Venice: August 1559

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 7, 1558-1580. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1890.

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'Venice: August 1559', Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 7, 1558-1580, (London, 1890), pp. 115-122. British History Online [accessed 18 June 2024].

. "Venice: August 1559", in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 7, 1558-1580, (London, 1890) 115-122. British History Online, accessed June 18, 2024,

. "Venice: August 1559", Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 7, 1558-1580, (London, 1890). 115-122. British History Online. Web. 18 June 2024,

August 1559

Aug. 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 90. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The King of Navarre has arrived at his town of Vendôme, three days' journey hence, where he has stopped, expecting his brothers, the Cardinal de Bourbon and the Prince of Condé, and his cousins, the Duke de Montpensier and the Prince de la Roche-sur- Yon, who are all of the blood royal, to meet him, and then they will come hither all together. I hear from a confidant of the Prince de la Roche-sur-Yon, that on arriving at the Court, the King of Navarre purposes to visit the most Christian King and the Queen-mother, to let them know the general opinion, that by reason of his Majesty's tender age the seal called by them theCachetwhich in all sorts of letters, writings, and other public Acts represents the sign manual and the King's own name precisely as if written in his own hand, should not remain in the possession of any one but the King of Navarre, who cannot be deprived of it, he residing at the Court whilst his most Christian Majesty is so young.
So far as in his power, the King of Navarre desires that the Constable having been so good and loyal a servant to the late King, should retain during his lifetime his offices of Great Master and, Constable, from the exercise of which he is now entirely deprived, as they are performed by the Duke de Guise; and he desires to know the cause of this deprivation. This design of the King of Navarre and of these other Princes having been discovered, I know not how, by the Queen-mother, it seems that she sent lately for the Prince de la Roche-sur-Yon, and in gentle language complained to him of his wishing to turn this kingdom upside down and rebel with the others, to the detriment of the King and her son, who on account of his tender age deserved support and not oppression from his kingfolk of the blood royal; adding that the past misfortunes of France, and this last one of the King's death, were alas more than sufficient, without now adding a civil war, which would never end; and with many tears, crying almost the whole time, she expostulated thus with the Prince, as having apparently more spirit than the others, and showing more resentment. His reply to the Queen, as he told my informant, was that he had never imagined, still less done, anything to the detriment of this Crown, and that he should always conduct himself thus; but that it appeared strange to him to see the Princes of the blood, to whom above all others, on the occurrence of such an unforeseen event as the accession of a young king, the Government and administration appertained, compelled to obey their inferiors; wherefore he had complained, and should always continue to do so, because either from distrust or ignorance all the Princes of the blood had been excluded from the new administration; though with regard to himself, to comfort the Queen, he assured her that he would never be the cause of any disturbance or novelty in the kingdom. The same confidant added that on the coming of the King of Navarre, peccant humours will soon develop themselves unless he and his adherents obtain satisfaction. In the meanwhile the Guises purpose going in person, as a mark of respect and reverence for Navarre, to meet him as far in advance as they can, and bring him to the Court; and they do not fail in every possible way to conciliate Navarre's adherents. I hear that they place great reliance on the inconstancy, levity, and vanity of Navarre, and hope not only to cajole him, but to gain him over entirely to their side. They already intend to remove the Prince de la Roche-sur-Yon from the Court, by giving him the charge to accompany the Queen Catholic to Spain in lieu of his brother the Duke de Montpensier. The Prince has been seen with M. d'Andelot [François de Coligny], the Constables nephew, whom he formerly hated mortally, although they had been reconciled previously; and he has several times held long conferences, not only with the Constable's nephew, but with the latter s brother the Admiral [Gaspar de Coligny].
Paris, 2nd August 1559.
[Italian; in cipher throughout, deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Aug. 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 91. Paulo Tiepolo and his Colleague Extraordinary Marc' Antonio da Mula, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
The Chapter of the “Fleece,” which we attended, was held during three days from morning till night with the usual solemnities; and the King, having retired with the Knights, made the election of 14, such being the number of vacancies, but the names have not yet been published.
The Prince of Ferrara arrived here postwise with some 50 attendants; the Duke of Savoy and almost all the chief personages of this Court went to meet him; he was lodged by the Duke of Savoy, caressed by his Majesty, and banqueted by the nobility of these Provinces; and he departed last night for Antwerp, from which city he will return to France; but before his departure he visited the Duchess of Parma, a remarkable circumstance, because the Dukes of Ferrara and Parma have never been reconciled.
