Venice: January 1592

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Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 9, 1592-1603. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1897.

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January 1592

Jan. 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The King is again under Rouen, having received two thousand English and twenty ships which the Queen of England has sent him for the purposes of this siege. They have passed Havre, and with the first tide they will take up a position between the two fortresses, so as to prevent any succour from reaching the beleaguered.
Chartres, 1st January 1591 [m.v.].
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 2. Matheo Zane. Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The necessity of providing horses in Sophia, and the conviction that the intense cold would put an end to the plague, induced me to stop there, and I was thus enabled to pass Christmas in the way I wished.
I visited the Beglierbey of Greece (i.e. Roumelia), whose residence is in Sophia. He lives in great splendour. I was conducted to the audience by a number of chavasses, and was received in a grave though gracious manner.
This visit to the Beglierbey is not usually made by your Serenity's representatives, nor is it customary for them to receive the present of a horse as I did. But I believe that his Magnificence acted thus in order not to make any difference between me and an Ambassador Extraordinary from the Emperor who passed through some days ago.
By the middle of this month I hope, please God, to be in Constantinople.
Mustafa Pasha, 3rd January 1591 [m.v.].
Jan. 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 3. Tomaso Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Don Alonzo de Bazan, Captain General of the Ocean, has been summoned to Court to consult upon the combination of a sufficient number of ships to keep the sea clear of pirates and to protect the Indiamen from the attacks of the English. The delays which attend the sailing of the Indian fleet cause notable disturbance in the financial world; and the Genoese have let it be known that unless that fleet comes safe to hand, they will not be able to negotiate any loan with his Majesty. Ambrogio Spinola, who is usually charged with such negotiations, answered that no promises would be kept unless the Indian silver arrived.
In Sicily they are very much afraid of the Turkish fleet, which is expected to take the sea in force when spring comes. The people of Sicily are so discontented on account of the famine, and the nobles because their privileges are violated, that a revolution is not impossible, should a hostile fleet approach the island.
The Grand Master of the Knights of Malta, in alarm at the prospect of a Turkish attack, has written to implore assistance.
Madrid, 4th January 1591 [m.v.].
[Italian; deciphered]
Jan. 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 4. Lorenzo Bernardo, retiring Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
I have received three sets of despatches, two forwarded from Adrianople by my successor. The third reached me by the ordinary post from Cattaro.
My successor is quite close, and has so arranged his journey that he will be at Sweet Waters on Tuesday, and will make his entry on Wednesday, the 15th.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 11th January 1591 [m.v.].
Jan. 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 5. Lorenzo Bernardo, retiring Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The Turks are expecting trouble in Persia, and have abandoned all idea of operations, either by sea or land, until the upshot is clear. I know that the Grand Vizir, speaking to some one who, on behalf of the English Ambassador, was urging him to send out a number of galleys to support the Queen of England and to annoy Spain, said that this was not the moment to think of fresh undertakings, but rather to observe the action of the Persians. There is nothing going on in the Arsenal.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 11th January 1591 [m.v.].
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 6. Tomaso Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Spanish fleet cruising off Cape St. Vincent sighted some fifteen or twenty sail, which were taken to be the Indian fleet; but, on sending two ships to reconoitre, they turned out to be English. The English sank the galleon and captured the other Spaniard.
In Brittany, too, the Spanish ships have been forced to retire before the English.
Madrid, 12th January 1591 [m.v.].
Jan. 14. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 7. Giovanni Dolfin, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The news from Flanders is that the Duke of Parma is detained at Landrecies (Landresi) by the gout.
A Flemish merchant has news from Brussels that the King of Navarre went to England on the eleventh of last month, with a suite of twenty persons, and came back to Dieppe on the twenty-fourth.
Prague, 14th January 1592.
