BHO

Venice: March 1587

Pages 249-261

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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March 1587

March 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 476. Giovanni Dolfin, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The population of Holland and Zealand have sent orders to their Ambassadors in England to offer to the Queen the same oath of allegiance as that which they took to Charles the Fifth, if she will undertake an offensive as well as a defensive alliance with them. In which case they await a person of authority and birth to govern the country as the Queen may think best, so that it may not fall into the hands of other Princes.
Paris, 2nd March 1587.
[Italian.]
March 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 477. Giovanni Dolfin, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday a courier arrived. He was sent by the Queen of England to her Ambassador and to Mr. Wade, with instructions to inform his Majesty as soon as possible that for the safety of her own life she had at last been forced to cut off the head of the Queen of Scotland. Although the Ambassador and that gentleman have pressed for an audience, his Majesty has always refused to listen to them; not because he knew anything of this business, but in order to use the same method as that adopted by the Queen herself, who will not receive the Ambassador L'Aubespine. Accordingly the above-named gentlemen spread a report that the Queen of Scotland, disguised as a sailor, had fled from her palace, which was twenty leagues from London, and had reac hed Anton (?) port, in the hope of being able to cross over into Brittany, but while waiting her opportunity she was captured and made a prisoner. Three great English Lords who had aided her to fly were also imprisoned. The probability that she would be put to death grew greater every day, for new proofs of her conspiracy came to light. This rumour has been spread abroad with a view to lessening the effect of so violent a resolve.
When the English Ambassador and Mr. Wade found that they could not obtain an audience of the King they went to Mons. de Bellievre and to the Secretary Bruslart to explain the whole matter, and to beg them to inform his Most Christian Majesty, for they had received express orders to explain to the King viv voce, the true reasons which had rendered this step necessary. Bellievre and Bruslart replied that the deed was an impious one and inhuman; and the King and all France will be obliged to show their displeasure. All the Court deplores this miserable event, both because she was a Queen of France, and also because all the Catholic hopes in England are dashed.
The Queen was beheaded in her own rooms without being granted an hour's grace. They say that one of the chief reasons for her death, which took place in the forty-fifth year of her age and the nineteenth of her imprisonment, was that the Treasurer of England, a person of the highest authority, who had always favoured her cause, has now fallen from the Queen's favour; while the Earl of Leicester and the Councillor Walsingham, her chief councillors, enemies of the Queen of Scotland, have urged their mistress to grant to her subjects that satisfaction which they had so often demanded, and at the same time to secure herself against those treacheries which were every day spread about her own person.
Paris, 2nd March 1587.
[Italian.]
March 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 478. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
It is true that corsairs from England and la Rochelle have captured one despatch boat on its way from Peru. Its companion escaped into port Setubal in Portugal. This despatch boat brings news that the fleet will not sail till the beginning of March, and that it will bring ten millions in gold, half of which is for the King. In Florida there are some English ships, and it seems that at the extremity of the island (che al capo dell' Isola), where there is a narrow strait, the enemy intend to build a fort. If they make themselves masters of this position, and plant themselves there, it will be a very severe blow to this Crown, which will be obliged to send out a fleet to destroy them, so as to avoid leaving the Peruvian and New Spanish fleets exposed to so manifest a danger in their usual passage through that strait.
This news has given serious anxiety here; and all the more as the population of those countries has risen in revolt against the Alcavalla, (fn. 1) a tax of ten per cent. upon purchase and sale, which the Viceroy has attempted to impose, as ordered by the King. The Viceroy has suspended the order, and at the same time has reported on this disaffection, urging his Majesty to defer his attempt to a more opportune occasion. In answer to this orders have been sent from here that the Viceroy is to defer all action till further instructions.
