Venice: June 1560, 1-15

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: June 1560, 1-15', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 7, 1558-1580, ed. Rawdon Brown, G Cavendish Bentinck( London, 1890), British History Online [accessed 23 July 2024].

'Venice: June 1560, 1-15', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 7, 1558-1580. Edited by Rawdon Brown, G Cavendish Bentinck( London, 1890), British History Online, accessed July 23, 2024,

"Venice: June 1560, 1-15". Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 7, 1558-1580. Ed. Rawdon Brown, G Cavendish Bentinck(London, 1890), , British History Online. Web. 23 July 2024.

June 1560, 1–15

June 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 164. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
The King of Portugal having reduced the rate of interest to five per cent. annually on a loan of 1,000,000 of ducats due from him to the Portuguese, whereas formerly he was accustomed to pay 10 per cent.; this made the merchants who do. business with him suspect that he would do the like by them, as took place lately, for the King, being debtor to several merchants for about 2,000,000, declared that for conscience sake he would not henceforth pay such interest, but reimburse his creditors annually with five per cent until they be paid in full by the proceeds of the spice contract.
The French Ambassador has given me an “information” about the events of Scotland, of which I send your Serenity a copy. (fn. 1)
Toledo, 1st June 1560.
June 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 165. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
The calamitous news has arrived of the defeat of the Christian fleet, with the loss of 30 galleys and 32 ships, which has caused infinite sorrow to this Court. In so difficult a case the King Catholic is expected to take the best advice he can for the safety of those who remained on land at Gerbes, to prevent other disasters so injurious to Christendom.
Toledo, 2nd June 1560.
June 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 166. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
The King has remained almost the whole of this day in consultation with the Duke of Alva, Don Juan Manrique, Don Antonio de Toledo, and Don Gutierre Lopez de Padilla; and his Majesty determined to commission a personage of authority to govern Sicily, whither he has ordered 5,000 infantry levied in Calabria to be sent, and likewise artillery and ammunition from the kingdom of Naples, Sicily being almost defenceless owing to this unfortunate undertaking which the Duke, its viceroy, has attempted. (fn. 2)
A more considerable coastguard will be sent to the shores of Spain, the drum being beat for foot soldiers to that effect. The Spanish fleet has had orders to be ready to put to sea for service. Of the 20 galleys of Spain there will be the 17 that have been saved, seven of Prince Doria, two that are said to be at Naples, four of the Duke of Savoy, ten of the Duke of Florence, and eight from the Republic of Genoa, whose Ambassador offered them to the King Catholic. It is also said that the King of Spain will ask France for her fleet, both by reason of the present need, as also to set Sultan Soliman by the ears with the most Christian King, who it would seem could not fairly (honestamente) in such necessity refuse this assistance, and to reciprocate the service rendered to France by the infantry which his Catholic Majesty is sending to Scotland, provided King Francis do not use the galleys against England, as he has done hitherto. These precautional measures seem to have been taken for the safe custody of the coast and states of the King Catholic, rather than as succour for the garrison of Gerbes.
Several persons have inquired of me whether your Serenity would lend them your favour, which succour it is thought might remedy the late disaster; but I endeavoured to remove this hope by saying that I knew not how your Serenity could in fairness and to your benefit break the peace you have made with Sultan Soliman and wage war on him.
Toledo, 2nd June 1560.
[Italian; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
June 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 167. Nicolò da Ponte, Bernardo Navagero, and Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the Doge and Senate.
In this packet we send the reply of the Queen of England to the Protest made by the French Ambassador resident with her, which we could not obtain in time to enclose it with the last despatch. Today, when discoursing with the Cardinal of Lorraine about these affairs of England and Scotland, and on our asking what news had been brought by a gentleman who arrived thence yesterday, his Right Reverend Lordship announced the presence in England of M. de Randan, who had arranged a conference on the 5th instant to be held on the frontiers between the Queen's ministers and those of the most Christian King, which was to be attended by the Scottish chiefs, to negotiate an adjustment, for which purpose each side had named five individuals, the English delegates having already left London for the site of the conference. The Cardinal added that the most Christian King, for the sake of avoiding delay and impediments to the adjustment, had not chosen to give any further instruction to M. de Randan about its conditions, referring them absolutely to the will of the Queen Regent in Scotland, who might according to her opinion conclude any treaty whatever, which would be approved and ratified without contradiction by his most Christian Majesty and the Queen his consort.