They are expecting here Monsr. de Condé, brother of the King of Navarre, on a mission from the King of France, to reciprocate the office performed with his most Christian Majesty by the Duke of Arcos [Ponce de Leon].
Some days ago the Count de Feria sent to bring (levar) the wife he married in England, (fn. 1) who crossed to Bruges with a numerous company, being followed by many English Catholics, who with this opportunity left (si sono levati) “their country. She was then met by a great part of this Court, everybody by doing her honour seeking to ingratiate themselves with the Count, who seems greatly to love and esteem her. She will remain for some months in these Provinces on account of her pregnancy, and the Count, as he himself told us, also hopes to obtain leave from his Majesty to remain to keep her company; and should he have to cross over to Spain, he will return immediately; which determination displeases the Duchess of Parma, who knows that if he remains here, he will have a great share in the government of these Provinces.
A gentleman, by name Sir Thomas Challoner (Mro. Thomas Scialonier), is come from England to reside as Ambassador at this Court. We hear from those parts that amongst all the bishops there the only one who would take the form of oath which I, Paulo, sent to your Serenity, was the Bishop of Llandaff [Anthony Kitchin]. With that sole exception, all the others, being deprived of their sees, are reduced to most abject poverty and distress, being dependent on relations and friends for their maintenance. The two [Winchester and Lincoln] who were put in the Tower have been set at liberty, and placed in the same condition as the others.
On the Queen's “progress” through the island, the only Ambassador she took with her was the Emperor's, towards whom she made many demonstrations, whence a general opinion arose that the matrimonial negotiation with the Archduke Charles was very far advanced; but the Imperial Ambassador resident here told us that when the Queen was talking to his colleague in England on this subject, her Majesty said that she could never bring herself to take for her husband a person she had never known, as before determining to take him she must for at least half a year associate with him, and acquaint herself with his manners and mode of life, in order to ascertain whether they were comformable to her disposition.
In a long conversation during a visit paid to me, Marc' Antonio, by Sir Thomas Challoner, he said it was incredible that the Queen would take the Archduke Charles for her husband; and with regard to another topic he said, remembering that your Serenity was always accustomed to accredit an Ambassador to England, the English Crown doing the like by the Republic, in demonstration of the good friendship between both Princes, he knew not why these Ambassadors were no longer sent at present; adding that he spoke as of himself, not having any commission to mention the matter to me. I answered him that so far as can be seen, and according to ancient history, there had always been good friendship between the Crown of England and your Serenity, and I assured him that now you bore her Majesty the same good will, and that you would also continue to do so.
The Ambassador of the King of Denmark in England, to demonstrate his King's love for Queen Elizabeth, wore upon his gown (veste) a crimson velvet heart pierced by an arrow.
The Ambassador Vargas told me this morning that he has been appointed Ambassador to the Emperor with an annual salary of 5,600 ducats, and also that King Philip had made him a member of his Council with a gratuity of 4,000 crowns for his outfit, though he did not yet know the precise sum, as the whole was not yet settled; and he requested me not to speak to anyone about this last particular.
Ghent, 5th August 1559.
[Italian; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Aug. 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 92. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador Mula departed yesterday afternoon, the King having presented him with a chain.
Of the 14 Knights of the Fieece to be elected these Provinces insisted on having seven, because they said that such was the number of vacancies caused by the demise of their countrymen, in which number they included the Emperor Charles V., as he was born in Flanders. They had no difficulty in obtaining their demand, as all the other members of the Chapter, with the exception of the King, the Duke of Savoy, and Signor Antonio Doria, belonged to these States, and combined to stay the progress of the election until the seven individuals required by them were appointed, in which number however were comprised the Prince of Sulmona, he being of the House of Savoy. The King of France was also elected, and the new Italian Knights were the Duke of Urbino and Marc' Antonio Colonna. Nothing positive is known about the others, except that the King of Portugal was elected, though, as he is too young, the Order will not be sent to him until two years hence. (fn. 2) The three vacant knighthoods are referred (sono rimessi in petto) to the King Catholic, and there is talk (si ragiona) about Don Carlos and two Spaniards, but for the present his Majesty will not proclaim them.
Last night the King departed for Zealand, where the fleet is; he will await a fair wind for his passage, being most anxious to arrive in Spain.
It remains for me to give you a slight sketch of the state in which these Provinces remain, they being in such confusion that words can scarcely describe it, his Majesty's excessive haste to arrive in Spain having impeded the dispatch and adjustment of many necessary matters.
At present in these Provinces there is no amount of foreign cavalry, the few Spanish light horse having been lately disbanded, and I understand that the rest of the light horse, although they are of this country, are also to be disbanded, being some 600 in number; so that only the cavalry of the men-at-arms, who are in like manner Flemings, in number 800, will be kept, but they make 4,000 horses, viz. 300 men-at-arms, 2,400 archers, all fighting men, and 800 useless pages.