The English have seized another ship which, as I wrote, had gone to get ammunition at Oran in Africa. The Duke of Medina Sidonia has been ordered to supply its place immediately, and to despatch it under escort so as to avoid all dangers. On the other hand the King is delighted at the news of the fall of Deventer and Zutphen in Flanders, which have been given into his hands by the English themselves who were bribed (dateli in mano da medesimi Inglesi per denari). He hopes that this event will enrage the Hollanders still more, as they are already dissatisfied with the Queen of England, and will induce them to come to terms with his Majesty; the more so as they quite understand that all the terms which the Queen daily proposes to the King, are merely intended to drive them into accepting every one of his conditions. The Ministers here place much more reliance on these negotiations, which are being conducted in secret by the Duke of Parma, than in the offers made by the agent of the King of Denmark, who is now with the Duke for the purpose of arranging a peace (et in questa negotiations che tratta secretamente il Duca di Parma, pongono qui molto maggior speranza, che nell' offerta che fa il gentiluomo del Re di Danimarca che si trova presso il detto Duca per trattar la pace). This Agent says that the Queen will consent to place the fortresses in the hands of the natives without raising the clause as to freedom of conscience; but with this proviso, that no question of restitution of the booty seized by Drake is to be brought up, and that she receives guarantees that she shall not be disturbed in England by operations from the Flemish ports. This seems to be the most difficult point, for the Spanish Ministers think that whatever guarantees may be proposed the Queen will accept none. She has lately sent Drake into Flanders to confirm those people in their resolve. The Ministers here quite understand that she is employing her usual artifices to keep the King in uncertainty as to whether he should prepare an Armada or not; and to give him to understand that if peace is concluded between the Turk and Persia he will have to think of something quite different from attacking her; and also, if the Spanish fleet is not sent out she will then be able to send Drake off to meet the Peruvian fleet with less anxiety as to the result. The King is anxious to understand more fully the designs of the Queen, and to learn what new terms she offers; accordingly he has sent orders to pay the two thousand crowns' ransom for Don Sermento di Gamboa, who, as I wrote, has been seized by the Huguenots of Bordeaux; but as Gamboa had publicly declared that he was employed on a mission of importance,a fact which the Huguenots themselves understood in part from letters and papers found on him, and from a despatch of Don Bernardino de Mendoza which he was carrying, all of which they have seized and sent to the King of Navarre, who has replied that Gamboa should not be set at liberty till he himself had interviewed the prisoner,they greatly fear that Gamboa will be sent to the King of Navarre; and at present they demand twenty thousand ducats of ransome. But in spite of all these negotiations for peace with England, and for an accord with Holland, all the same the preparations for the Armada are not relaxed, for they consider that such preparations will facilitate the conclusion of the business. They also hope that the peace will be more easily concluded now owing to the ill feeling between England and France, which has been caused by the affair of the Ambassador L'Anbespine, and by the embargo on merchandise imposed by each nation against the other.
Madrid, 3rd March 1587.
[Italian.]
March 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 479. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Huguenots of France have robbed two couriers, one, going to Italy, they slew; the other was on his way here. If your Serenity sent any instructions by this courier please repeat them; especially if they contained information from the Levant. His Majesty has asked me if I had any news, and I had to reply No. They believe that Ferrari must be in Constantinople by this time; but they are greatly afraid that the English and the French, for their own purposes, will succeed in upsetting the negotiations for a truce; and, what is worse, they know that if the affair miscarries in the hands of Ferrari, they will not be able to order Marigliano to go again on that mission, as the King hoped to be able to do should Ferrari fail, for he is seriously ill, and will probably be confined to his bed for a long time.
