Venice: March 1559

Pages 41-59

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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March 1559

March 2. Copy. Venetian Archives. 33. Letter from the Secretary of the Duke of Alva (enclosed in Tiepolo's letter of the 4th).
The Constable did not arrive until 10 a.m. to-day, and in the afternoon the Commissioners assembled, transacting business for two hours, and on going away what had never happened hitherto took place, for the French used to depart together, but to-day the Cardinal of Lorraine went out first, and shortly afterwards the Marshal de St. André, who was subsequently followed by the Constable, they all seeming rather disconcerted (alquanto turbati).
On arriving at their lodgings our Commissioners sent for one of the English Ambassadors; they remained a long while together, and this night they are sending a courier to England.
Cambresis, 2nd March 1559.
March 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 34. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
By my last of the 27th ultimo (fn. 1) I wrote what the Secretary, who came from Cambresis, brought back; and I now send the copy of a letter from the same person who wrote the others. I have also seen another letter of the like tenour from an agent who is kept there secretly by Chiapino Vitelli, which was sent to him by a messenger express, purporting that the re-olution of England had been brought, but in such a form that it would cause much dispute, and many persons no longer displayed their former cheerfulness and confidence in peace. The Count of Stroppiana, Ambassador of the Duke of Savoy, who came hither to inform him of the matters negotiated, reports that at the meeting of the Commissioners on the 12th, the French, after hearing the reply of the English, showed themselves disturbed, and rejoined somewhat harshly, almost threatening to continue the war. Here, however, I may say that the hope of peace has not much cooled on this account, and, indeed, I hear on good authority that the Duke of Francavilla had a letter yesterday from Don Ruy Gomez showing that he considers that peace is certain, and by the letters of the Bishop of Arras it seems that he has good hope of it. Much is said at this Court as to how the affairs of Calais could be arranged in case the French and English both refuse to cede the place; but the majority are of opinion that some agreement must take place with regard to this difference, and if nothing else can be done, they will conclude peace between France and Spain, and a long truce with England.
But King Philip, knowing how much it is for his interest that this negotiation should be concluded speedily, has again desired his Commissioners to endeavour to effect it forthwith; and I hear from several quarters that his Majesty has ordered levies of cavalry and infantry in Germany, whither money for this purpose has been sent from Antwerp; so if necessary he in a few days will have mustered a very large army, most especially as a number of good and experienced troops are in readiness. His Majesty returned this evening, the negotiations requiring his presence.
Brussels, 4th March 1559.
[Italian; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
March 4. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives (2nd Letter.) 35. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
The Commissioners did not assemble yesterday, because the day before they had disagreed, and the French remained together apart to discuss what was to be done. According to report, things were in a bad way, the French not choosing to restore Calais, nor the English to cede it; so that fortress has caused greater doubt of war than hope of peace. Both parties were nevertheless repairing and arranging lodgings and making new ones, as if they had to remain a long while in that place. The wife of the Duke of Lorraine is expected, with the consort of M. de Montmorency and other ladies.
Brussels, 4th March 1559.
March 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 36. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
Everybody considered it certain that the affair of Calais would not prevent the peace, so in the negotiations hitherto it did not give much trouble, as both Don Ruy Gomez and the Bishop of Arras, who were at the Conference, wrote what I advised in my first letter of yesterday. Subsequently, both sides determined not to give way, and therefore to-day their opinions are much changed, not that they despair of peace, but they have greater doubt of it, whereas before there was certainty.
One of the chief lords of this Court who was at the Conference of Cambresis, being acquainted with the Cardinal of Lorraine, who likes him, expressed astonishment to his Lordship that so small a place, and of so little value as Calais, should hinder so great a benefit as would result to Christendom from the peace. The Cardinal de Guise replied, that they would by no means have the English any longer in France. This lord rejoined that it was doing them too much honour to speak in this way, as if they were feared and esteemed, while it was notorious that they were no longer the, English of yore, but most degenerate (ma debolissimi), and capable of being in one moment's time driven out, not only from Calais but from all England likewise, were the assistance of King Philip to fail them; but the only reply he could obtain from the Cardinal de Guise was that they would no longer have them in France. So this lord (quest o signor) infers that some half measure might be devised, which would not utterly displease the French, such as either to dismantle the place, or something of that sort.
The Commissioners met yesterday at the house of the Duchess of Lorraine.
The English Ambassadors had sent an express to England, and the negotiations were suspended on their account.
Brussels, 5th March 1559.
[Italian; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
March 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 37. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I am told by the Prince of Ferrara and other personages of the Court, that yesterday evening a yeoman of his Majesty's chamber (valletto di Camera) arrived from the Conference, bringing him word that on Friday last, the 3rd instant, the Commissioners from France and Spain having assembled, the English Commissioners likewise being summoned, the latter were made to relate (fecero che riferissero) the decision which had been brought lately from their Queen about the affairs of Calais, and which, in conformity with what they had said previously, was, that she, having again consulted her ministers of state, neither could nor ought, for the satisfaction of her kingdom, come to any agreement without the restitution of Calais, demonstrating that she had taken no account of the offers of compensation made here, nor was she at all inclined to accept them. Thereupon King Philip's Commissioners added that they also, without a fresh commission from their prince, could not entertain any of the other matters concerning his Catholic Majesty in particular and the most Christian King, until those of England were adjusted (accordate). The Constable and the other French Commissioners, surprised at this, said that there was no occasion to proceed further, as their King would by no means consent to the restitution of that fortress: the Cardinal of Lorraine saying besides that of two things which in this negotiation their King most earnestly desired, he had at least obtained one, for if unable to introduce quiet into Christendom through the benefit of peace, which was one of his wishes and the chief of them, he nevertheless realised the other, by proving to the world that as a Christian prince he would willingly have come to any fair compromise (si riduceva ad ogni honesta compositione).
