Venice: May 1597

Pages 268-274

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 1597

May 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 575. Piero Duodo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The negotiations for a truce have fallen through. The King will not hear of it after the capture of Amiens.
The agent sent into England by the King has come back in company of an agent of the Queen, who has been Ambassador here on other occasions. The moment he arrived he went to see the King at St. Germains. As far as I can gather he is commissioned to say that the Queen, in the face of the Irish rebellion and the preparations in Spain, is quite unable to 'assist His Majesty. The King, however, still demands four thousand infantry, six cannons, and three thousand rounds of ammunition; and although his Ministers attempt to persuade him to accept less, he holds out for all or nothing.
There are serious differences between Holland and Zealand on the question of customs, and even a danger of an outbreak. The Queen has sent agents to attempt a pacification.
Paris, 3rd May 1597.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Enclosed in Despatch of May 5 from Prague. Copy of Original, Venetian Archives. 576. Letter from the English Ambassador in Constantinople to the Prince of Transylvania.
Ali, the Cavass, on his arrival in Belgrade was arrested and kept prisoner for a month by Hassan Pasha, so that your Excellency's letters took forty days to arrive, and lay twenty-two days here waiting a reply, for Hassan had reported so ill of the messenger as to endanger his head. I have been no bad friend in the saving of him, in pressing for an answer to your Excellency's letters and in persuading them to send back Ali the Cavass, for they intended to send another.
It is now necessary to send a person of confidence to treat about the peace, which I hope may succeed as we desire. If peace cannot be procured my opinion is that we should endeavour to conclude a suspension of arms for a whole year, and when that expires we may hope to renew it for three or four, and that in the interests of his Imperial Majesty. To favour this cause you will write to the Sultan, to the Grand Vizir, and to the Sultana Mother, called Vallida Sultana, to the Chief Eunuch, called Cazanfer Aga; these are the most important personages. It will be well to caress Husein Cavass and to send him here as a guarantee of our sincerity.
Mehmet Cavass is held here for a renegade, and therefore can be an instrument for mischief only.
If, to please me, you will release the Jew doctor of Sinan Pasha, I shall be obliged.
When talking to the Grand Vizir as to the prospects of peace on the side of your Excellency and of his Imperial Majesty, the Vizir said that peace with the Emperor could be concluded on the basis of the status quo, and with your Excellency on the basis of the status quo ante. You however will use your prudence to obtain the best terms you can, and on the arrival of your agent we shall employ all means to further your intent.
Ali Cavass deserves to be well rewarded, for, apart from the risk he ran, he has rendered faithful service.
You may send back my servant, but if it strikes you that his heart is not sincere and clear, do what you think best.
Pray communicate my remarks to the Emperor, and when your agent arrives I will enter more widely, by word, of mouth, upon certain secrets of high importance to your Excellency and to his Majesty.
Enclosed in Despatch of May 5 from Prague. Copy of Original, Venetian Archives. 577. Letter from the Prince of Transylvania to the English Ambassador at the Court of the Sultan of Turkey.
Illustrious and most honoured Lord, All health and recommendations of goodwill. We have received your Lordship's letters, from which we clearly gather the inclination of your mind toward us; in return we offer our love, benevolence, and desire to please. In accordance with the wishes of yourself, the Sultan, and the Vizirs, we have sent to the Sublime Porte the Duke Martin Beniayi, gentleman of our court, and we have given him orders to wait upon your Lordship and explain his commission. We beg your Lordship to use your influence with the Sultan and the Pashas to secure the speedy return of our agent with an answer and a safe conduct for an Ambassador to the Sublime Porte. In doing this your Lordship will be rendering us a great service which we will repay with every term of benevolence and gratitude.
Hussein Cavass and your Lordship's servant are honourably treated by us, and we will send them back along with our Ambassador. Ali Cavass is dear to us for the risks he ran for our sake and for his faithful and diligent service.
