Venice: March 1557, 26-31

Pages 984-999

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, 26–31

March 26. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 841. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
I went to-day to Cardinal Caraffa, who, when giving me account of his negotiations at Venice, said, “I have spoken with the King of France; I speak with the Pope; never did I speak to them with greater respect than I spoke in the presence of so many grave men, who merely listen without ever replying; one of them alone answering briefly, and whatever earnest rejoinder be made them they remain silent, and take time to ponder every word. They give nothing in writing, though they indeed repeat their words, and cause them to be read as often as desired.” I replied that this had been the invariable custom of the Republic ever since its foundation, and he continued, “It astounded me, and facts show that it is the best system of any. I offered Ravenna and Cerria as earnest money and security for the promises to be made to his Serenity, though I was told in secret that Ravenna and Cervia were acceptable to the State, but that they wished to have free possession of them.”
When I told him that by the despatch received yesterday from Venice I was desired to communicate to him what had been negotiated about the peace on the 20th instant by the ambassador of the King of England, apologizing also for not having been to him lately, he replied that on several accounts no one's visits pleased him more than mine, and that therefore he regretted beyond measure the report current at Venice that for many days I had not had audience of the Pope; much to his surprise, knowing in what account his Holiness held your Serenity, and (to use his own words) myself personally; so he chose to speak on the subject to the Pope, who in like manner expressed surprise, adding, “These persons who are charged to perform similar offices do not understand the Pope; they sometimes see that he has need of repose, and of their own accord say what is not the fact; others, perhaps, assigning false motives and exaggerating them; but it may suffice to say that, as the Signory's representative, and such a representative, you could not be more dear to all of us than you are.” I replied that this goodwill towards the Signory on the part of the Pope and the whole of his family has always been clearly known to me, I having also written about the personal favours shown me, beyond all my deserts, nor could I fail to write that for some days my audience had been deferred, which, although I well knew that it could only proceed from his Holiness' very serious occupations, yet was it irksome to me, owing to the nature of the present times, when many persons take occasion to murmur about everything.” “Yes,” said the Cardinal, “and I have proved to certain persons who wished for more from the Signory than could be obtained that more could not be done, nor could anything be more sage than the reply given me at Venice, that they were anxious for peace, that they had always sought it, and that they would never be reproached for having introduced the war.”
I then commenced telling him that the ambassador of the King of England [Francisco de Vargas] resident with your Serenity had said much about the goodwill of his King towards the peace, expressing a desire for your Serenity to mediate, and that the Duke of Alva had received orders to execute what was proposed by the Cardinal in the Pope's name on the island of Hostia. In reply the Cardinal thanked your Serenity for this communication, but said that the reverse was indicated by the seizure of church property (intertenendo li bene delle preti) in the kingdom of Naples, sacerdotal objects being also confiscated for this war, and that proclamations had been issued in Spain for all Spanish subjects to leave Rome; that they have now lost the fortress of Hostia and Vicovaro, abandoning Nettuno, the papal forces being in possession of the citadel, and also of Rocca di Papa; but that, what mattered more, the Pope had a French army, which was come to assist him at great cost and peril, so that as a man of honour he would never do anything unless they also approved of it.
The Cardinal then said to me, “I will go to the Pope this evening, though God knows at what hour, for he is now asleep, and then the Duke de Guise, my brother, and Strozzi are to confer with his Holiness about certain necessary arrangements for the said Duke's departure. I will let his Holiness know what you have told me, and then to-morrow you might say a word to him about it, because, when not informed, he answers according to some of his preconceived ideas (perchè quando non è informato risponde secondo alcuni soi primi pensieri). I said I would follow his advice, and on leaving him, I met the Duke of Paliano in the hall and repeated the communication made to his brother. He replied that if he ever wished for peace it was at present, as he knows how things are going; that the enemy's forces are greater than was believed, and the others weaker; that he could only comfort himself with the recollection of the wish always had by him for peace, and which he entertained at present, judging it to be the sole remedy for so many evils, though he knew not what to do but to pray God to interpose His hand, as he perceived very many difficulties.
Rome, 26th March 1557.
