancona] what they have done here in the “Campagna”; and that the Pope should not place such great reliance on the French forces as to make him forget what happened to Lautrec; to which his Holiness having replied that now there would be something more than Lautrec, the Cardinal rejoined, that for the grandeur of the Church he prayed God it might be so, but that the spiritual damage was irreparable, seeing how much was lost from day to day in Germany, and because it might be considered certain that should the war continue yet greater ruin will ensue, including perhaps, for the misfortune of the world, a schism; and the Pope then put an end to the conversation by saying that he excused him if he spoke with passion, as his estates were in the dominions of King Philip. (fn. 3)
From a person who was present when Cardinal Morone and the Bishop of Liesina were discussing with his Holiness the perilous state of the whole of Germany, and the stir it might make, the Pope said to them in a rage, “This your King of the Romans is the brother of that heretic; we tolerate him because at present we know not whom to put in that place.”
It is heard that King Philip has announced to the Signory of Genoa his intention to have Piombino and Elba restored to their Lord, (fn. 4) and that he has demanded of the Duke of Florence to restore Lusignano and the other places held by him belonging to Sienna; and there are some persons, not of the vulgar, who say that the said Duke is solicited to make terms with the French, settling matters by means of some matrimonial alliance, and perhaps by making the Duke of Paliano Duke of Sienna; it being supposed that the Duke of Florence would prefer the neighbourhood of a Duke to that of a King of Spain or of France; but the ambassador when asked about this by his confidants, replied that all that is said at this Court must not be credited, and that his Duke will not stir unless sure that an attack upon him is meditated, and that he has his affairs in such order that he will never be found unprepared, he now remaining quiet because he does not see that his interests nor those of the Emperor have been interfered with (perchè non vede che siano state tocche le cose sue, nè quelle dell' Imperator).
A gentleman has arrived here from Cardinal Pole, to hear from the Pope whether he is content that his right reverend Lordship should mediate for the peace; and yesterday he had audience of his Holiness, who replied that he would answer him after the return of Cardinal Caraffa. This gentleman says he went through Venice on purpose to see the Cardinal, as he did.
Rome, 2nd January 1557.
Jan. 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 782. Federigo Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
Pagnano, who arrived here yesterday as agent from the Cardinal of Trent, gave the King and his ministers especial account of the preparations making by the French in Italy, mentioning the projects attributed to them, and requesting a large supply of money This morning, likewise, a courier arrived from his right reverend Lordship with fresh advices, and to urge them yet more to despatch such matters as are necessary, and to prevent the passage of the French. This intelligence has so disturbed the ministers here that they openly evince their belief that the truce was purposely concluded by His Holiness in order that he may harass the King with greater security, and more to his own convenience, the ministry showing that they have lost the hope that the very ample commissions sent four days ago by Don Francisco Pacheco, to conclude the peace with him, will produce the desired effect. King Philip therefore has already written very strongly to the Duke of Florence, requesting and exhorting his Excellency to raise as many troops as he can, and to unite them with his own, to prevent the passage of the French to Rome.
The Spanish soldiers who mutinied at Hesdin have informed his Majesty that unless their pay be sent them within 10 days, they for their maintenance will be compelled to injure in various ways his neighbouring places; so he immediately sent them three crowns each to keep them at bay (per trattenimento), and a firm promise to satisfy them in every possible way within a few days.
The Cardinal of Burgos (fn. 5) continues asking the King's leave to resign the government of Sienna, and the ambassador of the Duke of Florence favours the suit by narrating many disorders which have taken place in that city since his right reverend Lordship's residence there; and he remarked lately that an insurrection might be anticipated, because (according to his account) the Cardinal inconsiderately ordered the arrest of certain persons on suspicion of their intending to give Sienna to the French, of which they were subsequently acquitted.
By advices received yesterday from Spain, dated the 22nd December, it is heard that the Emperor had said he should enter the monastery of S. Yuste on Christmas eve, and that his Majesty's bodily health was better than it had been for a long while.
During three days his Majesty has been at a monastery near at hand to communicate, as he did on the first day of the year, and he returned yesterday,
Brussels, 3rd January 1557.
