BHO

Venice: July 1587

Pages 290-302

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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July 1587

July 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 539. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The King has the gout again in one knee, and a certain cataract in the eyes. He is in bed, and has been purged. He continues to transact business, but Don Juan d'Idiaquez goes very cautiously as the doctors wish the King to work his mind as little as possible.
The Ministers either do not know, or else they conceal the news which Ferrari brings from Constantinople, but seeing that he did not wait there for further instructions, as he announced that he intended to do, it is conjectured that he is returning without any conclusion to his mission. They are very ill-pleased with the said Ferrari, both because he gave no detailed information of the course of events, and because he did not wait in Constantinople till he received orders from Spain; indeed, they imagine that he must have been insulted, or that some annoyance must have overtaken him through the ill offices of England, and I understand this is quite possible as Don Juan d'Idiaquez has sent again to ask me if I have any news on this point from your Serenity. In the Council of War this question has been discussed, and it has been suggested that if the negotiations for a truce are broken off it would be advisable to send aid to the Persians, either one thousand Spanish musketeers or two thousand Portuguese harquebussiers, to encourage the King of Persia to continue the war.
The Earl of Morton is very well received here, and has long secret conferences with Don Juan by night. He also desires to have an audience of his Majesty. I know that he declares that the King, his master, is a Catholic, and when he sees serious action taken here he will declare himself in favour of the Christian religion, and will show how deeply he feels the death of his mother.
The French resident here has been ordered to make serious protest against the assistance in money, men, and other matters, which is being given to the Guises; he is also to say that unless such operations cease the King will be obliged to come to a resolution which he has never yet throughout his reign been willing to adopt, meaning to allude to a war in Flanders.
Drake's departure from these shores is confirmed; but all the same the Marquis of Santa Cruz continues to increase his fleet. He was in great need of sailors and bombardiers, and he has sent to take by force those who are on board the French ships in Setubal which were lading with salt. This will delay for some days more the sailing of the fleet. It is thought that Prince Andrea Doria's eighteen galleys will not be required in Lisbon, but will return to Italy with the recruits to fill up the reserves in the fortresses of Naples and Sicily. In Seville they are making great provision of picks, shovels, and gabbions, and report says that the King has spent, as yet, in these preparations upwards of two millions in gold; everyone says that his Majesty would not have thrown such a sum away for nothing, and so rumour runs about an expedition to El Arisch or to Ireland. Four thousand gentlemen adventurers have left for Lisbon.
Madrid, 2nd July 1587.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
July 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 540. Giovanni Dolfin, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Duke of Lorraine informs the King that a muster of German horse is to take, place on the 8th, and that next month they will march under the command of Duke Otto of Luxembourg, who is given this office at the instance of Brunswick and Casimir, who did not wish to fill it himself, as he had promised the Queen of England. Lorraine offers his quota of men if the King resolves to oppose the passage of the Germans.
Paris, 3rd July 1587.
[Italian.]
July 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 541. Giovanni Dolfin, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Duke of Parma has retired from Ostend, and has undertaken the seige of Sluys. News from London that one of Drake's ships has arrived, and that the Queen is preparing sixteen other ships, four great ones of her own and twelve belonging to private individuals; rumour says they are to join Drake.
Paris, 3rd July 1587.
[Italian.]
July 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 542. Giovanni Gritti, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Duke of Parma is intending to attack Ostend, but as it is situated on the sea it can easily be succoured by a fleet.
Rome, 4th July 1587.
[Italian.]
July 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 543. Hieronmo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The King is still weak and feeble, and is wasting greatly; the Empress' doctor, a most distinguished man, told me that the King's doctors are treating the case in quite the wrong way, and, among other points, highly blames these constant purges and bleedings which they have adopted twice in these past days. The King keeps up his spirits, and will not yield to fatigue; he transacts business, but in writing, being always, and now more than ever, opposed to audiences. Of Drake nothing certain is known, except that he has left these waters, and so has almost all his fleet. Many think that he has gone to the Azores to be in wait for the flotilla; and the Marquis of Santa Cruz will hasten out as soon as he can. He will embark ten thousand men, and, after securing the safety of the flotilla, he is at liberty to attempt something else if he thinks that opportunity serves. The King has sent orders to all the churches of Spain to offer up prayers at mass, and here in Madrid they are to recite the forty hours forty times in forty churches for the success of the fleet and his Majesty's other designs.
