Venice: January 1595

Pages 149-153

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 1595

1595. Jan. 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 321. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
After the attempt on his Majesty, the guards will allow no unknown persons to enter the royal antechambers, and all foreigners who desire to approach the King must prove their identity.
At the Jesuits a large number of papers belonging to Don Bernardino de Mendoza, who was Spanish Ambassador, have been found. From these papers it appears that the Jesuits maintained intimate relations with Don Bernardino, and also were in receipt of a certain pension. This renders the Jesuits more than ever suspect, and confirms the resolution of the Council to expel the order from France. His Majesty is of this view, and has actually said that this evil has overtaken him from those whom he sought to support and defend. No one is to be allowed to send their children out of the country to the Jesuit schools.
Paris, 4th January 1594. [m.v.]
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 322. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Queen of England has for long been asking that the town of Morlaix in Brittany should be given to her, in order that her troops might always have a safe place of retreat. The King intended to satisfy her, and sent orders to hand over the town; but the Marshal d'Aumont is doing all he can, and rightly, to dissuade his Majesty from such a step, on the ground that it would disgust the Bretons and render his Majesty unpopular.
The Queen, annoyed at this, has given orders that her troops are to return to England as soon as possible. At this Court she announces that she is compelled to take this step on account of the Earl of Tyrone's rebellion in Ireland; he is at the head of a large number of Irish, and is in relation with the Orkeneys for a rising there also.
The soldiers who mutinied last year, and were quieted by receiving their pay, have mutinied again, being afraid lest they should be punished when they got home. They have written to the States of Holland to say that if there is any opportunity they are ready to take service there.
Paris, 5th January 1594 [m.v.]
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 323. Francesco Vendramin, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
I have been told by a person of importance that the agent of the Duke of Mercœur, after making official representations for many days in order to obtain pecuniary support from the King, has at last laid before the Ministers a letter from the Duke declaring that if he is not immediately supplied with a large sum he will come to terms with the King of France, and will accept the liberal proposals which are made to him by that Sovereign.
As the West India fleet is sure to be delayed, the King intends to send, with utmost secrecy, two light galleys to bring in, at all risks, two millions of gold. Meantime Ambrogio Spinola is furnishing money to private individuals who in their turn supply the King. But as the Genoese would like to deal directly with his Majesty, this procedure is much criticised; they say that Spinola has acted rashly and cite the example of Nicolo Grimaldi, once called “the Monarch” but now reduced to beggary.
The King is in bed with a pain in his side and a little fever.
Madrid, 8th January 1594 [m.v.]
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 324. Marco Venier, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
This is the third despatch of this post, but it is to be read first because the news it contains will not brook delay. I made use of every means in my power to find out whether the Sultan were really dead; and, among other steps, I sent Borisi to Memi Pasha, who assured him that the Sultan died on Monday the night of the 16th- 17th of this month, at the hour of the first cry (al cantar del primo Turco). Ferrad wished to send Memi Pasha in his galley to bring back the Prince Mehemet. But the Sultanas declared that this sudden departure would waken suspicion. Accordingly they resolved to send the Bostangi Pasha (chief gardener), in the middle-sized caique, as he was accustomed to go every day to Akbunar (Acbaba) to fetch water for the Sultan's use. His caique has a double relay of rowers, and so it is expected that he will be back in seven or eight days.
As to the details of the Sultan's death bed, Memi Pasha said that before his Majesty died he ordered his son Mahmoud, as graceful and charming a lad of twelve or thirteen as you could see, to be placed, in safe keeping, so that the women of the harem should not make away with him.
Had the death of the Sultan not taken place a week would not have passed before the dismissal of the Capudan Pasha.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 21st January 1594 [m.v.]
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 27. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 325. Francesco Vendramin, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday Signor Giovanni Francesco Albobrandino (nephew of his Holiness) made his entry. He was received with the highest honours. I waited on him to-day, and he remarked that his business would surely go well if it corresponded to the nature of the reception he had met with; I replied that it was the way of Spain to lavish honours in order to cover the rebuffs administered in the course of negotiations.
Madrid, 27th January 1594 [m.v.].
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 27. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 326. Marco Venier, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The rumour of the Sultan's death has spread down to the very children; and a riot is expected, accompanied by a sack of shops and houses as usual. I have hidden the Embassy archives, and brought armed men into the house to protect it and to see that it was not set on fire.
The new Sovereign arrived this morning at the hour of salaam. I saw him arrive and disembark at the Kiosk. In the eleven days which have elapsed since the death of the Sultan Murad, several executions have taken place in order to keep the populace in check Inside the serraglio there has been a great uproar, and every night we hear guns fired—a sign that at that moment some one is being thrown into the sea.
