Venice: April 1560, 16-30

Pages 189-201

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.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


April 1560, 16–30

April 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 151. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I came with the other ambassadors from Amboise to this city on the 13th to assist at the King's entry, but as he made it without any pomp, both to avoid putting the inhabitants and the courtiers to expense, there was no occasion to invite us; and his Majesty having returned on the morrow to Chenonceau, to remain there ten or twelve days, we also shall have to go back to Amboise to be near at hand. In this city [of Tours] a letter has been published to all the governors and ministerial officials of the cities and provinces of the kingdom concerning the reformation of the Church by means of a congregation of the prelates of the Gallican Church, to be assembled for the National Council within six months in such place as his Majesty shall then appoint. From the accompanying translation of that letter (fn. 1) your Serenity will learn the causes of the insurrection and of the conspiracy, the seeds of which do not seem entirely extinct, for never a day passes without finding in the chambers and halls of his Majesty's own palace notes (polizze) and writings of evil nature abusing the Cardinal of Lorraine, against whom the plots continue, the indignation against him augmenting, although his Right Reverend Lordship omits no suitable diligence for self-preservation; and advices from Paris state that one of the chief palaces there belonging to the Guise family, full of furniture of great value (the Duke de Guise keeping much plate there, and Madame his wife (fn. 2) great part of her jewels, apparel, and other valuables), was nearly burnt by certain individuals who were worse intentioned than the rest. They went by night to set fire to the building, but being heard by the inmates of the palace, the latter went forth and attacked them with harquebuses and other arms, and in the end, after a hard fight, the assailants were repulsed, one or two of them being killed. The Duke de Guise, not considering his effects safe, has sent to remove thence the furniture and all his most important things, and those of his consort.
The same individuals attempted also to burn three or four houses of the Cardinal of Lorraine in the same city, especially the one called Cluny, where he has his museum and chief valuables; and they moreover wanted to burn the Palace of Medun (sic), a very beautiful seat beyond Paris, which is still being built. It is reported that in several places in Paris his painted effigy in his Cardinal's robes has been seen, at one time hanging by the feet, at another with the head severed and the body divided into four quarters, as was done to those who were condemned.
On the night before last, here at the Court, all the baggage of the Prince of Condé was opened, it being expected to find therein letters or other writings relating to the conspiracy, some hint having apparently been given about such documents; and although excuses were made after the search, attributing it to thieves, yet as none of the contents were missing the belief has greatly increased of the search having been made for that purpose. This having greatly provoked the Prince, he, with the King's leave, has withdrawn from the Court for some days under pretence of visiting his sister, the abbess of a nunnery near this city.
Nothing more is said about the said Prince's Master of the Horse, nor is it known what has become of him, but it is suspected that he has been secretly drowned, as was done by many others, to avoid any more public executions.
Letters have arrived express from Spain and Savoy, written immediately on hearing of the danger to which the most Christian King was exposed owing to the conspiracy, both the King Catholic and the Duke of Savoy making very great offers to come instantly with all the aid and forces they could for his most Christian Majesty's security, and to relieve him from the disquiet in which they heard he found himself. The Duke writes that he had already summoned his troops in order to march with them in this direction after he got the first advice, but he then received other advice from his Ambassador here. These good offices were beyond measure acceptable, his most Christian Majesty having thanked the King Catholic and the Duke in very loving letters. The Dukes of Ferrara and Florence performed the like office, and I presume your Serenity will not have failed to do the same.
