Venice: March 1557, 1-15

Pages 963-976

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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March 1557, 1–15

March 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 824. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The march of troops into Picardy is delayed until it be seen in what part of that province the King of England chiefly reinforces himself, his reinforcements in the Milanese being such that M. de Brissac has had to retreat; so doubts are entertained about Valenza, there not having been time to fortify it sufficiently. Of the Duke de Guise I have heard nothing, except that he will go postwise to Rome, and that news of his negotiation with the Duke of Ferrara is expected. It is evident that the hopes of doing the great things designed by them instantaneously have somewhat cooled, as is the case about the treaty with the Duke of Florence, concerning which, although nothing has been heard since the departure hence of the Archbishop of Vienne, yet is it understood that his most Christian Majesty does not expect it to take place, because the said Duke perceiving that the forces of the King of England augment, it will seem to him that his affairs remain perhaps in a better state than they were before, without farther change of fortune; it being also heard that his Excellency likewise is arming briskly and providing for his need. The Prince of Salerno has not yet been sent to Naples, and before going he wishes to know the result of the mission to Constantinople of M. de Lavigne, who went to request Sultan Soliman to send out the Turkish fleet, without which the Prince of Salerno is of opinion that the most Christian King can do nothing for his advantage through the expedition of Naples; and as the majority of the Prince's adherents are in the places on the coast of the kingdom, he would wish by all means to find himself on board the fleet.
His Majesty's ambassador accredited to the King of Spain has returned, his exchange for the Spanish ambassador having been effected quietly on the frontiers.
Paris, 1st March 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
March 3. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 825. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
On Monday the Pope gave a dinner to all the cardinals, there being amongst the guests Marshal Strozzi, the French ambassadors, M. de Selve, the one in ordinary, and the Archbishop of Vienne, and I, no other ambassadors having been invited. (fn. 1) After dinner the Pope withdrew with the cardinals into his chamber. He spoke honourably of the most Christian King, and said that, doing so much for this See, his moderation (modestia) nevertheless was such that he did not demand anything. The Pope then exhorted their right reverend lordships to keep Lent, adding that if any of them, from ill-health, was unable to do so, they were to use caution, so as not to give cause for scandal. After the dinner the Duke of Paliano, who was also there, took the Marshal, the French ambassadors, and me into his chamber and when the Archbishop of Vienne and M. de Selve departed to go and see Belveder, and the Duke of Paliano having withdrawn, owing to a call of nature, Strozzi said to me, “From what I see the Pope is not inclined towards the peace.” On the evening of the same day Marquis Montebello arrived from Civita Castellana, where he left Cardinal Caraffa and the Duke de Guise, they having chosen to delay their entry until this morning (sic.) (fn. 2) The cardinals were desired to send their mules and their attendants to meet the Duke de Guise beyond the “Porta del Popolo,” the Pope's retinue and guard going thither likewise. On hearing this I sent my secretary to pay a similar compliment, and he pushed so far forward that he was amongst the first, and performed the office enjoined him conveniently both with the Cardinal and the Duke, each of whom answered him very lovingly. They then changed their post horses for others of parade (honorati) sent them from Rome, and in the meanwhile the Duke of Paliano and the Marquis his brother arrived, and a great number of horsemen, besides the attendants and mules of the cardinals, and those of the Pope, with which state they entered Rome, being saluted by the castle with many discharges of artillery. On arriving at the palace they went first of all to kiss the Pope's foot, his Holiness waiting for them in the audience chamber, accompanied by the cardinals resident in the palace, who had been sent for for that purpose; and from one of them I heard that, amongst other things, the Pope said to the Duke de Guise, “This is not the first time that your family has come in aid of this See,” which words, my informant added, greatly soothed (indolcirno assai) the Duke, who having made the due reverence to his Holiness, they went to dine with the Duke of Paliano. Then this morning (sic) I went to visit Cardinal Caraffa. Amongst many other causes assigned by him for delaying his return, he said it was requisite to quiet the Duke of Ferrara. On taking leave, I having said that I should go to the Duke de Guise, who is lodged on the upper floor of the cardinal's apartment, he said, “You will do a pleasure to me also;” so on presenting myself to the Duke I said in general terms how much you revered the most (Christian King, what love you bear the house of Guise, and especially his Excellency. In reply the Duke said, That the King his Lord could not be better disposed than he was towards your Serenity; and it seemed to me that he added that the Republic, being so Christian, should not fail assisting the Church and this See, and that he had sent a letter of his to you by a gentleman. I write that “it seemed to me” because I had no little difficulty in understanding him, as he spoke half Italian and half French, and in a very low tone.
