Lot 428: Italian condottiero and admiral from Genoa (1466–1560). LS in Italian, one page, 8.5 x 11.5, June 11, 1553. Letter to Ferrante Gonzaga, viceroy of Sicily, in part (translated): "Since, for my own nature, I cannot deny my help to whoever asks for it, I cannot deny it especially to those who are connected to me as relatives, as in the case of Messer Federico Spinola, master of Casale Mosetta in Dartonese. Therefore, I have to do it and am forced to beg Your Excellency to be agreeable, on account of your kindness and recommended by my affection, to order that, regarding taxation, the property of my relative mentioned above may not be aggravated by more taxes than what is sufficient to certify. If you do this favor, that Your kindness will be pleased to accord to the named Messer Federico, it will be as if you did it to me and he will owe a not small debt." In fine condition, with intersecting folds, a couple stains at the top, and a circular area of toning from seal affixed to reverse.
A half a century after earning his place as Genoa's finest naval commander, expelling the French from the city and reestablishing the republic under Spanish imperial protection—creating 28 Alberghi (clans) that formed the ruling class, including the Spinolas—87-year-old Andrea Doria returned to the seas in 1553. In response to the French seizure of Corsica, a crucial settlement due to its location on the sea route between Spain and Italy, he led a fleet of 15,000 men in a lengthy fight to reclaim the island. Within two years he had successfully cleared most of the coastal cities, enabling him to return home for good just shy of his 90th birthday. Written in his capacity as 'perpetual censor' of the city, a role that gave Doria remarkable influence over the councils of Genoa, securing tax relief for another high-power family member, this is a rare and interesting letter that stems from late in his military career.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 458
Wednesday, 12th August 2015
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