Venice
March 1581

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Institute of Historical Research

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Horatio F. Brown (editor)

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1894

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5-9

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'Venice: March 1581', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 8: 1581-1591 (1894), pp. 5-9. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=95174 Date accessed: 22 September 2014.


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March 1581

March 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 8. Lorenzo Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Monsieur has sent Villeroy back, and he has informed the Queen-Mother that the Huguenots will not proceed with the restoration of the forts till they are convinced that the King will support the expedition of Monsieur to Flanders. The restoration of Chaors is confirmed. Strozzi went to Tours to speak with those Portuguese gentlemen mentioned in my despatch of the 24th. They say that among them is a personage of importance. Some few insist that Don Antonio himself is in France and that he has with him in gold and jewels about two millions of money, that he has written to Monsieur to support his cause with the King. If his presence be true it cannot remain hid for long.
In Bles (Blois), 2nd March 1581.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 9. Paolo Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Should any agent from the Queen of England arrive at this Porte in order to carry on the negotiations about the capitulation between Turkey and England, I Will, in obedience to your orders, hinder him as far as possible.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 4th March 1581.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 10. Lorenzo Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassadors who ought to have left for England are still in Paris. The reason for this delay is not known, but it is believed that Monsieur wishes to be sure of the help from the King in his Flanders expedition. The tempers of these Princes are so at variance that there is little hope of an accord. In Flanders they say that Monsieur's arrival is eagerly expected, though the lower classes are not content.
They say that Don Antonio is in this kingdom. The Ministers laugh and scoff at the news; but it is certain that recently there have been many Portuguese at Tours, Nantes, Rochelle, and Poitiers; and it is not unnatural that Don Antonio should have wished to escape from his dangerous position in Portugal.
In Bles (Blois), 10th March 1581.
[Italian.]
March 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 11. Zuan Francesco moresini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the doge and senate.
There was rumour in the court that a secretatry of a france had return from constanipole with the news that this year the Turk would not be able to send the fleet which his most Christian majesty and the queen of England had asked for; but that another year he would not fail to satisfy their demands. The news is generally credited as it comes from a good source.
Madrid, 20th March 1583.
[Italian.]
March 18. Enclosure in Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 12. Copy of a letter from Lisbon, dated 18th March 1581.
Don Antonio had intended to embark here. It having come to our knowledge that on the 13th instant six or seven of his followers were to meet at a certain house, we set a watch; and as I and a single police officer were going along the street, I met a man who, according to the indications given me, should have been the man who was to call for Don Antonio; his name was Oliviera, I pulled the hood from his face and it seemed to me that he had more beard than I had been told of; and so I said “this is not our man”; and I let him go. Then I went back to him, and raising my hat, I laid my hand on him, and the officer did the same on the other side of him. The man left his cloak in my hands and took to flight. I followed and he shut himself in the very house we had been warned of; it belonged to a priest. They kept us out till the door was broken; then they came out by the roof, the man and other three. We arrested the priest and his servant, who, under torture, said that he had heard that Don Antonio was at Quinta delli Commendatori, a place three leagues from here, and that he intended to embark at Cascaes. I informed the Duke of this and set out for Quinta with fifteen horsemen. I had a harquebusseer on the crupper. We found nothing there; and passed on to Cascaes at one hour of day but found no traces of Don Antonio. At setting out I sent a soldier called Palavera Dias to the river with six harquebusseers; he found a boat in which was the man who had arranged the embarcation, and with him other seven who were to embark with Don Antonio, and two Augustine Friars, one a capitular seventy years old. They were all arrested, and they disclosed the name of the pilot and master of the carvel which we seized along with three others which were destined as her consorts; and I wait their coming. This took place on the 13th instant. I came back on the 14th; we were overtaken by the night and wetted by the rain, being in thin shoes and some few with cloaks. The carvel had orders to put in at a certain point and to cry “Saint Francis,” to which the others would reply “Saint Anthony.”
[Italian.]
March 22 Original Despatch, Venetian Archives 13. Lorenzo Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