As regards the death of Sultan Murad, I must repeat that he was attacked by his old epilepsy while receiving the Capudan in audience. He was carried inside and suffered all night. Next day he began to mend and progressed so favourably that they almost thought him out of danger, when a second fit came on; this kept him for two days and two nights languid, feeble, like one dead. It was followed by a retention of the urine which caused him to call out in pain, and on the top of the other illness carried him to the grave. He refused all medical attendance and all medicine; even when in health his habit of life was strange; and they say, though it is hardly credible, that he eat no bread, but lived on solid meats, thick soups, sheep's marrow, and other aphrodisiacs, for he lay immersed in lust. His funeral was a sad sight; nineteen unhappy children, strangled as is the law of the land, followed their father to the tomb. He leaves twenty-nine daughters and six wives with child; if males are born they will share the fate of their brothers.
The French Ambassador, in order to magnify his Sovereign, declares in the Porte and also in the Serraglio, where he finds ready access, being acquainted with Turkish habits and the Turkish tongue—that, while the King of France was at open war with the King of Spain, the Republic sent two senators of great importance to congratulate him on his victories and on the conquest of his kingdom.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 27th January 1594 [m.v.].
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 28 Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 327. Francesco Vendramin, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Spaniards declare that the affairs of Flanders are going from bad to worse. The Queen of England is vigorously strengthening her position against Spain, and, in addition to helping Flanders, is helping the King of Navarre as well. While the affairs of France are in such disorder the King of Spain should seize the favourable occasion, so as to prevent the danger menacing this crown if the King of France recovers that kingdom and draws closer his alliances with Flanders and England; and this would be all the more formidable should the King of Spain find himself engaged in a distant war with the Turkish power. Others point out that the Emperor and the German nation show so little regard for the Spanish that there is no likelihood that they will abandon their own interests to serve the King's. Others again urge that the King of Spain cannot abandon the struggle with the Turk.
Madrid, 27th January 1594 [m.v.].
[Italian; deciphered]
Jan. 31. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 328. Marco Venier, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Cicala has been deposed from the office of Capudan Pasha, and Halil Pasha has been named in his stead.
The new Capudan will not, in my opinion, be any better than the last. He has no experience in seamanship. He is married to the Sultan's sister, and she will not willingly let him leave her. He is a man of quiet disposition, and is held to be simple rather than otherwise; his court is composed of excellent men, not rapacious like those shameless thieves who surrounded Cicala. All this makes it unlikely that he will take the sea with a large fleet. He is very poor, and so to win him it would be judicious now at the beginning to be rather open-handed with him.
The new Sultan seems to be a resolute man, and terrible. The moment he arrived at the Serraglio he went to look on his father's corpse; then his nineteen brothers were brought before him, one by one. They say that the eldest, a most beautiful lad and of excellent parts, beloved by all, when he kissed the Sultan's hand exclaimed, “My lord and brother, now to me as my father, let not my days be ended thus in this my tender age”; the Sultan tore his beard with every sign of grief, but answered never a word. They were all strangled, all the nineteen; and that same day late in the evening the dead Sultan was carried to the tomb with less pomp than usually accompanies persons of even low degree. The new Sultan, dressed in purple cloth, followed the corpse to the first door of the Serraglio; Ferrad and the other Pashas, dressed in black, attended it further. On the bier, which in this country is borne head first, was placed a small turban with aigrettes. The bier was covered with cloth of gold with a jewelled belt of gold across it. It was placed on a piece of ground near St. Sophia under a great magnificent military tent; and round it will soon arise the mortuary chapel, where the coffin will repose on a lofty platform in the middle, and all round lower down will lie the nineteen sons, who were not carried in procession that day owing to the late hour, but were taken out the day following. At present they are all in plain wooden coffins, but later these will be covered and adorned.
The day of his brothers, funeral the Sultan placed in Divan his tutor, Mehemet of Mecca; a man held in high esteem, wise, and not avaricious. Ferrad is in great favour with the Sultan for the way in which he kept the city quiet during so many days of interregnum. The Sultan has given his seal to no one yet. Sinan will soon be here, in spite of a false rumour of his death. His Majesty has made great changes in the Serraglio; he has expelled all the buffoons, the dwarfs, the eunuchs, and the women; they were all sent to the old Serraglio; the amount of goods they carried out with them was incredible, the carriages, chests, and baskets of the whole city hardly sufficed.
They say that the secretary to the late Sultan will retain his post The present to the Janizaries is one hundred and twenty purses of ten thousand sequins per purse.
The Sultan is about medium height, strong and well made, and wears a black beard and two huge moustaches.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 31st January 1594 [m.v.].
[Italian; deciphered.]