Jan. 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 8. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Seeing that the siege of Rouen was making small progress by bombardment and that the King was not employing all his troops, some people have been induced to believe that he did not intend to persevere in it. But after having carefully reconnoitred the ground more than once, he one night ordered three hundred French, three hundred English, and three hundred Germans to scale the walls. They easily made themselves masters of the out works. The English were the first to scale the walls, and at the point of the sword they penetrated the guard-house of the enemy. His Majesty, in recognition of this act of valour, bestowed upon the English the custody of that position. The following night the position was recaptured, in spite of the courage shown by the English, who did all that became brave and experienced soldiers. The misfortune was attributed to the faulty construction of the defences, which, being made of barrels, were easily fired and burned. While the Earl of Essex (Conte lines) (fn. 1) and the English, in great distress for their honour's sake, were hoping that they might be charged to recover the position, the King sent the Baron de Biron with two regiments, who succeeded in recapturing the place, and the Baron is in it now, very strongly protected by gabbions covered with earth. It is now hoped that the King will be able to take possession of a manchette which used to allow succours to be carried into the old fort.
The King is massing his troops.
Chartres, 15th January 1592 [m.v.].
Jan. 17. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 9. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate. The earnestness with which the Spanish devote them selves to the war is such, that they leave no stone unturned to frustrate his Majesty's plans. He rests all his hopes upon the siege of Rouen. In order to hamper him the King of Spain has commanded the Duke of Parma to enter France, even if that should expose Flanders to some clanger. In like manner, the Duke of Mercœur has abandoned his campaign in Brittany, and with two thousand Spanish and the same number of French, he has marched into Anjou, with the intention of laying siege to Pont de Cé, a stronghold on the Loire, and important for the passage into Poitu. His Majesty, accordingly, has ordered the Prince de Condé to effect a junction with the Prince d'Umbes, (? Amboise), and to oppose the foreign troops in those ports The Duke of Parma has effected a junction with the Princes of the League, and has probably twenty-five thousand men under him. It is supposed that his Majesty, at least with his cavalry, will move towards them in order to keep the enemy as far away from Rouen as possible.
There has been some difference between the Duke of Nevers and his Majesty, but all has been easily accommodated when the King, with that gracious manner of his, came to treat with Nevers face to face.
Chartres, 17th January 1591 [m.v.].
Jan. 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 10. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
As soon as his Majesty heard that the Duke of Parma was in France, he resolved not to raise the siege of Rouen. He left the English, Swiss, and Germans under the command of the Duke of Monpensier who is assisting the Marshal de Biron and the Baron, his son. The King himself with seven thousand cavalry and some picked regiments of infantry marched to meet the Duke of Parma. His Majesty will be still further reinforced; and there are many speculations as to the plan of campaign which his Majesty will adopt; the common opinion is that the King, who will have a flying squadron of cavalry far superior to that of the enemy, will do all that in him lies to attack the Duke of Parma should that commander threaten a move upon Rouen; or should the Duke attempt to form a permanent camp and thus to wear out the King, his Majesty will be able to break it up by cutting off the Duke's supplies and fodder. Commissioners are here gathering provisions and as the whole country is devastated by the soldiery, this will probably increase the ordinary scarcity of provisions. I feel my share of these troubles which I have suffered for so long in this wretched country, and this induces me to humbly beg that you will take into consideration the question of my recall, in order that in addition to my other misfortunes I may not also be deprived of my native land, and of that natural pleasure which every one feels by the sacred hearth of his own house, the most precious boon a man may enjoy in this world.
Chartres, 18th January 1591 [m.v.].
Jan. 21. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 11. Giovanni Dolfin, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The Fuggers write to the Emperor that the Duke of Parma was stationary in Guise, and was negotiating with the Duke of Mayenue for the cession to him of Guise, Peronne, la Fère and Laon. He gives it to be understood that he has orders from Spain to advance no further till these are conceded to him. The Duke intends to lay siege to St. Quintin, being afraid to leave it unoccupied in his rear.
Prague, 21st January 1592.
