Venice: July 1586

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: July 1586', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 8, 1581-1591, ed. Horatio F Brown( London, 1894), British History Online [accessed 20 July 2024].

'Venice: July 1586', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 8, 1581-1591. Edited by Horatio F Brown( London, 1894), British History Online, accessed July 20, 2024,

"Venice: July 1586". Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 8, 1581-1591. Ed. Horatio F Brown(London, 1894), , British History Online. Web. 20 July 2024.

July 1586

July 1. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 372. Matheo Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Orazio Pallavicini, son of Tobia, of Genoa, came from the Queen of England to the Duke of Saxony, his mission was to compliment the Duke. His reception was cordial on account of the friendship which the Duke has for the Queen; a friendship which he desires to continue, all the more so, as his uncle, the King of Denmark, is so well disposed towards her. The Governor of Metz also reached the Duke; he was charged with a similar mission by the King of France.
A man who was in the habit of calling on the Devil to burn him if the lies which he told were not true, was one day suddenly surrounded by fire and burned, though nothing else in the house was consumed.
Prague, 1st July 1586.
July 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 373. Vincenzo Gradenigo and Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The King has had the gout in his hand and a little fever. They have bled him twice in the foot, a common medical practice in this country. Sure and certain news of Drake have arrived. He sacked New Cartagena, and the inhabitants paid a ransome of one hundred and twenty thousand ducats to save the churches and what remained of the city. Drake has behaved in the same way all along the coast, wherever he has been, to the great damage of the country, and in this way he has acquired a vast booty. Furthermore, we hear that Claramont has joined Drake with thirty sail, and that they are going to Havana to meet and fight the Spanish fleets, so there is no lack of rumours and much terror.
The agent of the King of Denmark has brought a letter from his master to the King of Spain, in which he points out how injurious it is that people in Flanders are not permitted to live in their own way, as regards religion. He insists upon the mischief which Drake is doing in the Indies, the worst of which is that it shows to the world how weak Spain is in those parts, and points the way to all who desire to voyage in the Indies. He urges an accommodation with the Queen of England and offers to mediate; he proposes the following basis:---The Queen of England, counciled by her peers and also by himself, will consent to remove the English from Holland and Zealand, on condition that the inhabitants are left in liberty of conscience and of government, and in enjoyment of the privileges they possessed under Charles V., without troops of any description being placed in those countries, and with the fortresses left in the hands of the people; the Queen will recall Drake from the Indies, and stop him from doing more damage, and the commercial relations of both countries will be restored. (Considera li danni che fa Dracco nelle Indie, il maggior de quali è far conoscer al mondo la debolezza di quella parte, con insegnar la strada ad ogni uno che volesse far quei viaggi; essorta appresso il Re ad accommodarsi con la Regina d'Inghilterra, et s'offerisse mediator, preponendo insieme le conditioni dell' accordo. Dice che la Regina, cosi persuasa dalli Baroni del suo regno, et anco da lui, si contentarà di levar li inglesi di Olanda et Zelanda, con questo che siano lasciati viver nella sua libertà et di coscientia et di governo con li privilegii che havevano a tempo di Carlo V., senza che se li mandino soldati di alcuna sorte, et che le fortezze restino in mano de 'medesimi paesani; che richiamerà Draco dalle Indie, acciò non faccia maggior rovine, et che se retorni il comercio de 'populi reciprocamente.) Both contracting parties are to be allowed to name their confederates. The agent of Denmark has orders to wait here one month, and then to leave whether he has an answer or not. The matter is entrusted to the Cardinal de Granvelle, and they are discussing it just now. It seems that the King will not consent to the clause about religion. All the same the preparations for war are slacking off. The levies of recruits are suspended, and all are commanded to stay at home till further orders. There is no more talk of an attack on England, nor of an armada to oppose Drake, nor of anything else. All is put off till next year. Perhaps they hope in this way more easily to pacify the Queen. The two ships of the Portuguese fleet of last year, for whose safety fears were entertained, are now reported at the Canaries.