As to the Jew doctor, we shall gladly send our answer by our Ambassador.
We pray you to assist and favour in every way our agent.
Alba Julia, 17th April 1597.
May 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 578. Piero Duodo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The King, seeing that he could look for no help from England, and that if the enemy grew much stronger on the frontier, he would be quite unable to resist, is now, by the advice of all his Ministers, turning his mind once again to thoughts of peace
Paris, 10th May 1597.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 10. Original Rubricario, Venetian Archives. 579. Girolamo Capello, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The Sultan's eldest son is dead, and the Sultan is grown so fat that they say he will make no more.
May 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 580. Agostino Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The muster is progressing, and they hope that the troops contributed by the various cities will soon be ready, though the nine hundred men which Madrid furnishes are not assembled yet, in spite of the fact that for six months they have been beating the drum. The trades have been compelled to furnish a certain sum of money, and it has been necessary to imprison some of their leaders, who refused to submit to this innovation.
In Lisbon they are in great alarm lest, if the enemy appear, they should be unable to prevent the sack of the city. Many are conveying away and hiding their most precious goods. Others, in view of the fact that the Adelantado remains at Ferrol and leaves Lisbon empty, conclude that there is no ground for alarm; although his absence may be caused by want of sailors and ships. The governors of Lisbon have resolved to finish the chain which was begun last year, although such a step serves to increase the panic. It is thought that this chain may do more harm than good, for it will not be strong enough to resist the shock of the enemies' great ships, and once broken the population would all the sooner lose courage to resist. They are obliged to use force in enrolling troops, otherwise the tuck of drum would prove of no avail. In Lisbon only four thousand men will be ready in addition to those they are raising elsewhere. To provide money for the said militia the governors of Portugal, in the King's name, have compelled the chamber of commerce (casa della contrattatione) to contribute two hundred thousand ducats, upon which, however, they are to receive six per cent. per annum; this two hundred thousand is to include the eighty thousand which individual merchants promised for last year.
It has been resolved to protect the city of Cadiz with a curtain and two bastions in front, and on the flank by certain redoubts, but the first stone is not laid yet.
At the mouth of the port of Ferrol the Adelantado has stationed four of his oldest ships to break the fury of the enemy's attack and also to keep an eye on their movements. He has sent out three light vessels which, in the dearth of good sailors, have been manned by Ragusans.
There are rumours, which are hardly credited, that rebellions against the Queen have broken out in England and Ireland. The English in the West Indies are drawing towards New Carthage, and twenty-four other English ships have sailed for the Straits of Magellan.
The men who left last year to conquer the gold coast of Peru partly died on the way, partly were slain by the Indians, who it was understood freely admit English and French, who taught them how to fight like Europeans.
The Schereef is hourly increasing his forces, which, the Ministers say, are to be employed against his enemies among the Moors. Others declare that he has gone to El Arisch with large supplies of munition, and they fear that he has understandings with the Queen of England.
Two ships, laden with munitions for Ferrol, have sunk in a storm off the port of Lisbon, and only a few men of the crew escaped.
Madrid, 10th May 1597.
May 16. Original Minute of the Senate, Venetian Archives. 581. To the Queen of England.
Her Majesty was pleased at our request to cause the arrest of Ottavio Negro, some months ago. Ottavio Negro is an outlaw for grave crimes. Thank the Queen, and beg that Ottavio may be kept in sure custody, and that he may be examined and questioned in the usual way.
As to the Queen's request that the Republic should prevent its ships from going to Spain, her Majesty will see at once what a loss it is to commerce to change the direction of trade.
As regards her Majesty's request in the case of certain English merchants and Michael Loch, as a special favour to her Majesty we have given orders that the whole question be submitted to judges of her appointment.
We shall always embrace every opportunity of doing anything to give her Majesty pleasure.
May 17. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 582. Piero Duodo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
There is said to be an equal desire for peace on the side of France and of Spain; and if the King would agree to make peace without including the Queen of England and the States of Holland, the Spanish would give up all they hold in this kingdom.