Jan. 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 783. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The day after to-morrow (the Epiphany), when I shall go to the Court, I will make the statement, enjoined me in your letters of the 1st ultimo, about the dismissal of the Ambassador Vannes, to whom you had given leave to depart. Had hoped to receive my definitive leave (licentia), but am bound to render humble thanks, it seeming to me certain that it will come by the next post.
The courier Francesco Piemontese has brought this much . . . . (illegible) about the return of his Majesty . . (illegible).. On the 30th ultimo, when he left, the affairs of Rome were supposed to be adjusted, the King having told him with his own lips to inform the Queen that in Lent at the latest he should be with her.
The Lords of the Council have not yet given any reply about the affair of our merchants, but apologised for the delay, as they require certain information from the Director (Capo) of the English Merchants-Adventurers. In case of unreasonable delay I will not fail to have them solicited for the benefit of the said merchants, so that the goods which were put on board the smacks (scute) so long ago may not be detained further.
The Queen is sending a gentleman to visit the Duchess of Parma.
London, 4th January 1557.
Jan. (fn. 6) Deliberazioni Senato (Secreta), File No. 29. 784. Reply of Venice to Cardinal Caraffa.
Put to the ballot, that the most illustrious and right reverend the Legate Cardinal Caraffa be answered thus:—
Most illustrious and right reverend Lord, although by the reply which we gave lately to your Lordship, we let you know all that seems necessary to us; yet nevertheless, as you have evinced to us a wish for some fresh reply to your proposal, we have not chosen to omit telling you that we, being of opinion that nothing can be more beneficial to Italy than peace and quiet, have always desired and sought it with all care and to the utmost of our means, for the avoidance of such detriment and perils as are necessarily incurred by war, keeping to our neutrality, by which his Holiness likewise, as a father most friendly to our State, has several times exhorted us to abide. We therefore, taking advantage of the prorogation of the truce, performed lately with the King of Spain the warmest and most forcible office possible, so as to effect an agreement to the dignity and satisfaction of his Holiness; and we are willing to hope that through the Divine goodness he will confer this boon on Italy, and on the whole of Christendom; but should we see that the peace do not take place, we, as his Holiness' most obsequious children, cannot fail to assist him in such a way as shall be fair and fitting (non potremo mancare come ossequentissimi figliuoli di sua Santità di sovenirla con quel muodo che sarà honesto et conveniente.)
Ayes, 28. Noes, 16. Neutrals, 20.
Jan. 5. Deliberazioni Senato (Secreta) File No. 29. 785. 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, although by the reply which we made lately to your Lordship, we told you that should the peace take place everything would be quieted, to the dignity and repute of his Holiness, and to the general contentment and satisfaction, in which case there would be no need to come to any other resolution, our intent being gained by means of the peace, which by every Prince, and above all by his Holiness, will, we are sure, always be preferred on every account; nevertheless, as you have evinced a wish to us for some fresh reply about (sopra) your proposal, we do not choose to omit telling you that were we at present to enter upon a fresh negotiation it might be believed si potria credere) that we had given cause for preventing this peace; so we do not see how we can decently (convenientemente) say more about what is to happen until we receive the reply to the letters written by us on this subject to the Court of the King of Spain, which we expect in a few days; but we assure you that the troubles in which his Holiness finds himself cause us as much regret and sorrow as if the case were our own; and, for his conservation, should we see the possibility with advantage to our State and safety, on which every Prince is bound to have his eye, of doing anything, we will not fail in what shall become our very great reverence and devotion for his Holiness, and with regard to that Holy See.