March 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 842. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Duke de Guise has written to the King that the Bishop of Cortona on arriving at Rome did not give any proof that Duke Cosmo was proceeding amply (procedesse largamente) to make the agreement, but sought rather to gain time, so as better to adjust his affairs, but the Pope remained firm in his opinion that means would be found to make terms with him, implying that the Duke de Guise should be content to make a mere verbal agreement whereby to bind the Duke of Florence. To this the Duke de Guise does not think fit by any means to consent, and therefore wrote this despatch that his most Christian Majesty may strongly urge the Pope by letter to be content that without further delay the attack on Florence be commenced, lest the dignity of the League continue to be compromised by verbiage and loss of time, the army having already halted for many days. The Duke de Guise hoped that by writing thus the King would obtain the Pope's consent, when his Holiness knew that the Neapolitan expedition could not be made otherwise than most disadvantageously unless this impediment of Florence were removed. The Cardinal of Pisa (fn. 1) is of opinion that the aforesaid agreement (with the Duke of Florence) should at any rate take place, as it would be safer than to attempt the undertaking by force of arms. The King takes it greatly amiss that the Pope should have sent M. Vila to Florence, as although he went in his Holiness' name, yet being in his Majesty's service, the King considers the proceeding undignified. (fn. 2) The Duke de Guise wishes very much to undertake this expedition against Tuscany, and writes greatly in favour of these outlaws, commending the terms proposed by them.
The non-creation of cardinals has surprised everybody, and it is said very openly that the Pope would not make any until this expedition was settled, not choosing to make a promotion at the suit of his most Christian Majesty, and that subsequently the things desired by his Holiness should not take place. In conclusion, although it is not stated distinctly that there is disagreement between the Pope and the Duke de Guise, it nevertheless seems to me that certain persons have some suspicion of it.
Senlis, 26th March 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
March 27. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 843. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
On the 22nd there was public congregation of cardinals, with the intimation that it was to have the force of Consistory, in which the marriage of M. de Montmorency was discussed, some few theologians giving their votes, and their tendency seemed to be that one neither could nor ought to dispense (et parea che inclinassero, che non si potesse nè si dovesse dispensar), because “quos Deus conjunxit homo non separet;” and the Sacristan was of opinion that this conjunction, if effected by mere consent, was not entirely sacramental, but in a certain way (ma a certo modo) according to the doctrine of Durando. The Pope got into a rage, and said that this was an heretical opinion, and that the Sacristan was to hold his tongue, and that on that day an individual of whom he otherwise thought well had gained little, having on the contrary lost much, and that he not only deserved reproof but punishment, and public punishment, having sinned in public; whereupon congregation was dismissed, the decision of the difficulty being referred to another congregation.
Throughout that day M. de Montmorency visited several cardinals, showing them many examples of similar cases; and on hearing of the irresolution of congregation, and that the Pope seemed disinclined to grant the dispensation, he departed next morning (the 23rd) very dissatisfied, it being said that, before going to France, he will perhaps visit Loretto and Venice, not choosing to lose this opportunity of seeing it. The Duke de Guise is also disquieted by this business, fearing that the Constable may suspect him of having thwarted the dispensation by reason of the rivalry between them.
The French complain of not having had either the number of cardinals they required, nor such as were promised them, and they also find fault because the Constable's son, who is to become the King's son-in-law, has not obtained what was granted heretofore to many, including some under this identical Pope, who replies that he is never led by examples, and that if he has done it he was deceived.
If the French complain, everybody else marvels at the Pope's having given such scanty satisfaction in the promotion of cardinals and in this case of Montmorency, both to the King and to the Constable, after having based all his hopes and designs on his most Christian Majesty's forces; so it is inferred that beneath this surface (che quì sotto) many secrets may be concealed.
On the 24th, in Consistory, certain churches in England were conferred (furono date), the Queen being named, and not King Philip; and touching this matter the ambassador has been already informed by the Pope that he will never give him audience as ambassador from the King, but from the Queen (che non l'udiria mai come ambr del Re, ma della Regina).
Cardinal Pole's agent now here has told these Lords, by order of his master, that when King Philip crosses over to England (fn. 3) he will mediate for the peace, should such be the will of his Holiness; but although this announcement was made by him four days ago, he cannot yet obtain a reply to it. The Duke de Guise is still here, and I am assured that this delay and irresolution proceed from the lack of such supplies and preparations as are necessary, it being now known that these present forces are not well adapted to any undertaking of great importance, and that either here, or wherever he may be, he will await orders from the King and reinforcements of Switzers and other troops, and money; everybody admitting that this prolonged absence of the commander-in-chief from his army gives it license to commit many excesses, according to report, besides such as are usual. Messer Paulo, “Maestro di Camera,” has broken a blood-vessel in the breast, and his life is in such danger that everybody says he can last but a few days, or perhaps hours. This has greatly disquieted the Pope, and to-day, when I asked for audience through Messer Paulo's deputy, Messer Biasio, he sent me word that, unless my business was important, he recommended me to defer it, as the Pope is disquieted by what has befallen one of his most ancient and faithful servants, and having gone to bed at 3h. 30m. a.m. this morning, and risen at 10.30 a.m., he will sleep a long while (after dinner?).
Rome, 27th March 1557.