Of foreign infantry there is also in pay a regiment of Germans, which will soon be disbanded, and a force of about 3,000, which the King did all he could to leave here, both for the greater security of the frontiers, they being experienced veterans, as also from the difficulty of finding a place whither to send them. He first tried to make the Provinces accept them willingly in their present state, and to give them pay; but having heard subsequently of the universal dissatisfaction caused by the great insolence of these troops, and by reason of the unspeakable hatred borne to the Spanish nation, the King thought to remedy this by placing them under Flemish commanders. After incorporating this Spanish infantry force into 16 companies, the King appointed the Prince of Orange to be General of one hall of them, giving the like charge of the other half to the Count d'Egmont, with a public declaration that his Majesty would provide for their pay with the moneys of Spain, and that they should be paid monthly, so that, receiving their stipend, they might live without molesting others.
Both Orange and Egmont, however, to avoid unpopularity, declined the command offered them; nor did the country remain quiet, for on the day before the Catholic King had decided to depart a deputation from the United Provinces presented him with a writing reminding his Majesty that when he took the oath tendered him by these Provinces, he swore amongst other things not to keep foreign troops contrary to their will; and they gave him clearly to understand that if these troops remained, there was risk of some great disturbance, implying that all the Spanish soldiers would be cut to pieces by the populace, as said publicly throughout these Provinces by every description of persons, all demonstrating open enmity against these troops, and even the dregs of the populace voicing to be revenged on them. On this account his Majesty has not only been compelled to stay here a day longer against his will, but to promise and assure the Provinces that within two months he will remove this infantry corps, and I hear on good authority that the King will have them sent to Spain with the intention of their serving in Africa; so instead of the Germans, who are to be disbanded, and of the Spaniards, who will be removed, Flemish infantry will garrison these frontiers. On these terms the States have promised to grant all his Majesty's demands, as written by me heretofore.
Those who remain as Governors of Provinces are as follows:—In Burgundy, Monsr. de Vergi (sic); in Luxemburg, Count Mansfeldt; in Friesland, Count d'Aremberg; in Guelderland, Count Horne; in Hainault and Cambrai, Count de Meghen; in Limburg and Fochemont (sic), the Count d'Ourende (sic); in Namur, M. de Barlamont; in Lille, Douai and Orsi (sic), M. de Corrieres; in Tournai, M. de Montagni (sic); in Flanders and Artois, his Majesty lately appointed (dechiarito) the Count d'Egmont; and in Holland and Zealand, the Prince of Orange; for Admiral of the sea, Count Horne.
Three days ago his Majesty made the Provinces acknowledge for their Governess the Duchess of Parma, whose authority will be much limited, both because greater authority than usual has been conceded to Governors of particular provinces, as also because his Majesty has appointed her certain councillors, namely, the Prince of Orange, the Count d'Egmont, the Bishop of Arras and some others of these Provinces, besides the Count de Feria, who remains here for some time, and the Ambassador Vargas, who was lately made a member of the Council of State, and who will not so speedily assume his post of Ambassador in Germany, because in this political confusion and disorder the Spaniards wish to have their share in the government of Flanders. King Philip has made a present of 50,000 crowns to the Count d'Egmont, of 40,000 to the Prince of Orange, of 20,000 to Count Horne, of 15,000 and 2,000 crowns revenue to the Marquis of Berghes and to certain other individuals according to their quality and deserts; but it is impossible to satisfy the craving of these people, who not only complain of what seems to them the smallness of their rewards, but yet more of having been held in less esteem in this matter and in other demonstrations than their deserts entitle them to.
Ghent, 10th August 1559.
[Italian; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Aug. 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 93. Giovanni Stefano Mazza, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
My Ambassador [Tiepolo] departed on the 10th instant, and on the same night I embarked to follow his Majesty; and when I got to the sea I had to wait the whole day and the next night from want of boats for my conveyance to the island. On the morning of my arrival his Majesty left Middleburgh to visit other places, where he will remain until the weather becomes fair for his passage to Spain. Having been to these places before, he does not go for the purpose of inspecting them, but to comfort the inhabitants by his presence in the act of departure, and perhaps to induce them to repeat the demonstrations made by them on his first visit, when they gave him a considerable sum of money. Another reason for his Majesty's change of place is to avoid the petitioners who pursue him; so orders have been given not to lodge any one at Middleburgh, where the cost of everything is so exorbitant that they cannot stay there; and those who are to pass to Spain remain on board their ships, praying for a fair wind.
The Duchess of Parma, the Bishop of Arras, the Count de Feria Signor Yargas, and almost all the others who have not to proceed to Spain, remained at Ghent. The Duke of Savoy was the only person who accompanied his Majesty.
