Venice: April 1559, 16-30

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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'Venice: April 1559, 16-30', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 7, 1558-1580, (London, 1890) pp. 67-79. British History Online [accessed 29 February 2024]

April 1559, 16–30

April 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 60. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
All these Provinces have been convoked, that they may consider about providing payment for the debts contracted by his Majesty in his late necessities, which amount to a very considerable sum, as confirmed by everybody, and much time will be required for their liquidation.
King Philip has given the Duke of Parma leave to go to Italy, it being considered certain that after arranging his affairs, he will return to this Court to remain as Governor of these Provinces; for it has been told me that Don Ruy Gomez and the Duke of Francavilla promise to obtain this appointment for him if he desires it; so he has sent to his brother [Cardinal Alessandro Farnese?] and to his wife [Margaret of Austria] to have their opinion, he being very much inclined to accept the office, unless the necessities of his State compel him to remain at home. His Excellency explained to me one day his reasons for going to Italy: that he was only recently possessed of his State, and that the war and many disturbances had never given him time to investigate his affairs; and that he distrusted his neighbour the Duke of Ferrara. He also remarked that although his brother the Cardinal [Alessandro ?] Farnese might superintend his affairs, yet, in the event of the Holy See being vacant, he (the Cardinal) would have to go to Rome, and there would be no one to conduct the government in his stead. But he then added that, notwithstanding all this, should King Philip choose, he would overcome all obstacles, and would come to serve him, as he knew that this government of the Low Countries was, in fact, illustrious and honourable. His attendants consider it quite certain that the King Catholic, who still has the citadel of Piacenza in his hands, will give the Duke free possession of it, and that before the Duke's departure his Majesty will grant him this grace.
The Emperor Charles the Fifth granted to the Duke's father, together with the town of Novara, certain privileges, which are constantly infringed by the Government of Milan, who daily lay fresh taxes on that place; so his Excellency has requested King Philip, should he not think it advantageous for the duchy of Milan that he should hold Novara with such ample privileges, to allow him to exchange it for Pontremoli and Casal Maggiore; but it is not known whether he will be gratified in this matter.
It is reported that his Majesty will marry his Excellency's only son, the Prince of Parma, to a daughter of the Duchess of Lorraine, wishing thus to demonstrate his gratitude to her for the assistance she rendered in effecting the treaty of peace.
This youth is 13 years of age, possesses brilliant abilities, is admirably educated, and is of great promise; and having been sent hither as security for his father's good faith, he has rendered himself so extremely agreeable to the King that his Majesty evinces his great affection for him in various ways.
Letters from England, dated the 4th, state that the sittings of Parliament had been resumed, in which it was proposed that when bishoprics fell vacant the Queen was to be authorised to take of their possessions as much as should please her, in exchange for certain benefices appropriated to the Crown under Henry VIII., and restored to the clergy under Queen Mary; but the restitutions [have been] revoked under the present Queen by Parliament.
The eight Catholics, with as many others of the opposite party, held a conference, at which three articles were proposed for disputation—Church ceremonies, the administration of the sacraments, and the mass; but the contest upon the first article was so violent, the Catholics not being allowed to reply to what was said by their adversaries, that they separated without any decision; and the end was that the Queen's Council sent the Bishops of Winchester and Lincoln, and two of the eight Catholics, to the Tower, and commanded the other six not to quit London, and to present themselves at the Court every day.
Brussels, 16th April 1559.
[Italian; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
April 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 61. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
During the last ten days the Court has been on its way from Cussy (sic) in Picardy, to Fontainebleau, where not only these Princes but even the ministers choose to have every convenience; so the King has been much alone, and intent solely on sending to receive the oath of peace in Flanders and England. For Flanders he has appointed the Cardinal of Lorraine alone, and not the other Commissioners, as was at first reported. The Cardinal will depart apparently on the 25th, accompanied not only by a great number of gentlemen, prelates, and lords (signori), who form part of his household in ordinary, but by five or six of the greatest Princes of the Court, such as the Dukes de Longueville and de Nemours, the Grand Prior de Guise, and the two younger brothers, who have usually all of them a great number of retainers; and it is also said that he will be accompanied by the Prince of Ferrara and his brother; so that never did any other Prince depart this kingdom accompanied in such array as will his Right Reverend Lordship, who has told the Princes and the others that the more they exert themselves to be well horsed (parer meglio a cavallo), and sumptuously clad and ornamented, the better will he be pleased; so nothing is talked of here, but handsome and costly apparel.