Having taken leave of his Excellency I went with the Pope to chapel, which the Duke attended, his place being below the cardinals and above the Duke of Paliano.
Rome, 3rd March 1557.
March 6. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 826. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
By your Serenity's commands I returned this day to the Duke de Guise, who, having listened to what I told him in your name, answered me, still in a tongue more French than Italian, from what it seemed to me to understand, that I could not say so much about your Serenity's goodwill towards the most Christian King as to prevent him, the Duke, from promising you much more, by reason of what he knew was felt by his Majesty for your Serenity, and that he had cause to do so, repeating what he said to me the other day, that they were all sons, noblemen, and lords of that most excellent Republic, and adding, “I have had a most courteous letter from the Signory, brought by M. de Villart, who arrived yesterday, and I choose you to know him;” whereupon he called him, and he said to me very respectfully that he could not be more caressed nor better greeted than he was in that noble city, for the sake of the most Christian King and that of his Excellency individually; to which I rejoined, “It was owing also to your Lordship's prudent and modest mode of executing your commission.”
The Duke de Guise then told me that to-morrow he will give the Order of St. Michael to the Duke of Paliano and Paulo Giordano Orsini, and that he hoped a good number of cardinals would be made, this See having, moreover, need of them; praising this Pope beyond measure; and that he, the Duke de Guise, had not yet fixed the time of his departure. He then offered his services to your Serenity, as a mark of his respect; whereupon I took leave, M. de Villart accompanying me to the last door.
Rome, 6th March 1557.
March 6. (2nd letter.) Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 827. The Same to the Same.
The day before the arrival of Cardinal Caraffa and the Duke de Guise, a Ferrarese captain, one Villa, was despatched. He went to the Duke of Florence about the marriage and agreement which they are said to be treating between the most Christian King and that Duke, which agreement, although it appears unreasonable to many persons, disinterested individuals begin to suspect that it may take place. Yet the Imperialists seem to anticipate anything but this, saying the Duke could never rely on the crown of France for a variety of reasons, and they give words and hopes to many people. I can, however, assure you that for the present purpose they might send a more suitable and experienced agent than this Villa, and the Duke de Guise, who is the affectionate servant of the French crown, disapproves of his having been sent.
The first secretary, Aldobrandini, whose authority was as great as any at this court, has fallen into disgrace with the Pope, and since yesterday is in retirement in his own apartments, and worse is feared. I have no authentic information about the causes of so unexpected a fact, but at the last chapel service, when the ashes were taken, the French ambassador said to me, “I will tell you, as in the confessional, that Aldobrandini will not last long in his present grade and favour.” From similar facts nothing can ever be considered firm and durable here.
It was reported to-day that a secretary of the Duke of Florence, having been chased by the galleys in Civitavecchia, was made prisoner and brought hither, having thrown his letters into the sea, because he had been sent with them to the Duke of Alva. I therefore chose to verify the fact, and was told by a person able to know it, what you will see by the enclosed memorandum. (fn. 3)
Yesterday, as usual, I demanded audience of the Pope, who still continues to deny it me; nor did I regret it, by reason of the present events.
Rome, 6th March 1557.
