Venice: May 1592

Pages 26-37

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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May 1592

May 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 63. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Until the Duke of Parma arrived the King had no other object than the siege of Rouen. The Duke of Parma spent four days over the siege of Caudebec, which he captured, and this has allowed time ƒor all the nobility of this country to join his Majesty. Thus reinforced he resolved to fight the enemy. He pushed rapidly forward and surrounded the whole hostile army in Yvetot (Affettot). The Duke of Parma will either be starved into surrender or will be forced to cut his way out. In the meantime his Majesty has dislodged the Dukes of Mayenne and Guise from les Tôtes (Juitot et Liuitot), and they have taken refuge in the camp of the Duke of Parma.
Chartres, 1st May 1592.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 64. Matheo Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Sciavus is by nature a lover of peace; and many think that the negotiations for a truce with Spain will be resumed. He hopes to draw great gain from the negotiations, but unless equally large presents are made in the Serraglio the Spanish will not be admitted, as the Grand Signor is resolved to have his share of the booty which used to be the perquisite of the Grand Vizir only.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 4th May 1592.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 65. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The people of Rouen launched a galeass with which they intended to protect the ships which were coming up from Havre-de-Grace with provisions. It had not sailed very far before it was attacked and captured by the English with its officers and soldiers.
Chartres, 10th May 1592.
[Italian ; deciphered.]
May 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 66. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in France to the Doge and Senate.
The King's forces have been augmented from all sides. He has done his best to cut off the Duke of Parma's retreat into Flanders.
In this he has succeeded, for after making himself master of Pont Audemer (Pondormi), he crossed the river and the Duke will now be forced to make a long detour. Besides, with the help of the English, he has been able to prevent provisions from reaching the Duke from Havre-de-Grace or Honfleur (Omplur).
This has induced the Duke of Mayenne to re-open negotiations for peace.
Chartres, 11th May 1592.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 67. Matheo Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ragusan Ambassadors bearing the annual tribute are sending despatches to their government by special messenger; I take the opportunity to send this under cover to the Count of Curzola in order to relate what has happened in a house adjoining the Embassy owing to the dangerous habits of the government
With the last despatches which I received came many letters addressed to private individuals, and in one of these for the Pietro di Grassi, a Venetian merchant, were letters for M. de Lancome (fn. 1) Ambassador of the late King Henry of France, who, after the death of that Sovereign, continued to represent the Crowsn of France with credentials from the Guises, and with the title of Ambassador, though he was not really so, for on the death of the King the Grand Vizir suspended the salary which actual Ambassadors are in the habit of receiving from the Porte.
All the same M. de Lancome was treated by everyone as an Ambassador. Among the many abuses at the Porle is this, that little distinction is drawn between Ambassadors and Agents. The letters from Venice—I know not from whom they came—brought a bill of exchange for three thousand two hundred sequins for M. de Lancome, endorsed as payable by Messrs. Pasqualin Leoni, and drawn by Baglioni against moneys received, in Rome by M. de Dreax (Drù), Ambassador of France.
The news of this remittance soon spread and came to the ears of the English Ambassador and of M. de Breves, (fn. 2) a near relation of de Lancome's, but a follower of Navarre. The English Ambassador went to the Capudan Pasha and told him that this money came from Rome, and added, from the Pope; and mixed up this business with the affair of the Spanish spy recently arrested.
The Capudan, in a fury, sent chavasses to de Lancome bidding him come at once to the Arsenal, where the Capudan was, and ordering him to bring the bill of exchange, or to send it. De Lancome replied with his usual impetuosity, which from his first coming has won him the name of madman, refusing point blank either to go to the Arsenal or to send the bill of exchange, and adding that he had only one superior here and that was Sultan Murad.
