Venice: October 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: October 1587', Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 8, 1581-1591, (London, 1894), pp. 313-318. British History Online [accessed 24 June 2024].

. "Venice: October 1587", in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 8, 1581-1591, (London, 1894) 313-318. British History Online, accessed June 24, 2024,

. "Venice: October 1587", Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 8, 1581-1591, (London, 1894). 313-318. British History Online. Web. 24 June 2024,

October 1587

Oct. 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 585. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
All the ships of the fleet entered the Port of San Lucar in safety, except three which were wrecked, though both crew and cargo were saved. The Marquis of Santa Cruz has entered Lisbon with his squadron, which has suffered from a storm. He is making all diligence in refitting his fleet, as well as that of Seville. They are expecting the fleet from Biscay shortly.
The Marquis of Santa Cruz has written to the King to say he will be ready to sail on the 20th of this month, and raises no objection as to the season, for he knows that the King is resolved upon action, and cannot bear to be contradicted nor thwarted. The Duke of Parma has written to say that the Catholic States of Flanders are to meet in Breda to treat of some accord with England which shall be honourable for his Majesty, and that he himself is attending to this business with all his might. He urges the King, all the same to send his Armada in the direction of England, adding that his people are all ready to obey any of his Majesty's orders. This last information, as it falls in with his Majesty's desire, is highly approved here. The King has sent back the same courier with orders that the Duke shall continue his negotiations, and shall keep as many troops ready as possible to march wherever they may be ordered, for the Lisbon fleet will set sail on the 20th. Those who understand affairs best think that if no accord is reached between the Spanish and the English the Duke of Parma will take command of the enterprise; but the line of attack which he will adopt no one as yet knows for certain. Many think the troops will land in Scotland, especially as the Duke (sic) of Morton is in Lisbon, and will sail with the Armada, and it is known that secret negotiations have been carried on with the King of Scotland who has offered a very commodious harbour, and has promised to declare himself Catholic, and an open enemy of the Queen of England whom he will attack. Others think that the Spanish have an understanding in England and Ireland, and that a council of war will decide upon which point of attack is most advantageous and most easy. In short, it seems that the King now entertains all the keener desire to put this enterprise to the touch, if the season be not an insuperable difficulty and the longed for accord is not effected, because he believes that the Queen will get no help from France owing to the civil war, nor from the heretic princes. Moreover, the last news from Constantinople raises a doubt lest, if the attack is delayed till spring, the evil offices of that woman may induce the Turk to effect a diversion by sending a powerful fleet to Spain or to some other of his Majesty's States (in somma par che nel Rè sia nato tanto maggior desiderio di far isperienza nel presente tempo di questa impresa, se però potra superar la stagione et non segua l' accordo tanto desiderato, quanto che stima che nè di Francia, per la guerra civile, ne da, altri principi heretici. potrà detta Regina haver aiuti d' importantia, oltra che con li ultimi avisi da Constantinopoli va dubitando che con differir la prima vera, potessero Turchi, mossi dalli mali ufficii di questa donna, tentar di divertire da questa impresa con mandar in Spagna, o in altra parte de' suoi stati l' armata potente). His Majesty desires to forestall such a contingency, and to see what will happen in this winter; he placed great hopes on a rising of the Catholics in England. In fact the King is determined that the Armada shall sail this year, for he believes that the Queen, terrified by all these demonstrations, will be the more ready to come to terms.
Time will the better prove the wisdom of the King; I will neglect no occasion to inform your Serenity of all that comes to my notice, as in a matter of such importance I consider it my duty to report all the remarks of persons of weight.
Madrid, 7th October 1587.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Oct. 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 586. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
As they cannot find in Portugal a sufficient quantity of mules to embark on board the Armada for the artillery trains, they have sent three hundred from these parts, which ought by this time to be in Lisbon. Other companies of infantry have recently reached that town; they were at once inspected and sent on board. The Marquis of Santa Cruz has forbidden anyone to go on shore on pain of death.
Madrid, 8th October 1587.
Oct. 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 587. Giovanni Dolfin, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
It is said by people of weight that the Queen of England has given to the Catholic Princes of the house of Bourbon twenty thousand ducats in cash, and another twenty thousand is promised.
Paris, 9th October 1587.
Oct. 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 588. Giovanni Dolfin, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Commissioners destined to negotiate a peace between Spain and England had not left on the 20th of last month. But an Agent from the Queen had reached Brussels; his mission was to propose another place of meeting as she had changed her mind and abandoned the place already agreed upon, namely, Breda.