March 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 828. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I went to his Majesty yesterday and communicated to him the contents of the news letters from Adrianople, for which he thanked your Serenity, saying it was a very long while since he had received letters from his ambassador with Sultan Soliman, and only knew that he was preparing his galleys, and then inquired whether he was still at Adrianople; and when I said he was, the King, after a short pause, in reply to my congratulations on the successful descent into Italy of the Duke de Guise, continued, “The Duke passed very prosperously, though he had the worst possible weather, and he subsequently held a conference with Cardinal Caraffa and the Duke of Ferrara; and the army will go to Bologna and then proceed towards Ravenna.”
When I inquired what the army would do after it got there, his Majesty said, “They have not yet announced their decision to me, but it will be for the Pope's service.” I rejoined, “By the sole favour of your Majesty he has already recovered so much of his own that but little remains for him to regain.” The King continued, “Such is the fact, and lately they took Vicovaro, so it only remains for him to take Anagni and Nettuno, but this Vicovaro was of more importance than all the rest.” He then added that the Marquis of Pescara was raising troops, but that Valenza was being fortified, so it was hoped he would not succeed. I remarked that this seemed the more probable, it being heard that his Majesty was increasing his forces.
To this he replied, “The King of Spain is sending Germans and other troops into Italy, nor can I likewise fail to reinforce my army where I know it to be necessary.” I then asked how matters were passing in Picardy, and he said, “The Duke de Nevers arrived here two days ago to visit the Cardinal de Bourbon, who was ill, and he tells me that in those parts everything is very quiet, chiefly because the troops of the King of Spain are in great want of victuals, the weather also being so cold there that until it becomes milder they cannot keep the field (star in campagna).” I then asked what provision the King of Spain was making, and he said, “I do not very well know the particulars, but my belief is that so powerful a King can have no lack of means for providing for his affairs. It was said lately that he meant to go to England, but it does not seem to me that the report continues; Ruy Gomez went thither, and proceeded thence to Spain.”
I asked his Majesty what Ruy Gomez had done in England, as advices had been received here at the court purporting that the most serene Queen there had given him a certain sum of money. His Majesty said, “My ambassador gives me no advice of this, but she very probably has a mind not to fail her husband, though she will have so much to do at home that it will suffice her.” He then told me that the Constable had a violent cold in his head, and that the Dauphin has got rid of his quartan agues (è restato libero delle sue quartane), of which he had three attacks, but that he had become very thin; and his Majesty having closed the conversation with these and other familiar topics, I took leave. This audience was given me in his own chamber, where there was a portrait of the Pope, which always accompanies him.
I elicited from another quarter that at the aforesaid conference the Duke de Guise, who was in like manner supported by the Duke of Ferrara, demonstrated that, being unable to effect an adjustment with the Duke of Florence, it is for the most Christian King's advantage to attack his territory, as by making sure of Tuscany (quel stato) the Milanese would be much weakened, and that then the Naples expedition would be more easily accomplished; but Cardinal Caraffa having shown that the Pope's wish would be to invade the kingdom of Naples at once (à dirittura), they determined to march the army as far as Ravenna, and the Duke de Guise should go expeditiously to the Pope, to lay before him the above-mentioned arguments, with such others as shall seem fitting to him, and decide according to his Holiness' resolution.
A person well able to know the fact told me that means would be much more easily found for coming to an agreement with Cardinal Caraffa and his brothers than with the Pope, as they would indeed wish to accommodate their family affairs as well as they could; but the Pope, who does not care so much about this (chc non cura tanto questo), persists in his opinion, and will not so easily change it.
Concerning the negotiation with the Duke of Florence, M. de Marillae, Archbishop (sic) of Vienne, (fn. 4) has not yet given account of what he has negotiated since his arrival in Italy, so the scheme remains in the state written by me; but it seems nevertheless that here the hope of an adjustment diminishes daily, it being supposed that the preparations which the King of England is now making may keep Florence firm to his allegiance (fermo nella sua devotione); though on the other hand it is understood that the march of the army and the decision formed at the conference may render him very anxious; and from the very beginning the Duke of Florence acquainted the Pope with his wish to make terms with the King of France, who was strongly urged by his Holiness to take him into favour, but the Duke of Ferrara more and more regrets this, though he shows his vexation as little as possible. The Duke de Guise demands reinforcements of ultramontane troops, and, though nothing is decided, I understand that some Germans are being raised, with the intention of sending them through your Serenity's territory to the rest of the army; and besides the levy of 2,000 Switzers already granted, the King has sent to the cantons for an additional 4,000, destined in like manner for Piedmont.
