Venice: August 1595

Pages 164-167

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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August 1595

Aug. 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 361. Agustino Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
An event has recently happened in Portugal which at first had its origin in feminine frivolity and the superstition of the populace, but ended in matters of moment.
In a certain convent was a nun called sister Anne, sister of Don John of Austria; she opened relations, by means of an Augustinian friar, with a pastry-cook, son of a canon in Lisbon of very humble birth. The friar gave out that this pastry-cook, on the strength of his likeness to Don Sebastian, was in fact the King who was erroneously supposed to have fallen in Africa. Matters went so far that a marriage contract was drawn up, and the pastry-cook calling himself King Don Sebastian, and signing himself “I the King,” exchanged rings. The affair came to light, and his Majesty, seeing that there was a nun in the case, requested the Nuncio to appoint a judge. The Nuncio chose one of his Majesty's chaplains, and in drawing up the case it was discovered that the friar was in correspondence with Don Antonio of Portugal and many leading Portuguese. Their scheme was to seduce the populace under the leadership of this pretended King; an idea which has been tried before in Portugal. The result is that many arrests have been made and some prisoners, including the friar and the pretended King, have been sent here for examination. The nun has been condemned to five years of rigorous confinement in her cell. The suspicion was deepened in the minds of the Ministers by the possibility of the English fleet appearing to harass Portugal, as your Serenity will have seen from the report. I recently forwarded. Two carvels have been sent up towards the English Channel to reconnoitre. Some however are more anxious about the India fleet than about the Kingdom of Portugal.
Madrid, 10th August 1595.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Aug. 18. Original Despatch, Venetiaa Archives. 362. Agustino Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
In the affair of the Archbishop of Toledo's property, the Nuncio is acting moderately and refrains from coming to those acts of severity which characterised the collectors conduct at the beginning of the affair, which led to high words between him and the president of the council, who declared that as the Holy See continued in this sinister attitude, it was no wonder that it had lost England, the greater part of Germany, and now France. The Pope on hearing this instructed the Nuncio to make strong representations to the King, and to point out to him that his Ministers, by their extravagant ideas, would one day become the plague and ruin of Spain.
The two carvels which were sent towards the English Channel have returned, bringing with them some fishermen as prisoners. They report that the Queen's fleet is on the point of sailing. It numbers one hundred and twenty sail and its destination is uncertain.
The son of Don Juan d'Idiaquez, Don Alonzo, who was made prisoner by the French, and who agreed upon a ransom of twenty thousand crowns, has been set at liberty by his Majesty on the payment of eight thousand and his mere word for the rest. This action causes the highest praise of the King's generosity.
Madrid, 18th August 1595.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Aug. 19. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 363. Polo Paruta, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
On the question of the rebenediction of the King of France, I pointed out that it must be an advantage for the church, for it would alienate the Queen of England, the German Princes, and the Huguenot party in France.
Rome, 19th August 1595.
Aug. 31. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 364. Agustino Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The carvels which I reported as having been sent to England to discover the intentions of the English fleet, bring news that rumour affirms, that the fleet is to be employed this year against the King of Spain, and that Don Antonio of Portugal and Antonio Perez are opposed to Drake as to the nature of the operations to be effected. They wish to make an attempt on the kingdom of Portugal where, they affirm, the larger part of the population is very ill affected, and is waiting this attack with extraordinary longing and, desire so that they may declare themselves; in order to be successful they insist that the attack should be made at the beginning of winter when all the crops are in, which will allow them to provision themselves. Drake, on the other hand, points out that the unsuccessful attacks of previous years ought to banish any such plan of campaign. His great desire is to go the Indies, to build a fort there, and to make himself master. He thinks success easy, for if the King of Spain wishes to oppose him, he will be put to such excessive expenses to do so at so great a distance, that the value of the fleet will not nearly recoup him.
(Don Antonio di Portogallo et Antonio Perez sopra il modo d'esseguire l'impresa erano discordi con il Draco; perche quelli volevano che si tentasse il Regno di Portogallo, ove dicono che si ritrova la moggior parte di quei sudditi malissimi satisfatti, i quali con estraordinario desiderio et affetto di scoprirsi aspettano quest' aggressione, la quale concludono, che per condurla a buon fine, bisogna tentare nel principio del futuro inverno, in tempo a punto che tutti li raccolti saranno fatti con i quali potranno haver modo di sostentarsi; per l'altra parte Draco si lascia intendere che l'esempio di quello che successe gli anni passati quando infruttosamente assalirono quel Pegno, doverebbe rimoverli da cosi fatto pensiero, sentendo egli vivamente di voltarsi verso le Indie, et ivi, fabricandosi un forte, di quelleimpatronirsi; et che spera che li riuscirà assai facilmente, perche se il Re Cattolico vorrà impedirgli, converrà per la tanta distanza et lontananza farlo con eccessive spese, che di gran longo supererà l'utilità delle flotte.)
Here preparations are being made for the protection of the fleet, and the safety of Portugal.
As I was closing this despatch, news came from Lisbon that forty ships, between large and small, had sailed from England. They were fully armed and provisioned for two years.
Madrid, 31st August 1595.
[Italian; part in italics deciphered.]
Aug. 31. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 365. Piero Duodo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
This morning news has arrived that Don Antonio of Portugal is dead. I saw him the day before I left, quite well, in a carriage in Paris. The poor gentleman died in great poverty, and frequently collections have been made on his behalf at Court. Although the King gave him certain revenues, yet as these were not paid regularly, Don Antonio was obliged to throw himself on the charity of others.
Lyons, 31st August 1595.