The Constable's eldest son [François de Montmorency] and M. de Vielleville, knight of the order of St. Michael and Governor of Metz, have been appointed to England, and they are to be followed by many other lords and gentlemen, the Constable's dependants. The Duke of Alva and Don Ruy Gomez are expected from Flanders, but the latter, after swearing to the peace, will depart postwise for Spain. They will be accompanied by the Prince of Orange and Count d'Egmont, who are to remain as hostages until after the surrender of the Spanish fortresses, his most Christian Majesty having agreed first to restore those of France; and through the coming of those two personages they will conclude the marriage of the Queen Catholic, and settle the time and place of her being sent to and received by King Philip.
In the meanwhile the personages who arrive here from Flanders on their way to Spain, dutifully pay their respects to the affianced bride, and acknowledge her for their Queen and mistress; and the day before yesterday the wife of Secretary Erasso arrived here from Spain on her way to Flanders, having been ordered by her husband thus to do so before she left Spain; a proof that very long before the news was published he (Erasso) knew of the King Catholic's resolution about this marriage.
This lady was received with much honour by his most Christian Majesty and Queen Catherine de' Medici, they both honouring her greatly; and concerning this topic of marriage I will not omit to tell your Serenity that Secretary L'Aubespine, who was one of the four secretaries at the Conference, and perhaps the principal, lately informed the Legate here that it is also agreed to give his most Christian Majesty's third daughter, Madame Marguerite, a child some five or six years old, who was promised heretofore to the Prince of Ferrara, to the Prince of Spain, King Philip's son, and that this marriage will soon be announced.
The Duke of Savoy has already sent hither his agent (homo suo), the Count of Stroppiana, to the most Christian King, to the Queen, and to “Madame” his consort, but the Count has not yet appeared at the Court, being detained in Paris by certain affairs of his own; and although the Duke has announced his intention of being here in person at the end of this month, he is not expected to appear until the oath shall have been taken by one side and the other, and such restitutions made as were agreed to.
Both at the Court, and in all the other towns of the kingdom likewise, this peace was published to the trumpets' sound, and proclaimed by the royal heralds with demonstrations of universal joy, as witnessed by the bonfires (li fuoghi) and the public taverns prepared in the streets.
Moret, 18th April 1559.
April 22. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 62. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
Concerning the affairs of Tuscany I hear that Chiapino [Vitelli] can obtain no decision, and when he pressed Don Buy Gomez that it would be for his Majesty's advantage for the fortresses to pass into the hands of the Duke of Florence, he received for answer that it would be well to delay the matter for six months or a year, and then discuss it. The Ambassador from Florence has been robbed of a packet of letters sent to him by his Duke, and I understand that the robbers were two Spaniards who went to ask for the packet at the post office in the Ambassador's name.
A fresh and stringent demand has been made of the Ambassador from Ferrara, in the names of his Majesty, the Duke of Savoy, and the Bishop of Arras, for compensation for certain damages sustained by them.
The coming hither of the Cardinal of Lorraine and the Constable is deferred until the 8th of next month, and this will also delay the restitution of the fortresses, which was to have commenced within one month after the conclusion of the peace, but now it will not take place until King Philip's hostages go to France.
For this reason likewise the Duke of Parma postponed his departure from a wish to see those personages, who will be accompanied by the Prince of Ferrara and the Duke de Nemours; so it is said that on this occasion King Philip may reconcile the Duke of Parma to the Prince of Ferrara, and consequently to Duke Hercules, his father.
It is asserted that the Duke de Nemours will marry the eldest of the Duchess of Lorraine's two daughters, he being the cousin (germano) of the Duke of Savoy, and his heir presumptive. It is also reported that the youngest daughter of the Duchess of Lorraine will be given to the Prince of Parma, but the Duke's gentlemen say they do not believe it, because she is lame of one foot.