Madrid, 5th July 1587.
[Italian.]
July 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 544. Giovanni Gritti, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
This morning there was a rumour that Sluys had been relieved, and that the Duke of Parma was making great efforts to capture it. As the place is of great importance the Queen of England is doing all she can to succour it quickly and thoroughly.
Paris, 6th July 1587.
[Italian.]
July 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 545. Lorenzo Bernardo, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
I have found the means to secure a copy of the letter from the Sultan to the Queen of England, and enclose it.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 7th July 1587.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 546. Copy of a Letter written by the Grand Signor to the Queen of England.
Your honoured letter has reached this happy Porte; from it I learn that the other letters you have written me have been drowned in the sea, and have not reached us. Nevertheless, your Ambassador, who is here, has given me all details; he has told me of your great satisfaction at the liberation of your slaves; that Francis (Drake), your captain, has sailed to the Indies and destroyed with fire and flame many cities there, and, captured galleys, on board of which were fifty Mussulmans; that these have been set free, and some have remained in Algiers, others have come to Constantinople. He has also explained the causes of your hostility to the King of Spain, and that your galleys and his being engaged yours have won the victory. Furthermore, some of your troops who have touched on Africa have been very well used by our troops, as happens wherever English and Mussulmans meet. Your Ambassador has also explained the nature of the support and favour which you seek from this Porte; and all that has been laid before my throne has been understood by my infinite wisdom and intelligence.
Now, on receipt of this imperial letter stand firm in our sincere friendship; do not cease to send out by sea and by land your forces to prey and sack upon all possible occasions, and to bring upon the King of Spain every imaginable outrage and disgrace; you will free all Mussulmans that you find in the cities and on board the galleys, showing them all honour, and using every courtesy to the merchants who come from this Porte. We on our side, as is just, will not fail to give you all necessary support and favour; nor shall we fail to advise all those who traffic on the seas to give no trouble to merchants who come and go, but that everyone may trade securely and freely.
[Italian; deciphered.]
July 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 547. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
A carvel from New Spain brings news that the flotilla has arrived safe at Nombre de Dios, and the others bound for Spain have passed over to Havana.
The King has ordered the Duke of Parma to eater into friendly relations with the German Princes on the borders of Flanders, even though they be heretics, especially with Casimir, to whom the Duke is empowered to offer as much as twelve thousand crowns a year to detach him from England.
Madrid, 11th July 1587.
[Italian.]
July 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 548. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Although Drake has left these shores yet in Seville and in Lisbon they continue to increase the armament beyond what seems to be necessary to secure the safety of the Peruvian flotilla or to fight the English fleet should the Marquis of Santa Cruz fall in with it. At Seville twenty-five great Spanish ships are ready to set sail for Lisbon under the charge of Don Alonso di Leyva besides eight Sicilian and Neapolitans, twenty eight hulks full of munition and provisions, and thirteen small boats called zabre; then there are the galleasses and twelve galleys all well armed, and on board, in all, there are six thousand troops, and as many more on board the fleet in Lisbon, which numbers forty sail. And so there are persons of importance who argue that these preparations, so far in excess of the necessary proportion, would not have been undertaken by the King unless he designed to make some expedition this very year, even though the season be so far advanced. But when we come to particulars it is difficult to see the point to which these forces may be directed; for though it would be easy enough to seize the port and fort of El Arisch it would be very difficult to retain them, both on account of the shore exposed to a stormy sea, and because such an act would irritate the Turk and make the Schereef an out and out enemy, while up to the present he has remained neutral. Or if the armament be meant for Flanders then we must remember that these large ships are not suitable for those waters, where, owing to the many sand banks, they cannot approach within ten or even twelve miles of the shore. Others, again, think that Ireland may be the destination of the fleet owing to some secret understanding there, for several Irish prelates and gentlemen have left Lisbon to embark on board the Marquis of Santa Cruz's ships; others conjecture that the King may have lent an ear to the suggestions of the Earl of Morton and the Guise party, an affair which is kept absolutely secret for fear of the danger which the King of Scotland would run supposing it became