Venice: May 1559

Pages 79-94

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 1559

May 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 67. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
The French refused to come hither until King Philip's hostages were sent to France, but at length the two Kings agreed that the former and the latter were to depart upon the same day, viz., the 15th of next month. I understand that the hostages required by the French will be the Duke of Alva, the Prince of Orange, the Count d'Egmont, and the Count de Feria, who is in England.
I am also informed that his Majesty is despatching Don Juan de Yvara (Givara) to Montalcino and other fortresses in Tuscany, which are to be given up by the French; and it is reported to-day that between this time and the arrival here of the Cardinal of Lorraine, King Philip may possibly go to Antwerp.
Brussels, 1st May 1559.
May 2. Original Letter, Mantuan Archives. 68. Il Schifanoya to the Castellan of Mantua.
Parliament will rise this week, the two Houses having enacted that all the convents and monasteries of friars, monks, nuns, and Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem are to be suppressed as heretofore, and all these religious to be expelled. Such of them who will take the oath against the Pontifical authority, and approve the new laws, abjuring their own professions, are to receive pensions for their maintenance; but the greater part of them have left the kingdom in order not to take such oath.
Some persons assert that Parliament cannot end so soon, as they have commenced considering about a successor [to the Crown], concerning which matter there is very great difficulty, but they will probably refer it to the Queen, authorising her to make a will and elect successors as her father Henry VIII. did.
Here three Ambassadors are preparing to go to France: they will be my Lord Great Chamberlain, Doctor Wotton, and one Nicholas Throckmorton, knight; the two former to take the oath and confirm the peace ; the third to reside with his most Christian Majesty. It is understood chat in like manner Ambassadors are coming [from France] for the same purpose, and that the Bishop of Orleans will remain [here]. Both embassies will depart at the same time, so as to meet on the road.
Some say that by the coming of Mons. de la Marque, valet of the Chamber to his most Christian Majesty, who was here the other day by post, this expense has been spared to both parties; and now he has been sent back. Also at the same time a gentleman came by post from Calais, having been sent by the Vidâme [of Chartres], Lieutenant and Governor of Calais, and an Ambassador from Scotland; but nothing is known about their negotiations.
It is said Master [Sir John] Masone will go to the Catholic King; he was formerly Ambassador to the late Emperor [Charles V.]. Master [Sir Thomas] Challoner (Scialoner) will go to the present Emperor [Ferdinand I.].
The Count de Feria will very soon depart hence, owing to the anticipated confinement of the beautiful Lady [Jane] Dormer, who was greatly beloved by him, and is now his wife, they having been married secretly. He wishes to take her to Flanders before the event, if he can obtain leave from his King.
Here nothing is said of marriage, the Queen amusing herself by going here and there for pastime by (per) the beautiful River Thames, and the other evening she supped at Lord Pembroke's house; and every day there are dances at the Court.
The two bishops are still in the Tower, and the rest are very dissatisfied, but still firm in their holy purpose of losing life and property rather than abjure; so God will encourage them, as also all the clergy, not only in London, but throughout the kingdom.
My departure hence depends on that of Monsignor Priuli, with whom I am living now, and I think it will not take place for two or three months, as he is much occupied (travagliato), and very weak owing to his quartan, which does not leave him; and also because he has not yet executed the bequests of his Cardinal [Pole].
London, 2nd May 1559. [Signed] Il Schifanoya.
May 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 69. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
The demonstrations and performance of plays by the London populace (dal popolo in Londra) in the hostels and taverns, which as written by me had been prohibited by the Queen, (fn. 1) were, according to the account given me by a trustworthy person who has come hither from those parts, so vituperative and abominable that it was marvellous they should so long have been tolerated, for they brought upon the stage all personages whom they wished to revile, however exalted their station, and amongst the rest, in one play, they represented King Philip, the late Queen of England, and Cardinal Pole, reasoning together about such things as they imagined might have been said by them in the matter of religion ; so that they did not spare any living person, saying whatever they fancied about them. After the aforesaid prohibition it seemed that the fear caused by the news of the peace and of King Philip's determination to marry the daughter of his most Christian Majesty had greatly disquieted everybody, but subsequently it has become daily known more and more that their affection for religion exceeds their fear (ma dappoi ogni giorno piu si è conosciuto in loro, maggior del timore, l'affetto nella religione), as in the Lower House fresh measures (cose nove) have been proposed, and they talk about expelling the friars and nuns, the result being very doubtful.
