Venice: March 1596

Pages 185-189

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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March 1596

March 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 407. Giovanni Dolfin, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Discussing the prospects of peace between the King of France and the King of Spain, the Pope said that many difficulties blocked the way. I replied that God had reserved the honour and glory of such a consummation for his Holiness. The Pope replied “We shall certainly ascribe all the glory to Him. But we cannot make any progress in this matter till these blessed French arrive here.”
Rome, 2nd March 1596.
March 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 408. Agustino Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
As regards the Jew, Judas Serafatin, who arrived here four days ago, I have found out something from his servant David Sael, whom I tempted to my house and who gave me an account of his journey. He says that he and three others left Constantinople in the month of September. They were in the service of a Jew named Judas Serafatin, of Portuguese blood. Two of the three embarked on a galley which it seems was lost. The journey took about five months and a half and in the Gulf of Spain they were all in great danger. From Constantinople to Ragusa they took thirty-eight days. At Ragusa they waited ten, and then embarked on a caramusal for Venice. In that city they lodged at the Spanish Embassy for about ten days and then set out for Milan, where they passed four days in lodgings. At Genoa they had to wait forty days in an inn till the galley sailed. I asked where his master was. He replied that he had gone to Aranjuez to confer with the King on business about which he said he knew nothing.
Madrid, 7th March 1596.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 409. Marco Venier, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Rumour ran that a Polish Ambassador was about to enter the city. This delighted the people. But presently a private Polish gentleman (fn. 1) arrived, bearing two letters, one for the Sultan and the other for Sinan Pasha. I have had the original of the letter to Sinan in my hands; it is written in Latin. The letter was brought me by the man who translated it. He only intended to let me read it, but I had a copy made as fast as possible, and I enclose it. Your Serenity will gather from it the tenour of the letter to the Sultan and the nature of the negotiations between Poland and the Turkish Empire.
The Pole was admitted at one of the last Divans and presented the letter and kissed the Sultan's hand. He and three or four of his suite received robes from his Majesty, as usual; but no other signs of honour were bestowed on him, except that the English Ambassador has paid perpetual court to him.
This gentleman, a few days ago, sent two of his suite to visit me and to bring me two letters addressed to me, one by Cardinal Radziwil, the other by the Vice-Chancellor (fn. 2) of Poland. I enclose copies. The Pole informed me that he would like to pay me a visit as befitted the friendly relations between Poland and your Serenity. I sent to make my excuses that I had not forestalled him, and settled the day of his visit, which took place three days ago. He spoke Latin very fluently.
I endeavoured to discover the object of his mission; he told me it was simply and solely to present the letters to the Sultan and to Sinan Pasha; and as there was a doubt that he might meet with a difficulty about his presentation, he was instructed to have recourse to me if need were.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 9th March 1596.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 410. Piero Duodo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The emissary of the Queen of England (fn. 3) has passed through here on his way to the camp with the Queen's answer to the question about the truce. The Queen has also sent a son of Horatio Palavicino to find, out from an intimate friend of his whether his Majesty is really in treaty with the King of Spain for the conclusion of peace, of which the Queen is very suspicious. This intimate of Palavicino's, who is in the King's service, replied that it was true that his Majesty was invited by the King of Spain to come to terms, but that his Majesty was little inclined to do so unless he were driven perforce, and that the real way to keep him in this excellent disposition was to assist him vigorously. The ground of the Queen's suspicion is this, that some days ago the ministers invented the existence of a letter purporting to be written by Signor Lomellino to Signor Alessandro dal Bene, in which it was made to appear that the Pope was secretly endeavouring to arrange terms between his most Christian and his Catholic Majesty. Of this fictitious letter a copy was shown to the English Ambassador, to whom it was read, and all to induce him to believe what has been explained above. I enclose a copy for your Excellencies, and I humbly recommend it to your profoundest secrecy; for although it is well known what artifices are in use here, still if it became known that I had received this copy, it would be the ruin of the person who conducted the affair, and hurtful to your Serenity's interests as well, for he is the sole person from whom I could possibly have obtained it (Questa gelosia è nata perche alli guesti giorni passati questi Ministri del Rè finsero una lettera come scritta dal Mons. Lomellino a Signor Alessandro dal Bene per la quale pare che il Papa tratti secretamente di accomodare questo Christianissimo Rè col Serenissimo Rè Cattolico. Ne diedero di essa una copia all' Ambasciatore d'Inghilterra, al quale fu letta, et tutto non ad altro fine che per fargli credere quanto è sopradetto. Mando di essa una copia alle Eccellenze Vostre et le supplico humilamente che sia raccommandato al loro profondissimo silentio; perche si come bene quelle conoscono gl' artificci che qui si usano, col risaperlo che l'havessi havuta, non potendo io haverla havuta che da quel solo che ha maneggiato questo negotio, sarebbe la rovina sua congiunta con interesse della Serenità Vostra.)