It is thought that, although Monsieur has resolved upon his expedition into Flanders he will not be able to carry it through without great assistance from the King, and on this point of assistances there is great division of opinion. Secret assistance cannot be powerful; and open assistance would entail war with Spain. It is supposed that the King of France will come to no resolve until he sees the end of the negotiations with England, whither Ambassadors are already gone. Four days ago the Prince Duffin left to join them, being appointed to fill the place of the Conte de Soissons, brother of the Prince de Condé, who is ill. The mission of this Embassy is certain; it has two objects, one to conclude a treaty between these two Crowns, which it will do beyond a doubt; the other is to effect the marriage and here it will find much difficulty; first because they cannot find any way by which Monsieur can marry a Huguenot wife without incurring ecclesiastical censures, secondly because they cannot discover a form of marriage ceremony which will satisfy both parties, as the Queen refuses absolutely to be married by Catholic rite (non volendo in alcun modo quella Regina sposarsi alla Catholica). At present there is a proposal that the rite should be performed by two ministers, one Catholic and the other Huguenot, the Catholic Bishop addressing Monsieur, and the Huguenot Minister the Queen. And although both Monsieur and the Queen are so deeply pledged that neither of them can in honour do less than say that they desire the marriage, still one can understand that neither would be averse from retiring though neither desires to be the first to take that step. It is well known that the Queen has frequently said that she sees clearly how important the marriage is on Monsieur's side, as the King his brother is without children, while they have small hope of any, he, young, and she, old; but that if Monsieur were satisfied she would not fail of her word. (Si sa che quella Regina ha più volte detto che conosce chiaramente, che il matrimonio è considerabile per la parte di Monsignore, ritrovandossi il re suo fratello senza figliuoli, et con poca speranza di haverne, lui giovine et lei vecchia, che tuttavia quando Monsignore si contenterà che lei non mancarà mai alla sua parola.) On the other hand although Monsieur represents himself as resolved to maintain his promise, yet he says and gives the King and his mother to understand that he made this promise and has committed himself so far, only under the necessity for supporting his cause with the Flemish by the help of the Queen of England, because the King would not give him the aid which he required; tacitly showing that the rupture of the marriage would not be distasteful to him, provided his Flanders expedition were supported as it should be. The King will not interfere, declaring that he does not desire that the Queen of England should be able to complain of him that, he had not only scorned an alliance with her himself, but had prevented his brother from forming one. Indeed the King is not averse from this marriage under the influence of his intimates who would be glad to see Monsieur out of the kingdom, as he is but little their friend. The Queen-Mother has instructed the Ambassadors, and chiefly Mons. de Lansac, that if the Queen offered any opportunity for brcaking off the match they should accept it, but that they should on no account fail to effect a treaty between the two Crowns.
In Bles (Blois), 22nd March 1581.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 14. Lorenzo Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The malcontents in Flanders have resolved to hire German troops, and if necessary, Italians and Burgundians. They have received money from Spain which has been spent on paying the troops.
In Scotland matters are not quiet, and the Queen of England suspects that the King of Scotland is in communication with Spain, as he is at present governed by the Catholic party.
It is doubtful whether Don Antonio is really in France; it seems impossible that his presence should remain hidden for so long a time.
In Bles (Blois), 23rd March 1581.
[Italian.]
April 18. Copy Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 15. Alberto Badoer, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
There is news that in Edelburgh all the colonels and captains engaged by the King of France have met and resolved to raise troops on word not on money, so as to have them ready whenever the King may call for them. This makes some say that although the King will not help his brother in Flanders, yet, if the King of Spain threatens the Queen of England, he would give her vigorous assistance, and it is possible that a defensive alliance has already been concluded.
Prague, 18th April 1581.
[Italian.]
May (?) Memorie Publiche, Marcin Library, CI. vii Cod. DCCCVIII. 16. The Ambassadors of France have left for England, and it is considered certain that a league between these two kingdoms will be concluded, though whether the marriage of Monsieur to the Queen will take place, is doubtful. It is difficult to see how Alençon can take that heretical Queen to wife without incurring pontifical censures. Besides which she declines to be married by Roman rites and he by English, and they finally agreed that a Catholic prelate should say the service for Monsieur, and a Huguenot for the Queen.
[Italian.]
May 29. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 17. Zuan Francesco Moresini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Azores have refused obedience to his Majesty, indeed they are afraid that French and English troops have been introduced, and this is considered all the more important both because the place is naturally strong, and because the West and East Indian fleets touch there on their way home. His Majesty is expected to send troops.
Madrid, 29th May 1581.
[Italian.]
March 31. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 18. Lorenzo Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The last time I spoke with the Abbé del Bene he told me he had orders from Monsieur not to mention either Flanders or the English match to the Pope, but I am informed that the Abbé did not tell me the truth. It is impossible he should not mention the match which cannot take place without his Holiness's consent, and I believe that Monsieur would avail himself of a refusal on the part of his Holiness in order to break off the match honourably. It is suspected here that the Abbé goes to Rome with the approval of the Queen-Mother to break the English match, and to propose ct Spanish marriage instead.
In Bles (Blois), 31st March 1581.
[Italian; deciphered.]