Venice: August 1583

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 1583', 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 21 July 2024].

'Venice: August 1583', 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 21, 2024,

"Venice: August 1583". 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. 21 July 2024.

August 1583

Aug. 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives 152. Matheo Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
On the 19th of last month the Marquis of Santa Cruz had not yet left Saint Michel's owing to bad weather. Two or three French ships are cruising round and damaging the fleet if they meet any ship isolated. The issue must be doubtful, as all depends on the weather.
Madrid, 6th August 1583.
Aug. 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 153. Matheo Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
There is no news from the Azores. People are divided between hopes and fears.
Madrid, 15th August 1583.
Aug. 17. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 154. Hieronimo Lippomano, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The Queen of England, ill satisfied with the Emperor's answer to the question of the Maritime States deferring the resolution of the matter, has written a very haughty letter, in which she claims that if any German have a complaint against her customs he must submit the case, to the English Courts, which is quite against the terms of her treaty in which these questions are referred to the Imperial Chamber.
Vienna, 17th August 1583.
Aug. 19. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 155. Giovanni Moro, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The King having conceived a suspicion that the Queen of Navarre was leading a life more licentious than became an honest woman, caused a long report of her proceedings to he presented. He desired her to return to her husband. This she always professed herself ready to do, but always found some excuse such as health, or want of money, for putting off her departure. Meantime she gave birth to a son; now supposed to be dead. The King informed her husband; and ordered the Queen to retire. She hoped to delay, but the King gave positive orders that she was to start the next morning and sent the Archbishop of Anjou and Charles Birago to accompany her. She endeavoured to secure an audience, but the King refused to see her, they say because he feared that he would act towards her in a way unworthy of the King of France, however much she might deserve it. So she was obliged to depart on the 9th of this month. Two days later, while on her journey, her litter was surrounded by armed men, who proceeded to make a close examination of everything and searched the ladies in waiting in the hope of finding certain prisoners; they wished to secure her doctor as well; but they found neither one nor the other, for the ladies, suspecting a search of this kind had gone on ahead, and the doctor hid himself in the box of a carriage, they arrested a groom only. The Queen, believing that they had been sent by the King to kill her, uncovered her face, and all disturbed cried out to them, “Slay me, slay me,” but presently plucking up her courage, she with haughty words chid them for their insolence to her, a daughter of France and sole sister of the King. The day following they continued in pursuit of her ladies; they were two in number, one married called Madame de Durrs (Duras), the other maid of the chamber called Madelle Bethune, both of them her intimates, who led not merely free but dissolute lives. The birth of the child is true. It was sent to nurse at a castle three leagues from here. The real reasons why she did not leave sooner were first that she was with child, and secondly, that she was violently in love with a young and handsome gentleman, (fn. 1) at one time a favourite of Monsieur the King's brother, and perhaps seen and known by her at that time. The King sent to arrest him, but he is supposed to have fled. The King, they say, was informed of the whole story by the Duke of Epernon, who was ill-pleased with the Queen, because she had frequently spoken slightingly of him. They believe that if the Queen can resist the first attack of her husband she will succeed in clearing herself, and in attributing all to the malignity of the King's favourites.
Paris, 19th August 1583.
[Italian; the part it italics deciphered.]
Aug. 19. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 156. Giovanni Moro, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The King of Scotland to free himself from the hands of those that keep him almost in bondage, took to flight one day when out hunting, and being mounted on a good horse he reached a castle that held for him. The Queen of England is known to support the party hostile to the King, with a view to disposing of the kingdom as she desires.
Paris, 19th August 1583.
Aug 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 157. Matheo Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Three days ago, by way of Rochelle, comes news that Santa Cruz has disembarked in force and is making himself master of the island. But the news was not believed as it came from such a suspicious source. Yesterday evening came a Secretary of the Marquis with the desired news that he held the port and chief town, and almost the island. The enterprise was truly in the hand of God, who sent a calm. The French garrison withdrew to the mountains, where they cannot maintain themselves for long. The victory was won on the 26th July, Saint Anne's day; the same day as the great naval victory of last year. This will oblige the King to build a church to that Saint.
Madrid, 21st August 1583.
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 158. Report made by the Secretary of the Marquis of Santa Cruz, who arrived in Madrid on August 20, 1583.
The fleet left Saint Michel's on the 20th July. On the 21st and 22nd the wind was contrary; and so it did not sight the Azores before the 23rd. The weather then was most favourable, there being a great calm. The 25th and 28th were spent in reconnoitring, and on that latter day the resolution was formed of entering the island between the forts. The galleys did their work, by putting the landing stages (sproni) on shore. The troops disembarked and attacked the enemy with great valour. They took the trenches with a loss of twenty killed and many wounded. The next day, in order to secure a water supply, they gave battle. The enemy was routed with a loss of 300 French and 20 of ours, and the fleet remained in the port, and the army in the city of Angra, where the Marquis was lodged in the house of Donna Violante de Silva, who, along with Emanuel de Silva and Chiartres, the commander of the French, fled to the mountains, with some people who followed them, as they did not accept the pardon which had been offered to them on his Majesty's behalf. All this is confirmed by letters from the Marquis. The Secretary said that he was detained by bad weather from starting at once; and saw the French give battle by driving towards the Spaniards herds of bulls and cows tied together, and thoroughly maddened. But the Spaniards were aware of the stratagem, which the natives had employed against Valdes. two years ago successfully; they opened their ranks and let the cattle pass through, then closing up again they attacked the French, of whom eight hundred were killed and the rest put to flight. These withdrew to the mountains leaving the country in the hands of the Spanish. This report was only verbal and therefore to be accepted with reserve.
