Venice: June 1560, 16-30

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. All rights reserved.


'Venice: June 1560, 16-30', 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 13 July 2024].

'Venice: June 1560, 16-30', 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 13, 2024,

"Venice: June 1560, 16-30". 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. 13 July 2024.

June 1560, 16–30

June 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 171. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The conference in England was postponed from the 5th to the 12th instant owing to the indisposition of Secretary Cecil, one of the English delegates, who could not attend it sooner, but in two or three days some conclusion is anxiously expected, this having made his Majesty remain in this neighbourhood, passing his time in visiting the villages hereabouts; nor does he know how to decide on any fixed residence until he is sure of the events in England, but the greater part of the Court say it will be at Fontainebleau.
During the last three days the Cardinal of Lorraine has been greatly troubled with anxieties and melancholy, and being also indisposed he has physicked himself and lived in retirement. Many reasons have been assigned for this retirement, but from what I hear on good authority the chief reason was that having lately had it proposer] to the Parliament of Paris, and to all the others of this kingdom, that for the very urgent exigencies and present need of his Majesty they should consent to accommodate him with 800,000 francs, each of the Parliaments giving its quota, that of the Parliament of Paris being greater than the rest, and from which all the others take rule and example, this proposal was negatived, the Parliaments apologising for their refusal by saying that they expected his Majesty rather to exonerate the kingdom, which was greatly exhausted and reduced almost to extremities by the past grievous and incessant extortions, than to return again to burden and consume it utterly. It seems that the Cardinal took this denial the more to heart as he considers it a personal injury and affront to himself and his family, in whose hands the Government is, and not that the Parliaments were justified in their non-compliance, which displeases him. As a remedy he summoned hither to the Court M. de Thou, the chief President of the Parliament of Paris, a person of much credit and repute, with some others of the principal Councillors, and also the King's Procurator, who usually resides there, and immediately on their arrival they had a long conference with the Cardinal, the Chancellor, (fn. 1) and all these other Ministers, both publicly in the Council, and separately out of it, to acquaint them thoroughly with the King's necessities, and the grievous injury they were doing his Majesty by rejecting so fair a proposal. They were charged as earnestly as possible that as the proposal would be repeated they were to induce the Parliament to consent to it. That the affair may be yet more considered and held of importance the Ministers are also sending the Chancellor in person to Paris, thinking that by his presence and supreme authority yet more to move the Parliament. If it grant his Majesty's demand, the other Parliaments likewise will almost of necessity have to consent, whereas on the contrary the denial of the Parliament of Paris would cause that of all the others. The Chancellor departed today, taking with him the Treasurer “des Epargnes,” and some of the finance officials.
Besides these anxieties, the Cardinal is every moment agitated by hearing that in the palace, in addition to printed [libels], letters are found daily, which circulate through Paris, and are occasionally presented on the sudden, even to the Queen Mother, by unknown persons, who disappear immediately afterwards, in abuse of the Cardinal and the Duke de Guise, whereby it is evident that the envy, indignation, and hatred of them has not only not diminished in the least, but increases more and more daily. In the said letters they are openly threatened that, notwithstanding all the care and good guard they have of themselves, before the end of next July they will fall into the hands of persons who will give them the punishment they deserve, and avenge the blood of those who have recently been put to death.
Accounts have been received of a considerable band of men seen in the woods round Villers Cotterets, (fn. 2) distant sixteen leagues from Paris, with indications that they were about to make some very mischievous commotion; but M. de Longueville, the Governor of Villers Cotterets, has sent to assure his Majesty that they are all common people and populace without any leader of importance or person of any name, and that for their greater safety they make their preachers perform their rites and preach in those woods without offending anyone, paying for what they take, and having been together for a day or two they return to their homes, and after three or four days according to their regulations they re assemble. It is also said that the King of Navarre writes hither to the Court from Gascony that many noblemen of that province have sold their estates, and giving signs of some bad intention have joined together, but it is not known in what direction they have gone. To this must be added that at Agen on the Loire a number of men had assembled to go and release by force (if unable to do so otherwise) an individual imprisoned on account of religion, but were anticipated by Messrs. de Lude and de Montluc, who in the King's name took possession of the place where the prisoner is, and routed the insurgents. All these disturbances greatly disquiet not only those whom they seem to concern more immediately than others, but everyone else who desires the tranquillity and union of France; and concerning this matter of religion his Majesty has determined to despatch M. d'Hum[ières] to Rome to inform the Pope better than his Holiness has known hitherto the need this kingdom has of a National Council, that he may cease his complaints.