Jan. 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 786. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Giulio Orsini arrived from Rome three days ago, and he and the Nuncio transacted business with the King and the Constable. His Majesty made many inquiries about the state of that city and its government for the affairs of the war, and of Paliano, in which place Giulio Orsini had held the chief command (è stato capo). The Nuncio, apart, read the King a letter written to him by Cardinal Caraffa from Venice on Christmas day, when he despatched this courier, who came hither in seven days and a half. At the Court there is great talk about “the going” (l'andata) to your Serenity of the said Cardinal and of the Duke of Ferrara, both being ordered to do so by his most Christian Majesty (che vi venirà et l'un et l'altro di ordine di sua Maestà Christianissima), but from what I hear the Cardinal went sooner than he was ordered to do (che teneva ordine) by the King, who is therefore not altogether pleased with him, as he wished the Duke de Guise to have advanced farther, and that the Duke of Ferrara and the Cardinal should have gone to Venice together, it seeming to him that the moment for inducing your Serenity to accept their offers would then have been more opportune.
The Duke de Guise has arrived at Turin, and is to go as far as Casale to inspect the fortresses there, and in the meanwhile the army is embodying itself (si va riducendo in corpo), but will not be in marching order until after the middle of the present month. Here at the Court they talk so plainly of the breaking out of the war that more would not be said had it already commenced; and so many lords and gentlemen are going into Italy that it is a marvel, the King paying the greater part of them, at least their travelling expenses; and amongst the rest the new Duke de Bouillon, son of the deceased duke, has departed with 20 gentlemen and about 80 horsemen, all equipped as men-at-arms. In these parts eight captains have been despatched for Picardy, they receiving money as usual, but I do not understand that these preparations are being made at present for any other purpose than that of reinforcing the garrisons in those places.
To-day the King made the Signor Giordano Orsini a knight of the Order [of St. Michael?], thus favouring him very greatly, and his despatch for Corsica is being continued, he having already received the money for the despatch of the four captains who are gone to raise their companies; and in all matters needed, as provision for the island, they do precisely as suggested by the aforesaid Signor Giordano, he being put so forward by the Constable from the opinion he has of his valour, that were he his own son he would not do more for him; and Corsica has been united to the crown, so that should the King wish to alienate it he can no longer do so, owing to the statutes of the realm. M. de Morette, who went some time ago with M. de Montmorency to Rome, has brought back word to the Constable that his said son has renounced the wife to whom he said heretofore that he made a promise, and that he will obey him, wishing for nothing more than to come and pay his respects to him; so the Constable sent the secretary Dardoes to commend this his will and make him put it in writing, with orders to send it hither to his Excellency, who, should he think it well expressed, will send for him, and if not he will choose to hear further (vorrà intender pià avanti) about his will; and, for your Serenity's information, the young lady to whom he had given the promise is willing to absolve herself from it, provided the said M. de Montmorency do the like in such a way as to satisfy both sides; and the marriage not having been consummated, the promise can be cancelled by the Pope's authority; so that the hope revives of effecting the marriage with his most Christian Majesty's illegitimate daughter, who is courted and entertained by the Constable with all sorts of offices and amusements (con ogni sorte de officir et piaceji) as much as possible.
Poissy, 5th January 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Jan. 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 787. Federigo Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
The Governor of Artois writes to his Majesty that on the day of the Epiphany the French, with 12 companies (bandiere) of foot and 1,000 horse, draughted from Peronne, St. Quentin, and other places, approached Douay with the intention of taking that fortress, in which they expected to succeed, owing to the custom in these parts of passing that holiday and its eve in various pastimes, especially in drinking. On hearing of the plot the governor warned the inhabitants to omit this practice, doubling the guards and sending out scouts to ascertain the movements of the French, who, perceiving this, renounced the attempt, and on their return set fire to two villages. His Majesty sent immediately for the French ambassador, to whom he complained of the intentions entertained, and of what had actually been done, saying that this stir, together with others of which he had been warned, convinced him that his King was determined to break the truce. The ambassador replied that he had received no previous notice of this circumstance, but that having heard that the Spaniards in Hesdin, who mutinied lately, had committed many outrages against French subjects at Montreuil, it might possibly have chanced that they were attributed to his Catholic Majesty, but that what he, the ambassador, intimated many months ago to his Majesty, he now affirmed, namely, that his King, for the defence of the Pope and of the Caraffa family, which he has taken under his protection, would do whatever he could King Philip subsequently heard that certain merchants his subjects had been detained in several places in France, so he immediately sent orders to Antwerp and other towns of these provinces, to have the like done by the subjects of his most Christian Majesty.