Madrid, 2nd July 1586.
[Italian; deciphered.]
July 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 374. Giovanni Dolfin, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
After Grave had surrendered to the Prince of Parma, he resolved to attack the troops under the Earl of Leicester, who had with him Count Maurice, son of the Prince of Orange, and the eldest son of Don Antonio of Portugal. These troops, though superior in numbers and strongly entrenched, took to flight, leaving behind them baggage and tents in the hands of the enemy, who followed them hotly, and slew about one hundred, as is reported.
From Antwerp we hear that five of the squadron which the Queen of England sent to support Drake had been sunk in a storm, while all the others suffered severely; the news that the English have captured twenty ships and four galleys of Spain is supposed to have been intended by them to cover their loss, for we have no confirmation of it. And thus one sees as clear as daylight that the Queen employs all her art in hiding her own losses and inventing those of her foes.
The Spanish Ambassador in his last audience with his King has, on the special orders of his master, used every effort to urge the King to peace and good accord between the Crowns of France and Spain, pointing out that, if united, the subjects of the French Crown can easily be reduced, and offering to act as mediator, inducing Navarre to embrace the Catholic faith, and to submit to the King of France.
The Ambassador continued, saying that his master had no desire for new kingdoms nor for greater glory, as God had given more than any of his predecessors had ever possessed, but that it was quite true that in order to preserve his hereditary possessions and to establish his own dignity, he is forced to contemplate an attack on England, which country is daily causing him such great troubles and losses, and that if his Most Christian Majesty desired to take a part in the enterprise for the Glory of God, his Catholic Majesty would be quite satisfied to allow the Guises to raise French troops, as they are much inclined to such sort of business, and that they should have the principal charge, he reserving for himself the responsibility of the naval armament, and that the conquest should be made by both in the name of the Queen of Scotland, to whom of right the Crown of England belonged, and who was so closely related to his Majesty.
I am informed that the King replied to this most important communication in very general terms, thanking his Catholic Majesty for his good will and for his solicitude about the quiet of France, without descending to any particulars or showing any intention of making a further answer. (Aggiungendo che non ha la Maestà Sua Catholica ambitione di nuovi Regni, ne di maggior grandezza, poiche il Signor Dio ne ha donati tanti quanti habbia mai havuto altro Re precessor suo; ma che è ben vero che per conservatione de' suoi beni patrimoniali et hereditarii, et per il stabilimento della sua dignità è obligato pensar all' impresa d'Inghilterra, dalla quale li viene ogni giorno tanti disturbi et tanti incommodi; et quando Sua Maestà Christian issima vorre haverne parte per honor del Signor Dio, si contenta Sua, Maestà Catholica, che li Signori di Ghisa levino gente di Franza, poi che sono molto inclinati a questo per la volontà che hanno prontamente d'impegnarsi in simile negotio, et habbino la carica principale; volendo esso haver l'obligo et pesa di tutta l'armata di Mare . . . et che l'acquisto sia fatto unitamente per la Regina di Scotia, a chi di ragione aspetta quel Regno, et che è tanto congiunta di sangue. A questo ufficio importantissimo sono imformato parimente, ch'el Rè Christianissimo ha dato risposta molto generate, rendendo gratie al Rè Catholico di questa buona volontà et della prontezza che dimostra per adoperarsi per la quiete et commodo di questo Regno, senza condescender ad altri particolari, ne dare intentione d'altra risposta.)
I am assured, however, that his Most Christian Majesty laid the proposal before the Council of State for advice, but the only upshot was that the King expressed the many reasons which induced him to place no reliance on the good faith of the King of Spain. For the King of Spain, finding that he could not succeed in his object of attacking England without the consent of the French, is now, under the cloak of affection and of alliance, endeavouring to secure ports of safety for his fleet.
