BHO

Venice: June 1587

Pages 283-290

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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June 1587

June 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 524. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Drake is buccaneering in these waters, and has seized upwards of twenty-five ships, among them one great Spanish galleon on its way from Flanders, laden with goods to the value of over sixty thousand crowns, and two other smaller ships with a cargo of oars for the galleys of Spain. He has had an engagement with twelve of these galleys at Lagos; it lasted all day with a heavy cannonade, which, however, produced little effect, and they were parted by a storm.
Santa Cruz writes, to the King that everything is ready except the men, and that he will take the sea as soon as they arrive. His squadron consists of forty ships, and he will go to meet the galleys which have come from Italy, and which he hopes to find at Gibraltar. Accordingly orders have been given that the troops which were raised in the various cities are to march for Lisbon, so that the fleet may sail as soon as possible to rout Drake, and to secure the safety of the flotilla from New Spain.
It is thought that Drake has intelligence with some of the cities of Portugal. The truth is that he has done so much damage along these shores that even if the King won a signal victory he would not recoup himself for half the losses he has suffered (la verit che fin hora ha fatto tanto danno in queste rive di Spagna solamente che quando ben il Re ottenesse una signalissima vittoria contra di lui, non rifarebbe per la met alla perdita). Should the flotilla fall into Drake's hands that would mean the ruin of half Spain, as, indeed, will happen if the fleet does not arrive this year; for they say that a mere delay will cause the failure of many merchants in Seville. (Et se per caso andasse in sua mano la flotta sarebbe la rovina di meza Spagna, come anco se non venisse quest' anno, poiche col iardare solamente vogliono che sia per fallir molti mercanti di Siviglia.) They have resolved to employ in the Armada the galleons which were intended to sail for New Spain; and so next year they will not be able to have a flotilla from the Indies of Castille, which will imply a loss of a million of gold to the King, and another million to private speculators. Orders have been issued that no ships are to sail from the ports of Spain till the Catholic Armada has taken the sea, which causes extreme mischief to the poor subjects.
The Council of War has commissioned fourteen more officers. The King has sent an engineer to fortify the town of Cadiz as fast as possible. He has learned a lesson from Drake's attack, and everyone considers Cadiz as the true seaport of Spain. The inhabitants offer to bear all the charges.
A courier has arrived express from the Spanish Ambassador in Rome; he brings despatches on the subject of England. They prove that France is very ready to take a part in the common revenge upon the Queen of England in the coming year, on the condition that the expedition be undertaken in favour of a third party, neither Spanish nor French. They say that this view is shared here. The Grand Duke of Tuscany, through Don Pietro de Medici, makes great offers for the English enterprise; he promises two millions in cash, troops, ships, and his own person. D'Idiaquez has replied, asking that the offers should be put on paper.
Madrid, 3rd June 1587.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 525. Giovanni Dolfin, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
His Majesty has resolved to send the Duke of Joyeuse into Poitu to prevent Navarre from making headway by his gentle treatment of everyone. There is a great lack of money, and so his Majesty has determined to sell the late Queen of Scotland's dower.
Paris, 5th June 1587.
[Italian.]
June 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 526. Giovanni Dolfin, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Letters from England with news that on the 30th April Drake was off the port of Cadiz with about forty ships, having left the rest of his fleet behind him so as to push on. He did not succeed in landing as he intended owing to an unfavourable wind, but he sacked and burned about thirty ships in those waters, capturing their boats, their cargoes, and great quantities of biscuits and wine intended for the Catholic Armada; and what is of more importance still, a great quantity of sails and ropes.
The Deputies of the States in conference with the Duke of Parma have refused to grant free trade in necessaries as the Duke desired; and he declined to continue the discussion until that point was resolved. For this purpose Andrea dell' Ho, a merchant, who had been in Spain previously on this subject, has now gone to England.
The King of Denmark has seized seventy Dutch ships which were in his ports, because in April last an Ambassador of his was detained, a chain taken from him, his letters opened, and sent into England.
Paris, 5th June 1587.
[Italian.]
June 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 527. Giovanni Dolfin, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Destrapes has come to Paris; he went first to the Queen-Mother on his release from England. Thereupon his Majesty gave an audience to the English Ambassador and to Signor Oad (Wade). The Ambassador assured the King of the Queen of England's excellent disposition, and Wade took his leave.
Paris, 5th June 1587.
[Italian.]
June 9. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 528. Matheo Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Confirmation of the news that the Queen of England has sent one hundred thousand angels to Casimir to give caution money and the first rate of their pay to the German horse, which are being raised for her, partly for England, if the suspicion of a Spanish attack continues, and part for Navarre. But this movement of troops cannot take place before the harvest, as the troops would be short of provisions.
Prague, 9th June 1587.
[Italian.]
