Venice: July 1561

Pages 317-320

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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July 1561

July 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 265. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Nuncio, the Bishop of Terracina, has told me that the Pope had revoked the subsidy from the clergy, and the grant of sale of fiefs of the churches, with the assent of the King, provided his Holiness conceded him in perpetuity 300,000 ducats annually, to be levied from the clergy of Spain, for the maintenance of fifty galleys; but that his Holiness, after having complied with what had been required, was surprised that his Majesty should insist on having, besides the 300,000 ducats, the first two grants likewise. Notwithstanding, to satisfy the King, his Holiness was content that the King-should levy from the clergy the 300,000 ducats for last year, but his Holiness must take care not greatly to dissatisfy the clergy; and although he has a mind to gratify his Majesty about the sale of fiefs, he cannot do so now, lest it appear at the period of the opening of the Council that his Holiness was giving leave to sell the estates of the churches. The Nuncio, having told all this to his Majesty, thinks the King will remain content; or, as the King gave it to be understood, he will endeavour to obtain, instead of the 300,000 ducats, a grant of the first subsidy of the clergy, viz., the fourth part of their revenues during three years; this fourth part, however, to be levied according to its true value, and not by composition as hitherto; from which source the King hoped to obtain more than 400,000 ducats annually.
The Count of Tendiglia is accused of having promised so largely to the Pope in order to gain favour with his Holiness, who would he hoped make his son cardinal.
With regard to the Council, the Nuncio told me that although here they have already determined to send the Bishops thither, he nevertheless had orders to inform the King that the Pope marvelled greatly at his Majesty's holding two ignorant and insignificant persons, alluding to the Archbishop of Seville (fn. 1) and to his Majesty's Confessor (fn. 2), who, wishing to show that they knew more than others, were opposed to the bull of the Council, in greater account than his Holiness, who had issued it with the mature counsel of Cardinals and of very learned men; and the Nuncio endeavoured to demonstrate to his Majesty by manifest reasons that the bull was capable of no other interpretation, but that it was a continuation, and not a new indiction (inditione), of a Council; adding, in conclusion, that no one had greater interest in this matter than his Holiness, as whenever a new Council was held, it was certain that the first point to be treated would be, whether the Pope was superior to the Council, or subject to it, it being already well known that not only Germany, with almost the whole of the North, were of opinion that the Pope must be subject to the Council, but that the whole of France had long since subscribed to the same opinion, to which great part of the prelates of Italy and of Spain also adhered, as testified by the Spanish clergy, through a writing given to the Nuncio by the King's Confessor; so that whenever a doubt was raised on the subject, it would be certain that from being Pope his Holiness must descend to the rank of a private ecclesiastic, with loss of his dignity and authority; whereas, if the Council was continued, the fear of this matter being treated would cease; so his Majesty might rest assured that for his own interest the Pope would never allow it to be supposed that the indiction (inditione) of the Council was a new indiction, and that with this assurance his Majesty might send to the Council his prelates, who until now had objected to go thither.
To this the King replied, that he had heard willingly all the Nuncio's narrative, and that it was true these prelates had evinced little wish to attend the Council, but that when the weather improved his Majesty was determined they should go, as likewise all the prelates of his other realms, and that he would confer with the Nuncio about the choice he had to make of ambassadors.
Your Serenity will have already heard that the Queen of England has not chosen to receive the Nuncio Martinengo; and her Ambassador resident here [Sir Thomas Chamberlain] has narrated to me the reply made by her to the Bishop dell' Aquila, Spanish Ambassador at her Court, who solicited a safe-conduct for the said Nuncio, purporting that a few months ago an individual, sent by the Pope to Ireland, had caused a great part of that island to rise in arms, so that had not some of her loyal subjcts speedily attacked them she incurred the risk of utterly losing the allegiance of the native Irish. Fearing therefore lest the Nuncio in England might raise some similar rebellion there, she had determined that he should not go thither. But with regard to the Council, although when it was proclaimed they did not ask her opinion, as requested of many other Sovereigns in Christendom, yet were she to know that the Council was free and universal, she would not fail to make choice of qualified persons to be sent thither in her name. The Nuncio says that he was at Rome when some persons came from Ireland, then in insurrection, who, refusing to acknowledge the Queen of England as governess (patrona), demanded assistance, favour, and protection from the Pope, who determined that in these times (a questo tempo) he could assist them with nothing but fair words, with which they were dismissed; and that in truth his Holiness was by no means the cause of the insurrection, but that the Queen had devised this as her excuse before the world for not accepting the Nuncio [Martinengo]. He then added that the King told him he had given such orders to his Ambassador in England that he hoped the Nuncio would be accepted in England, provided he had not yet left Flanders.
