Venice: March 1585

Pages 109-114

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 8, 1581-1591. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1894.

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March 1585

March 12. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 260. Matheo Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
In the Diet the Queen of England negotiated certain articles of commerce and free trade.
Prague, 12th March 1585.
March 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 261. Giovanni Francesco Moresini, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The Pasha, some days ago, upon information given him by certain renegades who were ill satisfied with the Queen of England who had punished them and made them repair the damage they had done to certain ships, said to the English Ambassador that the Queen of England was of no account and incapable of doing good or ill to the Sultan. The Ambassador resented this, and drew up a paper full of exaggerations, as your Serenity will see from the copy I enclose. This paper was translated into Turkish and placed it in the hands of the Sultan, and a similar one in the hands of the Magnificent Pasha. But it seems to one that the Turks make small account of the English, as facts demonstrate, for of five English ships that have been sent here, three have been robbed and ill treated.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 12th March 1585.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 262. The true description of England and its present State.
The circumference of the island of England is 3,500 miles. It is most powerful in its infinite number of warlike inhabitants. It has thirty-nine counties (Beglierbey) full of cities, forts, and villages. In the City of London alone there are three hundred thousand warriors always ready. It is rich in all kinds of fruits, and in mines of silver, tin, copper, lead, iron, sulphur, saltpetre. That part which does not feed horses or other beasts, yields crops or metals, so that there is no part of it impossible for man's use. All kinds of animals abound, noble horses, bulls, chiefly because there are no wolves, sheep with wool like silk, from which they weave cloth of all sorts. The workmen are able masters of every craft. There is great abundance of rabbit skins, leather of bull, calf, sheep, lamb, and goat skin, which not only supplies Europe but also Asia, Africa, and America. England owns many islands, among them Ireland, but little smaller than England itself. And in short England is independent of other countries though they cannot do without her. In England, the present Queen Elizabeth, the Virgin Queen, has reigned twenty-six years, may God preserve her. Her revenue is six millions in gold, apart from the expenses of her Court which are paid by the country. At her command she has one hundred and thirty thousand armed men, from twenty to fifty years old. She is in alliance with all the Princes of the true Christian religion, of which she is the head. She has a fleet more powerful than all the other Princes of Christendom, so strong that one must see it to believe it.
The people are naturally brave, indomitable, and valourous in war. They attack the foe with such ardour that they usually come out not dead but victorious. They are impatient of injuries and revenge them fiercely. They religiously keep their treaties and highly honour their allies. Their judges are most learned and full of sound judgments, they take no bribes.
The nobles and gentlemen are affable, and delight in arms and the liberal arts; the people best friends to their friends, cruel foes to their foes; and all obey the Queen, so that on her command they would go to death without a word.
They pray to God without idolatry.
They are mortal foes of idolatry, and wish their enemies death without redemption.
March 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 263. Giovanni Dolfin, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
On the second day of Lent the English Ambassadors went to his Majesty, and stayed nearly two hours in his cabinet. I am told that his Majesty informed them that to undertake the protectorate of the Low Countries would not suit the policy of the Crown of France at this moment, but that it was desirable to stand united against the advance of Spain. To which Lord Derby replied that it was a most dangerous course to allow the power of an acknowledged enemy to grow great After an exchange of similar views, on either side Lord Derby seeing that he was making no progress towards his object, took leave of his Majesty to return to his Queen. The King has presented him with a side-board (credentiera) worth four thousand ducats, and has given to six of his suite a chain a piece, worth three hundred ducats. He left Paris yesterday.
Six days ago Thomas Morgan, an Englishman who was staying at this Court on private affairs of the Queen of Scotland, was imprisoned, and his papers and some money taken from him at the request of the English Ambassadors. The charge against him was that he had correspondence with two English prisoners, accused of plotting to kill the Queen. After Lord Derby's departure, Morgan was moved to a less rigorous prison. Many say he is innocent, and that the charge was invented the more easily to cover and excuse the imprisonment of the Queen of Scotland. She, a month ago, was removed from the custody of the Earl of Shrewsbury (Scioteveri) a great noble, wealthy, reckoned a Catholic, because he allowed her too much liberty. Now she is under another guardian, who keeps her very close, not even allowing her to write or to receive letters as heretofore (dicono molti che sia innocente et che sia stata trovata questa inventione per coprire et scusar più facilmente la prigione delta Regina di Scotia, la quale fù levata gia un mese dalla custodia del conte di Scioteveri . . . perche la lasciava in molta libertà, et hora è custodita da un altro, che la tiene assai ristretta, non li lasciando commodità di scriver, et di ricever lettere, come faceva per avanti).
