BHO

Venice: October 1585

Pages 122-125

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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October 1585

Oct. 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 287. Vincenzo Gradenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The fleets of Peru and of New Spain have arrived in Seville. They are very rich. One ship is said to have remained in the Azores to repair, as it was very badly handled by some English ships, which captured another ship with a million of gold on board.
Barbastro, 9th October 1585.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Oct. 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 288. Vincenzo Gradenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Of general affairs I have little to report; everything is quiet just now owing to the King's illness. They, say, however, that his Majesty, if it please God to give him health, intends next summer to go to Lisbon, so as to be in a more convenient place for directing the attach on England. On this subject there are many rumours which I do not send, as I think they lack foundation; it is possible that all this may be only a ruse to induce the Pope to grant the Bull of Crusade, as the usual time for its publication, Advent, is now coming on.
Barbastro, 18th October 1585.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Oct. 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 289. Vincenzo Gradenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday a courier with letters from Don Bernardino dated from France on the 9th, arrived here; he brings news that Don Antonio of Portugal is in England, and that he was to have sailed on the 22nd September along with Drake and his forty-four ships. The fleet has ten thousand English infantry and five hundred horse on board, and they intend to make a descent on Portugal or the Azores. But the 22nd was a bad day, and the departure was put off till the 25th. The Queen sent a courier to Don Antonio and to Drake, ordering both of them to return to her, as she had matters to discuss with them; but the courier arrived too late. Longl has received similar news, and showed me his last letters. As regards Portugal, your Serenity must know that three thousand more Spanish infantry have been sent there and divided among various places on the sea. Don Luigi Enriquez and Don Gabriel de Guigno have been ordered to Lisbon with their recruits, both of them at once left Court. Longl told me that Mons. de Saint Gard, the French Ambassador in Rome, will return to France, and that for some time the King will not send a successor.
Barbastro, 20th October 1585.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Oct. 25. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 290. Vincenzo Gradenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The privation of the King of Navarre by the Pope was the work of the League of Guise, who were set on by Don Bernardino de Mendoza, who has managed the whole of this affair, for which he is much praised by the Ministers here, who say that although much money has been spent yet the fomentation of discord in France has brought about the fall of Antwerp, which was their principal object.
Drake has landed in Gallicia with four thousand infantry and done most serious damage by harrying the country, and bad Bayona not been succoured it would have been captured. He then re-embarked and sailed towards Portugal where he has sacked all the shipping, French, Spanish, and Italian, and among these one Venetian whose name I don't know; in all 26 ships with a booty of 300,000 ducats. Nothing more is known at present. It seems that Drake has not yet effected a junction with Don Antonio, who, as I wrote, has also sailed from England. They were very anxious about the Peruvian fleet, but they think Drake missed it by delaying in Gallicia. The fleet is at the port of San Lucar, that it to say, at Seville. It brings seven millions; four for the King and three for private merchants; I think some ships are missing.
Barbastro, 25th October 1585.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Oct. 30. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 291. Lorenzo Bernardo, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
In my last audience with the magnificent Pasha he asked me if it was true that the French had make peace, and had come to an accord with the Lutherans; I replied that I had no such news from your Serenity, but that I had heard that his most Christian Majesty had come to an accord with the House of Guise against the Lutherans, though I was not sure of it. He then asked if I knew whether the agent of the Spanish Ambassador was at Ragusa, and what he was doing there? I answered that on my way through Ragusa there was an agent there, but that I had heard subsequently that he had left.
The French agent who came to call on me said that in an audience with the magnificent Pasha a long report on the political situation, the work of David Passi, had been read to him, and he was asked if he thought the Republic was on good terms with Spain, and what was the meaning of the Republic maintaining such a large fleet. The agent replied that your Serenity was on good terms with everyone, and that the fleet was the ordinary one, which was necessary for the protection of commerce in various parts of the world, for which princes owed a debt of gratitude to Venice.
The English Ambassador came to visit me a few days ago. He made use of most warm and respectful language as regards your Serenity and of great courtesy to me. Our remarks were complimentary in this first interview. I returned the visit, and in the course of conversation I discovered in the Ambassador a certain dissatisfaction with the Turk, because he neither knows nor appreciates the greatness and the power of England and his Queen. He complained bitterly that in spite of pledges the Turks have seized six English ships within a short time, and decline to give any satisfaction. The Ambassador is spreading the report that war has broken out between Spain and England, and will be a most bloody one; that the King of Spain will not succeed in recovering Flanders now that the Queen is opposed; and this he says with a view to showing to the Porte how strong his Queen is, and how highly her friendship should be valued by the Sultan as a counterbalance to the power of Spain.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 30th October 1585.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Nov. 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 292. Vincenzo Gradenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The rumour that the King will go next summer to Lisbon as more convenient for the English expedition continues and grows. They are said to be raising 10,000 infantry in Italy; but Rome is supposed to be the cause of these preparations.
Barbastro, 26th November 1585.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Oct. 7. Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 293. Copy of a Letter from Pietro Bermudez, Governor of the Islands of Bayona, Coast of Gallicia, addressed to the Marquis of Santa Cruz and giving an account of the arrival of the Englishman Drake off the shores of Gallicia.
Drake appeared off this port, and leaving the ships near the islands, he landed about 1,500 men in launches. I sent a recognisance to see who they were, and Drake sent back one of his officers in company with my messenger. This officer was ordered to tell me that in my hands lay peace or war, that he came in the name of the Queen of England to gather together all the English and to abolish all the impositions which have been laid on them, and his action would depend on my answer. I replied through an Englishman whom I sent to Drake, that I was the officer of his Majesty the King, and could act only so far as I was instructed; that I had no orders to annoy or trouble any English, nor had anything of the sort taken place here, nor would it where I was present; that if he wished war and intended to levy it he would find his hands full. I keep all my men ready, and will inform your Excellency of all that happens.
Pero Bermudez.
Bayona, 7th October 1585.
[Italian.]
P.S.By the Ambassador Gradenigo. Later on we hear that the Governor of Gallicia has let all the English go; that they have embarked with Drake, who, on 30th October, was in Portuguese waters, seizing all the shipping that he could.
[Italian.]