The Duke of Savoy is making great preparation for his journey to France, because he desires to appear in most superb array (perchè vuole comparer superbissimamente). He will take with him 100 gentlemen, besides those of his household, all of whom he will clothe in velvet and gold lace. He has also sent tailors to France to take the measures of several personages, that he may dress them according to the custom of that Court on wedding ceremonies.
His Majesty has made a free gift to Marshal St. André of his ransom.
Letters of the 11th from England announce that the peace had been proclaimed, and that on the same day certain plays usually performed daily in the hostels and taverns in derision of the clergy were prohibited, and that they (the English) were much afraid that this peace had been made to the prejudice and detriment of that kingdom. A gentleman (fn. 1) who used to write all the events of those parts to a friend of mine, who subsequently communicated them to me, will by this time have departed thence; so henceforth I shall have difficulty in imparting any important English news to your Serenity, yet it would be well at the present time to have sure advices from those parts, but I do not know to whom to apply, not being acquainted with anyone suited for such purpose, as the merchants are cautious about writing news.
The Ambassador Vargas (fn. 2) found it difficult to have audience of his Majesty until five days after his arrival, because he was suspected of having failed to do his duty about rendering Don Juan de Figueroa acceptable to the Pope, in order that he might remain at Rome himself He is now canvassing not to return to Italy, but to be appointed by the King President of the Council of Justice of Castille at Valladolid.
The Duke of Savoy has at length given me the treaty, but under promise of restoring it to him, as I did.
Brussels, 22nd April 1559.
[Italian; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
April 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 63. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
The Queen of England, being at length convinced how ill she provides for her security by never having come to any conclusion about her marriage with King Philip, now that the peace is made, and that his Majesty has given his word to take another wife, is so dissatisfied and alarmed lest some evil befall her through this peace and alliance, that at present she would on any terms gladly persuade his Majesty to break the promise made to France, and to take her for wife. Owing to this circumstance it is now confirmed to me from several quarters that whereas it was before in her power to dictate the conditions to his Catholic Majesty, so at present through the medium of the Count de Feria she offers King Philip her acceptance of whatever conditions and compacts may please him, provided she become his wife. This news causes much comment at the Court, where many persons incline towards this arrangement, it being asserted that two of his Majesty's councillors are of this opinion; one, the Count de Feria, who urges it to the utmost, promising that the Queen will turn Catholic, and the other, Don Juan Manrique; it seeming to them that the opportunity ought not to be lost for acquiring so great and noble a kingdom, most especially from the danger of its falling into other hands, which might cause the loss of these Provinces. With regard to France, they say that the most Christian King ought with reason to be more content (più contentarsi) that his daughter should marry Don Carlos in preference to King Philip, as the children born of the Prince of Spain would succeed to all the Crowns and States [of the monarchy], which, should the Prince live, would not happen to those born of his Majesty; and that even were the King of France to be unreasonable, and choose to envy and impede the welfare and grandeur of Spain, they would be better able to wage war than heretofore, because to King Philip's fortresses there would be added those of England, so that he could dispose of them at his option. This much only has been related to me, because as yet it is not known that any decision has been taken; but it is believed that King Philip will never allow himself to be persuaded by any person or for any cause to do a thing which would disturb the peace and quiet so earnestly desired by him. For it is manifest that nothing would give greater offence to the French than such a decision; it being very evident that if there is one single article in the treaty of Cateau Cambresis advantageous for France, it is the one stipulating the marriage of the King Catholic to the daughter of his most Christian Majesty; nor could anything offend the French more than to cancel that article by this matrimonial alliance with the Queen of England, on whose kingdom they are known to have a design, this intention being specially maintained by the Constable Montmorency, who hopes to put King Philip to sleep with matrimony (di adormentar il serenissimo Re col matrimonio), they in the meanwhile doing their own business.
