Venice
January 1588

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Institute of Historical Research

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Horatio F. Brown (editor)

Year published

1894

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332-335

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'Venice: January 1588', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 8: 1581-1591 (1894), pp. 332-335. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=95255 Date accessed: 30 July 2014.


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January 1588

1588. Jan. 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 615. Giovanni Gritti, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
They say that his Holiness will assist the King of Spain with money for the attack on England.
Rome, 2nd January 1587 [m.v.].
[Italian.]
Jan. 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 616. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Portuguese spy, who was arrested in Lisbon, was on his way to Don Antonio in England. And luck would have it that at the moment of his capture, thinking to throw into the sea the casket with the letters, he threw away by mistake the casket containing money, which he was carrying to Don Antonio, and for his own travelling expenses. From these letters enduring hatred of the King of Spain, on the part of certain Portuguese, was clearly established. Of these Portuguese many, especially certain wealthy merchants, have fled, and their goods have been confiscated to the Crown. The letters invited Don Antonio, on the departure of the Catholic fleet, to come to Portugal with as many troops as he could get together, and promised that the whole kingdom would recognise him as its lawful Sovereign. Most of the letters are anonymous, which induces the belief that many persons of high rank are implicated. This episode has greatly disturbed his Majesty. He sees now that there is no possibility of winning the affection of that people by kindness, and so he returns once more to the idea of quelling them by adding to their burdens, and by placing a garrison of six thousand troops in that kingdom, three thousand Germans, and as many Spanish, and charging their maintenance on the Portuguese.
The Earl of Morton left Lisbon and went to Paris. It is impossible to divine what his errand may be.
They are using all diligence in preparing the Armada, of which I enclose a list. The King is determined that it shall sail, as he is convinced that there is no other remedy for all these ills except to strike at the head of the Queen.
The English corsairs are working mischief in the waters of Portugal and Galicia, and allow no ships to pass Cape St. Vincent. It is reckoned that in these last three years they have done damage to the value of upwards of six millions in gold, besides ruining the commerce.
Madrid, 2nd January 1587 [m.v.].
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 617. The Troops at present in Lisbon at the last Review.
Neapolitan reserves1,578
Sicilian reserves1,410
Recruits from Andalusia3,319
Nineteen companies of the Flemish Captans 1,601
Nine companies from Biscay1,641
Nineteen companies from the Portuguese garrisons1,709
Mercenaries 200
Camp followers600
12,058
Sailors6,000
Soldiers from Seville5,000
Dead3,000
Fled1,000
Sick1,000
Jan. 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 618. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
I communicated the news in your Serenity's letter of the 20th November to Don Juan d'Idiaquez. He said that his Majesty would be very glad to know if the Turks still continued in their intention to summon Don Antonio to Constantinople, for he feared that if this negotiation was carried further its real scope would be to disturb the Portuguese Indies, as it was possible that the Queen of England had persuaded the Porte that Don Antonio's presence would cause a rising.
Madrid, 8th January 1587 [m.v.].
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 619. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
At Lisbon they are arming sixteen ships, to be sent to sea without any destination determined. I, however, know from a sound quarter that the King has ordered the Marquis of Santa Cruz to send two thousand men to the Azores.
Besides the troops to be raised by the Duke of Medina Sidonia in his own States of Andalusia, other cities and States have received orders to furnish a certain number of men each, varying from two hundred to five hundred. The Andalusian troops are to serve on board the squadron of Seville, the others on board the Lisbon fleet.
The commander of the galleys of Spain has orders to hold himself in readiness. The galleys number thirty. Don Alonso de Leyva has been summoned to Court in haste. His Majesty shows that he will not submit to the Queen of England any longer.
His Majesty is spending money, but is also amassing it, and is economising; the works in his palaces are stopped, and even at the Escurial they are doing little.
The English corsairs off Cape St. Vincent have left those waters at last. They say the Queen has recalled them.
Madrid, 9th January 1587 [m.v.].
[Italian.]
Jan. 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 620. Giovanni Dolfin and Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday letters of the 6th arrived from London announcing that the admiral had sailed with a fleet of forty ships; twelve large ships, and the rest of 300 tons. He has gone towards Flanders to oppose any force which the Duke of Parma may set in motion. Drake, too, has embarked, and is going to sail towards Spain, but with orders not to push far, but to cruise off the coast of England. He has instructions, should he hear that the Marquis of Santa Cruz has moved, to advise the Admiral, who will at once send him half his fleet.
Paris, 15th January 1588.
[Italians.]
Jan. 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 621. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The King is in bed with the gout. The doctors have bled and purged him.
The King has given orders that the Armada is to be victualled for eight months with provisions for sixteen thousand troops and six thousand sailors. He has called for a detailed account of all that there is, and of all that is wanting. The great preparations which we hear that the Queen of England is making, the massing of her troops, the preparations at the ports, all contribute to arouse alarm, especially as his Majesty is running short of money owing to the great expenses both past and present. He has recently sent to Seville to continue the arrangements for paying the crews and the troops, who are four pays in arrears, in order to help them to face the great sickness which is among them, and is killing many. It seems, then, that what was foreseen in December is actually taking place, and that in spring there will be greater difficulties than ever; all the more so as they fear that peace will be made in France, and that the Queen's fleet will be ready before the Spanish can take the sea, and will be able to inflict some further damage on Spain and Portugal.
The result of this would be to keep the Spanish on the alert, and to prevent the union of their forces with those of the Duke of Parma. Accordingly, for all these reasons, they the more earnestly desire that the accord which the Duke is negotiating with the representatives of England should be brought to a successful issue, though they see that it is very difficult (siche per tutte queste cause desiderariano qui tanto maggiormente, seben lo vedono assai difficile, che il negotio dell' accordo che tratta il predetto Sig Duca con li deputati d' essa Regina si terminasse). The English representatives once more propose, in the name of their mistress, that she shall evacuate Holland and Zealand, but on condition that Flushing and two other forts are left in the hands of the King of Denmark for a stated period, as a guarantee for the observation of the accord by both parts, and a pledge that the Queen shall not be molested in her own kingdom by any attack from that port.
The Duke, on the other hand, proposes that these ports should be given to the Emperor, and writes that this is, perhaps, the sole solution of so many difficulties. But it seems that these terms will not be accepted here, and that they are afraid of the usual trickeries of that most cunning woman, and so they are hesitating, and do not know what part to take, whether to embrace war with resolution in spite of its great difficulties, or to bow to humiliating conditions in hopes of concluding an accord. All the same throughout all these grave considerations they do not cease to spend money on preparation for a powerful Armada. A gentleman has arrived here from many of the most important personages in Portugal. His mission is to implore the King to regard with the eye of benignity that people, and to succour them in their great distress and injury which they receive from the pirates, by removing from their shoulders the weight of this great Armada, which is completing the ruin of the country. All this gives great trouble to the King, and for all his self possession he is unable to conceal his chagrin.
The Portuguese spy, who was on his way to Don Antonio, has confessed under torture that several Portuguese were in secret communications with Don Antonio, but those who were afraid of being found out fled, and with the confiscation of their goods matters have quieted down, as his Majesty gave orders that there was to be as little talk as possible about it.
Madrid, 20th January 1587 [m.v.].
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan 29. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 622. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
A person of importance about the Court has informed me that all the preparations of the Queen of England are merely intended to facilitate the negotiations for peace, to accomplish which three English Commissioners, armed with ample powers, have left London for Flanders. It is well known that the Queen of England is in some apprehension of the power of Spain, and the discords of France which prevent her from counting on the help she might naturally look for.
Paris, 29th January 1588.
[Italian.]