Venice: August 1587

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: August 1587', 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 24 July 2024].

'Venice: August 1587', 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 24, 2024,

"Venice: August 1587". 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. 24 July 2024.

August 1587

Aug. 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 563. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Prince has the tertian again; and, though he slept well last night, the doctors, believing that he was delirious, have bled him with his Majesty's sanction.
The Grand Prior Don Hernando came to visit me, and to congratulate me on the palace which his Majesty has presented to the Republic. He added that he did not see what they could do with the Armada this year except to secure the flotilla, but that next year his Majesty will be forced to act in earnest, unless some accord with the Queen of England is concluded this winter.
I hope in a few days to take up my lodging in the new palace of your Serenity. I have had to overcome some difficulties and annoyances, and to incur some expense, as is usual in such cases; and, among others, some of the furnishings were stolen and sold on the spot; the Chamberlain, with exquisite courtesy, caused these to be restored to me. But what most disturbed me is that women servants, pages and attendants of the Countess of Ozeda, sister of Olivarez, Ambassador in Rome, being unwilling to remove from these fine apartments, have carried off the doors, locks, cupboards, windows, and some magnificent mirrors, and actually set fire to the house, which ran a great risk of being burned down; and so as the house was thus rendered almost uninhabitable, for your Serenity's honour and my own convenience, I was obliged to go to great expense. The Countess, perhaps regretting the action of her dependants, and afraid that if the King came to hear of it he would be angry, has given me to understand that everything shall be restored at once on condition that I paid for all the movables, as is the custom here. This is both honourable and advantageous, for it would take more than one thousand ducats to replace what has been removed, whereas I intend to give the Countess only three hundred. I have been advised to make this present in silver goblets. This expense has come on the top of the others, for I thought I had done of it when I gave a silver gilt vase to the Sergeant-Major, and other tips to his subordinates; but the King himself has insisted on a douceur, declaring that he has more right to it than anyone else. And as he had heard from Calavrese, his favourite, who is very well known to all those illustrious gentlemen who have resided here, that I had a picture of St. Jerome, of great beauty, painted by Titian, he favoured me with the information that if I would send it to him he would accept it willingly, as indeed he has, for he keeps it in his private chamber, and though her Serenity, the Infanta, has asked him for it he will not give it up, and so I have to look out for another for her Royal Highness, and another for the Count of Chinchon, who, as Master of the Household, inducted me into the palace, and has asked for a picture. (Et fino il Re medesimo ha voluto la buona mano dicendo che la meritava piu d' ogni altro. Et perche sepe dal Calavrese suo favorito, el molto conosciuto da quei Illmi SSri che sono stati qui, ch' io tenevo un quadro di San Hieroñimo, che è il sua Santo Divoto, molto hello di man di Ticiano, mi favori con farmi dire che mandandoglielo sarebbe accettato volentieri dalla Maesta Sua, come ha fatto, tenendolo carissimo nella sua medessima stantia; et se ben la Serenissima Infante glielo ha dimandato, non ha voluto darglielo; onde convengo provederre di qualche altro per l' altezza sua ancora, et cosi per il Conte di Chinchon che mi ha ricercato una bella pittura, poiche essendo Majordomo di Palazzo, mi ha posto in possesso della casa per ordine del Re).
Madrid, 5th August 1587.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Aug. 6. Original Letter, Venetian Archives. 564. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to his Brother.
Most illustrious brother, I have written to his Serenity the enclosed, which I now send under cover to you so that both may come more surely to hand. I have described some part of the expenses which I have made on the beautiful palace which the King has given to the Republic; these will exceed four hundred ducats, and I am persuaded that those illustrious gentlemen will not desire that I should pay this sum out of my private purse for this honour and favour, great as it is, which the King has bestowed on the Republic, by which this Embassy has risen in general estimation to such an extent that all the Princes and Ministers have congratulated me in my old house, and have declared that they must have a banquet in the new.
I must tell you that the King himself, to honour me still further, has asked for a douceur in the shape of a picture of Saint Jerome, which I highly valued and kept in my study. He heard about it from Calavrese, a favourite of his and a sort of spy, who often comes to dine with me. The King has now got the picture in his bedroom, and has refused to give it to the Infante when she asked for it; and so Calavrese has laid me under an obligation to her Royal Highness to procure another fine picture for her. All this I have reported to the Senate, but not in such detail.
Now I will tell you what is my idea, so that you may inform the Savii; as you have commissioned Tintoretto to paint a Judgment to be sent as a present to the King, their Excellencies might cause it to be finished up as soon as possible, pay the artist, and send the picture here to me by the first ship, so that I may present it to the Princess in his Serenity's name; and I am sure that both she and her father, the King, will receive it willingly, or, perhaps, some other small picture would do. A little gift like this, given at the right moment, would win the regard of her Highness, who, for her rare and great qualities, deserves to be obeyed and honoured by all, and who in time may be more than Empress.
