Venice: April 1561

Pages 306-310

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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April 1561

April 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 250. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The little I have to add in the matter of religion consists of two facts quite at variance, the one being that at the Court in the house of the Admiral these new opinions are preached publicly, with a great concourse of lords and gentlemen, and without any prohibition or impediment; the other, that in this city, in the name of the most Christian King, a very severe edict has been published against those who, by reason (per occasione) of these new doctrines, hold conventicles or meetings in houses, as has happened lately in many places, for several preachers have come from Geneva, relying on the divisions of the Council, and on the favour they have, or hope to have, from great personages. Some persons have been arrested by the civil power (dalla giustitia), including an individual who preached to a very numerous congregation in the house of Madame de Roye, mother-in-law of the Prince of Condé.
The departure of the Court for Rheims is delayed for some days from want of money, to obtain a supply of which is very difficult, as no confidence can be placed in the Estates, and the merchants are such great losers, and have such small hope of recovering their due, that they do not venture to risk anything more.
Paris, 4th April 1561.
April 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 251. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
As yet no General or Governor of the Fleet has been appointed, and what was said about Don John of Austria lacks confirmation. Several other personages are talked of, but the truth is that the King is irresolute.
The dependents here of Gio. Andrea Doria say that it has been hinted to him whether he would consent to command the fleet without other title, the King giving him letters to all the captains of the galleys to obey him; but that he will not accept the command in this way, being certain that another Captain General would be shortly appointed, to his greater reproach and detriment; so that it is more profitable for him to live at Genoa, and send his galleys to sea under a lieutenant, unless the King appoint him General.
The French galleys, which were at Nantes in Britany, having been sent thither when there was a suspicion of war with England, have been recalled, and soon must circumnavigate Spain to return to Provence.
Some troops raised in this province are being sent to Majorca, Minorca, and Ivica, for the ward and security of those islands.
The Bishop of Arras, before he accepted the cardinalate, desired to have the consent of the King, and the like was done by Don Francisco Pacheco. His Majesty had been persuaded by his councillors, and principally by the Duke of Alva, not to canvass for the hat for any Spaniard, both on account of the little support derived from Spanish [Cardinals] at Rome, as also by reason of the large gratuity it is requisite to give them, so that with the provision given to one single Spanish Cardinal more than five Italian Cardinals might have been pensioned, by each of whom on certain occasions greater service would be rendered. His Majesty had nominated no Spaniard, but subsequently the aforesaid Don Francisco Pacheco was elected contrary to general expectation, and as he was always much favoured by the Duke of Alva it is believed that the Duke procured his promotion, most especially because for many months he has had an agent at Rome, whom he sent thither to congratulate the Pope, owing to the friendship they had contracted in Italy, and this same agent was the person who brought the “berretta” to the Cardinal. The suspicion is also increased by the favour rendered in this matter by the Duke of Florence, who is the close kinsman of the Duke of Alva, and most intimate with him; and I have been assured that King Philip complained greatly of this, thinking that the counsel given him by the Bake was for no other 'purpose than to prohibit competition with Pacheco, and by so much the more easily obtain his intent; but his Majesty nevertheless dissembles his dissatisfaction as much as possible, and has not only received the Cardinal graciously, but in reply to his request promised him a gratuity, and to provide him with a good revenue.
Toledo, 11th April 1561.
[Italian; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
April 17. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 252. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
All the provinces on the frontiers, beginning with Normandy and Britany, and through Guienne to Provence, openly profess this new religion, and throughout the rest of the kingdom, although in many places the populace show that they are Catholics, as here in Paris, all the nobility, or the greater part of them, are infected. In the Court likewise the majority incline to these new ideas, as except the Queen, the Constable, the Duke de Montpensier and the Duke de Guise, with a few others, all the rest of the chief personages, both women and men, either belong to these new sects or to no religion at all. The Admiral when he was at the Court caused this new doctrine to be preached in his house with open doors, and gathered a most numerous congregation, though at length the Queen and the Constable reproved him bitterly for so doing.
The Admiral's brother, Cardinal Châtillon, has been in great danger at his bishopric of Beauvais, where the populace pursuing a preacher of these new sects, the Cardinal saved him in his house, which the enraged populace attacked, wounding and slaying those who defended it; and seizing the preacher, they tormented him a long while, and at length kindled a large fire and threw him into it. The Cardinal was fortunate to rind a hiding place till this fury subsided, and his agents are now at the Court urging that by royal authority some signal demonstration should be made against those who raised the tumult.