A few months ago, Lord Paget, Charles Arundel, and a Tracmorton (Throgmorton) were here in France; all three of them great lords of England in exile. They have gone one after another to Spain, which leads us to believe that the attack on England is surely being matured. The Cardinal d'Este has written to say that in the approaching promotion to the Cardinalate, Dr. Alan (Allen) an Englishman, will receive the hat on the recommendation of the King of Spain. Dr. Allen is a person of great authority and following. Last year he was living here in extreme poverty at the expense of the English College in Rheims, whence he went to Rome, to beg some assistance from his Holiness, with whom he now is.
Paris, 4th July 1586.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
July 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 375. Vincenzo Gradenigo and Hieronimo Lippománo, Venetian Ambassadors in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The King is ill again with fever. In spite of the heat the doctors purge him. The Ministers say that the news from Flanders and of Drake in the Indies are the cause. The worst is that some Turkish galleys, after doing much mischief all along the coast, sailed under Barcellona by night and sacked every ship they found.
Madrid, 4th July 1586.
[Italian; deciphered.]
July 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 376. Giovanni Gritti, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Despatches from Spain say that Drake, after receiving twenty-five thousand crowns and four hundred oxen from the inhabitants of San Domingo as the price of sparing their city, has moved to the other islands, where he is doing great damage; nor had he yet returned to England, as they had hoped. The King has the gout, and is attending to the preparations for war.
The details of the Pope's offers of help for the attack on England are, one million crowns supplied by his Holiness, two millions to be raised from the clergy of Spain, on condition that his Majesty adds another two millions from his Treasury; but the undertaking is held to be full of difficulties. (I particolari delle offerte fatte a nome del Pontefice per l'impresa d'Inghilterra sono stati, un million de scudi che saria esborsato da S. Santità; due milliona se li fariano dar dal clero di Spagna coll 'obligo alla Maestà Catholica di metterci del suo erario altri due milliona; ma l'impresa era stimata piena di molte difficoltà.)
Rome, 5th July 1586.
July 8. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 377. Matheo Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The Emperor has again warned the King of Spain that France and England are co-operating at the Porte in order that the Turkish fleet may take the sea next year.
Prague, 8th July 1586.
July 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 378. Vincenzo Gradenigo and Hieronimo LippomAno, Venetian Ambassadors in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Don Juan d' Idiaquez has not ventured to give the King the had news of the capture of New Cartagena by Drake, though he has told his Majesty that Grave and other places in Flanders have fallen to the Prince of Parma. These places prevented the arrival of provisions for the army and for Antwerp. There is a report that the Queen of England is fitting out other twenty-four ships, and raising three thousand infantry to support Drake, as she has heard that in Spain and Italy they are making active preparations against him. It is clear the Queen will use every means to strengthen herself. Nothing has been resolved as regards the agent of Denmark. They intend to fortify San Domingo, and New Cartagena, engineers have been sent to the Marquis of Santa Cruz for this purpose. The Marquis urges the King to continue the preparations against Drake, and promises a revenge for all injuries; but it seems that these threats will prove of little service to the Crown.
The Portuguese woman who was arrested has confessed nothing; it is only certain that she is a spy of Don Antonio, who continues to plot in that kingdom.
Madrid, 9th July 1586.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
July 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 379. Giovanni Gritti, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
His Holiness told me that he had said to the Ambassador of his Catholic Majesty, that his Sovereign for extent of dominions was master of a larger part of the world than belonged to the Turk; while, as regards the people that he governed, there was no comparison between the valour of his subjects and those of the Turk, for these were an Asiatic population, and little fitted for fighting, and yet his Holiness observed that a mere woman harassed him, that English pirates swept the seas outside the Straits of Gibraltar as far as Cape Verd, that Drake has wrought immense damage at Spanish Isle, which is the flower of the west, that Navarre attacked him from Bearn. His Holiness went on to say that the King of Spain had given him hopes that he would do something serious, but he was now cooling down, whereas it was his duty to attack England.
