Venice: December 1595

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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'Venice: December 1595', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 9, 1592-1603, (London, 1897) pp. 173-177. British History Online [accessed 4 March 2024]

December 1595

Dec, 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 382. Giorgio Dolfin, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Pope began to make complaints that at Venice there was an open Exchange, full of heretics, who live as they like, to the scandal and danger of all Italy; that the English are freely admitted in Venice, and, in short, that in matters of religion things are managed with indifference.
I sought to reply with all modesty that the Exchange house was of very ancient standing, and it had never given rise to any scandal. As to the English, the cause that brought them there was deplorable, but their coming was a pure blessing from God, for they had saved Italy from famine.
His Holiness replied that the English went here and there about the city as they pleased.
Rome, 2nd December 1595.
Dec. 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 383. Piero Duodo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
M. de Lomennie, who was sent on a mission to the Queen of England, had an audience of her, in which it would seem that he spoke somewhat too sharply, when he told her that if his master did not receive help he would be forced to make peace with Spain. This not only angered the Queen but roused her suspicions. This has compelled the King to send M. de Sanci to England; he will pass through Holland on his way. It is said that the Duke of Monpensier is to accompany him.
It is said that the Irish rebellion is at an end, the Queen having been forced to grant the Irish liberty to exercise the Catholic religion.
Paris, 2nd December 1595.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Dec. 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 384. Piero Duodo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
M. de Sanci, who, as I informed your Serenity, was destined for England, told me that he would certainly go there. But a few days ago I had a conversation with the English agent resident here, and he said that letters newly arrived from England have caused M. de Sanci to postpone the journey, and in the meantime he has gone to the States of Holland. The cause of this delay he tells me is this, that if M. de Sanci went to England just now he would not find the Queen very well disposed towards the policy of his Majesty, not merely on the grounds I have so often explained, but also because of the line of conduct which the French ministers are following at present, a line of which she does not approve. The chief reason, however, is this, that there reigns a division in the councils of the Queen; and her two principal ministers are secretly in disaccord; and this fact is confirmed to me by Cardinal Gondi. One of these great ministers, the Lord Treasurer, is very ill disposed towards the Grown of France, and uses all his influence to prevent the Queen from taking an active part in this direction. There is a strong suspicion that he has been bought with Spanish gold. The other great nobleman, a prime favourite with the Queen, is of the contrary opinion, urging that every effort should be made to extinguish the fire in one's neighbour s house so as to prevent one's own from being burned.
These facts cause the Queen the greatest perplexity. The Lord Treasurer, in addition to all his other arguments, urges the plea of economy, to which women by their nature are more inclined than men. All the same no efforts are being spared so to dispose her mind that, should de Sanci go to England, he may easily obtain all he asks for.
The Queen is quite well aware that the French will be beaten if they are not helped; on the other hand, she is very much afraid that if she declared herself entirely on the French side, the only result in the end would be that, under the pressure of necessity and of their actual poverty, the French could make peace or a long truce with Spain, and so divert the full force of the tempest upon her, leaving her with no result except that she would have spent her money and would not have it to use at a pinch.
She has recently asked the King to give her Calais; and the French think it a strange request, almost indicating that she would like to make herself mistress of the country. She, however, knows quite well that if the Spanish attacked Calais in force the French are incapable of holding the place as she could do. This daily demand for help, without making any equivalent return, is not the way to obtain their end. The Queen is seriously alarmed lest the great Spanish fleet, which is already at Corunna, one hundred and sixty strong, is intended for Ireland. At first it was conjectured that Calais or Ostend was its object, both of which have been adequately provided for; but it was not likely that they would really enter the Straits of Dover, for as often as they did, so often would they be broken and worsted. (Doveva il Signor di Sansi passare, come scrissi con le precedenti, in Inghilterra, et egli mi affermò che cosi sarebbe stato, ma havendo havuta occasione uno di questi giorni di parlare col' Agente di quella Regina, che si ritrova qui, mi ha affermato che per lettere havute di fresco doppo da quel Regno, era suspesa la sua partita, per qualche giorno et che in questo mentre detto Signore se ne sarebbe passato in Olanda. La causa di questo intcrpositione di tempo mi disse nascer perchè se andasse non trovarebbe ancora la Regina troppo ben disposta verso li affari di questa Maestà, non solo per le cose le quali tante volte si sono scritte, ma anco per veder le maniere di questi usate nel governarsi, le quali troppo non le piacceno. Ma il punto più importante essere che il consiglio di quella Maestà era diviso, et li due grandi tra se stessi discordi; il che anco mi fu affermato uno di questi giorni dal Signor Cardinal Gondi. L'uno di loro che è il Thesoriere generate del Regno, mi disse che sente vivamente