The Duke and the Cardinal of Ferrara are earnestly urging his most Christian Majesty to use his influence with the Pope, that his Holiness may favour the marriage of Cesare Gonzaga's niece, so that the negotiations and offers of the Farnese family through the King of Spain may not be interrupted; and of this they have had a promise, the French Ambassador at Rome having had a special commission accordingly. It is also reported openly at the Court that the Duke of Ferrara has a secret transaction with his Holiness, prompted by the Cardinal of Ferrara at the suggestion of the Duke of Florence, to give one of his sisters to one of the Pope's nephews, the brother of Cardinal Borromeo, his Holiness making him Duke of Camerino, adding also the State of Fermo in the March [of Ancona], and to make a secret league between them, namely, the Pope, Florence, and the said Duke of Ferrara, who not only wishes and prays the King of France to favour this his intention, but to take the said nephew of his Holiness under his protection, and to honour him with the knighthood of St. Michael, giving him the annual pension of 12,000 crowns which his most Christian Majesty paid the Duke when he was Prince of Ferrara. He on the other hand offers that his Holiness will create a number of cardinals dependent on his most Christian Majesty, and that he and all his house will depend on the fortunes and protection of France. It is not yet known what reply has been given him by the French ministry.
They are anxiously expecting further advices from England after what was heard about M. de Glajon's first negotiation with that Queen, nor can the arrival of M. de Candalles, one of the first hostages, be long delayed, he being already known to have crossed the Channel; but according to reports received this morning very secretly the English fleet has taken three or four French vessels, and and by the relation of an individual who landed in Flanders from Scotland, and then came hither, Scottish affairs were going very badly, and the French forces were in great straits and suffering much, especially from want of money, of which whilst the King was here everyone who had means gave a sum for transmission to Scotland, but through Flanders, to avoid suspicion and risk, and under pretence that the remittance proceeds from some Flemish merchants trading there. To-morrow or next day the Grand Prior [Réné de Lorraine, Marquis d'Elbœuf] is to go to prepare the galleys, and proceed into the British Channel with them, so as not to lose so good a season for the passage, and to gain as much time as possible in case the galleys be required from failure of any adjustment.
On the day before yesterday the King of Denmark sent one of his gentlemen to return the Order of St. Michael, which was given him by the late most Christian King, without saying for what cause, a very strange proceeding; but it tacitly confirms what was said some time ago about a secret understanding between Germany, Lubeck and the other towns, the kingdom of Scotland, and this King of Denmark, who greatly suspects and fears the present King of France, who, in respect of the Duchess, mother of the Duke of Lorraine, is now his brother-in-law, on account of the Duchess's claim to Denmark in right of her father King Christian, who was despoiled of it, and died in prison. Others say that it is because he has agreed to serve the Queen of England against France, his brother, the Duke of Holstein, having gone to England some time ago with great offers of infantry and cavalry; so before discovering himself openly he chose for his honour to send back the order.
The King of Sweden on the contrary desires and requests the renewal for his subjects of many privileges enjoyed by them to trade and traffic in the kingdom, exporting and importing reciprocally many sorts of merchandise to the mutual benefit and advantage; they having for a long while, owing to the war with the States of Flanders, discontinued such commerce, which they now seek to resume, and which has been graciously conceded to them.
The Genoese nation, together with the Rucellai, bankers of Rome, who dissolved partnership with the other nations in the great loan, have settled their own credit, amounting to 540,000 crowns, apart, freely sacrificing 70,000, and for the remaining 470,000 they have taken security on the tenths of the clergy, which is considered excellent; one half is to be paid them in the middle of next March 1561, and the remainder in October of the same year, so that within 18 months from the present day they will have received the full amount. This, considering the nature of the times, is held to be a most advantageous bargain, nor would many others reject it could they get the like security.
Tours, 20th April 1560.
