Venice: January 1569

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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'Venice: January 1569', Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 7, 1558-1580, (London, 1890), pp. 427-430. British History Online [accessed 19 June 2024].

. "Venice: January 1569", in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 7, 1558-1580, (London, 1890) 427-430. British History Online, accessed June 19, 2024,

. "Venice: January 1569", Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 7, 1558-1580, (London, 1890). 427-430. British History Online. Web. 19 June 2024,

January 1569

1569. Jan. 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 448. Giovanni Corker, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
Sixteen armed ships from England were discovered recently off Dieppe. From Britany they wrote that about forty ships had been seen; and at length there was news that some troops had landed near Rochelle; the Huguenots say three thousand; but the Court advices say much less, and that they are not troops to create alarm. The English Ambassador and other Englishmen say they are evil-minded people who landed solely to plunder; but, be this as it may, these beginnings do not please, and it is suspected that Queen Elizabeth wishes, as the saying is, to throw the stone and hide the arm; because she wrote with her own hand that she would not interfere in any way, but nevertheless there is some information that the said ships, on board of which are Frenchmen, are laden with gunpowder, shoes, and implements requisite for laying waste.
It is heard from England that Queen Elizabeth had been informed by the Queen of Scotland, that the latter, being accused by her adversaries of a matter so deeply affecting her honour, wished to be heard, and to state her reasons personally; and should this be denied her, she had given orders to her Commissioners to protest that she did not intend to subject herself to any sentence, nor to admit whatever might be determined. It is not believed that Queen Elizabeth, for her own reasons, will allow the Queen of Scotland to come to the Court, suspecting probably some ulterior motive, inasmuch as the Queen of Scotland is nearest in blood to the Crown of England, and beloved by some of the chief personages, although they dare not say so openly; and this is thought to be the cause why no interview will take place.
The French Ambassador in Scotland writes that the Queen's partisans there were all in arms, and had proclaimed as a rebel the Bastard Regent, who was then in London, but who would have to return to Scotland in consequence of the events which had happened there.
It is reported that the Queen of England had detained a Spanish vessel, and seized three hundred thousand silver crowns, which the King of Spain was sending to the Duke of Alva, and that in consequence the Duke had also detained all English subjects in Flanders, together with their property and goods.
The French Ambassador resident in England has reason to believe that the Queen of England is awaiting the return of the fleet which went to load wine in Gascony, and that then she will immediately declare war against this country [France].
Paris, 6th January 1568–9.
Jan. 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 449. Giovanni Correr, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
The English Ambassador defends the detention in England of the money which was being sent to the Duke of Alva, and has produced a document which the Queen of England had caused to be printed for her own justification, and which sets forth that certain vessels having arrived from Spain in an English port, and being unwilling to depart from thence, for fear of certain French vessels which had already chased and endeavoured to plunder them at sea, the Queen of England had commanded that the sacks containing the silver on board these vessels should be unloaded and deposited in a secure place, to the intent that her Majesty might make use of the money, should the same be private property, and then at her convenience repay the amount to the owner, together with reasonable interest; but the Queen having now heard that this money belonged to his Catholic Majesty, she had acquainted his Majesty's Ambassador accredited to her, that he was at liberty to dispose of the money as he thought fit, and, if he so desired, to transport the same to any of her ports; and in order to avoid danger from the French vessels, she had offered the Ambassador a safe conduct, and also an armed force for his greater security; but the Ambassador answered that he did not desire to remove the treasure until he had received further orders concerning it from the Duke of Alva. On the very day when the Ambassador had replied thus, the Queen received intelligence that the Duke of Alva had detained all English merchants, together with their goods, and this proceeding, appearing most singular to her Majesty, seeing that she had given no cause for complaint, she was compelled, as a reprisal, to order all Flemish merchants not to depart from London, and had, moreover, given instructions to print the facts exactly as they had happened so that every one might know that she had never intended to do any wrong whatever to his Catholic Majesty, and thus to interrupt the friendship which had always existed between the House of Austria and the Crown of England. It is said that the silver or money will be mutually restored, and that the sequestrations will be taken off on both sides without any further discussion.