On the day before yesterday the final decision was announced to the contractors for the great Lyons loan, the terms offered them being of three sorts, the best of which was that to the Germans, to whom the King offered to pay the capital and interest due to them, as promised by his late Majesty, for the last five fairs, within five years, namely, one instalment each year, and to the Italians, such as Lucchese, Florentines, Romans, Bolognese, and others, in eight years, without any interest either to these or those, the King retaining it in his own hands during the course of payment; so the Italians now here about this business are not only very dissatisfied, but almost in despair.
Chateaudun, 16th June 1560.
June 17. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 172. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
Since my last despatch the better news from Gerbes, that the disaster there was less serious than it had been at first reported, brought such comfort to this Court that they seem no longer to feel their loss, though as yet they only know for certain that the Duke of Medina is safe, that Gio. Andrea Doria has reached Sicily, and that some other galleys besides the 17, as also some ships, have likewise escaped, but without particulars, as the letters of the Duke of Medina have not arrived; and it is no longer said that the Count di Lodron will go to raise the German infantry.
To secure the realms of Spain against the fleet of Sultan Soliman the King Catholic was reminded in the time of Paul IV. to obtain permission from him to apply to that purpose the moneys of the “Cruzada,” which is an indulgence usually obtained every three years by the Kings of Spain from the Popes; and he has it proclaimed and preached throughout his realms, deriving from it annually some three hundred thousand crowns. But Paul IV. would never grant it, either from ill will to the King, or rather because the thing did not please him. It is possible that if expectations of profit or honour had been proposed to Paul IV., such as to give the Church annually a certain sum of money from the “Cruzada,” and to call the fleet the fleet of the Roman Catholic Church, carrying its standard, the King might have obtained what he required, especially as Paul IV. sought the advantage and grandeur of the Apostolic See; but the Spanish Ministry considered the late Pope so rude and intractable that they would not attempt this negotiation, Now that there is a more complaisant Pontiff, and perhaps a more friendly one, I understand, on very good authority, that by order of his Majesty the Count of Tendiglia has put the case before the Pope, who, evincing great satisfaction, answered that the King was to submit the proposal in writing, and not to speak about it to anyone. If the negotiation proceeds, a clause should be stipulated by his Holiness that the galleys paid with money derived from indulgences must not be employed against Christians.
By commission from the Pope, his Nuncio here informed King Philip that having heard of the proclamation by the French of the National Council, he knew that there was a necessity for publishing without delay a General Council, lest some greater schism should occur in the Church; so his Majesty was to take it in good part that the Pope had determined to publish the continuation of the Council of Trent. Immediately on receiving the reply of the King Catholic, who has not yet given it, Monsignor Canobio, the late Pope's agent at this Court, intends to depart express for Rome.
The English Ambassadors have received letters from their Queen of the 22nd ultimo, brought hither by a special courier from Antwerp, informing them that Commissioners with sufficient authority from one side and the other were to meet again on the frontiers of Scotland, to treat the agreement, which was not quite despaired of. In the meanwhile there was a suspension of hostilities, though Little Leith is still blockaded.
All the persons who came from France, in the Queen's service, have been dismissed, except her Majesty's preceptor, a physician, a dwarf, her secretary, those of the kitchen, and her stable grooms. The King has distributed fifteen thousand crowns amongst the persons discharged, besides paying their salaries, as desired by the Queen, who also gave them the horses and mules which she brought from France.
These domestics have been replaced by Spaniards, with whose service I understand the Queen and the ladies are much more satisfied; for the Frenchmen were very ill-dressed, dirty, careless, and disrespectful in their service; whereas the Spaniards make a very good appearance, both in apparel and cleanliness, and are so intent on their employment that they leave nothing to be wished for, and so respectful and obsequious, according to the national custom, that they seem to adore the ladies, rather than to wait on them.
Toledo, 17th June 1560.
[Italian; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
June 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 173. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday afternoon the Cortes here came to their decision, which his Majesty approved, binding themselves to pay him in three years the ordinary and extraordinary “service,” amounting to one million and two hundred thousand ducats; and on account of his marriage for the Queen's chopines (per le chiapine della Reina) (fn. 3) four hundred thousand ducats, within the same period. They then increased the rent of the tenths, which yield annually three hundred and twelve thousand ducats, for fifteen years, his Majesty not having chosen to grant it for a longer period, hoping on its expiration greatly to increase the rent. In conclusion, the Cortes agreed to vote him an additional 16,000 ducats for the salaries of officials. After Midsummer Day his Majesty is going to Segovia for his field-sports, and to enjoy the fresh breezes there.
