Venice: January 1589

Pages 422-427

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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January 1589

1589. Jan. 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 797. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
By the last ordinary post I have received your Serenity's despatches of the 5th and the 19th November. They arrived very much behind hand on account of the dispute between the Post Master of Madrid and the French post, and also owing to the carelessness of the postmen themselves.
As you have authorised me to condole with his Majesty upon the misfortunes of his Armada, I will do so dexterously, avoiding the form of condolence which displeases him; and assuring him that on account of its great affection for him the Republic sympathises in all the fortunes of the Royal House as if they were its own. It is the more advisable to keep to generalities because the others who have touched on the subject, such as the Pope, Tuscany, and Mantua, have made offers of money, men, and other assistance.
I will do all I can for the Venetian ships, and if those interested in the “Labbia” and the “Balanzara” are sure that the ships have been lost, and will send me a power of attorney, appointing me their agent, I will not only endeavour to recover the sums due but will try to secure for the owners some gratification, such as a contract for grain in Sicily or something of that kind.
I am deeply grateful to your Serenity and your Excellencies for the satisfaction which you continue to evince at my slight services. I only regret that every day I become less capable and less sound, either on account of the bad climate of this place, which is most prejudical to my health, or because of the fatigues and continual sufferings endured throughout the many years that I have travelled the world on your Serenity's service.
Madrid, 7th January 1588 [m.v.].
Jan. 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 798. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
On the night of the 4th the Queen Mother was seized with violent fever; the doctors visited her in the morning and discovered inflammation of the lungs; to this was added a stroke of apoplexy and she died on the 5th, after confessing and receiving the sacrament and extreme unction with contrition and piety, so that her death causes deep grief to all, but also consolation from the hope that she is now in glory.
Vendome, 6th January 1588 [m.v.].
Jan. 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 799. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I have been in this city three days along with the Ambassadors of England, Savoy, and Ferrara.
The Spanish Ambassador has not arrived, and has given it to be understood that he will not take up his abode in this city because it belongs to the King of Navarre, although the King of France is in possession. His Most Christian Majesty has sent an answer to the Spaniard that if Vendome does not suit him he may go to Spain. He has applied for a passport for Havre de Grace, where one of the Spanish galleasses is lying, and if he receives instructions to return to Spain, he will sail in her.
Vendome, 6th January 1588 [m.v.].
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 800. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
We hear that Ceuta, a city in Africa belonging to the Grown of Portugal, is going to give itself over to the King of Fez, through the negotiations of the bastard son of Don Antonio, who is in those parts, and of the Queen of England's Ambassador, who has made the King of Fez understand that unless he proves himself an open enemy of Spain he may expect a large and powerful Turkish fleet at any minute to arrive from Constantinople to harry his kingdom, and to seize El Arisch, as the Grand Turk is suspicious of him on account of the continual presents he is receiving from Hassan Pasha, and thinks he will one day hand that port over to the King of Spain. Pray God the news be not true, for it would be very serious. I fear it is, for the Ministers here try to cover it up; some, however, do not absolutely deny it.
Don Alonzo de Bazan and the other sea captains have arrived, and are in daily conference with Don Juan d'Idiaquez. No result is seen, though these gentlemen declare that the King will not fail eventually to send a fleet against England. But it will be no small achievement if even those fifty ships for coast defence are ready by the appointed time. They are urging on the preparations for the fleet of New Spain, so that it may sail at the end of this month if possible. It will consist of thirty sail, and will have three thousand infantry on board. The new Viceroy will sail, and engineers and builders to make forts.
The new Nuncio has broached three subjects, in a very lively fashion, with his Majesty, declaring that his Holiness is determined to settle these questions, but in a proper way. The first point is that the Royal Council of Castille shall not, under whatever pretext, meddle with affairs ecclesiastical; the second, that the ecclesiastical abuses in Sicily shall be reformed; the third, that a ship laden with alum on its way from Civita Vecchia to England shall be released; it was sailing under a passport from the Duke of Parma, and was seized by the Spanish galleys nine months ago at the Straits of Gibraltar; the commandant claims the confiscation of the cargo. This was a point upon which the late Nuncio could never obtain satisfaction. I hear the King has promised to give satisfaction upon all three points.
Madrid, 7th January 1588 [m.v.].
Jan. 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 801. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
At this point I learn that a courier has arrived from Galicia with letters dated the 2nd of this month. Some English ships have arrived in those waters, and had they not been prevented by a fort built at the mouth of the harbour of Santander, they would have sailed in, and without any difficulty would have seized the ships which were being repaired inside the harbour.
Madrid, 7th January 1588 [m.v.].