Concerning Little Leith the Cardinal said that a yeoman of the chamber in the service of his most Christian Majesty, who departed thence on the 9th ultimo, and came hither by way of Flanders, related that the English troops had three times assaulted the place, twice by day and once by night, with scaling ladders, and that they had on each occasion been repulsed with much loss, more than six hundred of them having been killed the first time, so that now the remainder of the English do not exceed from 3,000 to 4,000, the Scots being rather more in number. Having seen that cannonading and assaults were fruitless, and having withdrawn the artillery, they commenced raising forts about the place to besiege it, as was done at La Mirandola, but the French commanders, as they assured his Majesty that they were not in the least afraid of being stormed, so with regard to siege they sent to say they were provisioned for the whole of July; the Cardinal adding his belief that they were victualled for a still longer period. He said that the Scots began to have greater suspicion and anxiety about the English, mutual distrust existing openly between them, than they had about the French; wherefore the Queen of England did not cease arming to the utmost by land and sea, having detained a great number of ships, both of Venetians and other foreigners and of the kingdom, that she may increase as much as possible her fleet now at sea, impressing men by force on board, her object being to fight the French fleet and prevent its landing reinforcements in Scotland, should the war continue. It is also that the said Queen has given a subsidy to the Duke of Holstein, (fn. 3) brother of the King of Denmark, who has been in England for many months, for 7,000 foot and 1,000 German horse, who are already mustered for the service of the said Queen; and she has taken till the 1st of July either to dismiss them entirely or to send the supplement of their pay so as to remove and embark them for England, hoping that by that date the conlusion or rejection of the agreement will have been accomplished.
I hear on good authority that the French Ministry suspect that in addition to these preparations the movements heard of in Germany are perhaps not for the affairs of Metz, the Cardinal himself having told me that not only the Emperor but almost all the Princes were arming, naming to us the Count Palatine, the Duke of Wurtemburg, the Duke of Bavaria, the Duke of Saxony, and others. Hence France is expected to consent to any fair adjustment of the affairs of Scotland and England; and the Ministers here, having moreover heard that all the States and Princes of the Empire are to meet together next July either in person or by proxy, in order to ascertain better the movements of Germany, have determined that the Count Rhinegrave, Knight of St. Michael, who has been for many years in the service of France, and in whom they place great trust, is to repair to Germany, that through him he being popular with all the Princes there, the French Ministry may know the truth of what is to be treated and decided. The Rhinegrave will go thither, as he told me Giovanni (Michiel), under colour of having been invited, and of intending to be present at the wedding of John William of Saxony, the second born son of the late Duke John Frederick, who is also in the service of France, and who is affianced to a daughter of the Count Palatine.
On the day before yesterday M. de la Bourdaisière returned from Rome, having been sent to render “the obedience,” with the report of the Pope's extreme displeasure, because the King of France has summoned (intimato) a National Council, his Holiness thinking to prevent it by the summons for a Council General at Trent; but so far as can be seen hitherto the Ministers here have no intention to desist from the National Council, considering it a much greater remedy for this Kingdom in the matter of religion, as it can be convoked more speedily and easily than the Council Universal, which would bring with it so many impediments.
M. de la Bourdaisière also brought apologies from Cardinal Tournon for not coming to take part in this Government as he had been called to do, by reason of his old age and want of strength.