March 27. (2nd letter.) 844. The Same to the Same.
A variety of indications show that the members of the League are dissatisfied with each other, the Pope because he expected a more considerable French force, and greater promptitude on the part of the Duke of Ferrara; the French because the money and other necessary supplies here are less than had been promised them, and from not having obtained such and so many cardinals as they hoped for, as also by reason of the indecision about M. de Montmorency's marriage; the Duke of Ferrara, because, in addition to what he is bound to do, they constantly demand more from him, and he perceives that, should the war continue, the entire ruin will fall upon him. I also hear on good authority that by sending this army into Italy, and by means of other military preparations, the King of France has a mind, perhaps, to stipulate an honourable and adeantageous peace, in like manner as heretofore he made the fire years' truce. Of this the Pope and these Lords have been warned, and it was also suggested to them through the same channel that an honourable and advantageous peace might be treated between his Holiness and King Philip, to which not only do the nephews assent, but also the Pope himself, notwithstanding his constant demonstrations, he knowing that his own forces are insufficient for the execution of his designs; that the assistance of the others (de' altri) proves less than he hoped and opined; that the forces of the enemy also exceed his expertations; that the French, moreover, might not be averse to this adjustment, provided they also found themselves included in it; and that the Pope would thus render himself the universal father, and increase his repute with everybody.
Rome, 27th March 1557.
March 27. Senato Mar. Vol. 33, p. 117, &c. 845. Motion made in the Senate by the Sage of the Council Hironimo Zane, and by the Sage for the Mainland Domenego Bollani, Knight, respecting Antonio Mazza Secretary of Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in England.
Our secretary Antonio Mazza, who was with our noble Giovanni Michiel, late ambassador to the most serene Queen of England, having remained in Flanders by reason of illness, and he from poverty not having wherewithal to maintain himself and return home:
Put to the ballot—That 150 Venetian ducats in gold be given to his agents to pay his expenses during the period of his absence, and on the journey hither.
Ayes, 157. Noes, 6. Neutral, 1.
1557, 1st April, in the College.
Ayes, 16. Noes, 0. Neutral, 0.
March 29. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 846. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
In consequence of the communications made to me by Cardinal Caraffa, I thought it well to give him an opportunity to tell me something further, so yesterday, before he went into chapel, I thanked him for the message received, which was an additional proof of his care for your Serenity's interests, and in reply he said, “I spoke with the Pope, and communicated to him what you told me about the office performed by King Philip's ambassador. His Holiness is desirous of hearing it from you, and after chapel I will ascertain at what hour you can come.” He then commenced discussing various topics with me, from which I elicited two things of importance; the one, that with great difficulty had he brought the army so far, because (to use his own words) “those who had charge to counsel and decide about the undertakings were inclined to make the army halt in the Milanese, and then attack such places as were pronounced to be the weakest. This I opposed, demonstrating to them that with such forces, without artillery, as they had none, and without ammunition (munition), of which they were destitute, they had no foundation for any enterprise, the enemy in those parts being very well provided, and better able to reinforce themselves. I then asked the Duke de Guise what commission he had from the King; he answered me, 'To do what the Pope commanded;' whereupon I showed him a brief from his Holiness charging me to make the army march, saying to the Duke, 'Obey your commission by doing what the Pope orders.' Thus was it resolved to proceed, and, to say the truth, had I not been there this army would not have stirred.”
The other thing he said to me was, that many persons had performed evil offices against him, complaining especially of the ingratitude of the Duke di Somma; saying in conclusion, “Such is the way of the world, and the more good one does to certain persons the worse may be expected from them.” As he said this, it being announced that the Pope was ready to come down, we departed and joined the procession, with a good number of cardinals and an infinity of prelates. His Holiness blessed the rose as usual in the ordinary place of meeting, and the mass being ended, having divested himself of his sacerdotal habits, Cardinal Caraffa inquired at what hour he would see me, and then, having approached me, said, “Come late.” I therefore went at 6h. 30m. p.m., just as his Holiness awoke, and after the usual compliments he said, “We cannot but regret to have heard through many channels that the very stones of Venice complain of your not having been able to obtain audience of us. You can bear most excellent witness that we have always given you precedence over everybody. We have been much occupied lately, and perhaps your request was not made known to us, and these enemies of God neglect no opportunity for putting us out of favour and for exaggerating matters, so that by these and other means we suspect them of intending to render the Republic hostile to us.”
