Venice: August 1571

Pages 472-474

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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August 1571

Aug. 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 515. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
The difficulties concerning the marriage of the Queen of England with Monsieur, the brother of the King, notwithstanding that Monsieur de Foix has done his best to remove them, still remain on foot. It is, however, certain that either by means of this marriage, or in some other way, a new alliance is being treated between France and England, in order to unite the two nations more closely. This result appears to be desired no less by one party than by the other, and mainly on account of the natural suspicion which exists between them of the overwhelming power of the King of Spain; these two nations of France and England believing that if they become united, they would create a powerful weight in the balance. The same result is greatly assisted by those professing the Catholic religion in this country, who perceive that by placing his Majesty in enmity with the King of Spain they would compel his Majesty to avail himself of their services, and show them favour. The King, on the other hand, is endeavouring to hold himself on an equality both with one party and the other, because while he is exerting himself to remain in alliance with the King of Spain, on the other hand he is endeavouring to conciliate the Huguenots, as he has lately shown, by removing all the garrisons that occupied St. Jean d'Angeli, Niort, Saintes, and Angouleme, places situate in the neighbourhood of La Rochelle.
Melun, 1st August 1571.
Aug. 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 516. Alvise Contarini, “Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
The marriage between Madame, the sister of the most Christian King, and the Prince of Navarre, appears daily more probable, because some of the principal obstacles have been removed, and particularly that which relates to the marriage ceremony, which it now appears both parties have agreed should be solemnized at the door of the church; after which the bride is to enter the church to hear mass, and the bridegroom to proceed to a preaching of the minister. It is understood that for this purpose not only the Prince himself but also the Admiral and nearly all the chiefs of their party will come to Court.
The Queen of England has proposed to give her niece, whom she greatly favours, in marriage to the Prince of Navarre in order that she may succeed to this kingdom. Nevertheless it is generally believed that this report has been spread merely to hasten a conclusion of her own marriage, and that her Majesty will be more yielding with regard to the difficulties which still remain to be adjusted. These proposals of marriage greatly displease the Ambassador of Spain resident here. A few days ago in the presence of the King's Council he made loud complaints upon the subject, not, however, alleging any cause but that of religion, but it can be seen that State reasons also influence him greatly, because he doubts whether the great love which the King and his mother bear towards their sister and daughter be not the cause of this proceeding; for this Prince bears the title of the kingdom of Navarre, which is, in fact, almost entirely in the possession of the King of Spain, and the latter fears, therefore, that this bond of matrimony will bring together both parties in France to devote themselves to new undertakings; and nothing would be more acceptable to the French Catholics than to attack Spain for the recovery of the kingdom of Navarre, and to this project the King might more easily consent for the love which he bears to his sister. The Spanish Ambassador has made every effort to excite the jealousy of the King against the growing power of the House of Bourbon, and has reminded his Majesty that of the twelve provinces of the kingdom ten were in the hands of Governors who were relatives and dependents of the House of Bourbon.
Mons. de Foix, who lately went, as I have written, to England, has not yet returned thence, and from what I hear, upon good authority, his mission was undertaken because the Queen of England had agreed to all the essential conditions which had been proposed to her. But notwithstanding this report, Monsieur would never give his consent; and although, besides the persuasion of the Queen his mother, the King had put great pressure upon him by saying that, as he had already twice risked his life in two battles in the service of his Majesty, so his Majesty was prepared to do him a like service by having determined to maintain and support him, as King of England, with all the forces of his own kingdom, yet it has been found impossible to make him change his mind. Under these circumstances, and doubting lest the Queen of England might not greatly complain, these Majesties decided to send this personage, Mods, de Foix, to satisfy her as much as possible; and this negotiation is the more pressing because there is an idea that if the Queen be disappointed here, she may endeavour to marry one of the sons of the Emperor who had lately come from Spain, and if this event were to happen, it is probable that England might incline rather to the interests of Spain than to those of this country.
The King lately departed from Fontainebleau to go to Blois, where he expects to arrive about the 1st of September. The Queen-Mother, with Monsieur her son, is still in Paris on account of money matters, but she is sure to leave in order to join the King. The Ambassadors have received an order to go to Blois at the beginning of the following month. I enclose a letter which I have received from Rouen from a credible person, with recent advices of matters which have taken place in Muscovy, greatly, as it would appear, to the prejudice of the Grand Duke.
Paris, 15th August 1571.
[The following letter was enclosed in this Despatch:]
517. Paolo Lamberti to the Ambassador of Venice at Parts.
About three months ago I despatched from Dieppe to Muscovy several vessels to load merchandise for importation here. These vessels arrived safely at Narwa {Nerve) on the 12th June, and from what my correspondents write me much merchandise had arrived from the city of Moscow, the principal place in that country, but on a sudden news came of the defeat of the Grand Duke by the Tartars, and of the sack of the city of Moscow, which was consumed by fire, together with its suburbs, in the space of three hours, and all the merchandise there lost and burnt, and the inhabitants put to death to the number of more than 150,000 persons, together with all the English, Flemings, Italians, and Germans who were resident in the city. The women and children were still alive, but from the ruin of this city it will be impossible to trade any longer with that country.
11th August, in Rouen.—I have received this letter (sic) from Narwa of the 2nd instant. It was brought by a ship which arrived yesterday at Dieppe.
Aug. 23. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 518. Alvise Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
A great number of gentlemen of the new religion are making preparations to accompany the Admiral to the Court, and the Prince of Navarre will also go there if his marriage be arranged; and the probability of this is greater because the members of the House of Guise, and their adherents, have left the Court, upon the excuse that they desired to attend the confinement of the Duchess of Guise, who has lately given birth to a son.
Paris, 23rd August 1571.