Venice: November 1560

Pages 263-274

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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November 1560

Nov. 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 202. Giovanni Michiel and Michiel Sueian, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the Doge and Senate.
We arrived here yesterday almost at the same hour as the King of Navarre and his brother the Prince of Condé, whose coming with him was only known three days previously, it having been first affirmed that he had remained sick on the road; and with them there was also the Cardinal d'Armagnac, but all of them with very few followers. On their entry they were not met by any one in the name of the most Christian King, but the day before they were met by their brother the Cardinal [Charles Junior] de Bourbon and the Prince de la Roche-sur-Yon [Charles de Bourbon], of the same blood and family. The said King with the personage aforesaid went straight to dismount at the lodging of his most Christian Majesty, who as soon as he heard of their coming withdrew into the chamber of the Queen Mother, where there were also present the most Christian Queen [Mary Stuart], the Cardinal of Lorraine, the Duke de Guise, and all the chief Lords of the Court. Many persons remarked that notwithstanding the many and very humble bows made almost kneeling, contrary to custom, by the King of Navarre, when he entered the chamber and approached his most Christian Majesty, his Majesty received him most austerely, motioning him to pay his respects first of all to the Queen Mother, who was at his Majesty's side, and showing that be received him as a subject, and not as a King, nor did he move even one step to meet him. With great difficulty he raised his bonnet, but he would not raise it to the Prince of Condé, who was presented to his Majesty by the King of Navarre (although on other occasions the most Christian King doffs his bonnet to any petty gentleman of his own subjects); and he made no reply to certain words uttered by the Prince. It was also remarked that they neither saluted nor said a word to the Cardinal of Lorraine and the Duke de Guise, who were leaning against a window behind the Queen. Shortly afterwards his most Christian Majesty, together with the Queen, the King of Navarre, his brother the Cardinal of Bourbon, the said Lords de Guise and the Chancellor, withdrew into the cabinet of the Queen Mother. They then sent for Condé, on whose appearance all the four captains of the guard were ordered to take him to prison immediately, and he was given in custody to two knights of St. Michael; nor were the very earnest prayers of the King of Navarre and the Cardinal his brother, who both even knelt before his most Christian Majesty, beseeching him to let them have Condé in ward to present him on his Majesty's demand, of any avail. This arrest has greatly disturbed and alarmed the whole Court, as being contrary to general expectation, which anticipated a gracious greeting rather than this arrest of Condé, whose brother, the King, to-day on this festival of All Saints, feigning illness, would not go abroad, nor show himself in public from sorrow (per dispiacer).
Orders have been given for the conveyance hither from Paris of the Vidâme de Chartres, that he may be examined face to face with Condé.
Very strict guard is kept in this city, there being four companies of veteran infantry, and they are expecting four others, and two thousand Germans to be sent by the Duke of Lorraine; and to prevent any cause of insurrection and tumult a royal edict has been issued, desiring all the burgesses of Orleans under heavy penalties to bring all their weapons, even knives, when they exceed certain dimensions, to the Town Hall.
Four days ago Cardinal Tournon arrived, all the Princes and Lords of the Court going forth to meet him, and the Queen Mother has already been twice to visit him at his lodging, such is the opinion and trust she places in him. His Right Reverend Lordship does not fail to attend the Council of Affairs daily, but he would not be present yesterday at the arrest of the Prince of Condé. Yesterday there were hanged in effigy Monsieur de Maligni, one of the chiefs of the Amboise conspiracy, and Monsieur de Montbrun, who has at length retired with his wife and children to Geneva, and whose castle of Montbrun has been razed to the ground, and all his estates confiscated, but the Cardinal of Tournon has obtained them from his Majesty for two of the younger sons of Montbrun, whom he is educating as his nephews.
His most Christian Majesty has sent an express to Rome confirming what he settled here lately with the Nuncio about the site of the Council, that he would consent to the city of Vercelli, his Holiness having repeated the demand through the Bishop of Cornwall (Cornovaglia), whom he sent hither lately.
Orleans, 1st November 1560.
Nov. 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 203. Giovanni Michiel and Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the Doge and Senate.
