Venice: January 1557, 21-31

Pages 921-937

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, 21–31

Jan. 22. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 798. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
On the receipt yesterday of your Serenity's letters of the 16th instant charging me to inform the Pope that your ambassador with King Philip has announced his Majesty's wish (volontà) for peace, and the despatch of Don Francisco Pacheco to the Duke of Alva for that purpose, with authority to conclude and make it, so that it may not fail through him, desiring me with this opportunity to pray the Pope to grant this precious gift of peace, I went to-day to audience. On entering the chamber, the Pope, after asking me whether I was quite recovered, said, “You must have some 'advice' from those Lords of the French army which is coming to assist us;” and when I replied that I knew nothing more than was said at this Court, that the preparations are great, he added, “Magnifico Ambassador, the French are in truth behaving well, and deserve great praise; they will not degenerate from their ancestors, who on every occasion have assisted this Holy See. The Duke de Guise, who may be styled the first personage in France after the King, is coming; we do not mention the Constable, as he is viceroy (lassamo star il Contestabile perche è vicere); he (the Duke de Guise) brings with him M. de Nemours and many other great lords, besides whom, a good number of gentlemen, suis samptibas, are coming for our assistance, may God bless them for it; and that Duke has assuredly used great diligence in bringing the army across the Alps, asperrimo anni tempore; he has much cavalry, which is indeed esteemed the best in Christendom, and besides the French infantry he has a great quantity of foreign foot-soldiers. Thus the army will be instrutto (sic) pedestribus et equitibus copiis, and will come with great alacrity, so that those others (coloro) are nto in time to dispute their passage, in such wise that we hope to punish these rascals (questi tristi) for their acts of impiety; and would to God that all who are interested in this afflicted province knew their own advantage (conoscesse il ben loro), and how easily these remegades (questi marrani) will be driven out of Italy; for at this moment a small army will do more than it would have done at another time; the yoke of those Imperialists (di costoro) is no longer bearabnle; you will see how the people here, who are gasping for breath, will rise against them, so that by God those few Spaniards who are in these parts will find no place in which to hide themselves.
“We have little else to tell you, yet will we repeat what we have often said about the impiety of those people (di costoro) and our own patience; and that although their iniquities are such that we ought to nauseate the mere mention of them, yet when they wished to speak about an agreement we did not fail to hear them; when they desired a conference, we sent, and sent again to them, our Cardinal, than whom we have nothing dearer in the world, but the agreement purported that we their superiors, they being our feudatories, were to grant them terms such as no prince, unless he were a devil, would demand of a subject (che un principe che non fasse un diarolo non donatuderia ad un sno suddito), namely, that they did not choose us to punish our rebel-vassals, nor to raise fortresses in our own territory; so that this their impiety being beyond measure unreasonable, we suppose it to be the will of God in order to punish them, and sometimes we have said to ourselves, 'Lord God! how undiscoverable and inscrutable are the secrets of Thy Divine Majesty (di Sua Divina Maeslà)! Thou gavest me the pontificate without my asking it of Thee, and Thou knowest it, and the world may know it. Thou then madest me apply my mind immediately to the most holy reform, and to the Council (which we still hope to effect), for which purpose I sent legates to initiate (per introdur) the peace in Christedom, but cum iis qui oderunt pacem, cram pacificas, for they plotted (designorono) to seize that good legate. Thou hast permitted them to persecute me as they have done, and i return Thee thanks, for Thou hast given me courage to suffer resolutely without any fear, I having thus expended all I possessed, and whatever I could obtain through divers channels and divers aids, and which I had intended to employ for the repair of sacred places, and for the support of many men of virtue; who can penetrate into thy secrets, my Lord? Thou hast perhaps permitted these things to fiee afflicted Italy from this plague, and dost will me to be Thy minister; and if it is so, behold me, O Lord, most ready to undergo any fatigue and peril; but, O Lord, make the others likewise (opera si che li altri ancora conoschino la sua volontà) to know Thy will and prepare to execute it, by doing also what is for their own welfare, freeing this most noble province from the yoke of a race which is monstrous (di gente che sono monstra) nullâ virtute redempta vitijs. What men are these? what exemplification of virtue do they afford? (che imagine di virtù si conosce in loro?) They are a sewer of filth (cloaca di bruttura), a mixture of Jews, Moriscos, and Lutherans, who so long as they shall have a span of land in Italy will disquiet the whole of it.”
The Pope having then paused, I said, “Holy Father, we must not despair of the peace being made, with the maintenance of your Holiness' dignity, and by also putting an end to expenses, troubles, and dangers, for the Signory have letters from their ambassador with King Philip, in reply to the commission given him after the conclusion of the last truce for 40 days, to the effect, that having strongly urged his Majesty to be reconciled to your Holiness, the King replied that he wished it greatly, both by reason of the reverence which he bears this Holy See as also to gratify (compiacer) the Signory; and that having heard from the Duke of Alva what it was requisite to do to make the peace, he sent him authority to conclude it, by Don Francisco Pacheco, charging him to act in such a way on his part as not to fail to effect the agreement; which intelligence in like manner as it was agreeable to his Sublimity, so did he commission me to notify it immediately to your Holiness, praying you of your goodness and piety to be content to bestow on Christendom this most precious gift of peace, which is so salutary and so universally desired, and above all by his Serenity.”