I answered that, as his Holiness said, I could bear very good witness to the many extraordinary favours bestowed by him on me, and that having, as in duty bound, imparted them to you, much to your satisfaction, I could not deny having written several times that I did not obtain the audience requested by me; and that, although I knew it was postponed from press of business, yet I was somewhat troubled from the effect it might produce in these present times, when the slightest accident induces various reports; and that as to seeking to render your Serenity hostile to this Holy See, and to himself personally, his Holiness might remain perfectly at ease, as I, knowing the intention of my country, promised him a perpetual and constant reverence, and in no case alienation from him to his detriment (per la ruina sua).
“Such” (said he, embracing me), “is my belief, for this would be too great an error that, whilst we have such a will and mind towards those most illustrious lords as no former Pope ever bore them, and as will never be borne them by any future one, they and Italy, in acknowledgment, could possibly be hostile to us.” I again confirmed what I had said as above, and saw that he was quite soothed. He then repeated what has been so often written about bringing back Italy to her harmony (redur Italia nella sua armonia); that certain opportunities ought not to be lost; that the undertaking would not be difficult; that a King of Naples, without any other state, and a Duke of Milan, in like manner, would be Italians; that then the Signory of Venice would be powerful and tremendous, and this Holy See have greater authority. After this discourse by his Holiness I told him about the coming into the College of the ambassador of the King of England; of King Philip's inclination towards the peace; of the desire evinced by him for your Serenity again to perform some office to that effect; of the order given to the Duke of Alva to execute what had been proposed by Cardinal Caraffa on the island; of the reasons for having first sent Alvise da l'Amar, who was not allowed to pass Tivoli, and who was followed by another gentleman; telling him, in short, that to let him know what came to your knowledge, your Serenity had charged me to acquaint him with what is aforesaid.
He replied, “We return many thanks to the Signory for letting us know everything, as we also on our part do by you. These Imperialists (questi) never renounce their craftiness, and when most intent on deceiving, which is peculiar to them, they say they wish for peace, and proclaim this universally; but, to bare our mind to you, if they wish for a true peace, and not an insidious one, we will not fail, and you can bear witness whether we have always said that we wish for a good peace; and God knows that we would they should repent them of their errors and remain quiet, without molesting the rest of the world; and although many persons have chosen to interfere to this effect, we shall show that no medium will be more agreeable to us, and more efficacious for its attainment, than that of the Signory. Our good son the King of France, having done so much for us, we must never do anything unless it has his consent, as it would be too great ingratitude on our part; even were our life in danger, and that no other remedy than this could be found, we would not do it.” I said I would write his reply to your Serenity, repeating to him his own words, and he rejoined, “Precisely so,” adding, “We shall not indeed abstain from proceeding, and by our processes proclaiming them and all their adherents heretics, depriving them of all their fiefs, which have lapsed.”
I then said, “Holy Father, these are things always feasible, and when once done cannot be undone. Your Holiness, having this good and pious mind, which you always have had, and retain, can delay, in order not to give additional cause for scandal and resentment.” He replied, “On this account we deferred, but now even the Spaniards themselves reprove us.”
Having then been nearly two hours with his Holiness, when about to take leave I requested him to concede the ordinary “pardons,” and he replied, “Very willingly, both this and whatever else is in our power;” and having sent for Monsignor Berengo, he desired him to defer all other business, making use, moreover, of all his subordinates, and to despatch these “indulgences,” as requested by your Serenity. When I was in the act of departure his Holiness said to me, “Do not any longer send to ask for audience; come whenever you like, as, let our occupations be whatever they may, we will leave everything else to be with you. If we can we will stay a long while with you, as is our wish, and even if not, we shall see and salute you.”
Rome, 29th March 1557.
March 31 Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 847. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I crossed the sea on the 28th ultimo in an armed Queen's ship, being recommended thus to do by the governors of Calais, on account of the corsairs, and although when we set sail the weather was fair, it in mid-channel turned so foul, that we had to tack for many hours, the wind still freshening, and the tide being against us, so that with great difficulty we made the harbour, and had the vessel been smaller or the crew less expert, we should either have been lost, or driven over to Denmark or other regions yet more remote.
Yesterday I arrived here, where the King and Queen are, but not the right reverend Legate, who has departed to pass the holy days (fn. 4) at his archbishopric, where I think of visiting him, and remaining for that short period in such truly holy company, most especially because the Court likewise will remove hence during those days.
Since I came to England, I have heard that during my absence from the Court advice has been received of the aids (aiuti) decreed by the kingdom of Naples for its defence, and of the security in which it now is, and which is attributed in great part to the counsel of Don Ferrante [Gonzaga], who, besides persuading the inhabitants to defend themselves, reformed certain orders given for the safety of the territory which would have caused its ruin; (fn. 5) so the King and the Lords of the Council here are beyond measure rejoiced, the minds of all of them being changed from fear to hope; and whereas from dread of being unable to defend the kingdom of Naples, they were almost without counsel, as written by me from Brussels, (fn. 6) so have they now become so bold, that they think of attacking the enemy with their forces in those parts. Such is the ease with which opinions here (questi animi) change, not merely from the variety of accidents, but also from the nature of those who rule, which to say the truth is not very firm.
