Venice: January 1560

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: January 1560', Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 7, 1558-1580, (London, 1890), pp. 142-150. British History Online [accessed 25 June 2024].

. "Venice: January 1560", in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 7, 1558-1580, (London, 1890) 142-150. British History Online, accessed June 25, 2024,

. "Venice: January 1560", Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 7, 1558-1580, (London, 1890). 142-150. British History Online. Web. 25 June 2024,

January 1560

Jan. 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 124. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
The King since his arrival in Spain is in great want of money, because in Flanders the pecuniary supply which was made for the war served also for the expenses of his Majesty's household, whereas here the revenues are mortgaged for a long period, and the debts are very considerable; so that the Fuggers alone, besides one million and four hundred thousand ducats due to them in Flanders, are creditors for one million and seven hundred thousand ducats on account of Spain; nor would they ever come to any terms with his Majesty after the decree reducing the interest on the Spanish debt to 5 per cent., insisting on the promise made to them; and hoping that the King, being compelled to obtain further advances from them for the needs of the late war, would repeal this decree, they have insisted hitherto upon maintaining the original contract, and have not accepted anything on account of interest; but being now certain that this course would not succeed, they have sent hither a son of Giovanni Giacomo Fugger to devise some adjustment of this business.
His Majesty is debtor to the fairs for more than a million and a half, and from year to year must make provision through merchants, and as often pecuniary supply is not easily obtainable the period of the fairs is necessarily postponed, so that the fair of Medina de Campo is held now though it ought to have been held last May; at which fair Nicolò Grimaldi, surnamed the Monarch, supplies the King with upwards of 400,000 ducats.
His Majesty owes the Genoese a considerable sum of money, although they have been more ingenious and venturesome than the Fuggers by finding means to recover great part of their credit, which had been reduced to 5 per cent., by making bargains with his Majesty during the late war, and supplying him with money on condition of comprising in it such an amount of their first credits as to form ¼th or 1/5th part of the sum total, the whole, both capital and interest, to be repaid them with good security; but nevertheless they have not yet reimbursed themselves, although now their credits are much less than what was due to them heretofore. His Majesty has also many debts in this province [New Castile], without alluding further at present to those he has in Flanders and Italy; but what most matters now is the money required for the daily expenditure of the household of his Majesty, of the Queen, of his son Don Carlos, and of his brother Don John of Austria, as also for the Spanish guards, for the galleys of Spain, and for those of Prince Doria, besides other expenses, to defray the whole of which a million and a half of ducats annually would not suffice. The hope of raising considerable funds rests upon the present Viceroy of Peru, Marquis de Canete, of the Mendoza family, brother of the Cardinal of Burgos, who, during his viceroyship has sent very little money on account of his Majesty, so that he has been much blamed throughout Spain, where his character is dishonoured; so having received advice of this from his friends, to justify himself he wrote lately that he had collected 600,000 ducats, and that by the fleet which would soon depart he hoped to send a million, thus stifling the reports of his adversaries.
They are now sending the Licentiate Birbiesca to the Indies with authority to compromise with those who wish to obtain the fiefs for their descendants in perpetuity, a demand made long ago by those who have landed property there, (fn. 1) for which they offered a large sum of money, but the resolution was not formed till now from doubt lest it prove injurious to Spain; yet although they hope here to get many millions of ducats, much time will be required to levy them, because with the exception of two of the chief landholders in the Indies, the others have no ready money.
It has been reported to the King that at the time of the conquest of Granada by his grandfather, King Ferdinand, from the Moors, much landed property should have accrued to his Majesty; so it is said that he will send to investigate the tenures whereby estates are held in the kingdom of Granada, with the intention, if not of depriving the holders of property belonging to the Crown, at least of making a compromise with them, and thereby obtaining a million and a half of gold.
These kingdoms of Castile are bound to pay the King the tenth of whatever is sold, but the towns contracted for this tenth at a very low rate, and the surplus they apply to their own benefit; although the purchaser bears this burden almost entirely, no one of any class soever being exempt, for as the vendor pays the tax he obtains the cost from the purchaser. The towns made their contract with the late Emperor for 20 years, that period ending in 1560; and it is said that when the term expires his Majesty will discuss this matter with the towns, intending to make a compromise with them, as it would be too much to exact the entire tenth, amounting as it does to upwards of one million annually.
