Venice: April 1557, 1-15

Pages 999-1016

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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April 1557, 1–15

April 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 850. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
M. de Mana (sic) has at length arrived from Rome, having been long detained on the road by a disaster which befell him when riding post-wise, and when it was least expected brings news of the promotion of ten Cardinals, which, they not having been of the quality so earnestly sought by his most Christian Majesty, has not proved very agreeable, and it is said very publicly that his Holiness has not had regard for the safety (sicurtà) of his family, (fn. 1) nor yet for the satisfaction of his friends, as amongst the said Cardinals there are individuals of such quality that neither can Cardinal Caraffa avail himself of them, nor still less can the King of France rely firmly on their services. What the King and Queen regret more than anything else is that in this number there has not been comprised the Bishop Salviati, whose election was requested by their Majesties with infinite earnestness. M. de Mana (sic) brought the cap (berretta) for the keeper of the seals, and the brief authorising him to exercise that office, with the title of Cardinal de Sens.
The negotiation with Florence is as it were dissolved (è come dissolta) the Duke de Guise having written to the King that letters brought by the secretary Concino, who is detained at Naples (sic), having been intercepted, it became manifest that the Duke of Florence continued treating, to gain time rather than to come to any conclusion; so the Pope would no longer give ear to the words of the Bishop of Cortona, being quite convinced that the persuasions addressed to him in favour of the agreement were to prevent the advance of the army. The Duke de Guise adds that notwithstanding this the Pope remained very constant in his first opinion that the army should go and attack the kingdom of Naples, dwelling on the following argument, that so many troops were already mustered there that were the expedition (impresa) against Florence made, Rome and the whole of the Papal States would again remain the prey of the Duke of Alva. The Duke de Guise on the other hand, demonstrated to his Holiness that the expedition (impresa) against the kingdom of Naples was very difficult, both owing to the impediments which will be raised by the Duke of Florence, as also because the season is now so near hot weather that although the army might lay waste the country, it could not encamp to besiege any fortress without running the same risks as M. de Lautrec (fn. 2) of yore; but that by now making the attack on Florence, with the assistance of the outlaws (forusciti), and by preventing the Duke from getting in the harvest, it will be very easy; that towards the autumn there would be greater facilities for invading the kingdom of Naples; and that in the meanwhile he promised the Pope to give him such an amount of troops as his Holiness should know to be sufficient for his safety.
The Pope, however, who does not care to gratify any other wish than the one entertained by him for many years, for the Neapolitan expedition, knowing himself to be an old man, will not consent to the army's entering on any other undertaking, which might last longer than his own life, and he is therefore so firm in his opinion that the Duke de Guise writes that he fears nothing else but an authoritative letter from the King could make him change it; so he, Guise, was anxiously expecting the ones mentioned in my last, which were sent express. Concerning that despatch I hear, moreover, that the King wrote to M. de Guise that should he know it to be detrimental for his Majesty's affairs to invade “the kingdom” at present, he is to adhere to his own opinion, and to tell the Pope constantly (constantemente) that in like manner as his Majesty did not fail with his forces to free the Pope and the Papal States from the oppression of the Duke of Alva, so at present, he being released from the promise given by him to his Holiness, it is reasonable that his troops should not engage in an undertaking which it is known must have a detrimental and slightly honourable result. Nor will I omit to add that although after receipt of the first letters from the Duke de Guise, little satisfaction was evinced at the Pope's proceedings, it has now become much less, and the chief personages of the Court say freely (largamente) that his Holiness is intent solely on his own satisfaction, regardless of his most Christian Majesty's advantage or of anything else. In like manner since the Duke of Ferrara disarmed so suddenly, without giving any other sign of himself except to seek his own benefit, his Excellency also is spoken of contemptuously, but not however distrustfully, as they call him a base-minded merchant rather than a prince; and those same persons who until now favoured his interests and placed him in his present position say they are convinced that his most Christian Majesty will never be able to avail himself of him in any matter of importance, his Excellency's mind being fixed entirely on self-interest. I mention these facts that your Serenity may know in how short a time dissatisfaction has arisen amongst the members of this “Holy League” (questa santa Lega).
The Ambassador from England has performed an office with his Majesty complaining of much damage done to the English at sea and even in the Thames by French men-of-war (navi Francesi armate), praying his Majesty to make due provision, in reply to which the King made an ample verbal demonstration of good will; but the ambassador told me that he greatly fears lest even now, as at the commencement of the first war, they may do great mischief, which would perhaps be less patiently tolerated than it was then.
The King has promised his third daughter Margaret, now four years old, to the King of Navarre's eldest son, who is her senior by two years. (fn. 3)
The Constable Montmoreney has been very ill of catarrh (eatarro—gout ?) and in a few days has become so aged as to lose his usual robust aspect, and walks leaning on a stick.