While on this subject I will state briefly the qualities of those in command, as told me by others, and from my own experience, so that this court being all new, you may form your sage opinion.
The King makes great profession of goodness, and shows himself vastly inclined towards elemency; he wishes rather to enjoy his States than to increase them, and if he wages war, he does so against his will, [wishing to avoid?] (fn. 7) the troubles, cost, toil, and perils which . . . in the councils (nei consegli) and in devisions . . . . . ruled entirely and throughout by . . . . . of greatest authority is Ru[y Gomez?] who is neither by nature nor . . . . . who does all he can to please the King, and never thinks of anything else, and is therefore with reason (ragionevolment) so dearly beloved by his Majesty.
This personage, knowing the King's wish for peace, persuaded the truce with France (persuase la tregua con Franza), the restitution of Piacenza, and the compensation of Piombino; he counselled the King to make friends for himself amongst the Italians by conferring benefits on all those who are of some account, not only potentates, but even private individuals such as Don Ferrante [Gonzaga], by punishing those who had accused him; giving considerable donatives to Giovanni Francesco Sanseverino and others gaining the Sicilians by the recall of Don Juan de Vega, and employing various means elsewhere to the like effect. He counselled a demonstration of favour towards the Colonnas, and subsequently when, owing to the management of others, the matter had proceeded further than he intended, he exerted himself to the utmost to adjust things with the Pope, whose obstinacy (durezza) baffled him. He alone proposed treating with Monsignor Fantucci, and gaining Cardinal Caraffa; and I am assured that he would have made peace had he not been compelled to depart [from the court of King Philip] and to come hither on his way to Spain, (fn. 8) to provide money. This Lord, therefore, is very favourable to peace, but in time of war can be of no use, either for counsel, or by assisting, as he has never seen a battle-field.
The Count de Feria and Don Antonio de Toledo, although well disposed (di bona mente), have nevertheless no experience of government. Don Juan Manrique has indeed a little more practice, from having passed some years in Italy, but even on him no great reliance (fondamento) can be placed.
The Bishop of Arras has ability, experience, and judgment, but he is detested, either because he is not a Spaniard like the others, or perhaps from envy, and therefore, seeing himself without authority, he avoids attending the cabinet councils (consulti), as much as he can.
Don Bernardino de Mendoza is a very astute man and has more experience than the others, but attends entirely to his own interests. He would wish to have the whole government to himself, and therefore desires war, and although by profession he has always been a seaman, he hopes, owing to the scarcity of military commanders (di subietti), to have charge of affairs by land likewise. For this reason he endeavoured to go into the Milanese, and hence arose his disagreement with the Duke of Alva, and although they were subsequently reconciled he never omits any opportunity for lowering him, with the hope that, the Duke being removed, he shall obtain entire command, as all the Spaniards give way to him; and to preserve his naval supremacy, he has placed the fleet under the command of his son, a young man; and of all the other captains of the galleys not one is more than twenty years of age; and thus does Mendoza prepare the way to attain his object.
The King, therefore, at this critical period, is counselled, partly by men of no experience, and partly by those who seek solely their own advantage; nor are the agents in the performance of their office deemed much better than the councillors, for the Duke of Alva has shown that he knows nothing of war; the Marquis of Pescara is a youth; and the Duke of Savoy is in no repute (non ha credito), and whenever I chanced to converse with his Excellency, he seemed to me very cold, and to be living merely on hope.
Westminster, 31st March 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
March ? MS. St. Mark's Library, Cod. xxiv. Cl. x. p. 167 tergo. p. 168 recto. 848. Cardinal Pole to the Catholic King.
Although he has not failed to perform such various offices with his Majesty and with the Pope, as becoming the post held by him, and his bounden duty to both one and the other of them, for their service and for the common weal; perceiving nevertheless that matters have proceeded so far, and are in such a state that they may perhaps proceed still further, to the utter ruin and peril of Christendom, he thinks it his duty to offer his personal service for any toil which may be deemed expedient. Requests the King to hear from the messenger what he will tell him in his name, and is certain he will accept his assistance (opera) in this matter, as it is offered with (con) (for ?) the King's service and true honour. Prays God to guide his Majesty in this and all his other proceedings, that he may always do what is most in conformity with the divine will, and the welfare and quiet of Christendom.