The Capudan sent again but with no better result. He thereupon went to the Sultan's secretary and to the Grand Vizir, who was on bad terms with the Frenchman because de Lancome had neither visited him nor made him any present, as indeed no more had he to Ferrad Pasha. These three petitioned the Sultan for leave to use force. The day before the Divan the Dragoman of the French Embassy was arrested, and after the Divan the Grand Vizir and the Capudan withdrew to the Sultan's kiosk and sent for de Lancome. He excused himself on the ground that his suite was not ready. When the Pashas received this answer they sent a larger number of chavasses to tell de Lancome that they were waiting for him, and with orders to use force. But de Lancome hid himself in a certain chamber and was not found. The chavasses carried off instead a friar, the chaplain, who was put in prison. De Lancome thinking that the fury of his enemies was overpassed, stayed quietly at home in perfect confidence. But suddenly he saw in the distance a multitude moving towards his house. The Ambassador resolved at once to offer no resistance, and hoping to gain time, he and the secretary and some few others took to flight. They climbed, with the help of ladders, into an unoccupied house. The Turks, unable to capture the Ambassador, set a guard over the house. They drove out a woman and her child, and arrested his nephew and his servants. The Grand Vizir declared that his goods were confiscated as a rebellious fugitive; and this was interpreted by the mob as a license to steal whatever they could. A large number of chavasses and a great crowsd came up to the Embassy and on the pretence of making an inventory all the Ambassador's goods were broken or stolen, and everything remained in the hands of the Turks. They found upwards of four thousand ducats worth of jewels and silver, and perhaps as much again in furniture.
All this took place on the day and at the hour when I was to have an audience of the Grand Vizir. The event delayed the Vizir and I was forced to wait a long time at his divan. The rumour ran that all this had happened to the Venetian Ambassador and to the Venetian Embassy, the French Embassy being partly forgotten owing to the long retirement of the French A mbassador, and undoubtedly owing to the greed of the Turks, there was a risk that pillaging might extend to the neighbouring houses. I returned in time to see part of the spectacle. I have no sympathy either for the recklessness of those who directed the sack nor yet for the French in their losses.
The English Ambassador and de Breves employed a French renegade as their agent throughout this whole business. He is a thoroughly bad character; when he was lately in Rome he so completely insinuated himself into the good graces of Cardinal Santa Severina that the Cardinal not only imparted to him the secret information of the Inquisition on the subject of Turkey, but also about the Christian Powers. The Cardinal's confidence in him was so great that he obtained, for him most ample and favourable recommendations from six illustrious inquisitors; these I have read to my wonder and amazement. This fellow reports-many instances of the secret understanding between de Lancome and the Spanish Ministers and the Spanish Ambassador in Venice; but I hold all this to be his own invention.
This Frenchman who conducted the business had orders to take all the papers from, the French Embassy to the Grand Vizir, to whose house were summoned many Dragomans to translate them. Throughout the whole affair the English Ambassador lent his support and they entrust everything to him.
The unfortunate de Lancome, when night fell, withdrew to the house of his relation but foe, who took him in. But shortly after the French renegade, the agent in all the mischief, arrived, also, and de Lancome in terror stole away secretly and betook himself to a vineyard where Mattheca, your Serenity's Dragoman, lives. His relation, however, was not long in following him up, and together they took council on the situation. As it was impossible to leave Constantinople in safety they resolved to go to the secretary to the Sultan, and to beg for his intercession with the Grand Vizir. The secretary, however, sent de Lancome on to the Capudan Pasha, excusing himself on the plea that such were the Sultan's orders. In the meantime a proclamation was issued offering a reward for any information about de Lancome. De Breves accompanied the Ambassador to the house of the Capudan. The Ambassador spoke at length, but received hardly any answer; for the Capudan was beside himself with rage. The Ambassador had hoped to be restored to his own house, or at least to be sent to the house of the Grand Vizir, but instead he was obliged to go to the dwelling of the Subaggi of Pera, an agent of the Capudan's. He was not left there for long, however ; for the papers seized at his house made it clear that the bill of exchange was for the amount of five thousand carlines, sent by the Viceroy of Naples. When the Grand Vizir learned this he sent and took the Ambassador out of the house of the Subaggi and put him into the common prison, where only the vilest malefactors are kept. There the Ambassador lay one whole day and a night. The English Ambassador and de Breves had to intercede for him and have procured that he should be consigned to the care of a chavass, in whose hands he now is.
They say that the end of the matter will be this, that such of his property as can be recovered will be restored to him and he will be handed over to the English Ambassador and de Breves for the purpose of being sent to the King of Navarre, though these will let him go where he will, on board a ship of Toulon in Provence.