Yesterday the King summoned the council of these states and charged the Duke of Savoy to have letters written to the lords spiritual and temporal, and to the towns, to send their delegates hither immediately, to consult about the defence against the French; and he then despatched a gentleman of his household to Spain, with news of this rupture of the truce, in order (according to what the Spaniards say) that the Princess (fn. 7) on her part likewise may harass the French by way of Pampeluna and Perpignan.
Amongst the other causes which induced the Cardinal of Trent to send hither his agent Pagnano, the principal one was that he might remind King Philip how very expedient it would be for him to send some great personage to your Serenity to counterbalance the visits of Cardinal Caraffa and the Duke of Ferrara. Pagnano told me besides that the Cardinal of Trent had offered to go in person for the performance of such offices as may be necessary with your Serenity; and he gives notice of having sent one of the senators of Milan for this purpose. Concerning this matter a consultation has been held, it being even proposed to send the Duke of Parma, from whom and from Cardinal Farnese a courier arrived with letters for the King, very strongly urging him not to fear lest the visits of Cardinal Caraffa and the Duke of Ferrara make you stir, assuring him that you would never join any league without bearing in mind your usual prudent regard for the quiet of Italy; and although the said letters and the statements of the Ambassador Vargas have greatly tranquillized many persons, convincing them that you will not determine on anything hostile to King Philip, yet, nevertheless, the court in general evinces no little fear, and I, with all those who address me on the subject, employ such fitting form of language as I believe may be desired by your Serenity.
The summaries from Constantinople shall be communicated by me to his Majesty to-morrow, when he will have risen from his bed, he being somewhat indisposed, and I have forwarded your Serenity's letters to the most noble your ambassador in England.
Brussels, 9th January 1557.
Jan. 9. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 788. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The day before yesterday Cardinal Armagnae saidthat by the last letters of the 3rd from Venice, Cardinal Caraffa had comforted the Pope, who by the first of the 2nd had no great hope of obtaining his intent; and this morning the same Cardinal said to me, “After the first reply, Cardinal Caraffa offered to those Lords Ravenna and Cervia, and my King's ambassador in like manner promised them every security, for which reason, here, est aliquid spei, but much, however,” (to use his own very words). He then asked me whether I knew anything whatever about this, and what I believed it might be. I answered him that I had received no “advices” from your Serenity, and that as to what “might be,” the matter depending on the will of many, I could affirm nothing that was sure (non potea affirmar cosa che fusse vera), sarethat gour Serenity would have no other aim than the universal wealand the quiet of Italy. He replied that nothing else would be expected from that most prudent Republic, adding, that the Duke de Guise would certainly be at Ferrara on the 20th instant. I also hear that the French have letthe Pope know that should they came into theseparts, it is necessary for them to have strongholds (lochi sicuri) belonging tothe Church, intowhich to retreawt in case an overwhelming mass of the enemy's troops come upon them unexpectedly, or else they must be assured that your Serenity has joined the League.
Late on Sunday, Marshal Strozzi returned into this city, after having escorted the victuals and ammunition destined for Veletri and Paliano. On the way they met a company of Spaniards going to their quarters at Marino, and although the Spaniards were much alarmed by this encounter, Strozzi, however, would not allow them to receive any injury, either by word or deed, under very severe penalties.
On Tuesday, at the place here called “Testazzo,” there was a review of all the infantry in Rome, and although there were many banners, and the men being well armed made a great show, they were not supposed to exceed 4,000 foot soldiers, notwithstanding the report of their being in much greater number.
The Spaniards have abandoned that fortress of the island in the stream (fiamicino), two reasons being assigned for this; the one, because they have seen that they cannot keep it, as it would be under fire of the one erected opposite to it; the other, because they do not choose to employ their troops to garrison every petty place; and I am told that on this abandoned fort they have expended hitherto upwards of 5,000 crowns. They endeavoured by mines to destroy Hostia, but did not succeed by reason of its position, and are said to have burned all they could, of which, when the Pope was informed, he said, “These accursed of God! by all means let them destroy and do all the mischief they can, for the time is approaching when they will pay everything.”