The Queen would still wish to some extent to feign to profess the Catholic religion, but she can conceal herself no longer. On St. George's Day [23rd April], the patron saint of the Knights of the Garter, she attended the ceremony then performed, never having appeared at any other. During the procession not a single cross was displayed, and when the Queen asked where the crosses were, she was answered, that being of silver and gold they were deposited in the Tower, and could not be produced. On the morrow mass was sung as usual for the souls of the deceased knights, but the Queen, who was to have been present, altered her mind, and the mass was said without the elevation of the Host. With the consent of the Chapter, the Queen created the Earl of Arundel her Vice-gerent, and three new knights, the Duke of Norfolk, the Earl of Rutland, and Lord Robert Dudley, Master of the Horse, and son of the late Duke of Northumberland, a very handsome young man (giovane bellissimo), towards whom in various ways the Queen evinces such affection and inclination that many persons believe that if his wife, who has been ailing for some time, were perchance to die, the Queen might easily take him for her husband.
Her Majesty is sending as Ambassadors to France, to sign the peace and swear to it, Lord William Howard of Effingham, her Chamberlain, and Dr. Wotton, who was Ambassador there heretofore. Her Ambassador resident there is to be Nicholas Throckmorton. To King Philip she has designated Master Masone (Mastro Masson), who is a member of the Council, (fn. 2) and who for a long while was Ambassador with the deceased Emperor. (fn. 3)
The coming of the French Lords, being near at hand, has put a stop to the current talk and speeches that the Queen might still become the wife of this King; but much comment has been made about the trick of the French in taking for hostage the Count de Feria, who supported this policy and counselled the Queen accordingly. The French, by removing him from England, where he had authority to say and remind her of what they did not wish, seem to have thought that the Queen both in religion and in matrimony might the more easily rush headlong into some most fatal course, as it is affirmed that by Count de Feria's advice she abstained from taking the title of Head of the Church, and from many other evil ideas, which she might have already carried into effect
Brussels, 4th May 1559.
[Italian; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
May 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 70. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
The Duke of Savoy is sending a commissary to the most Christian King, that he may go in company with the one elected by his Majesty to receive the places to be restored, the Count of Stroppiana having brought back word that on the arrival of the Duke's agent the King would immediately give orders to commence the restitution, although King Philip's hostages had not yet arrived in France. The Duke purposes departing for France at the end of this month, and after consummating his marriage will return hither to resign the government of these Provinces, and then go to Savoy, remaining there for a month or two to arrange his affairs, and he will then proceed to Piedmont, where he has determined to make Mondovi his capital.
He is now sending a gentleman to Rome to thank the Pope for the speedy despatch of the dispensation for his marriage, and to beseech him to take Cardinal Caraffa again into favour, a result extremely desired by him.
These Provinces are preparing a present for him on his departure amounting to 40,000 or 50,000 crowns, but the Duke, owing to the many expenses which have been incurred by him, and which continue, is already debtor to the amount of 300,000 crowns. It was proposed to the Catholic King to send Stefano Doria to Monte Alcino, but the Luke of Alva opposed it, saying it would make the Duke of Florence too suspicious were his Majesty to send a Genoese, the city of Genoa being jealous of his greatness; so it has been determined to send Don Juan de Yvara (Givara), though the purport of his commission is unknown even to himself, but he has been heard to say to certain personages that if he believed the King was sending him to surrender the places left by the French into the hands of the Duke of Florence, he would not go, although he might expect a handsome present from the Duke. The talk of the Ambassador from Florence on this topic is now so vacillating as to show clearly that he does not know what the result of the matter will be.
The Order of the Fleece has been restored to the Duke of Parma, who, as was intended, has promised his Majesty in case of need to come and serve him here. The King is said to have determined that in case of war he is to be Captain-General in these Provinces, but in time of peace he is to remain in Italy in his own State, and for his departure he merely awaits the decision about his affairs, which his Majesty is expected to despatch from hour to hour, as he wishes him to return to Italy speedily, that the King's sister, who is to remain Governess [of the Low Countries], may come hither, and remain some days with his Majesty before the departure for Spain, in order that he may acquaint her with his will and pleasure.
The principal personages of these Provinces have heard most unwillingly his Majesty's determination that his sister was to remain to govern them, and amongst each other they use very excited language, bewailing their lot as well nigh a fatality that they should always be ruled by women, and now by a proud and illegitimate one (et hora da una non legittima, altiera), who until lately was the adherent of France, to whom all their secrets and deficiences will be known when the Duke of Savoy takes possession of his State, and hereafter will be communicated to Italy. They say in short that at any rate, if they were to be ruled by a woman, they would have been much better satisfied with the Duchess of Lorraine, who was born of royal parentage on both sides, and who had long resided in these Provinces and was much more affable and gracious to the aristocracy of the country. The King however has always inclined towards his sister, most especially because it does not seem to him that he can make very sure of the Duchess of Lorraine, as her son on every account is dependent on France. The Duchess of Lorraine however feels this decision with more regret than any she experienced in all her many adversities, it seeming to her that, having exerted herself so indefatigably and with her whole soul in negotiating this peace, taking part in everything and adjusting the disputes that occurred, everybody admitting that it was concluded chiefly through her, her dignity and reputation should have been held in greater account.