His Holiness replied, “We thank the Signory for this intelligence, and for the office performed by them with us; and we assure them that in like manner as we have never failed hitherto (as we told you at the beginning) to do everything to remove these hostilities from Italy and from Christendom, so will we not fail to do for the future, provided that we can do so without danger of being betrayed (assassinati), as usual, these enemies of God. We should indeed wish the Signory to be convinced that our will is good, but that no remedy can be found; since many years we know their malignity and iniquity, we have had experience of them, we sat in their state councils (siamo stati nelli loro consigli), (fn. 1) and departed, because we saw that they were going the way to banish Christ from the world. That accursed soul of Charles (quella maledetta anima di Carlo) never thought of anything but of making himself master of the Papal States, in order subsequently to do the like by the rest of Italy; for this, Rome was sacked, so that to get them out of it Lautrec had to be sent under Naples; for this, on his return from Africa, he had a mind to stay here, had not Paul III. made King Francis enter Piedmont; for this he made so many other attempts in which he failed, because God chooses His Church to have this temporal State, which is known (besides its having been proved by so many saints through their writings) from experience, as all the tyrants who sought to occupy it incurred such ruin, that scarcely does any record of their names remain; and thus will it be with those Imperialists (di costoro). Of the father it may be already said, that sit mortaus sed relicto aculeo, which is his accursed son (che è il suo maledetto figliolo), who has the same designs and the same counsellors, and proceeds tyrannizing over Italy by the same means, endeavouring first to occupy this State, so that he may then more easily make himself master of the rest; nor would you escape it (nè voi la scapareste), for, this being subjugated, you would go with a whiff (ve ne andareste in un soffio), nor would submission nor money avail you. And what remains for us? they have the kingdom of Naples, Sicily, Sardinia, and part of Corsica; you know how Lombardy fares; Tuscany may be called his; and they were very near occupying this State; whilst you will remain looking on.
“We are under great obligations to the French, who have never abandoned the defence of this See, for they are truly sons of the Church, and deserve to be praised and honoured; you see how joyfully they come to defend us, which will be to their glory and to our eternal obligation, as we hope in God to punish these wicked men (questi scellerati).
When the matters shall be further advanced we will say to you, you see in what state the affairs are; what are you going to do? (che state a far?) Come and take your share of it, as should our designs succeed, we will assuredly render the greatest service to the Signory that they ever received since the first stone of that noble city was laid until now; and we would fain give them everything from the love we bear them, and because their Government (Governo) is after our own heart; for Italy would at least be out of the hands of the barbarians who have but too much lacerated and reviled us, et emuncto quicquid erat succi.
Until now we have treated you with all discretion (modestia), not asking any league of you; and being unable to go in person. we sent our Cardinal to thank his Sublimity for the offices performed and to hear his mind. The Cardinal was so well received and caressed (as we told you last time) that we remain under obligation, and with a perpetual wish to do the State service; but in conclusion we tell you that let happen what may we are not long for this world, by reason of our advanced age, as known; but we shall depart this life content because we have not failed to seek the freedom (libertà) of Italy; and should you not do your duty, we will summon you before the judgment-seat of God—vos inquam appellabo—for having failed towards yourselves, towards your country, towards religion, towards Christ, by remaining asleep when His Majesty wished to rescue you and others; and you will remain on earth with loss and shame, having had it in your power to be the deliverers of Italy and not having chosen to exercise it. Let those Imperialists (costoro) still cajole you by saying they wish for peace; is it possible that you do not yet know them? May God open your eyes!
Rome, 22nd January 1557.
Jan. 23. Original Letter book, Venetian Archives. 799. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Marshal Strozzi having discovered that the site where the Imperialists have their fort at Hostia is almost an island, as you will perceive by the enclosed drawing (fn. 2) copied from one taken by the Marshal; having on one side the Tiber, on the other the sea, and on the third (for it is a triangle) the marsh (stagno paludoso), with one channel, there being a second from the land; he raised a bastion between Hostia and the enemy's fort, patrolling the shore with his cavalry to prevent small vessels from succouring the besieged, who lately sent out a Spaniard and a peasant, so far as could be discovered by their footsteps, showing that one was barefooted and the other shod (calciato); and some papal soldiers following these footsteps, found a dead Spaniard, on whose person was a billet in the Spanish tongue to the following effect: “Sir, Hostia is taken, the fort besieged; we now need something more than words, we must gather up our garments (alciarse li panni) and fly.” When the Marshal who came to Rome with the Duke of Paliano (he having returned from the camp on Saturday night), they went to the army on Tuesday to blockade the enemy more closely, and on departing he said to the Duke of Paliano, for my secretary heard him say, “My Lord, I pray your Excellency not to be surprised should the undertaking proceed slowly, because at these commencements we shall be occupied with preparations, but rest assured that we will not fail to do whatever shall be requisite.”