After this the French Commissioners wished to take leave absolutely, and to depart on the same day, but the Spaniards replied, that on the contrary, it would be well to delay until this resolution announced by the English Commissioners had been communicated to the two Kings, and their reply to it made known. The Constable, with the consent of his colleagues, answered that it was unnecessary for them to make any further announcement to the most Christian King, as they had brought his final decision; but being again earnestly requested by the Spanish Commissioners to wait at least until they in like manner had received his Catholic Majesty's final decision, which they professed not to know, the French Commissioners at length consented to remain longer three or four days.
Such being the state of the negotiations, there is at present more doubt and apprehension of their being broken off than of any pacific conclusion, unless some fresh proposal be made by King Philip, as seems credible from the efforts made by his commissioners to prevent the dissolution of the Conference; they on the other hand remaining perfectly convinced that his most Christian Majesty will not deviate in the least from his decision about the affairs of England.
Ferté Milon, 5th March 1559.
March 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 38. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
Amongst the other things said by the French, when irritated by the reply that England would not make peace on any terms without the restitution of Calais, was, that they could not add more to what had been stated, because it was contrary to the express order of the most Christian King, who had said several times that he would rather risk his crown than restore Calais, and should consider any one his enemy who sought to persuade him to that effect. The Commissioners of the Catholic King replied, that they also were commissioned by his Majesty not to conclude peace without the satisfaction of his allies. The disagreement was such that it seemed as if the Conference must break up, and all the Commissioners depart; but at length the French took time to write to their King what had taken place, an express being also sent to England, and replies are now awaited, nothing further having been done in the meanwhile. The Court discourses in different ways, and the majority are of opinion that peace will not be made. On the other hand some have good hope of it, for Don Antonio de Toledo, who is one of the three councillors attending his Majesty, believes it will be made; and Don Diego [de Mendoza], heretofore Ambassador at Venice, who has now risen in repute, it being reported that the King will make him his maggiordomo, is of the same opinion. The Count of Stroppiana, who was at the Conference as representative of the Duke of Savoy, told me he not only hopes for peace, but considers it certain. I, however, cannot vouch for the truth of these words, or whether those who uttered them were deceived by their wishes, but possibly they may be in possession of some secret unknown to us, about the intention of the King of France, or of the Queen of England, or of King Philip; but I see that contrary to their wont of late, the whole of this Court now fears more than it hopes.
A few days ago a she wolf came into the middle of the town of Cambresis, where the Conference is being held, in broad daylight, and after some struggle it was at length taken; and this incident is considered here a prodigy and an evil omen.
On the 5th instant the wife of the Duke of Lorraine arrived there, accompanied by the Duchess of Guise, daughter of the Duke of Ferrara, and they are expected to remain there the whole of this week, everybody present amusing themselves.
It is asserted here that the Queen of England promises King Philip to contribute jointly material assistance for the war, if he fails to make peace on account of Calais, and that she will spend a million of gold annually for three consecutive years; but it is remembered that the late Queen, though excellently intentioned, did very little in this respect.
Brussels, 9th March 1559.
[Italian; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
March 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 39. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
The difficulty of an agreement about Calais continuing, the French demanded a truce, to which King Philip's Commissioners were entirely averse; so the French made fresh proposals in order to find some mode of adjustment. Some persons say that they offer to give considerable security that they will restore Calais within a certain period; and this report has greatly increased the hope of peace. The son of the Ambassador from Ferrara, who has returned from Cambresis, tells me, that the French with whom he spoke there considered peace almost made, and alleged that it would be concluded shortly after the arrival of the Prior of France, brother of the Duke de Guise, who was gone to the most Christian King for his decision; and that in conformity with this the Cardinal of Lorraine, on coming out of the chamber where he had been conferring with the Commissioners of the two crowns, said aloud with a joyful countenace to a number of French lords who accosted him, that he hoped the peace would be concluded in a few days; and the Duchess of Lorraine, when her son asked leave to return to France, was heard to reply, that she wished him to delay his departure, that he might convey the news of the conclusion of the peace to the most Christian King.
The Conference is attended by many French lords and gentlemen, but none of King Philip's subjects are there, this Government having evinced a wish to keep the negotiation secret; so all are apprehensive of giving displeasure and seeming inquisitive.
Last night the Bishop dell' Aquila [Alvarez de Quadra] arrived from England, butas yet I have been unable to learn what news he brings.
Brussels, 12th March 1559.
[Italian; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
March 14. Original Letter, Mantuan Archives. 40. II Schifanoya to Ottaviano Vivaldino, Mantuan Ambassador with King Philip at Brussels.