The German soldiers on these frontiers have refused to quit the places where they now are until they have received all their arrears of pay; so endeavours are being made to obtain the sum required from these States, who have already disbursed 200,000 florins on account of the subsidy. With this money and something additional part of the 2,000 “Blacksmiths” under the Counts Mansfeldt and Schwartzburg will be paid and disbanded, but they keep in pay the six German regiments, as also the cavalry and infantry of these Provinces.
Count d'Aremberg has gone back to Augsburg, taking with him bills of exchange for the money promised by these Provinces to the Emperor in 1556 at the Diet of Ratisbon as subsidy against the Turks; they having been unable hitherto to pay what they owed by reason of the war waged by them.
Brussels, 7th May 1559. (fn. 4)
[Italian; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
May 10. Original Letter, Mantuan Archives. 71. Il Schifanoya to the Castellan of Mantua.
On Monday last Parliament rose, and her Majesty went there after dinner by boat (barca), not wishing to ride (cavalcar) with the pomp customary and usual at the opening and rising of Parliament. Everything was assented to by her Majesty, and so all questions of religion will go to ruin (a basso). Already in many churches of London the crucifixes have been broken, the figures of the Saints defaced, and the altars denuded. Westminster Abbey, with the monks, and the rest of the monasteries and friaries, will be appropriated to the Crown, pensions being given for their maintenance to those who will swear to and approve the laws. The bishops, deans, and other prelates and beneficed clergy will likewise be confirmed, if they will take the oath against the Pope and against their consciences. From what I hear there will be few who will do so, the greater part of them having determined rather to lose all, and even to die if need be. Within a week all the Acts of the Parliament will be issued in print, and of the heads and articles of these you shall be notified.
On Ascension Day, while the procession of the parish under the greater church of St. Paul was going round the precincts (sagrato) with a large company of people, a rascally lad-servant (un furfante garzone) of these new printers against the Catholics violently and publicly took the cross out of the hand of the bearer, and struck it on the ground two or three times, breaking it into a thousand pieces. He was not molested, and nothing was said to him, save by some good men, who said to him, “Begone, you scoundrel;” but no one attempted to hinder him. Then he took a small figure from the said cross, and went off, saying, as he showed it to the women, that he was carrying away the Devil's guts (horrible and wicked words). Little less was done in another parish of London by two scoundrels, who, when the procession was about to issue forth from the church, placed themselves at the gate with naked swords in their hands, swearing that the ecclesiastics should not carry such an abomination, and that if they came forth, they should never reenter.
Thus your Lordship may see how the affairs of God and of the religion are faring. I say nothing about the painted stories and lampoons (le istorie dipinte, et strambotti composti), and innumerable books, which are sold publicly, in English, Latin, and French against the Pope, cardinals, bishops, and in fact against all the Catholics and pious people, and against the Christian religion, as it is a shame and reproach to have already written about them to your Lordship.
Yesterday the three Ambassadors departed hence, viz., the Great Chamberlain [Lord William Howard], Doctor Wotton, and [Sir] Nicholas Throckmorton, with a very grand and noble company. Those from France are expected here after the feasts of Pentecost, which they will keep in Calais. Preparations are being made to lodge them in the Palace of Lambeth, late of the most reverend Cardinal Pole, of good memory. Meanwhile her Majesty will go to Greenwich, to give time for cleansing the Palace of Whitehall, where she now is; and then she will return directly.
The day before yesterday there came Sir William Pickering (Mro. Piccherin), who is regarded by all the people as the future husband of her Majesty. He remains at home (in casa), courted by many Lords of the Council, and by very many other Lords and Knights. He has not yet appeared at Court. It was said that they wished to settle in Parliament what title they should give him, and what dignity; but nothing was done. Many deem this to be a sign that she will marry Prince Ferdinand, but as yet there is no foundation for this, although some one writes it from Flanders. Meanwhile my Lord Robert Dudley is in very great favour, and very intimate (priva molto) with her Majesty. On this subject I ought to report the opinion of many, but I doubt whether my letters may not miscarry, or be read; wherefore it is better to keep silence than to speak ill (mal parlare).
I desire to know whether my letters have reached you, as it is more than a month since I have heard from you or from Signor Ottaviano [Vivaldino], or from any one at Mantua.
London, 10th May 1559. [Signed] Il Schifanoya.
