Venice: September 1593

Pages 103-107

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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September 1593

Sept 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 213. Matheo Zane, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
There is news from Sinan Pasha that as he was obliged to leave Adrianople on account of the riotous conduct of his troops towards the townspeople, so he has been obliged to leave Sofia, on account of the defect in provisions. Sinan Pasha has had a relapse that is more serious than the first illness. The Sultan has given orders that Ferrad Pasha should hold himself in readiness in case Sinan should die. In that case Sciavus Pasha would assume the post of Grand Vizir. When the last consignment of lanterns for the kiosk arrived, Sciavus said he would like to keep one or two, as his Majesty could not require them all, and that when they were ordered he had in view a particular Mosque of his own. I replied that the attendants at the kiosk were the same now as when the lanterns were ordered and that they were perfectly aware of the exact number.
The Sultan is in a furious rage on account of the escape of the prisoners from the Tower of the Black Sea. The governor of the Castle has been put to death, and a Sanjakale offered to any one who gives information on the subject. A general Inquisition has been ordered on all Perottes and Franks, and as is usual with the Turks it will be badly arranged and highly dangerous.
The English Ambassador being questioned by the Grand Vizir on this subject was the object of violent threatening language; so much so that his Dragoman fled in terror lest he should be arrested; and the Ambassador himself on his departure felt the same alarm and appealed to the Sultan. With the help of a negro, a familiar of his Majesty, the Ambassador handed in his petition at the kiosk in person, from a boat, a thing which no one ever remembers to have been done by a public personage before. The Ambassador received a favourable answer, promising that he should not be molested. The Grand Vizir, however, also presented a note in which he accused the Ambassador of disobedience, in that he refused to surrender his barber who was in the habit of frequenting the Tower of the Black Sea, and begged the Sultan to recall his original orders. The Ambassador, who was in ignorance of this note, called on the Grand Vizir to offer explanations and to secure his good will, relying on the promise of the Sultan that no ill should befall him. The Grand Vizir, however, caused the Ambassador to be arrested by a cavass and told him to surrender the barber or he himself would be imprisoned. There being no remedy for the insult, the Ambassador was forced to send for the barber, and on his arrival after a few hours, the Ambassador was set at liberty. He at once had recourse to his usual methods, and went to the chief eunuch; but as yet he has not been able to obtain the liberation of his man, who would have been cruelly tortured by this time had not the feast of Bairam been so near. It is possible that the Ambassador may succeed in arranging matters if he uses the argument that the prisoners who fled were Italians and the subjects of the King of Spain, who is at war with his mistress, and that therefore no suspicion can lie against the English.
The French Ambassador also has been subjected to the Inquiry along with some of his household. The Pasha behaved very quietly and accepted the true and simple demonstration of innocence which the Ambassador offered.
After England and France this Embassy came under review. It has always been calumniated as the asylum of fugitive slaves (L'Ambasciatore d'Inghilterra dimandato dot Bassà per questo fu malissimo trattato di parole minatorie et injuriose che trapassaronoogni termine, in tanto che il suo Dragomano fuggì per tema di retentione; et L'Ambasciatore, partito che fu di là, dubitò del medesimo, et fece arz al Rè et con intelligenza di un Negro, familiar di sua Maestà, glielo porse lui stesso al Chiosco, stando in una barchetta, cosa mai più non veduta da persone publiche; et riportò risposta favorevole che non fusse molestato. Ma il Bassa all' incontro fece arz, accusando l'Ambasciatore di disubedienza, che non gli volesse dare un suo Barbiero solito praticare nelle Torre, dove fu pressa sua Maestà a rivocare il primo ordine. Et non lo sapendo, l'Ambasciatore, fù egli dal Bassà per dargli sodisfattione di parole et per captar la sua benevolenza, fatto sicuro delta risposta del signor che non gli succederebbe male; il Bassà, lo fece trattenere di Chiaussi nel suo Divano, dicendo che gli desse in mano il Barbiero o che restasse lui pregione; ne potendo lui remediar allo affronto, con-venne mandar per il detto Barbiero, che quando fù gionto dopo alquante hore, l'Ambasciatore fù libero; et ricorse subbito alli soliti suo mezi, et and ò in persona dal Capiagà, ma sin hora non ha pottuto ottener la liberatione del suo huomo, che gia sarebbe stato crudelmente tormentato se le feste del Bairan non fussero state cosi vicine. Et potrà esser ancora che vi giovi qualche rimedio, valendosi di questa ragione che le prigioni Italiani sono, sudditi dipendenti dal Re di Spagna con il quale la sua patrona professa inimicitia et che in lui non poteva cader alcun sospetto.