M. de Breves came to recount the whole affair to me. He endeavoured to show that his action had ended in good, not in harm. He begged two favours of me; one was to say a word to the French renegade to prevent him from further persecution of de Lancome; the other that I should write a letter of recommendation to your Serenity on his behalf. I think his intention is to remain here as Ambassador for his King, and for that purpose he will avail himself of the support of the Porte. The Ministers do not see that the sole object of de Breves and the Englishman is to drive out of Constantinople anyone who can in any way thwart their policy which is directed solely to the support of Navarre, the departure of a fleet next year, and the manipulation of the Porte to meet their wishes.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 11th May 1592.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 68. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I have already explained how the Duke of Parma is besieged in his entrenchments. The rumour that the Prince was wounded means that not Prince Ranuccio, (fn. 3) but the Duke is the sufferer. The wound, though it has caused fever, has not as yet prevented the Duke from being carried about the camp in a chair, but in view of his bad health it is considered to be dangerous to his life. Both Spanish and French are surprised to see the Duke besieged by the King three days after his supposed defeat, and the raising of the siege of Rouen. There is great confusion. The French are impatient at being lodged in the open, without any necessaries, and in water up to their bellies owing to the continual rain, they declare they would rather fight and die honourably than perish in such misery. The Spanish declare that they have been led into this trap on purpose. The Duke promises to free them honourably either by an engagement or by a retreat. As provisions are scarce he sent two thousand men across the river; they brought in a little grain; but for the future, owing to the dispositions made by the King, they will be deprived of that resource.
The Duke has mounted two pieces of artillery on platforms outside his palissades, and he intended to make a feint in that direction, hoping to draw the King under the fire of the guns; but he has been advised to abandon this scheme.
The King is lodged in a strong position, one league away from his enemy.
Chartres, 12th May 1592.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 69. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The obvious intention of the Duke of Parma to refuse a battle has caused the King to draw nearer to the enemy's camp, so that by a closer siege he may force the Spaniards to accept action. The other day the Duke endeavoured to capture and fortify a little hill whence he could bombard the King's camp; but his Majesty immediately sent forward two thousand French and one thousand five hundred English who easily expelled the Spanish, unsupported as they were, and destroyed the fort which had been begun. The Duke did not support his troops because he was afraid of being gradually drawn into a general action.
It is thought that the Spanish cannot maintain themselves for long, they are in great straits for provisions.
The Prince of Condé is besieging Caen in Brittany; and the Queen of England has sent two thousand infantry to keep the Duke of Mercœur in check should he attempt, with his Spanish troops, to relieve the place. If the siege of Caen is successful the King of Spain will be forced to send more troops there.
The King has caused Pont Audemer to be occupied, a sign that he is convinced that the Duke will attempt to pass the Seine at that point.
Chartres, 14th May 1592.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 15. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 70. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Duke of Parma, finding that he could not maintain his position owing to the absolute want of all provisions, gave orders to strike camp by night and march without sound of trumpet or tuck of drum. The King was instantly informed, and mounting his horse set out with few followers to reconnoitre. Having observed the order of the enemy's march a gun was fired as alarm signal to his whole camp. At daybreak all were in the saddle, and would have been earlier had not the night been so dark and stormy that his Majesty thought it prudent not to risk his army in a woody country full of ditches and fit for ambuscades. Orders were given to concentrate at the Moulin de Clères, so as to block the road to Rouen, for at that point he heard that the enemy were repairing the bridge over the Seine. The King himself with six hundred horse hung upon the rear guard of the enemy. On entering the abandoned camp he slew a few Spaniards and seized a large number of waggons, cannon balls, and other arms.
The Duke did not advance more than a league towards Caudebec where he hoped to cross the Seine under cover of that place. To relieve himself of baggage and munitions it seems that he sent them to Honfleur and Fecamp. The King presses him continually and the Spanish have been unable to form a fixed camp more than twice.
Chartres, 15th May 1592.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 71. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Duke of Parma made a forced march, and in company with the Duke of Mayenne and the Duke of Guise he entered Caudebec. Owing to the smallness of the place he made the rest of his army take up their quarters in the villages of Ronzon and Valliquerville ((?) Sanvaleriglieck). The King at once attacked those positions and captured them, after slaying many Spaniards and seizing much baggage.
The Duke of Parma's provisions reach him from Normandy. They are brought in small ships. But as his Majesty has placed two companies in Pont Audemer it will be easy to prevent the people of Honfleur from scouring the country for supplies.
If the King does not win some victory over the Duke of Parma he will, it is thought likely, lay siege again to Rouen.