La Ferté Milon, 2nd April 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
April 3. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 851. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Concino, the Secretary of the Duke of Florence, who, as written by me, (fn. 4) had been imprisoned in Castle St. Angelo, is released. The old Florentine ambassador and the Bishop of Cortona, after receiving letters from his Excellency, remonstrated very vehemently with Cardinal Caraffa and the Duke of Paliano, demonstrating to them that he was one of the chief Italian potentates, and to be held in greater account than certain persons believed; that in the late affairs he had shown himself the good son of this See and of his Holiness, and would continue to do so, provided cause were not given him to change, from necessity, as at present by the imprisonment of his secretary after his first release, (fn. 5) and by treating him so ill as was reported. Having performed these offices, on being introduced to the Pope (who had always denied them audience), they again obtained the release of the Secretary Concino. They remained for three hours with his Holiness, who told them that being an Italian potentate he would always take care to preserve in their States the Princes found by him in Italy, for which reason he had never chosen to assent to the Tuscan expedition as proposed and counselled by others, because from the Duke's disposition (animo) he thought he could promise himself all that a father could expect from a beloved and obedient son; and that therefore, to prove his usual good will, he would again order the release of Concino, who had been treated with all due respect, but that in state affairs it is very often necessary to enlighten and secure one's self. On being set at liberty this Concino told many persons in public that he could not have been better treated than he was by Cardinal Caraffa and the others, and that the Duke his Lord and he himself have cause to be very much obliged to him; but to those with whom he could speak unreservedly he said that they kept him tied for two hours on the cord (sulla corda), and did the worst they could to him.
This fresh release of Concino has greatly surprised everybody, and one of two things is supposed, either that what had been said about the design on Ancona and other things proved untrue, or else that the Pope being intent on the Neapolitan expedition wishes by this release to soothe the Duke of Florence, and to make almost sure of him on this occasion; and it is also possible that this effect may have been produced by both these causes. The Bishop of Cortona, although he has hurt his foot and requires rest, departed this morning for Florence with Concino, and was heard to utter the following words, “My master is phlegmatic, and avails himself of circumstances.”
The Duke de Guise is still here, the cause of this long delay being the small supply of money and ammunition he has obtained here, as having received from the most Christian King the two-thirds due from France down to the end of May, and I know not how much more, he asked the Pope for his portion, amounting to one-third and upwards, and also for the ammunition promised him. With regard to the money he was answered that there were 100 thousand crowns reserved in the Castle for this purpose, and that provision would be made for the rest, as there was no want of many means for doing so; and respecting ammunition, that as much powder and ball as possible should be removed from the Castle, which has been done during the last three days.
The last letters from France addressed by the Constable to M. de Guise, begin to let him know (incominciano, per quanto intendo da bonissimo loco, a farli intender) that should it be impossible to attend exclusively to the affairs of Italy, it will be from the necessity for keeping an eye on the frontiers of Picardy, and other places which King Philip apparently intends to attack. I also hear that the Pope has asked of M. de Guise, the towns held by the most Christian King in Tuscany, as promised to his Holiness according to the treaty. He replied that he knew this to be amongst the articles, but had no orders from the King on the subject; and as his Majesty was to give the Pope, as compensation, a part of what may be obtained in the kingdom of Naples, he does not know how the King will act in this matter until he sees the result of the expedition, but that he will write to him.
On the 30th ultimo an express arrived from Ascoli with news that the troops there mutiny, being creditors for more than three rates of pay. It was proposed here to give the soldiers one rate of pay, but the Marquis of Montebello says it is too little, and that they have continued serving hitherto on his word. In short, there is a great scarcity of money here, and I am told that their chief hope rests on Sauli, who some time ago was confined in Castle St. Angelo as farmer of the alum mines, and offers an additional ten thousand crowns for the monopoly, and proposes freeing himself from the payment by disbursing one hundred thousand crowns in ready money, for which he is to receive ten per cent. interest. This comes from the mouth of the “Fiscale,” who said he hoped to raise the “bonus” to fifteen thousand crowns, and thus obtain 150 thousand crowns immediately, but as yet nothing is settled. Som persons say that the hundred thousand crowns, said to be in the Castle, were indeed seen to be carried thither publicly and with great ceremony, but no one knows how many they were, nor whether they were subsequently removed in secret.
When Messer Paulo's [Consiglieri] life was despaired of by everybody, (many symptoms indicating that his existence was limited to hours and not to days), his recovery commenced through a medicine administered by a tavern keeper, who gave him a cuttlefish (una seppa), (fn. 6) in some very strong red wine, having said certain words over it; and then on a piece of foul flannel (una lana sucida) he spread two whites of eggs and applied it to his back, opposite his chest, the result being that it is now hoped he will live, much to the Pope's satisfaction; and his brother, Cardinal Consigliero, when laughing with the Pope as usual, said, “Your Holiness will now not take it amiss if I, in like manner, associate with tavern-keepers, seeing that they also can bring the dead to life.”
The niece of Giulian Cesarino, with a fortune exceeding eighty thousand crowns, has at length married Matteo Stendardo, the Pope's nephew, heretofore his carver, and now a captain of horse. The ceremony was performed in the palace of the aforesaid Signor Giulian, although he is still confined in the Castle.
Rome, 3rd April 1557.
April 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 852. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Since my arrival I have been waiting for audience of the Queen, who, having a cold and toothache, does not appear in public; nor have I conferred with the King, because his Majesty is still suffering from the indisposition of which he was not quite cured when he left Brussels, but he is much better, and Count de Feria tells me that in two days I shall be able to see him.
On the other side of the Channel, the King was met by many of the chief personages of England, and between Dover and Greenwich, all the rest paid their respects to him; and at each place through which he passed he found two gentlemen sent by the Queen, one of whom after doing the like, returned immediately to give her the news of it at Greenwich, where she was expecting the King, so she thus heard of his Majesty at every stage.
Their Majesties remained two days at Greenwich, very much to their satisfaction, and then came hither to Westminster processionally through London, and on his passage the King pardoned certain prisoners in the Tower, and released them, in order yet more to ingratiate himself with the kingdom (fn. 7) (per gratificarsi più il regno); but from what I hear, the Spaniards are so greatly hated, that neither his Majesty nor the Queen are well looked on by the multitude (dall' universale).
