Venice: May 1568

Pages 423-424

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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May 1568

May 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 442. Sigismondo di Cavalli, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Signory.
The English Ambassador endeavoured to obtain an audience of the King, to deliver certain letters written by the Queen of England, and, in conformity therewith, to complain of the proclamation published at Antwerp, whereby all English merchants were compelled either to live according to Catholic religion or to abandon commercial pursuits and the country also; but the King would neither receive the Ambassador nor the letters, and indeed has given the Ambassador to understand that if he wishes to remain here, he also must live like a good Christian. The Ambassador having heard the will of the King forthwith despatched his secretary to the Queen of England to give her all this information, and he had himself retired with his family to a villa two leagues distant from hence, where he will await orders as to what he is to do. I do not know whether his Majesty has lately had any cause for taking this action against the Queen, or whether the result proceeds from his excellent nature, which is obviously inclined in every possible way towards the persecution and destruction of these sects. Besides his great natural inclination to this effect, he is daily pressed by the Pope to take active steps; and the Nuncio has told me that he has frequently spoken to the King upon this subject, and that, amongst other things, the King has told him with great distinctness that he may assure the Pope that all the subjects of his Majesty's states must either believe what his Majesty believes, or be utterly destroyed and ruined, because it was far better to deal with them thus than not at all, also that his Majesty showed little disposition to adopt the counsels and advice of the Emperor, who had endeavoured to persuade his Majesty to proceed more diplomatically with regard to the provinces in Flanders. Your Serenity may be satisfied that the cutting off of the many heads which will be cut off is not due to the severity and cruelty of the Duke of Alva, but that these executions and every other event of importance are carried out by express orders from hence; and what more confirms my belief that the unfortunate prisoners will lose their lives are the words which a few days since the King spoke to the Nuncio when referring to the affairs of France. He said that the misfortunes of France were due to the French not having believed that which his Majesty more than eight years since had impressed upon them, and above all that they should at any risk secure suspected chiefs and by some means put them to death; and this incident tends to the belief that his Majesty will not fall into the very error which he has condemned in others, unless rumours from Germany of preparations being made there do not call him to pause until he sees what happens there, and in Flanders also. I have also heard upon good authority that when the Queen recalls her Ambassador, she will dismiss the Spanish Ambassador who is now at her Court, (fn. 1) and that he will be sent directly, without returning to Spain, to reside as Ambassador with your Serenity.
Madrid, 7th May 1568.


  • 1. Don Diego Guzman de Silva left England in September 1568. (See Foreign Calendar.)