Venice: February 1597

Pages 254-257

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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February 1597

Feb. 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 543. Piero Duodo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The negotiations for the truce with Spain continue; but it is difficult to find out anything for certain. The Ministers are in perplexity, for they think that, as the affairs of Spain are at present in confusion it would be more profitable for them to continue the war rather than to allow Spain to recover her strength during a suspension of arms. All the same the King has sent his agents, with great secresy, to England and Holland to induce them to send Ministers of importance to Havre, where his Majesty himself would meet them to discuss the truce and peace, and also about the conduct of the war if the truce were not made. By this action he proves that he has no intention of separating himself from his allies.
Rouen, 1st February 1597.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Feb. 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 544. Agostino Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Private information to Don Filippo de Avica—son of the Schereef Mahomet, at whose instance Don Sebastian went to Africa—leads to a suspicion that, in their designs for landing in Spain, the Moors have secret intelligence with the Queen of England. Don Filippo adds that they are preparing the vessels and the biscuits for that enterprise. The Ministers, however, do not admit that the information from their spies confirms Don Filippo; nor have I, for all the diligence I have used, been able to find out anything for certain. The Ministers, in appearance, affect to disbelieve both the movement of the Moors and the preparations in England; but their defensive measures show that they really expect an attack from England very soon, and that it will be supported by a considerable number of Moors, who offered their assistance to the English after the news that they had entered Cadiz, although it was not accepted at that time. In all places of importance along the coast the command has been taken from the gentlemen of the long robe and consigned to men of the short, good soldiers.
Madrid, 8th February 1596. [m.v.]
[Italian; deciphered.]
Feb. 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 545. Piero Duodo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
There is news from England that all the Spanish who landed in Ireland during the last months have been cut to pieces. Confirmation needed.
Paris, 15th February 1597.
Feb. 15. Original Rubricario, Venetian Archives. 546. Girolamo Capello, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The rumour of the Sultan's departure persists, and the horse's tail is said to be fixed to the lance-head. Proclamation has been made in the market that no one shall dare to say he was not going, and that all should be ready to follow him by April. There is great want of money. The English Ambassador came to visit the Venetian, and was very confidential. He declared that the Grand Vizir was in doubt what answer he should send to Transylvania and that he (the Ambassador) had counselled the Vizir to leave the Emperor and the Transylvanian an opening to send their representatives to Constantinople, and to grant a truce for a year. There are no signs of preparation for the despatch of the fleet.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 15th February 1596 [m.v.].
Feb. 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 547. Agostino Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Nuncio informed me that he was charged by the Pope to urge his Catholic Majesty to support the Emperor with money, but the matter seemed difficult, for here they wished to limit themselves to advice. He had approached his Majesty on the subject during the last months, and had received in writing the answer that as far as the King was concerned he was most ready, but that his Holiness must secure Spain from an attack by the English, and must cause the Poles and Venetians to enter the league. I replied that the wisest course was to bring about peace between the great Christian Princes. The Nuncio replied that it was impossible; the Pope could not mediate with the Queen of England. The Emperor should undertake that office.
An English gentleman left a few days ago for England. He says he has been summoned by a person of great influence and a close friend of Viscount Ferrers (Visconte Feres), who was on board the English fleet, in high command, when it entered Cadiz. The action of this person in playing upon the favourable attitude of the Viscount towards the Catholics, was the reason why the churches and clerics were respected. But he is supposed to have been sent to fan the flame of religious discontent in England.
Madrid, 20th February 1596 [m.v.].
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 548. Agostino Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The preparations for the defence of this kingdom seem to have been relaxed during these last few days, either owing to his Majesty's illness or owing to the news from England. It is reported that there are no great preparations going on in that country. The Queen, on hearing of the disaster to his Majesty's fleet, concluded that he could do her no harm this year.
During the last few days there has been an alarm lest the English should attempt something against the Indies instead of attacking this kingdom, in spite of the insistence of Antonio Perez, who is doing all he can to arouse the Queen of England and the other allies to employ their forces against Spain. He represents the kingdom as disarmed and full of discontented soldiery.
Madrid, 21st February 1596. [m.v.]
Feb. 22. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 549. Piero Duodo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Legate has delayed his departure. The Pope, it seems, is resolved to apply himself in earnest to the negotiations for peace. If he is as warm about it as the importance of the negotiation merits, some good issue may be expected. In the meantime a truce for six months is on the point of being concluded.
I learned that after my departure from Rouen, an English Ambassador besought the King to turn his attention to the recovery of Calais; the King replied that this was not the proper opportunity; whereupon the Ambassador added “Well, then, will your Majesty allow my Mistress to engage her own forces in this enterprise and capture the place for herself?” The King answered, “Certainly not. And if she goes there, I will call out my troops to stop her.” “Then” said the Ambassador, “your Majesty is content to see Calais in the hands of Spain rather than of my Mistress.” “No” replied the King, “but I wish to carry out the enterprise myself, at my own time; and I hope soon to have the place.” And indeed they seem to be more occupied by this scheme than with anything else; for if Calais were recovered the rest which Spain holds would be of small account. (Dopo la mia partita da Roano ho inteso che un Ambasciatore d'Inghilterra ha fatta instanza a sua, Maestà perche volesse disponer di far Vimpresa di Cales et che il Rè gli rispondesse non esser al presente il modo (? momenta) di farlo. A questo esser stato soggiunto dall' Ambasciatore, Adunque V. Maestà si contenti che la mia Regina vi impieghi le sue forze et se l'acquisti per se. Replicò il Rè Questo no; et se vi andrà adunarò le mie genti per impedirla. Adunque, disse l'Ambasciatore, V. Maestà ama che Cales resti più tosto in mano de' Spagnoli che delta mia patrona; Non, aggiunse il Rè, ma voglio far io l'impresa quando io potrò, et spero di ricuperarlo ben presto. A questa impresa pare in effetto che più pensino che ad ogni altra, per esser tutti grandamente interessati; oltre che quando questa piazza fosse recuperata tutto il resto che tengono li Spagnoli su le frontiere non sarebbe di gran momento.)
Parigi, 22nd February 1597.
[Italian; deciphered.]