It is said here that they are waiting until they can approach by means of the trench, meaning to employ the spade and pickaxe, as the Duke told me. On Wednesday, a falconet-shot having struck a wall near which the Marshal was, a stone-splinter struck him in the mouth, knocking out one of his teeth and loosening another, the broken tooth having somewhat hurt his tongue. His lordship wrote an account of the accident in his own hand; and from what is heard it will do him no harm. They sent him immediately Maestro Jacomo of Perugia, a surgeon in great repute here, the Pope having sent to visit him by his chamberlain Cressentio, and yesterday morning the Duke of Paliano went thitherwards, but could not get there because the Tiber was so swollen that it had inundated a great part of the country, doing the like also in Rome, somewhat to my detriment, my house being on the river; which inundation is also supposed to have impeded the return of the chamberlain, who has not yet been seen.
What I wrote in my last was true, that part of Sciara Colonna's company on its way to Galiano was stripped by the Imperial cavalry, with this in addition, that with it were some soldiers of Chienchio Capizucco's company, so that they might be 200 strong in all. Some Imperial infantry in Rocca de Papa having made a foray as far as under Veletri to plunder cattle, three companies came forth, and having recovered the plunder, choosing to advance farther than necessary, were routed by the aforesaid Imperialists with the assistance of the peasantry. The Duke of Alva is fortifying Civitella and other places toward the Abruzzi and in the other direction has destroyed the greater part of Anagni, to make it a fortress, and the Count di Populo has moved towards Ferentino. From Terracina some 800 Germans and 500 Spaniards who were landed from the fleet have entered Val Corsa, so the brother of Cardinal Sermoneta, who is in Piperno, demands troops for the custody of that place, which is considered an important one; and he (Sermoneta's brother) says that having garrisoned a certain castle belonging to the Massimi family, Count di Popolo sent for the authorities of the town, saying he wished to speak to them, giving assurance that they should not be injuured and they having gone to him, he detained them, and sent a message to the inhabitants to surrender; and they replying that they had a papal garrison which would defend them, he took three others of the place, and repeated that unless they surrendered, he would hang those already in his hands, and this being refused, he hanged them.
Cardinal Sermoneta sent his brother's letter to the Dukeo f Paliano, whom it distressed greatly, and he said it might prove the commencement of a cruel war; by so much the more as it is said that in the act of departing from Monte Rotondo they violated the women, some of whom they took away with them; and that in another place where they had lived at discretion they sacked it before leaving.
On Tuesday, Don Francisco Pacheco being unable to obtain audience, departed for Naples. The Imperialists say that the Pope did not choose to see him, to avoid rendering the French suspicious, adding that the said Don Francisco brigns fall powers (carta bianca) to the Pope, as said by him in all the towns through which he passed. His Holiness' familiars say that they words are uttered to render him unpopular from its being seen that the result is not in accordance with them. Cardinal Morone, with whom Pacheco conversed, says that he announced the restitution of the whole State to the Pope, not demanding farther security from his Holiness for the kingdom of Naples. Owing to this arrival, and from its being reported that the Pope could not do less than accept the terms offered him, the French ambassador went to his Holiness to ask him what hope there might be of peace, that he might give his King notice, as due. The Pope assured him that he would not make peace, quoting the two following cerses:
“Pax erit hâee vobis, donec mihi vita manebit,
Infirmo pecori quâe solet esse lupi.”
The ambassador of the Duke of Ferrara also told my secretary, that even should the Pope make the agreement, the King of France had gone so far that he would not fail to wage war.
It is said here on good authority, that Cardinal Caraffa will not come to Rome until he has had an interview with the Duke de Guise, who wishes for it.
To-day Congregation was held, when the Pope said he would give public audience as often as possible, to keep the tribunals of Rome to their duty, and he will commence doing so next Wednesday or Thursday. He also decreed that henceforth on the 18th instant there be performed the solemnity of “St. Peter's chair” in Rome, in like manner as that of the one at Antioch, to confound the Lutherans, who say that he did not die in this city, his Holiness vituperating them according to his custom.
Rome, 23rd January 1557.