Four days ago news arrived from Rome of the death of Don Juan de Figueroa. The Secretary of the Ambassador Vargas, who is here to urge the appointment to the new embassy of his Ambassador, said that the Pope wishes for Vargas, and urges the Catholic King to accredit him to his Holiness; but others declare that the Count de Luna, late Ambassador to the Emperor, who arrived here the other day and went directly to the King, is come in time to have this post.
A friend of mine tells me on very good authority that the Queen of England, becoming rather suspicious about the great number of ships [in Philips service], is fitting out a fleet and troops to protect the coast, in order to secure herself (fa, armata et gente da metter alle marine per assicurarsi).
Some thousand Spanish soldiers have arrived here at Middleburgh from the frontiers, and will be placed on board the ships, which are upwards of 100, including those from Spain, in number 25, as also many Flemish vessels hired by his Majesty, the rest being merchantmen.
It was hoped last night that with the waning moon the weather would settle, but the gale continuing, as it has done every day of late, contrary for his Majesty's voyage, the mariners and those who have experience of these seas greatly doubt whether, during the whole of this month and some days of the next one, there will be fair weather.
Middleburgh, 18th August 1559.
[Italian; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Aug. 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 94. Giovanni Capello, Knight, and Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Duke of Alva with all his attendants departed hence on the 17th, on his way through France to Spain, without awaiting the return of the other two hostages, as besides his promise in his own hand not to go out of the kingdom until the fortresses of St. Quentin, Ham, and Chatelet were restored, he had the same promise given by the King Catholic in an autograph letter from his Majesty. The restitution will not be long delayed, by reason of the orders sent lately to Corsica for the consignment of that island, which is all that remains for France to restore; and the Governor of Picardy, the Admiral, has been charged to proceed to St. Quentin to receive the consignment of that place and of the other fortresses.
On the 18th the King of Navarre, accompanied by all the Princes of the blood royal, who went to bring him from Vendôme, arrived at the Court, and was met not only by all its members but by the most Christian King in person, who, under pretence of hunting, went in the direction from which the King of Navarre was coming, and hitherto he has been well received by his Majesty, and greatly honoured by the Guises, who treat him with the utmost respect, it being also remarked that he never appears in public within the precincts of the Court unless accompanied by all the princes of the blood; though in this brief space of time it cannot yet be seen whether he will choose to have a principal charge in the Government, or assume greater authority than he has usually had hitherto.
On the termination of the obsequies, the Constable went to the Court, and had a long conference with the Queen-mother, when he represented how he had served the Kings Francis and Henry for 40 years and upwards, and alluded to the assiduity and importance of his negotiations in ruling so great a kingdom with fidelity and diligence, as became both a minister and vassal; praying her Majesty that, since his last act of duty had been to entomb the body of the late King, she would give him leave to seek repose and retire to his own home, and beseeching her to protect his children.
To this the Queen replied in very loving words, that she left him entirely at liberty, telling him that she herself also, by reason of this same catastrophe, had determined to live what remained to her of life as privately as possible; and she promised not to fail rendering all assistance and favour to his affairs, and to obtain the same favour from the King. It was observed that the Constable with much prudence and judgment addressed himself to the Cardinal of Lorraine and the Duke de Guise, that they might intercede with his Majesty, who with fair words evinced satisfaction with any determination formed by the Constable, who left the Court, and retired to his seat at Chantilly, though he said that, as one of the twelve peers of France, besides his other two offices of Constable and Great Master, he shall not fail to be at Rheims for his Majesty's coronation.
The Queen Catholic rejoiced greatly, as did the whole Court, at the honours conferred by her Consort on the Prince of Condé, who had been sent by this King [to King Philip], and he returned two days ago, having had a handsome present. The Queen is anxiously expecting hourly news of the King Catholic's embarkation and departure; and this week she commenced being served by her own ministers and officials, and is still intent on forming her household, no longer making use of her mother's, as she did previously.
The tears and lamentations for the death of the King have been renewed by the last office performed to-day in public by the Queen-mother, who, having had solemn mass sung in the chapel of the palace of St. Germain, went out according to custom after the 40 days, in deep mourning, accompanied by her daughters, with all the Princesses and ladies of the Court, everybody being much distressed, and the Queen's tears whilst in the chapel never ceasing. Her Majesty has now left off deep mourning, and will wear what is usually worn by widows.
Paris, 21st August 1559.
Aug. 27. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 95. Giovanni Capello, Knight, and Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Announce the death of Pope Paul IV., and the illness of Capello. Paris, 27th August 1559.


  • 1. Namely, Jane Dormer. See ante; and also Foreign Calendar, date 27th July, 1595,
  • 2. Don Sebastian, King of Portugal, born on the 20th January 1554, and who was killed in Africa fighting against the Moors on the 4th August 1578.