known that the King of Spain was going to send his Armada into that country. Morton promises that the King, his master, will give a port and a fortress for shelter; and will declare himself a Catholic, and will march, with Morton and other Scotch lords, through mountains to attack the Queen of England; for this purpose he asks for five or six thousand Spaniards; in the meantime the Armada would attack Ireland, or effect a landing in some other part of England, while the Duke of Parma would be ready with the great army he has collected either to support the Armada or the Scotch and Spaniards who were marching on England. These details were related to me by the most important personage about this Court, though it is really impossible to penetrate the designs of his Majesty. Prayers continue in all the churches for the success of his Majesty's desires and designs. I am told that the King thinks of confiding his plans to Santa Cruz, leaving it to him to choose the moment for carrying them into execution after the Peruvian fleet has been secured. Events as they occur from day to day shall be reported to your Serenity, to whom I send an account of what has taken place at Oran in Africa; it has been furnished to me by a friend. Many here hold that the Queen of England is at the bottom of it all, for she leaves no stone unturned in her endeavour to harass his Majesty.
Madrid, 12th July 1587.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 549. To-day, the 8th July, comes news from Oran that one party of Arabs desiring to cut the corn and steal the flocks of the friendly Arabs who pasture in the plain of Oran, obtained, upon payment of 25 ducats to the Pasha of Algiers, the help of two thousand skirmishers, and crept up secretly under the walls of Oran, where they lay in ambush. They were discovered by the friendly Arabs, who warned Don Pedro de Padillia, governor of the fort. He went out with a handful of men, and after reconnoitring, returned for reinforcements. He issued a second time, and acting as guard to the friendly Arabs, while the two thousand Turks did the same by the other Arabs, both sides kept up lively skirmishes for eight days with great losses on both sides, though the Christians suffered the less of the two; our victory would have been greater had not all our friendly Arab cavalry been absent on some affairs of their own, as usual at this time. Matters stand thus in Oran. As yet Padillia has shown himself prudent and valorous, for when the Turks sent to say that if he would pay them six thousand ducats they would take themselves off in God's name, he sent back to say that he would not give them a farthing, nor would he allow his Arabs to pay them. The affair cannot go on for long, for when the water fails in the open country they will be forced to retire. I kiss your hand.
Your servant,
Antonio de Herrera.
[Italian.]
July 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 550. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday Santoias, who is the King's prime favourite, came to visit me as I lay abed with a very bad foot. Santoias told me that the King had inquired how it was that of all the Ambassadors I alone had not asked for an audience, and when he learned that I was ill he expressed sorrow, and declared his friendly sentiments towards the Republic. I begged Santoias to kiss the King's hand, and to say that I desired nothing more than to console myself by his presence.
At the island of Corvo, the last of the Azores, Drake having made three squadrons of his fleet, captured nine vessels from different quarters, and among them one of the two ships from Portuguese India, which had lost her consort off Mozambique, on the Cape route, with all her cargo, which they say in both cases was worth upwards of a million in gold. All the same the Marquis of Santa Cruz diminishes the loss by a great deal, as your Serenity will gather from the enclosed report which he has sent to the President of the India Council. They are expecting other bad news, for it is thought possible that Drake may seize the ships from S. Thomas, Brazil, Cape Verd, New Guinea, and other places which all come separately and meet at the Azores. This dread is shared by the Marquis of Santa Cruz,
The complaints of the Portuguese have reached an incredible pitch; they say that never before has a single ship of their fleet been captured, and that they are now far worse off than when they had a King of their own. They declare that if Drake is not captured he will seize all the Indies next year. They calculate that this summer alone he has taken upwards of fifty vessels, and is not yet at an end of his mischief. The Marquis will go to the Azores, but little good is expected from his presence beyond securing the fleet from New Spain, though they say that he visited the holy nun of Lisbon, and that she bade him go with a good heart, taking with him the cross, and promised him victory in all his actions. All the same, if his Majesty can he will keep the peace this winter, for he is aware of the many difficulties in the way of an attack on England; and recalling the remark of the Duke of Alva that the King of Spain could make war on any Prince in the world provided he was at peace with England (et ricordandosi di quanto soleva dire il Duca d' Alva, che il Re di Spagna poteva fare la guerra con qual si voglia Principe del mondo mentre che havesse la pace con Regno d' Inghilterra).