Jan. 24. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 12. Lorenzo Bernardo and Matheo Zane, Venetian Ambassadors in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador Zane made his entry on the 15th. We have paid the usual visits. The Sultan's secretary, a prudent and estimable man, with whom the English Ambassador takes council in all his affairs, spoke long about the Pope, Spain, and France.
It is clear, from general conversation, that the English Ambassador has roused such suspicion of Spain that the Ministers will oppose the truce. He goes about saying that Marigliani will arrive with great sums of gold and jewels in order to bribe the Sultan and his Ministers ; in this way he lowers the credit of the King of Spain, and at the same time he fills the minds of these Ministers with expectations of Spanish gold which, if not fulfilled, will damage Marigliani's position.
Dalle Vigue di Pera, 24th January 1591 [m.v.].
[Italian; deciphered.]
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 13. Memorial presented by the English Ambassador to the Sultana, wife of the Grand Signor.
Most puissant Empress! in all humility I inform your Highness that my Queen and I are well aware of your benignity, for which I render infinite thanks to your Majesty, and I promise, in the Queen's name and my own, all gratitude which shall be made manifest on the first occasion, God willing.
I would now inform you of this which, seeing that it represents my Queen's intentions, is of the highest moment. I waited on the Mufti and the Capudan Pasha, and after setting everything before them they advised me to draft a memorial and bring it to them, and they would present it to the Sultan, and use all their influence in support of it. I did so, but up to the present moment I have received no answer from them. I pray your Highness to deign to intercede with the Sultan that he may ask for my memorial from those Ministers, or at least their opinion thereon.
Furthermore, most puissant Lady, I have recently learned that certain galleys of Spain have touched at Rhodes and have seized a galley belonging to the Sultan, which was bringing back from Egypt the wife of Oweis Pasha, and all that Pasha's belongings, and some chavasses of the Grand Signor. The whole of this has been carried off to Spain. This was an act verily worthy of Spanish peace and alliance, to effect which a Spanish Ambassador is on his way, but whether he comes in friendship or in fear I know not. However, in face of this act of friendship I trust that your Highness will warmly support the interests of my Queen. She is a woman, and yet has fought and harassed for a long time this mighty Sovereign. Worthy therefore is she that his Majesty's power should be displayed in her favour. I implore your Highness to show your benignity towards my Queen, and now is the time to do it; and I would pray you, as you please, to make use of Mehemet Aga to lay the matter before the Sultan.
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 14. Memorial presented by the English Ambassador to the Sultan.
I have explained to your Majesty all the events relating to Spain; how my Queen made war on that mighty enemy of the blessed Porte, mighty by sea and by land, but most mighty in the possession of Flanders, a rich and fertile kingdom lying hard by England. The King of Spain saw that the Queen would very likely take that kingdom from him, and thus prevent him making war on France; accordingly he has resolved to marry his daughter to the Emperor and to give her Flanders as dowry on condition that the Emperor, at his own charges, shall recover and hold that kingdom, and drive out the Queen. His object is to relieve himself of the burden of the war in Flanders so as to have his hands free for the war in France; and if he is free of Flanders very likely he will make himself master of France. Moveover, he has arranged that the Emperor shall give his daughter to the King of Poland.
All the Princes of Spain and Italy are in conspiracy against my Queen. God grant their designs succeed not. The only power they fear is your Majesty. Therefore a Spanish Ambassador is on his way to beg peace from the Porte, and thus, when that fear is removed, the King of Spain will be able to proceed to the conquest of France and will add it to his empire.
He acted in a similar way some years ago, when he obtained a three years' peace from you and seized Portugal and the Indies.
Your Majesty has frequently given your promise of help, let your Majesty now fulfil those promises in a manner so resolute that I may be justified in reporting to my Queen. It does not become your Majesty to see your allies conquered and overcome by your enemies. The kingdom of France has ever been a close ally of the Porte, do not allow it to be crushed, nor give such encouragement to your foe.
