Venice: September 1568

Pages 418-420

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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September 1568

Sept. 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives, 430. Giovanni Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
Messer Giovanni Battista Gondi, a Florentine merchant greatly esteemed by these Majesties, and very useful to them in money matters, called upon me to-day, and gave me information concerning the King's inability from want of money to continue the war, and anticipate the enemy's movements. Gondi considered that if this state of things continued, a fire might blaze forth which would appal not only this kingdom, but the whole of Christendom, and that signs of this were even now apparent; for the Queen of England had written that these recent disturbances had greatly displeased her, and desired to know the cause of them, and offering herself as judge and mediator; and in the event of her proposal being rejected, she wished it to be understood that she could not do less than become united and allied with all Gospellers, the Queen including under this expression not only the Huguenots, but all other species of heretics.
Public matters being thus in a somewhat critical condition, the Cardinal had determined to ask for a loan upon security of the wine duties, which had been granted for six years, and which were yielding about 300,000 crowns per annum.
Paris, 11th September 1568.
Sept. 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 431. Giovanni Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
In my last letter I alluded to the Gospellers. His most Christian Majesty, who is now in good health, and intent on recovering his strength, would not answer the English Ambassador, who had spoken to him upon the matter referred to in my last letter, but said that he would speak of it in the Council, and in the meanwhile the Ambassador was requested to put into writing what he had said, which he did forthwith. It seems that he made use of words and expressions too dictatorial, at which everyone took great offence. According to my information the substance of his observations was, that his Queen marvelled greatly that his Majesty had not observed his promises made to those of the new religion, but was about to publish an edict to prohibit entirely the exercise of that religion; a decision which had greatly displeased the Queen, who advised the King for the quiet of his kingdom not to act thus, and offered to mediate herself with regard to any difficulty which might exist. She protested that otherwise she could not do less than assist the Gospellers, and also write to all the princes of the same religion, not to abandon them. She referred in particular to the Queen of France, saying that she had fallen too much under the influence of interested persons, specifying the Cardinal of Lorraine, by whose advice all these changes had been brought about.
His Majesty, on receiving the writing from the Ambassador, sent to his house to say that he would not give the reply to him, but that it should be made to his Queen by his most Christian Majesty's Ambassador resident with her; (fn. 1) so the English Ambassador, (fn. 2) understanding from this incident his Majesty's anger, returned once more, and in very humble language endeavoured to appease his Majesty, which causes it to be credited that he, urged by some one here, had exceeded the terms of his commission, and had then repented his conduct. It also seemed strange that they should have heard so soon in England of this edict, which here was only just approved, and its publication delayed, as is still the case, till his Majesty can come hither, and publish it in the Parliament, with his own mouth. In this edict his Majesty declares his will that within his Kingdom no one shall profess any religion save his own, namely, the Roman Catholic religion. His Majesty wills that all the officials, be they of the judicature or of any other class, shall live catholically, or otherwise be deprived of their offices.
He orders the Governors of the Provinces to seize and confiscate the property of all those persons who had taken up arms against this religion.
Paris, 15th September 1568.
Sept. 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 432. Giovanni Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
Yesterday at vespers the obsequies of the Prince of Spain were commenced, because the former ceremonies, having been interrupted, were not considered complete.
The Queen was present, but placed where she could not be seen; the Dukes of Anjou and Alençon, with all the rest of the principal nobility, were also there. They were all dressed in mourning, and the King himself would have attended had he not been prevented by illness. His Majesty sent to invite the Ambassadors, and presented them Florence serge, according to the custom observed on similar occasions, and in order that they might appear attired in mourning, but only the Ambassador from Scotland and myself attended. The Nuncio was unwell; the Spanish Ambassador alleged that he had had no letters from his King for more than three months, and therefore that he could neither affirm that the Prince was dead, nor assist at his obsequies; the Portuguese Ambassador has departed; the English Ambassador does not attend similar ceremonies; the Ambassador from Savoy stayed away for an unexpressed reason of his own, with which your Serenity is acquainted; and the Ambassadors from Ferrara and Florence were not invited on account of the question of precedence at issue between them, indeed his Majesty intimated to them that they were not to come.
Paris, 21st September 1568.
Sept. 29. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 433. Giovanni Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
Yesterday his most Christian Majesty came into this city, and shortly before his arrival the Parliament published the edict prohibiting entirely the exercise of the new religion, and those who professed it at the peril of their lives were to quit France.
Paris, 29th September 1568.


  • 1. Mons. de la Forest.
  • 2. Sir Henry Norris.