Venice: October 1596

Pages 232-236

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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October 1596

Oct. 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 494. Piero Duodo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate
I hear that the Marshal de Bouillon has arranged with the Queen of England that the moment the fleet comes home it shall, in conjunction with the French, undertake an attack on Calais.
San Moro, the first of October 1596.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Oct. 2. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 495. Feancesco Vendramin, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
They say that in the enemy's camp is an English Ambassador called Edward Barton (Odoardo Bartino), who has been very active in his efforts to bring about a peace between the Turk and his Imperial Majesty. His sole object is that a Turkish fleet may put out next year to attack his Catholic Majesty, and divert him from an enterprise against England. By the intercession of the said Ambassador several of the household of the late Imperial Ambassador, who died a prisoner in the hands of the Turks, have been set at liberty, and have arrived already at the Imperial camp, in charge of an agent from the English Ambassador. It is thought that both the liberation of the Imperial subjects and the arrival of the agent have for object the conclusion of a peace.
Prague, 2nd October 1596.
Oct. 9. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 496. Francesco Vendramin, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
To-day, at noon, the household of the late Imperial Ambassador arrived, the interpreter of the English Ambassador, and the other two attachés of the Embassy stayed behind on the way, being ordered to do so by his Imperial Majesty, who suspects them of being Turkish spies. His Majesty is resolved to wait till he hears what the Ambassador has to propose.
Prague, 9th October 1596.
Oct. 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 497. Agustino Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Adelantado is making great preparations in Lisbon. He has embarked four hundred of the best horses in Portugal, arms for ten thousand men, clothing for four thousand, and some vestments for the mass. Besides this he has collected a large number of carpenters, smiths, and masons, who have been pressed into service if they would not come willingly. He has brought together every kind of craft; and the total may number ninety, of which a third only would be fit to fight. On board this fleet are twelve thousand men, including the seamen, namely, nine thousand Spaniards and three thousand Portuguese. Ships and munition are very poor; there is a great lack of biscuits.
The extent of the preparations, the variety of the provisions, the anxiety of the Adelantado, lead people to conclude that not only is he to leave as soon as possible, but that it is possible that he may not go merely to winter at Ferrol, but may push on at once to some further goal. Some conjecture that Africa will be the object, at the port of El' Arisch, but common opinion points to Ireland or England, where the Queen is putting together a new fleet. But nothing certain can be known at present as all orders are sent to the Adelantado under the King's own hand.
The season is supposed to be propitious, for there are no calms just now, and they are unfavourable to the navigation of the channel; but there is a great dearth of sailors on board, although they will employ those who have just come back with the India fleets; these, however, will not be suitable for the navigation of English waters.
Madrid, 10th October 1506.
Oct. 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 498. Piero Duodo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
There is a very common report that the English fleet has returned to England, and that the Earl of Essex knighted five hundred gentlemen—among them the second son of Don Antonio of Portugal—while in Cadiz. The French expect great assistance from this return of the fleet; all the more that the preparations in Spain are said to be very large, and it is natural that the English should wish to anticipate so as not to be anticipated. The first operation will be Calais unless accidents of war lead them to change plans.
San Moro, 12th October 1596.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Oct. 16. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 499. Francesco Vendramin, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
I know nothing more about the interpreter of the English Embassy, except that he was ordered back to Vienna. He is said to be a Venetian named Pasquale Bruti.
Prague, 16th October 1596.
Oct. 19. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 500. Piero Duodo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
His Majesty was to make his entry into Rouen this week, where the English Ambassador already is. San Moro, 19th October 1596.
Oct. 25. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 501. Agustino Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
When I obtain an audience of his Majesty I will endeavour to secure the passports for ships bringing grain from Hamburg and beyond the Straits of Gibraltar. It is quite certain that they will exclude ships belonging to the English or to the rebel Flemish, and so if the grain your Serenity purchases is laden in those bottoms it will certainly be seized if they touch here.
Madrid, 25th October 1596.
Oct. 25. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 502. Agustino Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
His Majesty has ordered that throughout the kingdom prayers are to be said for the success of his designs, and at Mass they chant a psalm “Contra paganos.” This leads to the supposition that the fleet must be on the point of sailing from Lisbon. I am advised from that port that on the 12th inst. some of the ships had begun to drop down the river to the buoy. Three hundred horse and three hundred oxen had been embarked, and gun carriages.
At Lisbon an Irish bishop and all the other Irish who were here have embarked. Some of them have their wives and families with them, and this makes people believe that Ireland, and not England, is the object of this expedition; an attack on Ireland is considered a much easier matter, and they hold it is an accomplished fact, owing to secret intelligence which they have in that quarter. If they do not get the two largest harbours, which are well guarded by the Queen, they will certainly get others of less importance. The Spanish intend to build a fort to secure for themselves the power of landing whenever they choose, and thus to proceed to the conquest not merely of Ireland but of England as well. It is certain that the Queen of England holds that the loss of Ireland would mean the loss of England. She will put out all her strength to defend it; but the Spanish hope to strike so quickly that they will find Ireland, if not defenceless, yet certainly ill provided. The Queen, however, for some time back has been well prepared in that island, not only on account of the Catholic inhabitants, but also because of her continual suspicion of the King of Spain.
A person, whom I have often found well-informed, told me that the Adelantado has orders to land in Holland and to co-operate with the Prince Cardinal. But there is a danger that when sailing up the Channel—if the Armada gets as far in safety—it may be attacked by the fleets of England and Holland at one and the same time, and beaten and harried by English and Flemish ships, which are very handy.
There is a rumour that Ostend has surrendered to his Highness. If it is true it will greatly assist his Majesty's designs.
The English attack on Cadiz has roused the Ministers.
Madrid, 25th October 1596.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Oct. 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archiyes. 503. Piero Duodo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
On Wednesday the 16th his Majesty made his solemn entry into Rouen. (fn. 1) Although it was.a very fine sight, yet those who saw it say the entry into Lyons last year was far finer.
On the 19th, in the church of St. Antoine, close to the palace, the ceremony of swearing the league with England took place. At two o'clock of the afternoon the King, in royal robes, with his sceptre in his hand, entered the church accompanied by the English Ambassador and the sceptre of England. They heard vespers to most lovely music, and then they embraced and swore the league offensive and defensive.
On the 20th his Majesty received the Order of the Garter, all with the greatest pomp. His Majesty spends one thousand five hundred ducats a day on entertaining the English Ambassador.
The Queen has named the captains of the levies of three thousand men; and there is confirmation of all that the Marshal de Bouillon told me. He was sumptuously entertained in England, and at his departure received about four thousand ducats' worth of silver plate.
San Moro, 26th October 1596.


  • 1. “Cecil Papers,” VI., pp. 429, 433.