Venice: May 1594

Pages 127-132

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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May 1594

May 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 273. Marco Venier, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
I hear that the Capudan Pasha goes about publicly, saying that news has been brought from Messina that at Venice a great fleet is being fitted out which will join the King of Spain and the Pope and thus the peace may be considered as broken. It seems that it is Signor Carlo Cicala who has spread this rumour of a rupture, as I am informed by the English Ambassador, to whom Cicala had said that an agent of his had brought the news of this league of the Pope, Spain and Venice against the Turk, and for the assistance of Navarre. Public rumour even went so far as to say that I had been shut up in the Embassy, while others said I had fled. To prevent accidents which might arise from this rumour I resolved to show myself publicly, though the city is full of soldiers who seize and rob right and left. And so at the most crowded hour of the day, I waited on the Grand Vizir and lodged a serious protest against the spread of such rumours.
That was on the Vigil of St. Mark's, a day on which the Venetian Ambassador is wont to give a banquet to all the Venetians and to some other people of importance. Accordingly, I invited the Ambassador of France, and also Signor Carlo Cicala; they both accepted. The day following, when going to church in the morning, I saw the galley of the Capudan which had just been launched, to salvoes of artillery that were heard all over Pera. At that moment I was talking to a gentleman who was very intimate with Signor Carlo Cicala, and he told me that Signor Carlo had passed all that night in the arsenal with his brother the Capudan; eating and drinking and sleeping in the same bed. He was also present at the casting of lots to discover the hour most favourable for the launch. The Capudan has frequently told his brother that their house has no enemies in the world like the Venetians. I returned from mass accompanied by various merchants and other guests; and while we were waiting for the Ambassador of France and Signor Carlo, the latter sent a servant to inquire which place he would have at table, as he had no intention of walking after the French Ambassador, whom he did not recognise as an Ambassador, for he was not aware that there was a King in France. I replied that the French Ambassador would have his usual place at the head of the table, but that I would willingly yield my place to Signor Carlo as a guest in my house, and as a public proof of the high esteem in which I held his person. He, however, would not accept my courtesy, but sent to say that he was going to bed; he had been up all night with his brother in the arsenal, and had upset his stomach at supper and required rest.
On another occasion the Capudan Pasha finding himself in the arsenal, seated among a number of seamen and captains, he turned round on them and said with a loud voice, “There are a lot. of spies among you.” They all looked at each other and then, in the midst of a great uproar, some voices were heard to say, “You are the real spy, for you keep your brother here, a Christian and paid subject and spy of the King of Spain.” The Capudan bowed his head and presently withdrew into an inner chamber.
I cannot make out the meaning of this great intimacy between these brothers; but they use the same expressions; for example, the Capudan when speaking of the French Ambassador said he did not recognise him as Ambassador, and was not aware that there was a King in France.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 3rd May 1594.
[Italian; the parts in italics deciphered.]
May 4. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 274. Tomaso Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
By letters from London, of March 11, it is clear that the conspiracy of the Portuguese doctor had its origin in Spain. He was promised fifty thousand crowns. The bills of exchange and their bearer, a Portuguese, are in the hands of the Queen.
Two Irish are accused of being parties to the plot.
Prague, 4th May 1594.
May 4. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 275. Tomaso Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
An Agent of the Queen of England at the Diet promises that the Queen will support the Emperor. Not believed
The Queen is very ill.
Prague, 4th May 1594.
May 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 276. Marco Venier, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
In the case of the heirs of the late Charles Elman, the English Ambassador has submitted himself voluntarily to this court. For myself I should have desired to free myself from this difficulty; for as far as one can see the Ambassador is debtor to the Elmans, having gone surety for the Vaivode of Bogdania, and is now seeking some grounds for avoiding payment. I cannot fail in the administration of justice, and I fear the Ambassador will be little pleased with my action, and that through no fault of mine. In his household is a certain Paul Mariani, his partner in these operations of his, a man of great sagacity, who has gone so far as to induce the Ambassador to enter himself as his legal agent before this Court. He fills his head with extravagant ideas, for he seeks to override justice by authority. This Mariani holds the French Consulate in Cairo, is a Venetian; taxing master and consul for England as well.
(Nella causa degli heriedi del quondam Carlo Elman, il Signor Ambasciatore di Inghilterra è venuto a questo foro voluntariamente; per me haverei voluto poter liberarmi da questo impaccio, poiche l'Ambasciatore per quanto si vede e debitor delli Elmani per sicurtà fatta al Vaivoda di Bogdonia et cerca attaoco per non pagare. Io non posso mancar di amministrar giustitia, et temo che egli sia per rimaner di me, senza mia colpa, mal sodisfatto. Egli ha in casa un Paulo Mariani, compagno con lui di questi suoi intrichi; persona sagacissima; in tanto che ha sedotto l'Ambasciatore a farsi scriver qui in corte suo procuratore; et gli mette in capo atrane inventioni per che egli cercha con l'autorità di opprimer la giustitia. Questo Mariani tien il Consolato di Francia al Cairo, è Venetiano et si è fatto carazaro et è consule ancora d'Inghilterra.)