Lord Montagu, one of the two English Ambassadors now here, departs tomorrow by leave from his Queen, and is extremely satisfied with the demonstrations made to him by the King, who not only complimented him verbally, and gave him a handsome present, but is sending one of his gentlemen to accompany him and provide for his wants as far as the seaside, where a ship is waiting to take him to England.
This nobleman favoured the Catholic party in England, nor did he ever consent to anything that was enacted against it; so as a well-disposed gentleman he is greatly loved and esteemed by all who know him here, and towards me he evinced many marks of goodwill in testimony of his gratitude for the courtesies which he says he received from your Serenity when passing through Venice on his way from Rome, (fn. 4) whither he had been with the Bishop of Ely [Thomas Thirlby] to render obedience to Pope Marcello II. in the name of the deceased Queen.
King Philip is about to despatch Don Juan Pacheco to Queen Elizabeth, to answer the justifications she endeavoured to make in disproof of her being guilty of the war; letting her discreetly know that she was not quite free from blame, exhorting her to make peace with France, and assuring her that the troops destined for Scotland were for her greater advantage. It is also said that Pacheco will drop a hint about religion, advising the union of the Church through the opportunity afforded by the future Council.
I send this by Monsignor Canobio, who is going with the King's reply about the Council; to the effect that the King had thus long delayed it, because he wished first of all to inform himself well about the affairs of France, and to have an opinion on them from several learned men of his own realms. He greatly commends this project of the Council General as pious and Christian, and a decree of his Holiness to proclaim and continue it at Trent would find immediate favour from his Majesty, who would even go in person to attend it, and also raise troops for its defence if necessary. But it is also essential for the Pope to persuade the Emperor and the King of France to be of his mind; that they together might seek the benefit of Christendom; his Majesty promising to perform an office in conformity with one and the other of them. In conclusion, in order to bring this holy work to a good result, the King advises his Holiness to make choice of Legates who lead good lives and who are learned.
Three days ago a courier was sent to Milan to cancel the order previously given to raise troops, most especially to the captains, to whom the Count of Lodron had written that they were to go to Germany for that purpose.
Toledo, 18th June 1560.
June 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 174. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
On the day of the Corpus Domini at Rouen an event occurred, which, as it has greatly increased the mental disquiet of the King and his Ministers about the matters of religion, will also disturb the mind of any other well disposed person having cognisance of it. On that day, when the procession passed through the city with the solemnities customary in all the other towns and places of the kingdom, it being accompanied, besides many other persons of respect, by M. de Villebon, (fn. 5) a knight of St. Michael, who on account of these disturbances about religion remains there in the King's name, this personage remarked that in front of a certain house before which the procession passed no tapestry nor any other decoration had been placed, like all the rest, which he resented; and having perhaps notice of some clandestine meeting held in that house by the Huguenots, he chose to verify the fact instantly. He therefore attempted to enter the house by force, but he met with such stout resistance on the part of its inmates that the procession was interrupted, and a very great tumult arose, both sides having recourse to arms. After much fighting, each party having several wounded, at length with the death of some of the defenders of the house and after very great toil the authorities quieted the uproar as well as they could.
Next morning upwards of two thousand persons appeared before the Royal Magistrates (al Magistrato Regio) not only very vehemently to demand justice and satisfaction for the death of those persons who had been killed, but to present also the “Confession” of what they believed and the mode in which they intended it should be allowed them to live, demanding that the said “Confession” should be sent to the King that it might be granted them by his Majesty, and protesting that if on that account his Ministers proceeded against any of them by arrest or capital punishment or other penalty, they without any respect would proceed against the said Ministers, in like manner imprisoning and putting to death an equal number of them. Yesterday the President and four Councillors of the Parliament of Rouen arrived at the Court, both to give relation of the case and also to present the said “Confession” and demand, about which I understand the Ministry know not what to decide and are extraordinarily disturbed, dreading very great difficulties in every quarter whether they find fault with the “Confession” or permit it; they being assured that the whole of Normandy is of the same opinion as those who have declared themselves. I am also told that the Cardinal greatly complains of Villebon, accusing him of too much zeal and inquisitiveness in having thus caused such great turmoil, and that he ought rather to have dissembled and pretended not to see what did not please him, than to proceed to such extremities for the discovery of what was kept hidden, whereby he has done nothing but place all his Majesty's Ministers in danger and anxiety.