At. Rouen also, at the same time, the goods of English merchants were sequestrated, but the merchants themselves were not detained, and when these latter asked the Governor whether he was acting by the order of his Majesty (of France), he replied in the negative, and that he was doing what he thought best upon his own responsibility. It is not at present known whether this proceeding has taken place at the instance of the Duke of Alva, or whether on account of the vessels which had landed forces near La Rochelle, and which were intended to re-embark the same forces, and were therefore still lingering in those waters for that purpose.
The Ambassador from Scotland came to see me, and told me that by command of his Queen he was to communicate to all the Ambassadors all that had befallen her Majesty, and the treatment which she had received since she had escaped from prison in Scotland and had arrived in the kingdom of England, and the Ambassador related to me all the particulars in detail. As, however, I have already written these I shall not repeat them, but limit myself to saying that the Queen had instructed her Commissioners to demand liberty for her to appear in person before the Commission in order to justify herself from the accusation brought against her by the Bastard (her brother), that she had been a consenting party to the death of her husband. The Queen had received for answer that her demand could not be conceded, because the laws of England forbade any person who had committed an offence against the Crown to speak in public, and that the Queen well knew that when she was in France she had usurped the arms and the title of the kingdom of England; but, nevertheless, she was at liberty to state whatever she pleased through the medium of her Commissioners. The Queen's Commissioners, having received this reply, took leave, as had been enjoined them in the event of their not obtaining their demands; but when they were about to depart the Queen of England sent for them, and inquired whether they desired to say anything concerning the accusation which had been brought against their Queen by the Bastard. The Commissioners replied that they could produce a letter received by them that very morning from their Queen; and the Council having been again summoned, a letter was publicly read, and a copy taken of it, in which the Queen of Scotland alleged that no one could give a better account of the death of her late husband than the Bastard and some of his partisans, because they had devised and contrived the whole affair up to the very moment of its execution. After this the Commissioners again desired to depart, and were again detained, and some other mode of agreement was proposed, but in general terms; and amongst other things, inquiries were made whether means could not be found for securing the Bastard and his adherents against personal violence, and also to whom the guardianship of the infant Prince was to be committed in the event of the Queen returning to her kingdom.
The Queen, however, has small hopes of such a result, because she has been informed by more than one of the chief personages of the State that the Queen of England, under the persuasion of certain members of her Council, is disposed to enter into an alliance with the Bastard, and to take him under her protection, upon condition, however, that the Bastard shall deliver the infant Prince into her hands, and admit English soldiers into the fortresses of Scotland. The Queen of England has also on her part promised to declare the Queen of Scotland incapable of succeeding to the Crown of England, without prejudice, however, to the rights of her son, and also by her influence to induce the Parliament of Scotland to enact that the Bastard himself should succeed to the Crown in the event of the Prince's death. In order to give effect more easily to this plan, the Queen of England has offered to keep attached to her person the Duke of Châtellerault, who is now in London, and who is nearer in blood to the Crown of Scotland than any other person; and as soon as the Queen of England has settled matters in Scotland according to her views, she intends to make war openly against the Crown of France.
I thanked the Ambassador for his confidential communication, and deplored greatly the adversity which had afflicted his Queen. The Ambassador added that the Queen of England had one day taken an opportunity of showing her indignation against the Queen of Scotland, because lately the Governor of a Castle, where the Queen of Scotland was detained, brought the Queen a book upon the “art of magic,” and said to her, “I have taken this book from one of my prisoners, who is considered the most Catholic person in the whole of this kingdom, and thus you can judge what sort of religion yours is.” The Queen replied, “I do not deny but that there are wicked men amongst us, but I will never say that my religion is bad, because I know it to be good, and if I had a thousand lives I would sacrifice them all for my religion's sake.” These words were spoken loudly in an apartment where many persons were present, and being immediately reported to the Queen of England, she became very angry, and said, “So it seems that this woman, who is my nearest relative, has come into my kingdom to set up a religion different from that which I myself profess, and to excite by these means all the ill-disposed persons who are amongst us;” and from that time forth the Queen of England has shown herself hostile.
Paris, 20th January 1569.