The marriage donative of these kingdoms [Old and New Castile], will not exceed three or four hundred thousand ducats.
Should the new Pope be the King's friend, as is hoped, owing to his numerous dependents in conclave, it is intended to obtain the “Cruzada” bull, which was usually conceded every three years by former Popes to the King of Spain, though denied by Paul IV. during his lifetime, and which yielded every three years some 900,000 ducats. It is also purposed to obtain the Pope's authority to levy a subsidy from the clergy, which for the most part amounts triennially to 700,000 ducats.
Toledo, 4th January 1560.
[Italian; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Jan. 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 125. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
Letters from Flanders announce that on the 18th ultimo St. Quentin and Han were to be consigned, but that Châtelet would be detained for some days, until the French restored certain places in Luxemburg and on the frontier lines of Flanders; so the French Ambassador went to the King's Secretary to complain that the restoration of what was clearly expressed in the treaty of peace should be delayed for places of such slight importance, it being doubtful to whom they by right belong, as similar difficulties required settlement in a friendly manner through Commissioners to be appointed by one side and the other, and not by retaining a fortress. The Ambassador tells me that thereupon his Majesty sent a courier to the Lady Governess [Duchess of Parma] desiring her to have Châtelet likewise restored.
Paul IV. sent as Legate to this King the Bishop of Chiusi, who arrived in Flanders after the Pope's death and his Majesty's departure, and for some days past he has been resident in a monastery distant one league from this city, because they have not yet determined how to receive him. The King would wish him to be received, thinking thus to adjust and settle many things, which once arranged he might expect them to remain so with the future Pope; and amongst the rest the affair of the estate and effects of the Archbishop of Toledo, the predecessor of the present one, Valued at 700,000 ducats, of which his Majesty has had possession and availed himself in the late war. This wish of his Majesty is valid, because in his commission the Bishop is styled as usual not only Legate of the Pope but also of the See Apostolic; but in the meanwhile the Inquisition and the Royal Council of Spain made some difficulty about admitting him, partly because certain articles in his powers do not give satisfaction, and partly because they would wish to find means for compelling the future Nuncios in Spain to exercise their authority with greater moderation than their predecessors, who made concessions with little or no respect and in excess of their powers and duty, causing great scandal and infamous abuses; so they treated with the Nuncio to give him a coadjutor, without whose knowledge or consent he could not concede anything, which proposal the Bishop of Chiusi rejected as prejudicial to the authority of a Nuncio Apostolic, nor would he assent to it without an order from the Pope or the Catholic See. The result of this affair cannot yet be known, though certain persons are of opinion that at any rate the Nuncio will be received by reason of his Majesty's desire to that effect.
The King's Confessor (fn. 2) however, talking to me about the irregularities caused by the Nuncios in the past times, and of the little account in which the Popes held Spain, and becoming angry, said,. “ Unless the future Popes take greater care about this province [Spain] I assure you they will lose it, and by my letters I protested accordingly to Paul IV., to whom I wrote that many persons were glad to see matters proceed in this way, that they might seize the opportunity and make use of it for what they desire, as you must know that of late Spain sends to Rome for presentations to bishoprics and benefices, whereas heretofore they used to be given and confirmed by the Archbishop of Toledo in virtue of the authority conceded to him in the 13th (sic) Council of this city; and if we (from the reverence and observance borne by us to that See, which perhaps exceed that of any other nation) consent to go to Rome, sending thither annually a very large sum of money, we do not deserve to be treated and requited by the See Apostolic in this way. The Popes think to do what they will with the King of Spain, because he is not accustomed without their license to levy any tax from the clergy, but never did I read anywhere of its being prohibited to make the clergy contribute like the others towards the defence [? of their country]; and this King incurs great expense constantly in soldiers and fleets for the defence of these realms. “
As these words seem to me very momentous, most especially by reason of the person who uttered them, I have notified them to your Serenity, who, should you think fit, might order them to be kept secret.
