Venice: September 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: September 1559', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 7, 1558-1580, (London, 1890) pp. 122-128. British History Online [accessed 28 May 2024].

. "Venice: September 1559", in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 7, 1558-1580, (London, 1890) 122-128. British History Online, accessed May 28, 2024,

. "Venice: September 1559", Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 7, 1558-1580, (London, 1890). 122-128. British History Online. Web. 28 May 2024,

September 1559

Sept. 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 96. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
On the 5th the Cardinal [Louis] de Lorraine departed from Villers-Cotterets for Rheims, to give orders for the consecration and coronation of his most Christian Majesty, who, unless prevented by a slight headache which he had yesterday, will go two days hence to La Fère in Tardenois, where the Constable has been waiting for several days to receive and lodge him. His most Christian Majesty will be accompanied by the King of Navarre, who during his brief stay at the Court has thoroughly convinced himself that he cannot have the control of the government, and that the decision of the King and of the Queen-mother is to give it to the Lords de Guise; so he has made up his mind not to take the slightest share in the government, and he scarcely ever enters the Council of State; and it is said that after the consecration he will return to his government in Gascony, and that the Duke de Montpensier will act in like manner. The other two Princes of the blood, Condé and Roche-sur-Yon, are appointed to accompany the Queen Catholic to Spain, in lieu of the Cardinal [Charles] de Guise; so that in one way or another they will all leave the Court. I am also told, as a secret, that it having come to the knowledge of the Cardinal [Louis] de Lorraine that the Prince of Condé had uttered certain words to the dishonour of his Eight Reverend Lordship with regard to his arrogant mode of proceeding in the government, the Cardinal complained purposely to an individual that the latter might repeat this to the Prince, who went to apologise to his Right Reverend Lordship, saying he was not aware of having ever spoken against him, when the Cardinal replied briefly, but in very haughty language, saying, “Monseigneur! as I know you to be a gentleman and a prince, I therefore believe that you did not say anything which you yourself well know to be untrue, and most especially against me, to whom you have so many reasons to be obliged;” and with this he left him.
Besides the two Cardinals Strozzi and [Charles] de Guise, the Cardinal de Sens also departed for Rome, two days ago, and from the person who had read the identical instruction given here to the Cardinal [Charles] de Guise, and who confided it to me in confidence, 1 learn that by the first article he is commissioned in the new election of the Pope to do his utmost for the Cardinal of Ferrara, and to use all his power to defeat the Cardinal of Carpi; that as second candidate he is to support Tournon; and as third, the Cardinal of Mantua. This information would seem incredible had it not been confirmed to me by the Ambassador from Mantua, and from the lips of Ludovic Gonzaga, the Duke's brother, who is here. This was the opinion of the Cardinal [Louis] de Lorraine, to whom it seems that the world being tired and sickened by seeing popes without authority and of low extraction, for the benefit also of the See Apostolic it is necessary to make a prince by birth pope, that he may have authority not only with the cardinals, but also with other potentates. For the fourth, Cardinal [Charles] de Guise was to propose Cardinal Pisani; for the fifth, Crispo, and for the sixth, San Giorgio; no mention being made of the other cardinals.
The Ambassador from England resident at this Court [Throckmorton] is informed by letters received thence two days ago, that the Emperor's Ambassador continually insisting on a reply from that Queen about the marriage of the Archduke Charles, she at length said that she thanked his Imperial Majesty for the honour he did her, and that when she should have to take a husband, she would prefer forming relationship with the house of Austria, and especially with that Archduke, to any other [house] soever, but that many considerations had induced her not to think of marrying yet awhile (per horn). Nevertheless the Imperial Ambassador did not talk of departing, as he was awaiting [a reply from] the Emperor by a gentleman whom he had despatched. . . . (fn. 1)
On the day before the same reply was also given to the Ambassadors from the King of Sweden, who were sent there for this cause, and had already taken leave. So it was reported at the English Court that the Queen commenced giving ear more than she had done to those who spoke to her in favour of the Scottish Earl of Arran, who lately took flight hence on account of the religion.
The English Ambassador says he is advised about the affairs of Scotland that the Queen Regent, seeing herself reduced to extremities by the insurgents, had taken the expedient of treating an agreement with them, for the purpose of gaining time, at least until the arrival of the troops sent to her from hence under the command of M. de la Brosse, promising them to consent to their living under such form of religion as they might think fit until the decision of a Council General. By this it seemed they were in great part quieted; but subsequently, being warned of the coming of the succour, they appeared on the coast, and succeeded in preventing the troops from approaching it, or landing; so M. de la Brosse was compelled to retire elsewhere. With him was sent hence the Bishop of Amiens [Nicole de Pellève], a man of letters, with six doctors and theologians of the Sorbonne, to endeavour by disputations and arguments to dissuade those people from their opinions about religion.