I hear on good authority that they are greatly apprehensive here lest the Pope, who disapproved of the peace, seek to disturb it by availing himself of the affairs of England, as he might easily do, by proclaiming the Queen a bastard and a heretic, and that the kingdom had lapsed to the Queen Dauphine; as the French would suppose they had very just cause to go and conquer it, and King Philip would be compelled to suffer the loss of that kingdom, as it is considered certain it would be lost from want of fortresses, troops, and counsel; or else he would have to recommence the war. His Majesty has therefore sent orders to Cardinal Pacheco, first of all to perform every sort of office with the Pope, narrating to him the entire negotiation of the peace, and giving him the treaty; after which, he is to let him know that on the conclusion of the peace the Queen of England will remain Catholic.
It is heard that the Constable will not come to Brussels, the Cardinal of Lorraine coming alone at the time mentioned in my last.
Brussels, 23rd April 1559.
[Italian; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
April 25. Original Letter, Mantuan Archives. 64. Il Schifanoya to Ottaviano Vivaldino, Mantuan Ambassador with King Philip.
Last week (fn. 3) I wrote fully to your Lordship from Dover by Signor Giovanni Francesco Stella touching my private affairs, and on my return to London I find that Parliament has come to no further conclusion about the title “ Supremum Caput in Terris Ecclesiœ Anglicanœ” because her Majesty does not wish it; but they have settled for her to be Governess-General of spiritual and temporal matters in this kingdom, and they have already deprived all the bishops of their temporal revenues and estates, leaving them only the spiritual benefices and revenues, adding thereto the benefices impropriated by the Crown, which according to my belief they will never obtain, and they will thus remain very poor.
With regard to officiating and changing the service of the Church nothing more has been done, but it is supposed that everything will return as in the time of King Edward to the English tongue; and already in the Lower House they have carried the Bill to expel all friars and monks, nuns and hospitallers, destroying everything (et gia nella Casa Bassa havevano portata la cedula di cacciar tutti i frati e monaci, monache et hospitalieri, destruendo tutto), and assigning the revenues to the Queen, who will gain but little in the end; for they all make demands of her, some for a piece of land, some for a garden, some for a house, and some for the fee simple of estates for their residence (et chi il territorio, overo fondo delli luochi per accomodarsi); nor can she refuse, not having anything else to give them, from the poverty of the Crown; so for this reason everything will go to the bad. There is no doubt of the Bill passing, as it favours personal interests, and also because they will not hear mention made of friars or nuns, whom they call rabble (canaglia), and because they are near the end of Parliament, all being weary of remaining so long here at great cost and inconvenience; and therefore, in order to return to their homes, they will pass any evil thing, unless God give them more sense than they have evinced hitherto.
It is thought Parliament will close in a fortnight, all business ending at the same time. (Si tiene che fornira (fn. 4) il Parlamento, et il termine (fn. 4) tutti insieme, fra quindici dì.)
Last Sunday was the festival of St. George, the patron of London, and of the Order of the Garter, when the Knights of the Order kept the feast as usual with the accustomed ceremonies and vestments, only 11 being present out of the whole number, which is 26, the rest being either dead or invalided. They made the procession through the whole Court in their usual robes, not preceded by the cross, her Majesty being present; and this was the first procession that she has accompanied. It is true that she asked where the crosses were, and was told that being of gold and silver they were kept in the Tower. She desired them to be sent for, but as the Tower was too far off, and the time late, they hastily sent to Westminster for some, but found that those had in like manner been removed for safety; so without further scruple the procession was made sine cruce. After mass they dined all together in their usual manner, each of them being served with a dish in the Presence Chamber, her Majesty being in their presence, but in a separate place, having appointed the Earl of Arundel her Vicegerent. On the morrow mass for the dead was sung, all the Knights attending it, and her Majesty was also to have been present, but she changed her mind, objecting perhaps to the mass for the dead.
Her Majesty gave the Order to three Peers, viz., the Duke of Norfolk, Lord Robert Dudley, her Majesty's Master of the Horse, and the Earl of Rutland, who were received by all the Chapter. The Earl of Bedford [Francis Russell, 2nd Earl] had been thought of, but his election did not take place. It was also said that they would give back [the garter] to the Marquis of Northampton; but I hear that the Chapter held this proposal to be contrary to their statutes, so it is supposed that her Majesty will give him a dispensation when she shall have obtained full power from Parliament.