May 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 72. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Messieurs de Montmorency and Vielleville, who have been appointed to swear to the peace in England, departed yesterday, taking with them the Ambassador who is to reside there [Gilles de Noailles] and the four hostages; they were accompanied by upwards of 300 horsemen. News has also been received that for this same purpose the English delegates (deputati) likewise, namely, Lord William [Howard], Lord Chamberlain, ani Dr. Wotton, who before the war resided here for a long while as Ambassador, have already crossed the Channel, they in like manner bringing with them one of the Thockmortons, Master of Requests (Mastro di Rechieste); and the Queen, to reciprocate the office already performed by the most Christian King, who sent a gentleman to visit her with congratulations on the peace, has also sent another individual, (fn. 5) who has been well received, the King giving him a gold chain of the value of 600 crowns, such being the amount of the present received by the French envoy.
The Ambassadors from Mont'Alcino, perceiving their stay here to be fruitless, have taken leave, and the Corsicans also will have to adapt themselves to the same necessity, although they sent two of their chief citizens to protest against the great wrong done them by France, who made herself master of the island by force, without either being called or requested ; and now, after having maintained her in possession of it, at the risk of their lives and property, they are restored to the Genoese, who will chastise them with every sort of punishment. They are now told that such offices will be performed with the Ambassador from Genoa, as to secure their property; but neither the Corsicans nor the inhabitants of Mont'Alcino can place much reliance on these fair words, as I know on good authority that the chief intention of the King and the Constable is to gratify the King Catholic, and to have the best understanding they can with him, for the sole purpose of his doing the same on his part, not caring in the least for other Princes; and I hear through several channels that there is doubtless a secret understanding between their Majesties, about which it is very difficult, not to say impossible, to obtain any knowledge except through the result itself.
On account of religion many families have departed in secret from the town of Meaux, ten leagues hence, and retired into Switzerland with such effects as they could remove, abandoning their houses and real property, from fear of legal proceedings, owing to disputes with other inhabitants of the same town, which almost led to an insurrection. These circumstances cause great trouble, which is increased daily by hearing that for the same cause, Lower Normandy, Poitou, Limosin, Saintonge, and almost the whole of Guienne and Gascony are freely exercising the Lutheran rites, preachers having been killed in several places, images destroyed, and many excesses committed with regard to the sacrament. After the marriages, and when the restitutions shall have been effected according to the peace, his Majesty has determined to go into those parts principally to make provision. He will also reform his household and judicial matters, and above all those of the finances with these receivers and treasurers, it being said that since the Constable's absence there is a deficit of several millions of francs.
Paris, 15th May 1559.
[Italian; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
May 24. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 73. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday evening the English delegates (deputati) arrived with a less numerous company than was said for they did not exceed 150 horsemen. The Master of the Horse (il gran scudier) (fn. 6) was sent to meet them the day before, and yesterday they were met by many gentlemen servants, and of his Majesty's chamber. Before dismounting at their lodging, which is one of the principal ones (in Paris) and of those nearest to the Court, thus booted, as they were, they went to pay their respects to the most Christian King and Queen, who both received them with demonstrations of ancient familiarity, they having been known in this kingdom for a long while. This afternoon, they were conducted from their lodging by M. de Montpensier and other noblemen, and presented themselves to the King with letters of credence, and being lodged at the King's cost they will remain amusing themselves until Sunday next, the 28th, when they will swear to the peace in the due form in the Church of “Notre Dame.”
A report, which for a long while was secretly circulated through the Court, has lately been renewed through the advices of the French Ambassadors in Germany at the Diet, that it has been determined in the Diet to demand the restitution of all the towns of the Empire, whether occupied by the King Catholic, meaning Cambrai, or by the King of France, commencing with Metz; and as for this cause the Diet is said to be mustering troops, some stir is expected in that quarter.
It is also said, but in secret, that the King of Navarre is intent on engaging all such captains and military officials as arrive in Guienne and Gascony, where he rules, either to secure himself against any insurrection that might arise on account of religion, which is heard to be daily more and more in commotion, or for some other design of his, he being very dissatisfied with the peace.
Paris, 24th May 1559.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
May 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 74. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
The Cardinal of Lorraine departed hence last Monday, having been dismissed by the King very graciously and lovingly, and his Majesty having presented him with a service of gold and silver plate worth about 15,000 crowns. He has left here a very high character for being an adroit and prudent negotiator, and above all an eloquent one. The King also gave Marshal St. André, besides his ransom, a jewel valued at 4,000 crowns, and to the Bishop of Orleans a gold cup containing 1,000 golden reals, the equivalent of about 18,000 crowns; the Secretary de l'Aubespine also receiving a handsome present from his Catholic Majesty. It is understood that the most Christian King will do the like by the Commissioners who represented King Philip at the Conference.