In our conversation yesterday with the Cardinal of Lorraine, we having fallen on the topic of the bad news heard that morning by word of mouth from one who came from Genoa of the defeat of the Spanish fleet by the Turks, his Lordship confirmed the news, and showed us as a favour the extract of the advices (as he assured us) before he showed them to the King, as received at that moment from the Governor of Lyons, who announced letters from Rome of the 20th ultimo purporting that of 45 galleys only 17 had been saved, the names of which were specified in the advices one by one; but by other letters also from Rome of the 24th, brought by the same courier, it was said that seven more had made their appearance in safety at Naples, making 24 in all, 21 having been lost, together with 34 transport ships, on board of which were the victuals and ammunition. For this loss his Right Reverend Lordship showed great regret, considering the benefit of Christendom, as did the King and the Queen-mother when talking with me Nicolò (da Ponte), the Cardinal saying that the expedition had been mismanaged and but little diligence used about it.
Romorantin, 3rd June 1560.
June 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 168. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassadors (extraordinary) left Romorantin on the 3rd instant, they having sustained their state at this Court with such gravity, prudence, and splendour that the Duke de Guise told me freely that the King considered himself honoured and well satisfied with the quality of the Ambassadors, it seeming to the Duke and the Cardinal that in these disturbances and movements of England they must have given them great repute. Those two personages were likewise very glad that Don Garcilasso de la Vega was here on a mission from the King Catholic, that he might write and relate it on his return to Spain. The Cardinal told me that the Ambassadors will be received and visited in Paris in the King's name and will have their presents in so much gilt plate.
His Majesty went this morning to two castles ten leagues hence belonging to the Duke de Longueville, where he will keep the festival of Corpus Domini and enjoy his usual field sports, taking subsequently the road either towards Normandy or Fontainebleau, according to what he may hear from England about the conclusion or rejection of the agreement, which must soon be known, as since the 5th of the month the delegates have been conferring at Newcastle on the frontier of England.
A few days ago there came hither from Germany certain chief loan contractors of the free towns of Augsburg, Ulm, Strasburg, and other towns interested in the great Lyons loan, to negotiate an adjustment. They had audience first of the Cardinal and then of the King, and finally to-day from the Privy Council they were to have had the ultimatum, but were referred to another sitting.
A courier from the Duke of Ferrara brought orders lately to his Ambassador here to complain grievously (gravemente) to the most Christian King and his Ministers that after it had been agreed to pay him the credit of the late Duke, his father, at the rate of 100,000 crowns annually, the assignments for the first year had been taken away.
Blois, 8th June 1560.
June 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 169. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
All the Ambassadors have condoled with the King on the disaster at Gerbes. I have also endeavoured to make the King know how much regret it will have caused you, both on account of his Majesty, as also of all Christendom, and in conclusion that your Serenity had not failed in endeavouring to be informed of the proceedings of the Turkish fleet, to communicate them to the foreign ministers in Venice, and to send advices of them to Milan and to Rome, that they might reach the ears of those whom they concerned in time, and that the same news-letters had been sent to me likewise, but had arrived too late, though I prayed his Majesty to hear their contents, that he might know that your Serenity not only gave notice of the putting to sea of the said fleet, but also of its design of going to Barbary. I read to him the summaries lately received with the letters of the 4th and 15th ultimo, to which he listened very attentively, and then answered me with a cheerful countenance, thanking your Serenity, who, he said, will have had just cause to lament the disaster of so many Christians, but that with God's assistance he had formed such a resolve that he hoped you would be much comforted and satisfied. After those words and some other compliments I took leave of his Majesty, and went into the ante-room to the Duke of Alva, who told me almost the same as his Majesty, with this in addition, that they were sending Don Garcia de Toledo to Sicily, which would be sufficiently provided for; that with these Spanish galleys they were sending 2,000 infantry to Sardinia, and other places on the coast; that they would get together as many as 70 galleys, not including those of France (to use his own words), and 30 ships, on board of which they intended to embark 15,000 infantry, his Majesty having determined at any rate to succour his forces at Gerbes, for which purpose he had ordered a large levy of infantry.