The King of Navarre writes that he has moved from Gascony to Guienne, to prevent, by his presence, many assemblies of evil nature, which he understood were being held secretly in several places of that province. Fresh commotions being thus heard of daily, and lest some sudden attack, like that of Amboise, be made on the King, who for his field sports does not go any distance from the villages and open places, as they are much nearer the woods than the walled cities, the Ministry, therefore, have provided that 300 men-at-arms with their archers are always to form the King's bodyguard and to accompany him wherever he goes, being quartered within two or three leagues of his lodging, which has been done for some time, but not in such numbers, notwithstanding the cost and very great inconvenience to which these men-at-arms are subjected, they being accustomed to remain, very much to their advantage, in their garrisons; and for this reason they have been ordered to make a muster general in arms on the tenth of next month.
The Cardinal of Lorraine also has determined to have himself followed and accompanied by ten brave and faithful men, who are to keep as close to his side as they can, each man with a loaded pistol under his cloak as much concealed as possible; the Duke de Guise when in the country and away from the Court having long done the like.
The despatch of M. de Mana to Rome was delayed till yesterday, the Cardinal of Lorraine choosing first of all to hear the statement of the late Nuncio's successor, the Bishop of Viterbo, who presented himself yesterday and complained mildly of the proclamation issued about the National Council, the Pope being very determined to hold a Council-General, and in such place as shall best please and suit the crowned heads (i Principi), nor will he allow any impediment to prevent him from attending it in person. He was answered that not only will his Majesty not impede so holy and necessary a determination on the part of his Holiness, but that he will aid it with all the power and authority he has with his fellow Sovereigns, so that immediately on its being put into effect, and when he sees the congregation of the Council-General at hand, and without impediment, be will at any rate desist from proclaiming the National Council, it never having been his intention to do anything further than to assemble the Prelates of the Kingdom with the other estates, as his Councillors, to take their opinion and counsel, together with the presence and intervention of a Legate Apostolic and Minister of his Holiness, and to apply some remedy for the present confusions and disorders, which do not admit of additional delay. The Cardinal of Lorraine apologised for himself by saying that it was neither by his order nor with his consent, but that the printers took the liberty to give to the “Congregation” which the King intends to convoke, according to the writing which his Majesty published, the name of “National Council.” With this instruction M. de Mana has been sent to the Pope by the King, who with this opportunity writes also to his Ambassador resident with your Serenity to perform an especial office with you hereupon, although about this matter I am told on good authority that his Majesty, with all the favour shown by him to the congregation of the Council-General, will nevertheless not in the least intermit or delay assembling the National Council at the time appointed, if, from the impediments and disturbances that might arise, he should perceive that the Council-General is deferred. Here at present, in the meanwhile, a Royal Edict has been published, whereby the jurisdiction of legal processes relating to religion is completely taken away from the Courts of Parliament and from lay judges, who used to pass summary judgments, and is remitted to the ecclesiastical judge, which is interpreted as an assurance to accused persons that they need no longer fear the penalty of death, through the opportunity they will have of delaying sentences as long as they please, by means of appeals from the acts and sentences of Bishops to Archbishops, and from those at Rome to his Holiness in person.
Chartres, 21st June 1560.
June 22. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 175. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Until to-day no advice has been received from England of the commencement of the conference, which had been postponed from the 5th to the 12th instant, but to-day my secretary brought word on his return from the Court, which is now residing in a palace five leagues hence, belonging to the Bishop of this city, that a courier had arrived from Scotland with news (which, although still kept very secret, my secretary nevertheless ascertained on the best authority) of the death of the Queen Regent (mother of the most Christian Queen), who died of flux in six days. As this event has delayed the conference, the Commissioners (Deputati) not yet having assembled, it may now be absolutely dissolved, owing to the death of the Queen Regent, to whom all power and authority had been remitted to make terms with the English and native Scots on such conditions and agreements as should please her, as fresh commissions and instructions must be despatched hence, and God knows whether the garrison of Little Leith can await the time required for proposals and replies, they being closely besieged. A Gascon ship got into Dunbar lately and returned in safety, having supplied the French with a small quantity of victuals, and about 16,000 francs, which were especially demanded by the most Christian King's officials from the great need they have of pecuniary supply, hoping to bribe the Scots to provide for their wants; but the sum was so small, and the provisions so few, that this succour was of very little use to them.
