Venice: November 1588

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: November 1588', Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 8, 1581-1591, (London, 1894), pp. 409-415. British History Online [accessed 15 June 2024].

. "Venice: November 1588", in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 8, 1581-1591, (London, 1894) 409-415. British History Online, accessed June 15, 2024,

. "Venice: November 1588", Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 8, 1581-1591, (London, 1894). 409-415. British History Online. Web. 15 June 2024,

November 1588

Nov. 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 769. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
I hope to send, by the ordinary post next week, the royal order for the release of the “Sumachi” and her cargo.
Giovanni Steffano Ferrari went to the Escurial, and after much talk with Don Juan d'Idiaquez he has been told to get ready for a journey to Milan where orders will be sent to him on the subject of his mission to Constantinople to negotiate a truce.
Madrid, the 1st of November 1588.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Nov. 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 770. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Peruvian fleet has arrived at last. It has brought a million and a half of gold for the King, and the like amount for private merchants. It reports that on the high seas thirty sails were sighted; it escaped as though by a miracle. They were taken to be English pirates cruising towards the Indies on the look out for the fleet; and as the Mexican squadron has not arrived there is some alarm lest the English have captured it.
Half the ships of the Armada are still missing. Since my letter of the 24th only two more have arrived, and one great galley which put into a port of France, and then came home through the English Channel, fighting its way bravely against some English ships. The worst fears are entertained for the remainder of the Armada, which includes all the levantine vessels except the “Regazzona” and the Tuscany galley which have come back as I reported. On board the ships which have arrived it is calculated that half the crews and soldiers are missing, and your Excellencies may judge from this what a terrible slaughter there has been; and to crown all, news to-day from Galicia that the ship of the late Captain Oquendo has been burned with a hundred men on board her; her powder magazine took fire. All the same in spite of everything his Majesty shows himself quite determined to carry on the war; and the other evening sitting at his table and talking of this subject he said, “We will sell these candlesticks if no other way of raising money can be found.” The President of the Royal Revenue declares that in six months the King will have as much money in his treasury as he has spent these last two years on Flanders and the Armada, which amounts to ten millions, he says, and upwards. It would seem that the chief cities are spontaneously offering their help. From one point of view this is a good thing, but it will lessen the amount of supply voted by the Cortes. Toledo offers four hundred thousand crowns; Toro, a small city, wine and victuals to the value of one hundred thousand crowns, and other places in proportion. Moreover, the Cardinal of Seville has offered the King eight hundred infantry during the war, and the Cardinal of Toledo a hundred thousand crowns. A private citizen of Seville has promised his Majesty a fully armed ship to be paid for by himself for six months. They are discussing the place for the muster, Portugal or Corunna, and the King appears to lean to the latter. If Corunna be chosen he will go to Valladolid to superintend the preparations and will proceed as far as Santiago de Compostello to discharge a vow.
The King will make use of every kind of vessel upon which he can lay hands. Don Alonzo de Bazan, brother of the Marquis of Santa Cruz, has been summoned here. They talk of giving him command of a squadron of twenty-five or thirty galleys; and desire his advice on the plan of campaign.
The new Viceroy of Peru has orders to hold himself ready to depart; and he is charged to raise from New Spain a large subsidy for the purposes of this new Armada, a thing which has never been done before ; the King expects a vast quantity of gold, and promises to sweep the pirates from the sea. Six English ships have just gone home with a large amount of booty. Six thousand ducats are to be laid out in anchors.
Madrid, the 1st of November 1588.
Nov. 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 771. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Juan Martin de Recalde, a brave officer, has passed to a better life, and every day brings the like news of other gentlemen who sailed with the Armada. I am sorry to say that the “Regazzona,” whose master with twenty of his crew is dead, has gone to pieces.
Madrid, 3rd November 1588.
Nov. 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 772. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Spanish Ambassador had an audience of his Majesty the day before yesterday. He thanked the King in his master's name, for the kindly treatment given to the Armada and to the Spanish ships which entered French ports; he assured the King that his master would never fail to repay such acts of true and genuine friendship, especially if it were a question of the service of God by a war with England. And for this purpose he begged the King of France to abandon all his relations which might hamper such an enterprise, be it in Flanders or elsewhere, and he promised that if the King of France would do this, his Catholic Majesty would lend him support against the Huguenots. He furthermore formally invited the King of France to join in this enterprise, and to renew the truce of Cambray.
