BHO

Venice: February 1586

Pages 136-143

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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February 1586

Feb. 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 316. Vincenzo Gradenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
A courrier from Flanders passed yesterday on his way to the Court, and reports that Robert, Earl of Leicester (Robert Miloert), had entered Holland with four thousand foot and six hundred horse.
Madrid, 8th February 1585 [m.v.]
[Italian.]
Feb. 17. Original Despatch, VenetianyArchives. 317. Giovanni Dolfin, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
On the evening of the 14th there went to meet the Duke of of Guise, who had stopped a short way from this, Madame de Nemours and the Cardinal of Guise. They took council on the question of advancing any further for fear of the King, who, in addition to the steps he had already taken, had also sent to search the Guises Palace for arms. They resolved to enter Paris with a smaller following than they had maintained on the journey. The Duke of Nemours went to meet his brother. In whipping up his horse the pistols at his holster exploded and wounded him, though only slightly, in the left knee. The entrance was not very impressive in spite of the presence of two Cardinals, and the Ambassadors of Scotland and Ferrara.
The Prince of Parma has laid seige to Grave and Venlo, places of no great moment in themselves, but important as closing the road between Antwerp and Germany.
M. de Villeroi informs me that yesterday evening he had news from Antwerp that the English have captured Aldegonde, who gave Antwerp to the Prince of Parma, and that they have sent him to the Queen of England; she is likely to use him very ill, for she was much annoyed at the fall of that city.
Paris, 17th February 1586.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 318. Lorenzo Bernardo, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
This morning the Capadun Pasha sent to ash me if I would send him my dragoman at once, which I did. His Magnificence said to the dragoman, as soon as I heard that Venetian ships had been seized and that leave to lade them had been refused, I made strong representations to the Grand Vizir and to other grandees of this Porte, in order that the ships might be set at liberty and freedom of commerce resumed; and I am glad to say I was heard favourably. I took the opportunity to point out to the Grand Vizir and the other Pashas the great advantages which the Venetians bring to the Sultan, as compared with mischief which these lutheran English work in this kingdom. I declared that I could not abide their Ambassador nor the whole race; for they are a pack of thieves and pirates, and ruin this country. At Patras they have warehouses where they store raisins, raise the price and commit a thousand wickednesses. Finally, the Queen is a very distant Sovereign, and can be of no use, only harm. I therefore intend to exert all my power to expel this rascal of an Ambassador, and these lutherans. I have sent for you in order that you may report all this to the Bailo in my name; and tell him that if the Grand Vizir or others of this Porte should inquire of him what manner of men these Lutherans are, and what advantage they bring to the Sultan, he must answer in the same sense (ne posso veder l'Ambasciatore, ne questa natione, perch sono ladri, vano in corso, ruinano questo paese, tengono magazeni a Patrasso per incanevar uve passe, et incarirle, et fano mille tristitie; et in conclusione, Principe lontano che non giova et fa gran danno, per voglio far ogni opera per far scacciar questo tristo del Ambasciatore, et questi lutherani, et per ti ho fatto chiamar accio riferissi queste cose al Bailo in nome mio, et la dichi che se dal Bass o altri Grandi di questa Porta le sar dimandato che homeni sono questi lutherani et che benefficio possono dar a questo Signor, che rispondi ancor lui in conformita). I know that the Signoria of Venice also will be glad if the English Ambassador is dismissed. The dragoman returned thanks and promised compliance. As he was going away a renegade in the service of his Magnificence said these lutherans are a bad lot. The Capadun Pasha has heard that in their warehouses at Patras large earthenware jars with Turkish characters on them have been seen; these must come from Barbary, and must have been stolen by English ships in those waters; the Capadun cannot abide them. (Nel partirsi poi un renegato della sua Magnificentia disse al dragomano questi lutherani sono gran tristi. Il Capitano ha inteso che nelli loro magazeni a Patrasso sono sta veduti molti piteri con lettere turchesche lavorate sopra, le quali sono di Barbaria, et devono esser stati da loro rubbati in quelli mari dalli loro galleoni, et per il Capitano non la puo supportar)