Many months ago his Holiness gave this King to understand the dissatisfaction he received from his Ambassador Vargas, praying his Majesty to send another in his stead, but the King always temporised with fair words; but this same office having now been repeated by the Nuncio, who demonstrated to the King that it was not for his service to keep him at Rome against the Pope's will, he has given a more manifest intention of removing him.
Madrid, 3rd July 1561.
[Italian; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
July 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 266. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Eight ships from the Indies have arrived, which almost all came from New Spain, very heavily laden with divers merchandise, and with one million and eight hundred thousand golden ducats, of which about one hundred and eighty thousand belong to the King, and the rest to private individuals. They brought with them five ships, part French and part English, captured by them as corsairs; but the English Ambassador declares that his countrymen were not corsairs, but merchants who had shipped woad at the Azores. Next September they are expecting the fleet from Peru, which they say will have a much greater supply of gold.
The siege of Oran was expected, but the place having now been succoured, King Philip was free from any fear about that fortress for this year; and having received information that the Turkish fleet had put to sea, his Majesty has ordered the galleys to return, so as to prevent the Turks from attempting anything of importance.
Madrid, 16th July 1561.
July 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 267. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
After the Bishop of Terracina had brought the bull of provision for the maintenance of the fifty galleys, his Majesty, finding many clauses in it not to his entire satisfaction, is now sending a petition to his Holiness by the Count Brocardo, to the following effect:
The King thanks the Pope greatly for the 300,000 ducats to be levied annually from the clergy for the maintenance of the fifty galleys, as also for the 300,000 of last year. Then, as it was declared in the bull that this subsidy of the 300,000 on the clergy was to last for five years, he requests that the term maybe prolonged to 10 years and so much longer as the need lasts. That it may be known that this good effect proceeds from his Holiness, the King is content that on board these galleys the Papal colours shall be borne on one side, and those of his Majesty on the other. He also concedes them their own captain, who is, however, to obey the Captain-General of the whole fleet. The bull purports that this fleet, raised by the subsidy of the clergy, is to serve against infidels and those who disobey the Catholic Church, but the King, wishing it also to serve for the preservation of his States, petitions for the following addition to those words, “and for any public service and necessity.”
Finally, as the Pope ordered by the bull that this money was to be levied by the Nuncio, and that it could not be expended for any other purpose, the King, perceiving that the Pope would always have power to prevent the exaction and the disbursement, urged his Holiness to transfer this charge from the Nuncio to a prelate of Spain, but consented to the moneys not being spent on anything else.
This petition has been drawn up by Don Buy Gomez, and amended (racconciata) by the King and Secretary Erasso, without any other member of the Council being present, as from the very beginning the Nuncio entreated the King, that as the Pope had not taken counsel of the College of Cardinals about the favours he wished to confer on his Majesty, the King, to remove the opportunity for contradiction, would decide for himself with the opinion of one or two of his most prudent councillors, and without referring these matters to his ordinary Council, whose members devised so many impediments and intrigues, that the Nuncio would never have had the heart to treat with them; so the King, contrary to his usual custom, settled the matter by accepting the Nuncio's suggestion. His Majesty also, as recommended by the Nuncio, addresses the writing and his letters not to his Ambassadors, but to Cardinal Borromeo.
The Ambassador Vargas, considering himself offended, because the Pope did not communicate to him the negotiations which the Bishop of Terracina was charged to transact, exhorted the King by letter, for the sake of his Royal dignity, so to proceed with the Nuncio, as not to communicate to him any negotiations entrusted by his Majesty to Vargas at Rome; but the King, considering this not to be for his service, shows that he has so much confidence in the Nuncio that he will rather act according to his opinion titan conceal anything from him. He not only communicates to the Bishop of Terracina matters relating to negotiations at Rome, but many other important matters likewise, having spoken to him several times about this fleet (armata) which he intends to fit out, and which will exceed in number one hundred and fifty galleys, always paid and ready to put to sea, as in addition to the sixty of the subsidy he proposes to raise forty with his own funds, the payment to be made with the money of the Cruzada, besides the sixteen of Sicily, the seventeen of the Kingdom of Naples, the six of the three orders of the Knights of Spain, and those which the Kingdom of Aragon now offers to arm; although for this first year he cannot have more than one hundred in commission; but in the second year he hopes to have one hundred and thirty, and subsequently to complete the number and his project.
The Nuncio also told me that the King gives account of this in his letters to the Pope, and likewise that the intention is again announced of making Count Borromeo Captain of the Galleys to be fitted out at the cost of the subsidy furnished by the clergy, but on certain conditions.
Madrid, 21st July 1561.
[italian; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]


  • 1. Hernando de Valdes.
  • 2. Francisco Bernardo de Fresneda.