Madrid, 7th March 1587.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 480. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Owing to the quarrel between France and England on the subject of the Ambassador L'Aubespine, and the embargo imposed by both parties, many of the principal noblemen here at Court believe that the moment for punishing the Queen of England has arrived, for she, by her own action, has served the cause of the King of Spain by making France hostile to herself, a result which has hitherto seemed most difficult of attainment. They say that this is a matter for his Holiness, as head of Christendom, and that he should endeavour to unite these two sovereigns to avenge the injuries they have both suffered, by depriving that Queen of her kingdom. They cite the example of the union of Ferdinand the Catholic and Lewis XII., who took the kingdom of Naples from Frederick of Aragon, and received investiture from Alexander VI.; and they now suggest that, to obviate all subsequent difficulties, his Holiness should propose to both these sovereigns the name of some person who should receive the kingdom of England when it has been conquered, for they are certain that if the kingdom be conquered by the arms of both sovereigns neither will yield it to the other; while a division of it would probably cause new quarrels. In considering who this person might be, the Prince of Scotland, if he will declare himself a Catholic as he promises to do, seems to have the best chance of being accepted by both parties, and of being received by the English themselves. They think that the Pope, now that he understands the difficulties of the situation, will not insist on the idea which he entertained at the beginning of this reign, and which he shared with Gregory XIII., that England should be attacked and conquered for the Church.
In spite of all this the negotiations for peace are going forward actively here; and they say that they are advanced so far that the King has given Parma leave to send M. de Champigny, brother of the late Cardinal de Granvelle, to England to discover the true mind of the Queen on this subject. Some who understand say that the Queen now uses the question of L'Aubespine to make the Spanish think that she desires to draw towards them, just as she used the affair of Mendoza and the conspiracy to make Alenon believe that she was completely allied to France. (Vien ragionato dalli piu principali Duchi di corte che possa esser venuto il tempo del castigo di detta Regina poiche ella medesima ha operaio in servitio di questo Serenissimo Re col inimicarsi Francia, quello che pareva difficile che con qualsi voglia industria et negotio potesse succeder; onde aggiongono li medesimi che sarebbe ufficio della molta autorit della Sua Beatitudine, trattandosi maggiormente di causa della quale la Santit Sua come capo della Christianit e tanto interresata, di accendere et unire questi doi Re a rissentirsi delle communi offese con cercar di togliere quel Regno a detta Regina, origine et causa di tanti mali in Christianit; et come adducono l' esempio et l' unione di Ferdinando il Cattolico et Lodovico XII, quando tolsero a Federico di Aragona il Regno di Napoli con l' investitara di Alessandro Sesto, cosi desidererebbono che et per accomodar questo concerto et per rimediar alli disordini che potessero seguir da poi, il Papa proponessi a tutti doi questi Principi persona confidents nella quale essi conferisse quel Regno doppo conquistato, tenendosi di certo che guadagnandosi con communi forze l' uno non vorebbe cederlo all altro; et il dividerlo causarebbe facilmente novi romori et nove discordie; et tra quanti che cascano in considerations, si tiene finalmente che il Principe di Scotia, dichiaratosi Cattolico, come promette di fare, potesse piu di tutti esser accetto all' una et all' altra parte, et alli medesimi Inglesi ancora; non volendo persuadersi alcuno, che il Pontefice fatto gi certo per tanti contrarii si dell' allontamanza et della inclinatione de popoli, come delle tante difficolt che trovarebbe in reggerli, persista in quel pensiero che teneva nel principio del suo Pontificato come haveva ancora Gregorio XIII., suo pedecessore cio che si facesse l' impresa et l' acquisto di detto Regno per la chiesa. Ma con tutto ci si attende hora di qua con tutto spirito alle trattationi di pace, le quali par che siano tanto innanci che hanno indotto il Rea dar licenza al Duca di Parma di mandar a detta Regina Mons. di Ciampagn fratello del gi Cardinale de Granvelle, per chiarirsi del vero s' ella vuol questo accordo; discorendosi pure da qualche persona intendente che siccome la predetta Regina quando successe li romori di Don Bernardino di Mendoza per la congiura che si scoperse all hora si prevalse di far credere ad Alanson che volesse del tutto unirsi con Francia cosi hora si serva delli accidenti del detto Ambasciatore lobepina per dar ad intender qua di voter tornar in buona amicitia con la Corona di Spagna.)
In short, here they would hold that they had completely succeeded if an accord with England or with Holland could be effected; and for that purpose preparations of the fleet are kept alive as the King thinks they are most useful for the accomplishment of this end.