On the first news of this disaster it was intended to assemble certain galleys, but on obtaining more correct information they found that although the Duke of Florence has the hulls of so many vessels he does not possess the other requisites for fitting them out. His Ambassador has offered but six, which is a much smaller number, and Genoa, which promises eight galleys, can scarcely have four ready to put to sea in time to use them, so they reckon only six. They also reckon on two only from the Duke of Savoy, but on the other hand they expect some other galleys which are said to be at Naples, and which escaped, in addition to the 17; and they will ask for the three galleys which the King of Portugal has, but they differ greatly from ours in size, and in the number of oarsmen.
I do not know yet whether they have asked for the French galleys, but I am very sure that whilst the Duke of Sessa stopped at Marseilles, certain private individuals, who own some of those galleys, treated with him to sell them to the King Catholic.
Your Serenity will have heard of the preparations made in the kingdom of Naples, where they have raised twelve thousand infantry to garrison the fortresses and to secure the territory. His Majesty has now sent in haste for Count Alberico da Lodron, who accompanied the Duke of Sessa, and has commissioned him to raise 4,000 infantry in Germany; so he will depart in two clays for Augsburg. An order has also been given to levy 4,000 Italian infantry in Lombardy. The Germans say that their troops will remain to guard the Milanese, and that the Italian force to be raised, and the Spanish infantry already in that territory, will be put on board the fleet. But I also hear that at this Court they suspect that through the opportunity afforded by this loss, some insurrection may ensue, knowing very well the dissatisfaction of the inhabitants, owing to the unbearable taxes with which they are burdened; and here there are twelve or fourteen delegates from several places in the Milanese, who have come to remonstrate; nor does the Spanish Government place much trust in the chief personages (ne' principali) of Italy, suspecting them of a dislike to see foreign troops there; for which reason the King Catholic is arming so efficiently, not so much to embark his forces on board the fleet, as to secure himself against any disturbance.
The Dukes of Parma and Urbino have offered his Majesty their services on this occasion, wherever he may command, but I do not hear that he intends to avail himself of them.
King Philip had been induced by the Duke of Alva to appoint Don Garcia de Toledo, Admiral (General) of the fleet, very much to the displeasure of Don Juan de Mendoza, son of the late Don Bernardino, Admiral (General) of the galleys of Spain, it seeming to him that he was too signally wronged by this preference of an individual to whom he was nowise inferior in nobility or experience, and the whole of the Mendoza family share his resentment; but to avoid openly opposing his Majesty's will, they made Prince Doria's agents complain that so long as the Prince lives, they cannot do him this wrong, he having heretofore as Admiral elected Marc' Antonio del Caretto as his lieutenant. About this there has been much dispute, there being on the one side the Duke of Alva and Don Antonio de Toledo, who maintain that this is for his Majesty's service, and on the other, Don Ruy Gomez, the Duke de Francavilla, (fn. 4) the Marquis de Mondejar, and Don Gutierre Lopez de Padilla; Don Juan Manrique showing himself undecided. It has therefore been determined that before deciding this affair, they will await the coming of Augustin Doria, who is to be sent by the Prince [Andrea Doria] to King Philip, with his opinion about the measures to be taken.
The same personages have also been at strife about the nomination of commanders to levy the Italian infantry; the Duke of Alva wishing his Majesty to appoint them, which is tantamount to a commission from himself, as no other member of the Council can know better than he does who is most suited to this charge; but the others contradict him, saying that such authority should not be given to a governor of the Milanese.
The Duke of Sessa is proceeding on his journey leisurely, for the enjoyment of every convenience, that he may make his entry into Toledo more grandly, and in better order; but it is little to his repute that he has allowed all these deliberations to be held without him.
Two Ambassadors of quality have arrived from Genoa to congratulate the King on the peace, and on his marriage, and to thank him for what he caused their Republic to recover.
Toledo, 8th June 1560.