His most Christian Majesty, not being yet fully satisfied with the many honours conferred by him on the Queen mother, in public and private, has now issued a proclamation to the effect that in all writings and public Acts of importance the following words be inserted: “It having thus pleased the Queen, my mother and lady, I also, approving her opinion in all things, am content, and thus command that,” &c.
Paris, 8th September 1559.
Sept. 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 97. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
This afternoon at 5 p.m., the most noble Capello breathed his last and passed to a better life, to the extreme sorrow not only of all of us, but of this whole city; a loss which must sadden your Serenity, by reason of his great prudence and judgment, and on account of the great esteem which he had obtained for himself wherever he was employed.
His attendants will take the body to Italy, and his secretary will obtain from the King and the Duke of Savoy a full licence to pass, so that they may obtain every assistance and convenience for conveyance of the effects, which amount to 10 or 12 loads of great value, there being amongst them upwards of from 6,000 to 7,000 crowns worth of wrought silver.
Paris, 16th September 1559.
Sept. 22. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 98. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
On the 18th, the most Christian King was consecrated and crowned with the usual ceremonies and solemnities.
This morning, the Court was to move to Lorraine, and thence by Champagne to Blois, where they will not arrive till the beginning of November; so that all have departed in various directions, even the chief personages, including the King of Navarre, who went a distance of 30 leagues from Rheims to see his sister, the wife of the Duke of Nevers, she being seriously indisposed; and the Constable has returned home; so I am compelled to delay my offices of condolence and congratulation longer than I expected.
Last week, by a courier from Spain, it was heard that on the 8th instant, the King Catholic had landed at Laredo, in Biscay, and on the 18th a courier arrived at the Court with an autograph letter from the King Catholic to his Consort replete with affection, saying he would soon send for her, although he could not do so as speedily as he wished, from being compelled to despatch many affairs in those kingdoms.
Two days before the Count d' Egmont arrived from Flanders, and on the 20th the Prince of Orange likewise, both of them being hostages, but as news of the restitution of Corsica is expected hourly, which was the sole cause of delay in effecting the rest of the treaty of peace, they will soon be dismissed. On the evening of the Prince's arrival, as a mark of great honour, he was invited to sup with the most Christian Queen and the Queen-mother; and he is very well received, and much favoured by everybody.
Paris, 22nd September 1559.
Sept. 22. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 99. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
I arrived in this city last evening, after my very long and most troublesome journey, in which I have suffered greater disasters and inconveniences than in all journeys ever performed by me until now, for to say nothing of many of my horses being rendered unserviceable, and of my mule which has been lamed, almost all my companions have remained on the road owing to the unusual and most intense heat which has prevailed here since the beginning of this month, they having been seized with double tertian ague fits, and with constant fever. I also have suffered not a little from these maladies, and thank God for having preserved me from greater misfortune.
Here at Burgos I had hoped to be comforted with the intelligence that my Secretary, and other attendants who came by sea, would have already gone on to Valladolid to prepare my lodging and other necessaries, so that I might have performed my remaining three or four days' journey forthwith, but I am now advised that they are still at the port of Laredo, as seven of them are grievously indisposed there, the life of one of them being despaired of by the physicians. The Secretary has constant fever, and cannot sleep, his life being in danger; they took blood from both his arms, and he is still in the Doctor's hands. Thus I am compelled to remain here for five or six days, and to send one of my attendants in advance to Valladolid to take a lodging, and to furnish it with household necessaries; but I shall depart as soon as I can, being already but too weary of the inconveniences of inns, besides their cost, to which I have been subjected for well nigh two consecutive months.
On the 25th ultimo, about noon, the Catholic King set sail from Zeeland, and was followed by the whole fleet, amounting to some 60 sail [only], as the merchantmen who were to have accompanied him did not choose to lose the opportunity which sprang up four days previously.
His Majesty then divided the fleet into two squadrons, going himself in the first, containing all the Biscayan ships, being followed by the other comprising all the “urche.”