On the 2nd instant, two of his most Christian Majesty's chamberlains accompanied us to the Palace, and first of all, according to the custom of this Court, to the Cardinal of Lorraine. I, Surian, executed with his Right Reverend Lordship the commission enjoined me by your Serenity, and he answered in his usual fashion, with much graciousness and eloquence, of which he makes especial profession. He himself then conducted us to the chamber of the most Christian King, where there were many Cardinals and almost all the principal Lords of the Court.
I, Surian, stated my commission to the King, commending his virtues, especially the affection he evinces for the [Roman Catholic] religion, according to the custom of his most Christian ancestors, and in conclusion thanked him for the demonstration made in favour of the two Ambassadors [Extraordinary] as a mark of his affection for the Republic. His Majesty listened most attentively to everything, and then replied in a very few words, as is his custom, that I was welcome, and that he saw me willingly, both out of respect for your Serenity, as he would see any one else sent by you, and from the particular information received about me, inviting me always to go freely to him on every occasion, as he would do no less for me than for my most noble predecessor. This office being ended, I, Giovanni (Michiel), to avoid inconveniencing his Majesty by a fresh audience, then took leave, thanking him in the first place for the favourable and benign demonstrations made towards me by the late most Christian King of blessed memory and by his Majesty in all such things as I had to treat in your Serenity's name, as also for the many and constant favours conferred on myself, the unworthy representative and Ambassador of the Republic ; beseeching him also, if in the course of this my legation I had not so completely fulfilled, as was my duty, the will and intention of your Serenity in honouring and serving his Majesty in such a way as becomes so great a Prince, he would attribute it to my imperfection, and not to any wish to diminish the goodwill he bore the Signory. In reply his Majesty briefly testified that I had given him much satisfaction, adding! some words in my praise which it does not become me to repeat, and embracing me with much familiarity and graciousness he dismissed me.
We then went to the Queens, who received us most graciously, answering us with demonstrations of great and singular affection for the Republic. I, Giovanni (Michiel), then took leave of them, their Majesties, from respect for your Serenity, bearing more honourable testimony to my conduct than it deserved.
We then visited the brothers of his most Christian Majesty, the King of Navarre, the Cardinals Tournon, Guise, and Armagnac, the Duke de Guise, and the Chancellor, who all reciprocated most honourably toward your Serenity.
Orleans, 8th November 1560.
Nov. 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 204. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
The Pope's replies to the Emperor and to the most Christian King about the Council having come into my hands, I send copies.
To the King Catholic his Holiness has announced his resolution to raise the suspension of the Council of Trent, where it is again to assemble, and having met, it may then be transferred to some other secure and convenient site, should it seem fit; which he is determined to do, even should there be no one else with him but King Philip. His Catholic Majesty has replied, as told me by the Nuncio, that he refers himself to the will of his Holiness, exhorting him, however, after assembling the Council at Trent, for the satisfaction of the Emperor and of France, to transfer it to Vercelli, or rather to Besançon, a place of great plenty, very convenient for both the French and the Germans, situated in the midst of the jurisdiction of the King Catholic, and surrounded on one side by Alsace and the county of Ferretto, which are the Emperor's territories, and on another side by Fribourg and Soleure, two Swiss Catholic Cantons, and on the remaining side by France. King Philip promises to be always with his forces in favour of the Pope and of the Catholic faith, as also to announce his resolve to the most Christian King. With this reply, his Majesty chose Monsignor Gherio to depart, so that having come hither for this service, he may now also return with a decisive reply.
Toledo, 9th November 1560.
Nov. 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 205. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
The French Ambassador resident here (fn. 1) tells me that the reason why the most Christian King has not yet confirmed the peace with England, proceeds from his not choosing to sign it until he also signs the one with Scotland, both of them having been drawn up jointly, nor can the one with Scotland be signed before the arrival of the Scottish Ambassadors, who are still on their way; but first of all they will have to give account of the right whereby, contrary to the treaties, they in their Parliament utterly abolished the Catholic religion in Scotland, introducing almost all the English Articles, of which Act of the Scottish Parliament he gave me the accompanying copy. (fn. 2)
Toledo, 9th November 1560.
Nov. 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 206. Giovanni Michiel and Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the Doge and Senate.