When the Constable was released, he agreed to (fece taglia di) a ransom of 200,000 crowns, of which he paid 60,000 in ready money, and shortly afterwards gave merchants' security for other 90,000: so it is asserted that the Duke of Savoy, who receives this ransom, will discharge him from payment of the remaining 50,000.
A few days ago Mons. Danville [Henri de Montmorency], the Constable's second son, came hither with a very noble company of some 60 gentlemen, almost all of them being young men of his own age, and they were very richly clad. I can say nothing certain about the cause of their coming, some persons being of opinion that the Cardinal of Lorraine having come on business, the most Christian King sent M. Danville to pay a mere complimentary visit, the Constable having thus desired to have a share in the concluding offices performed here in the name of his most Christian Majesty; though others maintain that Danville had some other unknown business ; but it is untrue that he had many interviews with his Majesty, and he was three days at Antwerp.
Concerning the interview of the two Kings, I have heard on very good authority that nothing is settled, but that it will perhaps be discussed on the arrival of the hostages in France, and that should it-take place it would be shortly before King Philip's embarkation; but here I see little inclination towards this result, nor do I hear any person commend its being carried into effect.
From what his Majesty himself says he will at any rate embark in the middle of August, as he wishes to arrive in Spain as soon as possible.
The personages who are going as hostages to France will depart hence on the 2nd of June, but the Count de Feria, who is expected from day to day, on his return from England, will remain here with his Majesty until the most Christian King sends for him.
Certain advice has been received of the death in prison of Christian, ex-King of Denmark; so his daughter the Duchess of Lorraine has put her household into mourning, and has withdrawn from Brussels into a convent.
The most Christian King has sent to King Philip by Marco Antonio Sidonio, an agreeable and facetious Venetian, the portrait of his Majesty's daughter, who is to be the wife of the Catholic King, which the latter received very willingly, and has had it placed in his bedchamber.
By his prompt witticisms this Marco Antonio has marvellous means of rendering himself agreeable to sovereigns and great personages. King Henry on two occasions made him presents amounting both together to 1,000 crowns ready money, and gave him a chain worth 500. Many Princes and Lords of the French Court also made him presents, and now his most Christian Majesty has commissioned him to get up a grand play, which will cost some 25,000 crowns.
Here also he renders himself most agreeable to the King Catholic and all the chief personages of the Court; so before his departure he expects a considerable present; his Majesty having made him promise to come to Spain with the bride, that there also they may have the advantage of his plays and other entertainments.
Brussels, 26th May 1559.
[Italian; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
May 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 75. Paulo Tiepolo, Venetian Ambassador with King Philip, to the Doge and Senate.
This day has at length witnessed the departure of Chiapino, Vitelli, who, having come hither to condole on the Emperor's death, remained until now, seeking the advantage of his master, the Duke of Florence, nor would he go away until he had certain indication of what might ensue.
I hear from the retinue of the Duke of Savoy, and also from the nephew of the French Ambassador, that an attack may be made on Geneva the moment the Duke is reinstated, both to recover that city which he alleges belongs to him, as also to deprive the heretics of Italy and France of that convenient seat of refuge; which seizure, if effected, might cause some new and important war.
Advices have been received from Spain that at Valladolid, ten of the principal noblemen of that Province (Leon) have been burnt for heresy.
Four days ago news arrived from Rome that the Tope, at King Philip's request, had consented to free these Provinces from the spiritual jurisdiction of Cologne and Rheims, and to erect in them three archbishoprics and some bishoprics, which gives very great satisfaction here, it being hoped by means of these bishoprics to suppress heresy, which is but too rife. His Majesty will have the nomination of these archbishoprics and bishoprics, with the exception of Cambrai, Mechlin, and Antwerp.
Stefano Doria is gone to Nice, of which place he was of late King Philip's governor, and he takes funds with him to pay its garrison, they being creditors for twenty-three arrears of pay, and his orders are that after satisfying this liability, he is to pay the balance to the Commissioners of the Duke of Savoy.
The King has graciously rewarded several Spanish noblemen, not only with Commanderies, but also with ready money; and besides the Commandery of 16,000 crowns revenue conceded to the Count de Feria, he gave his brother Don Alonso d'Anguillara 50,000 crowns. To the Duke of Alva he gave 160,000 crowns, either on the Treasury of Naples, or on the first moneys from the Indies ; to the Duke of Sessa 140,000 crowns, 50,000 on the Treasury of Naples, and for the 90,000 he is to have 9,000 crowns revenue at Milan until the liquidation of that sum; to Don Juan Pimentel, of His Majesty's chamber, 30,000 crowns; to the heirs of Don Diego de Azevedo 150,000 crowns, to be levied in the Indies; and lesser sums to other persons.
