BHO

Venice: November 1578

Pages 586-589

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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November 1578

Nov. 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 735. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
Monsieur still remains in Flanders attending to the repair and fortification of Binche, Soignies, and Maubeuge, places which he has taken, because he could not obtain any others from the States, a result which he probably laments, for he shows himself more than ever dissatisfied, and one day he was so greatly angered that he was about to hang his gentleman Mondusset, who was the first person that induced him, by holding out hopes, to proceed to the Low Countries in the way he did.
It is said that when he saw the dissatisfaction and other demonstrations made by the inhabitants of Mons against his Frenchmen, he did everything in his power to reassure them and to remove any suspicions from their minds, and that in this attempt he would appear to have partly succeeded, for he has returned, though with few attendants, to the town (terra) of Mons, saying that he desired to place himself in their hands with every mark of confidence; but it is still believed that finally he will be compelled to return to France on account of the small security and great indignities under which he now lives in those parts.
De Simier, whom he has destined as his Ambassador to England, still remains here, and is endeavouring to obtain a large quantity of jewels upon the security of forests, lands, and other property of his master, both for gifts and as pledges to be presented to the Queen, who has given it to be understood that when she has full value she will lend him to the extent of 50,000 angel crowns, to provide for and satisfy claims in Flanders and also for the expenses of the voyage which he proposes to make to her Kingdom; but this Ambassador (De Simier) will not depart before the return of a gentleman who is daily expected and who is sent by his Highness to the Queen-Mother to give her particulars concerning this marriage, and because he wishes to obtain her authority with the King, to dispose him to give his assistance promptly on this occasion, and to permit him to retire into the fortress of Soissons, on the frontiers of Picardy, in case of need.
Meanwhile he has sent a portrait of his exact size and stature to the Queen of England, as she has sent him hers, and she has also summoned the Parliament of England for the 1st of January, two months before the usual time; and it is certain that Monsieur will await, according to the advice of the King, his brother, the decision of Parliament with regard to the conditions of the proposed marriage.
It is reported from Flanders that St. Omer, a fortress of great importance, near the seas of England, has returned to its obedience to Spain through the negotiations of the Prince of Parma with the governor; also that Arras and Douay have both driven out the Huguenots, and have announced their intention of living catholic-ally; and that the army of the States is in close proximity to that of the Prince of Parma.
The Lords who had risen in favour of the Catholic religion have elected for their chief the Count of Egmont (Agamon) and have enlisted soldiers, and they have endeavoured to establish themselves in the province of Artois; and although they have declared against the Spaniards with the intent of driving them from the country, this division and enmity towards the Prince of Orange will be of great service to the affairs of the Catholic King.
Paris, 6th November 1578.
[Italian.]
Nov. 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 736. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
Some gentlemen have arrived here from Monsieur, who state that his Highness is at Mons, and begins day by day to perceive more and more the small results which he has effected in those parts, but nevertheless he continues to treat with the States as well as he is able, and is also aspiring to accomplish the marriage with the Queen of England, and does not wish to return to France before a decision on the subject is arrived at; but upon this point no certain conjecture can be formed, because Simier, the Ambassador destined by Monsieur for England, still remains here, and he, together with other ministers of his Highness, are constantly examining jewels, but without making any purchases. Simier has told me that he will not depart hence until the return of the gentleman who was sent to the Queen-Mother, and who has not yet appeared. Letters from the Catholic camp in the Low Countries state that the Prince of Parma had advanced against the forces of the States, but as these latter had retired into fortresses and garrisoned places, the Prince had sent his army to winter in the province of Luxemburg. Therefore it is believed that until the spring nothing of importance will be done, and no good results can be hoped for except by negotiation and treating for a peace, which the King of Spain greatly desires, and which the States also, who are exhausted and wearied by such vast expenditure, would willingly accept. All parties consider peace advantageous, except the Prince of Orange, who has enriched himself and who feeds upon these tumults, and he is opposed to it and raises many difficulties to prevent its accomplishment, especially by uniting with Casimir, the people of Ghent, and other Huguenots, who depend upon them, and they have appointed the Viscount of Ghent as their chief, to take measures to resist the Count de Lalain and other chief persons, who, with the support of the provinces of Hainault and Artois, have taken up arms against the Prince of Orange. The latter, it is said, were about to be assisted by many Frenchmen who had been dismissed by Monsieur, and it is also reported that these provinces and Catholic chiefs intended to declare Monsieur their chief and protector; and it would appear his Highness was much inclined to accept this proposal, so great was his dissatisfaction with the others. Thus it will be seen that whereas at first the war was between the Catholics and the rebels, now a third party has been formed, and possibly there may be others, especially on account of a rupture between the Roisters and the inhabitants of Codret, a place belonging to the Huguenot faction which is wealthy and well provided, and which was suddenly and pitilessly sacked by the Roisters.
Paris, 21st November 1578.
[Italian.]
Nov. 21. Esposizioni Principi. 737. Protest by the Pope against the mission of an Ambassador from Venice to England.
The Reverend Nuncio of the Pope came into the most Excellent College, and after having referred to certain particular matters spoke to this effect:
Most Serene Prince,Until last week I had it in charge to perform an office with your Serenity in the name of our Lord [the Pope], but I feel very much comforted and greatly rejoice that the occasion for doing so has been taken away, owing to the purpose or rather the information which has been communicated to me. Yet I will not now refrain from making these few remarks to your Serenity, rather to express the pleasure which I feel on this account, than because there is any need for them. I allude to the [proposed] mission by you of an Ambassador to England, who his Holiness can never persuade himself will be sent by this most Serene Republic; for although she is placed among the waters, it may well be said that she is the city of the Gospel which is set upon the hill, and from which all the world ought to take the rule and example of true religion. And this I say for many most important reasons and causes, which, being well known to your Serenity and to all your most excellent Lordships, and as your Ambassador in Rome has written to you on the subject, I shall pass over in silence, and also because from what I hear it is needless to repeat them.
The Doge replied that he did not know who could have advised his Holiness of any such proposal, because no negotiations had been opened, and that he lamented and marvelled that a report should have gone abroad which was not true, but he nevertheless pointed out that there were resident in England Ambassadors from the Kings of France, Spain, and Portugal.
The Nuncio rejoined that his Serenity ought not to feel aggrieved, because what he had said was merely his own conjecture founded upon a rumour current in the city, and from his earnest desire that the matter should go no further; but that this most religious Republic ought not to be compared with France, because by the grace of God the Republic was governed after a fashion very different from France; and he declined to enter further into particulars or to refer to the Kings of Spain and Portugal, further than to observe that although these potentates had been accustomed to keep Ambassadors in England, it would be more becoming to remove them rather than add to their number, and that this Republic, which was a very mirror of religion, and in which his Holiness confided, ought not to come to any such decision.
The Doge replied that as this negotiation was not on foot he could say no more; and the Sages added that the negotiation had not even been spoken of, but that if for reasons of state it was judged expedient to accredit an Ambassador, the Nuncio might feel assured that his wisdom would be satisfied with their mode of proceeding.
The Nuncio then withdrew.
[Italian.]