Jan. 24. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archvies. 800. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Duke of Paliano invited me to the christening of his Excellency's new born daughter, when the French ambassador was to be present, saying that the Pope had ordered it. She was christened by the Cardinal of Pisa [Scipione Rebiba], and after the ceremony the Duke chose us to dine with him, but previously conferred with the French ambassador. At the end of the dinner there arrived the son of Aldobrandini, with news that the Spanish fort at Hostia had been taken by agreement. The Duke did not seem elate, but we all three went to the Pope, who was still at table. In the meanwhile M. de Lansac arrived, he also having come from the camp to give more particular account of this event. The Pope withdrew to say vespers and complin, and thank God for this victory. Having finished his prayers he came down into the audience chamber, and M. de Lansac, with the French ambassador and the Duke of Paliano, having drawn a little apart from the others, Lansac said to the Pope, laughing, “Holy Father, you should absolve me for having spoken with people who are excommunicated,” and then told him how the Spaniards, seeing the enemy's forces approach, surrendered, on condition that all the artillery, ammunition, and baggage, which is in great quantity, should be ours, they departing with colours flying, and with what they could carry of their own, and, as a favour, with one falconet; and although Marshal Strozzi could have taken them by force he had chosen to display this clemency, thinking it would please his Holiness, to whom he made a present of the artillery and ammunition, but for the rest, the value of which exceeded 20,000 crowns, as there were many merchants and others in the fort, his Holiness should be pleased (fasse contenta) to make a present of it to the soldiers, both for the goodwill shown by them and to encourage them for what they will have to perform. Lansac added that had he been in that place he would not have surrendered it until after 2,000 cannon shots, as otherwise he should have thought he had lost honour and his King's favour; that within there were two companies (bandiere) of soldiers, who were not 300 strong, although it had always been said that they were 500; and he commended the judgment and valour of Marshal Strozzi.
The Pope replied, that he thanked God for having commenced favouring his cause, that he praised the clemency used by Strozzi towards those unfortunates (poverelli), and that in no part would he change what was recommended and wished for by the Marshal, from whom he expected greater advantages (frutti) than this; whereupon M. de Lansac and the Duke of Paliano took leave. The French ambassador remained a long while negotiating with the Pope, reading two or three letters to him; when he departed, his Holiness having called me, I assured him that your Serenity would rejoice at a victory so important for the benefit of this city. The Pope replied, that your Serenity would always have cause to rejoice at the prosperity of him and his family, and he then commenced speaking of the evil nature of the Emperor, and of his wish to degrade (abbassar) this See; that the son was in no way dissimilar to the father; that when he most evinced a wish for peace, and sought it, he was then more than ever intent on making himself master of the whole of the Papal States, in order subsequently to obtain the rest of Italy; that for this purpose he made the truce with the King of France, so that being secured in that quarter they might the more easily execute their projects; that plots had been laid against this city, against his own life and that of those most dear to him; that he had the conspirators and their accomplices in prison, they being convicted on their own confession; that he had not chosen to proceed against them further hitherto from wishing to be merciful rather than just; (fn. 3) that he had always hoped in God, and that the more grievous his affairs seemed, the greater was the hope and constancy administered to him by a lively faith which he had, that his Lord would not abandon him; and in conclusion, he repeated all the things so often said during the 17 months of my residence at this legation; adding, that he knew he was much obliged to the most Christian King his good son, who, besides so much other assistance rendered to the popedom, was coming to defend him with such considerable forces that they exceeded his expectations, for he was informed that three most powerful armies would be in array, one for this territory, another for Piedmont, and the third on the confines of Picardy; that this one here (questo di qua) would do wonders, the Duke of Alva not having sufficient forces to resist, nor the hope of receiving any, that the wretched Neapolitans (quei poveri populi) awaited nothing but this opportunity, and that all the towns of the Abruzzi had already sent to offer themselves a few months ago to the Marquis his nephew, at the time when he recalled him hither; that besides the other results which might be obtained by the army in Piedmont, it will certainly prevent the Imperialists from reinforcing the Duke of Alva with troops from Lombardy, whilst the one in Picardy will put in confusion those other parts of Flanders, a province so important and so dear to these schismatics (“mettendo sottosopra quelle altre parte della Flandra tanto importante, et così cara a questi scismatici); (fn. 4) that the French were men to be greatly esteemed and held dear, and that he would always endeavour to show himself grateful to them. His Holiness exhibited to me an autograph letter, signed thus, “your Holiness' devoted and obedient son the King” (di vostra Santità obbediente et diroto figliolo il Re), saying to me, “Magnifico Ambassador, we can conceal nothing whatever from you; since yesterday we are beyond measure joyful, because we have advice that the King would offer Sicilyto my most serene Signory; you know what we said to you heretofore about the convenence of that kingdom, which would benefit you more (as we remember having told you) than any maritime possessions you might have in the whole of this Mediterranean; you would at least not be compelled to beg your bread, first from one and then from the other as (from the experience we have of your city) we know that you are for the most part compelled to do. The extreme advantage of the undertakingis manifest to everybody, and that of the kingdom [of Naples] being accomplished, Sicily falls of itself. Then, for its conservation, you, with your naval forces, and raling inj the mild manner peculiar to you (et usando quel moderame nel governo che è proprio vostro), render that indabitable. God knows, Magnifico Ambassador, that we should wish not only Sicily, but all the rest of Italy, to be yours; we never could see you sufficiently great (nonj si potemo satiar di vedervi grandi). Nor for this reason do we ask you at present to take any share in the danger, but keep ready to avail yourselves of such opportunities as shall present themselves, and to the partners when the game is won.”