I have been told by a person, who says he heard it from Marshal Strozzi, that all loans contracted for by the most Christian King will cost him 23 per cent., 16 for the usual rate of interest, 4 for the exchange at Venice, and 3 for the depreciation of the coinage; and that the Italian merchants will avail themselves of certain German names of importance for their greater security. From hence (di qui) they have talked of drawing the money destined for the building of St. Peter's, which a person in charge of that fund assures me amounts to upwards of 9,000 crowns; and by order of these Lords the works are now suspended, 3,000 crowns having been removed yesterday, and the like will be done by the rest.
Yesterday morning, when the truce expired, a good part of the infantry went out of Rome, being followed by some pieces of artillery, and also by about 300 light horse. To-day Marshal Strozzi departed with 7 companies (insegne) of Gascons, to attack the Spanish fort at the mouth of the river, as it is ill planned, being nearly square and not well flanked; and should this attempt fail, they will erect one opposite, to command that of the enemy, for which purpose the said Marshal went the day before yesterday with a considerable armed force and made a drawing of it; whereupon the enemy telling him that this was a violation of the truce, he replied, laughing, that they had broken the truce, as it contained an article to the effect, that whilst it lasted the parties were to hold what they had, and as the Spaniards, during this interval, had abandoned what they held, they might be considered the violators of the truce.
Yesterday there was Consistory, which the Pope entered very late, having kept the Cardinals waiting almost five hours; the cause was an attack of flux, so that he thought of dismissing the Cardinals, but he nevertheless went thither, perhaps lest it should be reported that his Holiness' indisposition was more serious. He apologized for the delay by the above-mentioned cause, saying, that he merely came to comfort himself in the college of so many of his brothers (solamente per consolarsi nel collegio de tenti soi fratelli); and in order not to let them depart without transacting business, he proposed that they should appoint as coadjutor of the Rev. Lippomano, Bishop of Verona, one of his nephews, son of the most noble Messer Thomà; (fn. 8) which proposal being accepted by that Holy College with marvellous unanimity and praise of both one and the other, it then broke up.
It is said that Duke Ottavio [Farnese] has answered the Pope that he will give passage to the French army, and such victuals as he can. The Cavalier del Sagrà, who was to take the sword to the Duke of Ferrara, left this city on Monday for Ravenna, and will take away thence the Reverend President, the Bishop of Narni, that he may be accompanied by a person in holy orders and of authority, and present this gift from his Holiness. There is no one here of importance who fails to ask me what your Serenity's intention is, and what Cardinal Caraffa will bring back. To-day the Pope dined in public and cheerfully, and remained in “signatura” until 4 p.m.
Rome, 9th January 1557.
Jan. 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 789. Federigo Badoer, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
When the King rose from his bed he gave me audience. I communicated to him as usual the news-letter from Constantinople, and when he heard of the recall of the Pasha, and of the troops originally destined for Hungary, he told me that this resolve seemed to him an important one; and that therefore expecting Sultan Soliman to send out a fleet, he also would be on the watch with his; and his Majesty then thanked your Serenity for your usual loving office. I commended the King's prudent discourse, in such terms as might give him satisfaction, and having taken leave of his Majesty, Don Ruy Gomez, who was present, took me into a room of his, where he kept me for a long while discussing various matters, telling me in short that he hoped that your Serenity, neither from the persuasions of Cardinal Caraffa, nor yet from those of the Duke of Ferrara, would change your most prudent and sincere intention of continuing in your usual neutrality; and that although owing to sundry advices received here, many persons are not devoid of anxiety, his Majesty nevertheless, and he, felt very sure of the goodness and prudence of your Serenity. He then commenced discoursing about the nature of Frenchmen, expressing almost the same opinions and in the same words as he did heretofore, and which I notified to your Serenity, about their wishes and projects with regard to the affairs of Italy; and at this point taking my hand and