Accordingly the Marquis of Santa Cruz is using all diligence in Lisbon for the preparation of many ships and galleons, and the same is taking place in Seville, Biscay, and other parts of Spain. Other ships are expected from Italy. The ten thousand troops which are to be raised from eighty cities and districts of these kingdoms of Castille are said to be actually ready, and the men have received money to buy arms. Their up-keep is costing about a real and a half a day until the King appoint a place of muster, and issue officers' commissions; to some he has already given a retaining fee of twenty crowns a month. His Majesty has also sent fifty thousand ducats to Cartagena with orders to give two rates of payment to the soldiers and sailors of the great galleys, and to send them on to Lisbon as soon as possible. In this way they are getting together an armada of seventy or eighty great ships, thoroughly well found, to fight the English. But before the Catholic Armada takes the sea, Recalde is to be sent with twelve ships and as many galleons to meet the Peruvian fleet, which is sailing in a latitude of which they are aware, and has for escort twenty ships which were sent out, time ago, under Alvaro Flores.
They have news here that a chavass has arrived at Tripoli. He is said to be the bearer of letters and orders from the Turk to the Schereef; this is causing alarm to these Ministers.
A Scotch gentleman is here with letters from his King to this King; his mission is said to be the liberation of some Scotch ships laden with wine, which are detained in Seville, but it is thought that he has some other secret commission. He has had one interview with his Majesty, and then has been referred, as usual, to Don Juan d'Idiaquez.
The King is determined to put down gambling, and to insist upon a moral life at Court, and so has sent out an admonition to the Princes, knights, and gentlemen. And having heard that the Marquis Pignatel, son of the Duke of Ossuna, had won in a single night fourteen thousand ducats from Signor Giulio Spinola, who was the Genoese Ambassador here; he has ordered the imprisonment of the Marquis, and the sequestration of all the money found in his house, and he has required Spinola to leave the Court in four days, and to live twenty leagues away from Madrid. He has also secretly ordered the Prior Don Hernando, son of the Duke of Alva to go to his Commenda. The Marquis of Mondeggiar, on some mere suspicion of homicide, has been confined for six years Oran in Africa. And if matters go on at this rate the Court wil be emptied of grandees, whose loose life is little pleasing to the King.
Madrid, 7th March 1587.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 481. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
I hear from a good source that the security demanded by the Queen of England as a guarantee that she will not be disturbed in her kingdom if she surrenders the ports of Holland and Zealand to the natives, is the possession of Flushing, and that the Kings of Sweden and Denmark, and the heretic Princes of Germany should pledge themselves to secure the observance of the accord; also that no question about the restitution of Drake's booty should be raised. Here they will accept all these terms except to leave Flushing in the Queen's hands. She is suspected of double dealing; but on Champigny's return everything will be cleared up.
A carvel from New Spain brings news that the fleet which sailed last October reached New Cartagena on December 15th; but in a storm it had left five ships behind, and they fear that they are lost. They fell in with some English corsairs, and sank one, and recovered a Spanish ship which had previously been lost.
The Friar who plotted for Don Antonio in Lisbon has been taken to Castille, where he is to be imprisoned for life.
A league out of Seville they have discovered a great vein of silver.
Madrid, 12th March 1587.
[Italian.]
March 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 482. Giovanni Dolfin, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Navarre is not likely to come to terms with the King, for he has received one hundred and twenty thousand ducats from the Queen of England. A Minister told me that in this way that woman will accomplish two of her objects with only one expense; she will cause the terms of agreement in France to be favourable to Navarre, and she will benefit herself in the Low Countries.
Paris, 13th March 1587.
[Italian.]
March 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 483. Giovanni Dolfin, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador of England and the English Agent, the day when they went to Bellievre to give an account of the death of the Queen of Scotland, being unable to obtain an audience of the King, presented to the Secretary a letter from the Queen addressed to his Majesty; in this letter the Queen laments bitterly that, after having signed the warrant, and given it to Davison to keep merely because she intended in this way to satisfy the demands of her subjects, but not to make use of it, he was so rash as to have overstepped his commission. She shows herself very sorry for the result, and would make public demonstration of that grief. The Ambassador declared that the Queen had caused Davison to be arrested, and had deprived him of his office; while she herself had taken to her bed owing to the great grief she suffered through this untoward event.