I have heard that, through the persuasions of Don Ruy Gomez, the Queen of England has promised to send her husband 100,000 pounds sterling, equal to 300,000 gold crowns, and therefore I asked the King about this as above written.
M. de Lausac has arrived, and, although in great favour with the Constable, yet having been recalled from Rome because the King was dissatisfied with him, he is very dejected (molto melinconico).
Paris, 6th March 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
March 6. Deliberazioni Senato (Register). 829. Motion made in the Senate by the Sages of the Council and the Sages for the Mainland for a Letter to Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome.
By your letters of the 20th and 27th ult. we learnt with disquietude that the Pope had not chosen to admit you to the audience which you had requested of him more than once. We command you to go to Cardinal Caraffa and to tell him in our name that in like manner as his Holiness has hitherto given several loving marks of his paternal will towards us, receiving you, our representative, graciously, and having you introduced into his presence amongst the first, which caused us singular satisfaction, so when we heard that since some days he has changed his style, not without marneurs from those who know it, we could not but feel offended. Should the Cardinal tell you that this proceeded from his Holiness' many important occupations, let it appear that you are satisfied with whatever suits the Pope's convenience; but should he give you to understand that this might have happened owing to the passage conceded by us to the Germans in aid of King Philip, and to our having accommodated them with victuals and money, and because our armed ships had conveyed and landed at Segna, or on that coast, a certain person who in the name of the Duke of Alva went into the hill country (ne i paesi superiori) to raise troops (as you write had been heard at Rome), our intention is that you do answer, as of yourself, that our State confines on others in so many parts, and is so open, that to prohibit these passages would require several armies, as was said by you heretofore to his Holiness, who, leaving admitted the truth of this, ceased complaining, and said he was certain that the like would be done in his favour, as will assurelly be the case whenever necessary, and as we did lately by a good number of cavalry from France, which passed through our territory and was accommodated as becoming. In like manner, about the victuals, you will say that, permitting the passage, we could not fail to have the necessary provision made for it. The Signory did not accommodate the said Germans with money, as will perchance have been reported to his Holiness by maliguants unfriendly to him, who seek thus to sow distrust between his Holiness and us. You will also say that possibly our ministers, knowing it to be our custom to accommodate such persons with similar passages, will not have omitted to do the like by any messenger of the aforesaid Duke. Should Cardinal Caraffa have departed before you can perform this office, you will make the announcement to the Duke of Paliavo, and even should you not have been admitted to his Holiness, hereafter on being admitted to him, if he speaks to you on the subject, and not otherwise, you will avail yourself of what we say.
Before we despatched this letter the Pope's Nuncio, Comendone, came to us in his name about this passage of the Germans, saying that besides the regiments which have already passed, there are others coming, and that we should therefore be pleased somewhat to close our hand. We replied as written by us to you heretofore, and as above. The Nuncio also told us that Cardinal Caraffa had written to him to request us to accommodate the Pope with the hulls (corpi) of two galliots, which his right reverend Lordship would fit out; so if you elicit anything about this, and what the Pope means to do with them, you will give us notice of it.
Ayes, 185. Noes, 5. Neutrals, 2.
March 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 830. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Duke de Guise has sent to the Duke of Florence to know in what way he would give surety to his most Christian Majesty, who chooses to be guaranteed by him, by facts, and not by mere promises or agreements; so meaning to pass with the army through his State, he awaited (aspettava) a positive reply whether he was to traverse it as a friend or as a foe. The Archbishop of Vienne had also attended the conference, after which he was to see Cardinal Tournon and proceed straight to Rome to consult with the Pope what settlement could be made with the said Duke of Florence, and from several quarters it is heard that his Holiness is doing his utmost to effect it; and that he will certainly make cardinals during the next Ember days, (fn. 5) including Don Luis, the son of the Duke of Ferrara. The Prince of Salerno has been sent by the King to the Duke de Guise, and will go by sea, without any especial appointment, which will be sent him to Italy; and he has told his most Christian Majesty that his friends in the kingdom of Naples have given him to understand that he must not expect any assistance nor favour from them should he enter the Neapolitan territory by means of the Turkish fleet, as the mischief it had done them [formerly] was such that they would endure anything rather than co-operate for whatever it might be wished to effect through such a medium.