Rome, 12th July 1586.
July 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 380. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The King is well, but Dot quite restored in his feet. He intends to consecrate his church of S. Lorenzo in the Escurial on that Saint's festival, the tenth of next month.
The Marquis of Santa Cruz has sent his brother in great haste from Lisbon to confirm the news that the Queen of England is arming the twenty-four ships which are intended as reinforcements for Drake, and that she has given him orders to attack the West Indian fleet The Marquis seizes the occasion to repeat his requests, and he makes vigorous representations to the King that he should man fifteen or twenty great ships, and should send them to the Azores under escort of the galleys of Spain, and to do all that he can to cut off these English reinforcements. The Marquis recommends that these ships be got ready with all speed and secrecy possible, and if it be impossible to conceal the fact on account of the hands employed, he advises that a rumour should be spread that this fleet is required for the defence of the coast of Spain. He promises a certain victory, and argues that if they can stop the reinforcements at the Azores, it will be easy work to fight Drake on his homeward journey, when he will be weary and storm-tossed after so long a voyage, whereas, if the reinforcements are allowed to effect a junction, not only will the Indian fleet be exposed to great risks, but all the Indian affairs will go headlong to ruin, and the Queen will become mistress in those seas.
Accordingly the King at last made up his mind to send for the Italian squadron in haste. On board will come the reserves from the Neapolitan garrisons, to the number of three thousand men; the three thousand from Biscay have been ordered to stop at Bilbao, and to embark on board the ten great ships in that port, which are under the escort and command of Don Martin de Recalde, who, on the recommendation of the Marquis of Santa Cruz, has been appointed to the defence of the sea board, in appearance, but in reality his commission extends to twenty ships, and as many more as he can put together, with orders to hold himself in readiness to sail at a moment's notice for Lisbon, where he will join ten other ships which are being got ready there, and place himself at the disposition of the Marquis of Santa Cruz. The Marquis reports that he suspects treasonable communications on the part of the Queen of England and of Don Antonio in some parts of Portugal.
Don Alonso de Vargas, a very distinguished officer, who followed the fortunes of Alva, has been summoned to Court, with the intention of using his experience in the council of war. Similarly Bon Juan de Cardona has been summoned from Barcellona, for a like reason, and they will give him the command of the artillery.
The agent of Denmark, who was here to treat of the accord with the Queen of England, is merely waiting the King's letter, which is being translated into German. The reply, although it is kept secret, I hear from a good source merely affirms that the King has always been defender of the Catholic religion, and will always be so as long as he has life; that he would rather lose all his kingdoms than swerve an inch from this point, for if he did otherwise he would be called upon to answer before God. That he will recommend the same course of action to his successors.
From Seville we hear that Brake has captured the ship which was sent to warn the Governors of the Indies to be on their guard against the incursions and depredations of the corsair. Brake took the letters and opened them. After reading them he expressed his amazement that they should still mistake the admiral of the Queen of England for a corsair, and sent to tell some of the governors that he hoped soon to demonstrate to them how great was the difference between a bucaneer and the supreme commander of so mighty a Sovereign. This answer has aroused greater indignation and more violent desire for revenge.
The city of Hamburg, which governs itself as a republic, and is hostile to the Queen of England on commercial and other grounds has sent a letter to the King of Spain, offering him the port of Hamburg, which is capable of sheltering a large fleet. (A scritto a questo Serenissimo Re che gli offerisse il suo porto capace di grande armamenta.) The King is also in treaty for the use of another port near Hamburg, both will be of service for Flanders and for putting some check on the Queen of England.
