Venice: January 1580

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 1580', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 7, 1558-1580, (London, 1890) pp. 627-629. British History Online [accessed 25 April 2024]

January 1580

1580. Jan. 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 790. Lorenzo Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
The city of Mende in Auvergne, which is under the government of the Marshal de Montmorency, was surprised on Christmas night last by the adherents of the son of the late Admiral Coligny, when great booty was taken, and many persons were put to death in the churches. This young man is by nature very daring, and has been rendered desperate by the shameful death of his father and by the seizure of all his property by his father's creditors, but he has undertaken this enterprise without the consent of the Huguenot chiefs, who are supposed to have some understanding with their Majesties.
This affair, combined with the entry of the Prince of Condé into Picardy, has led to the impression that civil war will be renewed throughout the kingdom, and, I therefore this day waited upon the Queen-Mother to ascertain her views; and my conclusion is that, although some occasional outbreaks may take place, the general peace will not now be disturbed, not because the Huguenots are well disposed, but because the Queen of England, who has always supplied them with money and without whose assistance they could do nothing of importance, is aware that it is not for her advantage at the present time to weaken by civil war the power of France, a power which she believes can counterbalance the Spaniards, from whom she has now more to fear titan from all the other Powers. The English Ambassador here in his communications with me constantly refers to the fleet which has been prepared in Italy by Spain as if he felt sure it was bound for England ; and he told me lately that the Pope, the King of Spain, and the Grand Duke of Tuscany had entered into a league together ; and he expressed, as I believe, not only what he actually knew, but what his convictions led him to imagine, and to endeavour to extract from me if there was any project against his country; for he well knows the illwill which the Pope bears to his Queen, and the attempts which Pius V. made to induce the King of Spain to act against her; and that if the marriage be concluded with Monsieur this apprehension may be the cause of a league against Spain, concerning the particulars of which I have some information on good authority. The general opinion of the whole kingdom of England is clear, for the difficulty concerning the marriage does not arise from the question of the succession, as I have now ascertained, but only from the question of the coronation, for Monsieur is content to be crowned King and to abandon the succession unless he have children; but the English suspect that after being crowned he will acquire a paramount claim to the kingdom; and in truth if Monsieur goes to England he relies upon not returning as a private Prince to France, but expects when the present Queen dies, either by marrying the Queen of Scotland, his sister-in-law, who claims the succession, or else in some other mode by force to establish himself in the kingdom.
There seems no apparent intention of sending any representative from this Court to England to attend the meeting of Parliament, at which the English Ambassador has told me they would either determine to approve the marriage, or discuss the question of the succession to the kingdom, which the chief personages of the State were desirous to have settled.
In my last conversation with the Queen Mother I endeavoured to hear something about this marriage, but could elicit nothing except that it was not yet settled, and that she hopes to make known to her son that he is of an age to guide himself; but I know that she is very unhappy from the consideration that by this marriage her most noble lineage incurs manifest peril of becoming extinct, though I hear on good, authority that she still cherishes some little hope that Monsieur does not any longer desire the marriage so ardently as he did, because she has been informed, quite recently, that Monsieur was somewhat embarrassed, when as a young man devoted to pleasure, he called to mind the advanced age and repulsive physical nature of the Queen (le brutte qualità del corpo della Regina), she being, in addition to her other ailments, half consumptive (mezzo ettica). If however Monsieur remains true to the project of marriage, reason will not prevail, but the lust to reign will contend with the lust of the flesh, and we shall see which of these two passions possesses the greater force. I also hear that the disposition of Monsieur was such that it may be possible that whereas when he was dissuaded by the King and Queen from this enterprise, his desire to follow it increased, so perhaps this passion may have diminished since their Majesties have given way, and made a show to the Queen of England of their consent to the marriage. And I know that to this end the Queen-Mother is dexterously flattering the English Ambassador, and assiduously sends him friendly messages, so that she could not do more even if she desired the marriage to take place in earnest.
Advices from England state that the forces which were sent to Ireland against the rebels had met with great loss in an engagement, when more than six hundred of the Queen's soldiers were killed, and that urgent demands had been made to the Queen for reinforcements.
Paris, 16th January 1579–80.
[Italian; partly in cipher.]
Jan. 30. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 791. Lorenzo Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
Stafford, the gentleman from the Queen of England, who was here lately, has again returned from England. He came to Paris, and after having conferred with the English Ambassador, went to Monsieur and has not yet returned from him.
The English Ambassador resident visited the Queen-Mother at St. Germain to report to her the arrival of this gentleman, whose mission, so far as I can learn, is to the effect that the Queen of England greatly desires the conclusion of the marriage, and being in doubt whether the question of the coronation, which is before Parliament, will be carried, she has sent to entreat Monsieur to be satisfied with what she can herself accomplish, and if he be not content with the conditions already approved, she will do all in her power to comply with his requirements ; but she wishes that he, being aware of her friendly disposition, will in any case decide to give her satisfaction. Hence it is evident that the Queen of England is endeavouring to fathom Monsieur's ultimate designs, with the object, as it is believed, of proposing or not proposing the question of her successor to Parliament; a question, as I have before written, which the English desire should be considered and resolved by the present Parliament in case the marriage should not take effect, and in consequence the meeting of Parliament has been deferred until the answer of Monsieur shall have been received.
Paris, 30th January 1580.