Madrid, 16th July 1587.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 551. Copy of the Report of the Marquis of Santa Cruz to the President of the Indies in Madrid.
Yesterday came news that Francis Drake with his fleet was at the Azores, where he had seized one of the Portuguese Indiamen which, though not one of the richest, is worth, they say, seven hundred thousand cruzados. (fn. 1) Though in April last I wished to send out nine German hulks with a view to protecting the ships at the Azores, the merchants here opposed this as they desired to send spices in these hulks to Hamburg. Although there were other hulks upon which they could have put their merchandise their opposition to me was so strong that I received orders to give way. They are very sorry for it now. I am sorry, too, for many reasons. The commander of the ship wrote to me that his crew lost heart at once and hid below, and when the English boarded him there were not more than four or five men on deck with him. Drake gave him one of the hulks captured in Cadiz, and on that they came to Lisbon. I think the Andalusian fleet will soon take the sea. I shall go to Cape S. Vincent to effect a junction with it. Thence I shall sail for the Azores, and, please God, we will protect the rest; although I am in serious alarm for the Indian fleet because it all arrives scattered, and the English are amazed to see that it has no guard with it. I expect the fleet of New Spain and Nombre de Dios very shortly, but all the same I shall push forward to try and fall in with it before Drake is able to do so. Between to-morrow and the next day all the infantry will be on board, and two days later I shall be able to sail.
Lisbon, 9th July 1587.
July 17. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 552. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
A courier from Lisbon has arrived with the news that on the 13th of this month the Marquis of Santa Cruz sailed out with his fleet towards Belem, and the day following he took his route to join the fleet from Seville. Together these two fleets will number one hundred and twenty sail, with upwards of thirteen thousand troops on board, as your Excellencies will see from the enclosed notes. The general comment is that such a fleet is too big for Drake and two little for a great enterprise.
Madrid, 17th July 1587.
[Italian.]
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 553. Note of the Fleet and Troops under the Marquis of Santa Cruz.
Great Portuguese galleons xi
Zabre of Portugal 2
Galleon of Grand Duke 1
Great Biscayans 8
Great hulk 1
Biscayan transports 7
Other light vessels 10
40
Troops with the Marquis.
Spanish from the Sicilian reserves 1,400
Seville 1,500
Portuguese garrisons 2,000
Portuguese 1,500
Spanish venturers 400
Portuguese venturers 800
7,600
Seville Fleet.
Spanish 15
Sicilian 8
Hulks 28
Zabre 13
Galleys 12
Galleasses 4
80
Troops on board Seville fleet 6,000
Total of ships 120
Total of troops 13,600
[Italian.]
July 17. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 554. Giovanni Dolfin, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
No sooner were negotiations with the Guise concluded than the King gave orders to release all English ships which had been seized on account of differences with the English Crown. The Queen's Ambassador is now negotiating for the appointment of two Commissioners to arrange various points of disagreement.
Letters from England, dated the 9th inst., announce the arrival of Drake at Plymouth. After having worked great havoc on the coast of Spain he had seized one large galleon, called the S. Lorenzo, on its way from Calicut with a cargo of spices to the value of a million of gold, and ten other ships with sugar, cotton, and various merchandise on their way from Brazil. In London there were great signs of rejoicing, and the Queen sent two gentlemen to meet Drake and to do him honour. Sugar is so cheap there that what costs five reals here is sold for half a real the pound there.