On the day of Corpus Domini the King made his usual procession, to which the Ambassadors of the Emperor, of the King of France, of Florence, and I also, were invited. In the order of march the Duke of Savoy and the Duke of Alva preceded his Majesty, who was placed between the Ambassadors of the Emperor and of the King of France, and was followed by the Ambassador of Florence, alone, and after him came the Knights of the Fleece.
Brussels, 28th May 1559.
[Italian; the portion in italics, deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
May 29. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 76. Giovanni Michel, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday the most Christian King swore solemnly to the peace between his Majesty and the Kingdom of England, after mass had been sung in the Church of Notre Dame by the Bishop of Paris. Besides the English delegates (deputati), there were present all the Princes and the Knights of the Order of St. Michael, in more costly array than usual. We ambassadors were all invited, especially for the purpose of being registered as witnesses. To do moreover greater honour to the said delegates, in conformity with the King Catholic's treatment of the French delegates (deputati) at Brussels, the most Christian King willed that they should dine at his own table. After dinner, when they were about to take leave, they received a courier with an express commission from their Queen, by no means to omit administering the same oath to the King [Dauphin] and Queen Dauphiness, as Kings and masters (patroni) of Scotland, the peace having been agreed to with that kingdom as well as with this; and thus was it done on the same day in the private chapel of the Louvre, where her Majesty lodges, after evensong had been sung.
After this ceremony they then took leave to depart to-morrow, having received to-day very noble and most costly presents, the Lord Chamberlain, who is considered the principal delegate, having had a service of silver, valued at 7,000 crowns of the sun; Dr. Wotton, who is the second delegate, receiving a service of silver plate, worth from 4,000 to 5,000 crowns; the third delegate [Throckmorton] being Ambassador resident.
I did not fail to show the delegates marks of the friendship subsisting between you and the Crown of England, which they acknowledged very gratefully, testifying to the reciprocity of their Queen, who, from what they told me, will henceforth commence pressing (strignere) the affairs of her marriage, an Ambassador having lately come to her from the Emperor to propose his son, the Archduke Ferdinando, (fn. 7) although they say they do not know whether her Majesty inclines towards a foreigner, or a native Englishmen, because she has hitherto shown herself averse to marriage.
On the day before the Cardinal of Lorraine arrived from Brussels, with all the Princes and noblemen who had followed him, except the Duke of Lorraine, who remained at a short distance hence, as on account of the death of the late King of Denmark, father of the Duchess, his mother, he would not appear, nor allow his retinue to be seen except in mourning.
Not only the Cardinal of Lorraine, but all his attendants, expatiate on their cordial reception during their stay at Brussels by the King Catholic and his Court, and on the noble present made to the Cardinal of a rare object, a ship of rock crystal, to which were appended five or six rare jewelled ornaments, together with a service of gold plate, which altogether, including the ship, is estimated at from 28,000 to 30 000 crowns. The Bishop of Orleans [Jean de Morvilliers], who accompanied the Cardinal, and was present at the Conference [of Cateau Cambresis], also received a service of silver, worth 6,000 or 7,000 crowns.
Here also they are therefore preparing to do the like by the Spanish delegates, who are expected here at the latest on the 8th or 10th of June. So to-morrow, the most Christian King departs hence for Ecouen (Equan), a place of the Constable's five leagues hence, with the whole Court, where they will remain, until the lodgings in this town have been renovated; and to give time to prepare the palace of the Louvre and other neighbouring residences for the more honourable reception and lodging of the Duke of Alva and the other Spanish delegates (deputati), and especially for the person of the Duke of Savoy.
Paris, 29th May 1559.
May 30. Original Letter, Mantuau Archives. 77. Il Schifanoya to the Castellan of Mantua.
On the 23rd instant, the French Ambassadors arrived here. They were received at Dover by Lord Cobham, with a very honourable company. On the morrow he took them to his house, and entertained them with hunting and hawking for two days. They then went to Gravesend, where they found the Admiral with another company of lords and gentlemen, and a fair preparation of barges, to take them by the Thames to London. On arriving at the Tower they found awaiting them the Duke of Norfolk, the Earl of Sussex [Thomas Fitzwaiter], the Marquis of Northampton [William Parr], my Lord Robert [Dudley], her Majesty's Master of the Horse, with many other lords, earls, and barons, and in short all the nobility of the Court, well mounted and apparelled. The Duke and the Marquis placed M. de Montmorency between them, the rest doing the like by the others according to their rank, and proceeded along the wide street of Cheapside to their lodgings in the houses near St. Paul's belonging to the Bishop of London, the Dean, Master Peter Vannes, and other gentlemen thereabouts. The Ambassadors were preceded by a great number of their own gentlemen and of Englishmen, there being a great concourse of people in the streets, though it rained a little. On dismounting they found their lodgings excellently provided with convenient rooms and provisions for making good cheer.