It is true that all the members of the Council are devoted to his Majesty, owing to the great rewards they have had from him, for when last here he spent and gave a considerable quantity of money, and distributed vast revenues (grossissime intrate), in Spain and Flanders, to propitiate the leading people here; and he found by experience that what my father used to say of this kingdom was perfectly true (verissimo), that all, from first to last are venal, and do anything for money. (fn. 8) The Count de Feria told me that the King has taken (preso) these grandees (questi grandi) in such a way (in tal modo), that he can do what he will with them and the realm, and that it is in his Majesty's power (in mano di sua M) to make the country wage war against France, when and in what manner he chooses; but not being of opinion thus to do, as it would create too great a stir, and as it is more advantageous for his Majesty to draw money thence (il cavarne danari), which will enable him to direct his affairs better, he will therefore have money. The King also intends to secure the Channel by means of a fleet, so that the French may be prevented from attacking Flanders in that direction; and Vannes, late ambassador to your Serenity, told me that the fleets of Spain and England will unite, which will be a way for the King, little by little, to make himself master both of that and of the realm. Count de Feria, who apparently converses with me very confidentially, told me as a great secret, that the King, having found that the Queen has twenty-six councillors, the grade being an honorary one conferred by her on all those from whom she had anything to hope or fear, in order to keep them under obligation to her, has reduced them to only six of his most trusty adherents, without, however, displacing the others, so as not to provoke them, but has so arranged with the Queen and those six, that matters of importance are to be treated by them alone, less momentous business, being discussed by all together. (fn. 9)
Thus do the affairs of the Government proceed at present, and those of the Religion are regulated with less severity, both to avoid farther exasperation of the public mind, as also because, although few are perhaps really Catholics at heart (internamente), everybody, nevertheless, in appearance, makes a show of living religiously, so there is no cause for proceeding against them.
The King will remain here until the return of Don Ruy Gomez from Spain, where he is said to have induced some two thousand gentlemen of those realms to come and serve the King at their own cost in this war, about which great things are being said; and a memorandum is in circulation with the names and qualities (qualità) of the commanders, and the amount of infantry, cavalry, artillery, and ammunition, and of the whole preparation (apparecchio), which is expected to be prodigious (grandissimo); but I delay writing about it until able to do so more authentieally, after witnessing the fact, towards the month of June, as until then the thing is impossible from want of victuals, of which there is very great searcity in Flanders, and but little less in England.
It is also affirmed that Don Ferrante [Gonzaga] and Castaldo will be here shortly, and some persons say Don Antonio Doria likewise, they having to take a very important part in this enterprise, although it is not yet known how these personages will agree with the Duke of Savoy, as each of them will choose to be commander-in-chief, and although, as the King is going in person, there will be no dispute between them about grade, the title of general being dispensed with, the variety of their opinions will nevertheless render it difficult for them to agree together; but in due time your Serenity shall be advised of everything.
There is now here an ambassador from the Muscovites, who demands a loan of ammunition and artillery, his lord being at war, and subsequently another ambassador arrived from the King of Sweden, to prevent the grant of this demand, protesting that it would cause a rupture between his King and this Crown; but commencing a London merchants greatly favour the Muscovite, because they expect through his medium to enrich themselves, by commencing a trade in those parts (con mettersi a traficar in quelle bande), he having announced good intentions to them, and they do him so much honour, that greater could not be done to the greatest sovereign; but their Majesties here have not yet formed any decision. (fn. 10)
Westminster, 3rd April 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
April 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 853. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
To-day I had audience of the King, and after congratulating myself on his auspicious journey, I communicated to him the advices from Constantinople, and then informed him that your Serenity charged me to request his Majesty to reconsider the letter he had addressed to the Viceroy of Sicily about indemnity for the damage done by the Messina Galliot in the waters of Zante; assigning the reasons for the recall of the words enjoining the Viceroy to inform himself about the fact, and to make restitution on finding that the property had been seized unjustly. To this effect I presented the King with a memorial, which he merely took, saying he would consider, and give me the reply.
On quitting his Majesty's chamber I found the Count de Feria, who was waiting for me, and having told him what passed between the King and me, and that I had presented a certain memorial, and wished it to be despatched before the King's departure, he promised to remind him of it, and then said I was to ask of his Majesty whatever I wanted, as I should obtain everything, even were it not quite just I replied that I should never ask anything but what was fair and reasonable; and he rejoined very lovingly that I might ask for whatever I wished, as his Majesty was much obliged to your Sublimity (molto obbligato alla Sublimità vostra). In the course of conversation he added that when at Venice the Duke of Ferrara having said that he was your Serenity's good son and that he was therefore come to give account of all his actions, he received for answer that good sons hold in account the good advice given them by their parents, which anecdote was narrated, he told me, to Monsignor de Priuli yesterday, by the Marquis de Sarria; and although I do not comprehend how this can be true, I nevertheless see that it circulates publicly, and that it confirms these Lords in hope and in great trust of your Serenity.
Westminster, 5th April 1557.
PS.—Detained until the 6th April.
I have this day had audience of the Queen, who answered very kindly (con parole molto amorevoli), showing herself ready to maintain the friendship with the Republic as her forefathers had done, both from her own will, and on account of the King her husband, who is graciously disposed towards your Sublimity.