Although these remarks of the Capadun were nothing new to me, for I was aware of his detestation of the English, still they gave one pause, for I know that the policy of the English Ambassador and of the Capadun must be identical, as both desire in some way or other to harrass his Catholic Majesty. And so I did not believe that between these two, who have one and the same object, there could exist such violent opposition; for between persons of influence love and hate is only a question of interest. Nevertheless, as I know that your Serenity's interests require the expulsion of the English, if possible, and as my predecessor had orders to act in concert with the French Ambassador on this point, I resolved to pay a visit to the agent of his most Christian Majesty, and to find out his intentions on this point. The agent told me that the Capadun Pasha had sent for him some clays ago, bat that he had not responded, as he feared the subject of discourse might be some request by the English Ambassador that the Sultan would send out his fleet; and he did not wish it to seem, as had happened before, that his Most Christian Majesty was a party to this proceeding. Accordingly he had sent to excuse himself with his Magnificence, and to beg that he would explain to the dragoman all that he had to say. The Capadun then sent back a message similar to the one he gave to my dragoman, declaring his hatred of the English and his resolve to do all he could to expel their Ambassador; and he further inquired when the French Ambassador would arrive, promising to take more vigorous action when that happened, upon which point he begged for instant information. Since then the Capadun has repeatedly sent to ask the agent and me if we had any news of the Ambassador. I considered that, in obedience to the instructions given to my predecessor, I was bound to tell the French agent what the Capadun had said to me. The agent returned thanks, and I gathered from his remarks that the Ambassador, whom he is expecting, will bring special instructions on this point, to be communicated to me, as his Majesty complains that not merely have English vessels been removed from subjection to his flag in these waters, against the terms of his treaties with the Turk, but that the Sultan has broken a formal promise given in a letter written by himself, that he would never receive an Ambassador nor accept an alliance from England, except through the mediation of his Most Christian Majesty (molto mi ringratio, et compresi, dal suo ragionamento che l'Ambasciatore, che si aspetta, porta particolari ordini di questo negotio per communicarlo anco a me, dolendosi S.M. Christianissima che non solo contra li capitoli che ha con questo, li siano levati li vasselli Inglesi dalla sua obbedientia in queste parti, come erano prima, ma, che anco questo Signor le li abbia mancato a ana particolar promessa che le fece per una sua lettera, che non haveria mai accettato ne Ambasciator, ne amicitia d'Inglesi, se non per il mezo di S. Mta. Christianissima). The agent excused himself for not having been the first to make these communications, by saying that he was expecting the arrived of the Ambassador. I am of opinion, although I am aware of my predecessors orders to act with the French, that I should not go too far in this matter. If your Serenity will instruct me I will follow your orders with all diligence.
Dalle Vignedi Pera, 18th February 1585 [m.v.].
[Italian; deciphered.]
Feb. 19. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 319. Matheo Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The Scotchman employed by the Cardinal de Bourbon and the Guise to negotiate a league of the Catholic Princes against the Huguenots, has had more success than was expected. The Emperor did not receive him, to avoid giving offence to the other Protestants; but his Majesty charged Archduke Ernst to receive him and send him on his way.
In reporting on his embassy he declared that he was given to understand that the League would take effect if the Pope and the King of Spain would contribute largely, as Archduke Ernst had promised that they would; and that Baveria, Cleves, and the Ecclesiastical States were of a like good will. When this was known here, Prince Ernst denied having made any such assertions. This leads us to the supposition that the Emissary of Navarre has induced the German Princes to coallesce in a league.
Prague, 19th February 1585 [m.v.].
[Italian.]
Feb. 19. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 320. Vincenzo Gradenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Enclosed I send your Serenity a description of Drake's operations. Information from Lisbon, received to-day, confirms this account. Many think that after amassing very rich booty he will return to England by the Pacific, a sea that is very quiet and free from hostile fleets, and on his way he will repair the fort he has already built at the Straits of Magellan, so as to be always master of that passage, and free to return whenever it may please him. This conjecture is based on the calculation that he will Dot care to risk all his booty on his homeward journey as he would do if he fell in with a Spanish Armada. Lisbon is in an uproar on account of the mischief he has done, so too Castille; yet there are no signs of preparations except what I have already described to your Serenity as going on in Seville. They murmur still more on account of the news that Claremont, an Englishman, has conquered all Florida in the West Indies, and threatens New Spain; and this would be a most important enterprise on account of the many millions of gold which yearly arrive from those parts. The King left Valentia on the 17th inst. for Portugal, and will occupy all Lent on the journey.