April 20. Copy. Venetian Archives. 152. Protest of M. Michiel de Seurre, French Ambassador (Extraordinary) to Queen Elizabeth. (fn. 3)
Since the death of the most Christian King it has been openly seen that the King, his son, wished to succeed not only to the inheritance of his kingdom, but also to the same zeal and affection for the repose and quiet of Christendom, which had moved him to terminate the wars he had with the other kings, his neighbours, and to establish between them a good and lasting peace and friendship; the said successor not having omitted whatever was fitting and necessary for its maintenance and conservation, as testified by facts, and most especially with regard to the Queen of England, his good sister and cousin, towards whom he has used every possible good demonstration in his power, both by complying with the obligation of maintaining the hostages in England for the affair of Calais, as also by preserving for English subjects in this kingdom free and secure trade and contracts, no one of them being wronged or injured without reparation. Nevertheless, the Scots in this time of tranquillity having rebelled and withdrawn from their obedience to the said King and the Queen, his consort and their sovereign Lady, for the reduction of whom he had sent armed forces, the said Queen of England has fitted out a strong and powerful fleet, and an army likewise, and sent both to Scotland, founding the cause of these preparations on her suspicion that the French forces now there, and to be sent hereafter, were destined for the invasion of England, as she alleged had been threatened, under pretext' that the Queen of France, Queen of Scotland, had the title and arms of England. But the King of France gave her immediately to understand by his Ambassadors the sincerity of his intention, and how averse he was to infringe the treaty, or attempt anything to the prejudice of the said sovereign Lady and her kingdom. To give her yet more certain testimony he has delayed the preparation of other forces destined by him for Scotland, and endeavoured to effect the reduction of the rebels by a favourable consideration of their misdeeds, which he was content to forget and to pardon if they tendered him their due obedience. Of this he has made declaration and offer to them, even praying the said sovereign Lady to mediate with them, to the end that this fact might relieve them [her?] from any suspicion and jealousy of the said forces, offering to remove the greater part subsequently, leaving only such as should be required for the security of his territories, and [to ensure] obedience; which forces would be in such small number as no longer to leave any reasonable cause for doubt on this account; and as for the rest, that the said King on his part would appoint envoys (should she choose to do the like) to settle the other differences which might arise between their Majesties, and treat them amicably, as declared by the articles of the said peace.
To this proposal the said sovereign Lady offered no other expedient for the decision of all differences except the total recall of all the French forces in Scotland within a prefixed period, without choosing to enter into further negotiation and dispute; which cannot but be deemed a very strange proceeding, as in this time of peace negotiations are the mediators between Kings and Princes for the pacification of their differences, without its being lawful for one or the other to give laws or to impose conditions, which can only be applied to their own subjects and vassals. And what is worse, she has sent her fleet to Scotland, where it has made many depredations on the said King's subjects, both on its arrival on certain ships of war which were stationed for the safe custody of the Firth, and subsequently on many other vessels laden with provisions belonging to the said King and to many of his subjects. She has also waged open war upon his ministers and soldiers there, to the point of endeavouring to land on the Island of Chaulx, (fn. 4) to take it by surprise, imprisoning many of the said soldiers, and doing many other warlike acts. This convinced the said King that the said sovereign Lady intended to proceed further, especially as no grounds were afforded by the King's forces, of the number of which he had always informed her, the causes of her complaints being alike groundless, as she has nothing to do with, nor anything to take cognizance of, in Scotland.
The King believes that he had given ample satisfaction by declaring his goodwill to maintain the said peace and by his offers to come to an amicable adjustment with her, as repeated by his Ambassador in England, the like being announced to her Ambassador resident with him. He has also appointed the Bishop of Valence, his Privy Councillor, a very worthy person, and of authority with him, and has sent him likewise to confirm to the said Lady his good intention, which is wholly inclined towards the repose of Christendom, and to the continuation of the good friendship between their Majesties; the Bishop being also charged to hear from her if she had still any scruple, so that he might give the King notice of it, and then proceed to Scotland to try and reduce the rebels to the obedience of the said King and of the Queen his consort, their sovereign princess, through the clemency of their Majesties, who in that case offer to forget all their past misdeeds, and then to recall the greater part of their forces, and thus relieve the Queen of England from any further doubt on the subject. Nor on the other hand did the King omit to employ the mediation of his good brother the King Catholic with the said Lady; whereupon King Philip, desiring the maintenance of peace, and well knowing the devastation caused by war, sent M. de Glajon [to England]. But notwithstanding so many good offices performed by the King of France, which easily make known to all Christendom the sincerity of his entire intention and aversion to turmoil, the King could not prevent the Queen of England from sending an army and fleet to Scotland, to expel the ministers and soldiers of the said Lords (King and Queen), as she has fully declared in a proclamation which she has had printed, (fn. 5) and which contains no semblance whatever of right, it being evident that this would be the way to deprive the King and the Queen his consort of the said kingdom, which would be a very unjust result, and moreover a very bad example to all Christian princes, that subjects who have rebelled against their natural lords should be thus favoured in their rebellion.