June 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 529. Giovanni Gritti, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
News that the King of Scotland shows a kindly disposition towards the Catholic faith, and has restored to three Bishops their temporalities and spiritualities.
Rome, 13th June 1587.
[Italian.]
June 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 530. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Drake was swept by a storm up to Galicia, and some thought he had gone to the Azores, but he presently returned to Cape St. Vincent. He has joined twelve other English ships on the open sea, so that he now has fifty vessels, and they fear that he will endeavour to reinforce himself still further in order to prevent the Marquis of Santa Cruz from effecting a junction with the great galleys, the squadron from Naples and Sicily, and the other scattered squadrons.
Santa Cruz writes to the King that if he does not go out at once it is because he is waiting to make his fleet as large as possible; that he wants more men in order to be strong enough to engage the enemy should he offer battle. He sends a list of the ships in Lisbon which I herewith enclose. He says if he can effect a junction with the various squadrons he has no alarm.
A Scotch gentleman has arrived in Lisbon, and gives out that he has fled from persecution on the score of his religion; but as he is very well received by the Cardinal A rchduke it is suspected that he is an emissary from his Prince, who, in his anxiety to be avenged for the death of his mother, has sent an Agent into France on a similar mission.
The King has sent Don Alonso de Leyva to Seville to assist the Duke of Medina Sidonia in making preparations for the Armada, and to see that those preparations do not suffer delay. Don Alonso de Vargas has been sent to Lisbon to take the place of the Marquis of Santa Cruz; and orders are given that all those gentlemen who desire to volunteer for service on board the Armada are to be received.
Madrid, 16th June 1587.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 531. 13 galleons of Portugal In Lisbon.
2 great ships
8 Biscayans, with Juan Martin de Recalde
8 transports
1 galleon of the Grand Duke
1 small galley
6 ships from Sicily, in Gibraltar.
4 great galleys.
2 ships from Naples, in Cartagena.
15 galleons, in Biscay.
Total 60.
In addition there may be some 50 other galleys.
June 17. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 532. Lorenzo Bernardo, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The French Ambassador had a longer audience with the Grand Vizir. He made representations against Paulo Mariani, who is consul in Alexandria.
The Capadun Pasha asked him if his master favoured the Spanish attack on England. The Ambassador answered that Spain would be favoured if in nothing else, at least in being allowed to use French ports; for the Queen of England had deeply injured the King of France by killing his sister-in-law, the Queen of Scotland. Oh! said the Capadun, then your master will allow Spain to take England, and to become so much more powerful No replied the Ambassador, he will not consent to that, but England will be conquered for the King of Scotland.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 17th June 1587.
[Italian; deciphered.]
June 19. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 533. Giovanni Dolfin, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Mr. Wade (Oad) who has been kept here for so many months on account of the difficulties with England, has at length received his passports from the King to return to his mistress. Although it is well known that the grain ships detained in England had been released in agreement with an understanding between the Queen and the French Ambassador in England, whereby both parties were to release all ships and goods, and to appoint two commissioners to accommodate the many remaining questions of reprisals, and although the English Ambassador here has received assurances that they would abide by this agreement here, and would come to the appointment of Commissioners, nevertheless, in spite of all his representations, he has never been able to induce the French Ministers to act. They say that the King is seriously disturbed by the presence of the German cavalry, which he knows would never have moved without money from England, and therefore it is necessary to put off the whole question for some days. The English Ambassador is in serious embarrassment on this account, the more so as there are 180 English sailors in Paris who have come to take back the ships which were seized, and he does not know whether to dismiss them or to continue to supply them with the means of living, as he does at present.
From England they write that Drake was for ten days off Cape St. Vincent, and landed three thousand men, and marched to within half a league of Lagos, but retired when the Governor of Algarve appeared. The following day he burned some small places, and at last made up his mind to go to Lisbon. He entered the harbour, but could not go far as the wind failed him. Many exaggerate, and many belittle, Drake's actions, and it is difficult to find out the truth.
M. de Lepr has been sent from Holland and Zealand to induce his Majesty to withdraw certain letters of marque issued against them. The Duke of Parma suddenly left Brussels and marched towards Ostend, meaning to assault the place. The English seeing that the Duke had withdrawn attacked and captured Rupelmonde not far from Antwerp.
Paris, 19th June 1587.
[Italian.]
June 22. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 534. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
They say that Drake has divided his fleet into two squadrons so as to make greater booty. The other day he found two Hamburg ships sailing for Lisbon, but he merely took their powder and some provisions and let them go on their way, declaring that they were friends, and charging them to tell the Marquis that he was waiting for him.
All the same the Queen of England is in treaty with the Duke of Parma for an accord, the terms of which I have received by a very secret way, and enclose. All this is believed to be merely a ruse of that woman.
The Englishman arrested near Fontarrabia, who said he was a son of the Queen of England, has, by the King's orders, been sent to the Castle of Lameda. He speaks Italian and Spanish, was dressed as a pilgrim, had two hundred crowns on him, has the air of a noble, and is spirited. He is thought to be a spy.