The chiefs of the League are anxious for peace in view of the desperate state of the country, but it is not easy to see the lines upon which an accord can be reached. One of the chief impediments is the obstruction throwsn in the way by interested parties who draw a profit from the confusion.
Some friars have been found in the King's camp, it is said their object was to assassinate the King. His Majesty set them at liberty as he holds that his own goodness and his line of conduct ought to be sufficient to ensure his safety everywhere.
Chartres, 16th May 1592.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 72. Giovanni Francesco Marchesini, Secretary to the Venetian Embassy in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
I enclose news from Paris sent by a Member of the League to a Cardinal in Rome.
M. Landriano supports Guise rather than Mayenne, of whom he gives a very unfavourable account. He says that Mayenne is hated by the people and that his forces dwindle daily. On the other hand, the forces of the Duke of Parma are increasing. The King of Navarre continues before Rouen merely to please the Queen of England. Landriano has greatly comforted the Pope by affirming that for every ten Huguenots in France there are one hundred Catholics. The Pope has been invited by the Spanish to name a Catholic King in France; and the choice seems to be confined to two persons only, Guise and Mayenne, the first is desired by the people, but both are abhorred by the nobility. It seems as yet that his Holiness has no desire to take part in the matter, though the Duke of Guise has sent the Abbe d'Orbeque to Rome to negotiate in this affair and to ask for help in money. A secretary of the Duke of Lorraine is also here in search of money, with no success, however. His Holiness will only spend fifteen thousand crowsns a month on France, and that only if the Duke of Parma returns to the relief of Rouen. The secretary declares that his Master has entirely abandoned all idea of becoming King as he found that he was fed by words alone on all hands, and he promises to follow the Pope implicitly, only stipulating that the Prince elected shall be of the blood, though he objects to Navarre on the ground that he is not a Catholic.
Rome, 16th May 1592.
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 73. The Duke of Mayenne sent to the Parliament of Paris to declare that in spite of all rumours and proposals he had no intention of making peace.
The people of Rouen have risen in revolt and have declared that if the town is not succoured by Pentecost, they will surrender.
The visit of the Count of Soissons to the sister of Navarre was undertaken with a view to marrying her against her brother's wishes. He proposes to become a Catholic in the hope of thus arriving at the Crowsn.
Paris, 28th April.
May 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 74. Matheo Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The French Ambassador, de Lancome, has been consigned to the keeping of the English Ambassador and M. de Breves. The larger part of his goods have been restored to him and also his papers. He is to be sent to Venice on board an English ship which is lying at Chios, and handed over to M. de Maisse, French Ambassador to your Serenity, who will send him on to the King of France; at least, so I am informed by many persons.
While I was making up my mind to oppose this arrangement, being well aware how troublesome it would be to your Serenity, de Breves came to inform me that the English Ambassador had entrusted the whole affair to him. As he seemed to be seeking my advice, I said that it was to the interests of both himself and the English Ambassador to let de Lancome go free, for in this way the Englishman would have attained his end, and de Breves would have acted well for the service of the King while fulfilling the obligations of his relationship to de Lancome. De Breves promised to follow this advice, and said that he would put de Lancome on board a French ship. I imagine that de Lancome will land in Italy so as to avoid any places which hold for Navarre, to whom de Breves intended to write an account of all that he has done, and, with the help of the Porte, to ask the King for the appointment as his Ambassador; but he has changed his mind and is now resolved to go to France in person. He will take with him the most important papers which are prejudicial to his Majesty and these will prove the secret intelligence with Spain. He does not wish to land at Ragusa on account of differences which he has with the towns-people, but proposes to disembark at Cattaro; and he has asked me, in view of the importance of the affair, to secure him against the sanitary officers' quarantine. I replied that this was out of the question, for whatever happened he would have to go through the quarantine at Venice. This answer he did not like. He has put off his journey and left the decision to the Turkish Ministers, and more particularly to the Sultan's secretary.
De Breves has asked me for letters of recommendation to your Serenity and also begs for your support with the King to obtain what he desires. I replied that as far as I was concerned he might count on my support, but that your Serenity rarely wrote to the King of Navarre.
As a mark of confidence, in appearance at least, de Breves brought to show me a minute of a letter written by de Lancome to the Duke of Mayenne in February last, unless I am in error, and he sketched the contents of many others. He is well informed on the subject, for the Grand Vizir showed first to the English Ambassador and then to de Breves all the papers which were sequestrated at the French Embassy and translated by the Imperial Dragomans.