If my plan approves itself to their Excellencies I confide it to their prudence; if not, let it be as though never suggested, and that is why I have not advanced it in my despatch to the Senate. Any way, do not fail to send me the two pictures which I asked for in my last, and also the hundred panes of crystal for the windows of my rooms as soon as possible, with all the other things I have mentioned before, all of which have been asked for by various gentlemen here. And though it is true that I am spending here with open arms, still I am rewarded by observing an excellent disposition in his Majesty towards our nation, and, by God's help, I hope to confirm it, so that even should a young man succeed me, which I do not imagine will happen after the affair of Mocenigo in France, even he would find no difficulty if he will follow my recommendations.
Your loving brother,
Hieronimo Lippomano.
Madrid, 6th August 1587.
Aug. 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 565. Giovanni Gritti, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
On Tuesday last the Pope caused a Consistory to be announced for Friday. When the Consistory was about to be closed his Holiness begged the Cardinals to wait, and said, if they approved, he intended to promote William Allen, Englishman, to the Cardinal-ate. He excused the irregularity on the grounds of necessity, because there were many in England who required an Englishman at their head. The Cardinals approved; only two mentioned a Scotch Archbishop as worthy of that honour. The election of Allen was accordingly announced. Cardinal Caraffa, obeying the Pope's orders, went to S. Silvestro, near to Monte Cavallo, where the Consistory was held, and summoned the illustrious Cardinal Allen, and presented him to the Pope and the Cardinals. Last year at the Christmas promotion the King of Spain proposed Allen for the purple; the reply given was that if his Majesty would find the income the Pope would confer the hat. The King has given this prelate one thousand ducats of pension in Spain, and an abbey worth two thousand ducats. The Cardinal is a man of great goodness, piety, and learning; he speaks Latin very well, but does not venture on Italian. He is handsome, about forty years old, and though not of the noblest blood is still well born. In Flanders he offered shelter to the Catholic fugitives from England. There he founded a retreat for them, and came to Italy to seek for aid in maintaining it. Pope Gregory granted him large supports, but these ceased on the change of Pontiffs. Allen accordingly sought support elsewhere, and begged me to give him letters of recommendation to the Procurators and Rectors of your Serenity's dominions, where he sent his Agents who collected many hundreds of ducats which greatly assisted the pious work. The reasons which have induced his Holiness to make this promotion, out of season and under no obvious necessity, seem to be a desire to please the King of Spain, and to show that his recommendation is esteemed.
Cardinal Caraffa has been the promoter of this line of conduct. This morning Allen has received the title of Cardinal of England. This unexpected promotion has caused incredible loss to the bookmakers of Rome; some of them intend to try and shake off their bets.
Rome, 8th August 1587.
Aug. 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 566. Giovanni Gritti, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
On Tuesday last in Consistory the hat was given to the new Cardinal of England. On Sunday I went to pay him a visit of congratulation. I assured him of your Serenity's satisfaction, and of our conviction that the work begun by the late Cardinal of England would be carried to a successful issue by himself.
Everyone is afraid that this promotion by the Pope will call the attention of the Queen of England to her English Catholics, and will cause her to be crueller than ever to them. Those who imagined that the Pope was to take a part in the attack on England now find that there is nothing to warrant such a supposition.
Rome, 15th August 1587.
Aug. 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 567. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Prince has been giving great anxiety on account of a tertian fever, which has become permanent, with sickness and other disturbances. The doctors resolved to administer Belzuar stone, and after a short sweating he shook all sickness off. It is remarkable that the Prince falls ill suddenly and recovers as suddenly. The King would not go to see him, although very anxious, for he professes that nothing is able to disturb his courage and his constancy. Two carvels have reached Lisbon from the Azores, which they left on the 19th of last month. They report that fourteen English ships, under Drake's nephew, have burned Corvo and Flores, places of no great importance, but were repulsed in an attempt on Fayal. Drake had returned to England with his booty, but has taken the sea again with twenty-five ships; and, after joining the squadron he had left behind him, he has gone to look for the flotilla of New Spain, and to attack it if he finds that it has been separated from the fleet of the Marquis of Santa Cruz.
The squadrons of Seville and Andalusia, under the command of Don Alonso de Leyva, entered Lisbon on the 4th inst. They number seventy sail.
They were received with great salutes of artillery, and will lie there in readiness should Drake come back to these waters. Great preparations of provisions are going on; and as the crop was a poor one this year matters are made even worse by such requisitions. It is reckoned that in Spain alone upwards of twenty-five thousand men have been raised.
The Council of State sits three times a week, now, after never meeting for the last six years; this leads people to suppose that the King desires to relieve his shoulders of some of the burden of government; for, though he studies, knows, and attends to much, he cannot do more than a man can do. I am assured that the Council has discussed the enterprise against England, as his Majesty intends to attempt it as soon as possible, and the plan of campaign is being developed.
