Venice: December 1585

Pages 126-128

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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December 1585

Dec. 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 297. Giovanni Dolfin, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Queen of England has caused to be published a declaration of the reasons which moved her to undertake the protectorate of the Low Countries; setting forth the insults she received from Spain, her own patience and good offices, the extortions and cruelties practiced on her neighbours, the damage to English trade, the threat to English liberty if Spain is allowed to advance. She expatiates at such length that she occupied more than seven leaves. The Earl of Leicester has not left London yet; but he has sent a nephew, Sir Philip, called after the King of Spain when he was King of England, to Flushing, where are three thousand English infantry.
I made the usual visit to the ambassador of the King of Scotland. He told me that on the 26th October the rebels entered Scotland, and that the King feared they had a secret understanding with some of his most intimate attendants. He lived with great precautions. He did not know if any English were with the rebels.
Paris, 6th December 1585.
Dec. 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 298. Giovanni Dolfin, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
In Antwerp they are working on the Citadel, where more than three hundred men are employed every day without interruption, and by the end of the month they say the work will be finished.
Paris, 9th December 1585.
Dec. 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 299. Giovanni Dolfin, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday the King granted audiences to the Nuncio, the Ambassador of England, and the Ambassador of Scotland, The English Ambassador, on direct orders from the Queen, informed his Majesty that his mistress offered herself as mediator of a peace with Navarre and Condè, and promised to take every care of his Majesty's dignity. She declares that if the war continues she will be obliged in self defence to take active measures against the growing power of the Guise faction, on whom she is forced to keep as keen an eye as she does on the King of Spain; for the objects of both are identical. The King expressed his thanks for the good intentions of the Queen of England, and said he would consult the Queen-Mother, and in a few days would give a definite answer.
The Scotch Ambassador gave information that the Earl of Hamilton and the Earl of Angus (Anghisa) and other Scotch rebels had entered Scotland, and that the King being too weak to expel them, had been forced to retire into Edinburgh, where they have beseiged him.
They demand the persons of five of his principal attendants, and Dumbarton (Domberzand) and Blackness (Blacnes) the strongest fortress in the kingdom, together with a general pardon and amnesty for all the rebels. All these demands have been granted, as the King had no means of resistance, while the rebels had secret intelligence inside the kingdom, and support from the English on the borders. Of the five persons demanded, the most important fled; the others were surrendered, and are confined in their castles. The King is now surrounded by the rebels, who govern him as they and the Queen of England desire. The English Ambassador also gave me a similar account of these events, except that he denies that the English had any share in them.
Paris, 20th December 1585.
Dec. 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 300. Vincenzo Gradenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
His Majesty does not desire to upset all his arrangements in Italy, just now that he is fully occupied with Flanders; for it is reported that the Queen of England has thrown provisions and infantry into Holland and Zealand, and is harrassing his Majesty by means of Drake. About Drake there is positive news that he has passed the Canaries, and, after capturing the flag ship of the Peruvian fleet with four hundred thousand crowns, has sailed towards Brazil. If he lands there, as they fear he has already done, there is not the smallest doubt but that the whole country will be thrown into confusion and danger, for there are no forts nor troops, and only discontent among the people on account of the brutal usage they experience from the Spaniards. The Marquis of Santa Cruz writes to the King that it will be impossible to deal with the situation unless his Majesty will go to Lisbon, for his presence there would assist the armament and frighten the enemy.
They say here that the King will go in autumn. But he is tired of travelling, and they fear he will not move.
Madrid, 21st December 1585.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Dec. 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 301. Lorenzo Bernardo, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
A few days ago two Englishmen left here in company with a Jew belonging, as I understand, to the household of David Passi. Many conjectures as to their mission are made, but I have no definite information to give your Serenity.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 26th December 1585.
[Italian; deciphered.]