After the arrest of the Prince of Condé, the King on the same evening sent to the “procurator Regio,” to send from Paris the President De Thou, the Greffier Du Tillet, and two other principal councillors of the Parliament, who have all arrived at the Court, that he might avail himself of them to draw up the indictment against the Prince, who is kept in very close custody, being guarded by one hundred archers, nor is he allowed to speak with anyone, or to be served by any but two servants only, who never go out of his chamber. Meanwhile the King of Navarre, his brother Cardinal Bourbon, and his kinsman Cardinal Armagnac, have been every day lately sometimes together and sometimes separately in close and long conferences with the Queen Mother and the Cardinal of Lorraine, to the latter of whom however the King of Navarre did not choose to speak for two or three days after his arrival, doing the like also by the Duke de Guise, and evincing most open enmity towards both one and the other, yet they are now reconciled. Although his most Christian Majesty treats the King of Navarre very graciously, so that almost every morning the latter attends the Council of Affairs, and hunts familiarly with his Majesty, nevertheless the most experienced courtiers say that the decision about the Prince of Condé will be long delayed, and God knows with what result. The Prince de la Roche-sur-Yon, also of the Bourbon family, anticipating [an evil result], is greatly grieved, saying that he was the principal instrument for inducing these Lords, on his word, to place themselves so freely in his Majesty's hands, he having had a solemn promise from the Queen Mother that none of them should ever be arrested; and having now seen the reverse, he complained at length to the Queen Mother, who answered him apologetically that the arrest of the Prince took place by command of the King, her son, but that she would not fail to perform every good office with his most Christian Majesty for Condé's benefit.
The charges against the Prince are very important, for besides being named by almost all those who were put to death at Amboise, and in the processes drawn up at Montpelier and other parts of the kingdom, he is seriously accused by many who were taken at the last insurrection at Lyons (fn. 3) not only of being an accomplice in that tumult, but the author of it (ma autore di quel tumulto). On the day when we took leave of the King of Navarre he said to us, “Lords Ambassadors! I pray you not to have a sinister opinion of the Prince, my brother, who chose to obey his Sovereign and come as he ought, with all humility and submission, to place himself in his hands, as I assure you that he will be honourably acquitted, he never having done anything unworthy of himself, nor devised anything against this Crown; and assure the Signory of this in my name.”
Subsequently, by order of his most Christian Majesty, Madame de Roye, mother of the Prince's wife and sister of the Cardinal de Chastillon, (fn. 4) a lady of great spirit, was arrested, she having dared lately to write a letter to the Queen Mother demanding of her a safe-conduct for her daughter that she might go to her husband, when he was with the King of Navarre, which letter was considered replete with arrogance; it being also suspected that she had knowledge of the charges brought against the Prince and a share in them. This morning also, in the Chamber itself of his most Christian Majesty, they arrested one of the servants of the King of Navarre, on suspicion of his spying for the King all that was said and done at the Court, and especially in his Majesty's Chamber. At Bourg-en-Bresse, which belongs to the Duke of Savoy, another Frenchman has also been arrested at his Majesty's earnest suit; he gave himself various names, sometimes La Fratea (sic), sometimes M. Fontana [? Fontaine], and sometimes adopting another name ; and to prevent his surrender to the agents of the King of France, the French refugees in Geneva (quelli di Ginevra) would have paid as much as 30,000 crowns. Much has been said lately about the arrest of M. Damville, (fn. 5) the Constable's second son, who is a very bold man, and has more followers than all the Constable's other sons, but the report proved vain, as they are expecting both him and his other brothers with their father at the Court in a few days. The like was said of the Admiral, of his brother M. d'Andelot, of the Count de la Rochefaucauld, brother-in-law of the Prince of Condé, and of M. de Senarpont, (fn. 6) all Knights of St. Michael, and persons of great consideration. Notwithstanding all these rumours and arrests, the Cardinals of Tournon and Armagnac, much to their comfort, were able to assure us that [public] affairs would suffer no further disturbance with regard to the religion or seditious insurrections, owing to the good measures adopted; and concerning the arrest of the Prince, the Cardinal of Lorraine also told us that his own brothers were pacified and convinced that it was impossible to proceed otherwise, his Right Reverend Lordship giving us the same hope that affairs would proceed well and without cause for greater innovation.