Jan. 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 802. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Giovanni Steffano Ferrari has at last received orders to set out for Milan. Thence by Venice and Ragusa to Constantinople to treat for a truce. The Republic is to be included. He asked me not to speak of this on account of the Emperor and of France, but more particularly of England. In Venice he will lodge with my brother, Messer Paulo.
Madrid, 9th January 1588 [m.v.].
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 13 Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 803. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Spanish Ambassador has been in Blois up to yesterday without being able to obtain a passport for Havre de Grace. He has removed to a place about one league from Blois, not a very comfortable place.
Vendome, 13th January 1588 [m.v.]
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 804. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
When the King heard of the death of the Guise, he stood for a space with his eyes on the grounds, musing; then he said “This is a matter for the Pope.”
Giovanni Steffano Ferrari has left secretly for Ragusa and Constantinople.
The Cortes, seeing preparations for war are dying down, are now raising difficulties about granting moneys. Many officers and men from the Armada are arriving here with claims for payment and gratifications. The King has published an order that all are to go back to the Armada under severe penalties, a step which they very unwillingly take.
Madrid, 15th January 1588 [m.v.].
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 805. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
I was very suspicious that some secret resolution was under discussion here. The attitude of the Ministers and the knowledge that extraordinary meetings of the Council of State were held every night in the house of Don Cristoforo de Mora, awakened this doubt, and it was confirmed by the fact that on the 15th the King sent out despatches to all his agents. Accordingly I made use of those means which are now common everywhere, and found out, under promise of profound secrecy, that his Majesty as long as the Guise were alive was assured that the King of France could take no steps as regards the Marquisate of Saluzzo. Now that they are dead his Majesty must make use of other means to keep the French out of Italy. The Spanish are now resolved to stick at nothing to prevent the Duke of Savoy from restoring Saluzzo, for they consider that to expel the French from Italy will countervail the loss they have suffered in the Armada; and also that the imperative need to follow this policy and to secure the position of Spain and the King's son-in-law, the Duke of Savoy, will serve to cloak the shame of not facing another attack on England, an undertaking which they now recognise to be of the greatest difficulty and danger. This summer then they would act merely on the defensive, and if the Queen of England would only leave them in peace they would not readily think of harrassing her; but it is impossible that she should not make herself felt in order to cause the King as much annoyance in as many quarters as she is able. This she can do all the more efficaciously if these two great Kings of Spain and of France should come to an open rupture.
Madrid, 18th January 1588 [m.v,].
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 806. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The death of the Guise, the risings in Paris, the death of the Queen Mother, if it is true, will all prevent the King of France from attacking Savoy.
Orders have been sent to Seville that the fleet of New Spain is not to sail till further instructions are received from the King, as they are afraid that Drake may go to that part.
Madrid, 20th January 1588 [m.v.].
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 807. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
M. de Bernet, Governor of Boulogne, has been killed in his bed by one of his servants, who is said to have had part in a design to hand that place over to the house of Guise. Persons of weight are strongly persuaded that the servant was really in the pay of Spain, to whom that port would be of the highest value in an expedition against England.
Vendome, 26th January 1588 [m.v.].
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 30. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 808. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The night of the 23rd of this month the King was attacked by fever; between cold and hot fits it lasted perhaps ten hours. The two nights following it returned again, but lighter. For the last three days he is free of it. He has the gout in one knee and a good deal of pain. The doctors have purged him, for fear lest the fever should return which would have been a very serious matter as his Majesty is very feeble and worn in body and in mind; and the doctors are anxious as he is entering on his sixty-third year, a period considered to be very dangerous. From Lisbon they say that forty English ships are out, divided into various squadrons of eight and ten ships each. They are doing much mischief, and it is feared that they will all unite under Drake and make an attempt first on Portugal, where it is conjectured that they have secret relations, and then will go to the Azores and finally to the Indies. The fifty guard ships are being hurried on. The command will be given to Don Alonzo de Bazan. But it is thought that two months must still elapse before they can be ready; and then one does not see what they can do against such light ships as the enemy's. The grandees are ordered to hold themselves ready with all their following to march either into Portugal or towards Navarre, as it is thought likely that if the King of France makes peace with the Huguenots the King of Navarre may make an incursion into Spain from that quarter while the Queen of England attacks from the other. The Venetian ships in port at Lisbon dare not put to sea for fear of these English pirates.
The Ministry of the Royal Revenue has raised a loan of two and a half millions in gold for Flanders and Italy from Agostino Spinola the Genoese, called Ricco.
Madrid, 30th January 1588 [m.v.].
Jan. 30. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 809. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Contradicts the news of the murder of the Governor of Boulogne. The Queen Mother's funeral ordered for Wednesday.
Vendome, 30th January 1588 [m.v.].