Venice: January 1582

Pages 26-28

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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January 1582

1582. Jan. 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 63. Lorenzo Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
If I have written and still continue to write dubiously on the subject of the marriage of Monsieur and the Queen of England I am justified in doing so, for on the one hand one sees no positive results of the decision, while on the other the Queen and Monsieur are in perpetual festivity, and conversing with the greatest possible intimacy and freedom. In the last audience I had of their Majesties I thought it advisable to broach the subject, and I said that, as I had been invited to speak frankly to them, I begged them to deign to tell me whether this match were really settled or not, that I might be able to give your Serenity some certain news on so important a point. The King smiled a little at first and then said, “I will tell you what my brother writes to me, namely, that he still has hopes that his marriage will be effected, and in the meantime he is engaged in amusements (lui ha tuttavia speranza che il suo matrimonio habbia effetto, et che in tanto attende a darsi piacere) but as yet there is nothing done or undone (ma non ve ancora niente di fatto ne manco di disfatto) otherivise my brother would not have exchanged his ring.” The Queen-Mother said to me, “I will tell you in confidence what I would not tell others. The Queen of England is most astute and looks after her own interests; she has launched my son, who is a mere lad, and would not listen to our advice (la Regina d'Inghilterra è molte astuta, et procnra, di far il fatto suo, ha imbarcato mio figlio, che e un giovane, et che non ha voluto ascoltare li nostri consigli) ; and then he writes that he still hopes to conclude the match. They pass their time in feasts and revelry; and it seems to us that those tales about that island which are represented as fables are not fables but the truth.” I answered, “Madame, your Majesty doubtless means the tales of Amadis and his companions.” The Queen laughed loud and heartily at this and said “Just so.” She added that God often guided great events by ways unknown to us; and that perhaps as Monsieur had refused to listen to her, God would now lead him through the strange path of this marriage; for if the Queen broke her word his Highness would perhaps turn to other things. The Queen of England may possibly excuse herself by saying that the ring meant nothing, for the engagement ring is given by the man to the woman, not by the woman to the man. Your Serenity sees in what a state of ambiguity their Majesties are.
Monsieur is said to be raising troops in France. The Governor of Cambray, a Fleming, has been shot in a skirmish. The Queen-Mother has sent seventy thousand crowns to Bordeaux to assist the affairs of Portugal; but the preparations are inadequate to an assault on that kingdom.
Paris, 11th January 1581 [m.v.].
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 22. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 64. Matheo Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The King is afraid lest Alençon, who is in England, should make a descent on Flanders. Four ships belonging to Don Antonio have been in a storm. One sank. The French and English in the Azores are not so numerous as was supposed. The islanders are not in accord among themselves; it is chiefly the populace that is hostile to his Majesty. The loss of Don Antonio's ships and the rumours of the King's great strength will probably induce the islanders to surrender.
Madrid, 22nd January 1581 [m.v.].
Jan. 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 65. Lorenzo Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I have no fresh information about England except that Parliament was summoned for the 24th inst., but there is a prophecy which will very likely be fulfilled, that Parliament will be adjourned and nothing done, after the manner of the English. (Che il Parlamento si rimmetterà ad altro tempo senza concluder cosa alcuna, secondo il costume de inglesi.) Some English ships have been got ready for the passage of his Highness into Flanders.
Don Antonio of Portugal has been here two days and has treated secretly with the Queen-Mother.
Paris, 26th January 1581 [m.v.].