His most Christian Majesty has summoned all the Knights of St. Michael, both those of this Kingdom and those in Italy, to the Court, to be present at a Chapter on the second Christmas holiday, in order to publish therein the processes instituted against those of the said Order who are now under arrest, and to the end that the Chapter, besides correcting many disorders and abuses introduced into the said Order, and making inquiry about such of the Knights as should be suspected of heresy, may deprive them of the Order which is only given to Catholics and those who live Catholically.
The French Ambassador at the Imperial Court wrote lately that the Emperor had assented to Trent as the site of the Council-General, and the Kings of France and Spain being of the same opinion, there was no longer any occasion to speak of Vercelli or any other Italian city. The Ambassador also sent two letters, addressed by the Emperor, one to his most Christian Majesty, the other to the Queen Mother, praying both of them earnestly to desist from the Council National, demonstrating the harm it would do universally, and its great detriment to Christendom.
On the day before yesterday an Ambassador came to his Majesty from the Kingdom of Scotland about the ratification of the agreement, and to-day Throckmorton urged the King to ratify it, the arrival of this Ambassador having removed any impediment to his Majesty's signature to the articles already agreed to between his Ministers and those of Queen Elizabeth; but the King replied that he had not yet had convenience to hear the Scottish Ambassador, (fn. 7) but will soon give him audience, and in four or six days will let Throckmorton know his will. This delay, though short, disturbs the English Ambassador, as, first for one cause and then for another, his Majesty delays the ratification, for some particular design of his own.
Orleans, 10th November 1560.
Nov. 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 270. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The most Christian King had determined to go last Monday with the Queens to Chambord and Chenonceau, some twelve leagues hence, to remain there for their pleasure till the end of the month, but on the preceding Sunday he had a sudden attack of extreme cold accompanied with some fever, an indisposition to which he is subject, and which he is said to have inherited from his father and grandfather. It is caused by a certain flow of catarrh, which exudes from the right ear, and if the discharge be stopped, he suffers great pain in the teeth and jaws, with a certain inflammation behind the ear, like a large nut, which increases or decreases according to the greater or lesser virulence of the humour. His Majesty is still suffering from this malady, and though his health continues to improve he is not yet free from fever, this being its fourth day, and he not only does not quit the house or his chamber, but not even his bed, no one being admitted to see him but those most intimate with him. The cause of this accident is supposed to be the sudden change of weather, from extreme mildness like that of spring to bitter and excessive cold, against which the King took no precaution, and he is now made to remain in bed much to his regret, the Queen Mother willing it so, more from the fear which arises from too much female tenderness than from any need, as if this malady had befallen a private individual, not only would he not have remained in bed, but have gone wherever he pleased and where his presence was needed; but with kings and great princes, who personally are of great consequence, their slightest indisposition is held in account. Many persons have alleged that the malady is serious, and that it is underrated by those who are interested. His Majesty's constitution is said to be defective, and an astrological prediction is quoted that his life will not exceed 18 years. Everyone therefore talks according to his ideas, calculating that were any catastrophe to take place at the present moment, which may God avert, not only would the present Ministry be totally excluded, but a general revolution might be expected throughout the kingdom in the matter of religion, as the successor being a minor would perhaps be placed under ward of the King of Navarre, his oldest and nearest kinsman, who, either by consenting to the humour of the people, who for the most part are infected with this plague, or from inability to repress and curb them, would open the road to such licence and confusion as would cause the ruin of France and of all Christendom, as with this example the neighbouring provinces, and most especially Italy, would become insolent, nor could they be ruled by their Princes. But I hope that at present the Lord God will avert this evil, as I am assured that his Majesty's indisposition is not serious.
Orleans, 20th November 1560.
Nov. 22. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 208. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
Cardinal Morone (fn. 8) has sent Monsignor Gherio to this Court not so much to give account how his affairs had proceeded, and the injury he had received therein, and his need, as to consolidate the favour shown him by this side should the Popedom become vacant. Monsignor Gherio therefore brought an autograph letter from Pius IV., which, recommending Cardinal Morone to the King, as his very dear relation, told his Majesty that Monsignor Gherio would communicate other matters to him on his Holiness' behalf. For this reason Gherio has been treated as a public official accredited to his Majesty. He had a good reception from the King and all the chief personages, who had long known and esteemed him, and he is charged to assure Cardinal Morone of the King's goodwill, and that of all others, and of their wish to be of use to him on every occasion.