The Knights of the Garter appeared in the Chapel, robed as they were, garter on leg and the St George round their necks, and placed themselves lower than all, even outside the choir, where the others stood in their places, with their arms painted on card and affixed to their seats (et tenero il luogo di sotto d'a tutti, anzi fuora del coro, dove stavano gli altri nelli suoi luochi, con le sue arme dipinti sopra della carta, &c.)
Mass for the dead was sung as usual, except that they said the Epistle and Gospel in English, and that they did not elevate the host.
The deceased knights of this year were proclaimed, and the others [absentees] excused for not being present, by the heralds, and the priests having said the “De Profundis” they all went to their houses, having arranged amongst themselves the day when they were bound to perform this solemnity for the dead at their principal Church at Windsor.
Pray send this to the Castellan [of Mantua], as I have not time to write to him, being also a little fatigued by the journey from Dover. I shall be glad if your Lordship will inform me when the person whom his Excellency [the Duke of Mantua] will send to congratulate that King (quella Maestà) [Philip], will arrive; and whether you have seen the hackneys of Signor Stella, and which one of them you like best. Their purchaser was master of the stable to the Cardinal [Pole?]; he can obtain a similar one, if the money be forthcoming. You can write to me by means of the Venetian Ambassador, who writes to Monsignor Priuli every week.
London, 25th April 1559. [Signed] Il Schifanoya.
In a P.S. he announces the appointment of Ambassadors to France and King Philip (as elsewhere).
April 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 65. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The day after to-morrow the Cardinal of Lorraine will depart hence, so as to arrive at Brussels on the 10th May, and he will return hither postwise immediately. The Duke of Savoy is expected here on the 10th or 12th, and two days hence the Constable's son, M. de Damville, will be sent to meet him. On the arrival of his Excellency's household the marriage will be concluded, as also that of the Queen Catholic with regard to “giving the hand,” or to use the French term “faire les fiançailles” which is not expected to take place before the 8th or 10th of June, though great expenditure is already being incurred by preparing jousts, tournaments, masquerades, balls, and all other solemnities, especially a comedy which is being arranged by the Cardinal of Lorraine at a cost of 30,000 or 40,000 francs, so that this marriage may terminate with such stately pomp as is becoming. The like commencement of expenditure is also witnessed on the part of the Duke, who has already sent hither tailors (sarti) to take the measures of the gowns, not only for “Madame” his consort, and for all her ladies, but also for a great part of those of the Court, as his Highness's dependants; and not only for these ladies, but, as customary here, his tailors also took the measures of the King in person, of the King-Dauphin, and of 20 of these Princes and chief personages; all these gowns will be most exceptional and costly. To “Madame” the Duke sent a present lately, through Count Stroppiana, of 8,000 crowns annual revenue (in addition to the 12,000 assigned to her by the marriage contract), so that besides her own she may enjoy and dispose of 20,000 crowns annually; and he has given her the two towns of Santhia and Chierasco in Piedmont, which, being given to her, will perhaps not be dismantled. The most Christian King has also ordered for his sister a present of tapestries linens, cloths of silk of various sorts, bed trimmings, and other domestic furniture (et altri mobili per bisogno delta sua casa), to the amount of no less than 60,000 crowns.
Montmorency and Vielleville are also in readiness to depart for England next week for the purpose of swearing to the peace. They will be accompanied by M. de Canaples, the Marquis de Nesle, M. de Tarpa (sic), son of the Cardinal of Sens, and the Provost of Paris, to remain as hostages, until his Majesty gives the corresponding security (la respondentia et sicurtà) for the 500,000 crowns to which he is bound for retaining Calais; and he is sending as Ambassador to England a “Master of Requests” (un Mro. di Recheste), brother of the French Ambassador now accredited to your Serenity, and who in my time resided there as agent during the Ambassador's absence.