Recent letters from the Island of Hispaniola (fn. 3) announce a serious insurrection in Peru,' which is narrated in two ways: the one, that the Viceroy, Marquis de Canete, (fn. 4) being dissatisfied with the Licentiate Santillana for the way in which he ruled Chili, sent for him, and after much dispute matters being adjusted, and the Viceroy reconciled to him, Santillana went back to Chili, but accompanied by the Marquis' son, and the Licentiate (not having forgiven his father) slew him on arriving at a convenient spot, and raised an insurrection in the province. The other version purports that the Marquis himself had rebelled, and did not allow any vessel to depart lest it bring the news, but it had reached Hispaniola from afar, the intelligence having been sent by land. At any rate the report causes anxiety, because if true the remedy would be difficult, and they have great fear of the Marquis, because he knows how dissatisfied they are with him here, by reason of the little benefit received by the King during the six years of his viceroyalty, and owing to the many complaints made against him by persons here, at whose suit some months ago all his property was sequestrated for wrongs and acts of injustice done to them; so as the King is now sending the Count de Nieva (fn. 5) to succeed him, he seems to be recalled to punishment rather than to his country.
The Prince of Parma is in bed with the small-pox, and has a large crop of pustules, which molest him greatly though he has been bled but rather late, at a time when they had already come out. I determined to visit him, and although the malady is serious everybody seems to make sure that he will recover.
The Ambassador from Florence has had advice that in the spring the Prince will certainly come to this Court.
On Thursday the King returned from his field sports, which occupied him from the day before the holidays until now, but after signing some official despatches and giving certain orders he will depart to meet the Queen, although as yet there is no news of her being in Spain, which she was to have entered four or five days ago.
His Majesty is sending to Rome Don Francisco de Mendoza, son of the Marquis de Mondejar, and nephew of Don Diego [de Mendoza], who (Don Diego) was ambassador to Venice, about the affairs of the popedom, to solicit the Cardinals to despatch their business in any way whatever provided they elect an honest man, to which effect Mendoza will perhaps make some public protest. Nevertheless I understand that this mission is due to some fear lest [the Cardinal of] Ferrara or some Frenchman should be elected, and that the King has sent to inform the Ambassador Vargas of his wishes.. According to the Italian Ambassadors who favoured [the Cardinal of] Mantua, Vargas has an extraordinary desire to be Cardinal, which report is confirmed by the determination taken lately by his wife in Spain to become a nun.
The Duke of Alva has arrived at the Court, and lodges in the palace,
Toledo, 7th January 1560.
[Italian; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Jan. 29. Original Letter, Venetian Archives. 126.—to— (fn. 6)
I did not write yesterday, having been occupied the whole day in seeing the entry of the Queen, which, considering the conditions of the place, was imposing, as history will narrate in due season.
Her Majesty is young and beautiful, and has so much the air of the Medici family that without knowing who she was, any one would declare her to he of their lineage. She seems sage and serious, and this morning the French Ambassador told me that your Lordship will remain satisfied with her worth. The King went roaming about all yesterday in disguise among the crowd to witness the reception of the Princess, (fn. 7) who wished to go to the principal gate of the palace to meet her Majesty had the populace permitted it, but at length after much striving and pushing they met, and I was very near them. Her Highness wanted to kiss the Queen's hand, but she would not consent, and embraced her, and they kissed each other. The King is said to have seen everything, and he was so continent (et fu tanto continente) that he did not make himself known. The Queen, who had received some hint of this, prayed the Princess to be pleased to tell her whether her Lord the King was there, and she replied that she did not know for certain, but would forthwith send a courier; whereupon the Queen said, “Your Highness must be the courier, and tell me if you believe his Majesty to be here;” and the Princess rejoined it was possible, but that she knew nothing for certain. Some persons say that his Majesty has spoken with the Queen, which the Ambassador denies, but says that the King will be here early to-morrow morning, and that after visiting her and hearing mass the marriage ceremony will be performed, and to-morrow evening the enterprise will be undertaken, in my opinion but little to the pleasure of the persons subjected to it (et domani di sera si farà la gionata, secondo me con poco piacere de sotoposti).