Jan. 25. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 15. Lorenzo Bernardo and Matheo Zane, Venetian Ambassadors in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
There is some movement in the Arsenal, but it is thought that its object is to alarm the Spanish and to hasten the arrival of Marigliani. The Grand Vizir desires that not merely for the profit which will accrue to him from the arrival of an Ambassador but in order to thwart the Capudan Pasha, who wishes to take the sea, a thing he cannot do if truce with Spain is concluded.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 25th January 1591 [m.v.].
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 28. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 16. Giovanni Dolfin, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The Duke of Parma is still in Guise. The States have sent by sea two thousand men and two shiploads of ammunition to the King of Navarre.
Prague, 28th January 1592.
Jan. 30. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 17. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The King has taken up a position opposite Beauvais, and intends to wait the Duke of Parma. The Duke has reviewed all his troops and those belonging to the Princes of the League. The troops have all been paid, and this removes any doubt that this war is kept alive by the will of Spain. Much gold comes from that country into France.
Chartres, 30th January 1591 [m.v.].
Feb. 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 18. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The King having learned that the Duke of Parma had crossed the Somme with some of his troops, instantly left Gournay, with a view to attacking him; but the Duke withdrew all his troops.
The siege of Rouen continues, but with little progress, owing to the absence of the King.
Chartres, 4th February 1591 [m.v.].
Feb. 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 19. Matheo Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
From the copy of the Sultan's letter to the Queen of England here enclosed, your Serenity will see what are the policy and intentions of the English Ambassador.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 7th February 1591 [m.v.].
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 30. Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 20. Copy of a Letter sent by the Grand Signor to the Queen of England.
Queen Elizabeth thrice glorious and thrice resplendent, first among the first followers of Jesus, and reconciler of the differences between the Nazarenes; heir of the everlasting blessedness and glory of the kingdom of England.
After wishing all success to your operations by these presents, we inform you that your letters have been handed to the happy and blessed. Porte, the home of Princes, the seat of justice. They tell us that for the affection and loyalty which you bear to our happy and blessed person, you have continued the war against the King of Spain; and that, with the consent of Don Antonio, King of Portugal, you have subdued many of the Spanish possessions after various feats of arms, and the spilling of your subjects' blood, and your own treasure for the benefit solely of this our happy Porte.
And, further, you inform us that the said Don Antonio asked assistance from the Prince of Fez, and, as a hostage, left his son in the hands of that sovereign. To please the King of Spain the Prince of Fez has not only refused to help Don Antonio, but has actually kept his son, and refuses to give him up. Don Antonio applied for assistance to us, and the Prince of Fez, to gratify the King of Spain, has arrested all your subjects who were trading in his country. All this our profound and prudent intelligence has grasped, and to meet your wishes we have sent express orders to the Prince of Fez that he is to consign Don Antonio's son to our sublime Porte, and to set your subjects at liberty, giving them freedom to trade You may rest assured that the Prince of Fez, on receipt of those orders, will obey. As soon as Don Antonio's son reaches the Porte, we will, with your knowledge, come to a fitting resolution about him.
Further, the King of Poland having violated the treaties between us, war was declared on him. His country was put to fire and sword, and ruined. He sent Ambassadors to sue for peace, which was refused. But your Ambassador here resident has, in your name, expressed your great desire that peace should be granted to the King of Poland; therefore to satisfy you, we have yielded to your Ambassador's request. You must, accordingly, write and urge him to a full, faithful, and sincere observance of this treaty.
Further, as you have requested permission for the export of corn into France, we have given orders to the Beglierbeys of Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli in Barbary, to take the necessary steps, although by Imperial decree the export of corn is forbidden.
Be assured that as long as you observe the peace with us, each day will give new proofs of our affection; your ships and their merchandise shall come and go freely, and be treated with friendship.
Inform us of all your designs, thoughts, desires; for your friends shall be treated by us as you may wish. Your ships and merchandise shall never be molested.
Constantinople, 30th January 1592.
[Italian; deciphered.]


  • 1. See Martin, Histoire de France, x., 274.