On the morrow', Wednesday the 24th, after dinner, accompanied ut supra, they went to the Court at Whitehall Palace, where the Queen now resides, and having entered the great hall on the ground floor, hung with very choice tapestries, with the canopy, throne, and royal cushions, they were received by the Earl of Arundel, the Lord Steward, with all the rest of the Lords of the Privy Council, and mounting the stairs they went to kiss [hands] and do reverence to the Queen, who received them very joyfully and graciously, going to meet them as far as the guard chamber at the head of the stairs (doppo le scale); and being conducted to the presence chamber, they presented their credentials, and explained their embassy, everybody standing. After conversing for an hour her Majesty withdrew, and they were taken to the Park of the said Palace to see a pair of bucks killed, one by dogs, the other by archers, very much to their diversion till the hour for supper, to which the Queen had invited them. Meanwhile a sumptuous feast was being prepared in the garden of the said place (loco), under the long and wide gallery on the ground floor (galeria terena), which was all hung with gold and silver brocade, and divided into three apartments, in the centre of which was the table prepared for her Majesty, and at a short distance from it another for the Ambassadors. There was also a table 54 paces in length for the other lords, gentlemen, and ladies. The whole gallery was closed in with wreaths of flowers and leaves of most beautiful designs, which gave a very sweet odour and were marvellous to behold, having been prepared in less than two evenings so as to keep them fresh.
On returning from the hunt at 6 p.m. they entered the garden by a private gate, where they were met by her Majesty, dressed entirely in purple velvet, with so much gold and so many pearls and jewels that it added much to her beauty. She took M. de Montmorency with her right hand and M. de Vielleville with the left, and they walked in the private orchard (broletto) for more than a full hour, her Majesty speaking with them most sweetly and familiarly in French, as readily as she does Italian, Latin, and Greek, all which tongues she uses at pleasure, and in so loud a tone as to be heard by everybody. From what I myself heard, she discoursed about her tribulations in past times, saying that if the love which the people bore her had not been so great, they [the late sovereigns?] would have put her to death when they placed her in the Tower; and she thanked God, &c.
The supper hour having arrived, the trumpets sounded, and her Majesty went to the door of the gallery, which was however an artificial one made of flowers, leaves, and roses. In the two corners of the gallery were two semicircular cupboards, laden with most precious and costly drinking cups of gold and of rock crystal and other jewels. The Queen, having washed her hands, and being at table under her canopy, insisted on having M. de Montmorency at her little table, which stood crosswise at the head of the other tables. On the same platform, at the second table, the other two Ambassadors were seated, with the younger son of the Constable. At the large table all the rest of the French lords and gentlemen sat on one side, and on the other all the ladies, of whom there was no small number, and who required so much space on account of the farthingales they wore that there was not room for all; so part of the Privy Chamber ate on the ground on the rushes, being excellently served by lords and cavaliers, who gave them courage and company at their repast. (Alla gran tavola sedettero tutt' il resto de Signori et gentil' homini Francesi da un lata, et dall' altro tutte le Damme, quale erano non picciol numero, et perchè tengono molto loco rispetto alii loro verdugali che vestono, non vipotero capir tutte; ma parte della Camera privata mangiomo in terra sulli rusci, serviti eccellentemente da Signori et Cavalieri, che gli facevano corraggio, et anco compagnia in mangiare, cosi servendo.)
The banquet was wonderful for large and excellent joints, but the delicacies and cleanliness customary in Italy were wanting. It lasted for two hours, with music of several sorts. After supper, the tables being removed, they danced till the eleventh hour of the night, and when her Majesty retired everybody went to their lodgings.
Next day they returned to the Court in full dress (pontificalmente vestiti), with the collar of St. Michael, being preceded by the captains and others, all in pompous array, to take the oath. They went into the chapel of the Palace, where, in presence of the Queen M de Montmorency promised, swore, &c, and afterwards the other two (Ambassadors) [did the same], with the ceremonies, &c. Montmorency swore twice, once for France, and again for Scotland; and he offered to take the Communion, that being Corpus Christi Day, which festival was celebrated all over the world, except in England, but her Majesty did not wish it; so they were not much edified by this [omission], or by seeing the people working all over London, and the shops open on that day.
They remained all that day at the Court, and dined and supped with the Queen, not in the garden, but in the large wing (ala) of the Palace, and being seen to do so publicly, they were honoured by everybody.
It was arranged for the morrow to go on a pleasure excursion to Hampton Court, to see that stupendous place, which is so replete with every convenience, and then in the evening they were to lodge at Richmond, but they were disturbed and kept indoors by the coming of the hostages on that day, they not having been able to cross the Channel all together from Boulogne and Calais, owing to the diversity of the winds.