This morning I saw her Majesty and her Highness [the Princess of Portugal] at dinner in a magnificent hall decorated with those marvellous tapestries of gold and silk representing the Tunis expedition; there was vocal and instrumental music, and perhaps dancing, shortly after the repast, but as it was late I returned home to give your Lordship this account for your satisfaction.
Guadalajara, 29th January 1560.
Jan. 30. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 127. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
The King's Commissioners (Deputati), having been ordered to receive the Queen at the frontiers, sent to tell Monsr. de Vendôme [King of Navarre] and the Cardinal de Bourbon that they were to wait for them there, but M. de Vendôme, who cannot bear talking about frontiers, answered that as the passes were so narrow, either the Duke and the Cardinal must come into his (Vendôme's) territory or they would go into Spain; so the Commissioners on this side determined that M. de Vendôme and the Cardinal de Bourbon should accompany the Queen to Roncisvalle, a place belonging to this King about six leagues within the frontiers, where the Duke dell' Infantasgo and the Cardinal of Burgos would await them. The Queen did not arrive at Roncisvalle till the 3rd instant. She stopped three days at Pamplona to take a little rest, the whole company having suffered much in the rugged mountains, and from the deep snow, ice, and cold encountered by them. On the 28th instant they are expected to arrive at Guadalajara, where the marriage (sponsalitio) will take place, and they will then come hither immediately for the entertainment, which will be very magnificent by order of the King, who wishes his marriage to be celebrated with the greatest possible pomp; and on the 20th of this month he departed hence to see, meet, and visit his wife before her arrival at Guadalajara.
On the 8th instant a courier from Milan brought the news of the Pope's election. (fn. 8) The King and the whole Court rejoiced most immensely by reason of the inclination always evinced by his Holiness towards this side. I congratulated his Majesty on the event, and he answered me that all Christendom had cause to rejoice at it, by reason of his Holiness's perfect mind with regard to the universal benefit of the Christian Commonwealth, and that God was to be praised for such a satisfactory election after so long a delay. But greater than that of anyone else was the joy demonstrated by the Ambassador from Florence, who declares that all this has been the work and luck of his Duke, and he boasts that now the Medicis will rule Florence, Rome, France, Spain through the Queen, Lorraine, and Ferrara. He evinces a belief that the Pope will be guided in everything by Duke Cosmo's counsel and will, and that the Pope has nothing else to seek but the aggrandisement and satisfaction of the Duke of Florence, who it is already said lays claim to Imola and Forli in right of his descent from Catarina Sforza, heretofore mistress of those cities, she having been the mother of Zanin de Medici, the Duke's father.
This Ambassador came to me a few days ago and told me that in his Duke's name he had two pieces of good news to give me: the one being that he had discovered a conspiracy made against him by some of his most familiar and confidential servants, whom he caused to be arrested, securing his person from the danger which menaced him; the other, that your Serenity had determined to restore to him the galley detained in Cyprus, together with all the prisoners; adding many loving words in testimony of the Duke's satisfaction and gratitude; but I have heard from another quarter that he narrates this circumstance in a different form, wishing to show that the restitution took place solely from respect for the greatness of the Duke, for whom everybody must now have deference.
The Cardinal of Perugia (fn. 9) has written letters to the King, to the Duke of Alva, and to some other friends of his, apologising for having opposed the election of Pacheco, saying clearly that he did so for conscience sake, not considering him fitted for so important a charge, as he is old, tardy, and negligent, and passes 22 hours of the day in eating, sleeping, and in other personal necessities; and that he is ill adapted to rule, as the Duke of Alva himself can bear witness from what he found when he succeeded him in the kingdom of Naples. In conclusion he complains bitterly of the Ambassador Vargas for having tried to force his conscience by threatening him that this King would deprive him and his brother, Ascanio della Cornia, of all the revenues and pensions they have in his Majesty's States; adding that his chief reason for regretting Vargas' protest was, that it might in some measure diminish the high opinion entertained by the world of the holy mind of his Majesty, as many persons will believe what he (the Cardinal) knows for certain to be untrue, that by his King's will the Ambassador used this language to force the consciences of the Cardinals in a matter they disapproved; and that he (the Cardina]) will always be his Majesty's true servant.