April 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 854. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Nothing having been heard from M. de Guise since my last of the 2nd, everybody is astonished, the cause being attributed to his inability to settle what he wished with the Pope. I hear that his Excellency wrote to the King that amongst all his ministers in Italy he did not find any one of sounder and firmer judgment than Cardinal Tournon, who by many arguments dissuaded him from the Neapolitan expedition until he had first of all found means to make sure of the Duke of Florence, which by so much the more determined the King to write to his Excellency, as already mentioned by me.
I am also told on good authority that the Pope did not give it to be understood that he intended making this promotion of cardinals until the day before he effected it, and when in the evening he made the announcement to Cardinal Caraffa and the Duke of Paliano, the Cardinal prayed his Holiness to speak first of all with the Duke de Guise, but the Pope replied that he was tired and unable to speak to him, which made the Duke angry, and before he could be appeased Cardinal Sermoneta had to go several times with messages from one side and the other; but nevertheless, after the election, his Excellency chose to dissemble, and made such show of satisfaction as is known to your Serenity. His most Christian Majesty, when talking with the Nuncio here about this promotion, said to him, in adroit language (demonstrating, however, resentment), that he could not but marvel at the Pope's having made so extravagant an election, as he, the King, had proposed to him so numerous a list of personages, all of whom, on every account, should have been preferred to those elected, and in particular he complained that, having so earnestly requested the nomination of Bishop Salviati, he should have been omitted, notwithstanding the positive promise made to his Majesty and to the Queen, who also remonstrated subsequently in plainer terms with the Nuncio, telling him that she had letters from Cardinal Caraffa, who in the Pope's name had promised it her assuredly. I may add that of the persons on the King's list, in number upwards of 30, the only two elected are Strozzi and the Bishop of Toulon. The King also complained to the Nuncio that the Pope had largely promised him to advance (di far la promotione) the marriage of M. de Mont-morency, (fn. 11) and did not do so; on which promise the Constable relying had commenced making preparation for the future espousals; as it was reported that the absolution had been made; but as the French theologians have come to the conclusion that the promise of marriage is dissolved, both parties having consented to the dissolution, his most Christian Majesty chose M. de Montmorency to come to France, and would give him his daughter for wife, it seeming to him that he can do so fairly. (fn. 12) The Constable likewise spoke on this subject to the Nuncio, complaining grievously that the promises he had in writing were now contested (messe in difficultà) at the moment when he was expecting his son here with the absolution, but as the Pope persisted in not consenting to it, his most Christian Majesty would not fail to find fitting means.
The Duke de Guise also wrote lately to the King about the bad treatment received by the army in the territory of the Duke of Ferrara, and the scanty provision made, and the great scarcity of victuals and everything else, with other words but little to the honour of the said Duke. M. de Guise likewise complained because, had his Excellency accommodated him with certain artillery at the time when he was asked for it, there would have been a good opportunity for attempting an important undertaking, which was lost by his delay; and in truth from every quarter less satisfactory accounts of his Excellency are received daily, so that his apparent object being to look solely to his own gain and profit, it is improbable that on any occasion not immediately connected with them the King of France can avail himself of his service.
King Philip's troops made a brisk incursion on these frontiers, advancing to the neighbourhood of St. Quentin, where they made considerable booty and took prisoner a very rich merchant of the place, who, when the most Christian King has been in those parts, generally received him into his house, and they sacked all his property (tutta la sua robba).
A despatch arrived yesterday from M. de Brissac with news of the affair of the Marquis of Pescara, (fn. 13) and his Excellency writes that, having heard how in consequence of it great dissension had arisen amongst King Philip's forces, he determined to join M. de Termes and push forward, in order not to lose the opportunity, but despaired of doing anything of importance unless his most Christian Majesty sent him reinforcements.
La Ferté Milon, 7th April 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
April 10. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 855. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
At length, on the 5th, at 11 a.m., M. de Guise departed, and on the 4th I went to his Excellency to pay the usual compliments. He told me he had remained here much longer than he expected, and than he ought to have done, because he had to do with men who never made war before; that he had found the Pope very well disposed, but that the ministers made many impediments; that his protracted stay here made him ashamed of showing himself, but that he should at any rate depart on the morrow, and would have done so on that day had not the Pope given him to understand that he wished to be with him in private before his departure; that he would go first to Ancona, and then to the army, to do what the interests of the war might require, referring himself for the rest to the will of the Lord God. On the evening of the 4th he supped with the Pope and the two cardinal-nephews, the Duke of Paliano, the Marquis his son, and the Marquis of Montebello, and after supper the Pope, Cardinal Caraffa, the Duke of Paliano, and M. de Guise withdrew, and remained a long while together, and from what was told me by a person who was in the antechamber, many loud words were heard at the commencement, but at the end Guise and the nephews came forth very joyfully (molto allegro). It is said the Pope gave him a pointed diamond (fn. 14) worth 3,000 crowns. It is reported here that he went away dissatisfied with everything except the words and promises given him, though some persons assure me that he took away with him 60,000 crowns which were in the Castle; and what I myself know is that money is very scarce, and that all the soldiers complain of not being paid.
