Venice: September 1580

Pages 645-647

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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September 1580

Sept. 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 816. Lorenzo Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
The one thousand live hundred Scots who went to Portugal, were embarked on board ships of the Prince of Orange, and since they went, no news of them has been received. The negotiations of Monsieur with Flanders, through the action of the Prince of Orange, have greatly advanced ; and the six Ambassadors who were expected from his Highness have arrived there, having travelled by Calais and Rouen to avoid Paris, where the decision of the affair is to be concluded, his Majesty being represented by the secretary Villeroy.
I am informed by the Secretary of Spain, that Holland, Zealand, and Flanders had decided to accept the Duke for their Lord, and to invest him with the dominion of those provinces upon the same conditions as they were held by the Emperor Charles V.; and that Brabant had not yet come to any determination, but that the Prince of Orange was doing all he could to obtain their consent. If the good fortune of Spain wills that this business be deferred until the Catholic King possesses himself of the kingdom of Portugal, many persons believe that those provinces will return to the obedience of that Majesty, because they are very weary of and ruined by the cost of so long a war, nor do they see the end of it in any other way.
St. Germain, 7th September 1580.
Sept. 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 817. Lorenzo Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
The Ambassadors ought now to prepare for setting out for England, but nothing is said about their departure, which it is believed will not take place until after the conclusion of the negotiations concerning Flanders.
It is difficult to understand with what end these reports of the conclusion of the marriage and of the exchange of the Ambassadors are spread, and then so speedily withdrawn. I have heard on the best authority that the Queen of England in consideration of the great cost she has incurred by aiding the Flemings, will endeavour to incorporate their provinces with her Crown; but as she cannot do so openly, she will attempt to effect the result through the person of Monsieur, who, if he become master of those realms, must also accomplish the marriage.
Letters from England report that the Queen keeps strict guard upon all her ports, and does not allow either entry or exit to any person, without full inquiry. She has imprisoned many gentlemen, whom she either knows or suspects to be Catholics, and amongst these are several noblemen, styled “Milord,” and one is Viscount Montagu (Montegut), who was a long while in her service, he having always feigned not to be a Catholic. She has summoned all the nobles of the kingdom in order to assure herself of those whose fidelity she doubts, but many Catholics have fled to Ireland, where they have joined the rebels, who have received ammunition provided in Spain and sent by the Pope, and who are awaiting arms and artillery, and also more than a thousand soldiers who in the name of his Holiness have been levied in Biscay under Italian captains and officers. The rebels are masters of the country districts, and are desirous to be assisted with arms, gunpowder, and supplies of money, but they care little for aid in men, because they themselves are very numerous.
Several English gentlemen are now resident at St. Germain. Amongst them is the Earl of Westmorland, who was the subject of the Queen of England, and who, twelve years ago, rose against her on account of the understanding which he had with the Spaniards. He was a man of great estate, and very powerful in the kingdom. He entertains a confident hope of soon returning home, which is shared by all the exiles, and if the affairs of Portugal should have a successful result for the King of Spain, it is said that his Catholic Majesty has undertaken to send an expedition to Ireland, and then, having easily made himself master of the island, he will, with the assistance which he will receive from the rebels, make war from thence upon England with greater ease. Don Pietro de' Medici will join in this expedition in the name of the Pope, and war will be made in the name of his Holiness to restore the kingdom of England to the true Catholic religion, and to give the crown to the person who has the right to possess it.
These are the expectations and hopes of the exiles, who, although ordinarily not held to be of much consequence, nevertheless in this case may bring about some important result, because, undoubtedly, if the Catholic King succeed in Portugal, his designs will be materially facilitated against England, where it is known for certain that the Queen is under great apprehension, especially as she has now a divided Council, principally on account of the marriage with Monsieur, one party siding with Lord Robert, who does not approve the marriage, and the other party with the Treasurer, who does approve and advises it; and on this account most offensive language has passed between them.
The principal ministers of this kingdom perceive and confess that the power of the King of Spain is very great, and that the perils therefrom become hourly greater; and recently Cardinal Biragues said to me, that your Serenity should devise some strong defensive league, in order to impede the dominion to which the Spaniards aspired, but 1 turned the conversation.
St. Germain, 8th September 1580.
[Italian; the portions in italics are in cipher.]
Sept. 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 818. Lorenzo Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Signory.
The Secretary Villeroy, who was sent to Monsieur, has returned, and it is understood that his Highness has resolved to proceed to Flanders with an armed force. He has given orders to raise a considerable force of infantry and cavalry in this kingdom, and has sent a number of captains to various districts for that purpose. The Court is now about to proceed to Moret (La Moreta).
St. Germain, 11th September 1580.