[Italian; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
June 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 170. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
The Duke of Sessa has arrived, and accompanied by the Duke of Alva, and almost all the other Lords and Knights (cavalieri) of the Court, he went to the King. He proceeded subsequently three leagues from Toledo to visit his mother-in-law, the widow of Covos; so until this morning I was unable to address him in terms expressive of your Serenity's great affection for him, and your extreme satisfaction at his having been a good neighbour to you. He answered me that he was born of the great Captain, who, for the service rendered by him to you at Cephalonia (fn. 5) deserved to be enrolled amongst your Serenity's patricians; and that you confirmed the same favour to the Duke of Sessa his father, whilst he was at Rome, for himself and his descendants; which he has always held in great esteem. For these reasons. he has at all times (he told me) remembered he was a nobleman and member of that most illustrious Republic, to whom he has endeavoured to be a good neighbour (di ben vicinare); greatly desiring, after serving the King Catholic, to serve your Serenity.
From what I hear, the Duke is not well satisfied, owing to the small account in which they seem to hold him here, both because his people after many days petition could not obtain lodging for him, so that he was compelled to reside with the Duke of Francavilla, and also because in the cabinet councils, held lately about a variety of measures, most especially as they concerned matters relating to the duchy of Milan, he was not summoned. Three causes are said to have made him come to Spain: one is, to legalise the sale made by him of the duchy of Terranova, in the kingdom of Naples, to Tomaso di Marino, in payment of his very heavy debts to him for the immoderate expenditure which he incurred for his pomps and pleasures; this he is expected to obtain from his Majesty, although he has no children, and is without hope of having any. The second, because after the peace of Cateau Cambresis, by the advice of the Duke of Alva, his authority was much restricted, above all in expenditure, and his body-guard was diminished, etc.; so he, being naturally pompous and prodigal, gave it to be understood that he would not stay, and that if not entirely satisfied, he would no more return; but having arrived in Spain, and seen that they do not hold him in such great estimation as he had persuaded himself would be the case, and as there is no want of personages who desire his place, it is possible that he may change his mind. A third cause is, that being envious of the Duke of Medina, who anticipated glory from his attempted undertaking [at Gerbes], the Duke of Sessa wished to propose another expedition to his Majesty, hoping that, as its author, he would be appointed commander-in-chief, and for want of other projects he proposed that of Algiers; but the defeat at Gerbes forbids this second enterprise, and the Duke of Sessa, perceiving the failure of his designs, greatly repents having come to Spain, and says incessantly to his intimate friends, “Italiam quœro patriam
He brought many personages with him, and many others also followed him at their own cost, so that upwards of a thousand persons crossed with him, including some military commanders; and amongst the principal of these are the two Counts of Lodrone and Arco, and an engineer heretofore in the service of France, who has brought drawings of all the fortresses in the Milanese as they stand at present, and in what form the Duke of Sessa would wish them to be improved. The Duke will have to discuss with the King this matter and many others which have been postponed till his arrival, especially that of the last tax on the Milanese, which was suspended at the request of a member of delegates from the cities, who have come hither to complain of it.
I will do my best to learn more about these negotiations, though it will be very difficult, as the King means to depart for Segovia, and will remain many days absent, taking with him only a few of his councillors; and according to report, he will also be followed by the Duke of Sessa; so possibly his Majesty, before he returns, will have settled a great part of these affairs.
Toledo, 14th June 1560.
[Italian, the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]


  • 1. See before, No. 156.
  • 2. The Duke of Medina Celi, Viceroy of Sicily, was besieged in the new fort at Gerbes. (See Foreign Calendar, 1560–1561, pp. 80, 105, 114, 120, 148, 157, 380, and Index p. 612.)
  • 3. See Foreign Calendar, which shows that he was in London on the 9th April 1560, that the Queen made him a K.G. at Greenwich on the 20th June, and that he left England on the 28th June.
  • 4. Father-in-law of Don Ruy Gomez.
  • 5. In the winter of the year 1500.