Paris, 10th March 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
March 12. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 831. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The cause of Aldobrandini's fall proceeded from the envy borne him by many, who by this opportunity sought to deprive Cardinal Caraffa, who favoured him, of repute, and they accused him of having opened the letters of the Duke of Florence, of receiving pensions from the Farnese family and from Cardinal Cesis, that he received presents, and that he sowed discord between Cardinal Caraffa and the Duke of Paliano. With regard to opening letters, he said that if he had done so it was by order of those who could command him; that if he had received either pensions or presents to fail in his duty and to break faith, he asked for no defender; that it was quite true that one of his sons had a pension from Cesis, out of gratitude for services rendered heretofore to his right reverend Lordship; that he has never had any pension, although they are bound by just causes to give it him. That as to sowing discord between the brothers, he knew, and God was witness to it, how remote he had always been from doing so, having on the contrary performed many good offices to prevent any occasion for scandal and strife; and that having got together many writings relating to the fief of the kingdom of Naples for the need of the present times, which documents had subsequently got into the hands of the Fiscal Advocate, from whom being unable ever to recover them, he, on his return, complained to Cardinal Caraffa, who sent for the “Fiscale” and desired him angrily to restore the writings to Messer Silvestro. The “Fiscale” replied, perhaps less respectfully than became him, that the said writings were of importance, and that when his right reverend Lordship wished for them he would give them to him, but that he did not think it well for them to remain in the hands of others. These words having yet more irritated the Cardinal he dismissed him his presence, using very violent language, which, the “Fiscale” is supposed to have repeated to the Pope, as he desired Cardinal Caraffa to deprive Aldobrandini of his official post, as he was not an honest man (perchè non era homo da ben); and when the Cardinal replied, “Your Holiness gave him to me for your first secretary and almost for my father, wherefore it would seem to me well to hear whether the charges brought against him are true and then to punish him,” the Pope rejoined, “When I command nothing more must be said; do as I tell you, Cardinal, and act according to my will.”
On the morrow a conference was held between the Duke de Guise, Paliano, Marshal Strozzi, the Commissary General, the French Ambassador, and Cardinals Pisa and Caraffa, in the Pope's chamber, his Holiness being present, the Commissary General taking occasion to say three several times that it would be well to keep the writings about the kingdom of Naples, now in the hands of the Fiscal, under custody; whereupon in the presence of all those personages the Pope did not scruple to say, “There are certain individuals who choose to attribute too much to themselves, nor do they know that I raised and that I can lower them;” and then, turning towards Cardinal Caraffa, he said in violent and inflated language, “And you perhaps will be one of those.” This speech in like manner as it surprised everybody so did it wound the Cardinal to the quick, and when the others departed he remained alone with the Pope, and from what Aldobrandini told one of his most confidential friends (from whose lips all that I write proceeds), Caraffa then complained gently (modestamente) of his Holiness having reproved him so openly, showing moreover that he held him in such small account; and that the Pope answered him, “We choose to be obeyed and acknowledged as head,” adding, “You, Cardinal, know you not about a process drawn up before your departure against certain iniquitous Sodomites?” “Yes” (said he), “Holy Father, but being fully occupied during the days preceding my departure I delayed reporting it to your Holiness until my return.” The Pope rejoined,” Did Aldobrandini know of this said process,” and the Cardinal in reply having said that he believed he did: “Why then,” continued the Pope, “did he not let me know of it?” The Cardinal apologized for Aldobrandini on the plea of his own absence, and then the Pope ended by saying, “Do we not know that owing to certain rogues (tristi) you and the Dake your brother do not love each other as you ought to do?”
