Venice: April 1597

Pages 264-267

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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April 1597

April 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 565. Piero Duodo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Spanish had secret intelligences inside Montreuil, but their design failed in spite of the fact that, thanks to a sergeant whom they had suborned, they succeeded in penetrating some way into the town. The attempt on Aras was unsuccessful.
Paris, 5th April 1597.
[Italian; deciphered.]
April 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 566. Agostino Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
News has been brought by a small ship which left England about the middle of last month, and reached Seville in eleven days, that the Queen of England's fleet has put out to sea. This news has thrown Lisbon into the usual panic and confusion, and many women have begun to leave the city, and the militia levies are being pushed on.
They say that Don Pedro de Toledo with his ten galleys of the Italian squadron and about sixteen of the Spanish has left the port of St. Mary near Seville and has gone to Lisbon for coastguard service. It is expected that a fleet of forty sail will suffice to defend the shores if the English appear in these waters.
The agent to the Duke of Mercœur tells me that they strongly suspect that the English fleet will go to Brittany; and that might easily prove true if the accord between the King of France and the Duke took place. The English will do all they can to expel the Spanish from that province in order to deprive them of the opportunity for harassing England. News has been received that the English have made themselves masters of the island of Sta. Marta, where the pearl fisheries are, and also of Sta. Margarita, both near San Domingo. These places will be of use to them should they wish to advance upon Havana and Portorico, an advance which would not be difficult if they maintain their present lordship of the sea (il qual progresso non li riuscirebbe difficile se continovassero come al presente a signoreggiare il mare.)
Madrid, 10th April 1597.
April 11. Original Rubricario, Venetian Archives. 567. Girolamo Capello, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The Sultan has written a letter to the Republic in which he announces his victories; it is couched in the same terms as the letter to the Queen of England.
April 12. Original Rubricario, Venetian Archives. 568. Girolamo Capello, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Alexander the Vaivode of Walachia, who preceded Vaivode Michael, has been hung. He was dressed in velvet and gold. The charge against him was that he had plotted against the Sultan, and stirred the Cossacks to an attack. But the common opinion is that his enemies have murdered him by means of forged letters.
All those who have no permanent domicile in Constantinople are to leave the city within three days; the reason some say is the dearth of provisions, others that this is a way of raising money; others that the waste ground may be brought into cultivation.
The Patriarch of Constantinople has died of colic in two days; Miletio, Patriarch of Alexandria, has taken his place.
April 19. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 569. Piero Duodo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The King has sent an agent to England to demand that the English troops, which were despatched to Rouen, and should number two thousand, but are now reduced to seven hundred, should be made up to their full number and be maintained here beyond the six months stipulated for in the treaty, which expired on the 16th. The King will encounter some difficulty, for it was agreed that at the expiry of the six months his Majesty should pay these troops, a thing he is unable to do; and the Queen is not very well satisfied at the King's refusal to allow her to attack Calais. The King's reason was that if he allowed the English to come in he would find himself confronted with two enemies instead of one, and perhaps the English, on account of their ancient claims to the kingdom of France and the support they would find among the heretics, might prove more serious foes than the Spanish.
In England the Queen has about one hundred and twenty ships, including twenty belonging to the States of Holland. They will strike at Spain, where they will go with the intention of remaining some time, as they are quite aware of the error they committed in Cadiz last year. The actual point of attack is not known.
The Irish rebellion under the Earl of Tyrone is going on more actively than ever. The English would seem to have little fear of Spanish arms in Ireland at present for they have heard that the plague is raging in the Spanish fleets at Corunna and Ferol.
The Fuggers have refused to advance the three millions of gold for Flanders.
Paris, 19th April 1597.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 19. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 570. Agostino Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Preparations for resisting the English fleet are actively carried on.
The Fuggers have announced that they cannot accept his Majesty's terms.
I enclose a report from a friend in Ferrol.
The Spanish have captured Amiens owing to the carelessness of the French.
Madrid, 19th April 1597.
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. Two days ago on this coast a vessel of S. Malo was captured. The crew confessed that it had been sent by the Queen of England to reconnoitre. They also report that the Queen has one hundred and fifty ships with fifteen thousand men on board; that S. Malo has manned fifty ships with four thousand sailors and five hundred soldiers to support England; that the King of Denmark has offered two hundred ships, for which the Queen had thanked him, but asked him to keep them for another occasion, as she had sufficient for the present.
We have here seventy ships and three galleons, the “St. Paul,” the “St. Peter,” and the “St. Bartholomew”; six galleons which brought ballast from Biscay, of from one to four hundred tons; three Ragusan and other four of four or three hundred tons; making in all sixteen men of war; the rest are hulks. On board the three Ragusans are four hundred Ragusan sailors; on board the royal ships one hundred and fifty. The crews of the hulks are hostile to the King.
There are eight thousand soldiers in cantonments, and that is al the force we have.
They have sent to Biscay and Portugal to raise sailors; but no one will serve; they fly to the mountains in spite of the fact that they are offered four or three pays in advance.
The Ragusans here are treated like slaves, toiling day and night, and without pay for the last seven or eight months. The Ministers place their hopes in them; but they declare that if the enemy appears they will go below to the ballast, for as they are not paid they will not fight. Some day or other they will rise.
Ferrol, 10th April 1597.
April 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 571. Piero Duodo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The King is living in great retirement; he is continuing his purge, and shows himself most anxious about the recent misfortunes; so much so that one day last week, when in conversation with M. de Sansi, he burst outSansi, Sansi, you and the Marshal de Bouillon advised this war, and your pernicious counsels are like to be the ruin of France. For myself, I know I shall be killed in battle, and my successor will 'punish you as you deserve.”
Paris, 23rd April 1597.
[Italian; deciphered.]
April 24 Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 572. Agostino Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Count of Fuentes has dismissed about sixty officers, and cashiered many others. The muster of troops continues in view of the expected appearance of the English fleet. They are afraid that, if it cannot force the passage into Ferrol and burn his Majesty's ships, it will sink vessels full of stones and blockade the Spaniards, and thus they will pursue their plan of campaign. It is not thought that they will have the courage to attempt any other method of attack, by landing men, for fear that the Adelantado might meanwhile sail to England. All the same, at Lisbon they say that the Spanish are disposed to entrench all the suburbs outside the walls. There is news that the Schereef is preparing troops to help the English. Off Ferrol sixty English ships have been sighted, and in Lisbon some English spies have been captured, who, they say, have confessed that they were sent to take soundings, and to discover the easiest entrance to that port.
Three Indiamen which left Lisbon have been captured by the English, and there is serious dread lest the three Indiamen, which were expected, have been lost.
Madrid, 24th April 1597.
April 26. Original Rubricario, Venetian Archives. 573. Girolamo Capello, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The brother of the Doctor Flangini, who is a person of the highest importance in the household of the Grand Vizir, has said that very likely the Sultan will go as far as Adrianople, perhaps further; in that case Flangini declares that the Venetian Ambassador would have to follow the Sultan as did the English.
There is no more talk of peace.
The English Ambassador is afraid that Dabri may have been ill-treated by Hassan, the Turkish commander.
No word of the fleet.
April 28. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 574. Francesco Vendramjn, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The Poles intend to send an Embassy to the Queen of England to complain of their navigation and commerce being stopped in countries belonging to the Spanish.
Prague, 28th April 1597.