Venice: August 1585

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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'Venice: August 1585', Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 8, 1581-1591, (London, 1894), pp. 118-120. British History Online [accessed 17 June 2024].

. "Venice: August 1585", in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 8, 1581-1591, (London, 1894) 118-120. British History Online, accessed June 17, 2024,

. "Venice: August 1585", Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 8, 1581-1591, (London, 1894). 118-120. British History Online. Web. 17 June 2024,

August 1585

Aug. 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 280. Vincenzo Gradenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The departure of Don Antonio of Portugal was communicated to his Majesty by Salazar, and thrice over from Naples; and there is no one who doubts the truth of it, moved thereto by the authority of the Minister who made the announcement, Cardinal de Granvelle. From what I have heard I gather that his Eminence would have been glad had your Serenity made the communication, all the more so because it is said here that Don Antonio met the Ambassador Bernardo in Dalmatia, and asked leave to accompany him, which was refused.
This news was believed down to the other day, when a courier arrived from France with information from Don Bernardino and Tassis. They said that in Brittany the Due de Mercure, by Guise's orders, laid an ambush for Don Antonio, who was warned two hours before the time fixed, and so saved himself This news will lay the fears that his journey to Constantinople might be true. Had he gone there he might have caused serious trouble to the Spaniards, especially in the East Indies, where he could have taken a fleet through the Red Sea, and so cut off all the trade with the spice islands, which would have been a most heavy loss to his Majesty.
The publication of peace in France has led to daily sittings of the Council of War here. As yet we know of no decision, but rumour says that the attach on England is fixed for next year, and that the preparations hitherto made, all tend to this effect. Two companies of infantry are to go to Lisbon to embark on board the ships under embargo. Orders and money have been issued, and officers have been appointed to raise men in Spain and in Italy, and the intention is to have thirty thousand men in Biscay. They also say that forty ships are to be made ready at the orders of the King. But those who know best receive the rumour with reserve; for the expedition cannot take place till next year, and so all these assertions are premature; besides they do not see how an expedition of such importance is to be undertaken before the affairs of Flanders are settled, and until they are sure of the ordinary assistance from Rome, such as the Bull of Crusade and other supports; moreover France is still armed, and although they alleged that the Huguenots are the object of these forces, yet they cannot have any confidence that they may not be directed to Flanders. The ten companies already raised are to keep Portugal quiet, as is well known. In fact the King's chief object is to free himself from the charge brought against him by all the world, that he has supplied the Guise with money, which is considered an action unworth of so Catholic a Prince. Before the publication of the peace of France, the Ministers wrote to the Pope excusing their action by alleging that Pope Gregory, of blessed memory, frequently urged three undertakings, the expeditions against England and Geneva, and the support of those who were endeavouring to expel the Huguenots from France, demonstrating that each of these undertakings belonged in a special way to his Majesty for [God] had given him such power that he could show his gratitude in no other manner than by employing it for the extirpation of heresy. After frequent exhortations, by Nuncio or by letters, the King could no longer refuse to consent; but all his actions have been directed, not so much to trouble the King of France, as to fulfil the desire of his Holiness, who, on his side, promised aid as far as in him lay. The King then prayed the Pope to grant him the usual facilities, promising to attack England first, then Geneva; while, as for the Huguenots, if the King of France thought well to make use of Spanish arms he would gladly furnish them for this purpose, for he had never had any other object than the extirpation of heresy. I am informed by a person who can be implicitly trusted, that the King has ordered his Ambassador to make the above representation to the Pope, the sole objects being to exculpate himself for having helped Guise; to induce the Pope to grant the ordinary supports; and to show that he has no other designs than those which tend to the good of Christianity; and this is the meaning of these rumours of an English expedition, which is by no means a matter finally decided upon.
It is to be hoped that they will close the year happily if the Antwerp business is brought to an end. They say the concordat of Antwerp, as of Malines, is concluded. And so the Ministers, under good guidance, have reached their end by a road other than the one they intended, which was to settle Flanders by crushing France. Another concordat is looked for, that between Catholics and Huguenots, for no one believes that the King of France will continue the war owing to lack of money for the support of a sufficient army. And so 1585, which threatened to be most disturbed, by the grace of God who works by inconceivable ways, will be brought to a happy conclusion.
Barbastro, 10th August 1585.
[Italian; deciphered.]
August 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 281. Vincenzo Gradenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The affairs of Antwerp are not settled, and are going badly. Many English have reached Flushing and Middelburg; a certain sign that the Queen of England will help Antwerp. I was at mass with Don Christoforo de Mora, Chamberlain to the King, and he told me that Drake had met a great storm, which has compelled him to return to England.
Barbastro, 23rd August 1585.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]