Venice: March 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: March 1580', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 7, 1558-1580, (London, 1890) pp. 633-636. British History Online [accessed 24 April 2024]

March 1580

March 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 798. Lorenzo Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
Although Mons. de La Noue entered Cambray many weeks ago with several companies of French soldiers, yet there have always been some differences between him and Monsieur d'Insi, the governor of the citadel, and these could not be arranged on account of unreasonable demands for money, but at last, when the Prince of Condé arrived, every difficulty was removed, and the city has transferred its allegiance from the Catholic King to Monsieur, according to the Articles which I have already forwarded; and it is said that Monsieur has conferred an abbacy with a yearly revenue of twenty-five thousand crowns upon d'Insi. Monsieur is now at Tours, in his Duchy of Anjou, whither the agents of the Princes of Orange and Condé have gone to solicit his presence in Flanders.
The Queen of England continues to send couriers frequently to his Highness, and last night one of these passed through here in great haste for England, where the Queen is preparing a powerful fleet, and is arming men, and has also given orders to Casimir to hold captains in readiness to raise twelve thousand Germans for her service. These preparations, although at first intended for her own defence, may now, if the Spanish fleet, as the Queen suspects, is to intervene in the affairs of Portugal, he employed for some other purpose, that is to say, if the boasting of her Ambassador here has any truth in it.
There are contradictory reports from the Court of Monsieur as to his Highness's intention; some say that he will go to Flanders, others that he will visit England, leaving the Prince of Condé as his Lieutenant in Flanders, but it is impossible to speak with any certainty as these matters are treated most secretly, though it is positive that Monsieur is supported by a great number of leading gentlemen, and that the result will very shortly be seen. It is said that he has given orders for the enlistment of many companies of French harquebusiers, but nothing of importance is yet known, and in this country, however clear a certain event may appear, a man can only believe what he actually sees, and nothing more.
The Secretary of the French Ambassador resident in England arrived here six days ago, and he reports that the Queen of England has not given up her ideas of marrying; other persons have written to the same effect, and, further, that when she is certain that the marriage cannot be accomplished she will not abandon the negotiation, because she desires to feed the English with the hope that she will marry in order, for many reasons, to avoid the election of her successor; and amongst these reasons one is manifestly of no small importance, because there being three principal houses competent to succeed to the crown, she could not make any declaration without giving rise to many troubles and incurring danger to herself.
I enclose the agreement made between the Prince of Condé, Mons. de La Noue, and the magistrates of the city of Cambray. (Five Articles, without date.)
Paris, 12th March 1580.
March 24. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 799. Lorenzo Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
Couriers and gentlemen of Flanders continue to pass frequently to Monsieur in the name of the Prince of Orange and the States of Flanders, in order to obtain his Highness's ultimate decision, but none has yet been arrived at; indeed, his Highness, a few days ago, wrote to the Queen-Mother that he would do nothing in the matter without the approval of herself and of the King his brother.
The English Ambassador is labouring to induce their Majesties to favour this expedition upon the ground that it is the real mode of removing turbulent individuals from this kingdom and at the same time to obtain protection against the power of the King of Spain, but the Ambassador does not receive the response which he would wish to have. He likewise complains of Monsieur because his Highness is not satisfied with the Articles which have been proposed by the States, alleging that he does not understand, if he be elected ruler supreme, why, by using address and prudence, the conditions should not become more favourable in the course of time; for it was a grave result to be Lord of so many States thus easily, and yet not to receive the honour which was due to him; but that if he did not accept the offer, others would do so, and he named the King of Denmark, for whom the people of the States had shown some inclination, because they were determined to take as their sovereign a prince who could defend and govern them.
Monsieur remains at Angers somewhat indisposed, and everyone is in expectation of hearing the ultimate result of these negotiations, concerning which it is impossible to form any positive conclusion on account of the instability of opinions.
The marriage with England is much discussed in that kingdom, and letters from London, dated the 12th instant, advise that on the 8th inst. a gentleman who had been sent by Monsieur to the Queen arrived there, and that her Majesty, who was on the river for her pleasure in London and attended by her ladies and lords, had disembarked at the house of the French Ambassador, where she remained some while, and this circumstance has given great grounds for the discussion of the marriage; for it would appear that while the Queen is still intent upon the project, she cannot be sufficiently. secure of the will of Monsieur. I have heard, upon good authority, that to divert Monsieur from this idea, another foreign marriage of great importance has been proposed to him; and although I have hitherto been unable to learn who the person is, I nevertheless conjecture that it may be with a daughter of the King of Spain, because I am assured that a few days since the matter was mentioned to the Queen-Mother, who answered that things had already then gone too far with England. It seems very likely that this alliance was proposed by the Nuncio of his Holiness, who, I am certain, has lately held long conferences with the King and the Queen-Mother, when the latter said that she had received a letter from Monsieur to the purport that he would not go to Flanders without the advice of their Majesties; and it is believed that the Huguenots of this kingdom are somewhat suspicious, and have issued an intimation that the King and Monsieur are about to unite with the Catholic King against them and against the Queen of England, and that they have told the English Ambassador to warn his Queen, as he has done, to beware lest she be deceived.
If this negotiation should turn out to be true, it has been devised with great art and astuteness by the Spaniards to gain time in order to settle the affairs of Portugal, and it would not be difficult for them to delude this King (of France) by making a proposal without any intention of carrying it out, because the Queen-Mother will easily allow herself to be deceived, inasmuch as she has always greatly desired this alliance in order to divert Monsieur from his thoughts of England and Flanders; and quite recently the Abate Guadagni was sent to Monsieur by the Queen-Mother, a circumstance which makes this negotiation the mere credible, though it is known to very few. These conjectures and suggestions, although they may be well founded, do not necessarily lead to a result, but it is my duty to keep your Serenity informed of all that occurs.
The above-mentioned letters from England state that the Queen has given permission to many Lords to have the sacramental mass (la messa sacramentale) celebrated in their own houses, both in London and the country, and also that this permission is to be greatly enlarged, and hence it is believed that the Queen is apprehensive of some movement on the part of the Catholics. The Queen has detained all the vessels which were in England and intends to send forces to Ireland against the rebels, who have been joined by Spaniards from Biscay, and who are expecting further reinforcements thence. The principal lords in Scotland are in arms because they cannot tolerate the great authority with which the King of Scotland's uncle rules his Majesty in the Council, where there is great difference of opinion, and also because they fear a project for marrying the King to the Princess of Lorraine, namely, to a sister of the reigning Queen of France.
In Flanders, as usual, both parties are mutually occupying territories of no great importance, and the Prince of Orange has given orders to prepare his fleet for sea, and to join, as it is said, the English Fleet; and the Spanish agent here says, that they intend by these reports to terrify the whole world without incurring any cost. In the course of conversation the Queen-Mother said to me, smiling, “Ambassador, I will tell you the truth. I love the King of Spain, because I gave him my daughter for wife, but I do not wish to see him become so powerful as to frighten everybody else;” and I then, without reply, but smiling also, took my leave.
Paris, 24th March 1580.