Yesterday Consistory sat, when, although the Pope was expected to deprive King Philip of the kingdom of Naples, and to give the investiture of it to the second son of the most Christian King, yet what occurred was not to that extent, but nevertheless a commencement, and almost a pledge that it may take place. His Holiness said that until now he had delayed proceeding farther, and put off recourse to the assistance and forces of others, still thinking that the enemies of God would repent them of their errors and perform penance, but that, when expecting this, he found them more impious than ever, choosing to avail themselves of the church property for this present war, King Philip having issued proclamations for all his subjects to quit Rome, so that the Pope was compelled to order all his ecclesiastical ministers, ambassadors, nuncios, collectors, sub-collectors, and all his other agents of every description to return to Rome, and to deprive Cardinal Pole in particular of the power of Legate, that he should no longer interfere in any matter whatever in that kingdom as minister of this See (fn. 15) (et particolarmente tor la potestà di Legato al Rmo Polo, il qual come ministro di questa sede non habbia più ad impedirsi in cosa aleuna in quel Regno); and although to many members of that Sacred College this seemed a matter of such great importance as it is, not one of them, however, dared to speak, because his Holiness proposed this matter as a settled thing, and that it was not to be debated (et che non si havesse da consigliar). The Pope then conferred certain churches; the archbishopric of Naples on his nephew the newly-elected cardinal; an abbacy in France, vacant by the death of the Cardinal de Bourbon, and which has an annual revenue of 30,000 francs, on the Cardinal of Lorraine, brother of the Duke de Guise; and the bishopric of Venaissin (fn. 16) on an “abate” of the Caraffa family.
Messer Paulo [Consiglieri], whose hope of life and fear of death have of late been equally balanced, is now in such a state that of the one there is great fear, and of the other but little hope.
Camillo Orsini has refused a pension of 4,000 crowns, saying that he came to Rome to defend his country, and that as the cost of his living there did not much exceed his expenses at La Mentana he did not consider himself entitled to any provision, not having any grade, and not having been employed out of Rome.
Rome, 10th April 1557.
April 10. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 856. The Same to the Same.
To-day the Pope said to me, “The affairs of the world are in such a state as must be well known to your Magnificence; we have tolerated much, and by delaying to make use of these French forces and assistance we indeed expected that Philip, repenting him of his errors, would acknowledge the vicar of Christ; tantum abest from his having done so that he has published edicts recalling all his subjects here in Rome, and committing many other impious and sacrilegious acts, so that yesterday in consistory we in like manner were compelled to revoke all our ministers in his realms, even our Legate Cardinal Pole, so that though he chooses to persecute (inerudelir contra) our subjects he may not have it in his power to boast of persecuting (incrudelir contra) public functionaries representing this Holy See. God knows, and you (to whom from time to time we have disclosed the course of events) are witness, that we were dragged into this war by the hair of our head and against our will. They came even to the gates of Rome, occupying one of our most important places, which is Hostia, by reason of the commodities brought from the sea and from elsewhere, and conveyed hither by the Tiber.
“We have nevertheless always had our hopes fixed on God, being quite sure that He would not abandon His cause, nor did He, for He raised up that good son the King of France, with such forces as appear not only in these parts but also in Piedmont and Picardy; although the armies of Italy alone might have liberated this province, and on a mere sign from my most illustrious Signory (della mia illustrissima Signoria) incredible ardour and promptitude would have been witnessed. For the rest, the King is a good son, and perhaps the best man in France; we have now and then given him some cause for resentment (resentimento) in order to try him (il che è stato quasi spetie di tentatione), and we assure you that he submitted to everything, and, more obedient than ever, commended what we have done.
“The Duke de Guise, as you know, has departed, and we are well satisfied with him, as he likewise conformed to our pleasure. Our nephew the Duke of Paliano will soon depart to unite our forces with the French army, and we have endeavoured to effect a good understanding between these two commanders; and although he is captain of the Church and our nephew, we have chosen him to acknowledge the Duke de Guise as captain of the League; and we also told Guise to pray the Duke to be with him on his expedition; he knows the country and almost all the people, and all know him, and he has many friends of his own and of the family, and we think matters will proceed according to our wish, and harmoniously; nor will there be any other object in view except the common weal. We shall wait to see what God will do, with the firm hope that He will grant us this contentment to see Italy liberated (liberata), we commending and being satisfied with what the Signory has done, and with their prudence and constancy. Supposing the opportunity not yet to have arrived, we shall persevere in the same discretion (modestia) as evinced by us hitherto, and not ask anything farther at present, waiting until the game is won (a gioco vinto), when, without any danger, securely, felicitously, and with increase of territory, the Signory, who has so great a share in Italy, may be able to do what we know for certain is their intention some day, viz., to release this province from servitude. We have spoken with you in the form invariably used by us, and we repeat that we shall await what God may please to do with those forces now at our disposal, and which as aforesaid we have hitherto restrained to our own detriment, not only from the waste of money but also of repute, and to the great devastation of our places, as after all soldiers are soldiers and the respect had by them is but moderate; it having still been our hope that these enemies of God, through their repentance, would have given us the opportunity to have mercy on them; but as they seek anything but this, we also are compelled to do as we are doing.”
Rome, 10th April 1557.
April 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 857. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
No decision has been made hitherto about the assistance (aiuti) to be given by this kingdom to the King; many things are said, and I know that much is written on the subject to Italy; but for some days I anticipate difficulty in hearing anything certain, as the Court will pass the holidays at Greenwich and then go to Hampton Court, in neither of which places can I attend, as there is no other lodging but the palace royal.
Peace with the Pope is spoken of very openly, and according to the advices from Italy it seems that his Holiness is not so inexorable as hitherto, and that the negotiation was initiated by him (sia nato da Lei). I nevertheless do not know who treated this affair, nor any other particular, though I do know that hope of peace exists here, and that it has been increased by this election of Cardinals, amongst whom the King of England (questo Re) has some partisans, whilst the most Christian King has not so much part in it as was expected. My attempts to ascertain from some of the chief personages here the truth of this have been vain, and when speaking about the war, they merely name the King of France as their enemy, without saying anything about the Pope, and this I have remarked for a long while. Several persons, however, tell me that the matter is in course of negotiation, and that the Queen may send an envoy to Rome for this purpose, (et che potria esser, che questa Regina mandarà un homo suo a Roma per questo effetto) in which case I hope to hear of it.