After one day's sail the wind lulled, so he had to lay to in the middle of the British Channel off the extremity of the island, where he was becalmed during four consecutive days; and at length a fair wind springing up, the King with his convoy pushed forward, the “urche” being unable to follow him, not having set sail so speedily. His Majesty made so prosperous a voyage that without much inconvenience he landed at Laredo, and on the 14th he was at Valladolid; but on that very day at Laredo there was such a storm in the harbour there that three of those ships foundered, and the identical one on board of which the King made his passage had its masts greatly damaged. The “urche” which remained behind had a more perilous passage, for they were out at sea in that day's gale, which drove them to the coast of Britany, and they were at length compelled to anchor near Vermejo, at the commencement of Biscay, a most dangerous place, nor did they get to Laredo till the 12th, almost all of them being ill from the hardships undergone by them on board, and in the “urche” alone, in which the Secretary and my other attendants were on board, more than 100 individuals were on the sick list, three of whom died of their sufferings, including a delegate from Alessandria de Paglia, who was thrown into the sea.
To-day the Prince of Parma (fn. 2) left this city for Vallodolid, and some thousand other individuals, part of whom came by sea and part overland, and the arrivals continue, but as yet no ambassador is known to have made the passage (sia passato). The Ambassador from France having arrived here last evening.
On my journey through Guienne and Gascony, from the information obtained from my hosts, and from the fathers of the monasteries to whom I had occasion to go, I heard how much that territory is demoralized and corrupted by these new heresies, introduced partly by students on their return from the Universities, which in France are very corrupt (corrottissimi), and in part by preachers from Geneva, who privily by night, or in the most solitary places beyond the walls of cities, teach, preach, and inculcate the most damnable opinions against the Church of Rome. They, moreover, told me that the inhabitants of Guienne and Gascony believed that Henry II. had made the peace [of Gateau Cambresis] chiefly to compel them to obey him; so on his death they made great rejoicings, composing hymns giving thanks to God; and in fact the Inquisition no longer proceeds against the heretics as it did in the late Kings lifetime. Of this territory [of Guienne and Gascony] the King of Navarre has the government; he is extremely beloved, the people calling him their father and defender.
Burgos, 22nd September 1559.
[Italian; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Sept. 23. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 100. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Surian, the Secretary of the late most noble Capello, returned from the Court, having obtained a full licence to pass with the effects (robbe) of the late Ambassador both from his most Christian Majesty and from the Duke of Savoy. This morning the Secretary and the whole household departed with the body, which when disembowelled was found, besides other disease, to have the liver destroyed, so that had he recovered from this illness, his life must have been but short, which may be some consolation to his family.
My Secretary writes that the Ambassador from England [Sir Nicholas Throckmorton] had told him that by the last advices received there from Scotland, the Queen Regent had capitulated to the Earl of Argyll and the Great Bastard of that kingdom as chiefs of the insurgent Protestants, and conceded the under written articles.
That the Queen granted that in religion all might live according to their own fashion, it not being allowable to molest them in their persons or effects, until the meeting of a general Parliament, on the 10th of next January. That she bound herself, within two months, to remove from office and from governorships all the French ministers, replacing them with native Scots, who were to receive proportionate salaries. That not only would she make all Frenchmen, both soldiers and others, now in Scotland, depart thence, but that henceforth she would not allow Frenchmen of whatsoever condition to enter that kingdom.
It seems that the Queen Regent was induced to consent to this agreement, to her disadvantage and dishonour, from inability to do otherwise, finding herself in such extremity that she feared something worse, and seeing herself besieged in every direction, and that no sort of succour had arrived from hence. After this capitulation was made and signed, the rebels dispersed and retired to their own homes. The Earl of Argyll, however, having subsequently had advice of the arrival from hence of M. de la Brosse with the French troops, and that, contrary to the capitulation, the Queen intended to make them land, and again to take the field with a great part of her former forces, opposed the landing, and still prevents it.
Here in the meanwhile the father of the Earl of Arran has been deprived of the duchy of Châtellerault, which he possessed in this kingdom, for having in this insurrection deserted the Queen Regent, and retired to his own house, though he would not join the rebels; and the youth [his younger] son, who had been living here with the Earl, his brother, was subsequently imprisoned at Vincennes, though at the beginning, after the Earl's flight, he was left at liberty.
It is also written from England that the Earl of Arran is in Scotland, and still continues negotiating his marriage with the Queen of England, who seems to hold back, and does not much press the matter.
Out of this duchy and territory of Châtellerault and that of Bourbon, the most Christian King has assigned 300,000 francs annually for the Queen-mother's maintenance, making thus an unusual compliment, because it has never been customary for other widow Queens to have more than 100,000 francs yearly.
The day before the consecration, the Ambassador of the King Catholic resident at this Court presented his Majesty with the Order of the Fleece; so on that day he appeared in the chapel of the palace arrayed in the great mantle and with the habit of that Order, accompanied by the Duke of Savoy and the Count d'Egmont, his fellow knights.
Paris, 23rd September 1559.


  • 1. The sense of the last clause is doubtful, owing to corrosion of the MS.
  • 2. The future “Great Captain.”