Venice: April 1562

Pages 335-338

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 1562

1562. April 16. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 283. Marc' Antonio Barbaro, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Gives account of negotiations between the Government and the Prince of Condé The Queen [Mother, Catherine de' Medici] has republished the edict of St. Germain, allowing the Huguenots to preach, but not within a league of Paris. The general opinion is that there will be war, which, it is feared, would cause great disturbance, and brine into this kingdom humours from various parts, as from Germany, England, and other places. Talking however with the English Ambassador, who really appears to me to be a gentleman of acute intellect, and of judgment and goodwill, although he now lives according to the religion of that kingdom, I was informed by him, in very straightforward and affectionate language, that his Queen would not give any trouble to this kingdom on that account, but that she had the very best intentions towards our religion. He also stated that she was using her utmost endeavours with certain Princes of Germany in whom she trusted (suoi confident), in order to discover some means whereby all (tutti) might attend the Council, so as to give quiet to the whole of Christendom.
The Ambassador then went on to speak of the difficulties in the way of this holy work, the three principal ones being, first, the indiction of the Council, which they (essi) wish to be convoked by the Emperor and not by the Pope; secondly, the place of the Council; and thirdly, the authority of the Council, which (authority) they wish to be above the Pope. But while the Ambassador was talking with me he constantly reminded me of his Queen's goodwill, saying that of this the Cardinal of Ferrara had experience (trattatione), and adding, with great earnestness, that every Christian prince ought to use his utmost endeavour to find a method by which such a good work might be successful; as otherwise, if things were allowed to continue in their present perilous courses, a general disturbance of the whole of Christendom must shortly be seen.
To this discourse, so ample and affectionate, I replied in general terms, praising as much as possible the pious and good mind of his Queen, and also the prudent and confidential discourse made to me by his Lordship; and I expressed a belief that the Queen would derive greater glory from this course of proceeding than any Emperor ever obtained from any enterprise. The office thus performed with me by the Ambassador did not appear to be a merely general one, and I judged that he intended it to lead to something further hereafter.
Paris, 16th April 1562.
April 22. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 284. Marc' Antonio Barbaro, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
Hopes of peace are on the decline, because both sides have issued printed declarations, reflecting on each other's honour, and tending to excite angry feelings. Mons. de Mortier, of the Privy Council, has been sequestrated; it is said he revealed to the Prince of Condé matters treated of in the Court. A secretary of that Prince came to the Queen yesterday. It is not known what he brings, but it is said secretly that the Prince had broken with the Admiral, and high words had passed between them; and in consequence of this rupture some agreement is hoped for.
A few days ago the Grand Commander (Gran Commendator) of Portugal arrived at this Court; what his business with the Queen may be is not known, but I am told he is secretly treating for the marriage of his King with Madame Marguerite, sister of his most Christian Majesty; but as the King of Navarre designs to have her for his son, the Queen proceeds very cautiously in treating this matter. The Commander is to leave in two days for Flanders; and I understand the Portuguese Ambassador resident here is also to depart for England within a week.
Paris, 22nd April 1562.
April 29. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 285. Marc' Antonio Barbaro, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
Preparations are being made for war. It is said that the Switzers will not come, because they will be prevented by those of their cantons who are of this new religion. The day before yesterday it was publicly said that a herald had arrived from England to announce that if they [the French ministry] took up arms against the Prince of Condé, the Queen [Elizabeth] would consider war to have been commenced. But the Ambassador of that Queen has assured my Secretary that this is not true; though indeed he added (as he told me also) that he fears these disturbances will turn Christendom upside down.
He also told the Secretary that the Portuguese Ambassador was going to England to treat with the Queen about certain matters concerning the navigation of Guinea, where the Portuguese resort (vanno); and that when the Portuguese Ambassador at Rome spoke to the Pope about this mission to England, his Holiness said that he [the Ambassador to England] ought to endeavour in a dexterous manner to perform some good office with that Queen on behalf of the religion, and procure that the prelates of that kingdom should be sent to the Council. Finally the Ambassador [Throckmorton] said he believed that after performing these two offices, the Portuguese Ambassador would perform yet another, which was, to speak of marriage between the King of Portugal and the Queen of England, although there is a difference of perhaps twenty years between their ages.
Paris, 29th April 1562.