[Canterbury, March 1557?]. (fn. 9)
March ? MS. St. Mark's Library, p. 221 (recto) to p. 222 (verso). No date of time or place in MS. Printed in Vol. V., pp 22–25, Epistolarum Reginaldi Poli, without any date. 849. Cardinal Pole to Pope Paul IV.
Most Holy Father,—
If to all good men this war between your Holiness and King Philip is most painful, by reason of the very many and grievous perils and damages with which it seems to threaten not one realm alone, but the entire Christian commonwealth, to me of necessity it is the more bitter, the more I find myself bound by all the ties of devotion and reverence to your Holiness, and by those of love to the King, with whom, had I no other cause for the bond of obligation than this, it would suffice, viz., that at the commencement of his reign, with singular piety, he showed himself so able an assistant to the most serene Queen his consort in bringing back these people to the unity of the Church, and to the obedience of that Holy See, to which for some years previously they had shown themselves most averse. On this account your Holiness likewise showed that you held him most dear to you, until Satan sowed as tares this seed of dissension, which if now uprooted, I cannot doubt he will be much dearer to your Holiness, whose piety towards the Church, and the King's obedience towards yourself and the said Church, will thus become much more conspicuous (multo illustrior sit futura, dubitare non possum). The mode, however, of uprooting was taught by Him who willed to teach us the mode of praying; for when Satan demanded the sons of the Church, in order to sift them like wheat, He resisted all his efforts, with His sole remedy of prayer (idem enim et Sathanæ expetenti filios Ecclesiæ tanquam triticum cribrare, unicum remedium, suam opposuit orationem); and He commanded us to use the same remedy of praying in His name, promising that it would profit us, notwithstanding the devices of Satan; piety being purged by afflictions as oft-sifted grain by the sieve, thus rendering more manifest the glory of God. This is what we hope will now come to pass, and with this hope do we comfort ourselves, and by so much the more easily do we trust that thus will it be, inasmuch as we perceive that those things which estranged (disiunxerunt) the minds of your Holiness and of the King, arose not from yourselves, but from your ministers; and these [misunderstandings?] seem to me so recent, that they cannot have taken deep root in your minds in so short a time.
The circumstances whereby your Holiness and the King were united emanated from yourselves, and originated simultaneously with yourselves. These ties of reciprocal good-will and love are many and weighty, both public and private, human and divine, it being manifest that your Holiness was born and educated under the ancient dynasty and empire of King Philip's ancestors; (fn. 10) that there your most noble house and family are illustrious by their wealth and honours; that under King Philip's great grandfather (fn. 11) you passed part of your youth; then you were among the number of King Philip's father's councillors, and also exercised the pontifical legation at his Court. These things your Holiness heretofore was wont often to allude to willingly; and immediately at the commencement of your Pontificate you commissioned me to repeat these self-same words of yours when congratulating the King on your accession (et initio statim pontificatus mihi, ut de ejus adeptione Regi ipsius verbis gratulans, eadem dicere in mandatis dedit). Then again, what above all should conjoin him for ever publicly to your Holiness by a tie divine, was indeed that noble embassy, (fn. 12) which the most serene King, together with the most serene Queen his consort, sent at the commencement of your Holiness' Pontificate, not only to perform an ordinary office of congratulation with you, like the rest of the princes, but also to offer to you, as first fruits, the obedience of this kingdom, to re-establish which they both of them used their application, their endeavours, and their authority.
The causes therefore of union between your Holiness and this King being such and so weighty (graves), how could they by any possibility be dissolved? No one can, in fact, imagine their dissolution, without the counsel and aid of the eternal enemy of all good men, who acted thus in order at this present time to disturb the peace of the Church by means of those from whom its quiet and tranquillity might have been anticipated, more than from any other reigning Pope or King since many centuries. But the prayers (oratio) of Christ and of His servants for the Church, against the snares of Satan, will not permit him (as we hope) to advance farther; but that your Holiness' piety towards Christ and the Church, and the King's obedience towards your Holiness and the said Church, will be yet more illustrated; as it will come to pass, should your Holiness now choose to follow and imitate the steps which were taken for the reconciliation of this kingdom to the Church and this Holy See, partly by the late Pontiffs, with your Holiness' advice and counsel, and partly by your Holiness in person, when those who had withdrawn from their obedience to that Holy See were first, with a paternal voice, frequently called; and then, they being converted by that voice, all past injuries were forgiven, and the Church, foregoing (remittens) many of her rights, moved towards them, and at length, they having returned to her bosom, she received them benignly.