I have returned from Northamptonshire, because on the 1st instant my master, “Milord” St. John, died, (fn. 2) but I shall return thither for his funeral, which is to take place after Easter. (fn. 3) I have been expecting to receive from Peveraro the money which I needed to purchase a hackney for your Lordship, but I have not received it. I am sorry for this; but poor I have been, and always shall be, having been born under an evil planet. Now, when I anticipated some good from the promises of my master, death has deprived me of him; and as if this were not enough, the affairs of the religion, by which people like me live, without God's assistance, will be overthrown. Although the Lower House passed the Bill (l'articolo) appointing Queen Elizabeth Supreme Head of the Church, nevertheless in the Upper House, after very great altercation and disputes on the part of the bishops and of other good and pious peers, the question has been consigned to silence for the last few days, and they have discussed certain other matters relating to the kingdom. But in the meanwhile the Court preachers in the presence of her Majesty and the people are doing their utmost to convert the latter, seeking to prove by their false arguments that the Pope has no authority, and uttering the most base and abominable things that were ever heard against the Apostolic See. For this and other reasons many persons are of opinion that the Bill will pass the Upper House likewise, against the consent of the prelates and of other pious lay peers, as will be known in the course of this week, for they talk of proroguing Parliament before the end of the month (perche dicono di terminare il Parlamento avanti l'ultimo).
The Act for restoring to the Queen the benefices, tenths, and ecclesiastical pensions which were confiscated by Henry VIII. (as written by me heretofore to your Lordship) has passed, (fn. 4) and under this Act, on the death of the Prior my Lord St. John, her Majesty caused possession to be taken of the house of the Priory, and an inventory made of all the property, notwithstanding that by the constitution the Turcopolier succeeds to the Priory. He (the Turcopolier) has done and is doing (as is his duty) all he can to maintain this Order, but has hitherto effected nothing, and still less does he hope to do should the Bill pass making the Queen Supreme Head of the Church. These cursed heretics, who till now have been in Germany, sow such bad seed that, owing to their sermons hitherto in London alone, there are some 10 sects of heretics utterly opposed one to the other; so this kingdom must come to ruin.
Nevertheless all over London they still persevere in saying the masses and Divine service as formerly, except in the Chapel Royal, as written by me.
Now that I have lost my master, and that things go in this way, I pray your Lordship to give me your advice about what I should determine to do, having already written to your Lordship that if I thought that our Lords (fn. 5) might choose to aid what little life remains to me with a small pension, I would not fail to persevere in what I have commenced, being their servant by nature and by obligation. I also think of going after Easter to see your Lordship at Brussels, having many things to communicate before my return to Mantua, but I wish to have the means with this opportunity of bringing you a hackney, together with those belonging to Monsignor Paioli and Signor Gio. Francesco Stella, which are very handsome and good, to judge from the trials made of them.
London, 14th March 1559. [Signed] Il Schifanoya.
P.S.—Nothing more is heard about the marriage. They are awaiting the result of this peace, and perhaps because they expect to be excluded, they have sent Sir John Masone to the Conference at Cambrai, and many people wish that he may reside as councillor (di consiglio) at the Court [of King Philip]. You will find him to be of a very gentle disposition, and very affable.
March 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 41. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday morning news came from Cambresis that on Saturday the 11th, the French and Spanish Commissioners quitted each other in absolute discord, King Philip's representatives seeming very angry, so that, proceeding to their own lodging, notwithstanding the urgent entreaty of the Duchess of Lorraine that they would return, and hear what else the French had to say to them, they never came back; and the Bishop of Arras wrote a letter to one of the chief personages of this Court, which I have seen, telling him that the French behaved so disrespectfully that he should have thought it expedient to dissolve the Conference, and do nothing further. But on Sunday the Conference was resumed, the affairs took another road, and they at length settled together the very troublesome difficulty about Calais, the English being content to accept the conditions proposed by the French, which are, to restore the place within the term of eight years, and in the meanwhile to give security for 500,000 crowns; and also, in exchange for Guisnes, which was taken from the English and razed (to dismantle a certain fortress in Scotland near England).
In a letter dated yesterday the Duke of Alva writes to a most honourable personage here that the affair of Calais having been adjusted the day before, the Commissioners were for a good six hours together on the 13th, and that they had examined and concluded the other matters in dispute, so that now it only remained to draw up the treaty and conclude a peace most honourable for his Catholic Majesty, there being restored not only to him, but to all the allies, all that had been recently conquered from them. The Duke of Savoy has informed my secretary that the agreement concerning Calais is reserved for the approval of the two Kings, and that besides the security of 500,000 crowns, the French will give hostages to the English, to be changed every six months, or from year to year, and it was hoped, this night, to have the conclusion of the whole.
I hear through King Philips confessor [Bernardo de Fresneda] that his Catholic Majesty is dissatisfied with the English, because their Commissioners negotiated separately from his Commissioners, and made a secret agreement with the French, and that the affair has been seen through (ben veduta) and understood.
The Duke of Lorraine with his wife and the other ladies left Cambresis yesterday.
Advices of the 7th instant from England purport that the Lower House and the Upper House (la Casa Bassa et la Alta) had debated together for three consecutive days about the religion, without ever coming to any agreement (senza mai accordare); so five days passed without speaking further about this business, and in the meanwhile they discussed other matters; but it was reported that the Queen would attend Parliament in order to persuade them to comply with her wishes. The Bishop dell' Aquila [Alvarez de Quadra] said on his return that he greatly fears that the Queen will alienate herself entirely from the Catholic Church, if she has not already decided to do so.
Brussels, 14th March 1559.
[Italian; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
March 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 42. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
As written by me on the 11th, (fn. 6) the Marquis d'Elbœuf arrived, after the Grand Prior, his brother, with confirmation of all the articles of the peace having been agreed to, with the exception of peace in Italy. On the same authority the agreement about Calais was better assured, thus: that at the end of eight years his most Christian Majesty binds himself either to restore it, or else the English are to levy for compensation (overo che per ricompenso gli Inglesi potessero levar) the sum of 500,000 crowns, for which his Majesty binds himself to give security and pledge in Venice, or to send equivalent hostages (tanti ostaggi) to England.