First of all, Gherio mentioned the Pope's desire to have the Council continued at Trent; and then gave the reasons which had moved his Holiness to proceed against the Caraffas, narrating their proved and manifest crimes; but the King nevertheless has determined to favour them, and has given orders for the Pope to be requested to hold them recommended for his sake.
Monsignor Gherio also spoke in behalf of the Borromeos, persuading his Majesty to favour them as the Pope's nephews, and thus to acknowledge the favours so largely conceded by his Holiness, viz., the subsidies from the priests, the Crusade bull, the power to sell church property, and other permits, which will yield his Majesty great treasure.
Besides all these things the King has strongly urged the Pope to give the red hat to Don Iñigo, brother of the Marquis Pescara.
The Ambassador Vargas, who is now at Rome, will be sent to the Council, but it is not known whether with the title of Ambassador, as the Bishop of Terracina, the Nuncio here, has exhorted his Majesty, for the prevention of dispute about precedence, to send thither either a Cardinal or a Prince, who would be placed apart from the Ambassadors; telling him plainly that should there be a dispute between his Ambassador and the one from France, the Council could not do less than maintain the Frenchman in possession till some other decision was made in this matter, as hitherto the proofs in favour of France are too evident; so should King Philip have a mind to obtain a decision that the first place belongs to him, as being the greatest Prince in Christendom, and the one who more than all the rest defends the Catholic Church, and resists the infidels, he should prevent the occurrence at the commencement of anything prejudicial to his interests. The Nuncio also told him that to advance this claim he should keep Ambassadors, as formerly, at foreign Courts, as by omitting to do so he deprived himself of their valuable advice ; saying, in particular, that from few places could the King be better informed than from Venice, where if there had been a Spanish resident Ambassador, he might perhaps have been able to give timely notice to Gerbes of the approach of the Turkish fleet, so that the Kings fleet would not have been taken unawares; and besides he must well know that your Serenity would confer and negotiate with other form of speed with his Ambassador than with such people as he keeps with you. His Majesty thanked the Nuncio for the other things he said; but as to sending an Ambassador to Venice he did not answer one word. The Nuncio then asked me whether the Venetian Ambassadors now on their way were, commissioned to say anything about this; I said certainly not.
Five ships have arrived from the Indies with money from Peru, but not so much as on former occasions, and less than was expected, for his Majesty's portion does not amount to 150,000 crowns, and that of private individuals is about 1,200,000.
The Genoese, Otthobon Giustiniano, who is one of his Majesty's heavy creditors at Milan, has come hither to attend to his affairs, and those of his partners; and being compelled by his creditors to give security for his debts, which he cannot pay, unless the King satisfy his claims, he has taken sanctuary in a church ; many other persons, who have hitherto had much credit, being expected to do the like; but with regard to Giustiniano, to facilitate certain proposed negotiations about some of his arrears, the King has ordered verbally the alcaldes of the Court and city not to molest him for a few days.
Toledo, 22nd November 1560.
[Italian; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Nov. 22. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 209. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The King's health continues to improve, and though he is still in bed, and last night had a slight return of fever, yet everyone feels certain that his Majesty's malady is not dangerous, nor is there any doubt but that in two or three days he will have quite recovered.
