Venice: January 1561

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 7, 1558-1580. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1890.

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, 'Venice: January 1561', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 7, 1558-1580, (London, 1890) pp. 284-290. British History Online [accessed 18 May 2024].

. "Venice: January 1561", in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 7, 1558-1580, (London, 1890) 284-290. British History Online, accessed May 18, 2024,

. "Venice: January 1561", Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 7, 1558-1580, (London, 1890). 284-290. British History Online. Web. 18 May 2024,

January 1561

1561. Jan. 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 227. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
The King will not return to Toledo until the preparations for the obsequies of the most Christian King are complete; and the Queen Catholic is also absent at a shrine (ad una devotion), six leagues hence.
The Duke of Savoy has sent hither Stefano Doria not so much to condole with his Majesty on the death of King Francis, as to obtain, upon the necessary ratification of the articles [of peace], the restitution of the Piedmontese fortresses still in the hands of France and Spain.
The Duke of Florence is accused of having had the Council published before the arrival of Monsignor Gerio, who was taking to Rome the King's decision in this matter. Besides this they greatly resent his having caused the removal hence of the Nuncio Terracina because Monsignor Terracina had not acted with due diligence in endeavouring to effect the marriage of the Princess, his Majesty's sister (fn. 1) to the Prince of Florence, his son, and because the Duke wished to have a Nuncio at this Court dependent upon him in everything. I hear that this talk has reached the Princess, who greatly resents it, considering herself held in small account, from its being supposed that any mediation could persuade her to act contrary to her inclination.
A solemn “auto” of the Inquisition was performed lately at Seville, when seventeen persons were burnt for heresy, and amongst them a mother with five daughters, and five were burnt alive for their obduracy.
Toledo, 2nd January 1561.
[Italian: the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Jan. 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 228. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
On the day before yesterday I had audience of the young King and of the Queen Mother, to whom I said that as the Republic always had at heart the holy religion, both from respect for the Lord God, as He is the chief cause of the safety of kingdoms, and for the quiet and of the authority of sovereigns, so I hoped her Majesty would be confirmed in this opinion, having heard that since her Majesty has supreme command in France these disturbances had taken a good turn. Her Majesty replied that “she had received so many favours from the Almighty that she could not but do her utmost for the preservation and increase of the holy Christian religion, which she had always promoted, and would moreover do so for the future, knowing what I had said to be very true, as the alteration of religion alters states, disorders governments, and destroys obedience” Although from these words it seemed that great good might be hoped for France, yet certain things which I have heard from the Nuncio, and from the Cardinals of Tournon and Lorraine, make me rather fear the contrary. First, it has been determined in the Privy Council that should the Council General not be held before next June the National Council will assemble in France; which, the Cardinal of Lorraine told me, they could not deny to the Estates, who demanded it; and. this concession apparently caused all the three Estates to agree not to renounce the old religion, except only a part of the nobility, who still choose to be at liberty to live in their own fashion. To this must be added another reason, viz., that although the greater part of the clergy, and most especially of the bishops, approve the old religion, yet many of the nobility approve the new one, and have many adherents in France, especially in Guienne, where the population is the most warlike. The third reason is that in the bull of the Council the words “sublata suspensione” are interpreted to mean that the Pope intends to continue the Council already commenced, and that the decrees already made are to be valid; which greatly offends these Lords, who protested at the time against that Council and would not send their prelates', and many wish its decrees to be examined de novo. The Cardinal of Lorraine has therefore complained to the Nuncio that to continue the first Council would displease France. But when I was talking with the Cardinal of Lorraine about this, he said that if the Emperor and the King of Spain accepted the Council in that form France would not reject it, though he believes it will bear no good fruit.
Orleans, 7th January 1561.
Jan. 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 229. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Estates continue sitting, and in ten days they are expected to conclude everything, after which decision the Court is expected to depart for Fontainebleau, where they will finish adjusting the affairs of the King's household with regard to cost and pensions; and the latter are being diminished to the utmost. Almost half of the galleys have been paid off, and those taken into the seas of Britany will return to Marseilles. Orders have been given for the release of all galley slaves, your Serenity's subjects.
Orleans, 9th January 1561.
Jan. 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 230. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
The Queen, when at a shrine six leagues hence, was seized with the small-pox, and was moved to Mazerambros, three leagues from this city : the eruption became so violent that it covered her whole body, and also her mouth, tongue, and throat, so that she could not swallow any nourishment, however liquid, without great difficulty.