Four sailors of the galleon Lombardo, who were captured by the English, have arrived in Lisbon. The ship was lost by the explosion of the powder magazine; all the same the sailors fought on, till at length twenty-seven of them were killed, including the master and the supercargo. The ship was sent to England. Two English ships, driven into San Lucar by stress of weather, were captured by the people of the place and the crews sent to the galleys.
Madrid, 19th February 1585 [m.v.].
[Italian; the parts in italics deciphered.]
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 321. On the 27th November 1585, the English Armada arrived at Santiago in the Cape Verd Islands, and cast anchor at St. Martin, half a league away from the city. They landed troops at a distance sufficient to be out of shot of the fort. They were about three thousand men, divided into eleven companies; picked men, well armed with pikes, harquebusses, muskets, and bows. At day break, in good order, they marched on the town, which offered no resistance except to prevent the English ships from casting anchor in the harbour. During the night the inhabitants, hearing that the English were in the harbour, fled to the mountains with all the goods they could carry. The Governor waited till day-break, and seeing that the English were entering on one side of the town, he went out by the other with some men who had staid behind. The English seized all that they found in the town; wine, oil, corn, and other provisions, as well as clothes, baggage, artillery, ammunition, and all the bells. They put all this on board their ships which numbered thirty-four in all, eighteen great galleons and sixteen other smaller craft. They made havoc in the city, destroying the churches and all the houses, leaving only some fifteen or twenty standing, in which they lodged during their occupation of the town, which lasted ten days. They burned the others and spared neither saints, nor crosses, nor bells; they broke the crucifixes and all else they could not use. They spent ten days in sacking and plundering. On the eleventh, two hundred of them went to the hills to see if they could capture the Governor, the Bishop, and other personages, from whom they could exact a large ransome. They pushed on to a place called San Domingo, two leagues distant from the town. The others retired, and the English gave up the prospect of capturing them, as they had put together large bands of men and many negroes under the orders of the city officers. The English returned to the city and then went to the Villa della Alagia, where they wrought their usual havoc, destroying the churches and ruining the houses. The artillery was saved as the inhabitants had buried it in their alarm. The English injured no person neither men, women, nor children. There they embarked and sailed away, the eleventh day after their arrival. They are said to have fifteen thousand men on board, and no one knows what route they intend to take; every rumour says they are sailing for the Straits of Magellan. In the port of Santiago there were seven ships, two from Lisbon, three from Madeira, and two from Santiago itself; one was laden; the English took all they found, and burned the ships in sight of the city.
[Italian.]
Feb. 22. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 322. Vincenzo Gradenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Every day Mons. Spetiano, the Nuncio, a Milanese, is expected here. His instructions are conjectured to have reference to the expedition against England and the expedition against Geneva, both of them eagerly desired by the Pope. The Nuncio, here resident, in conversation with me remarked that if his Holiness were as well informed as Pope Gregory had been, he would know that perhaps both undertakings were impossible, both for the King of Spain as well as for any other Prince who might be allied with him. As I desired further light on this point, the Nuncio said as for the enterprise against England, since it will be the joint work of the Pope, the King of Spain, and other allies, they must first determine who is to be the master of that kingdom when it is captured. The King of Spain, as the most powerful of the allies, and as the larger contributor to the undertaking, will certainly claim to be absolute master; while, on the other hand, neither the Pope nor any other Prince can consent to such an aggrandisement of the Spanish. For, although the King of Spain is very calm, and declares that he has no desire for what belongs to others, still the opportunity and the natural thirst for dominion, common to all, may quite soon produce such complications that the remedy will be beyond the power of any to apply, should he some day desire to make himself sole Monarch of Christendom, Besides, even supposing such thoughts to be absent from the King's mind, who will guarantee that they may not occur to his son. In short, the Nuncios opinion is that the resolution of this point, if not impossible, is exceedingly difficult. I asked him what opinion Pope Gregory held on the subject, and he replied that the Pope wished the whole decision to rest with himself and that he should name the master of the kingdom; but that, later on, the Pope saw the impossibility of anyone but the King of Spain holding the kingdom for any length of time, and had consented to surrender the kingdom to his Majesty in return for an annual fee.