If, therefore, your Holiness thought fit to act so graciously and openly by those who during so many years waged war not only on the Pope, but on the Popedom itself, and on this Holy See, endeavouring by all means to extinguish and cancel her authority, your Holiness acting thus to gain them, what possible motive can there be at present for exhorting and entreating your Holiness to follow this paternal and divine counsel then exemplified by you, by reconciling yourself to this King, who, if now called upon to confess that he has grievously offended you, is, nevertheless, the identical one who a short while previously never thought of offending the Pontificate and this Holy See, but laboured greatly with all application, care, and authority with those who had not only contemned your Holiness' authority, but had since a long while vehemently combated it, for the purpose of restoring to you your honour and recalling the rebels to your obedience. Of this so pious a labour, by means of his own legates and of those of the most serene Queen his consort, he laid the fruit at your Holiness' feet. Whatever gave offence subsequently was more from suspicion and from the impulse of others than from the King's wish to offend (magis quam eius voluntate offensum est).
But if the King himself shall listen to the voice of the Vicar of Christ, the voice of that Father whom we must all obey for Christ's sake, that Father who invites him to peace, I am quite convinced that he will not only not neglect it, but will prostrate himself at your Holiness' feet, and refuse nothing that a Father can demand from his son under whatever title (ullo iure postulare possit). Here, however, someone will perhaps say that it is a thing contrary to your Holiness' decorum, if, you being the first who was hostilely attacked (si ipsa que prior armis est petita), and the first to be injured (prior læsa), should be the first to ask peace, and that this cannot be done without creating a suspicion of feeble defensive forces, which might render the enemy more insolent, instead of inclining the King towards the peace. But your Holiness having your forces now ready, and shortly expecting auxiliaries, who will render you no less powerful than your adversaries, (fn. 13) this fact acquits you before the world of any kind of indignity and weakness (omnem speciem tollit indiguitatis, atque imbecillitatis), although at whatever time your Holiness may do so, you thus declaring the power of the spirit of Christ (quocunque tempore a Sanctitate vestrà id fiat, cum magna (sic) spiritus Christi in ea potentiam declaraturus sit), it will not only not diminish your dignity and authority, but indeed greatly augment and increase it in the minds of men, especially of good men, for whom above all your Holiness ought to have regard. Nor should anything be deemed unworthy of the servant that the Master did, and that he does for the Master's honour. It is manifest that whilst the Lord and King of all, whose Vicegerent your Holiness is on earth, was with us in the flesh, He did this thing, and still continues doing it daily, by means of the Spirit and of His ministers, that He may call His enemies spontaneously and invite them to peace, and benignly offer them His pardon for their offences and His grace; whose example being followed by your Holiness, your apparent loss of dignity (quod de dignitate suâ remittere videbitur) will thus most especially amplify and illustrate it, to the glory of God and for the salvation of many.
On the other hand, your Holiness knows but too well in how many ways in these times this war will be calamitous for the entire Christian Church and commonwealth, for whatever cause it may have been commenced, and whatever its result; and from your paternal charity given you by God the Son, I trust you will not refuse to invite to peace him (hunc) who was drawn into discord with you by the malice of Satan, your Holiness thus teaching simultaneously by your own example the way to the true peace with God and man. This will come to pass if, to provide for the common weal and quiet, you deign to dispense with a small particle (aliquantulum) of your dignity and supremacy for the sake of raising the Son to greater glory, and rendering more illustrious—to the honour of God—both your own dignity and his. By this course, the Popes of old (veteres illi Pontifices maximi) raised this Holy See and the Apostolic dignity from their very lowly state to such a grade of honour in the eyes of all men, that, at present, there is none on earth more sublime. From such a singular and truly magnanimous deed on the part of your Holiness, it may also be hoped, not only that, all strife being removed, the peace between your Holiness and this King will be easily established, but also that your Holiness may obtain greater fruit than hitherto by procuring and thoroughly confirming peace and concord between this King [Philip] and the most Christian King to the well-being (salutem) of the entire Christian commonwealth. To say the truth, since many years peace between the Christian powers has been impeded by a certain infirmity and lack of spirit (infirmitas quædam et augustia spiritus), owing to which they dared not sacrifice so much of their own private advantage and dignity as was required for the common weal and to promote the honour of God; and by so much the less did they dare to do so as they had no leader, nor any recent example for entering into this road, although it is a very glorious one. Who now could be more worthy than your Holiness to offer himself as the leader in this “sacra via?”—you, who, when of inferior grade, despised honour and riches, thus showing yourself most worthy of the Popedom; it being indeed moreover to be hoped that by your Holiness' example, you will call and lead into this “sacred and glorious way,” these most obedient sons, who, needing nothing but an example and a leader, and continuing their obedience to the Church, will take this road, to the honour of God, as also to the advantage and welfare of the Christian republic. Who, then, knows the intention of the Lord (sensum Domini)? Who knows whether Divine Providence permitted that between such a King and Pope so perilous and fatal a war should arise, that both one and the other (uterque) might cede something of their right (quod de suo jure) for the public quiet and benefit?