Letters have also arrived from the Ambassador L'Aubespine, which contain a full account of the unhappy deed; and I enclose a copy which I procured from a person of great consideration. L'Aubespine also reports that the Londoners sent to request him to give them wood for a bonfire to be lit in sign of joy. When he refused they made a great bonfire in front of his door which lasted more than two hours. As this has caused great irritation here the English Ambassador has declared that all the bonfires and bell ringing took place on a sudden, when Lord Shrewsbury's son passed through with news of the execution, and that the Queen knew nothing about it, as she was three leagues out of London at her usual palace.
When the King received this news he ordered the English Ambassador to be warned against leaving his house, for he ran the risk of receiving some great affront to his honour and peril to his life from the people of Paris, which is greatly incensed at this occurrence in England. Accordingly the Ambassador has not left his residence, no more has the English Agent. The action of the French is intended as an equivalent to the Queen's action towards L'Aubespine, to whom she has always refused an audience, as likewise to the King's chamberlain, who was sent to England with orders to speak to the Queen if L'Aubespine was unable to do so. He has frequently attempted to fulfil his mission, but without success; for the Queen declares that it does not comport with her dignity to receive a chamberlain, and puts off the whole question by pleading her present occupation; she has referred him to the Council of State, but he declines to deal with it, or with any but the Queen, and is awaiting fresh instructions from Paris. L'Aubespine writes that the Queen is thinking of sending a nobleman here to explain all these events to the King, and to make an end of these differences.
Three days ago the King invited all the Ambassadors to assist at the funeral service for the Queen of Scotland in mourning; and yesterday we attended vespers, and mass this morning. The ceremony was truly regal. The funeral oration was delivered in French by the Bishop of Bruges, a most learned and eloquent prelate. The Queen was present, so, too, the Cardinals, Bishops, Princes, and nobles. The King does not usually appear in public, but incognito, in a certain tribune.
Paris, 13th March 1587.
[Italian.]
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 484. Extract of a Letter from Mons. de L'Aubespine, Ambassador of his Most Christian Majesty to the Queen of England.
The Queen of England at last made up her mind to put the unfortunate Queen of Scotland to death, owing to the continual and vehement representations of the Earl of Leicester and of the Chief Secretary Walsingham. Accordingly on Saturday, the 14th February, Beale, Walsingham's brother-in-law, was despatched in secret with orders signed by her for the decapitation of the Queen. She commanded the Earls of Shrewsbury, Kent, and Rutland, and many other noblemen and gentlemen of Fotheringham and other neighbouring places to be present at the execution, and the headsman of London, dressed in black velvet, was sent to carry it out.