When the new Indies were added to the dominions of Spain a division was made both of the lands and of the mines. A fourth part was reserved for the Crown, some portion was given to deserving subjects, and the rest his Majesty sold for two lives. These lives are almost all expired, and orders have been given to the Marquis of Villa Marica, who has lately gone as Viceroy to the Indies, to put all the lots up to sale again for another two lives. Those who know about the matter say that the Crown will draw twelve millions in gold from the transaction at the very least; because on the occasion of the other sale the proceeds amounted to twenty millions and upwards. This sum of twelve million will be all collected in a couple of years or a little more, for there are plenty of purchasers, Portuguese, Indians, Spanish here, who will pay up willingly at once.
Madrid, 14th July 1586.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
July 15. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 381. Matheo Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The Protestant Princes have resolved to hold a meeting, I believe, in Hamburg. They say that the King of Denmark has already reached that city to attend the meeting, and also in order to negotiate the more easily with the Queen of England for the marriage of his daughter with the King of Scotland, and the question of war or a treaty of peace with Spain. It was unexpected news to this Court that two thousand armed English had entered the empire and had made an attempt with scaling ladders to seize an important city of the Duke of Cleves. These are English from the fortresses of Flanders which were abandoned after the fall of Grave. In the memory of living man the English have never been seen so far east in Germany. It is feared that they are in league with the Protestants to oppose the Spanish troops introduced by the Elector into Cologne.
Prague, 15th July 1586.
July 17. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 382. Giovanni Dolfin, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Spanish Ambassador, in course of conversation, told me of the communication which he had made to his Majesty, as reported by me on the 4th. After dwelling at length on the authority which the King of Spain enjoys with Navarre and the Huguenots through means of Montmorency, he complained that the French will not do anything; but insist upon being allied with England for another year, and that these last few days they have shown their animus by retaining, at the instance of the English Ambassador, several ships which were on the point of sailing for Spain, as he declared that the King of Spain would make use of them against the Queen of England.
Paris, 17th July 1586.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
July 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 383. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
His Majesty hears with great displeasure the account of the damage which the Queen of England is doing in Flanders and in the Indies, besides the understanding which she maintains with Portugal through the medium of Don Antonio, and her negotiations at Constantinople. But what has enraged him more than all else, and has caused him to show a resentment such as he has never before displayed in all his life, is the account of the masquerades and commedies which the Queen of England orders to be acted at his expense. His Majesty has received a summary of one of these which was recently represented, in which all sorts of evil is spoken of the Pope, the Catholic religion, and the King, who is accused of spending all his time in the Escurial with the monks of S. Jerome, attending only to his buildings, and a hundred other insolences which I refrain from sending to your Serenity. All this, taken in conjunction with the continual exhortations of the Pope and his promises of help from church revenues, has once more stirred the King, who is naturally inclined to peace, to make vigorous preparations for war; such is the general interpretation of these many levies of troops in Italy, and the galleys and galleasses and the Spanish reserves from the Neapolitan garrisons. Public rumour says that the King will go to Portugal in November, and points to the activity displayed in laying by money, of which two millions in gold are already set apart for the express purpose of this campaign. They say the King has resolved to sell three thousand titles of that nobility, called hidalgo, to anyone who wishes to buy them for two thousand crowns apiece. There have been fresh appointments to the council of war, among others Don Juan de Cardona, named also Majordomo to the Prince, and Don Alonso de Vargas, named Majordomo to the Infante, Don Antonio Mureno, Captain-General in Perpignan, and Don Lelio di Gusman, late favourite of Don Ferrante Gonzaga, both these latter old men of seventy, very highly esteemed by all; they have arrived at Court.