The French Ambassador is very ill pleased with him and has sent me a memorandum in order that upon the lines therein suggested I should examine, here in the Chancery, certain witnesses who are within the jurisdiction of this Court. In reading one paragraph of the memorandum I observed that the Ambassador accused Mariani of being a spy of Spain under the guise of French Consul. On this I remarked to the Ambassador that I could not interfere between Princes equally friendly to your Serenity, and begged him to excuse me. The Ambassador agreed; removed that clause and rewrote the memorandum. That done I consented to the examination of witnesses, here in Chancery, upon the other charges contained in the memorandum, and all the more willingly that if they had been examined in the Chancery of the French Embassy they might have been interrogated upon points which it is against our interests to have raised in any conceivable form. When Mariani heard of this examination he broke out with all manner of impertinences, and finally insisted that at his request I should take proceedings against the Ambassador, to whom he declared himself to be equal as far as authority from France went. I dismissed him with the assurance that I and everybody recognised the Ambassador as Ambassador, and Mariani as his Consul could have no ground of procedure against him, nor I to open such a case. I advised him to write to his superiors in France where, if accused, the Ambassador would doubtless produce his defence. But Mariani gave vent to his humour in the presence of the English Ambassador, who is in the same difficulty as he is about the debt, and did all he could to poison the Ambassador s mind against me. I, however, make every effort to accommodate him, as for instance recently when I allowed him to cause to be examined, in the Chancery of the Embassy, two Venetian subjects who had signed affidavits. He desired me to verify the affidavits, accounts, and invoices, &c., but I declared that to do so was beyond my powers, as indeed it is. At this very moment the Bostangi Pasha, the Sultan's chief gardener, who sits at the helm when his Majesty goes out in his caique, a person of charming manners and high authority, has sent to ask me in the Sultan's name to write to your Serenity to send at least two great sporting dogs, and the sooner he gets them the better he will be pleased. The Sultan, like all great princes, no sooner conceives a desire for a thing than he insists on possessing it.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 4th May 1594.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 277. Marco Venier, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The French Ambassador highly indignant with Messer Paulo Mariani, has sent the enclosed letter; on which I make no remarks beyond what I have already written; I would only observe that the affection towards the Serene Republic which the Ambassador displays, merits every legitimate favour at your Serenity's hands.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 4th May 1594.
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 278. To my most honoured Lord.
I have received from Paul Mariani many grave affronts both to my private reputation, and, what is of more moment, to the authority of the Crown of France.
I beg you to ask the most Serene Republic to instruct its Ambassador at the French Court to approach his most Christian Majesty upon the strength of genuine information which I will supply to him, so that these annoyances may be made to cease. By doing so the Republic will prove how much it has at heart the interests of the Crown of France.
With this I kiss your lordship's hand.
From the house of our residence, 4th May 1594.
Your most affectionate servant,
May 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 279. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
There was a Prelate (fn. 1) in this city who for the last thirty years has borne the title of Scottish Ambassador; he always favoured the league; he was even admitted to its councils and took a part in its most important deliberations. The King of Scotland, however, is of another religion, and a friend to the King of France; and so for these reasons and also to be able to dismiss the agent of the late Queen of Scotland, this Prelate has been dismissed and will leave in a few days; likely for Rennes, to follow the fortunes of the Duke of Mayenne.
Paris, 16th May 1594.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 280. Francesco Vendramin, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
His Majesty has given orders for fifteen galleys to sail as soon as possible for Portugal, under the command of the Adelantado. The coast of Portugal is more harried than ever by English corsairs. There is a universal report that a large English fleet has sailed towards Havana to attach the West Indian flotilla. The convoy of that fleet is very strong, however, and if the two squadrons meet there must be a very bloody battle.
Madrid, 18th May 1594.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 19. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 281. Marco Venier, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The Grand Signor gave orders that an answer to the letter of the King of France, which his Ambassador recently presented, should be returned.
This answer was enclosed in a pouch of brocade, which was wrapped in a sheet of white paper. Inside a fold of this paper; as if left there by accident, was a document in Turkish. The moment the French Ambassador, who speaks and reads Turkish, saw the paper, he sent it on to me that I might instantly cause it to be transcribed that same night, as I did. The Ambassador desired, as a proof of confidence, to return the paper early next morning. From the transcript, Alberti made the translation I enclose; from which your Excellencies will see how bold and threatening is the Persian, how remiss and timorous the Turk.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 19th May 1594.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 282. Mario Venier, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
My secretary has at last been declared consumptive by five doctors. He lives in constant suffering, and is so worn, that nothing remains of him but skin and bone; he cannot even move himself in bed. As his fever is mounting steadily it seems likely that he will quickly abandon this life and its sufferings.
This has added greatly to the depression of my coadjutor, whose paralysis is do better, but rather worse. He has implored me to allow him to go, and I have consented.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 21st May 1594.
May 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 283. Francesco Vendramin, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
News from Cornnna that the English have landed on an unfortified island and sacked it. Here they have resolved to continue to maintain the Spanish garrisons in Brittany, and they propose to send troops through by Biscay. There is a report that the Queen of England, by sea, and the King of France are sending troops to attack those forts and to drive out the Spanish
Madrid, 26th May 1594.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 284. Marco Venier, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople to the Doge and Senate.
Having now to report on naval matters, I must inform your Serenity, that the Ambassador of France, in spite of all his efforts, backed by the English Ambassador, by the Sultan's Secretary, by most of the Pashas, has not succeeded in his object of securing the despatch of a large fleet this year.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 26th May 1594.
[Italian; deciphered.]


  • 1. The Archbishop of Glasgow.