Venice: August 1562

Pages 341-343

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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August 1562

Aug. 4. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 292. Marc' Antonio Barbaro, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
The Huguenots of Orleans are doing their utmost to fortify themselves there, and also at Bourges, and they boast much. Indeed, it is constantly affirmed that they will have very great succours from Germany and from England, with which they design not only to defend themselves but to compel the others to retire, and then to take the offensive. They hope these succours will enter into this kingdom very shortly.
Paris, 4th August 1562.
Aug. 6. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 293. Marc' Antonio Barbaro, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
The English Ambassador [Sir Nicholas Throckmorton] came yesterday to see me, and at the beginning of his conversation he said these words: “I have come to take leave of you, having already taken leave of the King and Queen.” He then added: “I am not leaving for the reason which is alleged by some, that my Queen intends to declare war on this Crown, which opinion arose in the minds of many because they see that she is arming herself with troops and ships on the sea, which is done by her for no other cause than to defend herself, seeing that other Princes are also arming themselves, and especially the King Catholic, who gives out that he intends to make war on the kingdom of England; but my Queen” [one line in cipher, undeciphered]. He dilated hereupon at great length, adding that [two lines in cipher], giving countenance (voce) to one of these parties.
The Ambassador went on to make a long discourse, always much in favour of the cause of the Prince of Condé, and excusing him [by saying] that he had not acted from ill-will, nor against the King, but only from honest zeal for religion, and at the provocation of the other party [one line in cipher]; but they would probably repent of this, because the Prince had a good understanding with many Princes of Germany, by whom he would be succoured with troops and whatever he required.
The Ambassador then added that his Queen would not make any movement unless she was irritated and put on one side; that he was not removed hence by her for any of these causes, but only because the Queen could not keep him [here consistently] with her dignity, as for many days past he had suffered numerous insults not less dishonourable than dangerous, which had been offered by the audacity of this people, both to himself personally and to many of his attendants in the city, who were pursued with cries of “Huguenot” and similar words, in such wise that they had sometimes unavoidably come to mischief, not only with abusive words from the Parisians, but by the still more outrageous fact of his house having been attacked; besides which, he had received certain information that there was a conspiracy to assassinate him in his own chamber. He said he had written about all these things to his Queen, who had commissioned him to take leave and depart, which commission he had executed, but this Queen [Catherine de' Medici] was detaining him for four or six days, until she had likewise recalled her Ambassador [Paul de Foix] who was in England, and until a passport had been given him thence; wherefore he [Throckmorton] would depart tomorrow or the next day. He also told me that his Queen recalled him at the present time on account of these insults only, but that when these tumults should have been quieted, she would send another Ambassador. [Then follow nine lines in cipher.]
The King is on his way to the camp at Blois, whither he will be accompanied by the Lansquenets, who have remained near here for that purpose. The arrival of the troops from Flanders, and of the Spaniards, is also expected, when an attack will be made on Bourges or Orleans.
Paris, 6th August 1562.
Aug. 12. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 294. Marc' Antonio Barbaro, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
Here it is considered certain that d'Andelot, who went to Germany to obtain twenty thousand Germans for the service of the Prince of Condé, has not been able to do anything, because the Germans insisted on having two months' pay in advance, and good security for the rest. Some consider this to be a mere excuse. I am of opinion that the Germans, seeing how much their assistance is needed, and that the people in Orleans have offered Havre to the Queen of England, in like manner demand a seaport for themselves.
The King has deprived the Admiral [Coligny] of his rank, which is very great, and has bestowed it on Mons. Damville, the Constable's son. Other dignities and offices have likewise been taken away from those who are rebels.
Paris, 12th August 1562.
Aug. 24. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 295. Marc' Antonio Barbaro, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
All this year the plague has been constantly on the increase in Paris. It is asserted, though I cannot believe it, that fifteen thousand persons have died within the last two months. I am, however, informed that from sixty to seventy die daily in a hospital where the plague-stricken are received. There is also a great scarcity throughout the kingdom. (fn. 1)
These Lords sent Mons. de Vielleville. (Vigliavilla) to England when that Queen caused her Ambassador resident here to take leave, because they would not allow the latter to depart until this King's Ambassador in England [Paul de Foix] had crossed the sea. Vielleville is expected to return this evening to Paris, but from what the English Ambassador has said, it appears to me that the Freneh Ambassador will not depart thence, and that he himself will remain here until his Queen shall send him a successor.
Paris, 24th August 1562.
Aug. 29. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 296. Marc' Antonio Barbaro, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
Mons. de Vielleville has returned from England. He reports that the Queen intends to continue at peace with this King, and will by no means take up arms against him; though it is true that, knowing the House of Guise for its own interests to have put this kingdom in commotion against the [Protestant] religion, and that under this pretext they conceal other projects against her own kingdom, she will arm herself, not to offend the King, but those persons who have such an evil intention. And yesterday evening, by letters of the 23rd from England, it appears that some troops were already mustered for embarkation, and were only awaiting the Queen's command.
Paris, 29th August 1562.


  • 1. In a despatch of the 31st August, Barbaro alludes to the still further increase of the plague, and states that dead bodies were lying in the streets of Paris.