Then yesterday, through many trustworthy channels, including the Prince of Ferrara, and the Cardinal de Sens, who as Grand Chancellor has a seat in the “Council of Affairs,” I heard that the affairs of Italy have also been adjusted (accordate) to the satisfaction of the two republics of Genoa and Sienna, his most Christian Majesty having been content by the restitution of Corsica to gratify the Genoese, merely keeping for himself the town of Bonifacio and being repaid a certain sum on account of fortifications and other expenses incurred; while his Catholic Majesty has gratified the Siennese, by promising to have Sienna restored to them, so that by uniting it with the other members, their republic may recover its ancient pristine liberty.
The Queen [Catherine de' Medici] also says that King Philip wishes the marriage of the Princess Isabella, the most Christian King's eldest daughter, to be alternative, at his option, either with himself, or with his son Don Carlos; his Catholic Majesty taking the period of one month to determine; it being his intention in the meanwhile to see her himself, which he is expected to do at the time of the interview between these two kings, an event now asserted more positively than ever; so that, as, in addition to the above, Madame Marguerite has already sent hence to Cateau Cambresis her governor Monsr. de l'Hospital to sign her marriage contract with the Duke of Savoy, no one entertains any doubt of the peace being absolutely effected and concluded, as it is considered to be universally by every one, no less so than if its proclamation had been made; a ceremony which is supposed to be delayed until the Constable comes, he being expected from day to day, with the treaty signed and undersigned by all the Commissioners, and his object perhaps is to have the honour of proclaiming this peace.
Ferté Milon, 16th March 1559.
March 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 43. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
Although this treaty of peace is practically concluded, the stipulation is not accomplished (fornita), and the Duke of Alva writes that certain things, styled by him “minutiæ,” yet remain for settlement. Don Ruy Gomez came yesterday to inform his Majesty of what had taken place, which may be considered as a manifest sign that the most important matters are agreed upon. About the conditions I will state what has been related to me, and principally by the Duke of Savoy. Both Kings are to give up all the fortresses conquered during the late wars, but only after removal of their artillery and ammunition; and, in order that both sides may remain sure of the restitution, hostages are also to be given for the observance of this contract.
The fortresses to be restored by France are—in the duchy of Milan Valenza, and in these countries Marienburg, Thionville, Bouillon, Monmédy, Damvilliers, Ivois, and other places; by the King Catholic—Hammes, St. Quentin, and Châtelet. The Prince of Spain [Don Carlos] is expected to take for wife the eldest daughter of the most Christian King, but I do not hear that the conditions have yet been stipulated.
Calais remains in the hands of the French, who promise to restore it within the term of eight years; and until they assign satisfactory merchants' security in these provinces, they will give hostages, who are to remain at this Court, but not to be sent to England, lest they might become infected with evil opinions in the matter of religion. The French are also to dismantle certain fortresses in Scotland on the frontiers of England. The claims of the English to have from the French two millions of gold for arrears of the pensions and for the restitution of Boulogne [made to the French in 1550], are to be decided according to law. Many persons assert that King Philip has always had authority from the Queen of England to adjust her disputes in the best way he could, but that his Majesty, seeing the French so very desirous of peace, pretended to be very difficult to deal with in this matter, in order to obtain the greatest possible advantage, not only for the benefit of the English, but for his own, considering the convenience which the French have, by their possession of Calais, to attack Flanders at any time they please; wherefore he would not yet have so easily ceded Calais, hoping that the French would have been finally compelled to give way, if the English had not already yielded, and come to terms.
To the Duke of Savoy the French restore Savoy and Piedmont, retaining however, four or five fortresses, about which no agreement has been made; and the Duke is doing his utmost to have the number limited to four.
The fortresses which the French intend to keep are Turin, Chiavasso, Pinerolo, Chieri, Villa Nova d'Asti. The other fortresses will be restored within the term of three weeks, either as they stand or dismantled, at the option of the French.
The Duke will take for wife the most Christian King's sister Madame Marguerite, with a dower of 300,000 crowns, besides a life rent of 50,000 francs bequeathed by her father, secured on the duchy of Berri, and a pension of the same amount received from her brother.
Montferrat and Corsica are to be restored unconditionally; the one to the Duke of Mantua, the other to the Genoese, who promise to pardon their rebels and to give them back their property; but the fortresses on that island now in the hands of the French will be dismantled.
The places in Tuscany held by the French are to be consigned to King Philip that he may dispose of them at his pleasure. The Ambassador from Florence tells me that his Duke will have them, but not in the way hitherto believed; and when I said what a great pecuniary acquisition the Duke had made in thus obtaining a state so important that I considered it cheap at 100,000 crowns; he replied, that it would satisfy him were it to cost 150,000 or even 200,000 crowns, and that provided the Duke get the places all will be well; and that he thought he had deserved very well of him. This Ambassador intends above all things to obtain from the King for his Duke, by some sort of agreement, Orbetello and Port' Hercule, which are now held by his Majesty, so that he would thus become master of all Tuscany with the exception of what little belongs to Lucca.
King Philip has ordered his Commissioners to do their utmost to agree with the French to devise some remedy for the many discordant opinions about religion, reminding King Henry's Commissioners that they must desire it as much as any one else by reason of the great number of heretics in their kingdom. The Duke of Savoy told me he was advised from France that in certain caverns near Paris upwards of 2,000 persons were almost permanently assembled for preachings and other rites, practised by them according to their opinions and at variance with those of the Catholic Church.