The poor delegates from the Republic of Sienna, which is now reduced to Montalcino (ritirata in Montalcino), although assured after the conclusion of the peace by the chief ministers here, and by the King himself, before the Commissioners returned from Cateau Cambresis, that they were to retain their ancient liberty, have been undeceived by the Cardinal of Lorraine, who plainly told them that if they wished to enjoy their property (che se vogliono goder i beni loro) they must subject themselves to the government under which the city of Sienna is now held; and that after his most Christian Majesty shall have withdrawn his troops and artillery from Montalcino and those other towns, they likewise must place themselves under Sienna as before (devano ancor loro ridursi come prima sotto Siena). This was, moreover, confirmed to them, much to his shame (con molta vergogna) by the Constable, to whom they also had recourse, although shortly before his Excellency, perhaps intentionally (forsi studiosamente), said the contrary to me and to others. So the Delegates, seeing themselves abandoned by his most Christian Majesty, and compelled to submit to the person least desired by them (a chi manco haveriano voluto), (fn. 5) are in despair, and say that the misery undergone by them for their preservation would at least have deserved that when abandoned by France they might have been left at liberty to dispose of themselves. But it has nevertheless been said by one of the chief Commissioners at the Congress that notwithstanding its having been stipulated (capitolato) thus, we shall soon hear that the whole of that State (the Siennese) united will resume its allegiance to the King Catholic, who, merely keeping for himself the citadel (la sola cittadella) [of Sienna—Talamone?], will restore it to its usual Republican form.
Moret, 26th April 1559.
[Italian; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
April 30. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 66. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
The talk about the proposals made to this King by the Queen of England to marry her has not yet ceased, but it is considered certain that his Majesty will not change his mind and his promise; he having been induced by several causes, and principally to avoid any occasion for the disturbance of the peace, which was effected with so much difficulty, either now or a short time hence, by the very great dissatisfaction which the French would feel if he took this course.
His Majesty is nevertheless commended for still retaining the Count de Feria in England, both to avoid making the Queen despair, as she would do if he were recalled, of the King's failing to assist and protect her, and also in order that he may help her to take some better course with regard to religion, and to marry a person not utterly unacceptable here. The Count writes to some of his friends that he has told the Queen plainly that, unless she become Catholic, the King can with difficulty show her favour and give her assistance in her necessities, and he thus became aware that her fears had increased, which might reserve her for a better future.
In the matter of her marriage it is not yet known what will happen, the suitors named being numerous, including Prince Ferdinand, the Emperor's son, the new King of Denmark, and the Duke of Holstein (Alsatia). She shows herself inclined to marry in England, unless she be deterred by the danger which threatens her, and the necessity for finding fresh defenders.
It is evident that the Ambassador from Florence has had no decision about the affairs of Tuscany. The Ambassador and his household (li sui di casa) complain bitterly of the King's confessor (fn. 6) for having performed evil offices in this matter.
The Count of Stroppiana, who was sent by the Duke of Savoy to France, has returned thence, having been very well received by the King, who gave him a gold chain worth 500 crowns, and by the rest of the Court, especially by Madame Marguerite, his mistress (sua Signora), who made him many presents.
Yesterday morning the brother of the Datary also arrived from Rome with the dispensation for the Duke of Savoy's marriage. It is said that he will go to France on the 22nd of next month, and in the meanwhile he is intent on arranging everything necessary for his appearance with great pomp at that Court. I hear that in apparel for himself alone and for others he is spending upwards of 60,000 crowns, and that the apparel which he has to give to the most Christian King, to the Queen his wife [Catherine de' Medici], and to the King Dauphin, will cost 15,000 crowns.
One of the chief gentlemen of the Duke of Savoy told me that the Count of Stroppiana was charged by the Duke to watch well the French King's inclination towards him, the pleasure felt by his Majesty in giving him his sister, and what hope he could have of obtaining some of the five fortresses held by France in Piedmont; so the Count having reported that he knew the King to be well inclined towards the Duke, and extremely satisfied with this relationship contracted between them, he believed there were fair hopes that on the Duke's going to France, and consummating the marriage, his Majesty would make him a present of some one of those fortresses, but that were King Philip to give up the two fortresses that he holds there, his most Christian Majesty would do the like by two others. The Duke therefore applied to the Catholic King to see whether his Majesty would give him these two fortresses, as the French would then surrender him as many more, and he was told in reply, to go to France and to try first of all if he could get free possession of any fortress, as subsequently King Philip will not fail to do what he could in the other matter.