He again in repeated that the French are men of such a sort that they will do whatever is wished for those who know how to manage them, and that, they being by nature suspicious and ambitious, he recommended your Serenity to cultivate them (che se intertenisse con loro), and would approve of your making some demonstration of love and honour towards the Duke de Guise, as if a secretary was sent to the Duke of Alva, he would think it well to make some demonstration towards the Duke de Guise, whom on every account he considers a much greater personage. In answer I told him that I knew you had a very close friendshp with the most Christian Kign, and had never failed to perform every complimentary office with his Majesty and his representatives, and that I did not remember that yuo had ever sent “viva voce” to any military commander who did not pass through your territory. To this the Pope answered, “If it has not been done, and is not usual, we say nothing more to you. God knows that we go decising (che andamo pensando) all possible means whereby to render you as dear to others as you are to ourselves;” adding, “We commend you for desiring the peace and to ourselves;” adding, “We commend you for desiring the peace and for seeking to effect it, but we well know that those lords are sage, adn will know (how to avail themselves of?) the opportunities (e conosceranno l'occasioni);” to which I said that your Serenity, having known the benefits of peace, as enjoyed by you for so many years with all parties, you therefore wished for it, and sought it most heartily (con tutto l'affetto dell' animo suo). Then I took leave, and in the act of doing so he said, “When writing to the Signory, oblige me by not failing again to thank them for the honours bestowed on our nephew, and to cause that most excellent dominion to hold us dear, we being so desirous of their greatness. To tell you everything, the Cardinal our nephew before he returns will confer with the Duke de Guise, who we believe will also choose to see his father-in-law, the Duke of Ferrara, and all three together will determine on the course to be pursued for this undertaking, and we shall abide by it, because we do not know much about war, although those Imperialists have always kept us in the midst of trumpets and cannon.”
Rome, 24th January 1557, 3 p.m.
Jan. 24. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 801. Michiel Surian and Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassadors with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
As soon as I, Michiel, was somewhat recovered from my indisposition, we both of us, by common consent, determined to ask audience of his Majesty, and had it to-day at 3 p.m.
Having entered the chamber where the King was with many of the principal lords, I, Michiel, congratulated myself in the first place on his Majesty's excellent health, as of a thing which your Serenity held very dear, and praying God to grant him that and every other prosperity, I presented the letter of credence, and then said how much your Serenity from your natural inclination had always loved peace, and how much you had always esteemed the Emperor's friendship, and did esteem his Majesty's, adding that I came to offer him the constant determination (colontà) of the most excellent Republic to continue in this peace and friendship, confirmed and established by a period of so many years with the Emperor, touching briefly on such points as seemed to me becoming your Serenity's dignity and grandeur; and in conclusion I said that I was to remain with his Majesty for the maintenance, no room remaining for me to say the increase, of this mental conjunction, to effect which I had one sole commission from your Serenity, namely, that all my thoughts, words, and deeds were to be no less intent on his Majesty's advantage and glory than on your Serenity's. The King answered each particular with gravity and prudence, evincing great esteem for your Serenity's friendship, and that he was excellently disposed always to preserve it, as a thing most dear to him, and never to fail on his part in the performance of every office towards the most serene Republic. He then greatly praised my most noble predecessor, and said that from me he hoped for every good office, both by reason of the information he had received, and because he knows your Serenity is accustomed always to send ambassadors who were men of worthy qualities; [and I, Federico, several times did not fail to impress on his Majesty's mind the goodness, erudition, and prudence of his Magnificence, as he deserves, and in accordance with your Serenity's service (fn. 5) ]. After a few other words from his Majesty and ourselves, this conversation being ended, the King, showing himself most perfectly satisfied with your Serenity, told us that by letters of the 9th instant from Venice he had heard the reply given by the most excellent Republic to Cardinal Caraffa, commending your Serenity for prudence and constancy, and thanking you for the affection you bore his Majesty, as displayed by such clear and evident facts, and saying that he should never desire anything more of your Serenity than that you do persevere in the sage determination to remain in your state of quiet and tranquillity, which was no less for the general benefit of Christendom than to the great contentment of his Majesty, who added a few other words on this subject; and we having no notice of this, nor any order from your Serenity, merely replied by assuring his Majesty that the most serene Republic would alway be constant in its friendship with him.
Brussels, 24th January 1557.
Jan. 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 802. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
According to the intention announced to me, I hoped that on Sunday the 24th the most Serene Queen would have given me audience and despatched me entirely, but when I sent to fix the hour, her Majesty returned me word by Cardinal Pole, through my messenger, that if not inconvenient she would like me to delay until the following Sunday, so it did not seem fit to me to insist farther, but to adapt myself to the will of her Majesty.
I have been told on good authority that persons have been sent to the borders of Scotland diligently to inspect the frontiers, and fortify and supply them with all things necessary; and to give orders for the captains and those deputed to guard that territory, if not already there, to go thither, and not depart thence without leave, so that in case of a rupture with the French, the Scots may be prevented from invading England according to their custom.
The like has been done in all the maritime counties, by sending thither captains and leading personages to keep the militia, who have been called out for this purpose, in order; and to make all necessary provision for any chance of a rupture.
The muster of the 50 pensioners was made in the Queen's presence, and much to her Majesty's pleasure, all of them having made their appearance, each with three horses according to their agreement, in excellent array, and very well armed.