It is generally reported at this Court that the two kings will confer together in the duchy of Lorraine, but the Duke of Savoy told me that as yet he knows nothing whatever about this.
The Duke of Savoy believes the final conclusion of the peace will soon arrive, and promised me that I should be the first to know it.
Brussels, 18th March 1559.
[Italian; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
March 19. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 44. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
The Bishop of Aquila [Alvarez de Quadra], who came from England, whither it is said he will return, is gone to Cambresis. He has been very reserved in conversation, so that not even his most intimate friends have the slightest idea of what he negotiated; but many persons from rumour rather than from knowledge say that his negotiation related to the marriage of the Queen of England to King Philip, and that he went to Cambresis to communicate to his Catholic Majesty's councillors now staying there the result of his mission; and that although he expressed fears of the Queen's alienating herself entirely from the Catholic religion, he did so to avert any suspicion of what he negotiated; but in other places he has bestowed on her as much praise for talent and ability as was ever given to any other woman. The Duke of Savoy, talking to me about this Queen, told me that he considers it certain that neither in religion nor in matrimony will she ever show herself a whit Catholic (che nella religione et nel matrimonio la non si debba punto dimostrar catholica).
Brussels, 19th March 1559.
[Italian; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
1559. March 21. Original Letter, Mantuan Archives. 45. 1l Schifanoya to Ottaviano Vivaldino, Mantuan Ambassador with King Philip at Brussels.
Parliament, which ought to have ended last Saturday, was prolonged till next Wednesday in Passion Week, and according to report they will return a week after Easter (fn. 7); which report I believe, because of the three principal articles the first alone passed, viz., to give the supremacy of the Anglican Church to the Queen (nor have they yet spoken of the marriage), notwithstanding the opposition of the bishops, and of the chief barons and lords of this kingdom; but the Earls of Arundel and Derby (fn. 8), who are very good Christians, absented themselves from indisposition, feigned as some think, to avoid consulting about such ruin of this realm.
The Earl of Pembroke (fn. 9), the Earl of Shrewsbury [Talbot], Viscount Montague, and Lord Hastings did not fail in their duty like true soldiers of Christ to resist the Commons, whom they compelled to modify a book passed by the Commons forbidding the Mass to be said or the Communion to be administered (nè se communicassero) except at the table in the manner of Edward VI.; nor were the Divine offices to be performed in Church; priests likewise being allowed to marry, and the Christian religion and the sacraments being absolutely abolished; adding thereto many extraordinary penalties against delinquents. By a majority of votes they have decided that the aforesaid things shall be expunged from the book, and that the masses, sacraments, and the rest of the Divine offices shall be performed as hitherto; but some persons say that this decision cannot last long, the Catholics insisting at any rate on retaining the mass, the offices, and the rest of the sacraments, and the Protestants (gli Protestanti) insisting on the contrary. Although the latter increase in number (avanzino in numero) they are not so powerful as the Catholics, who comprise all the chief personages of the kingdom, with very great command in their estates (paesi), having also many followers; and the greater part of the common people out of London, in several provinces, are much attached to the Roman Catholic religion. The members of the Lower House, seeing that the Lords passed this article of the Queen's supremacy of the Church, but not as the Commons drew it up,—the Lords cancelling the aforesaid clauses and modifying some others,—grew angry, and would consent to nothing, but are in very great controversy, as they must of necessity ratify what the Lords have done in the Upper House. From this discord still greater good is anticipated, and most especially the removal of the penalty of losing property belonging to the Crown, and benefices and bishoprics in the case of prelates, by any person refusing the oath for the first time, and for the second time, private property and life. (Onde con questa discordia si spera ancor maggior bene, et maxime di levar la pena di perdere i beni pertinenti alia Corona, et i beneficii et vessovati alli prelati, a chiunque negan' il giuramento per la prima volta, et per la seconda i beni particolari et la vita.) Nevertheless, they have hitherto severely punished the bishops, depriving them of many estates and possessions of their sees, granted heretofore to several laymen by Henry VIII. and confirmed by Edward VI. Queen Mary restored almost everything to the bishops, and rejected the claims of the laymen, who have now come before Parliament with their patents, which are confirmed. The bishops will thus be reduced to poverty; and they are also attacked by the modern preachers, one of whom, who is their scribe, and a member of Parliament, threatened that if things do not pass according to their will, he and his brethren, who call themselves ministers of Christ, will return to Geneva; and hitherto there may be about 300 who have come back. Your Lordship can imagine what injury it would be to this poor kingdom were these worthies (galant' huomini) to return [to Geneva]. I pray God to inspire them with this resolve, that there may befall them what happened lately to some 60 of their comrades who were returning in like manner to assist in cultivating the field of the Lord (il campo Dominico) (as they say), and went to fish in the realms of Neptune, who, having need of their doctrine there, desired Æolus to command the winds to sink them when crossing the Channel, as they did, together with three other Flemish vessels laden with merchandise. If these should perish in like manner, as I hope to God they will, Neptune would be a great gainer, for they are clever, loquacious, and fervent, both in preaching, and in composing and printing squibs and lampoons, or ballads (barzellette, et strambotti, over ballate), as they entitle them, which are sold publicly, of so horrible and abominable a description that I wonder their authors do not perish by the act of God. I thought of sending you a copy, but repented, not wishing to sow evil seed in your country.