The Earl of Leicester left on the 5th for Zealand with four thousand men, and in hopes of finding three thousand German horse arrived there. He will do all he can to raise the seige of Sluys, for it seems that it will be very difficult now to throw forces into the town, as the Duke of Parma has closed the river with a palisade, and has also made himself master of one of the forts of the town.
News from Antwerp that the English have taken Eindhoven, a place of some importance between Antwerp and Bois-le-Duc; and being masters of the open country they have destroyed the crops, and every day make demonstrations before the gates of Antwerp in the hopes of inducing the Duke to return to these parts, and thus leave them opportunity to succour Sluys.
Paris, 17th July 1587.
[Italian.]
July 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 555. Giovanni Dolfin, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
This morning an Englishman, called Jeffrey Lowther (Giofr Lothario), paid me a visit. He is on his way to Venice, where he says he has had his home and a wife for the last fifteen years. He confirms the news that Drake has captured the galleon from Calicut; the capture of the other ten ships from Brazil 'is not confirmed. He told me that Drake had sailed into Plymouth with six ships exclusive of the galleon. He was separated from the rest of his fleet by a storm. The day before the said Jeffrey left London news had arrived that the missing ships were safe at Cape S. Vincent, where they were waiting orders from the Queen.
Count Gherardo Martinengo, who went to the wars in Flanders in order to make himself a better servant of your Serenity, writes me a long letter from the camp of the Duke under Sluys; I shall condense it so as not to weary.your Serenity. His Excellency had constructed a mine, which was discovered by the besieged and countermined. He was therefore reduced to constructing approaches so as to draw near the town in safety, and he hoped to have it in a short time.
This morning we have news that the English having called out the larger part of the garrison from Guelders in order to ravage the country with a view to causing the Duke to raise the siege of Sluys, a Scotch, captain, who was left in command of the town, handed it over to Altapenna, the Spanish Governor, and along with the remainder of the garrison declared himself devoted to the Catholic religion. And some say that Altapenna paid down a large sum for the place
Paris, 20th July 1587
[Italian.]
July 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 556. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Marquis of Santa Cruz must by this time have joined the Seville fleet and be off Cape S. Vincent. When leaving Belem one of his Biscayans went ashore and opened, but the crew and cargo were saved.
Madrid, 21st July 1587.
[Italian.]
July 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 557. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Drake was at the island of Corvo, in the Azores, on the look out for the rest of the Indian fleet. Santa Cruz is gone towards the Azores, and news of his operations are eagerly awaited. Preparations meanwhile are continued, and some orders for horses and mules for the artillery train have been issued.
Madrid, 23rd July 1587.
[Italian.]
July 24. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 558. Lorenzo Bernardo, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Hassan Pasha has arrived from Barbary with many slaves on board. The English Ambassador does all he can to injure Hassan in revenge for the mischief he wrought upon the Queen's galleys last year.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 24th July 1587.
[Italian; deciphered.]
July 25. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 559. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
In Galicia they have seized one of Drake's spies. He declares that there are many more in various parts of Spain and Portugal. They are raising ten thousand more infantry in Spain, and the Duke of Medina Sidonia is charged with this operation.
Don Diego Maldonato remains in Lisbon to prepare the Armada. He writes that the Marquis of Santa Cruz has taken only twenty-five ships of the Seville squadron, and has sent the rest to Lisbon. This leads the acuter to argue that there is some secret intelligence which very few know of in some other quarter; others, again, think that they are afraid lest the Queen of England should send a fleet to Portugal in the Marquis's absence. The King of Fez, in alarm at all these preparations, has sent an Agent express to learn his Majesty's intentions; his Majesty has replied that he will always maintain his friendly relations with the King; these are his very words. The Earl of Morton is on the point of taking his leave, but he desires first to kiss his Majesty's hand.
