Venice: September 1589

Pages 467-470

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 8, 1581-1591. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1894.

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September 1589

Sept. 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 874. Tomaso Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
I have received your Serenity's despatch of the 15th July informing me of the communication made by the Secretary to the Catholic Ambassador as regards the affairs of Portugal and the departure of the English from that kingdom.
Don Bernardino de Mendoza has sent from Paris an account of the murder of the King.
Madrid, 3rd September 1589.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 875. Tomaso Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
By news received from England we learn that the English fleet has reached Falmouth (Flemua) in such a bad plight that two-thirds of its men are dead, some of the ships lost, and the living seriously ill. The populace is very discontented at the bad results of this expedition, while the Queen is in difficulties for want of money.
Notwithstanding all this Don Antonio has been very kindly received by her, though the English people abhor him as a person doomed to calamity, and the cause of disaster to all who share his actions. Drake and Norris are said to be open enemies, and each attacks the other. Norris was of opinion that the fleet should enter the harbour of Lisbon at the same time that the army approached the city. This Drake declined to do so as not to jeopardise all the English forces, both naval and military, as he says, and Norris declares that this conduct was the cause of the unfortunate and ruinous issue of the enterprise (dicendosi anco che Draco et il Noris esercitanano aperta inimicitia et accerbamente si mordevano l'uno l'altro; principalmente perche il Noris era di parere che l'armata entrasse net porto di Lisbona quando le genti per terra accostavano alla città; il che non havendo voluto far Draco, per non arrischiare tutte le forze, cosi maritime come terrestri, come egli medesimo afferma, dice il Noris questo haver apportato V infelice et dannoso esito dell' impresa).
There is apparently no intention to send out ships again from England; and it turns out that the sails which were sighted off the coast of Portugal, and thought to be English, belonged to various nations, and were merchantmen; and so this kingdom is entirely freed from all alarm, and the India fleet at the Azores is secured from danger. The Catholic fleet, which was moved to Corunna, is still lying in that port, with the intention of cruising no further than Cape Finisterre to keep down piracy.
There is said to be news that the Queen of England is dead of consumption, from which she had been suffering for long; but as I do not know what foundation this rumour has I send it with no guarantee of its truth.
Madrid, 3rd September 1589.
Sept. 5. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 876. Vincenzo Gradenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Martin Schenk, while flying from some peasants across a river, was drowned. His body was found soon afterwards and cut to bits, with every sign of joy that so great a pest had been removed from the earth.
Prague, 5th September 1589.
Sept. 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 877. Tomaso Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
A carvel which had been sent from Corunna towards England to fetch news has returned with a small prize, which was captured when passing from Zealand to England. Her master was a native of Alessandria di Paglia, who from Catholic had become a heretic, and from monk had turned sailor.
About the Queen of England it seems that there is confirmation not of her death but of her near demise; for consumption has declared itself and as that is an incurable malady it will destroy her in a short time.
The Duke of Parma, who went to the Baths for his health, is growing worse, and is in danger.
Madrid, 9th September 1589.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Sept. 16 Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 878. Tomaso Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Letters from the Duke of Parma to the King announce that an Ambassador from Denmark is at the Duke's court, for the purpose of arranging a, peace between England and Spain. As far as I can see neither his Majesty nor his Ministers are averse from an honourable treaty, owing to the difficulty of raising an Armada through lack of ships and men. But perhaps the death of the Queen, who is said to be very ill, may put an end to all that.
Some of the Spanish troops who were serving with the Armada last year, have joined the Duke of Parma from Scotland, where they were well treated by the King. The Duke of Parma makes insistant demands to be relieved of his post on account of ill health, and his disgust at the Spanish. It is thought that he has been poisoned at a banquet. The violent remedies applied have caused the mischief to descend to his legs. He himself thinks he was poisoned.
The grounds of his Majesty's claim on Brittany have been drawn up by a Milanese doctor; at the end of his treatise he exhorts his Majesty to embark on that enterprise, both as just and reasonable, and points out that by acquiring Brittany his Majesty will be paving the way to make himself master of England; where he can subsequently establish the King of Scotland and bestow on that Sovereign his daughter to wife.
Madrid, 16th September 1589.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Sept 19. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 879. Vincenzo Gradenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The Duke of Parma's dropsy continues. There is news by way of Aix la Chapelle that the Queen of England is dead.
Prague, 19th September 1589.
Sept. 25. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 880. Tomaso Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Duke of Parma renews his demand to he relieved of his post. The King supports him against the Spanish nobles who attack him; among these is the Duke of Medina Sidonia, who, though absent from Court, still by means of his dependents injures the Duke of Parma as much as he can.
Madrid, 25th September 1589.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Sept. 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 881. Tomaso Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The King has been ill for three days with fever and vomiting. He is now mending, and we must pray God to restore him to his full health; more especially in this his sixty-third year, which in the common opinion is counted a dangerous age.
Madrid, 26th September 1589.
[Italian; deciphered.]