Some French corsairs lately captured a Flemish cutter (scuta) bound from this kingdom for Flanders with a variety of merchandise, and as a great part of it belonged to Venetian merchants I went with them to the French Ambassador to request him to write to Boulogne to prevent any division of the plunder, and that it be suspended until the receipt of an order from the most Christian King. The ambassador promised to perform every office, and intrusted this business to his nephew, who has departed on his way to France, but there is doubt of his doing much good, both because he will not be in time, as likewise owing to a French law whereby all goods captured in hostile vessels are a lawful prize. The magnifico Ser Marco Antonio Foscarini, son of the most noble Ser Alvise, is gone in person to Boulogne, and should he be in time something may be hoped from his diligence and ability. Besides the risk incurred by exporting merchandise from England, the natives here (questi) have laid a plot (fatto una congiura) to ruin the trade of all foreign merchants, their attempt being favoured by a statute which from its antiquity has never been enforced.
Westminster, 12th April 1557.
April 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 858. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
In conformity with your Serenity's letter of the 18th ult. I went yesterday to the court to execute the commission about what took place at Adrianople between your Serenity'sa “Bailo” and the French ambassador, and as usual, first made the statement to the Constable. Whilst I was speaking to him his countenance evinced anger, and he answered me harshly (con forma di parole severe) that his most Christian Majesty had heard with displeasure, through letters from his ambassador at Adrianople, of this office performed by your Serenity's “Bailo,” which was not such as was merited by the goodwill always borne by his Majesty the Republic, who it seemed to him ought also to be mindful of that same goodwill, as always demonstrated towards it by the French Crown, but that your Serenity had taken to faeonring this King Philip (si havea pigliato a favorire questo Re Filippo), as you had also done by his father, and had execeded the terms of neutrality. He then added, “And with regard to you yourself likewise, Lord Ambassador, the King marvels greatly that so many days should have elapsed without your having been to the court, where you were always as well received as any other ambassador that ever went thither.”
Knowing that the Constable's object was, as your Serenity had to complain of the French ambassador at Adrianople, to cut that ground from under your feet (tagliar quella strada), and to make it appear that he had reason to find fault with your Serenity, and perhaps lead me astray from my purpose, I said to him, “Most illustrious Monsignor, I am at a loss for words to express my thanks to his most Christian Majesty and your Lordship for the very great graciousness shown me, but the Signory will always acknowledge any favour conferred on me, or on any other minister of the Republic, as your gift, and touching my absence from the court during several days, it was caused by very serious indisposition.” Thereupon his Excellency interrupted me immediately, and beginning to clear up (rasserenarsi), said, “So you have been very ill? I pray you, Lord Ambassador, to pardon me for not having sent to perform such offices with you as becoming, for I did not believe your malady to be of importance.”
I rejoined that I was very glad to know of his goodwill, and I then said I was sorry the French ambassador had performed this office with his most Christian Majesty, as the most noble the “Bailo” (fn. 17) being a gentleman of execllent parts, it seemed to me that his Lordship should believe him rather than false informers (falsi delatori), but that even had he not chosen to give credit to the “Bailo,” he should have accepted his propsal to inform himself through the Bashaw; but that now, when his Majesty shall hear the justification from me in your Serenity's name, I was certain he would rest satisfied with it, though it surprised me greatly that his Excellency should have told me that your Serenity had exceeded the limits of neutrality, to which I would reply when he gave me any particulars, but that in like manner. as I had constantly told him, so did I now affirm, that your Serenity bore towards his most Christian Majesty as much affection and observance as you had ever borne towards any other prince whatever, by reason of the very rare qualities which render him so illustrious, as demonstrated by me from time to time to your Serenity, who was already quite convinced of it. The Constable, having already smoothed his brow entirely (già del tutto allargata la ciera), and resumed his gracious form of speeh, replied that what he had said to me in partieular (in particolare) was not as to an ambassador, but to a person his prieate friend, and having heard that your Serenity had elected my successor, believing my departure to be near at hand, he wished to confirm to me the fact of his Majesty's holding me in such account that he regretted my having been some days without going to him; and that as to your Serenity's goodwill towards the King, he was glad I confirmed it, adding that your Serenity will never find his most Christian Majesty to be of monarchical mind (animo in sua Maestà Christma di monarca), as some persons went saying, but that he was replete solely with a desire for what was just, and that all men should suspend their judgment until they saw the result of the world's disturbances, as thereby they would know that his Majesty's schemes (maneggi) had been well concerted, and were directed to a good end.
After thanking his Excellency for demonstrating to me that he was aware of your Serenity's goodwill, I prayed him to assure the King of the fact, and that this office imputed to the most noble the “Bailo” was an invention of rogues (de homini tristi), to sow discord between his Majesty and your Serenity. (fn. 18) Then his Excellency, embracing me, inquired if I knew what cause induced the Duke of Ferrara to depart from your Serenity so suddenly. I said I did not, and I then congratulated him on the return of his son, M. de Damville, after the performance of so honourable a feat in Piedmont, and on his hourly expectation of M. de Montmorency.