Your Serenity may imagine the regret of these Guise Lords, her Majesty's brothers, as also of the most Christian Queen, who loved her mother incredibly, and much more than daughters usually love their mothers. On publication of the news, which can by no means be kept secret, we shall hear to what sort of remedies and provisional measures his most Christian Majesty will have recourse for the preservation of Scotland, which by this catastrophe he is supposed to be in very great danger of losing entirely, although it was lately determined to send very considerable reinforcements, which they are intent on mustering, although very slowly, owing to the many difficulties and impediments about vessels and other requisites. The decision was for 600 men-at-arms with their archers, 300 mounted harquebusiers, and a great number of companies of infantry, besides the ten companies of veterans from Piedmont, who have already arrived, and are halting at a place on the Loire, near Orleans, until the rest of the forces are mustered, that they may be marched all together towards Normandy.
Since the news from Spain and Italy of the rout (delta rotta) of the Spanish fleet, neither the Ambassador from Spain resident here, (fn. 6) nor Garcilasso de la Vega, who was sent here about English affairs, have as yet received any orders from Spain to ask the King of France for his galleys to succour those of Gerbes, nor do they expect any such commission, as his Catholic Majesty would hold their refusal in much more account, than any service which the grant of them would render him; whilst on this side, with the exception of general phrases of condolence, I do not understand that they have sent to make any further offer, signs being on the contrary hourly visible, indicating that the union between these two crowns slackens, instead of strengthening any longer, it having been heard lately with no little regret (although they dissemble it) that leave had been given to the officials and ministers who were sent hence to Spain with the [Spanish] Queen, and that they may all return with the exception of three or four who are to remain there from necessity, and although to those who return the King [Philip] gives a certain pecuniary recompense, it is nevertheless considered very little, and is held in small account here.
Chartres, 22nd June 1500.
June 25. Original Despatch, Veuetian Archives. 176. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
I have informed the King of your sorrow for the disaster at Gerbes, of which he said he was very certain, and thanking your Serenity kindly, he added his hope that ere long such arrangements would be made, that his friends and your Serenity would be content; though he could not sufficiently express his astonishment at not yet having been informed by the Duke of Medina Celi of the particulars of this event. I said that silence was to be interpreted as excellent news, for unless matters were in a better state than they had been at first reported, and if the Duke or others had need of some fresh assistance from his Majesty, couriers would arrive daily.
His Majesty replied that he also explained it thus, but that he was nevertheless uneasy at not having received more certain and detailed intelligence, and he asked me if I had anything more from your Serenity. He then commenced asking about advices from Constantinople, but I have not yet received the summaries which your Serenity sent me. The Queen and the whole Court remain here; the only councillors who went with his Majesty being the Count de Feria, who arrived from Flanders four days previously, Don Antonio de Toledo, and the Duke of Alva. Don Juan Manrique has also gone home during this interval; Don Ruy Gomez remaining here much harassed by his quartan ague. Having but two councillors with him, it is incredible that during this journey the King should form any important resolve, although he is followed by the Duke of Sessa; but the King has ordered the council of justice here to treat the affairs of Milan.
Augustin Doria, who was sent hither by Prince Andrea [Doria], has already departed, having merely negotiated the Prince's private affairs, urging the payment to him of his arrears, that the lost galleys may be replaced.
The French Ambassador tells me that by order of his King he has offered his Catholic Majesty the galleys at Marseilles, and everything else in the power of that kingdom, for the defence of his realms, including troops.
Yesterday, on the square of this city, the King and Queen being present, there was a bull bait; and a number of cavaliers appeared in sumptuous liveries and performed the cane game, the entertainment succeeding very well.
This Court regretted to hear that the Pope purposed sending the Abbot of S. Saluto to the Queen of England, as the said Abbot is suspected of bearing ill will to the Spanish party, who a year and a half ago arrested him in Flanders, where he was accused of being a French spy; so the Pope has been requested to change his representative, as he is expected to do, to oblige the King Catholic, who more than anyone else can favour his Holiness's design.