The Duke of Parma, having heard that many Spaniards, who have returned here out of Flanders complain loudly of his conduct, and seek to rouse his Majesty's suspicions against him by declaring that he is really an enemy of Spain, has demanded that, if they will not relieve him of his charge, a thing which he greatly desires, at least they will allow his son, Prince Ranucio, to come to this Court, as it were a hostage for his father's good will and devotion. The Duke then makes terrible charges against the Spaniards, declaring that they are insolent, disobedient, lazy, and are the real reason why his Majesty has lost those provinces. His Majesty has replied begging the Duke to think no more of this, for he will imprison, as he has already done, all those who speak ill of the Duke.
Madrid, 25th July 1587.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
July 30. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 560. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Prince is better, though not quite free of the fever; the doctors, as usual, wished to bleed him, but the King flew into a rage, declaring that they had no other remedy than this, but he himself would use a better; and so he ordered a large distribution of alms to all the monasteries of the poor in this city, that prayers might be offered up for his Highness, who at once began to get better.
There is news that Drake has been breaming his forty ships at Corvo, the last of the Azores. The Marquis of Santa Cruz writes to the King that he went to the Azores in the hope of finding and fighting Drake, as Drake was quite confident that the Catholic Armada would not take the sea this year. In Lisbon they are preparing many other ships, so that when the Marquis returns from securing the flotilla, which will be about the end of September, he will find one hundred ships all well armed, including, however, the Andalusian squadron, which he sent home from Cape S. Vincent.
All these preparations are vast, but seem to be made quite out of season, and so they give rise to infinite conjectures, which I will not repeat; enough that the best informed think that his Majesty will make use of all this only next year, but early in the year, or if they are to be used this year there is some secret understanding somewhere.
Orembey, the Dragoman, writes from Constantinople two letters to the King; in one he asks for some assistance to marry his daughter; in the other he says that though Ferrari has left, and the negotiations for a truce are broken off, that is no reason why they should not be reopened if his Majesty will send an Ambassador to the Porte.
Madrid, 30th July 1587.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
July 30. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 561. Giovanni Dolfin, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Paris, 30th July 1587.
[Italian.]
July 31. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 562. Giovanni Dolfin, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Duke of Parma wrote to Don Bernardino (de Mendoza) on the 18th, that on the third assault he had captured the revelin of Sluys, and hoped to have the rest of the town in a very few days either on terms or by force.
From Antwerp comes news that on the 22nd the English had fought Altapenna, near Bois-le-Duc, with great slaughter on both sides; the Governor (Altapenna) himself was wounded by a harquebuss in the neck, and is in great danger of his life.
An Ambassador from Denmark has arrived at the Duke's camp in order to treat of a peace with the Queen of England; two noblemen are expected from London.
The Archbishop of Glasgow, who for many years was Ambassador for the Queen of Scotland, has had an audience of the King, as Ambassador for King James. The Archbishop promptly obeyed the Pope's orders (to accept the office of Scotch Ambassador at the French Court); and while paying him a visit he told me that Catholic prospects in Scotland were making great progress. Many in many parts had resumed the mass, being quite sure that the King would raise no opposition. He has caused many of the great nobles who were at war with one another to make peace, and he hopes by this reconciliation to be able the more easily to establish liberty of conscience in his kingdom. The same Ambassador also informed me that an Ambassador of Denmark had been to Scotland to demand the restitution of the Orkneys, which were given to Scotland one hundred and fifty years ago by his predecessor as security for forty thousand ducats of dower. The answer given was that Parliament must meet to take this subject into consideration. But on pressing for a definite reply the Ambassador was told that King James would come of age on June 29th, and that it was advisable to defer the question till that date, for then any act of the King would be valid and conclusive by the laws of the realm which did not concede authority to Kings under age. The Ambassador waited till the above-named date, and then demanded an answer; Parliament is summoned to make reply during the coming month. The Archbishop added that Denmark is advancing this claim in order to facilitate the marriage of his daughter by renouncing these pretensions, but the King of Scotland will not make up his mind to marry yet, for he wishes to see his kingdom in better order first, and his own authority more secure.
Paris, 31st July 1587.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

  • 1. See Martini, Munuale di Metrologia, p. 281.