News from London that the Queen has chosen forty of her finest ships and fitted them out, and given them to forty of her captains. The guards have been doubled along the coast, and the garrisons on the Scotch border strengthened.
Paris, 9th October 1587.
Oct. 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 589. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Marquis of Santa Cruz began to overhaul the ships which had been out with him as escort for the fleet. When the workmen came to examine them they reported that the ships were in such a bad state that the Marquis has written to the King to say that he doubts very much whether he can get ready this month, and that even if his own ships were ready the five galleons which he left under Recalde's command at the Azores have come into port so storm-tossed that they require to be careened and fresh caulked. Accordingly he has been obliged to distribute his troops partly on board the Seville fleet and partly in the forts of Lisbon. He adds that he will do his best to get ready as soon as possible.
His Majesty has received this news with the greatest displeasure because, on many grounds, but chiefly with a view to facilitating an accord with England, he thought it necessary that the Armada should put out as soon as possible, and that this report of the bad condition of the fleet should not become public. His Majesty said with his own lips that this must be a device of those owners whose ships have been seized, inspired by a hope that they would recover them, but that he is determined that the fleet shall go out. Those who understand naval matters declare that if his Majesty continues in this resolve he will only succeed in losing his Armada and all his forces. The Marquis cannot be ready even for the date he himself has named; but as he sees the King so determined he is afraid to write his true opinion, or to urge the lateness of the season, but he does what he can to put off, as he knows that this is of real service to the King.
Francesco Idiaquez has been to thank your Serenity, in the King's name, for all the information which has been furnished. He desired to know if the negotiations for peace and the preparation of the Armada were still being continued in Constantinople.
Madrid, 12th October 1587.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Oct. 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 590. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
By courier express the King has sent orders to the Marquis of Santa Cruz that he is to use all diligence in preparing the expedition, and in fitting out his ships, as he is firmly resolved that the Armada shall take the sea, and that his will shall be executed. He has sent two hundred thousand ducats to Lisbon to pay crews and troops. All the same it becomes clearer every day that the Marquis does not wish to take the sea. He has sent the four great galleys to Saccaben to be out of the way of the winter storms, and he has despatched an expert in naval matters to point out to his Majesty how great is the danger at this season, and to inform him of the bad condition of the fleet, of the large number of soldiers who are dead or have fled, and the great want of sailors, and to assure him that if they sail in this state they will be going to destruction, all the more surely that it is rumoured that the Queen of England is preparing a great fleet. This expert has not yet had an audience of the King, nor has the Marquis had time to reply to the last message of the King. Everyone is waiting to see how the King will decide after hearing from the Marquis, and a great Spanish nobleman said to some Italians, who asked if the fleet would go out and what would be done, that it was no wonder they did not know, for no one knew, not even the King's most intimate councillors.
The Biscayan fleet put out the second time from Seville, but has not arrived yet; and until it does there is no question about the Marquis's sailing.
Madrid, 18th October 1587.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Oct. 27. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 591. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The King refuses to listen to the person sent here by the Marquis of Santa Cruz to report on the bad state of the fleet both as regards the ships and also the lack of sailors. The King sent orders to this person to return at once as, after reading the Marquis's letters, another courier had been sent off to convey the King's will and commands, which were that the Marquis should make all speed to put out to sea; or if he could not sail with the whole fleet to send as many as he could get ready under the command of Don Alonso de Leyva, and in doing so the Marquis would render the King the highest possible service. Accordingly subsequent couriers bring news from Lisbon that not only the Marquis but also the other sea captains were using all diligence in finishing up the ships and commissioning them, and furnishing their stores, so as to be ready to sail either altogether or a large part. For this purpose they were anxiously waiting the arrival of other four thousand troops who have already embarked on board the Seville fleet, after returning to Spain in the ships of Alvaro Flores.
This extraordinary diligence is caused, as is commonly thought, by the King's resolve, for he is persuaded that the Queen is using artifice in this affair of the accord, and that he must now proceed with deeds, not words and threats; and, secondly, because his Majesty is informed that the King of Scotland in fulfilment of his understanding with Spain, has already begun to harass the Queen of England. Accordingly, in order not to leave the King of Scotland exposed to danger, in order to keep his word with Scotland and the Guise, and because this appears to be the best way to annoy and molest the Queen of England, his Majesty has determined that, if the Marquis cannot take the sea at once, still large succours must be sent to Scotland with all possible speed, as the Earl of Morton requests. These supports are to keep on the outside of the island, and not to enter the channel till the rest of the Armada is ready, about which I shall inform your Serenity more fully in my next.