Paris, 16th March 1596.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 411. Copy of a letter written by Mons. Lomelino to Signor Alessandro dal Bene.
My most illustrious and right honoured Lord,
I received, now many days ago, your thrice welcome letter from Bologna. That I have not answered sooner is due to the lack of a sure occasion. I am to give you instructions about the cipher which has been sent you by another route; you are to acknowledge receipt thereof and to take care in writing to make the characters quite clear. I reported your observations on the difficulties you foresee in the way of separating ourselves from our neighbour allies. The answer was that they are not of the fold; only to sons do we offer paternal solicitude, and our intervention in order to unite them. Do not prefer the interest of others to your own. Peace will heal your domestic sores, and restore strength, nerve, health, and then you will be capable of defending yourself without the help of neighbours; and it may even be that, to your great renown, you will be in a position to enter as arbiter among the others who are exhausted by war. Embrace the opportunity which paternal affection and authority has prepared for you; your adversaries will not make the path difficult; and thus you will recover at once your ancient possession which your own arms, and those of your neighbour allies as well, could scarcely hope to regain after a long time.
I am instructed to lay these considerations before you and to invite your attention. I am also to add that the way is smoothed, as far as your adversaries are concerned, by the large armament of the Turks, and by the Sultan's presence in Hungary. They are forced to assist the Emperor, at least with money, and they are obliged to protect the coast of Italy, Naples and Sicily. Our Lord offers as large assistance as is possible, but he demands an armament in full and not one like last years. Spain is inclined, both in view of the assistance offered by our Lord, and because she is urged from Prague, whence she is begged to divert the impending storm by an attack on the islands of the Archipelago. Spain will be forced to leave you alone, and this opportunity now serves you to obtain, and us to procure, an accord either for a certain period or complete. If that period were only for two years, it would be of more service to you in recovering your position than ten years of war; and, your position recovered, you can be of service to your neighbours as intermediary or as ally. What cannot be done at one stroke must be done by two. Your Lordship is to explain and insist on these points, and to report what you see and foresee. We ardently hope that no time will be lost in so good a cause, and that there is every hope of a successful issue if good sense exists on your side I must not omit to tell you that when the news arrived that Mercœur offered to mediate, everyone laughed hugely at the notion of this flea making peace among the old clothes men. (Quasi che un pulsino tratti d'accordo delli strazzaruoli).
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 22. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 412. Agustino Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
I have learned nothing further about the Jew than what he himself freely states; namely, that he was sent from Constantinople by a Jew of great importance at the Porte, and his mission was to arrange a universal peace with the House of Austria; the Grand Vizir approved the mission. The Ministers of the Sultan are disposed for this peace and wish to effect it through his Catholic Majesty. But the facility with which this Hebrew talks about so grave a mission causes many to have doubts about him and his statements. The Jew has been in Spain before. He is very shrewd: speaks several languages fluently, so no wonder he chatters. He says he has travelled much, and has been in England, where he has had dealings with Don Antonio of Portugal, and with Antonio Perez.
Madrid, 22nd March, 1596.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 413. Agustino Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Six Spanish galleys have seized in these waters one Englishman and one ship of Rochelle returning to their respective countries from the Levant.
Madrid, 23rd March 1596.
March 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 414. Piero Duodo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Queen of England and the States of Holland are gathering a large armament. She will have one hundred ships, they say, and Holland thirty; all destined for Dunquerque.
The Irish rebellion, which had broken out afresh owing to the capture of a fort by the Earl of Tyrone, has been suppressed. The Queen has already sent Sir Henry Wallop (Henrico Vallot) and the Lord Deputy (fn. 4) to the borders, there to confer with the said Earl and with the Earl of O'Donnell (Conte di Oduuel), who is also a rebel against Queen; and after making submission they will receive pardon.
Francis Drake and John Hawkins (Joanni Haulkinge) have done much damage at Porto Ricco, and then pushed on to Havana, where they took the castle with all the treasure that was in it. They are expected home in England about the end of April.
The King of Scotland is under arms, more by sea than by land, as he is disgusted with the King of Spain for the protection he gives to the rebel Scots, in the north, and in the Orkneys; also because of a book published in Spain, wherein all claims to the Crown of England are discussed, and the King of Scotland absolutely excluded, the King of Spain and the Infante both being put before him.
Paris, 23rd March 1596.


  • 1. Adrian Remboroschi.
  • 2. Georg Tarnaroscki (? Tarnowski).
  • 3. W. Paule, “Cecil Papers,” VI. p. 112.
  • 4. Sir W. Russell. Sir Robert Gardner was Chief Justiciar, cf. “Cecil Papers.”