Venice: May 1563

Pages 356-358

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.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


May 1563

May 1. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 324. Marc' Antonio Barbaro, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
I have received confirmation of what I wrote lately, about that Frenchman who concealed himself under the bed of the Queen of Scotland, and who was suspected of intending to murder the Queen. I now hear from the lips of Madame de Guise, that when taken he confessed to having been sent by Madame de Cursolles, a lady in great favour at this Court, and supposed to be of this new religion, so that by this means she might defame that Queen, in order to thwart any marriage that might be treated for her.
Paris, 1st May 1563.
[Italian; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
May 15. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 325. Marc' Antonio Barbaro, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
War has been proclaimed in Paris against England. Artillery and ammunition have been sent in that direction (fn. 1) by the river, and provisions are also being forwarded. The Queen of England, according to the reply received lately from the gentleman who was sent to her about this business, still insists upon having the 200,000 francs disbursed for that place and the interest due subsequently, and also security for the restitution of Calais in due season; yet the English Ambassador [Sir Thomas Smith] remains at this Court.
Paris, 15th. May 1563.
May 18. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 326. Marc' Antonio Barbaro, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
The Queen came suddenly yesterday to Paris with the Court, to obtain from the city two hundred thousand crowns, and also to take possession of church property to the amount of one hundred thousand francs annual revenue.
The King went to Parliament this morning to obtain pecuniary supply against the Queen of England, saying that the 200,000 crowns would suffice to pay the Roisters (li Raistri) to quit the kingdom, which result the Queen greatly desires, in order that she may promote the war against the Queen of England, who had replied to the envoy sent to her by the Prince of Condé to notify the peace made by the Prince with the King, and to treat for the restitution of Havre de Grace, that as the envoy had neither power nor commission from the King, she would not negotiate with him; and that nothing must be said about Havre de Grace, unless the affairs of Calais were first adjusted; but that if Monsr. Daniville was sent with a mandate from the King, she would then answer his proposals. But as yet it is not even heard that the King means to send Damville or any one else to England.
Paris, 18th May 1563.
May 25. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 327. Marc' Antonio Barbaro, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
Four days ago her Majesty sent Monsr. Jacques Bourdin, one of the four Secretaries of State, to negotiate the treaty about Havre de Grace, and a report circulates that matters will be adjusted by money”; but I also hear that the restitution of Calais will be the chief difficulty. The artillery has been sent hence in the direction of Havre de Grace, but perhaps the negotiation will delay this enterprise for two reasons: first, to ascertain whether the internal disturbances can be quelled, and the Roisters (li Raistri) be got out of the kingdom, as otherwise it would be perilous to make any stir of arms in that direction. The other reason is, that all that territory has been so devastated by the war, that the army and the Court, which purpose going thither, could not be maintained, except at very great cost and inconvenience; and perhaps for this cause any expedition will be delayed till harvest, as the Queen desires to accompany it.
The Count Rhinegrave, who for the last eight months has remained with his entire brigade of Germans under Havre de Grace, lest the English should sally forth to devastate the territory, attempted a few days ago to occupy a fortress erected by the enemy, and he had a sharp skirmish there, two hundred being killed on both sides, the greater loss being on the part of the Rhinegrave; but it was said yesterday that he had occupied the fortress.
Paris, 25th May 1563.
May 31. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. 328. Marc' Antonio Barbaro, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
I believe that your Serenity will already have realised with what care and toil her Majesty has bestirred herself for a whole year, to find every means of adjusting the troubles of this kingdom, for it may with truth be said that she has rather performed the functions of a solicitous and diligent minister than preserved the royal dignity, having no regard for her own convenience, but being in vigorous action at all hours, with great mental anxiety, and endeavouring by every sort of graciousness and benignity to quiet and reconcile the chief personages. Nor can I omit to mention another great merit of this Queen, viz., her patience, address, and assiduous exertions during the time devoted by her to the councils of the government, and to her continual audiences, when she is most affable to all sorts of persons, and uses such courteous and agreeable expressions that nothing more could be desired. From my own observation this assiduous toil agrees with her Majesty, who not only exceeds all that could be expected from her sex, but even from an experienced man of valour, or from a powerful king and military captain, for her Majesty insisted upon being present at all the enterprises, and even in the trenches, where cannon balls and harquebus bullets were heard. The entire weight of the government of this kingdom now rests on her shoulders, there being no longer any person in this Court who can direct public affairs; so everything is ruled by and depends on her will. Continuing lately in the manner already commenced by her, she did everything possible to being the Prince of Condé here to Paris, but being unable to persuade him, or the Huguenots in general, to return to Paris, she took the Court to the Wood of Vincennes.
Paris, 31st May 1563.


  • 1. Havre de Grace ?