I know that a few days ago the King sent to Simancas, where the State Archives are preserved in a strong tower, with all documents relating to his Majesty's dominions, and required those relating to England in order to study the question of his right to that throne after the King of Scotland. They say that his claims are extremely well founded, as is proved by a book written by a Scotch Bishop, which is now being printed. (So ancora che il Re ha mandato li giorni passati a Simanca, dove sta in una forte torre l' archivio, et tutte le scritture delli Regni et Stadi di Sua Maestà Catholica, a pigliar quelle d' Inghilterra per le pretentioni che tiene in quell' Isola dapoi il Re di Scotia; et dicono che sian molto fondate, come anco si vede per un libretto di un Vescovo Scocese che hora va in stampa.)
Here they are entertaining the idea of not abandoning the negotiations for a truce with Turkey. I learn that Marigliani has written to the Dragoman Orembey to say that his Majesty will help him to dower his daughter, and that he is to conclude the business of the truce with the Grand Vizir, but on no account to mention the Queen of England. All the same it is thought that Orembey will not have the courage to broach the subject. The Earl of Morton kissed the King's hand in private at the Pardo, and has since received his papers. To-morrow he goes towards Bilbao in Biscay to embark for Scotland. I hear that he is the bearer of a gracious answer, although here they are not thoroughly persuaded of the Scotch Kings faith, nor can they see how he is to accomplish all the great promises he has made.
A courier has arrived from the Grand Duke of Tuscany. He is the bearer of some beautiful presents; an office book illuminated by Titian, and some Agnus Dei blessed by the Pope.
Madrid, 18th August 1587.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Aug. 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 568. Lorenzo Bernardo, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The English Ambassador is urging his complaints against Hassan Pasha. The Grand Signor has referred the matter to the Secretary, and as yet nothing has been done.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 20th August 1587.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Aug. 22. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 569. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
On the 15th inst. a carvel reached Lisbon with news that the flotilla of New Spain was coming from New Cartagena one hundred and eighteen strong, and that the Marquis of Santa Cruz had gone to meet it, and to fall in with some English which were working mischief at Corvo. The flotilla may be looked for at the end of this month or the beginning of next.
The Duke of Medina Sidonia has been summoned to Court, and it is a very general opinion that he will be made a member of the secret council and appointed to other posts, as he has borne himself so well in the recent affair of Drake at Cadiz.
Madrid, 22nd August 1587.
Aug. 25. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 570. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Earl of Morton, who has left, is the bearer of a reply to the King of Scotland to the effect that the King of Spain has heard with great pleasure of his good intentions, and that he now calls on the King of Scotland to declare himself a Catholic, and to join in attacking the Queen of England in order to avenge the death of his mother, and exhorting him not to let any favourable occasion for moving slip by.
I have no other news from Lisbon than that which is contained in the enclosed letters; only I know from a secret source that the Marquis of Santa Cruz has orders from the King to kill all the people he captures on board any English ship (solo dirò di più saper da via secreta che il Marchese di Santa Croce tien ordine dal Re che venendo gli in mano alcuno navillio inglese, faccia subito morire tutta la gente di qual si voglia sorte et conditione).
Madrid, 25th August 1587.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Aug. 26 Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 571. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
I ought to inform your Serenity that I have heard from a person of weight that the Spaniards are ill pleased to see Venetian ships trading with England, and conveying merchandise and provisions to their enemy, and if they fell in with the Royal fleet the Marquis of Santa Cruz might treat them as prizes, by which he sets great store.
News from Seville that the flotilla of New Spain has entered the Channel of Vaama, which one may almost say is Spain.
The election of the English Cardinal, recently made at the instance of his Majesty, is highly approved of here. His Majesty desires to make him Legate, and to cause him to sail with the Armada when it goes to England, in order to support and encourage the Catholics of that island, who are very numerous.
Madrid, 26th August 1587.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 572. Report of all that the Flotilla of New Spain brings with it.
For the King.
Eight thousand bars of silver.
Twelve cases of gold.
Three hundred thousand reals.
Twenty cases of pearls.
One case of emeralds.
For private Individuals.
Five millions of fused silver.
One thousand five hundred marks (fn. 1) of pearls.
A great case of emeralds.
From San Domingo.
Thirty-five thousand pieces of stamped leather.
Two hundred cases of sugar.
Twenty-two thousand quintals of ginger.
Four thousand quintals of guaiacum (lignum vitœ).
Fifty quintals of sarsapariglia.
Forty-eight quintals of cassia.
Sixty-four cases of linen.
From New Spain.
One million nine hundred thousand pesi (fn. 2) of silver for the King.
Two millions for private merchants.
One thousand one hundred marks of gold.
Five thousand six hundred cases of cochinelle.
Sixty-four thousand pieces of stamped leather.
Twenty-five thousand pounds of indigo.
Value of above, sixteen millions in gold.
Aug. 29. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 573. Giovanni Gritti, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
There is a rumour that the English Cardinal is to be sent to that kingdom; but neither he nor the Spanish Ambassador know anything about it.
Rome, 29th August 1587.


  • 1. The Marco = 8 ounces. See Martini, Manuale di Metrologia, p. 322.
  • 2. See Martini, Manuale di Metrologia, p. 323.