BHO

Venice: January 1568

Pages 408-412

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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January 1568

1568. Jan. 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 414. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
The negotiation with England will be resumed now that the English gentleman, who was expected, has returned. He arrived yesterday evening, to the great satisfaction of his Majesty, who desires, after the lapse of six months since the Ambassador commenced his negotiation, at length to see it concluded one way or the other. The Ambassador on his part desires the same result, as he considers himself to have been more than duly burdensome to his Majesty and his ministers, having been continually entertained by the Court with all his attendants, who exceed one hundred mouths, with the utmost liberality and honour, so that it is said that their charges have amounted to more than three thousand florins each month.
As yet it cannot be ascertained what decision has been brought by this gentleman, but by the outward joyfulness manifested by all the English they give it to be understood that he has brought a favourable reply, the purport of which must be known very soon. This evening the Ambassador has been in long audience with his Majesty.
Vienna, 1st January 1567[–8].
[Italian.]
Jan. 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 415. Giovanni Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
We hear from England that the Estates are being held in Scotland, and that the Queen's imprisonment has been so far relaxed that she is occasionally permitted to go hunting under a guard.
Paris, 11th January 1568.
[Italian.]
Jan. 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 416. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador with the Emperor, to the Doge and Senate.
Concerning the affair of England, I had an interview yesterday with this Ambassador, who, in a long discourse and conversation which he had with me about many things, very familiarly spoke of the marriage.
He told me not to believe that the Queen, by prolonging the negotiation and postponing her determination, did not intend to proceed to its consummation, because this was a matter of the greatest importance and consideration, which should be treated with all deliberation. Seeing the universal commotion throughout Christendom on account of religion, it was proper for the Queen to act with great precaution in that respect. As she herself did not wish to forsake her own religion, and still less wished the Archduke to change his, it was important to remove all occasion for insurrection or public disturbance which might arise in that kingdom by reason of this difference (of opinion). It was therefore necessary that he (the Ambassador) should return to England to give account to the Queen in his own person and vivâ voce of many things which he had treated and agreed here about this matter with the Emperor and the Archduke, and which concerned the firm, sure, and perpetual peace and quiet of that kingdom, combined with its subjection to both princes (the Queen and the Archduke).
The Ambassador continued that I might cherish the same great hope of the conclusion of the marriage as he did himself; enlarging at this point on the honour and repute which the Emperor would acquire from this marriage, besides the benefit which would accrue to him both by the aid which might be expected from that kingdom against the Turk, and also by the acquisition which his Majesty would make, for one of his sons, of the states of his brother (del fratello), who would very willingly exchange them for a kingdom and country like England, which is able to provide, with greater liberality than Styria and Carinthia, not only for him, but for all his descendants, were they as numerous as he could wish.
The Ambassador added, that it might happen that, before he arrived in England, a reply of such a tenour might come thence, that nothing else would be required for the conclusion. But in reality, as the Ambassador departs without any decision, every one at the Court believes and considers it certain that nothing else will follow. He talks of taking leave next week, and is waiting only for a final audience which he says the Emperor intends to give him, who, from the first day to the last, has favoured and honoured him extremely.
Vienna, 15th January 1567[–8.]
[Italian.]
Jan. 17. Copy, Venetian Archives. 417. Copy of a Letter from — to Giovanni Michiel; enclosed in Michiel's Despatch of 22nd January.
From the many conversations which I have had with the Archduke since I first came here, on the subject of his marriage, I could never derive anything certain, but I found his Highness's mind more averse (discosto) than ever; and now it would seem to be fixed on nothing else but preparing himself to go to the marriage and festivities of Bavaria, to which he has been invited. The marriage will take place on the 20th of next month, and he will depart on the 6th.