The substance of the letters communicated to me was this, that chavasses had been sent to Ragusa to bring the Spanish Ambassador to Constantinople, but that the Venetians and English were doing all they could to prevent his arrival, or, at least, that, if he reached the Porte, he should not conclude a truce; for which object they offered two hundred thousand ducats, being well aware that if the Grand Signor were secured against the forces of Spain he could do as he pleased with the Venetians, from whom the Turks received more damage in time of peace than from any other power, for the Turkish trade was destroyed by the Uscocks, who were in fact the Venetians. The only remedy for this evil was the capture of Candia, and for that purpose a large fleet would sail next year.
De Lancome went on to complain that owing to your Serenity's action the last three or four posts had brought him no despatches.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 16th May 1592.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 75. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
After the Duke of Parma's position had been repeatedly assaulted by the King with very great loss to the Spanish, the Duke unable to resist the King's forces and the famine in his own camp, sent for as many boats as possible from. Rouen, and embarking the flower of his cavalry and infantry, he crossed the Seine. He left his baggage and the rest of his army to the mercy of the King's soldiers, in the hope that if they surrendered at once they might be spared; but that is not probable.
The Duke is lodged to-night five leagues from here. He will cross the Seine at St. Cloud, as the Parisians will not allow him to enter the city. He has taken three pieces of artillery out of Dreux, for without artillery there is not a place so small but that it would refuse him lodging.
The King meanwhile is pushing on to Mantes with all speed, hoping to engage the Spaniards before they can gain a place of safety, for in their present evil plight there is not a place that will give them shelter, and so their only safety is in retreat.
Caudebec has been recaptured, and the English ships have sailed up to Rouen, in which city is the Duke of Mayenne, with a wound in his arm. And so ends the relief of Rouen.
Chartres, 18th May 1592.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 24. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 76. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Duke of Parma with not more than eight thousand men, in great disorder, passed close by here. He has lost his best officers and troops in the actions of Goetot and Razon. When he drew near Paris he made a bridge of boats at Garenne, having learned that the Parisians would refuse to let him pass The Duke's forced marches have caused many of his troops to be left behind and cut to bits by the soldiers which were in Paris on their way to join the King.
The King has left the Marshal d'Aumont at the siege of Honfleur, after capturing which he is to proceed to recover the other small villages round about Rouen. The King himself is marching on St. Denis with a view of cutting off the retreat of the Duke into Flanders.
The people of Paris came out to meet the King as he was passing by there with the intention of broaching the question of peace. The King requested them to consult with the Deputies as he was occupied with the conduct of the campaign. It seemed that the Sorbonne would not admit the election of an equal number of Huguenots and Catholics upon the commission to discuss religious matters; but now that the King's reputation is increasing daily I hear that it will yield on this point.
Chartres, 24th May 1592.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 25. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 77. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Deputies of Paris have found in the King's Deputies such a favourable disposition towards peace that it appears that nothing can now prevent its accomplishment.
It is well known that great offers have been made to the Duke of Soissons to detach him from his excellent resolution; and that the Duke of Parma has promised that the King of Spain will pay annually two millions in gold to the nobility, and will maintain fifteen thousand infantry and five thousand horse if the French will declare the Infanta Queen of France, and hinting that in that case a marriage between her and the Duke of Soissons might be arranged.
The Duke of Mayenne is in Rouen, and declares that the Spanish forces are no match for the King. He is in favour of peace.
Now that the Spanish are in retreat it is hoped that both parties will apply themselves seriously to accomplish this end.
There is news from England that the King of Scotland has sent an Ambassador to the Queen; it is said that his mission is to obtain for his master the title of Duke of Lancaster, which would be equivalent to naming him heir to the throne. It is thought improbable that he will succeed owing to the dislike which all great Princes have to naming their successor.
Chartres, 25th May 1592.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 26. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 78. Giovanni Dolfin, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Dieppe has declared itself neutral, and many English and Dutch ships in that port have set sail being suspicious of that neutrality.
Prague, 26th May 1592.