Paris, 15th March 1585.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 264. Giovanni Francesco Moresini, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Thinking it necessary that your Serenity should be informed of what happened on Sunday last with the Secretary left here by Mons. de Germiny, late Ambassador of France at this Porte, I hasten to resume what I have already written, so that you may take what steps seem best to your wisdom. The King of France was highly displeased at the reception of an English Ambassador who enjoyed the same honours as those shown to the Ambassador of France. In spite of the frequent representations which he made through his Ambassador he was able to obtain no satisfaction. He therefore resolved to show his resentment by recalling his Ambassador from the Porte, without sending another in his place. He gave orders to Mons. de Germiny to take his leave and to return to France, but to charge some one of his attaches to remain here to receive despatches, and to advise his Majesty of their receipt, until further orders. Obeying these commands Mons. de Germiny resolved to leave his Secretary. He came to visit me, recounted all that had taken place and showed me the King's letters, and recommended to me his Secretary, whom he presented, and declared that he would obey my instructions in all things. The Secretary too, with all humility, promised to serve and obey me, and begged one to inform him if I saw any defects, as he would attend to my words as he had attended to those of Mons. de Germiny himself. I did not fail to reply as courtesy, and the perfect friendship which exists between your Serenity and the King of France required. After the departure of Mons. de Germiny, the Secretary has frequently come to me, and I have always paid him respect. I have asked him to dine with me several times, and have given him such information as was fitting, besides advising him of the despatch of expresses, so that he might avail himself of them, in short I have left nothing undone to preserve him a friend as his master was. He, however, I know not why, has always had a secret animus against us, though outwardly he shows himself friendly. I was not aware of it at first, but I hear now that in the affair of the galley of Tripoli, he takes the side of the Turk.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 20th March 1585.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 22. Collegio, Lettere Pvincipi, Inghilterra. 265. Letter from Queen Elizabeth to the Doge.
Elizabeth, by the Grace of God, Queen of England, France and Ireland, to the Doge, Pasquale Cicogna, and the illustrious Senators and Nobles of the Venetian Republic.
Acknowledges the receipt of the Doge's letter of December 1584, in answer to Elizabeth's requesting the removal of the new duties and a return to the original state of things.
Complaining of the action of the Venetian rector in Zante who compelled the English merchants to pay the new imposition in cash, and refused securities, contrary to the decree of the Senate, August 1582.
Declares that she has no intention of levying new imposts on Venetian merchants. In England only sureties, not ready money, have been asked from Venetian merchants. Begs that this innovation may be removed, otherwise she will be obliged to apply the same in England.
Greenwich, 12th March 1585.
March 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 266. Giovanni Dolfin, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Last week the Ambassador of England came to visit me. He said that the Queen appreciated the goodwill of the Republic as shown in your Serenity's letter. As to the question of the customs dues, that can quickly be brought to a termination provided there be no one who, for his own ends, misinforms the Republic on the matter. Her Majesty's intention was to. recall the concession made to Acerbo Velutello, of which your Excellencies had complained, and also to provide that your subjects shall not pay higher or other dues than those paid by her subjects. She hopes that her readiness in this matter will induce your Excellencies to remove the new duties which were imposed chiefly on account of the concession to Velutello. She read with some surprise that your Excellencies claimed that your subjects should not pay heavier dues than they paid before you ascended the throne, that would produce the unheard of result that your subjects would pay less dues than the people of the country. And further by the Queen's express orders he said to me “If the Republic will come to particulars and will charge you with the management of the affair, the Queen will give me a similar charge, and we two together may hope speedily to settle the matter.”
I thought it best to give no definite reply to the Ambassador without express orders from your Serenity, but I returned him thanks for the offer.
I must mention that three days ago the agent of M. Todarin Lombardo, left for Venice.
He has been some years in England and is consequently very well informed of all the particulars relating to this business, and also of the goodwill of the Queen, and of the nobles who govern the kingdom, who are ready to give your Serenity every satisfaction on this point; as they have begun to do already by granting an ample patent to Lombardo & Company.
The Ambassador before taking leave called my attention to the great danger to which the Queen had been exposed by Dr. Paris, (Parry) plot against her life, as I wrote to your Serenity. Among his papers they found - in the hand of the Cardinal di Como; persuading Parry to carry out that holy work which he contemplated, and granting in his Holiness' name, plenary indulgence for the sin and the punishment of all his errors. He has confessed that when he was in Rome, he was urged to this deed, and was promised, over and above eternal life if put to death, many temporal benefits for his heirs. He has admitted that his accomplice was Thomas Morgan, who was recently arrested, and was thought to be an agent of the Queen of Scotland; but he added that neither the King nor the Queen of Scotland knew anything about the matter, as Morgan was moved solely by religious considerations and by Christian piety. He has confessed that when Morgan passed through Paris he went to dine with the Nuncio, who urged him to carry out his holy intent with all speed, and promised to pray for him every day at mass. The Nuncio had an audience of the King on Sunday, and begged that Morgan might be set at liberty, declaring that he is a person of excellent repute, a Catholic and a good servant of the Queen of Scotland, who in the midst of all her troubles should not be exposed to this additional one, that her dependents are persecuted. The King replied that Morgan's case should receive every attention.
The English Ambassador has received a despatch from his mistress announcing that she has hung and quartered Dr. Parry. He urgently demanded the person of Morgan, that he too might be punished for his crimes. His Majesty did not consent and another courier having arrived from England, the Ambassador again asked for an audience and every one supposes it is for the same purpose, so eager is the Queen in this matter. The same day the Scotch Ambassador begged the King to liberate the Queen of Scotland's agent, Morgan, pointing out that as that poor man is innocent it would be improper to surrender him to the English. The King answered that nothing but pure justice should be done, of that the Ambassador might be sure.
Paris, 28th March 1585.
March 29. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 267. Giovanni Francesco Moresini, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Four days ago an English ship arrived with a cargo of cloth, tin and other goods. The Turks are glad, for the city is almost without cloth for clothing. The English Ambassador has made such complaints to the Pasha against Morat Rais, who is at Valona, that they say the Turks finally gave orders to arrest and place him in irons.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 29th March 1885.
[Italian; deciphered.]