The gentleman who was sent to the Duchess of Parma has returned, with letters from the most serene King confirming his speedy return to this kingdom; and the Duchess sent one of her secretaries to visit the most serene Queen, and to apologize for the anticipation of this compliment by her Majesty; it having been the intention of the Duchess to come in person to England.
London, 26th January 1557. (fn. 6)
Jan. 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 803. Michiel Surian and Federico Badger, Venetian Ambassadors with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
We went to-day to visit Don Ruy Gomez and the most illustrious Duchesses of Parma and of Lorraine, who in reply gave us many loving words, and particularly the Duchess of Parma, who evinces singular respect for your Serenity. We will continue performing the other offices which remain for us, and in two or three days, I, Federico, shall go and take leave of his Majesty. The ambassador Vargas said this morning that if the French mean that the late accidents have not broken the truce, King Philip and his ministers choose to consider it broken and are intent on several preparations. This seeming to us an important matter, we endeavoured to learn the truth of it more authentically, and therefore in our conversation with Don Ruy Gomez, who was assuredly very kind, we asked him whether peace would continue here (se quì si staria in pace), whereupon his Lordship, perhaps believing that we asked him about the affair of Italy, made a long discourse about all that had taken place since the affairs of Paliano down to the present time, narrating even the King's particular suspicions in the kingdom of Naples, thus showing great confidence. We remarked that his Lordship sought to justify the King, demonstrating that the necessity for defence had induced him to march his troops, and not ambition of state, as he has enough to suffice him, and that which he possesses has need of quiet rather than of war; adding what he has so often said to me, Federico, that his Majesty would wish your Serenity yourself to judge this suit (che v. Serta conoscesse lei questa causa), promising to abide by your sentence and to do whatever you told him; and that were you to see that his Majesty is in the right, he desired nothing more than that your Serenity should remain at a window, looking on (che ella fosse ad una, finestra a veder), and not stir either for one side or the other. Although it was not our intention to enter on this topic, we nevertheless without preventing his Lordship let him finish, and then I, Michiel, said we hoped in his Divine Majesty, from what we saw of the most serene King's inclination towards the peace, that means would be found to adjust everything through the prudence of his Majesty and of his most illustrious Lordship, and that it was always better to quiet things by way of peace than of war, and that very often more was gained by kindness than by force; and having thanked him for this confidential communication we took leave. His discourse did not seem to us to indicate a wish for war, but rather that the best news would be peace in all quarters.
We then went to visit the Duke of Savoy, and I, Michiel, having performed the office enjoined me by your Serenity, he commenced speaking about this matter, and after allusions to the incursions of the French on the frontiers he said that the King could no longer tolerate such grievously injurious deeds, for which it was sought subsequently to atone by words, and that his Majesty's honour being concerned in the matter he chose to show that the patience evinced by him hitherto is not caused by cowardice (viltà) nor want of power, but solely by his wish to do what is for the common benefit of Christendom. This contradictory language might cause a variety of opinions, but as yet, however, no provision is being made either for money or troops, but merely words, which commenced circulating through the Court, directly they heard the reply given by your Serenity to Cardinal Caraffa, which so far as can be seen has convinced them that there is no longer any doubt about your Serenity.
Brussels, 26th January 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Jan. 26. Original Despatch Venetian Archives. 804. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
His most Christian Majesty received, “advices” lately from his ambassador with your Serenity. A leading personage speaking about them, said, “The Venetian Lords are sage, and do not rush headlong” (et non corrono così presto). Your Serenity having shown that you had the state of the Church at heart, and that you did not yet quite despair of the negotiation for the peace here, the interpretation is, that when the negotiation fails entirely you will join the league. The King, directly he heard of Cordinal Caraffa's arrival at Venice, sent word of it to the Duke de Guise, ordering him to proceed immediately, as he did, it seeming to his Majesty that the Cardinal having gone to your Serenity sooner than he wished, the Duke's march—in case you had delayed your decision— would obtain that benefit which the King had purposed receiving at the time of the Cardinal's mission to you, had it been postponed until a more fitting moment.
The last advices from the Duke de Guise purport that he had already entered the Milanese, and was continuing his march into your Serenity's territory, to join the Duke of Ferrara; and he writes that he had already sent a courier to the French ambassador at Venice, that he might communicate this to your Serenity. The army is said to consist of 6,000 Switzers, 6,000 Frenchmen, and 4,000 Italians, 600 men-at-arms, and 800 light cavalry; 4,000 Switzers, 4,000 French, and 3,000 Italians remaining with M. de Brissac.
Poissy, 26th January 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Jan. 27. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 805. The Same to the Same.
Last night, his most Christian Majesty sent hither to confine the Spanish ambassador to the house together with all his attendants, as likewise all the Flemings; and he has ordered proclamation to be made in Paris, that everybody is to abstain from trading in Flanders. The Court being at such a distance, I have been unable to ascertain the cause of so sudden a resolution, and merely know that his most Christian Majesty is informed that after restitution had been made, the troops of the King of Spain made a foray in Picardy in the French territory, making fresh captures of men and cattle; in addition to which there are advices that Marshal de Brissac was marching with his troops on a certain expedition. It seems fitting to me to notify this event to your Serenity without delay.