During this interval public affairs are not adjourned, and amongst the rest, the condition of what relates to the Prince of Condé is as follows. The Chancellor with the other Commissioners for drawing up his indictment having gone to examine him, he answered their interrogatories thus, that he being a prince of the blood had to give account of himself to the King alone and to judges suitable to a prince of the blood, referring to the Parliament with the twelve Peers of France, who seem to be the ordinary judges in similar cases, though nevertheless in these times the Kings choose to have supreme authority in everything. When he was told that these Commissioners had been sent by the King not to judge his cause, but solely to draw up the indictment, and that when it was formed, competent judges would be appointed; he replied that he well knew that the Chancellor [Michel de 1' Hôpital] and the other Commissioners (Deputati) were the dependants of his enemies, who sought to deprive him of his honour and his life, so that he would never answer them, but if his Majesty would appoint him judges suitable to a prince of the blood, and if they should elect ministers to examine him, he would answer all their questions and prove his innocence. Therefore, being unable to obtain anything else from him, the Commissioners reported to the Council of Affairs, who were on the point of issuing a decree that not choosing to reply the Prince was to be held convicted, and that the witnesses were to be brought face to face with him, and sentence passed. But this thing having reached the ears of the King of Navarre and other kinsmen of the Prince, they warned the members of the Council not to proceed in this way for the love of God, as it would be a bad example and entail the resentment of all the Parliaments in the Kingdom, and also acquire a bad name with all foreign Powers ; so the matter still remains in suspense, and will continue so till after the assembly of the three Estates, and perhaps longer.
I have also heard on good authority that in the Privy Council the King of Navarre, when talking with his most Christian Majesty and the Queen Mother, led away by his feelings (vinto dalla passione), said that two of his other brothers had died for this Crown, one having been killed by accident, viz., Monsieur d'Enghien, who defeated the Marquis del Guasto (Vasto) (fn. 9) at Cerisoles, the other having died in battle when the Constable was routed; and for these deserts, such is their thirst for his blood, this other one also would soon be put to death. Being quite exasperated he wished to proceed further, but the Queen Mother interrupted him, saying he must be calm, as nothing but justice would be done. Seeing that he had exceeded the due limits he apologised to his Majesty, alleging fraternal love as his excuse. Cardinal Armagnac tells me that before the King of Navarre came to this Court he sent an envoy to the Pope professing himself the devoted son of the See Apostolic, but on arriving here he confessed to his most Christian Majesty that he had been seduced by heretics, excusing himself that being an unlettered man he had fallen into error, for which in like manner as he asked pardon of God, so did he pray his most Christian Majesty not to impute it to anything but his not knowing better ; and in this fervour he not only disclosed that in this his need certain French personages offered him their substance and personal assistance, but even showed their letters to the Cardinal of Lorraine and the Duke de Guise, for which perhaps he does not merit so much praise as for having acknowledged his error. He has also informed about a man of Geneva, who, after the arrest of the Prince of Condé, was sent by the people at Geneva to the King of Navarre, to offer him all their forces and assistance; which person, being in his most Christian Majesty's chamber, mingling with others according to the custom of this Court, no watch being kept to prevent any one's entrance, was arrested, as a suspected spy of the King of Navarre, as we wrote on the 10th. This event may cause greater reserve on the part of those who attend to nothing but to excite this and the other Prince to contaminate the Catholic religion.
But to return to the Prince of Condé, the Spanish Ambassador (fn. 10) informed me that the most Christian King told him that he would shed his own blood for the justification of the Prince (che quel Principe si giustificasse), and Cardinal Tournon uttered the same words to the Cardinal de Bourbon, the Prince's brother, to whom the King recommended him; adding moreover that he [Francis II.] will never dare (che lui non ardirà mai) to take the life of the Prince, who is of very Christian lineage, which deserved well of our holy faith, but if the Prince has defiled that blood, as he would have done if the charges brought against him be true, it was for the interest of the Cardinal de Bourbon and of the King of Navarre to have him severely punished. This is the state of the Prince's affair, nor can it yet be ascertained what will happen, though the general opinion is that in no event will he be condemned to deaths but that the worst that can befall him is confinement in the Castle of Loches, where Ludovic Sforza, the Moor, died; or he will be kept thus in suspense till his most Christian Majesty be of an age and in a condition to decide for himself that which if it were determined at present would render this Guise family, which has the whole Government in its hands, more detested than ever.
Orleans, 22nd November 1560.