All of this shows how much the Spanish value the amity of France as necessary to permit them to attend to the English enterprise with greater freedom. The King of France replied in general terms, declaring that he would communicate with his Council and then make answer. The Spanish Ambassador made a special request that the King of France would not allow his subjects to go to the assistance of England, declaring that in his peace with the Guise the King had sworn to abandon his alliance with England.
The Queen of England has complained through her Ambassador that in France they are publishing statements subversive of the good friendship which exists between the two crowns. The King replied, “let them say what they like,” endeavouring in this way to discontent no one.
From Flanders we hear that the English in Bergues by continual sorties and courageous fighting are giving no small trouble to the army of the Duke of Parma ; and the Queen sends over fresh troops day by day.
San Dié, 6th November 1588.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered]
Nov. 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 773. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The decision of the Cortes is about to be published. It is said that they will give the King every assistance to continue the war against England, if the King will proceed in earnest. We shall soon see how matters really stand, every day brings to light fresh difficulties and losses. To-day, for example, we learn that the Duke of Medina Sidonia on reaching his home was attacked by fever so fiercely that be has become delirious and is in great danger of his life. The ships that have not arrived by now are counted for lost. Some of the owners whose ships have been cast away or burned have applied to the King for pay. The question was referred to the Council of State and these owners have been told quite frankly that the King is under no obligation, any more than a private individual who has hired a ship, and that the contention that the ships were taken by force is of no weight against the privilege of the King. Moneys due will not be refused, but as men and ships' books are all lost it is doubtful what will happen and the affair will drag on for long.
Madrid, 11th November 1588.
Nov. 12. Origrinal Despatch, Venetian Archives. 774. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
I send the orders for the release of the “Sumachi.” I inquired of Secretary Idiaquez whether all the crew were to be liberated, and he replied that all those in the hands of the Viceroy would most certainly be set free, but there might be some English at the Holy Office and the King was not accustomed to interfere in such matters.
The courier sent by the King to bring back the advice of the Duke of Parma upon the plan of campaign has returned from Flanders. Although everything is kept secret, yet I learn from a safe quarter that many difficulties arise in way both of sending troops to Flanders and of bringing the Duke of Parma into Spain.
Madrid, 12th November 1588.
Nov. 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 775. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Besides the troops which the Queen of England has sent to Bergues under Colonel Norris, which numbered three thousand men, she has sent as many more under the Earl of Cumberland. She expects that the Duke of Parma will retire from the siege owing to the ease with which she can send reinforcements into the town.
San Dié, 16th November 1588.
Nov. 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 776. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
His Majesty discusses the question of war but has arrived at no decision. The representatives of the Cortes have been with him secretly and have told him that they will vote four or five millions of gold, their sons, and all that they possess so that he may chastise that woman and wipe out the stain which this year has fallen on the Spanish nation; but they have two petitions to make, one is that he will act in earnest, the second that their own agents may have the spending of the money which they shall vote; for in this way his Majesty will not be so robbed, and all the affairs will go far better. This does not at all please the King, who wishes that everything should be placed in his own hands.
Madrid, 16th November 1588.
Nov. 19. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 777. Giovanni Gritti, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
News from Spain informing us of the bad condition of the Armada that has returned from England, of the death of many officers, the King's disgust at the Duke of Medina, and the great preparations for next year.
Rome, 19th October 1588.
Nov. 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 778. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Spanish Ambassador in conversation with me said, “The war with England is beginning now, and the end must be either that the King of Spain becomes King of England too, or that the Queen of England becomes Queen of Spain. Peace we shall never make ; and she has not one shore only to defend; we have now to attack her on all sides of her kingdom, and what is more we have learned from experience that her Armada is not invincible” (disse che adesso comminciava la guerra, et che convenirà per necessità o che S. Mta Catca sia Re d'lnghilterra overo che quella Regina sia patrona della Spagna; aggiongendo, pace non faremo mai, et ella non ha da guardar una sola riviera, convenirà defendersi per ogni parte de suoi stati per che in ogna banda noi sapresimu assalirla; et quella, cite pin importa habbiamo per experientia. conosciuto che la sua Armata non è invincibile).