Of all this the King of France has chosen to make a declaration to Queen Elizabeth, having given the Bishop an express commission to this effect, and again to renew the assurance of his desire for the preservation and duration of the peace, and the offer of an amicable negotiation (trattato), as previously proposed to the Queen; which the said Ambassador did on the 15th of this month both to the Queen and to the Lords of her Council in the presence of Signor Florens da Jaceto, (fn. 6) who on the said day presented to them the King's letters, asking credence for him in what concerned this office; the Ambassador praying the Queen to renounce hostilities, and to refer their differences for decision to personages to be elected by one side and the other. They answered him that their fleet had been for twelve days near the little harbour (fn. 7) ready to continue the undertaking for which the Queen ordered it to enter Scotland, namely, to expel the French; continuing the aforesaid threats, and [saying] that the Queen did not intend to lose time from interested motives, thus directly infringing the treaty of peace.
M. de Seurre, therefore, and the French Ambassadors with the Queen, being charged to protest against this rupture of the treaties, prayed the aforesaid M. de Glajon and the Bishop of Aquila, Ambassador of the King Catholic, to be present before the Queen, that they (the French) might make the protest in their presence, and remind [her] of all the offices performed by the King of France to satisfy her in what was reasonable, for the avoidance of any alteration of the good peace and friendship existing between their Majesties, so that they might bear witness that the King of France had not failed to do what he could to adjust matters amicably; but they having refused, because they had no commission from King Philip to that effect, M. de Seurre referred them to the testimony of the writing, which he had put into form as above, and then replied by word of mouth to the Queen in the presence of the Lords of her Council; and having obtained leave from her Majesty to execute what had been commanded him on this subject, he protested on behalf of the King of France, as he again protests with all humble reverence by the present writing, against the rupture of those treaties, and that all the preparations made and making by his Majesty for Scotland were merely to recover the obedience due to him and to the Queen his consort, having on this sole account offered to forget every offensive act of his subjects, and to pardon the past, as he again offers to do, and to comply with the said treaties, by appointing persons to settle amicably what remains for decision between their Majesties, and also to use all such ways and means as may be used between friends, and render her secure by recalling his forces after the submission of his subjects. With regard to the fears she expresses about its being contrary to her interests to desist from her undertaking against his kingdom, and to accept terms, the King of France will endeavour to defend himself and to preserve his own, protesting that if he is compelled to enter into a war, as the sequel to this commencement made by the Queen of England, it will be very greatly to his regret and displeasure, as the whole world may judge, and solely in self-defence. And of all that is contained above the said M. de Seurre left a copy with the said Queen in her above-mentioned Council on the 20th April 1560, after Easter.