Last year on arriving at Toledo, she had an attack of the same malady (fn. 2), but the Spanish physicians suppressed the eruption by copious blood-letting, so that only very few pustules appeared; but now when the same physicians had recourse to the same remedy, bleeding her twice, the eruption nevertheless became profuse, and her life was in no little danger. This is the thirteenth day, and from what I hear her Majesty is better, the fever subsiding, and the pustules exsiccating. The King, immediately on hearing of his consort's illness, went postwise to her, remaining constantly in her chamber, and taking especial care about her treatment and diet. All the chief personages of the Court flocked thither likewise, and are still there, much to their inconvenience, the place being a small one.
Three months ago the Milanese, Marc' Antonio Bossi, Ambassador from King Philip with the Switzers, came to this Court accompanied by the Cavalier Walter Rollo, a Switzer of the Canton of Uri, they having been sent by the five allied Catholic cantons to persuade his Majesty to assist them in a war against the Canton of Glarus, which had declared itself Lutheran. The Spanish Council of State determined not to concede the grant, because endeavours were being made to adjust the affairs of the religion pacifically, and it was undesirable to have recourse to arms. Besides this, if King Philip had aided these five cantons, he would thus have violated the hereditary league between the House of Austria and all the Swiss cantons, on account of the German and Burgundian provinces bordering on Switzerland; he also feared that it might be resented by France and by many German' princes who are allied with the Switzers. For these reasons Bossi and Rollo were sent back to the five cantons to appease them, and the Ambassador Bossi took conciliatory letters to the cantons in general.
The Duke of Savoy informs King Philip that the Pope has promised him assistance for the recovery of Geneva; so he requests aid from King Philip, and will ask it of his most Christian Majesty also. His wish is for these Princes to coalesce for the observance of whatever may be determined at the Council, and that they should elect him general of the league; but the intention of the King Catholic is to make no stir of arms, because he has experienced how many troubles war brings with it.
Last Sunday “the crusade bull” conceded by the Pope to King Philip was carried with very great solemnity to the Cathedral, where it was received by Don Carlos, who remained there during the sermon, which was preached as usual to exhort the people to purchase the bull.
The jubilee sent by his Holiness about the Council has not yet been published, because the contractors for “the crusade bull” opposed it, lest, being conceded gratis, it might be detrimental to “the crusade bull,” which costs two reals. The Romish inquisitors also impeded the jubilee bull, because all persons taking it were allowed to elect a confessor to grant absolution for having read prohibited books, of which clause the inquisitors disapproved, as they consider that no one but themselves should have this authority, so that they may ascertain what books are brought into this province. They have written to Rome that the bull may be amended, and in the meanwhile “the crusade bull” was published as above.
The Nuncio Campeggio has arrived, and is not welcome, partly on account of the Nuncio Terracina, who gave great satisfaction to the whole of this Court, and in part by reason of the Duke of Florence, from whom he seems to come as Nuncio, rather than from the Pope; and here they are much offended by the Duke's choosing to have more influence than ought by right belong to him.
Great dissatisfaction has been caused here by the announcement that at Rome audience had been given to the Ambassador[s] of Monsieur de Vendôme (fn. 3) in the form usually observed with kings, although the rights of his Catholic Majesty were reserved.
Three days ago the Pope's nephew, Hannibal Altemps, arrived in this city; he is commissioned to present his Majesty with the sword blessed by the Pope, and which is coming with the galleys now on their voyage to Spain.
The King has sent orders to Flanders that the Spanish infantry is not to depart without a fresh commission from him, for as the peace between France and England has never been confirmed, he declines to disarm; but the truth is that his Majesty has little wish to remove them, move for the sake of curbing his own subjects than from fear of foreign forces.
Toledo, 16th January 1561.
[Italian; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Jan. 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 231. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
Monsignor di Bologna, the Nuncio here, is writing to Cardinal Borromeo, (fn. 4) as follows. That the King on reading the bull of publication of the Council was much troubled at its making no mention of the continuation of the Council, whereby it appeared that a new Council was to be called; and that his Majesty [said he] could not approve of the bull in this form, and prayed his Holiness not to allow himself to be deceived by heretics, but to correct the bull by removing the equivocal words. The Nuncio replied, that the Pope had examined this case, and by the advice of able theologians and jurists, and of all the Cardinals, he had thus determined, and that it would be too scandalous were he to reverse the decree; so King Philip, as a Catholic, and devoted to the See Apostolic, should refer himself to the judgment of his Holiness, and not to that of others. Knowing that the King and the whole Court had recourse to the decision of the Confessor, the Nuncio requested him to counsel his Majesty and the others to acquiesce in his Holiness's opinion. (fn. 5) The Confessor rejoined that if the Pope would write to his Majesty to the effect that his Holiness does not intend to weaken the decisions of the Council, he, the Confessor, would pacify the King Catholic.