May 30. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 79. Matheo Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
I have already informed your Serenity that M. de Lancome was almost at liberty, having been removed from the care of the chavass and placed in the custody of M. de Breves, on the parole of that gentleman and of the English Agent or Ambassador. They have been planning to embark him on a French vessel and to allow him to go where he likes. While de Lancome was waiting to sail he resumed all his old haughtiness and his violent manner, as soon as he saw that his life was safe. In the meantime the Sultan's secretary has sent to the Englishman and to de Breves to say that the Mufti, who has just resigned, though a relation is also his enemy and has attacked him by declaring that de Lancome, though a rebel against the King, has obtained his liberty by bribing the secretary. He therefore feared that de Lancome when once free might make a declaration to this effect in writing, which the secretary's enemies could use to damage him, and he required either some assurance that de Lancome would be handed over to Navarre, or that he should be kept here till orders came from France. They replied that they would guarantee the arrival of letters from the King containing his acknowledgment of what had been done, but that they could promise no more than that, on account of various difficulties which they pointed out. The secretary showed himself dissatisfied, and then they came to this conclusion, that de Breves should either go in person or send to the King of Navarre, and that de Lancome should be placed in custody of Sciavus Pasha until the King's answer arrived.
De Breves came to me and told me that he proposed to employ a Mollah of the Mosque of Sultan Suleiman, a person of confidence with whom he had acquaintance owing to the fact that he had purchased the freedom of one of the Mollah's relations, who was a prisoner in Malta. De Breves intended to propose that the Sultan's secretary should allow de Lancome to travel to France in company of the Mollah; but if that were refused he would suggest that de Lancome should be sent to Ragusa until an answer was returned from France. This was de Breves's middle course between the two extreme proposals, one that de Lancome should be sent to Algiers, the other that he should be sent to Venice in custody of a chavass to be consigned to M. de Maisse, French Ambassador to your Serenity.
I must not conceal from you that the Grand Vizir has been heard to declare that they intend to take no more notice of this madman, and that he may go or stay as best pleases him. By accident I met de Lancome in the Monastery of St Peter, where we walked together for a long time, and he told me all that had befallen him, most of which was due to his natural disposition. He tried to make me believe that the night he passed in the public prison his execution was ordered. I also gathered that he thought this conduct was inspired by a desire to revenge the insult which the Porte conceives that it has undergone in the affair of the Spanish truce. He declared that he was the good servant of Spain and would die to support the Spanish party. On the subject of his departure he says he will not go away except upon violence and compulsion. In that case he will touch at Nice to leave his family and his property, and will then proceed to Spain to report all to the King. He further said that he was leaving behind large debts contracted for the good of Christendom, and that his creditors were willing to rely on his word. I know that this is a fiction.
He told me of the difficulty raised by Leoni about the payment of the bill of exchange on account of a previous bill which had gone astray. Leoni wishing to prove to the Ambassador that the obstacle was not the absence of the money, proposed to bring it all to the Venetian Embassy in four sealed bags. I consented; but next day I learned that some Florentines claimed against this money on account of a bill for eight hundred sequins drawn in the reign of Henry III. These Florentines rely upon the support of the English Ambassador. I sent to warn de Lancome of my suspicions that the Florentines would apply to the Grand Vizir, and to tell him that, as the money could not lie here under a Turkish sequestration, I should send it back to Leoni. Leoni sent at once and recovered the money. The English Ambassador sent to inquire about the above sequestration, and I replied that I intended to have nothing to do with the affair. The Englishman then presented an order to Leoni which he refused to receive as not being under the English jurisdiction; but while reading it, Leoni saw that de Lancome was named Giacomo, while in the letter of credit he was called Lodovico, by error of those who drew the bill in Rome or in Venice. Leoni then declared that he would not honour the bill unless ordered to do so by a sentence issued by me as his judge. De Lancome, however, has not moved me for such a sentence; contenting himself with protesting the bill. From this your Serenity will gather that he is not altogether displeased and that he means to make this business an excuse for staying on here.
I have dwelt at length on this matter in case de Lancome should report to Rome or elsewhere.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 30th May 1592.
[Italian; deciphered.]


  • 1. Jacques de Savari Lancosme; his Embassy is described as “l'une des plus malen contreuses et des plus nuisibles pour les entèrêts de la France “ cf. Charrière,” Negociations de la France dans le Levant,” and D. C. Leva, “Paolo Paruta,” I. p. 249, note 2.
  • 2. Francois de Savari, Sieur de Breves, nephew of Jacques de Savari Lancosme.
  • 3. Ranuccio Farnese, son of Alessandro, Duke of Parma.