The son of the Lord Chamberlain (fn. 10) returned, bringing King Philip's confirmation of the peace, his Catholic Majesty having perhaps chosen to know this Queen's will on the subject before publishing it May God grant it be true for the benefit of poor afflicted Christendom.
Whilst writing I hear the beat of drum through London, and I am told they are recruiting actively, but for what part is not known
The day before yesterday an Ambassador arrived from Scotland, and he has had audience. It is said they wish for peace, and that he came to congratulate her Majesty.
London, 21st March 1559. [Signed] Il Schifanoya.
March 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 46. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The difficulties that arose in drawing up the treaty of peace and its consequent proclamation, still detain the Constable, for from the first day when they commenced transcribing the things agreed to, after signing and ratifying (fermato) the agreement with England about the affairs of Calais, which passed without contradiction, the Spanish Commissioners kept everything in suspense by refusing to comprise New Hesdin amongst the fortresses to be restored in Picardy, and they insist on Bouillon being included in the Luxemburg fortresses; but what matters more are the affairs of Piedmont, where as France retains Turin, Chieri, Pinerolo, and Ivrea, Spain demands (as security for the Milanese) Vercelli, Asti, Cunne [Coni], and Fossano.
All these difficulties have been raised by the Bishop of Arras to the indignation of the French, the Spanish Commissioners having referred the matter to him as a wearer of the “long robe” (persona di roba lunga) and a LL.D. versed and experienced in other treaties of peace, as if this were his especial office; and although as yet the decision is unknown, Don Ruy Gomez having left the Conference on the 16th, on his way to King Philip, the general belief is that these things will only delay, and not prevent the peace.
The day before yesterday, his most Christian Majesty's daughter [Claude] Madame de Lorraine arrived from the Conference, having been presented by her mother-in-law, the Duchess, with a most beautiful jewelled necklace, which is estimated to be worth 25,000 crowns, and which was given many years ago by the Emperor Charles the Fifth to the aforesaid Duchess, when she married the Duke of Milan. (fn. 11) His Catholic Majesty likewise gave her a most beautiful jewel, valued at from 5,000 to 6,000 crowns; and both the Duchess and King Philip gave valuable presents to Madame de Guise, (fn. 12) who went in her company; the said Duchess having likewise given presents to all the ladies who accompanied her daughter-in-law, and there was not one of them, however low their grade, and slight their importance, but carried back some present of the value of 100 crowns at least.
Ferté Milon, 21st March 1559.
March 24. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 47. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
Don Ruy Gomez went back to Cambresis, and during this holy week King Philip, the Duke of Savoy, and almost all the other chief personages of the Court went into retreat outside the town. Two circumstances have been communicated to me: the one, that the French insist strongly on the Genoese restoring the property and castles taken from the Fieschi; the other, that the most Christian King had given King Philip to understand that if he thought his son Don Carlos too young to marry, his most Christian Majesty was content to give his daughter for wife to his Catholic Majesty himself; so that it remained for him to elect whether he would take her himself or leave her to his son.
The ambassador from Florence subsequently produced a letter which he said he had received from Cambresis to the effect that about the affairs of Tuscany the Commissioners had agreed that all the places held by the French were to be given to King Philip, on condition that the Siennese emigrants be pardoned, and their property restored to them; so everybody was so confirmed in the hope of peace that no one any longer doubted it. To-day however shortly after midday a Neapolitan gentleman arrived, having left Cambresis last night, with news that yesterday the Commissioners disagreed so much about the affairs of Piedmont that they all resolved to depart, and that he saw the Marshal de St. André leave Cambresis, as also the disfurnishing of the lodgings there of the Duke of Alva and of Don Ruy Gomez, and the very hasty packing of all their moveables; and he also found the Duke of Alva's harbinger on the road for the purpose of taking lodgings for this night.
The regret caused by this intelligence was increased by its suddenness, but towards evening a courier arrived, having left this morning with later and better advices, that the Commissioners had re-assembled, and it was considered certain that they would stipulate the agreement; so the first satisfaction and hope of peace have revived.
Brussels, 24th March 1559.
[Italian; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
March 25. Copy. Venetian Archives. 48. Extract from a Letter from Cambresis (enclosed in Tiepolo's Letter of 28th March).
On Thursday night we had all come to a rupture about the affairs of Piedmont, and the French vapoured (bravorono), so that they were to depart yesterday at any rate, but when they saw us remain firm, they controlled their anger, and were content to remain that day also. They went to the lodging of the Duchess of Lorraine, saying that if we would again attend the Conference, the business might be again discussed, which we showed ourselves ready to do; and from that debate proposals arose, about which the Cardinal of Lorraine on their part, and the Count de Melito [Don Ruy Gomez] on ours, went to the Kings to know their view, and as they are to return next Monday with the reply, we hope shortly to have the decision, good or bad as it may be. God grant that it may be such as shall be most in accordance with the universal benefit of Christendom. If your Lordship wishes to make a visit (di far una volta) either to Bruges, Antwerp, or Ghent, you can well do so, as for my own part I do not see how any decision can be formed until Wednesday or Thursday, unless the French have recourse to some extraordinary mode of negotiating.
Cambresis, 25th March 1559. [Unsigned.]
March 25. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 49. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
I have heard this morning that the dispute between the Commismissioners arose because the French did not choose King Philip to keep his troops in the Montferrat territory and in Cuni [Coni]; all this being done with a view to compel the Duke of Savoy at any rate to side with France.