King Philip has sent Don Alonso Osorio to pay a complimentary visit (per officio di visitatione) to the Duke of Savoy. This Duke, along the sea shore of Nice and Villa Franca, a territory possessed by him, which is of very little extent, intends to impose a duty of two per cent. on all ships passing those waters. He tried to obtain a license from the present Pope to exact the duty, but the Genoese, whom it would chiefly affect, so contrived to influence the Pope that he turned a deaf ear to his request; whereupon the Duke, knowing that he could not succeed in that quarter, gives it to be understood that the papal license was little needed, and that he of his own authority will impose this duty; so the Genoese have had recourse to this Court, and made their Ambassador request the King to cause the Duke to desist from this project, as it might cause some inconvenience.
The King and the Duke of Alva, to whom his Majesty referred the matter, evinced suprise that the Duke of Savoy should choose to make this innovation, and promised to remonstrate with him about it.
Toledo, 25th June 1560.
[Italian; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
June 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 177. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
I wrote to your Serenity about this King's project to have 100 galleys constantly ready to put to sea; and I am assured on good authority that not only has his Majesty firmly determined to have the galleys, but to amass as much money as possible, most especially from the clergy and ecclesiastical property (et cose ecclesiastiche), to make an expedition against the infidels. Talking on this subject with the Nuncio his Majesty said that he would still make the Turks repent them of the trick they have played him. His Majesty, finding the Pope [Pius IV.] compliant, does not fail trying to obtain all possible favours from him with a view to accumulate money. He obtained the “Cruzada” for three years, yielding 900,000 crowns, but as during the vacancy of the See Apostolic, he had obtained another bull of indulgence, a difficulty arose as to whether the bull could any longer be published; but the Pope at length conceded its publication, everything being already prepared to that effect. It is now being preached, and will yield some 150,000 crowns, without diminishing the proceeds of the “Cruzada” which will not be proclaimed till near Christmas. Besides this the Pope has promised King Philip a subsidy from the Spanish clergy, as conceded heretofore by Julius III., amounting to the fourth part of their revenue, payable in three years; but a composition was made with the clergy for a smaller sum, so that they did not pay one-twentieth part, the Crown not receiving more than some 550,000 ducats. His Majesty wishes to obtain from the Pope that this fourth should be according to its real value, which would exceed two millions of gold, but this may be the subject of compromise.
Toledo, 28th June 1560.
[Italian; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
June 30. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 178. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
On the day before yesterday there arrived at the Court from England a French gentleman, by name M. de Bueil, (fn. 7) and also the Secretary of the Ambassador resident here [Sir Nicholas Throckmorton]. The Queen sent back the Secretary (fn. 8) to the Ambassador, and M. de Bueil was despatched by the French Commissioners at the Conference in Scotland to give account of what had taken place down to the 19th. Sir Nicholas Throckmorton told my Secretary, showing him confidentially his Queen's letters of the 23rd instant, that the Conference had been postponed from the 13th to the 17th, both on account of the serious indisposition of the Queen Regent and her subsequent demise, and also owing to a dispute between the Commissioners about three of the persons named by the King of France to take part in the Conference, viz., the Bishop of Amiens, [Nicole de Pellève], M. d' Oysel [Henri Cleutel], and M. de la Brosse, who being in Little Leith, the English would not consent to their going out of it, and returning thither after the Conference, as should the agreement not take place they would be enabled to give their countrymen information concerning the condition of that place, and its requirements, and to hear also of the measures and preparations which are being made here to succour them. At length it was agreed that of the French Commissioners two were to remain in Little Leith, the only one to go out of it being the Bishop of Amiens, who was to consider himself in the same condition as the besieged in case of the loss of that place. Thus, whereas the Commissioners were to have been five on each side, they were reduced to three. It was also agreed that the Scottish Commissioners were to treat with the French apart from the English, and that during the six days of the Conference a general truce and suspension of hostilities were to be proclaimed, but that during such period the persons in Little Leith might neither receive victuals and arms nor any other sort of provision or succour, nor on the other hand might the besiegers without move their trenches to advance nearer nor widen them, nor do anything else, and that everything was to remain in its present state.