The truth is, as his Highness has told me, that the Emperor during all this time has written only one letter, soon after his Highness came here, and that was very brief, and announced no conclusion, save that the Emperor, after the relation made to him by the English Ambassador on the coming of that English gentleman who had been expected, had commanded the Ambassador to put all he had said into writing, in order that it might be the better reviewed and considered, and then sent to the Archduke. This fact has been confirmed to me by the chief Secretary of his Highness, and by one of the principal servants of his Highness who is not now here. The latter writes to me that his Highness does not wish anything to be known about this matter until the termination of a Diet which he has called of all his territories, because it is feared that if the men of the country (quelli del paese) heard that his Highness had received the Queen's final decision, and that the Queen and Archduke had agreed together, they (the men of the country) would not grant the Archduke any one of his demands, as the whole country is much opposed to this marriage; and for this reason the negotiations are kept secret.
By the same letter I am informed that as soon as the Emperor understood from the relation of the Ambassador that some few difficulties still remained, a despatch was immediately sent to the Queen, without saying anything to the Archduke, and a reply thereto is awaited. I find in the said letter many facts stated, from which the writer concludes that the affair is settled, but kept secret for the reason I have written.
Gratz, 17th January 1567[–8].
[Italian.]
Jan. 22. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 418. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador with the Emto the Doge and Senate.
The Emperor has attended all this week to the affair of England, and within the last four days the Ambassador has been twice in long audience with his Imperial Majesty. I learn from many quarters that, comformably to what the Ambassador lately told me, there remains nothing else to consider except the article touching religion, as all the other articles, if not already agreed to, will be settled with little difficulty.
The article touching religion remains undecided, because the Queen will not by any means concede to the Archduke a public chapel, still less a public church, with its music, choristers, organs, and all the other solemnities usual in the chapels of princes, such as the Archduke would wish to have. The Queen's excuse is, that if the kingdom would not concede this to herself, should she wish to introduce any innovation in religion, still less can she concede it to his Highness; and that it will be quite sufficient for him, at first, to have a private chapel within the palace, wherein to have a private mass said to himself and his attendants, as he might hope in course of time to have not only a church, but even something more than that.
But what matters most is, as I am told by a person very likely to know, that the Archduke consents to what it is most difficult to believe he would consent; namely, that he will go to England to settle the marriage in person, without first having any other certainty than an assurance to be given in a letter which the Queen will write with her own hand to the Emperor, to this or the like effect: that if the Archduke goes there for the purpose of marriage, he will not go on chance (a caso), but the Queen will show the respect due both to himself by reason of the nobility and greatness of his house and his own personal qualities, and to the Emperor, a prince so loved, esteemed, and honoured by her; and that she will not fail to give to both of them all due satisfaction, so that they shall remain content. Thus, if this article be agreed upon, the whole negotiation depending on it, it may well be believed that they will agree upon the others.
In view of the voyage which the Archduke is to make into England, I know that the Bishop of Olmutz in Moravia, a prelate with more than 40,000 florins revenue, has been spoken to, and requested to bear him company; and the Bishop is now beginning to make some preparations, wishing to go there honourably if the voyage takes place. Your Serenity will also see from the copy of a letter annexed hereto, (fn. 1) what is written to me about this marriage by a friend of mine, who is with the Archduke, and has frequent opportunities of seeing and speaking familiarly with his Highness.
The leave-taking and departure of the English Ambassador continues to be deferred from week to week, and will perhaps be deferred still longer, his Majesty having been attacked by a certain indisposition of hæmorrhoids from which he usually suffers, and which since yesterday has kept him in bed.
Vienna, 22nd January 1567[–8].
[Italian.]
Jan. 27. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 419. Giovanni Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
We have heard from Scotland that the Estates are being held, and that before considering other business, they had confirmed the Bastard in the government of the kingdom, and had also determined to enforce conformity with the new religion, by enacting a penalty with regard to noblemen who should do the contrary, of confiscation of all their property to the Crown for the first offence, and death for the second; and that all other persons so offending were to lose both life and property without any remission of sentence whatever.
The Earl of Bothwell (Boduel) is understood to have been banished in perpetuity, and all his property confiscated to the Crown. The Earl is now in Denmark, protected by the King. The Queen of Scotland is still kept a prisoner, with the same severity as at first.
Paris, 27th January 1568.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

  • 1. See 17th January.