April 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 153. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Spanish Ambassador having just returned from the Court heard from the Cardinal of Lorraine that a. gentleman who came from Scotland informed the King that not only had Lord Grey with the English forces entered the country, but that for six days he had been under (Pettilit) besieging it in every direction as closely as he could, of which the Cardinal complained bitterly to the Spanish Ambassador, telling him that his most Christian Majesty would send an express to King Philip giving him particular account of this proceeding on the part of the Queen of England, hoping it would displease him. The Queen's Ambassador, Throckmorton, has nevertheless not been recalled, and he told me that in a long conversation with the Spanish Ambassador he said to him that he understood that the King Catholic was sending great offers to the King of France for the Scottish expedition, which he disbelieved by reason of the good friendship subsisting between the King Catholic and the Queen his mistress; and that the Spaniard replied that it was quite true that the King, his master, had sent to offer four thousand infantry of his own subjects to be paid by the King of France, and should they not suffice he would send other three thousand, to be paid by the King Catholic, who intended them to serve solely for the punishment of the Scottish rebels, and that King Philip was moved thus to do not indeed to cause any hurt to the said Queen, but for the greater security of her realm, lest it give cause for the French to cross over to Scotland in much greater number; which statement was heard with great regret by the English Ambassador, who immediately sent an express to the Queen with this news.
Tours, 21st April 1560.
April 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 154. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
The King did not return from Calatrava till St. Mark's eve [24th April], and was purposely absent from here on St. George's day [23rd April] to avoid the occasion for commemorating the Order of the Garter, of which the English Ambassadors complained bitterly to me, although they commend the demonstrations made to them by his Majesty, and the words which they had from him in reply, amongst which were the following, that he did not wish to see the King of France stronger and more established in Scotland than he now is; but they nevertheless feel no security about his Majesty's mind, fearing lest the French may turn and change it at their pleasure.
These Ambassadors also narrated to me that the King of France has endeavoured to make this King believe that he contents himself with what is fair and reasonable, and that for his part he will not fail to disarm and quiet matters, as he had sent M de Montluc to England to treat and conclude certain terms of agreement, with which the Queen of England ought to be very well satisfied, their substance being as follows: that his most Christian Majesty would remove all his troops from Scotland with the exception of sixteen banners (bandiere) of infantry, to be dispersed in four fortresses; that he would permit that kingdom to be ruled according to its own laws and customs; and that henceforth his most Christian Majesty would no longer use the title of England, but only the arms, on account of the ties of blood; that the Queen of England on the other hand was to disarm, and not to have any understanding with the Scots. The Ambassadors say that the Queen would have remained content with these conditions had the French willed to carry them out in fact, and not used words and demonstrations only, but that on M. de Montluc's arrival in England, (fn. 8) when he was asked to produce his powers, he said he had none, and the French Ambassador resident in England said that he knew all about this matter, having instructions given him by his King, but when asked to let these be seen he replied that they were mislaid. Thus it is evident that the French are endeavouring not only to cajole and deceive the Queen whilst they are making preparations for war, but also to justify their cause with the Catholic King by giving him words, and making it appear that the wrong is on the side of the Queen of England; which proceeding is but too manifest, and if his Catholic Majesty chose he might very well know it.
I am advised through a reliable channel that the Emperors Ambassador resident in England has put an end to the negotiations for the Queen's marriage to the Archduke Charles, assuring her as delicately as he could that the Archduke had determined not to marry. I am told that the Emperor formed this resolve because the Queen required the Archduke to go to England, notwithstanding which she would not give any assurance of taking him for her husband; so it seemed that to treat this marriage any further would be too undignified for his Imperial Highness.
His Holiness has sent to tell the King that he thought of making Cardinals next Ember week, and would satisfy his Majesty. I understand that his Majesty will cause him to elect a brother of the Marquis of Pescara, and some other Spaniard, although amongst these [Spaniards] his Majesty has a scarcity of persons fit for business. I am also told that he may name those whom he already knows that the Pope is about to create, namely, Don Luis de Toledo; the brother of the Duke of Mantua; the brother of Don Cesar Gonzaga; and Marco Altemps, a German, the Pope's nephew.