Yesterday from the Abbey [of Gruniendal] his Catholic Majesty despatched a courier to Cambresis on this subject, but I know not with what orders, though here they hope for peace as much as ever they did.
The Governor of Paliano (fn. 13) has sent to the King to let him know that having entered that fortress on condition of keeping it in the name of the Pope and of his Majesty, as the Pope will not pay his share of the cost, on King Philip's giving orders for the payment of the soldiers, he will hold the place for him alone.
The Emperor's Ambassador who went to England has returned.
Brussels, 25th March 1559.
March 26. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 50. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The resolution brought by Don Ruy Gomez about the difficulties moved at the conclusion of the peace, was, that his Catholic Majesty would by no means restore the fortresses he holds belonging to the Duke of Savoy, choosing to retain them as his security against those which the King of France thought fit to keep for himself, nor did he care that the peace should take place otherwise. This was on Holy Thursday, the 23rd, and when the Constable and the other French Commissioners heard the reply, it seemed very strange to them; and after using very high words they caused their lodgings to be dismantled, and had their effects packed, intending to break up the Conference and depart, and they had already sent to prepare new quarters, whilst they themselves put on their boots. By another courier, however, it was heard shortly afterwards, that on the morrow (Good Friday) the Duchess of Lorraine (who, with the utmost zeal, ardour, and charity, regardless of personal fatigue, went several times, first to one and then to another of the Commissioners) at length obtained their consent to assemble once again before their departure. At this last conference of seven consecutive hours, they came to the following resolution, namely, that with regard to the fortresses of the Duke of Savoy, King Philip might keep, as at present, a garrison in Yercelli and Asti, but that he must restore the other unconditionally (liberamente). And respecting friends and vassals on either side, as King Philip now further demands the town of Orange, the two Kings are to put their respective claims into writing, so that when once terms in writing have been agreed to, nothing further may arise, as the French Commissioners think that thus far they have been deceived, because whenever they granted a proposal of any sort made by the Spanish Commissioners, and inferred they were to concede no further, the Spanish Commissioners directly came forward with some other proposal, ad infinitum; therefore, to postpone the conclusion no longer, it was agreed that, with regard to the remaining difficulties, the Cardinal of Lorraine and Don Ruy Gomez were to go immediately, each to their own King, for the final decision. Yesterday accordingly at 1 p.m., when least expected, the Cardinal of Lorraine arrived postwise, having left Cateau Cambresis on that morning, performing the journey with great speed; and he reported how on that same day Don Ruy Gomez had departed; both to return to Cateau Cambresis on Monday next, the 27th. By the coming therefore of his Right Reverend Lordship, who, since his arrival, during the whole of yesterday, and to-day, has been in consultation with the King and M. de Guise, and will depart to-morrow at daybreak, all that hope of the conclusion, which the day before had become not only tepid but greatly cooled, is now again heating, and everybody considers it certain that three or four days after his return the final conclusion will be ratified without any longer perpetuating this suspense, which, as it has troubled those who were far away, has still more agitated and continues to disquiet persons on the spot.
Ferté Milon, 26th March 1559.
March 28. Original Letter, Mantuan Archives. 51. Il Schifanoya to Ottaviano Vivaldino, Mantuan Ambassador with King Philip at Brussels.
I have not received any reply to my many letters, but will continue to do my duty.
Parliament was not only prolonged till last Wednesday, but has been sitting ever since, these “Fathers” being unable to agree, as although they had passed the article about the supremacy of the Church, they did so under such restrictions (sotto tali capitulationi) that the Commons would by no means consent to it. They are therefore in greater discord than ever, and on Thursday after the Easter holidays (fn. 14) they will sit again and reconsider the matter, which is committed to four good and Catholic bishops, and to four of their Protestants; “ mi voglio non vi sia giudice competente.“
During this interval they had ordered and printed a proclamation for every one to take the Communion in both kinds (sub utrâque specie). Some other reforms of theirs had also been ordered for publication, but subsequently nothing else was done, except that on Easter Day her Majesty appeared in Chapel, where mass was sung in English, according to the use of her brother, King Edward, and the Communion was received in both kinds (sub utrâque specie), kneeling, “ facendoli il sacerdote la credenza del corpo et sanyue prima“ nor did he wear anything but the mere surplice (la semplice cotta), having divested himself of the vestments (li paramenti) in which he had sung mass; and thus her Majesty was followed by many Lords, both of the Council and others. Since that day things have returned to their former state, though unless the Almighty stretch forth His arm a relapse is expected. These accursed preachers, who have come from Germany, do not fail to preach in their own fashion, both in public and in private, in such wise that they persuaded certain rogues to forcibly enter the church of St. Mary-le-Bow (de Arcubus), in the middle of Cheapside, and force the shrine of the most Holy Sacrament, breaking the tabernacle, and throwing the most precious consecrated body of Jesus Christ to the ground. They also destroyed the altar and the images, with the pall (polio) and church linen (tovalic), breaking everything into a thousand pieces. This happened this [very] night, which is the third after Easter.
I do not believe the report that the Queen, seeing the opposition to her title “Supremum Caput Ecclesise Anglicanæ,” has determined no longer to accept it.
Many persons have taken the Communion in the usual manner, and things continue as usual in the churches.
London, 28th March 1559. [Signed] II Schifanoya.