contra questa Corona et dissuade ad ogni suo potere la Reina di non ingerirsi nelli affari di questa parte, et però forte si dubita che questo non sii stato guadagnato con li denari di Spagna; et l'altro ch'è favoritissimo ancora lui della Reina esser stato di contrario parere, et che si doveva far ogni cosa per amorzare il foco nella casa del suo vicino perche non ardesse la propria. Queste cose fanno stare la Regina in grande perplesità, et massime il gran Thesoriere oltre tutte le altre ragioni, si persuade per la via del' isparmio, al quale suole per Vordinario inclinare le donne più per loro natura che gli huomini. che però di la si fà ogni cosa per combattere et vincere l'animo di lei o disporlo in modo che se Sansi haverà da passare, possa facilmente ottenere quanto pretende. Conosce benissimo la Reina che questi si siano a perder quando non siino aiutati, ma dall altra parte forte teme che quando essa si mettesse tutta da questa parte, che il frutto in fine non sarebbe altro se non che ridotti dalla necessità, et dalla povertà nella quale sono, facesse o pace o tregua longa almeno con Spagnoli, et per questa via si rinversasse tutto l'impeto della tempesta sopra di lei, et ella non haverebbe avanzato altro che haver consumato il suo, del quale poi non si potrebbe servire nelle sue necessità. Che ella ultimamente domandò Cales al Rè, et che questi lo trovorono strano, parendo che essa havesse pensiero di impatronirsi del loro paese, ma che ella conosce benissimo che se Spagnoli vi anderanno con molte forze, che questi non saranno atti di poterlo difendere come ella farebbe, che il voter ogni giorno esser. agiutati senza dare qualche sodisfattione, questa non era la strada d'ottenere l'intento loro. Essere la Reina in molto sospetto che l'armata grandissima la quale e tuttavia alla Corugna in Spagna di 160 velle, et più, sia fatta per le cose d' Irlanda, et se bene si dubitò in principio come anche mi disse il Signor di Sansi, che fosse fatta o per Cales o per Osten, dalle quali due piazze erano stati dati buonissimi ordini, che però non era ragionevole che entrasse in quel stretto tra Cales et Dovera, dove quante volte fosse revenuti sarebbono altre tante stati rotti et mal trattati.)
M. de Sanci also told me that the English knew very well that the Spanish in Brittany were doing all they could to induce the Duke of Mercœur to make a truce with the King and to include them, a fact admitted by M. de Villeroy. The Queen was also well aware of the subtle policy which the Spanish were following in the Low Countries, where, after finding that the States declined to treat with them, they used every effort to induce them to coma to some accord among themselves. It is clear, therefore, from this Spanish policy of bringing about peace everywhere except with England, that the King of Spain was entirely bent on the ruin of that country, and that this Armada, in particular, was intended for Ireland. And all these considerations keep the mind of the Queen in grave perplexity. She has at present a fleet ready which is far more powerful that the one that routed the Duke of Medina Sidonia; she has armed the whole kingdom; every day there are musters and reviews; all the ports are placed in a state of defence. He said he hoped for an accord between the King of France and England, but he feared that the Spanish were only waiting the arrival of the Cardinal of Austria in Flanders in order to send the Armada to Ireland, which would prevent the Queen from sending land forces to France; and then the danger on the one hand and on the other is obvious.
The English agent told me that there is news that Drake has burned Cadiz, and that now he will go to the Indies to fortify the positions captured from the Spaniards last year, in order to prevent the arrival of so many gold fleets. A design they have often projected with ease but effected with difficulty.
Paris, 9th December 1595.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Dec. 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 385. Piero Duodo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
M. de Sanci has been indisposed and was unable to leave till three days ago. He has gone to Soissons, where he will meet the Duke of Mayenne and will accompany him to the King. He is to go first to Holland and then to England, after the arrival of an English Ambassador in France. His mission is to point out that, as the assistance given hitherto by the States and by the Queen was both temporary and voluntary, it has been now offered, now withdrawn, now increased, now diminished, as pleased the States and the Queen. M. de Sanci is now to endeavour to establish a solid convention in which the amount of the assistance shall be defined and the length of time for which it is to be available; and so to avoid the repetition of the loss of Cambrai, which would undoubtedly have been saved had reinforcements been landed in Picardy when called for.
The troops under the Cardinal of Austria are beginning to move. They are reckoned at less than ten thousand foot and six hundred horse.
They say here that they will have at least ten thousand men from the States and the Queen of England, but they don't believe it.
Paris, 16th December 1595.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 386. Agustino Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
There is some news, not quite certain, that Drake is off Havana; and the Spanish are more afraid that he will sack the city than that he will make himself master of the forts, especially as his Majesty's fleet cannot be in time to stop him. For although it is quite ready, the bad weather hinders it from sailing from Lisbon.
Madrid, 23rd December 1595.
Dec. 31. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 387. Piero Duodo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
There is a proposal to attach Dunquerque with the help of the large fleet which the Queen of England has ready just now. This proposal is supposed to form the object of the mission of the Ambassador whom the Queen is going to send to his Majesty.
Paris, the last day of December 1595.
[Italian; deciphered.]