All the ships from Peru with the exception of three have arrived, bringing about 400,000 ducats for the King, and a larger sum for private individuals, some saying two millions and others much more. In past times it was usual for the King, on account of his need, to take all the money of private individuals, making them an assignment of so much per cent., so that many persons ceased to bring money into Spain, and many others endeavoured to bring it illegally, defrauding his Majesty of the entry duty. Now that peace is concluded the amount mentioned by me has been sent, the private individuals hoping that his Majesty will leave it to them, and they say that a much greater amount will be brought for the future when advice arrives in Peru that his Majesty will no longer lay hands on what belongs to others; he having already issued commands for all persons to receive the whole of the sum forwarded to them.
There is advice from Peru that incredibly rich gold mines have been found in the province of Popayan, one of which in particular, if such as they relate it to be, would alone suffice to supply the whole world abundantly with gold and lower its value.
In five or six days his Majesty will depart for Aranjuez, a pleasure residence seven leagues hence, whither he will also take the Queen, for whom he is still having certain rooms built, as those in being were not sufficiently numerous for her; and it is said that his Majesty will remain there until these Cortes adjourn, leaving the whole Court here to undergo the scorching and unsupportable heat, such as is usually felt in this city during the summer.
Toledo, 26th April 1560.
[Italian; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
April 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 155. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English Ambassador has had letters from his Queen advising him of what had taken place in Scotland to the 19th instant, and he told me that Lord Grey having joined the Scots on the 6th was under Little Leith (Pettilit), and having commenced battering it, some two thousand Frenchmen under their Colonel, M. de Martigues, made a sally and fought for a long while, the English and Scots losing some fifty men and the French about two hundred, and that Martigues was made prisoner; but the battle lasting, M. de la Brosse with almost all the rest of the garrison of Little Leith went out to enable their comrades to retreat, and the English being intent on the engagement, the person who had charge of Martigues, either not knowing who he was, or from inadvertency or carelessness, allowed him to escape, and he got back into Little Leith with the others. A report circulates at the Court that Lord Grey has been wounded in the leg by a harquebuse shot, but the Ambassador says he believes it to be untrue, because his advices containing minute details of the encounter do not allude to it.
The French being thus driven back into Little Leith on the 7th, the English and Scots, having made their approaches, commenced battering it, continuing to do so briskly during four consecutive days from the 7th to the 12th, on which day the Queen Regent, who was in Edinburgh Castle, a quarter of a league from Little Leith, seeing the great danger which her forces might incur through the loss of that place, came to a parley. Lord Grey having gone to her, she told him that she was prepared to grant him all that he had asked, viz., to remove from Scotland without delay all the French troops, offering any security and guarantee which he might desire. After conferring with the Earls of Arran and Argyle, the principal Scottish chiefs, Lord Grey reported to the Queen Regent, that they not only insisted on the removal thence of all the soldiery and every other French minister and official, and also that she herself should depart with them, but they required to be assured that hereafter they should never have any other governor or representative of the King except a native Scot, in conformity with the constitution and precept of their realm, and at any rate they would not have a Frenchman. With this reply and decision of the Scottish chiefs Lord Grey despatched a courier to the Queen of England; and such is the state of affairs at the present time.
When the great danger of the Queen Regent was known here, she being at the mercy of the English, the most Christian Queen [Mary Stuart], both on account of her mother, lest she remain prisoner, as also from her Majesty's own fear for the loss of her kingdom, would take no sort of comfort or consolation given her either by the most Christian King, by the Queen-mother [Catherine de' Medici], by her uncles, or by the other Princes and Princesses of the Court; she shed most bitter tears incessantly, and at length from anguish and sorrow has taken to her bed.
Besides what is aforesaid the English Ambassador told me about the whole of the negotiation between M. de Glajon and his Queen, in conformity with what your Serenity will have already heard; but concerning the offer made by the King of Spain to this King of 7,000 infantry, of which as written by me 4,000 were to be at the cost of France and 3,000 of Spain, Throckmorton says that the Queen complained greatly. Glajon told her that the King Catholic had been induced to do this to relieve her from the suspicion she entertains that the French forces after pacifying the affairs of the Scots will turn against her, which they will be unable to do, if they depend on the King Catholic, being his subjects, and for the most part paid and maintained by him, whereas they will, on the contrary, be her defenders against the French. Notwithstanding all this the Queen answered M. de Glajon that she does not require to be secured in this way, and should Spanish troops come, not having been sent for, not only will she prevent their passage, and do all she can to forbid it, but give them battle as to her own enemies.