On the 17th June, therefore, the Commissioners assembled at Edinburgh, and after all parties had exhibited their powers, they commenced negotiating, first of all the English apart from the Scots, demanding satisfaction from the French Commissioners on the part of their Queen for the use of the title and arms of England by the most Christian Queen and her consort, greatly exaggerating this injury and offence. The French said much in excuse for this fact, alleging many examples and showing that other Princes likewise, and the Emperor in particular, had attributed to themselves the title and the arms of States which they did not possess, and continued so to do, yet remained in peace and friendship with those who were the real possessors of them. Nevertheless the English Commissioners replied, and subsequently in the written answer given by them they inserted [a clause], that the most Christian King and the Queen, his consort, to remove any suspicion from the said Queen of England, should henceforth abstain from using the said title in any letter, writing-patent, or public act, and in like manner the arms, causing the seal to be broken, and should within four months remove all those that have been carved or painted either on walls or on wood, or [worked] in tapestries or any-other material whatever, as otherwise all that was written and published with the said title was to be held null and void, and not to be in any way valid. On that day nothing was else treated.
On the morrow, the 18th, the Scottish Commissioners, having assembled apart from the English, also stated their grievances, to the effect that the redress required by them was that, conformably to the oath and obligation of their Queen, and of the most Christian King her husband, they (the Scotch) should be restored to and maintained in the usages, constitutions, and laws of their Kingdom, which had been altered and violated by the French Ministers, not only with regard to the affairs of justice and of the government, but also with regard to the custody of the Scottish fortresses, from all which charges the Scottish Ministers and officials had gradually been removed and had been replaced by Frenchmen; the chief of those dismissed from the judicature being the Lord Chancellor and the Secretaries, and also many other officials, who, under pretence of religion and otherwise, had been put to death, first one and then another, by the French, for the gratification of their wishes, they having taken the course of oppressing everybody, and of changing the entire government; and by the introduction of so many soldiers into Little Leith they could easily make themselves masters of all the rest, and expel the Scots thence, depriving them completely of the liberties of the Kingdom, to their utter ruin.
The Scotch Commissioners moreover demanded permission to live according to the religion accepted by them, and which they believed to be the best.
To these proposals, after much discourse, and when they had been put in writing, the French Commissioners replied also in writing, that the most Christian King and Queen would for this once use that indulgence which parents are wont to show towards their children, with the hope that by forgiving their subjects the present injuries and offences, the latter would know and acknowledge their error, and having repented would come to confess it spontaneously, asking pardon and humbling themselves before their Lords and Sovereigns, and disposing themselves to be their loyal subjects and vassals as long as they lived. The Commissioners promised in the names of their Majesties that all the soldiers and armed forces in Little Leith, which would be completely razed, should be immediately withdrawn, no other garrisons remaining in Scotland, except a small one at Dunbar on the English frontier, and another at Inchkeith for its security, but consisting of so few men that they would alarm no one. And that the satisfaction the Scots demanded about the officials and Ministers of the Courts of Law and of the Government would be given them by re-appointing part of the Scots and part of the French, but such and so few of the latter that they would be acknowledged and approved by the native Scots. The clause about replacing French Ministers was, nevertheless, not put into writing, but was agreed to by word of mouth. As to the matter of religion, the Commissioners replied that the Council General being on the eve of assembling, the decision would be referred to that Assembly, during which interval their Majesties conceded to the Scots an “interim,” thus—that in the meanwhile, without any penalty or censure, they might worship in their own manner.
After the resolution of these principal heads (capi), part belonging to the English, and part to the Scots, the French Commissioners thought that nothing else remained for proposal, and that the agreement was, as it were, already concluded and settled, when on the morrow, the 19th, contrary to all their expectations and opinions, the English Commissioners advanced fresh proposals, demanding in the name of their Queen amends for her honour and its entire reparation, of which they said she had been robbed by the King and Queen of France, who had usurped her title and her arms, proclaimed and declared her a bastard, and bereaved her also of her honour and repute, not only with other sovereigns, but with her own subjects likewise; they therefore demanded as damages and compensation 500,000 crowns, and the restitution of Calais.
The French Commissioners, astonished beyond measure, said they had neither authority nor commission to answer this matter, and that they must write to France and await their Majesties' reply; and as the French chose the proposal to be put into writing, it was thus done by the English Commissioners, but the latter added in the writing that with regard to these damages and compensation their Queen would be content to abide by the decision of the King Catholic. Thereupon both sides adjourned the Conference until the receipt of a reply from France. M. de Bueil does not expect to arrive before the surrender of Little Leith, the garrison being reduced to extremities, as for many days, notwithstanding their expulsion of all useless mouths, they had nothing to eat and drink but a very little bread and water; and on the 23rd, the day of his departure from England, when the truce expired, he thought they would be still more closely blockaded by the English forces (the English Ambassador also saying that the Duke of Norfolk was to march in that direction with 7,000 infantry), so that they could no longer hold out.