Aug. 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 159. Giovanni Moro, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Ottavian Gornaro, son of Sig Carlo. who left Venice with me, desiring to see the world, has gone into England. His amiable qualities open the road for him, and the Queen of England has been especially gracious to him, and during his three months' visit frequently talking intimately with him. The Queen complained to Cornaro that the Republic was not as cordial to her as formerly, and her last words to him were, “I have always heard that Venice was a city founded in the sea, but now I rather think it to be foundered in the river of oblivion.” (Che haveva ella sempre inteso che la città di Vinetia era fondata nell'acque, ma che hora lo pareva di poter dire che si fosse affondata nel fiume lethe. He has also brought with him a concession granted by the Queen to certain merchants. He thought it of interest commercially; and I agree with him. I remember to have seen a similar concession granted to Accerbo Velutelli a Luccan, some years ago, which was considered so important that the Senate took action thereon, in the year eighty.
Paris, 26th August 1583.
April 5. Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 160. Proclamation by Queen Elizabeth. (fn. 2)
Elizabeth by the Grace of God, &c. To the Treasurer and Lords of our Exchequer, to all high sheriffs, bailiffs, constable, customs officers, collectors, controllers, searchers, and guards of the ports shores and channels of this our kingdom of England; to all our officers, ministers, and subjects, and to all into whose hands this may come, greeting:
We have been clearly informed how some few years ago, our well-beloved and natural subjects, Thomas Gordell, Edward Helmeden, Paul Ronning, Richard Glascock, Robert Sadler, William Garraway, Henry Anderson, Andrew Raning, Edward Lecland, Henry Farington, Edward Sadler, Thomas Darobins, Richard Dusell, and Thomas Trorote, all London merchants, at great cost fitted out several good ships, and have trafficked and still traffic in merchandise of our kingdom with Venice, Zante, Candia, and Cephalonia, and other territory of the Venetians; and maintain and have maintained the said ships, and import many excellent goods into the kingdom to the general profit. Which commerce until taken up by these men was entirely in the hands of strangers, and less useful to our state:
Wherefore having regard to the support of our subjects, the increase of our ships and sea, the better service, fortification, and defence of this our kingdom, we, of our special grace have granted and conceded to our well-beloved subjects, Thomas Cordell, &c these special privileges, liberties, benefits, and advantages as follows:—
They and they only shall for the next six years enjoy the trade by sea with Venice and Venetian dominions.
They and they only shall have and enjoy during these six years the freedom of that traffic, not only in currants, oils of Greece, and wines of Crete, but in every other kind of merchandise. For the better ordering of their affairs, Thomas Cordell, &c. shall, during this period of six years, enjoy full right to meet anywhere within the city of London, for the establishment, alteration, or cancelling of byelaws in such way as to them or the majority of them may seem fitting, provided they be not contrary to the law of England. All our other subjects, except Thomas Cordell, &c. are strictly forbidden to trade with Venice during these six years.
We hear that the Venetian Government has raised the duties on goods from England, which threaten to ruin the trade of this Company and to deter others from similar enterprises. To remedy this we forbid any other than Thomas Cordell, &c. to import into England during the next six years, currants (picciole frutte comunemente chiamate Corinti), sweet oil of Greece, and wine of Crete, except on permission from Thomas Cordell, &c. on pain of confiscation of the goods, half of which shall go to the Crown and half to the Company.
But should our subjects be recompensed for the extra duties which they have already paid and for the future be relieved from such duties, by the Government of Venice, then, on the payment of such recompense and on the guarantee of discharge for the future, the preceding clause shall be abolished as far as Venice is concerned, but shall come into force again should Venice reimpose the duties. Custom House officers are to refuse to pass currants, oil of Greece, and wine of Crete, except in the name of the Company.
The Company may call on the Exchequer to issue orders as above to any port of the kingdom that they choose.
These letters can be recalled upon a requisition signed by six Privy Councillors declaring them to be injurious to the commonweal. But the Company is entitled to two years grace.
Richmond, 5th April 1583.
Aug. 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 161. Matheo Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The fleet at the Azores has captured twelve of the enemies ships which were in the harbour. The French and many peasants fled to the mountains, where they had small hope of defending themselves; and, as a fact, on the 28th they surrendered. The Marquis granted a free pardon to the French, and embarked 1,500 of them, without firearms, for Biscaglia, whence they can go home. Four officers including the Colonel remained as hostages.
The Marquis also pardoned the islanders. But Emanuel de Silva and perhaps 14 Portuguese were executed; and Donna Violante, who we may say kept up the rebellion, is a prisoner and will be sent to Spain. Some of the neighbouring isles wished to resist; but, on learning the capture of Azores, they surrendered. The Marquis is settling the Government of the islands, and intends to leave on the 17th of this month.
The Peruvian fleet is on its way, they say with more than eleven millions in gold and silver and three millions in other goods,
Madrid, 29th August 1583.


  • 1. Harlay de Chanvallon. See Memoirs of Marguerite de Valois, edit. Violet Fane, London, 1892, p.p. 27–29.
  • 2. See Calendar of State Papers, Domestic, 1581–1590, p 105.