Here they are hourly expecting Don Garcilasso de la Vega from Spain, he being sent by the King Catholic about this agreement, on which the French Ministry rely greatly. Therefore all the supplies—nominally very great indeed—are not only made very slowly, but perhaps, as told me by an intelligent person, they will not proceed further than to avail themselves of the King of Spain, on which they are intent with all diligence, couriers passing to and fro daily to Spain, and from Spain to Flanders, great stress (gran caso) being also laid on the 3,000 Spaniards who are still in Flanders about to embark for Spain.
The English Ambassador also told me that the demand of the Scots (who are the subjects of the most Christian King,) not to have a French Governor, seemed very strange to M. de Glajon, and he spoke about this with the Queen of England, perhaps to induce her to deter the Scots from this opinion. She answered him that to any other person it might seem strange, but that he being a Fleming knew very well that, notwithstanding that Flanders and the other Low Countries are, like Spain, under the dominion of the King Catholic, yet they will not admit other governors than those of their own nation, nor will they have Spaniards for anything in this world; and although they do not say so openly, yet by freely protesting, as they do, against contributing to any sort of charge or payment, until the Spaniards are entirely removed, they are in fact doing the same thing as the Scots are now endeavouring to do.
The Bishop of Arras, on the other hand, writes from Flanders, that in Germany many troops are being mustered, on account, it is supposed, of the Queen of England, who proclaims that at her demand she can have as many as forty ensigns; and the Spanish Ambassador resident here says that a remonstrance has been made to her about these troops as a thing which displeases the King Catholic and his Ministers in Flanders, lest they disturb those Provinces by approaching or perhaps by traversing them. The Queen replied that seeing King Philip holds the new friendship in greater account than the old one, she is compelled to avail herself of the forces of those who show themselves her friends, and are able to supply her wants.
Here, as yet, not only is the English Ambassador not placed under any sort of guard, as customary in times of suspicion and distrust, but they allow him to write freely to England, and to receive letters thence; these French Ministers doing the like with the French Ambassador in England, writing and despatching messengers to him daily, and even on the day before yesterday, they sent a gentlemen to him. There is no visible sign of rupture, for even in England the Queen has accepted the hostages, who have been renewed, allowing those first sent to return, one of whom, M. de Candalles, has already arrived at the Court, but as he left England long before the events above mentioned, he knows nothing more on the subject.
On the day before yesterday, the Count de Feria, with his wife (fn. 9) and a large company (gran compagnia), passed through Amboise, which is the usual road from Flanders to Spain, his most Christian Majesty having come expressly from Chenonceau, the seat of the Queen-mother, to receive and lodge them in the Castle; and besides the many honours done them by the Cardinal of Lorraine and the Duke of Guise, who both entertained them, they have also eaten at the King's table; and the most Christian Queen (fn. 10) presented the Countess with two very handsome gowns, one of cloth of gold with a raised pile, the other of crimson satin covered with golden embroidery, and a jewelled ornament for the neck, the entire present being considered of great value.
I am told that Count de Feria speaks very ill of the Queen of England, having said freely that although he considers himself almost an Englishman, his wife being English, yet should he go to Spain he will do his utmost to persuade the King Catholic to ally himself with his most Christian Majesty to the said Queen's detriment, which was the cause of his being yet more graciously received by these chief Ministers, who prayed him to continue of this mind (in questa opinione).
Tours, 26th April 1560.