In the meanwhile let the example be given by him who holds the place of Father. Should this take place, I see Satan hurled from his triumphal car; I see the bruised head of the serpent who since many centuries never gloried more in anything than he now glories in this discord between your Holiness and this King; nor for one wont to glory in malice was there ever assuredly greater matter for glorification. This, then, is the boast of him who at the time when the seed of the public peace was sowed by the truce made between these most potent princes, which seed your Holiness had commenced cultivating that it might fructify, by his malice did so much, that not only did this seed of peace not germinate, but the war broke out more grievously between the mediator (interpretem) and conciliator himself and that King, whom all extol as being born for peace, by reason of the clemency of his nature and his gentleness (mansuetudinem); and this, the boast of Satan, and his triumph, your Holiness will utterly deprive him of, and very greatly (maxime) illustrate the glory of Christ by turning this seed of public discord into concord; this King and all the other Christian Princes thus uniting together with your Holiness yourself, as it will easily come to pass if your Holiness prevail upon the most Christian King, who shows himself ready and prepared to defend you, that not renouncing but converting his warlike succour into pacific assistance, he secure your Holiness' dignity, whereby he will most especially secure his own, and that of the entire Christian Republic, which from intestine war cannot but suffer many indignities and grievances such as it has suffered for many years; nor from so many and such great evils can it ever be freed, unless by peace, and by the concord established between these two Kings, so that he who makes the most concession (qui plus de jure suo remiserit) will gain the greatest amount of true honour and reward with God and man; the which palm, verily the most noble of any, God, as I hope, reserved for your Holiness, to whom He has now divinely offered very great opportunities for effecting this peace, which I, with all pious men, will not cease imploring from the Divine goodness, which long preserve in safety your Holiness to us and to the universal Church!
[Canterbury, March 1557?].


  • 1. Scipione Rebiba (see Cardella, vol. 4, p. 147).
  • 2. The mission of this Vila, alias Villa, is mentioned by Sir Edward Carne, who says he was a Ferrarese, but does not allude to his being in the service of Henry II. (See Foreign Calendar, Mary, March 6, 1557, p. 291.)
  • 3. When this despatch was written, the King had already arrived in England, as seen by the following entry in Machyn's Diary (p. 129, Camden Society edition):—“The xx day of Marche (1557) the Kyng cam from be-yond the see, and cam at v to Grenwyche.”
  • 4. In the year 1557, Easter Day was on the 18th April. (See L'Art de Vérifier les Dates, Table Chronologique, p. 32. Ed. 1770.)
  • 5. In Goselini's Life of Don Ferrante Gonzaga (p. 418 to p. 426), his proceedings at Naples at this period, and his departure thence, are minutely detailed.
  • 6. Letters not found.
  • 7. Cipher illegible.
  • 8. In the month of February 1557. (See Domestic Calendar, Mary, p. 90, entry 6.) “The Queen to William Tirrell.—Directions to send all merchant ships bound for Spain to Plymouth, to go from thence under conduct of Signor Ruy Gomez to that coast.”
  • 9. In the original manuscript (p. 167), on which the first part of this dateless document is written, there are two letters from Canterbury, the one addressed to Cardinal Farnese, the other to the Duke of Parma, without any date of time, but evidently written after the arrival in England of King Philip, which took place on the 20th March 1557. The Ambassador Surian arrived in London on the 1st of April, when Pole was already at Canterbury, so I suppose this letter to have been written in March, and its bearer perhaps conveyed to the King the Cardinal's apology for not going to him in person; to which apology allusion was made by Henry II., as will be seen by the second paragraph on page 1015.
  • 10. Gianpietro Caraffa was born at Capriglia near Beneventum, in the year 1476, in the reign of Ferdinand, King of Naples, the natural son and successor of Alfonso I., King of Aragon. (See Cardella, vol. 4, p. 160.)
  • 11. In 1506, when Ferdinand the Catholic took possession of Naples, Pope Julius II. accredited Gianpietro Caraffa as nuncio to him. (See Cardella as above.)
  • 12. For a printed account of this embassy see Lord Hardwicke's State Papers, vol. I., page 62 to page 100. (Edition, London, 1778.)
  • 13. Et auxilia brevi expectet, quæ illam nihilo adversarijs inferiorem potentia reddant.” This passage, which, by alluding to the descent into Italy of the Duke de Guise (who arrived at Rome on Shrove Tuesday 1557, but did not lay siege to Civitella until the middle of April), gives a clue to the probable date of this letter, is omitted in the printed version, vol. 5, pp. 24–25.