This stir, being heard by the Pope's intimates, put them all to confusion, and Messer Paulo's brother the “President” (fn. 6) was seen going several times to the Pope and Cardinal, who (according to Aldobrandini) said, “President, tell his Holiness that I renounce all the grades and honours he has conferred on me, not knowing how to serve him better than I have done, and that I will return to my sword and mantelet (alla mia spada et cappa). Then in the evening the Cardinal sent a trout, with a marvellous sauce, as a present to the Pope, who said, “We accept it willingly on condition that the Cardinal come hither.” The Cardinal went, and joking with the Pope about various matters, then withdrew with his Holiness till 3 in the morning (fin le nove hore di notte), and sub-sequently he has been seen to confer with him more than ever (et poi si è veduto continuar più che mai); and from a person who can know it I have heard that the Pope being appeased said to him, “My son, pardon this our nature and have compassion on us.”
Aldobrandini no longer performs the functions of secretary; he has retired into the house where his sons live; he is very ill, and it is feared that this fresh accident may increase his natural indisposition; his wife who was in a bad state is dead. His post has not yet been given to others.
Everybody evinces great satisfaction at his fall, so greatly does it matter not to have bad manners in prosperity, and not to bear in mind the casualties of human life. Cardinal Caraffa and Marshal Strozzi have saved him from the Castle and perhaps from something worse, and many persons are surprised that a man who knows all the secrets and designs of his Holiness and his adherents, and who is deprived of the management of affairs, should merely be confined to his own house; and those who talk are of opinion that the Cardinal will find an opportunity for removing from his sight those who through the ruin of Aldobrandini endeavoured to wound his honour, and that he will do what he can for him. I hear that Cardinal Caraffa, knowing how injurious it is for him to separate himself from the Pope, has said he will do everything never again to leave Rome, nor to go to such a distance as not to be able to return thither the same evening. I have given every possible detail that it may enable you better to know the nature of these Lords (questi Signori) and their way of proceeding.
Rome, 12th March 1557.
March 12. (2nd letter.) Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 832. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday I received your letters of the 6th instant charging me that in either of the two following cases, should I not already have had audience of the Pope, or I should not have had an opportunity of conversing on the subject with Cardinal Caraffa, I was to tell him in your name that in like manner as my having always been introduced amongst the first to his Holiness as your representative had been much to the satisfaction of the Republic, because besides other loving demonstrations this was a very evident one of his paternal love for you, so you regretted to hear that during the last few days this style had been changed, desiring me in case I had to proceed farther according to the Cardinal's reply, to answer as of my own accord in the form prescribed by you; and at the end of the letter you acquaint me with the remonstrance made by Bishop Commendone about the passage of these Germans, and your reply. I sent this morning, as usual, to ask audience of the Pope, with orders, if it could not be had, to inquire at what hour I could go and speak to the Cardinal, but that if the Pope assigned me an hour, no appointment was to be made with the Cardinal.
Audience was assigned me for 5 p.m., (23 hore) (fn. 7) the Pope having had me answered that although he had to remain a long while with a number of cardinals he would nevertheless hear me. On being introduced accordingly, his Holiness, with great graciousness and all his gestures being replete with sweetness (dolcezza), said to me, “How are you, my Magnifico Ambassador? attend to your health, and take pity on the troubles to which we are subjected by these enemies of God, whom we must at any rate drive out of Italy;” again telling me of his will (animo) to bring back Italy to her harmony through a King of Naples and a Duke of Milan, both without any other state, as although at present they might be ultramontanes, they nevertheless in a short time would be Italians, and that in that case, should they raise their horns, this Holy See and your Serenity might beat (batter) and keep them to their duty, which cannot be done so easily at present, these principal members of Italy being in the power of a king who has so many realms; “for this is the only way to rid oneself” (putting his mouth to my ear) “of one and the other of them;” adding that such was his affection for Italy (che esso era così affetionato Italiano), that had he millions of soldiers and other forces he would not suppress any of those states that he found in Italy, and indeed that all his designs have solely for object to bring back Italy, of yore Domina Gentium, (fn. 8) to her former grandeur and repute; that would to God the same mind prevailed as it ought to do in the state councils of your Serenity, to whom he wished as much prosperity as to himself, on which account, he said, he purposed making you mistress of Sicily, as he had told me heretofore, an undertaking of such easy accomplishment and secure maintenance, and more advantageous for the most illustrious Dominion than anything else that can be done.