The Ambassador of the Duke of Parma resident here had an audience with the King on other matters, and said that public report at Court had it that the Marquis would not put out to sea, in order to avoid serving under the Duke of Parma, whereas he promised that his master would serve under the Marquis if that should seem to be of service to his Majesty (disse che essendo publica voce per tutta la corte che il Marchese non volesse uscire per non ubedire al Duca, suo signore, prometteva che suo patrone haverebbe egli ubedito al Marchese se cusi fosse servitio delta Maestà Sua). This statement has pleased the King greatly, and his joy is all the more lively because he has heard from spies of his in Constantinople and Venice that it is very unlikely that peace will be concluded between the Turks and the Persians, and that consequently the Turkish fleet will not put out next year, in spite of the English Ambassador's usual representations to the Porte. His Majesty will shortly send an Agent to Constantinople, and to escape criticism from the world at large he desires to select for this mission the subject of some other Prince; accordingly Figliazzi, the retiring Ambassador of Tuscany, has been in long conferences with the King on the affairs of the Levant, of which he has knowledge as he was for many years a slave there, and subsequently Ambassador to the Porte for the Grand Duke of Tuscany. But Count Marigliani declares that the King could not make a worse choice than this, for, besides being a Knight of Malta, Figliazzi conducted his Embassy to the Porte with small satisfaction to all parties; he is hated by all the Pashas and other great officers. If Marigliani is asked his opinion he will express it frankly.
Madrid, 27th October 1587.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Oct. 31. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 592. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
A courier from the Marquis of Santa Cruz to the King brings news that by the 11th of next month, S. Martin's day, forty great ships will be ready, and on these from ten to twelve thousand men can be embarked. The Biscay squadron has also reached Lisbon. The Marquis says that he will take the sea with these if his Majesty so orders, or he will send them out with Don Alonso di Leyva, and will himself stay behind to hasten the preparation of the remainder of the Armada, so as to be able to set sail a month later, and to harass the Queen of England in some other quarter. He recommends the commissioning of thirty other ships from the fleet of New Spain, and states that some of the hulks which were with him at the Azores are no longer fit for service.
The King is highly displeased that a larger number of ships is not ready. And I know that Don Juan d'Idiaquez has bitterly complained that his Majesty, who has spent so much treasure this year in the hope of having a more magnificent fleet than he ever possessed, should find that he can command no more than forty in fact, and with a captain who will not obey his Majesty's orders. The King is determined that all this money shall not be thrown away however, and these forty ships will sail under the command of Don Alonso di Leyva it is believed; he is reckoned a valorous soldier. The Marquis, on the other hand, replies that he cannot work miracles, and that he declines to risk the reputation he has acquired; that he prays to God that the departure and the career of this Armada may not recall that of Charles V. in Africa, when that sovereign insisted on making that expedition precisely at this time of year; and to the dangers of the season is to be added the peril from the English fleet, which, they say, will take the sea in great force. (Sta il Re malissimo contento che non vi sia maggior numero de' navi pronte; et so che Don Gio. Idiaquez si è molto doluto con persona confidente che la Maestà Sua dapoi haver speso un gran Tesoro quest' anno, con speranza di haver la piu florida et potente armata che facesse mai, si trovi a termine di non haver in essere pin di 40 navi, et con un Generale come ha detto che non vuol obbedire alli commandamenti di Sua Maestà, la quote però sta risoluta di non voter gettar del tutto questa spesa, et che non potendo far altro, vadino queste prima, crede si, sotto Don Alonso di Leyvà, tenuto valoroso soldato. Il Marchese dall' altra parte dice che non può far miracoli et che non vorebbe andar a perdere quel honore che hora ha acquistato; et che prega Dio che la uscita et esito di quest' armata non facci ricordar at mondo l' altra di Carlo Quinto in Affrica quando volse far l' impresa di Algier da questo tempo a punto; et hora oltre il pericolo della stagione vi è l' altro dell' armata nemica Inglese la quale si dice, uscirà fuore motto potente.)
The King has ordered the continuance of the prayers for another two months, and that every day, in some church, the Host is to be exposed, and a solemn mass sung with special supplications for the success of the Armada; and these orders have been sent in writing to all incumbents.
At Lisbon ten ships from Minas and S. Thomas have arrived, with slaves, and sugar and other merchandise. One of the fleet got separated from its companions in a storm, and after fighting bravely was compelled to yield to the English.
Giovanni Figliazzi was at the Escurial yesterday; he has told one of his great friends that Don Juan d'Idiaquez had a long conversation with him, and that his Majesty is disposed to send him to Constantinople to negotiate the truce, to which he replied that it would be necessary to inform his master, the Grand Duke.
Madrid, 31st October 1587.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]