Nevertheless, I am informed from a good source that all these preparations have no higher objects than an attack on Drake, to terrorise the Portuguese, and to alarm the Queen of England. For although the King feels that he has been deeply insulted, and would like above all things to be revenged, still he does not blind himself to the difficulties of the enterprise against England, both in itself and on account of the allies who would take part in it, as well as the large force and consequent expenditure which would be necessary. I am also informed that with a view to encouraging the belief that he is about to act seriously, his Majesty will, after the consecration of S. Lorenzo in the Escurial, come to Madrid to lay before the Estates of Castille his proposition for an English campaign, and to announce his intention of going to Portugal with a view to settling that kingdom by his presence, and because he will be nearer at hand for news from Flanders, England, and the Indies, as well as for the better ordering of all necessary provisions. The object of meeting the States is that either they will grant large subsidies, and submit to the new taxes which are in view, among others, ten per cent. on capital, or else they will cease to complain of the indignities which Spain suffers, of the shame incurred by leaving the Indies exposed to the ravages of a corsair, the infection of a false religion, and the rage of that woman. She, on the other hand, continues to make new and vigorous presentations to the Turk, that he should send out fifty galleys under Uluge, to join the fleet of the King of Algiers, and assist him on sea and on land, recommending an attack on Fez, and above all on El Arisch. She urges that this expedition would be now all the easier that Hassan Agi, Viceroy of Tripoli, holds in custody the son of Ali Malek, who was killed in the last battle with Don Sebastian of Portugal. This son is sixteen years old, and came into Hassan's hands through his mother, who hoped to marry Hassan, and to induce the Grand Turk to restore her child to his kingdom. Finally she urges that the Turk would be making a great mistake if he misses this opportunity of checking the King of Spain, for if his Catholic Majesty succeeds in taking El Arisch, which the Prince of Fez is in treaty to surrender, the Spaniards will then be able to make great progress in Africa. Although it seems that she has received no promises from the Porte, still the Spanish Ministers are very much afraid that by means of presents she will bring the Grand Vizir round to her side.
Here they continue to equip the ships, and to arm the troops which are destined to harass and to fight the twenty-four vessels which the Queen of England is sending in support of her fleet in the West Indies. But there is every probability that, as matters here usually move slowly, and seeing that they will have to wait for the six Neapolitan galleys before sailing to the Azores, they will not arrive in time to prevent the junction of the reinforcements with Drake, He is said to be lying at St. Anthony's Isle, waiting for the new fleet, and if they effect a junction it will be highly dangerous for Spain, for although they say he is short of men owing to the great mortality aboard, still it is possible that he will cause the West India fleet to delay its journey for another year, and that will produce a dearth of gold, and cause the failure of some merchants. In view of this contingency the King has raised a loan of one million two hundred thousand crowns for Flanders, payable partly in Turin, partly in Genoa.
Madrid, 20th July 1586.
[Italian; deciphered.]
July 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 384. Hieronímo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
As some of the governors in the Indies are dead, and others captured by Drake, the King has appointed others, the tenure of office lasts for three years usually, the governors are then changed to another post, at the King's pleasure, and those who go out there usually finish their lives there.
Madrid, 20th July 1586.
July 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 385. Lorenzo Bernardo, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
A Persian, made prisoner by Cicala, declare that he is brother of the Ambassador whom his master sent with many presents to the king of Spain.
The Spaniards have fortified the island of German (Perim), opposite the kingdom of Aden, in spite of resistance by the Schereef. This disturbs the Turks, for the possession of that island will allow the Spanish to close the spice traffic from the Indies to Cairo. This will mean the loss of half a million of gold a year, which came in from the customs dues. The Spanish fleet in the Red Sea will now be masters of the gulf of Suez, and the pilgrimage route to Mecca will be no longer safe. The Turks also remember that they have now to deal with a Sovereign very powerful at sea, who, although engaged in a war with England and with Flanders has been able to strike this blow from which they conclude that if he sends a large armament into those waters he will make himself master without any difficulty. They hold therefore that it is absolutely necessary for them to keep a large armament in those parts, and to accomplish this they are entertaining the idea of excavating the ancient canal constructed by the Kings of Egypt, which led from the port of Damietta on our sea, through one hundred and fifty miles of kind, to Suez on the Red Sea. Others think it would be easier to cut a canal from the Nile to Suez; but here too there would be many difficulties. The Turks blame the Sultan for attending to the Persian war and thus allowing Spain to reach such a pitch of power. France docs not fail to encourage this jealousy, spreading a report that the Spanish fleet in Sicily is destined to make a descent on Barbary. The Bey of Jemen is here and has received, among other orders, instructions to make a survey of the ancient Suez Canal.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 23rd July 1586.