[April.] Copy. Venetian Archives. 156. An “Information” about events in Scotland; contained in a despatch dated Toledo, the 1st of June 1560. (fn. 11)
At the beginning of the month of April last the army of the Queen of England was quartered on the frontiers of Scotland, waiting for the conclusion of the agreements and league which by her mandate were being treated with the rebel heretics of the kingdom of Scotland; and after receiving the hostages of the said rebels the said Queen demanded that her army should enter the kingdom of Scotland to effect a junction with the aforesaid rebels against the French and the Scots who had remained faithful to their King and Queen. She also sent by sea from thirty to thirty-five ships, which landed heavy artillery, ammunition, and other materials of war, which they conveyed to the neighbourhood of Little Leith, one of the principal ports of Scotland. Having mustered their forces, the English commenced digging trenches and besieging the loyal French and Scots in Little Leith; and after battering the place with great fury and obstinacy with twenty-six pieces of artillery, on the 3rd of May they made an assault, which lasted from eleven p.m. till the next morning, the nights in that country being scarcely dark. The English were at length compelled to retreat with such loss as generally happens in these cases, and they were preparing for another assault by sea and land on the 12th May, of the result of which nothing is yet known. The English cavalry in the meanwhile with some of the rebel heretics went to plunder the towns of the Church, and it is heard that many poor ecclesiastics have been compelled to make their escape from the kingdom, some to France and some to the Low Countries of Flanders.
On the Monday before Easter [8th April] M. de Martigues, colonel of the French infantry, made a sally from the city to prevent the enemy from making the trenches which they had commenced; in this action some twelve hundred men were killed, and the French took two of the enemy's colours (due bandiere).
Whilst these things were passing the Commissioners of France and of the Queen Governess of Scotland had an interview with Lord Grey [of Wilton], commander-in-chief of the Queen of England, for that one side and the other might put an end to these disturbances, which might cause harm and mischief to all Christendom: and the negotiation was proceeding favourably, the Scottish rebels being content to receive the mercy and pardon offered them by their King and Queen, but subsequently the Commissioners disagreed and separated owing to two difficulties between them, one of which was that the English would not restore to the Scots their hostages, nor would they allow the Scots, although they came to terms with their King and Queen, to renounce the league contracted by them with England.
The other difficulty was the “interim” which they demanded for the whole of Scotland until they received some decision about the “Council”; they also demanded that eight or ten churches should be reserved for the Scottish Protestants in several places of the kingdom, where they might freely and publicly preach their religion and sect.


  • 1. Not found.
  • 2. Anne of Este, daughter of Hercules II., Duke of Ferrara.
  • 3. This copy was enclosed in a despatch of Paulo Tiepolo. It is headed, “Protesto di Francesi in Inghilterra.”
  • 4. Sic; i.e. Burntisland. (See Foreign Calendar, 1559–1560, Index.)
  • 5. See Foreign Calendar, 1558, 1559, pp. 472, 473.
  • 6. The presentation of Diaceto alias Adjaceto to Queen Elizabeth on the 15th April 1560, is mentioned in Foreign Calendar, 1559–1560, p. 550, date 18th April, and it seems that he merely said the King of France was sorry to see her preparations for war.
  • 7. Query, “the Links beside Leith.” (See Foreign Calendar, October 2, 1559, entry G, p. 6.)
  • 8. Montluc, Bishop of Valence, was in England 21 March 1560. (See Foreign Calendar under that date, p. 465.)
  • 9. Jane Dormer.
  • 10. Thus was compensation made by Mary Stuart to Jane Dormer for having been made to ride from London to Rochester in the heat of the sun on the 27th July 1559. (See Foreign Calendar under that date, p. 422.)
  • 11. This news letter had been given to the Venetian Ambassador by Sebastien de l'Aubespine, Bishop of Limoges, French Ambassador at Toledo; Tiepolo's words about it in his despatch of 1st June being, “Having written thus far, the French Ambassador gave me an 'information' about the events of Scotland, of which I think it well to send your Serenity a copy.”