Venice: April 1581

Pages 9-10

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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April 1581

April 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 19. Lorenzo Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
A Portuguese gentleman came here a few days ago, he calls himself Constable of Portugal. He says that the Indies have not yet declared for the Catholic King, and will not do so till they have further news of Don Antonio. In Portugal there is an universal disposition to rise against Spain. Strozzi goes frequently to Tours to speak with the Portuguese gentlemen there. They say Don Antonio is in France, but will not disclose himself till he has come to an understanding with the King or with Monsieur in order to have a safe place of retreat.
The Ambassadors of his Majesty and of Monsieur have arrived at Calais, whence they write that they have advices from England stating that the Queen, believing or pretending to believe that they were still at Paris, desired them to delay their departure for a few days, in order that they might find matters made smoother for the conclusion of their mission. The Ministers here interpret this as a sign that the Queen is little disposed to the match, and that it was with this intention that she requested so numerous an Embassy, not thinking that it could be got together so quickly. They say that although this match does not present so many difficulties from the Queen's point of view as it does from Monsieur's, still there are some serious obstacles, for the Queen would be called on to go to great expense and to embark on an important war to support Monsieur in Flanders. Further her present Ministers cannot be sure of what would happen after her marriage.
In Bles (Blois), 1st April 1581.
April 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 20. Lorenzo Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Abbé del Bene has not yet left for Italy. The cause of this delay is perhaps in no small degree due to the fact that the Ambassadors sent to England are still at Calais, waiting orders from the Queen. The Queen is supposed to have changed her mind. These Princes have always been so covert in their actions that one never knows either the truth or what to believe, (sono stati sempre questi prencipi tanto simulati nelle loro attioni, che ne si è mai saputo con verità ne si sa quello che credere). Strozzi has gone to Bordeaux, where, he says, Don Antonio is to arrive.
In Bles (Blois), 7th April 1581.
April 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 21. Lorenzo Priuli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassadors to England passed over on the 15th inst. The Queen sent two of her ships to convey them, and made ready on the shore horses and carriages to take them to London, where they will be most honourably lodged. We are now waiting news of their business, though as I hear, the Queen's Ambassadors cannot conclude the affair very quickly; a general conference is announced for the 25th. The Ambassadors of his Majesty resident in England, and Marchaumont, secretary to Monsieur, who preceded this Embassy, say that the Queen is more than ever resolved on the match, and so we may expect soon to see the end of this long and dubious business.
Filippo Strozzi returned to Court six days ago, after conducting to Tours, Don Francesco of Portugal, Conte de Vimiosa, who calls himself Constable of Portugal, and was Lieutenant-General of Don Antonio. He was lodged in the castle, and shortly after was brought to Court. To-day he has had audience of their Majesties; he is honoured and caressed and these French captains follow him like mad men (questi Capitani Francesi li corrono dietro come pazzi) and offer their services to Don Antonio. It is very doubtful whether Don Antonio is really in France.
There is news from Scotland on the subject of the King's religion, very different from what one expected. For he has recently published a confession of faith in which the majority of the articles of the Roman Catholic belief are denied. The news of the Earl of Morton's death is contradicted. He is alive, but a prisoner.
In Bles (Blois), 21st April 1581.