The Duke of Ferrara has written to his Ambassador to keep on the watch [to ascertain] whether, besides the public treaty, there be another private one between the two Kings, and principally whether it contains anything against him or against your Serenity. This Ferrarese Ambassador, after showing me the [identical] letter received from his Duke, added that the Ambassador from Florence sighing deeply (con grandi sospiri) assured him of the existence of a secret treaty, in which mention is made of the marriage of the most Christian King's third daughter, and of things prejudicial to various interests.
I cannot assert that what the Ambassador from Florence says is true, because his discourse rarely proves candid and open, and it is possible that being moved by the suspicion which he has reason to entertain of some plot against his Duke, he uttered these words to elicit whether the Ambassador from Ferrara knew anything, for it has always been believed here that between the two Kings there is some secret understanding, which as yet cannot be ascertained; and my Secretary, when conversing on this subject with one of the chief attendants of the Duke of Savoy, was told by him that when King Philip shall have sent to conclude his marriage, and after restitution of the fortresses by one side and the other, the will of France and Spain about the affairs of Tuscany will then be known.
The Cardinal of Lorraine is expected here on the 10th May, on which same day the Count of Stroppiana says that he also will return to Brussels. I understand there are still some differences remaining between the two Kings about the reciprocal restitution of the fortresses, which might easily be removed on the coming of the Cardinal of Lorraine. Count Stroppiana also says that he will not be accompanied by the Duke de Nemours [Jacques de Savoie] and the Prince of Ferrara, Stroppiana having dissuaded the Duke, partly because it is undignified for one who is of the house of Savoy and might easily succeed to that State, to accompany the Cardinal as his dependant, and also because the Duke of Savoy, having contracted a close friendship with the Constable Montmorency, would not wish it to be possibly diminished through the favour conferred by his cousin on the house of Guise. I do not know what cause may have induced the Prince of Ferrara to change his original intention, but I heard the Ambassador from Florence complain of a report in circulation that he was coming at the persuasion and by the command of his father-in-law the Duke of Florence (fn. 7) and not of his own free will (et non mosso da se stesso), which circumstance he said would render his coming hither less conciliatory.
Last week a brave and very fortunate mariner, by name Pedro Melendes, was sent postwise to Spain to prepare the fleet, and he is expected to be off this, coast by the 8th of August, though he has promised to be here much sooner, his Majesty having determined to go to Spain by sea. The reply to the request which the French intend to make, that his Majesty will pass through France, has already been prepared, and it informs them that the Kings of Spain have never been accustomed to seek (a trovar) their wives, but that their wives should always be brought to them, not only to their own country, but to the royal residence; and that this same custom has been observed even with wives taken by them from Portugal, notwithstanding that kingdom is so near them.
I hear that the agent of the Pope's nephews who came to this King gave his Majesty to understand that he had commission and authority from the Duke of Paliano to cede to him all the rights that the Duke might have to that State, and that the Duke would make the cession should his Majesty choose to ordain that according to the promise made by him there be assigned to the Duke the principality of Rossano and the other revenues. He requested that this proposal might be kept secret, so that the Pope should not hear of it. I am told that the King, therefore, determined to do nothing in the matter, suspecting that if it were divulged, as it assuredly would have been, not only would his Holiness not approve, but would rather raise fresh difficulties.
Brussels, 30th April 1559.
[Italian; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]


  • 1. Qu. II Schifanoya.
  • 2. Vargas had been sent Ambassador to Rome in September, 1558. See Foreign Calendar, “Mary,” p. 393.
  • 3. Letter not found.
  • 4. sic.
  • 5. Cosmo de' Medici, Duke of Florence; appointed Grand Duke by Pope Pius V., 1st September 1569.
  • 6. Bernardo de Fresneda. (See Foreign Calendar, “Mary,” March 14th, 1558, Brussels, p. 364.)
  • 7. Don Alfonso of Este, Prince of Ferrara, married Lucrezia de' Medici, daughter of Duke Cosmo in June 1558,