[Italian; deciphered.]
July 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 386. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
I have heard from one who knows the most intimate secrets of this Crown, that his Majesty has lately sent a courier express with letters to the most Christian King; in these his Majesty declared that the audacity and insolence of the Queen of England have reached such a pitch, and her boldness so overleapt all bounds, that it has become impossible to endure her any longer, or to support the most serious injuries which she inflicts, not so much on himself as on the Pope, the Catholic religion, and his most Christian Majesty. For the Queen had quite recently persuaded the Protestant Princes of Germany to send some companies of horse to the assistance of Navarre. He therefore thought it fit to point out to his most Christian Majesty how necessary it was for them to take a common revenge; and to beg for advice in these circumstances, at the same time that he expressed his opinion upon the subject of an attack on England; adding that if he moved in this matter, it would be from zeal for the honour of God and for the exaltation of the Catholic faith; and to prove in the eyes of the whole world how good were his intentions, he promised that, should it please God to give him the victory over this enemy of his Crown and of the Christian name, even though he himself had borne all the toil of the undertaking, he would seek for nothing beyond the glory of the deed, but would allow the King of France to confer the kingdom either upon his near relation, the Queen of Scotland or on some other English Catholic nobleman. (Sebene di lei sola fosse stato il travaglio et il peso, che non le restasse altro che l'honore di quest' attione, rimettendo a Sua Maestà di dar quel regno o alla Regina di Scotia, tanto congiunta seco di parentado, o ad altro Cavallier Catholico d'Inghilterra.) The French reply thanked the King for his loving and confidential communication, and added that as the King of Spain was so prominent a Prince, he required the advice of no one, and certainly in the case of this English expedition his own wisdom would instruct him what he ought to do. All the world saw only too dearly how the kingdom of France was afflicted and tormented, and with sorrow the King was obliged to declare that if the civil war continued much longer he would be forced to allow each of his subjects to take his own line; while if peace was brought about he would be in no condition to prevent either Catholics or Huguenots from assisting the Queen of England were they so minded.
From this reply the Spanish gather that the King of France, so far from approving an attach on England, would be more likely to allow his subjects to assist the Queen. They are content to have discovered this jealous attitude of the King of France by means of this correspondence (dalla qual risposta siccome questi sono stati restati assicurati che il Re di Franza non solo non sente questa impresa, met piu tosto sia per comportar che detta Regina venga aiutata, et difesa, cosi par loro che sia per giovare grandamente l'haver scoperta questa gelosia con quest' officio). As the agent of the King of Denmark, who came to negotiate an accord has been dismissed, the Ministers will wait to see what the Prince of Parma can do; he is dealing with the same subject in another direction, and, as they think here, with greater advantage and honour of this Crown.
Cardinal de Granvelle has shaken off the fever, thanks rather to his own courage and his good constitution than to the medical treatment. He is, however, very weak and can hardly stand on his legs; he eats in company, forcing himself thus to be as cheerful as he can. He asked me to come and dine with him two days ago. He talked at length of the necessity under which his Majesty lay of avenging the insults he had received from the Queen of England; and this will entail a journey to Portugal in order, as he said, to put a rudder on the ship, but that the King could not go there earlier than Christmas; between this and then many things might happen, referring, I believe, to the negotiations of the Prince of Parma, for he went on to add that the Queen of England at length began to show signs of repentance for all her follies.
The Cardinal went on to remark that at the present moment there were no great commanders alive; I agreed, but observed that the Republic was no worse off than France or the Empire. The Cardinal answered laughing, “Well, you know the proverb,” “In blind man's land the one-eyed man is master.”
Madrid, 26th July 1586.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]