The Pope then repeated that these schismatics had forfeited all the fiefs, namely, “the kingdom of Naples and Sicily; Sardinia; the Balearic Isles, viz. Majorca and Minorca; and the realms of England, whose tributes (censi) I levied and paid myself my salary with them, I having been heretofore Nuncio there. He then added that he finds the justice of God, and His powerful hand, whereby to execute the sentences, the excommunications, and the anathemas, issued against His enemies (soggiungendomi trora la giustitia di Dio et la potente mano sua di eseguir le sentenlie, le escomuniche et li anathemi fatti contra li soi inimici); and at this point he said to me, “Magnifico Ambassador, it is now 52 years since I was made bishop, in the second year of the Pontificate of Julius II.; I went to a town of my bishopric, which had need of me for the performance of my duty, by correcting and amending many abuses; preaching when it seemed necessary to me, and instructing the inhabitants there with regard to Christian life, which being insupportable to a petty tyrant (un tirannuzzo) of the place, he came to see me, and almost in a threatening form desired me to have respect for certain ancient privileges and devilish customs (et indiavolate /consuetudini) of his. Thereupon, following the holy precept of the Gospel, I departed, and outside the gate, excussi pulverem de calciamentis, praying God to provide for the inhabitants; and when scarcely two days distance from the place I heard that the people, being unable any longer to bear his tyranny, rose in a body against him, and that the tyrant having sought shelter in an oven he was found there, and they tore him quite to pieces (ove fu, fatto tutto in pezzi); and thus are such evil-doers usually punished.”
He next commenced speaking in praise of the most Christian King and of his forces, saying how much he was satisfied with the Duke de Guise, who told him he had sent your Serenity a letter and had been answered by you very courteously, and that he was also pleased with the offices I had performed with him. He said I must have heard that a promotion of cardinals was expected last Wednesday, but that he had chosen to delay it because he did not see how he could satisfy everybody, and above all himself; this dignity being such that the nominees must be prayed (che bisogna pregar li homeni), and we must go seeking them (to use his own term) with the rushlight (la candeletta), and not be requested [to confer the dignity?].
He also communicated to me the return from Florence of Villa with the decision that the Bishop of Tortona will soon come hither to arrange matters (fn. 9) (per maneggiar le cose), adding, “We do everything possible to preserve him [the Duke] because he is an Italian, and we will give you account of the whole and of everything else;” on saying which there entered the antechamber the Cardinals Pisa and Caraffa and the Duke of Paliano, and on their being announced to the Pope he said, “Let them wait a little and not deprive us of this consolation,” repeating to me assurances of the love he bears your Serenity, of his wish to see you great, and charging me to render him dear to the most illustrious Signory, saying, “If you have anything to say, say it, as these kinsfolk of ours will wait.” I replied, “Holy Father, for the present I have merely to return thanks for your great graciousness and for the trust reposed in the Signory, and pardon me if I have occasionally molested and importuned your Holiness.” “This,” he said, “never was and never will be,” and with this he dismissed me. On going out of the chamber Cardinal Caraffa embraced me very lovingly, and the Duke his brother, apparently not thinking it the moment for saying anything else about the present made to the Lady Duchess, pressed my hand with a very gladsome countenance.
I thank God for the light He gave me with regard to my delay in presenting myself to the Pope when first I heard of his exasperation, and on my having in these times avoided every opportunity of discoursing with anyone at this court, for at the audience now given me his Holiness did not show the slightest mark of resentment, having on the contrary received me as joyfully as ever he did, speaking so blandly that more could not be desired.