San Dié, 21st November 1588.
Enclosed in Despatch. Prague, November 22. Copy of Original Venetian Archives. 779. News Letter from Antwerp, 30th October, and from the Camp, 29th October; forward from Cologne on November 2nd.
News from England that the Queen is making preparations for war, and evidently desires it. She is securing help from other quarters for the coming summer.
The riots at Utrecht continue. The English party has been driven out. An heretical preacher who stirred the people one against the other has been seized.
Nov. 23 Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 780. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The King has been ill but is better. He is attending to business. Those who are about in his apartments say that piles of papers lie upon his table and that all day long he sits and reads them, making marginal notes of his orders.
Don Juan de Cardona writes from Galicia that he has now lodged all the soldiers that have returned with the Armada. They do not amount to five thousand out of the eighteen thousand and upwards which embarked, and they are all in a very bad way. He also announces that in obedience to orders, he has sent two ships well found and manned by sailors who know the English seas, to find out what has happened to the missing ships. In order that Cardona may give all his attention to naval matters Gutieres de Vega has been sent as military commissioner.
The King has amalgamated the Councils of State and of War, and many deliberations on the question of war next year take place. Nothing is certain though the Ministers declare that the expedition will take place. The opinion of many commanders is invited.
Biscay has offered to make a certain number of ships of light build such as they say are required for that undertaking. I do not know yet if his Majesty has accepted the offer. Cities and kingdoms continue to make offers, and recently the Count of Bondia has promised one hundred and thirty thousand crowns, which is thought to be a great deal from a private gentleman and not very rich. M. de Lansac has sent an agent to offer to let to the King sixty ships and more, of four hundred tons apiece. The agent is in treaty with Don Juan d'Idiaquez, secretly at night. The Duke of Medina Sidonia who was at death's door is better, and has some hopes of living. The King sent him a very kind letter calling him still by the title of Commander-in-Chief of the Ocean. The rumour has spread about the Court that Prince Andrea Doria is to receive the supreme command, and the Spanish openly declare that if such is the case they will not sail, for though they have been defeated this year that is no reason for bringing in the Italians to conquer next year.
Don Juan d'Idiaquez has expressed to the French agent the satisfaction of the King of Spain at the conduct of his most Christian Majesty towards the Armada when it was off the shores of France.
The Spanish Ambassador in Rome writes that his Holiness will pay up the million in gold if the attack on England is carried out.
Giovanni Steffano Ferrari is to leave immediately for Milan and Constantinople. Orembey and Benveniste have written to say that Schiavas Pasha has declared that he will entertain negotiations for a truce.
Madrid, 23rd November 1588.
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 781. The fleet which Biscay offers to make for the service of the King.
Four cities of the Asturias offers ten galleasses of one hundred and twenty tons apiece.
Six ships, three of five hundred and three of four hundred tons each.
Province of Biscay fourteen galleons.
Province of Giupusca fourteen or fifteen galleons, and a zabre attached to each.
This fleet to be ready by April 1589, or May at the latest. But to be fully fitted out except as regards bronze cannon. The crews at the rate of fifteen men for every hundred tons. All at the risk of the Biscayans and to serve his Majesty for six months consecutively. The hire after that period to be fifteen reals a month for each ton, six months anticipated.
Nov. 27. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 782. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Chevalier Mores who was detained in France for some days near Bordeaux and then ransomed, has reached Madrid. He has been sent by the Duke of Parma, and publishes a memorial in justification of the Duke against the calumnies of the Spaniards. He also says that the affairs of Flanders are not going very well not merely as regards the enemy, but among the Spaniards themselves who are all furious with the Duke.
Madrid, 27th November 1688.
Nov. 29. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 783. Vincenzo Gradenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The Cologne courier has been plundered, and so I have not my usual despatches from my friend, all the same I hear that the siege of Bergues cannot last long, for the great quantity of water makes it impossible for the troops to remain in the forts and trenches. But they go on working all the same.
Prague, 29th November 1588.