Poissy, 27th January 1557.
Jan. 27. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 806. The Same to the Same.
After having written to your Serenity this morning, I was informed, on good authority that in the statement made by the Nuncio to his most Christian Majesty about Cardinal Caraffa's negotiation with your Serenity he filled (ha empito) the King with great hope that your Serenity likewise would at length join the league; and that the Pope having need of money, was compelled to alienate Ravenna and Cervia, which he would give to your Serenity provided you declared yourself colleague, you in return disbursing such a sum of money as fitting; but that even should your Serenity not choose to declare yourself he would give those towns to the Duke of Ferrara, who would have no lack of money. I have also discovered that the Duke de Guise was to proceed to your Serenity, accompanied perhaps by the Duke of Ferrara, to make you the same proposals in his most Christian Majesty's name as were made to you by Cardinal Caraffa; and that the Duke de Guise would go postwise from Venice to kiss the Pope's foot. If this be true, although you will have known it before the receipt of this letter, I have nevertheless not chosen to omit telling you what is said here.
Poissy, 27th January 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Jan. 30. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 807. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Shortly after I took leave of the Pope Marshal Strozzi returned from the camp, and with his face all bandaged, owing to the wound in his mouth, he went to the Pope and gave him detailed account of what had taken place, the Pope greeting him warmly and caressing him much. From that time until now the Duke of Paliano and the Duke of Somma, with the others who usually sit in the council of war, have been constantly in Strozzi's house (he being recommended not to go abroad, though he has no important hurt) to consult about what should be done after the capture of the fort, and they determined to keep the fort near Hostia and the one on the banks of the stream (fiumicino) towards Porto, and to destroy the others. It was also proposed, and principally by the Duke of Somma, to attack Nettuno, to which Strozzi objected, arguing that it would be injudicious to take the troops now here on an expedition such as that of Nettuno, which might fail, and in a position where the enemy might receive so much succour as to render them superior to the assailants. They also spoke of Tivoli, to which in like manner Strozzi objected, saying he would not attempt it at present, because, if the French army comes in great force, as reported, both Tivoli and many other places would fall of themselves, and that if anything were to be done, he should wish victuals to be prepared for his troops, instead of having to await their arrival day by day from Rome.
I hear from a person to whom Strozzi showed them, that he has lately had letters from the Duke de Guise, requesting him to be his consulter and companion (consultor et compagno) in this war, and, that he had been written to in conformity by the most Christian King and by the Queen, who says that the King her husband and lord told her this his intention, but that having, together with these letters, also received one from the Constable, who does not say a word to him on this subject, he believes that this is not the wish of Montmorency, who has taken him under his protection because he knows the Guise family to be unfriendly towards him (le sono poco amici), and that therefore in this matter he shall proceed very reservedly. This person also tells me that in the letter from the Duke de Guise to the Marshal he recommended him to disband some of the troops here, to diminish the expenditure, as he, Guise, was coming with a powerful army, and would be able to avail himself of the forces of the Duke of Ferrara. My informant told me that Marshal Strozzi said and demonstrated to the members of the council of war, that he did not think it for the service of the League to deprive itself of troops raised a few months ago, and now in these parts, for the sake of employing in their stead the well nigh undisciplined forces (gente quasi tumultuaria) of the Duke of Ferrara, and of which he will perhaps choose to make use for the defence of his own territory, and that, indeed, should it be chosen to communicate this advice to the Pope, he, Strozzi, would not be present; so the council determined to pass it over (di scorrer). My intelligencer is much in Strozzi's confidence, and says he suspects that the interests of the Duke of Ferrara may have so much weight with his son-in-law, the Duke de Guise, that the latter will be as speedy as is believed.
Some companies (compagnie) went out of Rome lately, without its being known whither, the gates of this city being kept closed the whole of that day, it being subsequently heard that they quartered themselves in Palestrina; and it is also reported that Castel St. Angelo, (fn. 7) in the direction of Tivoli, and Viguar (sic) (Vicovaro?), have rebelled against the Imperialists, and that the Roman Government (questi Signori) has put 300 infantry into that place. I have, moreover, heard that the Duke of Alva is in Capua, overlooking the completion of the whole of that fortress, which is said to be very handsome and well designed (molto bella et ben intesa).