Throckmorton also told my Secretary, what your Serenity will have already heard, that the Queen having discovered a great conspiracy formed against her by the Catholics, whom they call Papists, she had imprisoned upwards of twenty of the ringleaders; and that having heard of the despatch to her from Rome of the Abbot of San Saluto, and of his arrival in Flanders, she did not choose him to cross until he first sent to show her his instructions, as if the Pope sent to pray her to assist at the Council she would willingly give him audience, having already determined, should the Council be free and universal, to send thither all her bishops and submit to it; but if the said Abbot had been sent to England for other purposes, namely at the suggestion and in favour of the Papists in England, she did not choose that he should cross, looking upon him as a scandalous person who willingly intermeddled in negotiations, and under this pretence of treating about religion, might perhaps intermeddle in other matters, which would not please her.
The death of the Queen Regent of Scotland, her mother, was concealed from the most Christian Queen till the day before yesterday, when it was at length told her by the Cardinal of Lorraine; for which her Majesty showed and still shows such signs of grief, that during the greater part of yesterday she passed from one agony to another.
The Queen Regent died in Edinburgh Castle, which is held by the Kingdom of Scotland, she having retired thither after the war broke out, being admitted by the warder, but only with her maids of honour and three or four of her most necessary servants, to avoid the peril and indignity of remaining besieged with the rest of the French in Little Leith. She recommended the execution of her will, with regard to her property in France, to the Duchess of Guise, her mother, who is still alive and very strong, she being sister to the father of the present King of Navarre; and what the Queen Regent possessed in Scotland by right of dowry, she bequeathed to certain Scottish Lords, her servants, who have long served her faithfully and lovingly, nor did they ever desert her. Queen Elizabeth has conceded to the Queen Regent's women a passport through England that they may return hither to France.
The President and Councillors of Rouen are still at the Court, awaiting the decision of the Ministry about the recent religious commotion which occurred lately at Rouen, as in my despatch of the 22nd, nor do the Ministers yet know what to determine, being perplexed and troubled, as at every hour they hear of fresh disturbances throughout Gascony, where things are brought to such a pass that the Protestants not only preach there, but freely exercise all other rites, the few Catholics in the territory being so much alarmed, that from fear the priests no longer dare to celebrate the Mass.
Owing to the convenience afforded him by these woods, his most Christian Majesty continues to live in the neighbouring villages, five or six leagues hence, (not choosing to be at Fontainebleau till the 12th July, together with the two Queens, his mother and his consort); but he will attend the anniversary funeral service of the late King on the 10th July, which they purpose solemnizing separately in two monasteries, those nearest to the place where their Majesties now are, the Queen in one, and his Majesty in another.
The police in Paris, when pursuing a murderer, entered a house at a venture, into which they thought the culprit had made his escape where they found and arrested the man who printed and placarded over the walls of Paris the writings against the Guise family and the Cardinal; they found there also the printed copies and a great number of the said writings.
Chartres, 30th June 1560.


  • 1. Michel de l'Hospital. (See Père Daniel, Vol. 10, p. 62.)
  • 2. Villers Cotterets, six leagues south-west of Soissons (see Maltebrun).
  • 3. Pin money.
  • 4. See Venetian Calendar, vol. vi., part 1, p. 177; date 2nd September, 1555.
  • 5. For name and account of him, see Foreign Calendar, 1560–1561. Index, p. 626. At p. 82 in that volume, date Amboise, 26 May, 1560, Throckmorton wrote to Elizabeth, “Hears that Villebon is too weak for them of Rouen, and has been driven from thence.”
  • 6. Thomas Perrenot de Granvelle. (See Foreign Calendar, 1559–1560.Index, p. 615.)
  • 7. Sir Nicholas Throckmorton wrote to Queen Elizabeth that M. de Bueil was the bastard son of the Count Sansar, and Lieutenant to the Duc de Longueville, and that he arrived at the Court of France from Scotland on the 27th, and on the 29th June 1560 was ordered back to the Commissioners at Edinburgh. (See Foreign Calendar, 1560–1561, p. 150. entry No. 254 (2), date Houdan, 30th June 1560.)
  • 8. This Secretary was Mr. Jones. (See foreign Calendar as above, entry No. 255, p. 157.)