This King by reason of his pecuniary necessities having made an especial demand of these “Cortes” for a marriage vote of 600,000 ducats, they made an effort and gave him 550,000, a much larger sum than was expected; but his Majesty would still wish it to amount to 600,000.
The Prince of Parma is cured of the small-pox, and of the fever which followed the distemper.
It is heard from England that the very considerable French reinforcements in Scotland had caused suspicion to the Queen, who did not fail making every provision to secure herself, and according to report she would send hither her Ambassadors to inform this King how matters were proceeding, that in case of need he might provide the necessary assistance. Here this stir is considered of very great importance, and one of the chief personages of this Court, who is most intimate with his Majesty, when discussing the subject with me, said he strongly suspected that it will at length cause the renewal of the war between his Majesty and France, as, for the interests of the States of Flanders, King Philip could by no means tolerate the occupation of England by the French.
The Imperial Ambassador resident here has news that Count Helfenstein, sent by the Emperor, had arrived in England, and that the Queen shows herself more than ever inclined towards Prince Charles, and that at the head of her bed she kept his portrait, from which at times she seemed unable to separate herself.
The serious illness is reported of the Queen Dowager of Scotland, whose death might be of great moment in those parts.
Toledo, 30th January 1560.
[Italian; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Jan. 31. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 128. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Chiefs of the Council of Ten.
In reply to your Excellencies' missive of the 28th ultimo about the stir in the Milanese, I have no suspicion that the King would think of plotting against the Signory of Venice, who are greatly esteemed and respected at this Court. It is true that several persons had information that the Signory were suspicious of Spain because the Duke of Sessa (fn. 10) had attempted to have drawings made of certain Venetian fortresses; that by order of your Excellencies some persons had been arrested; and that on this account the Signory had increased their garrisons, and intended to improve the fortifications of Brescia and Crema. This is what I have heard hitherto, but I will not fail to keep on the watch, most especially on the arrival here of the Duke (of Sessa), to discover if possible what he is treating and proposing.
With regard to the two German regiments which your Excellencies have been advised are to muster on the frontiers of the Low Countries for service in Africa, this report is quite new to me; but if this project exists, before going to Africa they must come to Spain, where the appearance of these troops would cause more stir than has been made for the coming of the Queen, most especially on account of the requisite supply of provisions in this most sterile country, where only with great difficulty an army corps could be fed for any protracted period. In addition to this, were any important African expedition meditated, it would necessarily be preceded by many other very evident preparations in these realms.
Toledo, 31st January 1560.
[Italian; the whole in cipher, deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]


  • 1. See Venetian Calendar, vol. 6, part 1, pp. 196, 197, date Brussels, 28th September 1555, when this proposal was made to the Emperor Charles the Fifth.
  • 2. Francisco Bernardo de Fresneda. (See Foreign Calendar, “Mary,” p. 364.)
  • 3. San Domingo alias Hayti.
  • 4. “ di Alcagnet “ in the original.
  • 5. His family name was Henriquez. (See Cabrera, Index.)
  • 6. The following letter contains an anonymous account of the first meeting between King Philip and his third wife, Elizabeth of Valois, daughter of the late King of France, Henry II., and of Catherine de' Medici. It was enclosed in Paulo Tiepolo's despatch of 30th January, and was apparently written by some member of the Venetian Embassy who had been sent by Tiepolo to Guadalajara to satisfy the Republic's curiosity; and it seems to me worthy of notice.
  • 7. Joanna of Austria, Princess of Portugal, King Philip's sistter.
  • 8. Gian Angelo de' Medici was elected Pope with the title of Pius IV. in the night of 25–26 Dec. 1559.
  • 9. Fulvio della Cornia, nephew of Julius III., who made him Cardinal, 20th December 1551.
  • 10. Gonzalo Fernandez.