On Wednesday the Pope gave public audience, which was attended by almost the whole city, as the thing has not been done for many years. His Holiness went thither in pontifical habit, the Cardinals appointed being there, all the law courts (tribunali) and officials of Rome, and the Pope's secretaries. The Bishop Beroaldo made a Latin oration about the causes which induced the Pope to give this audience, namely to relieve the poor, and to keep the law courts (li tribunali) to their duty, to effect which he was regardless of other important duties imposed on him by the events of the present times, and that he purposed doing so once every month. The Pope, then praying the Lord God to preserve and bless that congregation, commenced the audience, which took place in the great hall called the Hall of the Kings (che si chiama delli re). The guards were placed at all the doors and stairs, nor was anyone allowed to enter without exhibiting a petition for the audience, commencing with the women. The person demanding the audience was taken before the Pope by the master of the ceremonies. Those who knew how to do so stated their case themselves; for the others, Borghese, the attorney for the poor (avvocato dei poveri), spoke. The Reverend Berengo took the petitions, some of which his Holiness despatched manu regiâ, charging several cardinals and prelates to report upon others. With regard to complaints of the law courts (tribunali), that they prolonged the despatch of suits, he threatened, and admonished them to do their duty. The resolutions (le deliberationi) were written by four secretaries who sat at the foot of the Tribunal (Tribunale), the Reverend Berengo reading the names of the plaintiffs and of the defendants (dei querelanti, dei querelati) and the decision (volontà) of his Holiness; nor will I omit mentioning also an act of the Pope's liberality and the manner in which he performed it. There fell vacant a few days ago an assistant prothonotaryship, (un pronotariato partecipante), an office which has always been sold, and for which at present upwards of 3,000 crowns might be obtained. This post, in his present need, the Pope has given to an individual who expected anything but that, he being one Messer Guielmo Calavrese, who has charge of the library, a man some 45 years of age, a very good and learned person, who was installed thus:—The Pope sent in quest of him, and being at length found in a church he was taken to the Pope, who evinced anger at his not having been found in his library, as he wished to make use of a certain book instantly, reproving him also because a man so learned and who led so good a life wore a mantelet (cappa). Poor Messer Guielmo in dismay apologized as well as he could, until the Pope said, “At present we do not choose you any longer to appear in that garb,” whereupon two chamberlains having robed him in the rochet, the Pope said to him laughing, “Henceforth this is to be your habit, and it is little as compared with what you deserve.” The good man was astounded by such great and unexpected graciousness on the part of the Pope, and from this it is believed that he may get something of much greater importance.
About the affairs of Piedmont, the capture of Valenza, the preparations of the Duke of Ferrara, the mission of an envoy on secret and important business to your Serenity, I will write nothing farther, though I will not omit to mention that some persons here suspect that the French army may attack Parma.
The satisfaction evinced by the Pope with your Serenity, together with the ignorance of details about Cardinal Caraffa's negotiations, he having sent so many despatches from Venice, an express having also come to me, to which has to be added, moreover, this last fact that the French ambassador and I were alone invited by the Pope to his niece's christening, has caused these Imperialists greatly to suspect your Serenity of being inclined to give the fleet for the expedition against Naples, about which having been questioned, I replied that about this I knew nothing, and that the courier was despatched to desire me to thank the Pope for having sent you so honourable a person as his most illustrious nephew.
Rome, 30th January 1557.


  • 1. In date 12th October 1556, the Pope told Navagero that, when Nuncio from Leo X. to King Charles, he “came away with Messer Marcello (who had been in the service of Ferdinand the Catholic), because be (Nuncio Caraffa) could not bear the tyranny of the future Emperor.”
  • 2. Not found.
  • 3. In a long despatch written by Navagero on the 30th November 1555, from which I gave a brief extract at p. 266 of the present volume, alluding to an offer made by the Imperial ambassador to the Duke of Urbino, to enter the service of the King of England, there is a paragraph, thus: “Sono stati veduti monitorij fatti di ordine del Pontce nella persona di Don Bernardo [Mendoza], del Duca di Malfi, et di D.Garcia Arros (sic), Spagle, per i quali sono citati a Roma, i due primi come autori conscij e partecipi d'haver voluto far ammazzare il Cardinale Farnese, il terzo, D. Garcia, per oppositione di veneno nella persona del Pontce et Carle Caraffa; il che, essendosi saputo, ha dimostrato al Pontte alcuni di questi Cardinali Imperiali, che citar Don Bernardo et il Duca di Malfi era un aperto principio di guerra, et che essi non haveriano potuto comparire se non armati, però S. Sta ha fatto cancellare i loro nomi, et contra D. Garcia non è fin' hora processo più oltre.”
  • 4. This may mean either that the Imperialists greatly valued Flanders, or that the Protestants there, owing to the vicinity of the French army, would revolt, and thus assist the Pope, whose conduct, as seen by this correspndence, had greatly benefited the Protestant cause.
  • 5. In the original letter, the bracketed passage has the pen drawn through it, probably by Surian, from modesty; but the universal belief in Badoer's “erudition” was proved in 1558, by what Paolo Manuzio wrote of him as the founder of the Venetian Academy, entitled “Della Fama, thus, “Federicum Badaarium auctorem et conditorem, Deo duce, Accademiâe nostrâe, cui quidem viro tum vitâe probitas, tum ex assiduo studio, doctrina et ex diuturno rerum usu prudentia, fidem atque auctoritatem in omai sermone couciliat.”
  • 6. The foregoing is the last of the letters written from England by the Ambassador Michiel, now preserved in the Venetian Archives.
  • 7. Castel St. Angelo, which is a castle situated not far from Vicovaro, must not be confounded with Castel St. Angelo at Rome.