After returning thanks he left me in his chamber, and went to the King, with whom after remaining a long while, he sent for me. The statement made to the Constable was then repeated by me to his Majesty, who answered me with a cheerful countenance that he could not deny that his ambassador at Adrianople had written this thing to him, but much more his other agents there, owing to the report current at that court; so had I not gone he would have sent for me to tell it me, that I might notify it to your Serenity, but that, knowing by long experience how you proceeded, and considering the love borne you by his Majesty, he could not believe it, neither would he credit that your Serenity could wish to lose his friendship, which he on his part was always ready to maintain inviolate; and that he had never thought of doing anything but what could prove benefieial to your Serenity, as he had endeavoured to prove to you lately; nor would he enter into details, as he supposed them to be perfectly well known to me; but as it had not pleased your Serenity to accept his offers, it behoved him to take patience and form some other resolre about his affairs.
I returned thanks for his good opinion of your Serenity, praying him to persecere in it, and moreover to believe you would never do anything that was not to his most Christian Majesty's satisfaction. I then had read to him the news-letters from Adrianople, and as I thought he seemed gratified to hear of the honours paid to his ambassador there, I did not fail somewhat to amplify them, as he also, resuming the topic, chose to tell me that he had been extra ordinarily well looked on I then said to the King that I craved his pardon far not having presented myself to him of late, by reason of serious indisposition, from which I was still suffering, and that I very greatly regretted not having been able to pay him my usual respects (fargli la solita riverentia). His Majesty expressed sorrow for my malady, and, after asking me for particulars of it, he then said that he always was and always should be glad to see me, to which I replied that the greater his gracious demonstrations the greater was my gratitude, and that I had never failed to inform your Serenity of them, that you might acknowledge the favours conferred on your representative. Then, after alluding to the exploit of M. de Damville in Piedmont, he said he understood that the King of Spain had removed the Cardinal of Trent [Christoforo Madruccio] from Milan, which surprised his Majesty, as he knew that the cardinal had comported himself very well in that governorship; and the King said he in like manner understood that the Marquis of Pescara was gone to Mantua because of the death of Madruccio, (fn. 19) and that Don Bernardino de Mendoza would go as governor of Milan, and that, being a sea captain, his Majesty did not know how he would behave himself on land.
I then asked the King if he had any advice about the determination of M. de Guise, and he replied, “Before you came into the chamber I was talking with a person sent by M. Carnevaleto (sic), who is come from Rome, but remains in Paris seriously indisposed, who told me that the Pope, together with the Duke de Guise, had at length determined to invade the kingdom of Naples, and that the army had already commenced marching towards the Abbruzzo, where the heat would be less felt;” and he added that, the army having gone to serve the Pope, his Majesty was well pleased that his Holiness should be completely satisfied with the expedition, regardless of anything else. I also congratulated the King on his troops here in Picardy having performed a certain feat against the Spanish forces, and he said, “Mine routed 200 Burgundians, led by 20 Spaniards, who went forth to plunder, and my troops recovered the booty and cut them all to pieces.” I asked if the King of Spain was mustering an army in those parts. His Majesty replied, “The words are many, but no deeds are visible, and such is the scarcity of victuals that for some time they will be unable to do anything; and I am assured that when King Philip departed from Brussels he left no positive order, nor have they raised any other Germans than those which passed into Italy.” I rejoined that it was also heard that his most Christian Majesty was making a levy of 12,000, and he answered me, “I sent to prepare them, but they will not be ready until about the middle of May;” and when I asked if they were destined for Picardy, or for some other quarter, his Majesty said that he had not yet quite determined, as the decision depended on circumstances; and he added that King Philip had crassed over to England, taking with him the Duchess of Parma (fn. 20) and the Duchess of Lorraine; (fn. 21) and that M. de Vaudemont (her brother-in-law) had given the Cardinal of Lorraine to understand that the said Duchess of Lorraine, his sister-in-law, had let him know that the cause of their ladyships' going (che la causa della andata di loro Madame) was that on their return they might bring with them “Madama” Elizabeth of England, to give her for wife to the Duke of Savoy; about which scheme (maneggio) his most Christian Majesty said that he remembered having spoken to me heretofore, adding, “I really do not know how those people will stand it” (“non so veramente come quelli popoli staranno saldi”). I asked his Majesty, with regard to business, what he understood had been obtained by King Philip from the Queen, and he said, “The King would wish to have troops, but I do not know whether he will obtain them, as it would not turn to that kingdom's account to break with me, by reason of commercial traffie (trafichi di mercantie) and for other causes; so, as said heretofore, I believe the thing will reduce itself to money (si rissolverà in danari).”
His Majesty added, that Cardinal Pole had sent to apologise to King Philip for not going to visit him, he being the Pope's enemy; and then one evening he went alone and in secret to the King's chamber, which seemed to his most Christian Majesty an unbecoming act on the part of the said Cardinal, but that he was afraid of the Pope, to whom the Queen had written that with very great regret had she heard of the rupture between his Holiness and the King her consort, and most especially as she had done so much to bring back England to its devotion to the Church; but she excused herself for giving him assistance, as she could not do otherwise.