March 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 52. Paulo Tie polo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
Since my last of the 25th I have heard that the dispute between the Commissioners at Cambresis was so great as to render it necessary to hear the decision of the two Kings: so the Cardinal of Lorraine went to France, and Don Buy Gomez came to King Philip, by whose order he returned yesterday evening to Cambresis, where he will have arrived to-day before noon. They are awaiting with great anxiety the result of this day's negotiation, the uncertainty of which I wish your Serenity will understand by the accompanying copy of a letter addressed by one of King Philip's Commissioners at the Conference to a friend of his. It shows that the difficulty consists in the affairs of Piedmont, as the intention of the French was that King Philip should withdraw all his troops into the duchy of Milan, and leave Piedmont and Montferrat quite free, so that the Duke of Savoy would remain completely in their hands. By this means the French, instead of losing by this peace, would gain all that King Philip would release to the Duke of Savoy, who, by reason of the fortresses held by them, must depend completely on the French. The principal places held by King Philip are Coni, Fossano, Asti, and Vercelli, and in Montferrat, Trino, Crescentino, San Martino, Pontestura, and San Salvatore; but I have heard from several chief personages that if nothing else can be done, King Philip will be content to keep Asti and Vercelli alone, although the French will have four fortresses, namely, Turin, Pignerolo, Chieri, and Chivasso.
I understand that as the Cardinal of Lorraine had shown himself averse to the peace in various ways, the Constable did his utmost to prevent him from going to the most Christian King on this occasion, and wished to send someone else, but the Cardinal chose to go. The King is still absent from Brussels, as also is the Duke of Savoy, in the monasteries (ne' monasters). His Majesty said he would not depart thence until he knew the result of this day's negotiations at Cambresis.
Brussels, 28th March 1559.
[Italian; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
March 29. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 53. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
This morning a courier from Cambresis brought news that the peace had been concluded there yesterday between 6 and 7 p.m.; to-day, rather later, this was confirmed by Don Juan de Agivara [Yvara], who went straight to the King. Don Juan said that everything was settled, and that it only remained to copy the treaty and sign it. At Cambresis great rejoicings were made by both sides, and here the satisfaction felt is as great as possible. The affairs of Piedmont were adjusted thus: the French keep five fortresses, and King Philip two.
Brussels, 29th March 1559.
March 29. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 54. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
This morning, at daybreak, his most Christian Majesty, by two couriers, who came one after the other, received the very much wished for news of the conclusion of the peace, which by the grace of God was agreed to yesterday at 4 p.m. on the following terms: the reciprocal restitution of these parts of Ivoy, viz., Damvilliers, Montmedi, Marienbourg, and Thionville, in exchange (all' incontro) for Hédin, Terouenne, St. Quentin, Ham, and Le Catelet; the marriage of Madame Isabella, at King Philip's option, either with himself or with his son; that of Madame Marguerite with the Duke of Savoy; his most Christian Majesty retaining four fortresses, which he himself is to name; and King Philip keeping Asti and Vercelli; both availing themselves merely of the garrisons and not of the revenues, the courts of judicature, or the government.
The Republic of Sienna is to be restored to its liberty as before the war, and France gives Corsica to the Genoese, without retaining any fortress, or receiving any sum of money.
Ferté Milon, 29th March 1559.


  • 1. Not found.
  • 2. See Inquisitions post mortem (Chancery) 1 Eliz., part 3, No. 144. Inquisition taken at Northampton Castle, 24th July, 1 Eliz., after the death of Sir Thomas Tresham, Knight, Prior of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem in England. That record states that he died at Rushton in co. Northampton on the 8th March preceding, and that Thomas Tresham was his grandson and heir, aged 15½ years. An account of the Tresham Family was written by Mr. J. A. Gotch in 1883.
  • 3. In the year 1559 Easter Day fell on the 26th March.
  • 4. In the original transcript, the words are:—“Passò l'articolo di far restituire gli beneficj, decime, et pensioni ecclesiastiche alla Regina; che altre volte furno confiscate dal Re Henrico Ottavo (come gia ne scrissi a vostra Signoria), et per questo, morto 'l Priore mio Signore di San Giovanni, sua Maesta ha fatto pigliar il possesso della Casa del Priorato.”
  • 5. Guglielmo Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, his mother Margherita Paleologa, Duchess of Mantua, and Cardinal Ercole Gonzaga, his uncle and guardian in his infancy, when he succeeded his brother Francesco, 21 February, 1550, at the age of 12 years.
  • 6. The despatch does not exist in the Venetian Archives.
  • 7. Easter Day = March 26, 1559.
  • 8. Edward Stanley, 13th Earl of Derby.
  • 9. William Herbert, 20th Earl of Pembroke.
  • 10. William, Lord Howard of Effingham, was Lord Chamberlain to Queen Elizabeth from 20th November 1558 (see Foreign Calendar under that date) till July 13th, 1572.
  • 11. Christine, daughter of Christian, King of Denmark and Sweden, and niece of the Emperor Charles the Fifth (her mother having been Isabel, grand-daughter of the Emperor Frederick) took for her first husband, in the year 1534, Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan; and in 1541 (July 10) she married Francois I., Duke of Lorraine.
  • 12. Anna d'Este, daughter of Hercules II. Duke of Ferrara.
  • 13. See before, Venetian Calendar, Vol. VI., note to a despatch from Rome, dated 30th August 1557, showing that he was the nephew of Paul IV., and his name Giovanni Bernardino Carbon. On the 18th September 1557, the Pope and the Duke of Alva appointed him trustee or warder of Paliano till the 14th March 1558, when he was to consign it to King Philip's nominees, provided compensation had been made for it to Giovanni Caraffa, to whom his uncle had given it.
  • 14. Easter Day fell on 26th March in the year 1559.