Madrid, 22nd June 1587.
[Italian.]
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 535. Terms of an Accord which is proposed in Flanders between the Queen of England and the Duke of Parma.
The Queen shall retire from the protection of the Flemish States.
She shall restore all Holland to liberty, so, too, Zealand; but shall retain Flushing, Brill, and Sluis for a year until the conditions of this treaty have been fulfilled. All the privileges of those people shall be respected.
She binds herself to prevent Drake or any other from damaging Spanish goods or subjects, and will exact penalties from the native cities of those who contravene.
The King will keep the peace and friendship with the Queen.
No question of restoring booty shall be raised; he who has may hold.
The people of Holland and Zealand shall yield due obedience to God and the King, but he shall ask no questions.
The Kings of Denmark and Sweden, with other Sovereigns to be hereafter named, shall be sureties for this treaty.
The ancient privileges of Holland and Zealand shall be observed.
The subjects of both parties shall be free to trade with each other.
[Italian.]
June 23. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 536. Matheo Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
A rumour in Poland that the daughter of the King of Sweden is to marry the King of Scotland; but this is thought to be a mere rumour.
Prague, 23rd June 1587.
[Italian.]
June 27. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 537. Giovanni Gritti, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Pope has taken occasion to say that if the King of Spain will undertake the enterprise against England he will furnish him, on the landing of troops in that kingdom, six hundred thousand crowns, and seventy thousand a month as long as the war lasts, but on condition that the nomination to the Crown of England shall rest with the Pope, and that the kingdom of England be recognised as a fief of the Church.
Rome, 27th June 1587.
[Italian.]
June 27. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 538. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Drake up to the 22nd inst. continued in Portuguese waters, sometimes alone, sometimes in company with all his fleet. As he was unable to work any mischief on shore owing to the defences along the coast, he has seized whatever shipping he could find on the open seas; and by cruising between the Straits of Gibraltar and Lisbon he has prevented the junction of the squadrons of the Catholic Armada; but they believe that such a junction will now be easily effected, for orders have been sent to the Duke of Medina Sidonia and to Don Alonso de Leyva that if they deem it necessary they may make use of the eighteen galleys of Prince Doria, which, as soon as they arrived in Barcelona, were sent off to Cadiz to convey troops for the Italian garrisons. If these reach Cadiz in time to be of service no one doubts but that all the squadrons can be united under the command of the Marquis of Santa Cruz. The Marquis has orders to take the sea as soon as possible, and to offer battle to Drake, following him up wherever he is able. It is thought, however, that the Marquis cannot be ready earlier than the 10th of next month, although the troops keep arriving every day; one thousand five hundred have been raised in Lisbon, and every ship has been provisioned and armed for five months' service. They have embarked also fifty pieces of fort artillery. It is thought that Drake will not stay much longer in these parts owing to the great mortality which is taking place on board his ships.
In Catalonia, Aragon, and Valencia a notice has been published to the effect that the King will grant a free pardon to all the outlaws and bandits, bandolieri as they are called here, and will also give them pay while in his service. In this way they hope to raise a large number of troops, and at the same time to free the public roads for the passengers.
We have news that the Viceroy of Tunis intends to rebuild the fortress of Goletta in order to protect the Lagoon. This is a sign that the Turkish fleet will come there some day. No one has any doubt but that all this is the result of the evil offices of the Queen of England; indeed, they begin to fear that her Ambassador at the Porte may be able to upset the negotiations for a truce, which would be of serious consequences for the designs they entertain as to next year. Some say that if the negotiations are entirely broken off it would be as well to make an attack on El Arisch in September.
That Scotch gentleman who landed in Lisbon arrived here three days ago. He is a great noble, and is called the Earl of Morton. He says he is exiled from his country because he is a Catholic, and for having made some movement in England at the time of the death of the Queen of Scotland, his mistress. But it is generally thought that he has been sent on some important mission by his King, for he has asked an audience of his Majesty.
They do not pay much attention here to the offers of the Grand Duke of Tuscany for the expedition against England, for it seems that the Grand Duke asks, as a recompense, the fortresses which Spain holds in Tuscany.
Madrid, 27th June 1587.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Postscript.After writing the above, while closing it, I hear that the Marquis of Santa Cruz has sent a courier express to the King to say that Drake has sailed for England with four ships, leaving the rest of his fleet at Cape S. Vincent. His reason for this step is that he wishes to go in person to make a report of all he has done to the Queen, as well as state the nature of the preparations which are going on here, in the hope of getting more ships and galleys so as to allow him to fight the Catholic Armada or to attack the West Indian fleet. Others, however, declare that Drake has only sent his nephew in order to escort the sick home to England. We shall learn the truth by the next letters from Lisbon.
[Italian.]