I asked his Majesty what Don Ruy Gomez was doing in Spain; he said he was intent on accumulating as much pecuniary supply as possible, but that that gold mine which had commenced yielding so much profit, was lost, it having been discovered that the chief vein (filone) came from above, downwards (veniva da alto a basso), whereas had it been the contrary, it would have yielded most immense profit. I also asked the King when he expected M. de Montmorency, and whether he had obtained the dispensation from the Pope; he answered me that last evening the Constable's secretary Dardoes (sic) arrived, having left M. de Montmorency at Venice, and that he expected him before Easter; and his Majesty said, laughing, “He has not had the dispensation from the Pope.” I answered him, that as the first marriage was dissolved (disgionto) with the consent of both the parties, I did not believe that his Majesty would abstain from giving him his daughter; and the King still laughing, said, “This is entirely settled, as it is quite sufficient to have the dispensation from a mere Bishop, without need of the Pope (perchè basta assai haver la dispensa da un semplice veseovo, non che dal Pupa); “nor will I omit telling your Serenity, with regard to the Neapolitan expedition, that as yet I have been unable to hear that the Duke de Guise determined on this undertaking from any other cause than because the Pope assured him that the Duke of Florence will remain neutral.
La Ferté Milon, 13th April 1557.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]


  • 1. This anticipation was verified by the execution at Rome on the night of the 5th March 1561, of Cardinal Caraffa and the Duke of Paliano.
  • 2. M. de Lautrec died under Naples on the 15th August 1528. (See L'Art de Vérifier les Dates.
  • 3. This son, born at the Chateau of Pau on the 13th December 1553, became Henry the 4th of France in 1589. On the 18th August 1572, in Paris, he married Margaret of Anjou, from whom he was divorced in 1595, and on the 10th December 1600 he married Marie de' Medici, daughter of Francesco de' Medici, Duke of Florence. (See “L'Art de Verifier les Dates,” pp. 585, 581, and 583.)
  • 4. See before, dates 6th and 20th March.
  • 5. In an omitted paragraph in a letter of Navagero's, dated 13th March, it is stated that after Concino's arrest at Civitavecchia, at the beginning of the month, he was sent to Rome and imprisoned in Castle St. Angelo, where he remained until the night of the 13th, when he was released; but, on the 19th March, the Pope told Navagero that he had again imprisoned him. In a letter dated 20th March, the Ambassador wrote, that after having thrown his letters into the sea, Coneino announced their contents to the Duke of Alva; his despatch was intercepted by a Jew, from whom it passed to the papal government, and Navagero now gives the sequel of the story.
  • 6. Sepa, seppia, called by Linnus “sapia officinalis.”
  • 7. In Machyn's Diary (p 129), it is stated that the procession recorded by Surian took place on the 23rd March 1557, but the diarist makes no mention of the release of the prisoners from the Tower.
  • 8.
  • 9. A similar reduction of the Council was made in August 1555, shortly before King Philip left England, the fact being mentioned in the present volume (p. 178), by the Ambassador Michiel, who also alludes to it in his Report: so the news given by Feria to Suriau seems stale.
  • 10. According to Haydn's Dictionary of Dates, the English “Russian Company” was established 1554. In Machyn's Diary, date 25th and 31st March, and 19th April 1557, this Ambassador is styled Duke of Muskovea.
  • 11. See Foreign Calendar, Mary, Index, name “Montmorency, Francois de.”
  • 12. The marriage took place on the 4th May 1557. (See Foreign Calendar, Mary, p. 303.)
  • 13. Del caso del Marchese di Pescara. In Foreign Calendar, Mary, date April 27, p. 298, it appears that Giacomo Soranzo then told Dr. Wotton that he “believed the report of the Cardinal of Trent's nephew having been slain by the Marquis of Pescara is incorrect, he Soranzo having received letters from Mantua which make no mention of it.”
  • 14. “Un diamante in ponta,” probably in a ring. In the list of Mrs. Holland's jewels, A. D. 1546, one was described thus: “A ring with a pointed diamond, which was sent her as a token from Mrs. Mary Shelton, as she said.” (See Nott's “Works of Surrey and Wyatt,” Al pendix vol. l, p. exvii.)
  • 15. In Foreign Calendar, Mary (p. 292), there is a letter from Sir Edward Carne of the same date as Navagero's, giving account of the Consistory, and of the revocation of Cardinal Pole, and adding, that the Cardinals told him “they neither knew the cause of it, nor could help it.”
  • 16. Venaissin (the county of), ceded by Philip the bold Duke of Burgundy to Pope Gregory XI., and restored to France in 1791. (See Malte-Brun, vol. 2, Italian translation, Venezia, 1833.)
  • 17. The name of this “Bailo” was Autonio Erizzo, and his “Report” of Sultan Soliman and his ministers, as read to the Venetian Senate in the year 1557, was published by Alberi in 1855. (Series 3, vol. 3, pp. 127–144.)
  • 18. By a ciphered despatch in the Venetian Archives from the Doge and Senate, dated 18th March 1557, addressed to Giacomo Smanzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, it seems that the French Ambassador at Adrianople complained of the “Bailo” Erizzo, because he gave the Porte the news of the prolongation of the trace for 40 days between the Pope and the Duke of Alva, as stipulated on the 27th November 1556, before Sultan Sloiman heard of it from the French; and in Erizzo's printed report there is a note showing (I suspect) that this jealousy about priority of news caused the suppression of the “news-letters,” which had previously been sent to the “Bailiffs” legularly for communication to the Porte. (See Alberi, series 3, vol. 3, p. 147.)
  • 19. The nephew of the Cardinal of Trent. (See Foreign Calendar, Mary, p. 298.)
  • 20. Margaret of Austria, natural daughter of the Emperor Charles V.
  • 21. Christine of Denmark, niece of Charles V., and widow of Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan, and of Francois I., Duke of Lorraine, who died on the 12th June 1555.