Toledo, 18th January 1561.
[Italian; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Jan. 27. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 232. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
Monsignor Gerio has brought from Rome the concession from the Pope for his Majesty to exact a forced loan from the clergy of Spain, for the maintenance of fifty galleys for the benefit of Christendom. But this concession contains so many conditions that it does not please the King, for it is limited to five years, and it revokes the subsidy which the Spanish priesthood pay his Majesty, amounting to about two hundred thousand ducats annually; and the Pope also annuls the privilege recently granted to the King to alienate fiefs of the churches in Spain, to the amount of twenty-five thousand ducats revenue, which were expected to yield about two millions of ducats. It is supposed that the concession will not be accepted, and that the King will urge the Pope to enlarge his favours rather than to restrict them.
This proceeding of the Pope, so utterly at variance with what was desired and expected here, is chiefly attributed to the Duke of Florence, who persuades his Holiness not to be too bountiful in his concessions, so that the King may more easily consent to his wishes, and that above all his Majesty should enrich the Papal nephews, the Borromeos. For these reasons said Duke becomes daily more and more odious at this Court.
Since the death of Prince Doria (fn. 6) there has been great difficulty about the election of a naval Captain-General in his stead, as Gio. Andrea Doria, his heir, claims this post. The objections to him are, his youth, which does not exceed twenty-one years, the difficulty of making certain naval commanders obey him, and above all his being an Italian, as it is considered here that so important a charge at this time should be trusted to none but a Spaniard.
Don Juan de Mendoza, General of the Galleys of Spain, aspired to this command, but the House of Toledo proposed Don Garcia, son of Don Pedro, late Viceroy of Naples, who having been for a time General of the Galleys of Naples, might seem to have more experience of the affairs of Italy than Don Juan de Mendoza; but as it would be very difficult to persuade Gian Andrea Doria, for whom likewise much regard must be had, to render obedience to either one or the other of the above, it has been said that possibly the King would appoint as General his brother Don John of Austria, giving him for lieutenant Don Juan Manrique, or some other such person (o altro tale). But the Admiral of Castile also lays claim to this command, and he demands it by right, asserting that the universal government of all his Majesty's fleets appertains to the person who holds the title of Admiral of his principal kingdom, as he does. This grandee is a very principal personage in Spain, but he 1ms no experience whatever of maritime affairs. Amongst the many persons named it cannot be ascertained whom his Majesty will decide to appoint, though as the spring is near at hand the matter presses; but it is said that if this command is not conferred on Gian Andrea Doria, the King will endeavour to give him satisfaction in some other way, it being of great consequence to keep this personage, if not content, at least not quite dissatisfied.
It is heard from Flanders that the counter order not having arrived in time, the Spanish infantry embarked on the 10th instant, and on arriving in Spain they will be sent from Barcelona to Italy and Sicily.
The King has returned to Toledo, and has had the obsequies of the late King of France solemnized there.
Toledo, 27th January 1561.
[Italian; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Jan. 30. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 233. Alvise Bonrizzo, Venetian Secretary in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Don Juan Manrique arrived here lately, and on the morrow had audience of his most Christian Majesty.
He then went to visit the Queen of Scotland, with whom, in the presence of the Duke de Guise and the Cardinal of Lorraine, he held very confidential communications, and I am assured that besides his other commissions Don Juan is also empowered, to treat a marriage between her Majesty and the Prince of Spain. This does not much please the English Ambassador, who said to me that were this marriage to take place, the friendship subsisting between the Queen his mistress (patrona) and the King Catholic would be converted into a no less enmity.
Three days ago a courier arrived from the Imperial Court, and has been detained, which is kept very secret. The French Ministers are informed that the Emperor has accepted the bull of the Council General, but the term of Easter seeming to him too short he wished to have it protracted. As the Pope is averse to this, lest he be compelled to concede the Council National in this kingdom, the French Ministry have requested the Emperor not to insist on further delay.
Orleans, 30th January 1561.
[Italian; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]


  • 1. Joanna of Austria, Princess of Portugal, and mother of Don Sebastian. In Foreign Calendar, date 1560, December 22 (p. 453), I read, “The Duke desired the crown, in “order to facilitate the marriage of his eldest son with the sister of the King of Spain, “she having refused because the Prince was not a King's son.”—R.B.
  • 2. See despatch of 13th March 1560, Toledo.
  • 3. Antoine de Bourbon, Duke de Vendôme, titular King of Navarre; at the close of 1560 he was Lieutenant-General of France.
  • 4. Carlo Borromeo, nephew of Pius IV., who made him Cardinal 31st January 1560; and he was canonized by Paul V. on the 1st of November 1610. (See Cardella, vol. v., p. 4 to p. 8)
  • 5. As frequently mentioned in the Venetian Calendar, the name of this confessor was Bernardo de Fresneda. (See Foreign Calendar, Queen Mary, p.364.)
  • 6. Andrea Doria died at Genoa in his 94th year, on the 25th November 1560.