pressing it closely, looking me steadfastly in the face, he addressed me precisely as follows: “Lord Ambassador, I swear to your Lordship here before God, that were my King sure of having a good peace, by which I mean a lasting one, he would give something of his own to anyone according to the good pleasure and counsel of the Signory; but it is certain, and I say no less so than it is that God is our true Lord, that the French would not be satisfied with the Milanese, (ma è cosa certa, et divo certa, come Dio è nostro vero Signore, che Francesi non si contentariano di haver lo stato di Milano)) because they are by nature insatiable.” He then with a smile continued: “Those persons who went lately to Venice in the name of the Pope, and perhaps of the King of France, remind me of gamblers, who having little to lose seek to induce those who have much at stake to play with them; but prudence forbids acceptance of the invitation; and if one is to gamble it should be with equals. To speak more clearly, my meaning is that the Signory will not commence a game with the French, who in Italy can but lose, but will play, that is to say unite with my King, (who has much to lose and much to bestow of his own free will as he shall see fit) in a mere defensive league; and I pray your Lordship to believe me that I say this with truth, and that my King will form it whenever such be the will of the Signory, with whom he desires a perpetual union; “praying me also that if I had comprehended his Majesty's heart and his own wish for peace, and if this friendship between his Majesty and your Serenity was to continue and increase, I, both by letters and by word of month, would testify to your Serenity accordingly. To these last words I replied that in truth I had not failed hitherto by my letters precisely to represent all that had been said to me on this subject by his Majesty and himself, and that of this sincere and most loving disposition, I would also make such verbal relation as becoming, whilst by facts his Lordship had known your Serenity's well-disposed mind towards his Majesty, and would know hereafter that he has no more sincere friend than your Serenity, nor one who bears him so much respect. I told him that great was the satisfaction felt by me on hearing the good opinion of his Majesty and his Lordship, that your Serenity would not do anything unbecoming, as neither voluntarily nor from prudence had you ever acted to the prejudice of his Majesty or of the Emperor, nor of any Prince whatever; saying also to his Lordship in con- clusion and accompanying the remark with a gladsome expression of countenance) that the real delight taken by your Serenity in gambling is that of thinking what is just and fair, and carrying it into effect.
After the departure of the French from Douay, those same troops with others, amounting in all to thirty companies (trenta insegne), went to take a castle, distant one league from Hesdinfort, and although the Spaniards who mutinied had not yet received the pay promised them by the King, three hundred harquebusiers from amongst them with fifty horse went out to succour the place; for which feat, and for other fair words sent by them to his Majesty, purporting that they will continue to serve him faithfully, he has pardoned them, and to-morrow their arrears of pay will be sent them, amounting to about one hundred thousand crowns.
To-day the joust in honour of the Duchess of Parma took place in the park, and Don Ruy Gomez as challenger gave honourable proofs of his prowess.
Brussels, 10th January 1557.


  • 1. See letter of Giovanni Michiel, date 26 Jan. 1557, alluding to the mission of an envoy from the Duchess of Parma to Queen Mary.
  • 2. By two treaties, one secret and the other public, signed at Ghent on the 15th September 1556, King Philip ceded the city of Piacenza and its territory to Ottavio Farnese and his consort, Margaret of Austria, natural daughter of the Emperor Charles V. For the birth of Margaret of Austria, and name of her mother, see Venetian Calendar, vol. 3, p. 220, footnote.
  • 3. Giovan Angelo de' Medici, who succeeded Paul IV, on the 26th December 1559, with the title of Pius IV., was a Milanese.
  • 4. By the late Sir William Hackett's Index to “Foreign Calendar,” 1553–1558 appears that the Lord of Piombino was Giacomo Appiano.
  • 5. Francisco Mendoza y Bovadilla. (See Cardella, vol. 4, pp. 256, 257.)
  • 6. No date in MS.
  • 7. Joanna of Austria, Princess of Portugal, Regent of Spain.
  • 8. Amongst the many theological works composed by Luigi Lippomano, Bishop of Verona, were “De Vitis Sanctorum Patrum,” and “Confermazione di tutti li Dogmi Cattolici.” (See Pietro Angelo Zeno, “Memoria de' Serittori Veneti Patrizj,” Venezia, 1744.)