Venice: August 1580

Pages 642-645

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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August 1580

Aug. 5. Original Despatch. Venetian Archives. 812. Lorenzo Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
Mons. de La Fin has been sent by Monsieur to his Majesty, and has communicated the intention of his Highness to send a solemn embassy to England to be present there at the meeting of Parliament which is about to be held to consider his marriage with the Queen; and Monsieur, together with his Ambassadors, has urged his Majesty to appoint some persons in his Majesty's name to go to England in order to establish a good understanding between the two kingdoms. Consequently the Marshal de Cossé and Mons. de Simier on behalf of Monsieur, and Mons. de Biragues (Pibrach) and one of the King's secretaries on behalf of the King, have been appointed ; and to give greater weight to this embassy a prince of the blood has been elected as the nominal head, and this prince is Charles, Monsieur de Bourbon, the brother of the Prince of Condé, who is a priest and bishop elect, and successor to the abbacies and bishoprics formerly held by Cardinal Bourbon, his uncle. It is said that these functionaries will depart during the present month, in order to arrive in England on the 8th September, when Parliament will assemble.
The English Ambassador said that his Queen is resolved upon the marriage, and Mons. de La Fin speaks to the same effect very openly concerning Monsieur; nevertheless, when I endeavoured to ascertain the truth of this fact from his Majesty's principal Minister, he professed not to believe it, and said that the mission of these gentlemen was to establish more firmly a good understanding between the Crown of England and this kingdom.
If this understanding be simply defensive, or even offensive against the Catholic King, there is no one who yet knows the particulars, for no instructions have yet been issued, and the communications which now pass between these princes are so contradictory, that it is impossible to arrive at any certain conclusion, because, on the one hand, the King continues to prosecute war in his own country; and any agreement has become extremely difficult, seeing that the Huguenots will not restore even the places which were comprised in the terms of peace. Besides, his Majesty is disinclined to assist his brother with regard to the affairs of Flanders, and he is always suspicious of the understanding which exists between the Queen of England, Monsieur, and the Huguenot princes. On the other hand, it is certain that his Majesty is deeply offended with the Catholic King concerning the affairs of Saluzzo, that the power of the Catholic King displeases him, and that he is well disposed to assist Portugal. It is also believed that Signor Filippo Strozzi will not now proceed to Portugal except with the consent of his Majesty, and it is reasonable to believe that this English Embassy is intended to bring about an understanding which has a wider scope than a simple alliance for defence, and which will, in fact, always continue in force between these two Crowns for their mutual interest against the Spaniards, without there being any necessity for a new and special arrangement.
Paris, 5th August 1580.
Aug. 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 813. Lorenzo Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
A solemn embassy from the States of Flanders, and particularly from Antwerp, has been despatched to Monsieur to offer him the dominion of the Low Countries; but from what I hear it is desired that in a certain way this King should intervene. The Ambassadors are expected shortly; but all this business must necessarily be settled concurrently with that of England, for which purpose Ambassadors have been elected who will proceed to England next month. Nothing is heard about the coming here of the Roisters, and according to report the Queen has done good service in this matter, and the money which the Prince of Condé received in England is to be employed in the service of the States of Flanders.
St. Germain, 12th August 1580.
Aug. 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 814. Lorenzo Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
Advices have been received from England that fifteen hundred Scots have embarked for Portugal, and if no hindrance has occurred they ought to have set sail by this time. Vessels and galleons are being fitted out in England, and also in Flanders, where fifteen vessels belonging to the Prince of Orange are under orders to convey men, provisions, and ammunition to Portugal; and it will not be surprising should these Flemish and English vessels join those under the command of Strozzi, so as to sail together for the greater mutual security, lest they might come into conflict with the Spanish (Cattolica) fleet, which is however reported not to be well provided with vessels of heavy burthen.
St. Germain, 18th August 1580.
Aug. 24. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 815. Lorenzo Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
Advices have been received that twelve days ago, the Ambassadors of the States were to have left Antwerp to visit the Duke of Alençon, but no news has been heard of them. The Ambassadors who were to have gone to England in the name of the King and of Monsieur, are not yet known to be under orders. The irresolution shown with reference to the affairs of Flanders will, without doubt, impede English affairs also; for these matters are all so closely connected and dependent upon one another that they cannot be separated.
According to advices from England, certain placards have been found which speak evil of the Councillors of the Queen; and her Majesty has proclaimed publicly that all the libels which are issued against her Ministers are inventions of persons sent to England to introduce civil discord amongst her people by the Pope and by the Catholic King, who, together with some other Italian potentates, have made a league for the destruction of her kingdom; but that her people are to be of good cheer, for as she has ruled them peacefully and quietly for the space of twenty-one years, so she will not fail to do so for the future.
It is said the Queen has done this, not so much on the aforesaid account as to expose the Pope and the Catholic King to odium for being disturbers of the tranquillity of the kingdom, and to excuse herself to the Catholics for having arrested some priests who were distributing rosáries, jubilees, agnus Dei, and the bulls of Pius V., whereby she was declared to be excommunicated.
The risings in Ireland against the Queen are said to continue with greater force than ever.
St. Germain, 24th August 1580.