Rome, 12th March 1557.
March 13. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 833. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
This last courier, Varisco Lovatello, presented to me the gold chain, together with a box covered with red leather in the oriental fashion (alla azemina), lined within with crimson and white velvet, and the silk cloths, in two girded parcels (in dui ligazzi), in good condition. I inspected the chain and found it to consist of 119 links, besides the circular ball (la sphera), full of amber and musk. I did not proceed to have it weighed, but the number of the links corresponding, there can be no doubt of its being of the weight as advised, namely, 13 marks, 2 ounces and 1 quarter, and 10 carats. I believe it to be the like with the silk cloths also, having found them well packed (ben conditionati). I chose first of all to ascertain how many women there were in the service of the Lady Duchess, and of what grade, and finding that the two first were the Signora Violante and Madama Drusia, which two, with the nurse, midwife, and other waiting gentlewomen are in number 17, and I not knowing what their condition and favour were with the Duchess, determined yesterday (the secretary, by reason of his indisposition, being unable to go, and it not seeming fit to me, for your Serenity's dignity, that I should go for such a purpose—per simil effetto), to send the coadjutor to present the chain to the Duchess in your Serenity's name, and simultaneously the silk cloths, with orders for them to be distributed amongst her attendants according to her will and pleasure. The Duchess thanked your Serenity, saying that she, her husband, and her children were bound on many accounts to wish for opportunities to serve you.
Rome, 13th March 1557.
March. 13. (2nd letter.) Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 834. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Order of St. Michael has been given to the Duke of Paliano and to Paulo Giordano Orsini, and I hear that the Duchess of Paliano, who is a most staunch Imperialist (che la Duchessa di Paliano affetionatissima alla parte Imperial), was in tears the whole of that day, it seeming to her that her husband was compelled to be on the French side (di esser Francese). It is certainly true that the Duke, whether from this or from other causes, has since then seemed demented, and it is said that his son the Marquis will go to France almost as a hostage; about which, having chosen to obtain particular information, I do not find anything authentic; and his attendants say the report prevails, but that they do not know the fact, though they do know that much costly apparel is being prepared, and some of it is embroidered with pearls for the Duke's personal wear, which might, however, also be for the Easter holidays.
Rome, 13th March 1557.


  • 1. In Foreign Calendar, Mary (p. 290), there is a letter from Sir Edward Carne, dated Rome, 3rd March 1557, but without any mention of this papal banquet from which he was excluded. Carne dates the entry into Rome of the Duke de Guise 2nd March, but Navagero writes 3rd March.
  • 2. Nores and Sir Edward Carne write that the Duke de Guise entered Rome on the 2nd March, and their date is evidently the correct one.
  • 3. Not found. In the late Mr. Turnbull's Foreign Calendar (Mary), this circumstance is mentioned by Sir Edward Carne, date Rome, 6th March 1557 (p. 291).
  • 4. The repetition of this name enables me to correct a mistake made in a footnote at page 66 of the first part of this volume. Charles de Marillac was not Bishop of Vienne until the 24th March 1577, when he was translated from the bishopric of Vannes; his suecessor to that see being Sebastien de l'Aubespine, whose appointment took place on the 21st of June 1557; and here I may add that he had a brother by name “Claude de l'Aubespine, Seigneur de Haiterive, Secretary of State to Henry II.,” as appears by the late Sir William Hackett's Index to Foreign Calendar, Mary, p. 441, and also at p. 87 of the first part of the present volume. The dates of the appointments of these Bishops are now derived by me from Volumes XIV. and XVI. “Gailia Christiana.”
  • 5. Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after the first Sunday in Lent.
  • 6. Giambattista Consiglieri, alias Ghislieri, of the Barona family.
  • 7. On the 12th March the sun sets at 558.
  • 8. Qu. “Romanos rerum Dominos.”—âEneid, I. 286.
  • 9. A matrimonial alliance between the children of the King of France and those of Cosmo, Duke of Florence. (See letter dated February 20.)