Beale and the Earl arrived at Fotheringham on Monday evening, and on Tuesday morning they summoned Paulet, the jailer of the Queen of Scotland, and sheriff of the county, who is the judge in each bailiwick, to assemble the neighbouring gentry, and all together they went towards nightfall to the said lady. To her they signified that the Queen of England, their mistress, in the discharge of that prerogative of justice which belonged to her as ruler of that kingdom and servant of God's will, was bound to execute the sentence passed by Parliament. The Queen made answer with a countenance and with words which showed her intrepidity, that she had never been able to bring herself to believe that the Queen, her sister, was of so cruel a mind as to come to so unjust a resolution. All the same, after the misery of the past three weeks she welcomed a speedy death, and was ready to accept it as a singular gift from heaven, for she felt that she was dying chiefly for the Catholic cause, than which nothing is more glorious. Beale answered that the Queen had sent her an English Bishop to exhort her to a becoming end, for there could be no greater consolation at the close of life than to have made one's peace with God; and that they would come to-morrow morning to carry out the sentence. The Queen inquired if the Bishop were a Catholic; the answer was that he was a man of holy life and a servant of God. Thereupon the Queen declined his services, announcing that neither sword nor fire, nor any other peril could shake her courage, and that had she a thousand resurrections she would continue to die for the Holy Roman Catholic Faith; for such a death secured to her eternal life for her soul. She then retired into a little chamber, where she kneeled before the Holy Sacrament, which she secretly kept there by a dispensation from the Pope. She continued to pray till nine in the morning, with two intervals of half an hour when she lay down on her bed at the forcible insistance of her ladies. That same day, which was the 18th, Beale, the Earl, and her jailer came to her and led her into the great hall, which was hung round with black cloth. A lofty scaffold was raised in the middle, covered also with black cloth, and having a velvet cushion upon it. She was followed by her master of the household and another of her intimate servants; the rest of her attendants were not allowed to leave their rooms. The Queen, when she saw the hall filled with upwards of three hundred persons, begged for the company of her ladies, which request was granted. On mounting the scaffold she turned to Paulet and requested his aid, declaring that it was the last trouble she would give him. She then kneeled down, and raising her eyes to heaven she said that a Catholic she was born and a Catholic she would die; and if her life had not been such as it should have been, she believed that by God's mercy she was allowed to baptise herself now with her own blood, and thus to become worthy of everlasting life. Then, turning to the bystanders, she said that she was entirely innocent of the charge of having plotted in thought or in deed against the life of the Queen, her sister; she implored God in his mercy not to lay this injustice to the account of the Queen of England, nor to punish her for this evil deed. She made mention of Nau, Curl, and Pasquier, her secretaries, who are in prison, declaring that they never had hurt, nor ever thought of hurting the Queen of England, but were innocent like her, and she pleaded for their life and liberty. To her master of the household she spoke for long, urging him to go as soon as possible to the King, her son, and to serve him; and she was certain that he would do so with all loyalty, and that the King would reward him better than she had been able to do. She charged him to take to the King her benediction, which she herself gave with the sign of the cross; in return for which she begged him to pardon the Queen of England, and to maintain his alliance with her. She asked Paulet if the Queen of England would accept her Will made fifteen days previously in favour of her poor servants. They answered Yes, and added that the Will would be faithfully executed as far as her bequests were concerned, which amount to about seventeen thousand crowns.
She comforted her women, who were all weeping bitterly, declaring that she was not sorry to die, but very sorry to be unable to reward each one of them according to the merits of their faithful service. She then prayed to God for her own soul, and then caused one of her waiting women to bind her eyes with a black band; she prayed again for a little space, and then, of her own accord, laid her neck upon the block, and the executioner struck off her head with an axe according to the custom of the country; he seized the head and held it up in sight of all, and showed it also out of the window to the great crowd that was assembled in the lower yard. The body was immediately wrapped in a black cloth, and carried to her chamber where it was opened and embalmed. That same hour the Earl of Shrewsbury sent his son with the news to the Queen of England. The lad on his way passed through London, and published the sad tidings; instantly all the bells were rung, guns discharged, fires lighted in all the streets, and feasting and banquets, and every sign of joy.
[Italian.]
March 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 485. Giovanni Gritti, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
On the first day of February the Spanish Ambassador demanded in the King's name, a subsidy from the Spanish clergy. He was promised a tithe on the clergy. Now it seems that the promise has been recalled as it was given on the understanding that the money was to be expended for an attack on England.
Rome, 14th March 1587.
[Italian.]
March 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 486. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain to the Doge and Senate.
A gentleman is expected to arrive here from the Duke of Parma to give a detailed account of the negotiations with England. It is quite possible that an accord would check the preparation of the Armada, but the news from Constantinople, which relieves them of much anxiety, will cause them really to continue those preparations actively.
Twenty-five officers have been commissioned at forty crowns a month each, and each company numbers two hundred infantry. Those officers who have left their companies in Portugal have been ordered to return at once under severe penalties.