As regards the King of Spain, seeing that he held no port near to England, nor in England itself it is evident that the undertaking must be one of great danger and toil. It is superfluous to think of the English enterprise at present. (Che se il Papa fusse cosi ben instrutto di queste due imprese come fu dapoi instrutto Gregorio, chiaramente conosceria esser forse impossibile l'effetuare alcuna di esse, cosi per parte del Re, come da parte di chi fusse collegato con questa Maesi. Et desiderando io maggior chiarezza in questo proposito mi disse che quanto all' Inghilterra dovendosi far l'impressa colle forze del Papa, di quest a, Maest et altri collegati, sar necessario trattar prima il ponto, chi deve restar patrone del regno quando di questo si faccia acquisto, perch questo Re per essere piu potente et pi otto a, conservarlo, et perch contribuir con maggiore forze, pretender sernpre di dover essere il Patron assoluto; che dall' altro canto ne il Papa ne qualsivoglia altro potentate potr consentire che alla grandezza di Spagna s'aggiongi l'imperio di un regno d'Inghilterra; perche sebene il Re ha l'animo composito et dice non voter quel d' altri, tuttavia, eccitato dalla commodit et dal desiderio naturale che in tutti del dominare, potrano succedere accidenti tali che il remediarsi non saria in potenza de alcuno, volendo inferire de farsi un giorno Monarcha delta Christianit; et posto che questi pensieri non havessero luogo nel petto del Re, chi assicura che vivendo il Principe come motto potente, giovane et desideroso di gloria con Voccasione non possi haver li medesimi pensieri; per pare non esser credibile che ne il Papa ne altri Principi siano gia mai per assentire a questo; dall' altra parte pretendcr il Re tutto l' opposite, introducendo la Maest sua Catholica per prima l' have re alcuno dritto sopra quel regno, poi non esser honesto che habbia tanto chi contribuisce tra il poco et il niente quanto chi ha da portare si puo dire tutto il peso; in maniera che pare a questo Noncio che il concordare queste difficolt sia, o impossible o molto difficile. Giudicai opportuno ricercarlo sopra la opinione del Papa morto in questo proposito, mi rispose sua Signoria Reverendissima che il Papa Gregorio pretendeva che facendosi Vacquisto di questo regno, dovesse ogni cosa restar nel petto di Sua Santit sino che ella nominasse chi dovesse essere il padrone, ma in fine mi circonscrisse, che doppo qualche anno il Papa veduto l' impossibile che quel regno si possa sostener lung-amente in nano d' altri che del Re di Spagna, per la grandezza sua et per la vicinit facilmente saria condesceso a rinontiarlo con alcunco recognitione annua a quest a Maest; et questo quanto alla parte de collegati. Quanto alla parte di questa Maest, non havendo alcun porto ne vicino al regno, come in Olanda, ne neno nel regno medesimo, non sapeva cognoscere come si poteva far l' impresa senza grandissimo pericolo et travaglio; considerando in fine che il pensar all' impresa d' Inghilterra per hora era una cosa superflua.) The same might be said as regards the enterprise against Geneva. Swiss interests are so bound up with those of the city that they will never abandon it. The real safety of Geneva lies in this, that it can stir the Protestant cantons to attack the Milanese, and a mere advance in that direction would work incalculable ruin. The Duke of Savoy desires this enterprise of Geneva for his own interests, but the King of Spain is not compelled to risk his position in Italy in order to please others. And so as regards the two subjects to be broached by the new Nuncio, the present Nuncio foresees that both will end in nothing.
Madrid, 22nd February 1585 [m.v.].
[Italian; deciphered.]
Enclosed in Despatch of last day of February. 323. Resolutions passed in a Council of the League.
To urge his Holiness to follow up the sacred intentions of his predecessor as regards the Queen of England, and to take information thereon from the Cardinal of Como, who is fully acquainted with the subject.
Further, to persuade the King of Spain to assist the King of Scotland in the troubles which the Queen of England stirs up in his country (d' aiutare il Re di Scoria nei trubli (sic) che fa la Regina d' Inghilterra in quel Regno); and to convince the King of Spain that if he will spend 400,000 ducats in Ireland, not only will he secure the kingdom of Scotland, which is highly important, but he will cause a diversion in the affairs of Flanders. To induce the King of France to make vigorous representations to the Queen of England on account of the assistance which she is giving to his Protestant subjects. On this point it is necessary to speak strongly, for this is the true way to make her retreat, as we know from our observation of her rules of conduct. The agent sent to England should find out the real relations between the Queen and the King of Denmark.
To concert measure with the Scotch Ambassador in Paris with a view to thwart the marriage of his Sovereign with a princess of Navarre, by holding out hopes of a Spanish alliance, though they are weak and vain.
[Italian.]