L'Ambasciatore di Franza è stato anche lui dimandato con alcuni de suoi nominati d'uno in uno, et il Bassà si portò assai modestamente, accettando la vera et ingenua discolpa che dava di se l'Ambasciatore.
Dopo li sodetti venne in consideratione questa casa, diffamata gia tanti anni di dar ricetto et scampo a Schiavi).
But thank God no reasonable suspicion can lie here. Although I hear that an officer has been sent to the Dardanelles to detain the ships “Liona” and “Silvestra” and to search them.
Messer Pasqualino Leoni is known to have had dealings at the Tower of the Black Sea about a slave. In consequence he would certainly have fared badly had he not secured the protection of the Chief Eunuch, and others. He waited on Ferrad Pasha, in company with Steffano, our Dragoman, who said in my name that of my own free will I sent him Messer Leoni to clear himself of any suspicion. The Pasha wanted to hand him over to a Cavass, but at length accepted Steffano's bail that he would appear before the Gadi of Pera.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 6th September 1593.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Sept. 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 214. Francesco Vendramin, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
His Majesty is resolved to erect a fort on one of the Azores, to protect a harbour. An engineer has already been sent out for the purpose. A large squadron of English was reported off Corvo, but subsequently returned; so that it is said that there is not an English ship in those seas.
Madrid, 8th September 1593.
Sept. 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 215. Polo Paruta, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Pope is very anxious about the affairs of France. He sees that he will be obliged to accept the King of Navarre. He is afraid that Navarre, once established in his kingdom, will begin to plot with the Queen of England against Christendom.
Rome, 11th September 1593.
Sept. 14 Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 216. Giacomo Vendramin, Secretary to the Venetian Embassy in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The Queen of England, hearing that the King of Navarre has become a Catholic and has made a truce with the League, has recalled her troops from Brittany.
Prague, 14th September 1593.
Sept. 19. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 217. Matheo Zane, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Some heads have been sent from the army to the Divan; they look more like pirates (Martelossi (fn. 1) ) than anything else.
Signor Carlo Cicala never leaves the house. It does not seem that he has any other business than his own private affairs, in which it is said he will not succeed, for his brother the Capudan will not support him.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 19th September 1593.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Sept. 19. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 218. Matheo Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Messer Pasqualin Leoni, after an inquiry as to whether he received letters from and sent letters to the Tower of the Black Sea, has been set at liberty. The Barber of the English Ambassador and the Ambassador himself were subjected to the same inquiry, and would have fared badly had not the ship bringing the Queen's presents to the Sultan and the Porte reached Gallipoli at this juncture. There are rumours that the King of Spain is in bad health, and that three of his kingdoms are in revolt. This leads the Ambassadors of France and England to urge the despatch of a fleet.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 19th September 1593.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Sept. 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 219. Francesco Vendramin, Venetian ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
An Agent of the Duke of Mayenne has arrived here with letters in which the said Duke excuses his conduct in the matter of the election of the Duke of Guise as King. He says that as he saw no army adequate to support Guise on the throne against the forces of his foes, he was obliged to suspend his action on the point; but as soon as he saw Spanish arms across the French frontier, and was assured that the Duke of Guise would receive the Infanta in marriage, not only would he willingly assent to his proclamation as Sovereign, but would be the first to do homage to his nephew as King of France.
Madrid, 26th September 1593.
[Italian; deciphered.]


  • 1. Turkish pirates of the Dalmatian frontier. See yon Hammer, op. cit. lib. xi.