Madrid, 15th March 1587.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 487. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The greater their hopes of peace with England the more active their preparations for the Armada with a view to driving the Queen to come to some determination. The King is raising troops and money.
Madrid, 18th March 1587.
[Italian.]
March 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 488. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
We hear that the King of Denmark is arming ten galleons to succour the English in case of need. There is a great mortality among Recalde's men on board his Biscayans, and among those who are in Lisbon waiting to embark; and as summer comes on worse is reared
Madrid, 23rd March 1587.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 24. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 489. Matheo Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
News from Denmark of naval preparations, supposed to be intended in support of the Queen of England; although she continues her negotiations for an accord with Parma and has recently sent two of her nobles to the Duke.
Prague, 24th March 1587.
[Italian.]
March 27. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 490. Giovanni Dolfin, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
On the 20th the King's chamberlain, who had been sent to England about the affair of the Ambassador L'Aubespine, arrived in Paris. He reports that he twice spoke to the Queen in justification of the Ambassador, as commissioned by his Majesty. He always had for answer the statement that the Ambassador was a man of evil nature and dangerous, and for this reason unfit for his post, both for the sake of the King his master and the Queen herself, as she intends to write at length to the King with her own hand. She desires to prove with what circumspection she has conducted herself owing to her desire to retain the friendship and good understanding with this Crown.
I have since heard that the said chamberlain has brought the letter referred to, which declares that L'Aubespine is a creature of the Guises, and was the chief cause of the Queen of Scotland's death. The Queen of England had resolved to send a great nobleman here to endeavour to accomodate these affairs, for she is much alarmed at the prospect of an embargo; but on hearing from her Ambassador resident here the envoy that would not be received, she suspended his departure.
The Queen of England wears mourning for the Queen of Scotland; she has liberated the Queen of Scotland's two secretaries, and they were present at the funeral of their mistress, which was celebrated with all pomp according to the usage of the country, or, as they say, for the consolation of the living, not for the benefit of the dead.
Parliament has made strong representations to the Queen to set Davison free, declaring that be acted for the benefit of the kingdom, and so deserves to be rewarded rather than punished. They have been partially satisfied, for Davison has been removed to a freer prison where all may see and talk to him, and he will soon be set free altogether.
Paris, 27th March 1587.
[Italian.]
March 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 491. Giovanni Gritti, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
News of the tragical end of the Queen of Scotland has been received here by way of France; she was put to death in execution of the sentence pronounced upon her by judges appointed by the Queen of England. The Pope shows great grief, for the Catholic cause has lost a chief support; and the Queen's son, if he succeeds, will without doubt be a heretic. The Pope finds some consolation in the hope that the King of France will desire to avenge this deep injury, or will not, at least, oppose others if they desire to attack England.
Rome, 28th March 1587.
[Italian.]
March 30. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 492. Giovanni Dolfin, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Three days ago after a long conference with the Queen, his mother, the King has sent off his chamberlain, who has recently returned from England, to the King of Navarre. Rumour says that his commission is to inform Navarre about the death of the Queen of Scotland and the treatment of L'Aubespine; but it is generally suspected that there are other and more secret objects.
Mr. Wade (Oad), who was sent here by the Queen of England some months ago, is demanding his passports for his return, but he cannot obtain them; and he is told quite frankly not to think of it. The resident Ambassador is making continual efforts to secure the re-opening of communications, declaring that all other difficulties would then be rapidly resolved.
Letters from Scotland of the 10th of last month give news that the Earl of Morton, one of the leading Catholics in that kingdom, had placed himself at the head of six thousand infantry, and had penetrated into England, putting to fire and sword everything that came in his way. They say he was in relation with the houses of Arundel and Westmoreland, English Catholics, either that they would assist him or make a rising on their own account. When this was reported to King James, with a request that he would order Morton to lay down his arms, the King replied that he was deeply grieved that Morton had forestalled him in so pious a venture.
Paris, 30th March 1587.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

  • 1. Scilicet Alcabala.