I do not hear that a word is said about the Council, or sending thither the bishops and prelates; on the contrary, a few days ago, in the letter written by the King to delay the assembly, there is a paragraph to the effect that concerning the disputes about religion his Majesty will call to his presence a number of persons who are learned and of good life, according to whose opinion such orders as are necessary will be given, but in the meanwhile the King chooses every one to remain quiet and to make no noise or tumult in the kingdom under very heavy penalties. This determination the Nuncios consider very perilous, both because it seems to tend to a National Council, and because it seems that the King and Council intend to assume the authority which appertains to the Church, and is not theirs; but it is credible that the King's letter was written not to execute the proposal literally, but to give a sop to the public. The Government is also sending M. de L'Isle to his legation at Rome, although the Nuncios here say that the Pope objects to him, as his religion is suspected. I do not know how the Pope will receive this decision, made, it may be said, against his will.
Paris, 17th April 1561.
[Italian; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
April 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 253. Michiel Surian, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Court is quiet and united; for all the late troubles and dissensions between chief personages have ceased, and the King of Navarre, the Constable, and the Duke de Guise are so intimate, that there does not seem ever to have been the slightest shadow of disagreement between them; and all jointly honour and revere the Queen, especially the King of Navarre, who, although he is made Lieutenant General, and has increased in repute, nevertheless acknowledges her Majesty more than ever as his superior, and desires nothing but what may please her, so that even in matters of religion he regulates himself according to her wishes. It is true that this quiet may last only till some fresh disturbance ensues, as the seeds of discord are not entirely extinct, for the Prince of Condé and the Duke de Guise have never been reconciled; nor have they even spoken to each other, although they often meet in Council.
The Duke de Guise is now absent from Court; he and his brothers being with the Queen Mary of Scotland in Lorraine, to receive the Bastard of Scotland, her brother, who came in the name of the kingdom to invite her to return thither, where he promises her that she will be acknowledged and received with such reverence and obedience as are due to a Sovereign and a Queen. The English Ambassador, who is here unwell, has sent his Secretary into Lorraine to treat the ratification of the Articles which were heretofore concluded by the mediation of the Queen of England, but which were rejected (riprobati) by the late King Francis. Nothing more is known about the marriage of the Queen of Scotland either with the Prince of Orange or with the King of Denmark, whose Ambassador has already left the Court, having been dismissed with general but loving words; and the Baron de la Garde is now being sent to the King of Denmark, and to the King of Sweden, to convey to them the Order [of Saint Michael], that they may be friendly to France, through this mark of goodwill. M. de Noailles, the French Ambassador in Scotland, from what the English Ambassador says, is treating an offensive and defensive league between France and Scotland, which, if effected, would necessarily detach Scotland from her union with the English.
The departure of the Court for Rheims will not take place till the beginning of next month, nor will the Court remain more than two days there for the consecration.
Paris, 18th April 1561.
[Italian; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
April 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 254. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
The King returned to this city on the Saturday after Easter.
In reply to your Serenity's letters of the 15th March, concerning the mode in which I am to regulate myself in favour of the Council, I assure you that I will never depart from your orders in this matter, and will only act when some good opportunity presents itself. Immediately on its being heard here that in France M. de Vendôme had been declared lieutenant of the most Christian King, they sent a courier to Flanders with orders to pay the German colonels their promised arrears, which until now have never been paid; and here they evidently suspect that M. de Vendôme, through the authority assumed by him in that government, may one day disturb the peace, owing to his claims upon Navarre.
On St. George's day the King observed the ceremony of the Garter of England, by appearing at Mass with the Order and Mantle, a circumstance which was very much remarked, for it seems that this year he was more desirous of giving satisfaction to the Queen of England than he was last year, when he did not care to make this display, much to the resentment of the English Ambassadors, by whom I heard most grievous complaints made.
Gian Andrea Doria considers his affairs to be already settled, and that he will not have the command of the fleet. He has obtained from the King one hundred thousand crowns, on account of the one hundred and thirty thousand due to him to complete the fitting out of the galleys; they will be paid him at the October fair. He only delays his departure till the confirmation of his command of the twenty galleys, to be paid, however, according to the number of galleys in commission; which command in the time of Prince Doria was usually confirmed every two years. He also wishes the King to assign him a fixed fund from which to receive his pay, that he may not have it delayed, as always happened to Prince Doria.
Toledo, 26th April 1561.
[Italian; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]