Next day, Saturday, the Ambassadors went to present them [the hostages], and at the same time to take leave to depart on the following day; and so all of them departed, M. de Noailles, brother of the Bishop, who is Ambassador at Venice, and the hostages remaining They were accompanied to Gravesend and the seaside by many persons, and from what I hear they were very well satisfied both with the kingdom and their reception.
An Ambassador from the Emperor arrived here two days ago, and had audience yesterday. Many say he is come to treat the marriage with Prince Ferdinand, and that a greater personage will follow with precious gifts, should the reply to this one be hopeful. He came postwise, and is lodged at Durham Place.
[Jane] Dormer, Countess de Feria, also lodges in the same place; she keeps table and house there with her mother Mistress Clarentius, “etc., tutte del suo latino,” and the Bishop dell' Aquila, who remained here as Ambassador for King Philip after the departure of the Count de Feria. The Count departed a fortnight ago, and it has not yet been heard what present the Queen made him at his departure, saving that he asked of her as a special favour, instead of gifts, a passport for passage to Flanders of all the monks, friars, and nuns now here, who were required to renounce their profession, swear against the Pope, and observe the articles lately enacted against the Christian and Catholic Church, besides being expelled and driven out of their monasteries and convents, had they been men to consent to this, but they had determined to die rather than change their purpose.
The Queen did not act thus with the French Lords, to whom she made gifts more than splendid, viz.
To Mons. de Montmorency : a tankard (boccale) and bason of gold of the value of 1,400 [crowns], equivalent to 5,600 “di questi” [English crowns?]; 15 cups of silver gilt with 5 covers, worth 700 [crowns] = 2,800; two dozen spoons and “pironi” (fn. 8) of silver, gilt and worked superbly; two of the best and most beautiful hackneys that were in her stall; divers doers—mastiffs, great and small, hounds (scureiri), and setters—a quantity of every sort.
To Mons. de Vielleville: the same [articles], but of less value, and without spoons, “pironi,” hackneys, or dogs.
To the brother of Mons. de Montmorency : most valuable clothes, which had belonged to King Edward her brother, and suitable to his person, he being of the same age [as that King was].
To all the principal gentlemen: a chain of gold each, according to their qualities.
I have nothing else to tell you, save that, with regard to religion, they live (si vive) in all respects in the Lutheran fashion, in all the churches of London, except St. Paul's, which still keeps firm in its former state until the day of St. John the Baptist (24th June), when the period prescribed by Parliament expires, the Act being in the press, and soon about to appear; but the Council nevertheless sent twice or thrice to summon the Bishop of London [Edmund Bonner], to give him orders to remove the service of the mass and of the Divine office in that church; but he answered them intrepidly, “I possess three things, soul, body, and property (robba); of the two [last] you can dispose at your pleasure, but as to the soul God alone can command me.”
He remains constant about body and property, and again to day he has been called to the Council, but I do not yet know what they said to him. All the Bishops are likewise disposed to await their sentence and decision, and many other prelates after them; which sentence and decision will soon be known. In the interval the false preachers do not fail to preach publicly in all the churches, demanding their revenues.
London, 30th May 1559. [Signed] Il Schifanoya.
Names of the French gentlemen who came in the Embassy to England:—
Mons. de Montmorency, with a train of 30 gentlemen.
Mons. de Vielleville, with a train of 6 gentlemen.
The [resident] Ambassador, Mons. de Noailles the Councillor, and his train.
The hostages: Mons. de Candale, Mons. Marquis de Neste, Mons. Marquis de Iran, Mons. de Mantouller (sic).
Gentlemen of the King's Chamber (34 names).
And divers others, including the Governors of places in Picardy.


  • 1. See letter dated Brussels, 22nd April 1559.
  • 2. Sir John Masone had been one of Queen Mary's councillors, but his name does not appear in the list of those of her successor.
  • 3. See Foreign Calendar and Venetian Calendar, “Mary.”
  • 4. From the 7th until the 26th May 1559, there are no despatches from Paulo Tiepolo in the Venetian Archives, and their loss is to be regretted, as they probably detailed minutely the negotiations at Brussels between King Philip and the Cardinal of Lorraine.
  • 5. Sir George Howard, Knt. (See Foreign Calendar, 3 May 1559, p. 236.)
  • 6. This Master of the Horse, Comte de Brienne (Foreign Calendar, 24th Mav 1559 p. 276), was also styled “M. de Boissy” (Foreign Calendar, 8th July 1559, p.364 (5)).
  • 7. See also “Foreign Calendar,” date 10th June, 1559, p. 307. (Throckmorton to the Council.)
  • 8. “Piron,” in the Venetian dialect, is the term for “fork.”