Venice: December 1562

Pages 351-353

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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December 1562

Dec. 7. Original letter Book, Venetian Archives. 313. Marc' Antonio Barbaro, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
Yesterday evening the negotiations for peace between the Queen and the Prince of Condé were broken off owing to the distrust which the Prince and the other Lords have in respect of their personal safety. It is commonly reported that they demanded as hostages a son of the Constable and a son of Mons. de Guise, one to be sent to England and the other to Germany, which these Lords do not intend to agree to.
Owing to the arrival of reinforcements the Duke de Guise is eager to attack the enemy, and the Prince complains of having been trifled with in order to gain time for the coming of these troops, which are said to consist of five thousand foot and one thousand horse, of whom three thousand are Spaniards and two thousand Gascons; but having seen them outside the city I estimate them at much smaller numbers.
Paris, 7th December 1562.
Dec. 11. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 314. Marc' Antonio Barbaro, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
Condé has retired seven leagues from Paris, burning and destroying all the villages on his way. Yesterday the Council determined that Guise and the Constable should pursue him.
Further particulars have been obtained of the recent negotiations. As to the question of safety and of hostages to be given, Condé and the others were content to rely on the King's word, to be put in writing, with the oaths of the King, the Queen, the Constable, and Guise, and with a declaration of Parliament. The Prince also wished it to be declared that d'Andelot had brought the Germans for the King's service, and that they should be paid by his Majesty; but the other party replied that they knew the Prince had made deposit of moneys in England for security of their payments, and that the Queen of England had also given them security for the same.
It is further stated that the Prince bound himself, after publication of the peace by the Parliament, to restore to the King within the term of four days all the places occupied by him, especially Lyons and Orleans, and also Havre de Grace, which would be restored by the English at the will of the Prince.
Yesterday the English Ambassador [Smith] had a short interview with the Queen, who, as I heard from one who was present, did not regard him with a favourable eye, nor speak to him in a friendly manner, but dismissed him with few words. This has caused the rumour to be believed that six thousand English have arrived in Havre de Grace; and it is feared that Condé may take that road so as to unite with them, and also for the purpose of paying his troops (la gente sua) with the moneys which have been deposited in England. If this be true the war will be protracted with little hope of agreement, to judge from what I hear took place yesterday in the Council.
Paris, 11th December 1562.
Dec. 14. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 315. Marc' Antonio Barbaro, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
Mons. de Nevers, who was sent by the Queen to the Prince of Condé, returned without effecting anything; whereupon her Majesty despatched the Marshal de Montmorency, son of the Constable, on the same peaceful errand, but he also reported that Condé rejected all overtures. Thus it would appear that the war must continue, nor is there any further talk of negotiating peace through the Prince. But as I know that the English Ambassador [Smith] every day has long and earnest consultations with the Legate, I cannot but believe that they are dealing with this matter, although they may interpolate other designs and projects of their own [two lines in cipher]; but whether these designs are feasible or not, I will leave your Serenity to consider, and also what difficulties stand in the way of this negotiation, considering the interests and aims of other Princes. I content myself with having related what 1 have been able to ascertain until now, though I infer that some hope of a good result has been given to the Cardinal by the English, provided they can at the same time advantageously arrange their own affairs.
When the Prince of Condé left the neighbourhood of this city, he took the road to Normandy; and soon after the Constable and Mons. de Guise followed with the King's camp in pursuit of the enemy's army, but keeping at a distance of four or five leagues. Mons. de Montpensier is to join the royal army with 800 horse. It is regarded as certain that Condé intends to unite with the English, who, it is generally asserted, have already arrived, and that many more of them will soon arrive in this kingdom, whereupon they will encounter the King's camp, and give battle. Moreover it is said that the Prince is proceeding in that direction, because the Queen of England having not yet disbursed the sum of money which she promised in payment for the purchase of Havre de Grace, and having bound herself to pay the German troops who have come for the Prince's service, he (the Prince) now seeks to obtain that money from the said Queen; after which he proposes, having paid his troops and increased his army with the English, to maintain himself in this kingdom by force, and compel this side to fight.
Paris, 14th December 1562.
Dec. 20. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 316. Marc' Antonio Barbaro, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
This evening Mons. de Vielleville has returned from the camp, and reported to the Queen that to-day, at two o'clock in the afternoon, the two armies met in battle, and that the King's army has been routed, Mons. d'Aumale having been killed, and the Constable taken prisoner. (fn. 1)
Paris, 20th December 1562.
Dec. 22. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 317. Marc' Antonio Barbaro, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
Gives an account of the defeat and capture of the Prince of Condé. The English Ambassador [Throckmorton] who went to Orleans has also been taken, and one of the famous preachers of the Huguenots called Paroceli [alias François de la Rivière]. On Christmas Day the Prince will make his entry into this city as a prisoner, just as at Easter he made his departure hence as a great captain. Your Sublimity may well judge what glory Mons. de Guise has acquired by so great a victory.
Paris, 22nd December 1562.
Dec. 27. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 318. Marc' Antonio Barbaro, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
The Prince of Amalfi (Melfi), who formerly left the bishopric of Troyes, in order to join the Huguenots, has arrived here from Orleans. This so called Prince or Bishop (in reality he possesses neither title (fn. 2) ) talks valiantly and boasts continually, saying that it is necessary for the King and the kingdom than an agreement should be negotiated, because the occupiers of Orleans expect within two months so many troops from Germany and from England that they will be able not only to defend themselves, but to attack their adversaries; wherefore it would be better to devise means for every one to live according to his conscience. The Queen replied to him that it is no longer time to treat of agreements, and that course had hitherto been adopted out of respect for the Prince of Condé, as a Prince of the blood, but now that subjects only remain to be dealt with, everything must be referred to the King's discretion.
The first bad news which came of the rout of the King's army ran throughout the kingdom. Those of Dieppe, immediately on hearing it, rebelled against the King, and cut the Catholics to pieces. The same thing would have occurred in many other places, if the news had been confirmed.
Paris, 27th December 1562.


  • 1. According to another despatch, the Constable was conveyed to Orleans.
  • 2. He seems to have been a son of the Prince of Amalfi. See Venetian Calendar, Vol. vi., part ii., No. 837.