[Italian; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Nov. 25. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 210. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
A few days ago the English Ambassador [Sir Nicholas Throckmorton] was sent for to the Court, and the Duke de Guise told him in the name of his most Christian Majesty that for the present he would not ratify the articles of the peace, and that he would send a person to Queen Elizabeth to give account of the causes which induced him to suspend his consent. This seemed a very serious matter to the Ambassador, as it appeared to him that his Queen had been deceived, for when she had an army in the field the ratification was promised her at the appointed time, but when she disarmed entirely it was delayed under various pretences, which are no longer valid, for though an Ambassador had already arrived from Scotland with most ample authority from the whole kingdom, they now announce this decision to Queen Elizabeth. On the other hand, however, the articles are of such a sort that it never could be credited that the King of France would approve them even had the rope been round his neck, as through their acceptance not only would he lose all authority in his kingdom of Scotland, but cede it in a certain way (in certo modo) to the Queen of England, who has undertaken its protection against his most Christian Majesty.
It is indeed true that the English being then in arms, and the French almost completely driven out of Scotland, and France being in a state of confusion everywhere, it was thought fit not to refuse the proposed conditions, but to procrastinate and give words, taking advantage of time. This as seen by the result was wise policy, for Queen Elizabeth has already disarmed, and the King of France is still at liberty to sign or not to sign. The same policy continues at present, it being now said designedly that they will send a person to England to gain more time, and although they have already elected the individual for this purpose, viz., M. de L'Isle, brother of the Ambassador resident with your Serenity, he will be despatched as late as possible, and even if sent he will go first to Scotland to see the state of affairs in that kingdom, under pretext however of hearing whether the commission of the Ambassador [Lord Sandilands] who came hither, is granted by the authority and with the consent of the whole kingdom, or of only a few persons; for although this individual is one of the chief personages, in Scotland bat little credit is given him, as heretofore he was a Churchman and a Knight of Malta, and of his own authority made himself a layman and took a wife. Such is the present state of this affair, which should be held of great importance, because it is a fresh seed of war which would have brought forth its fruit already had France been otherwise situated, but the present state of affairs causes the Ministry to procrastinate contrary to their nature.
Having written thus far on the 23rd, to-day being the 24th, I am informed on the best authority that the King is very weak and feeble, and that having taken a slight purge this morning before daybreak, he vomited it a few hours afterwards. I cannot comprehend what right these physicians had to purge him on the seventh [morning ?], for I know that our physicians would consider it a great mistake, most especially seeing that the slightest accident is very hurtful to his most Christian Majesty, for during the last few days, although the fever was very slight, he nevertheless suffered so much that he seemed almost delirious. My informant is a person of importance and one of the few who enter his Majesty's chamber, and he remains there almost constantly; and as this thing is kept very secret he requested me not to divulge it.
The Cardinal of Lorraine has told the Nuncio that the Emperor wishes the Pope to have the Council General held at Inspruck and not at Trent as previously settled; and the Nuncio, seeing these changes, and remembering that the French Ministry did not wish for the Council General either in Italy or Germany, is of opinion that neither they nor the Emperor wish for it by any means, the Pope alone desiring it.
It is now the 25th, and the courier being still here I may add that I am assured that the King is rather better this morning, having derived some benefit from yesterday's medicine, although his stomach rejected it. The medicine was given him from necessity, as the physicians, seeing that the malady attached his head, and apprehending some catastrophe, endeavoured to avert it. His Majesty nevertheless remains very weak, but there are fair hopes after seeing this alight improvement.
Orleans, 25th November 1560.
[Italian; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]


  • 1. Sebastien de l'Aubespine, Bishop of Limoges (see before).
  • 2. Not found.
  • 3. On the 5th September 1560. (See Père Daniel, Vol. 10, p. 83.)
  • 4. Odet de Coligny.
  • 5. Henri de Montmoreney, Baron de Damville.
  • 6. Jean de Mouchy (see the late Sir W. Hackett's Index to Foreign Calendar, “Mary,” p. 488).
  • 7. James St. John, Lord Sandilands (see Foreign Calendar, 1560–1561, Index, p. 623).
  • 8. Cardinal Morone had been appointed by Cardinal Pole to act as his Vice Protector of England at Rome, whilst he was Queen Mary's Prime Minister, and various notices of the treatment to which these two churchmen were subjected at that period by Pope Paul IV. may be read in the Venetian Calendars.
  • 9. See Venetian Calendar, vol. iv., No. 375; 6th April 1546.
  • 10. Thomas Perrenot, Count de Chantonay, brother of the Bishop of Arras.