Paris, 17th May 1597.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 583. Agostino Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
A few days ago there was a rumour that six leagues off Cape St. Vincent a number of English ships had been sighted. As nothing more was heard of them it is supposed that the rumour is false, though the more speculative say that they may very well be English on their way to join the Moors. Those Moorish troops who approached Tangiers went there, it seems, to feed their horses on the young corn so that the garrison might not avail themselves of it. That is a devastation which the Moors execute every year.
A vessel has reached Setubal from London. She sailed on the fifteenth of last month, and reports that there are ready and under sail one hundred ships, that is forty from Holland and Zealand, thirty belonging to the Queen, and thirty to private owners. The Queen intends to attack Spain, as she is afraid of being molested in her own dominions. All the same, news brought by another vessel declares that about one hundred ships, in three squadrons, have sailed straight for the Indies The King of Denmark, we hear, has refused to join his forces with those of England in an attack on Spain, as he draws great profit from the friendship of that Crown; he says he was deceived last year, for he lent his ships for the protection of the English Channel and Islands, and not to harass the Spanish kingdom.
Madrid, 20th May 1597.
May 24. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 584. Piero Duodo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Nuncio had a secret audience of the King. His Majesty insisted that the Queen of England and the States of Holland must be included. The Nuncio said, that his Holiness would not in that case deal with the matter at all. The King said, “Very well, we will deal with that separately.”
Paris, 24th May 1597.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 25. Original Rubricario, Venetian Archives. 585. Girolamo Capello, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Two agents, one from Transylvania and the other from Walachia, have arrived here; their mission is merely to ask for passports for the Ambassadors who will be sent to negotiate the peace.
The English Ambassador has received letters from the Vaivode of Transylvania thanking him for the trouble he has taken in the negotiations for peace. The secretary of that Prince, however, writes to say that the conclusion of peace while the Emperor is in his present state and on condition that Transylvania shall return to the status quo ante is very improbable; for the Emperor has taken Erlau and Raab, and claims the restitution of Temesvar on payment of twelve thousand crowns tribute and on condition that Walachia and Bogdania should be governed by their own Princes.
The departure of the Sultan is put off for the present, and they say he will only go as far as Adrianople in case of urgent need. The Patriarch of Constantinople has declined to go to Walachia. In his place an agent called “the Duke” has been sent. He left four days before the arrival of the two agents mentioned above.
The Patriarch declined this mission chiefly because he doubted if the Turks would keep their word to Michael. The troops in the larger part have been paid in false coin; the soldiers exclaimed against the treasurer, and an order was issued forbidding any one to refuse these coins.
May 31. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 586. Piero Duodo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
After receiving your Serenity's despatches of the 10th inst., I asked for an audience, which was at once granted me, for the afternoon of the 29th. I found the King in bed with a slight cold.
After presenting your Excellencies' letters, I went on to say that nothing was more grateful to the Serene Republic than to see the way in which his Majesty communicated all his most intimate troubles; that the Republic rejoiced that France under his prudent rule had recovered her ancient glory; that she had always desired to assist his Majesty in every way, and on this occasion, had it not been for grave reasons of State, she would certainly not have declined to grant this last request of his for three hundred thousand crowns. I then laid before him one by one all the reasons which induced Your Excellencies to this decision.
The King listened with complete tranquillity of mind, and then, with affection and tenderness, but at the same time fetching a great sigh, he answered, “I know quite well that the Republic has weighty considerations; and when Bellièvre suggested this course to me I always doubted that it could not have a happy issue. Pray believe that I love the Republic so, that it was only my extreme necessity which induced me to cause her this trouble; but I am in such a state that I am on the road to ruin, and I cannot see the remedy (his very words), and if my dearest friends and confederates do not help me, who will ? (Ma io sono in stato che io vado a ruinnare, ne vi vedo il rimedio, che sono le sue formali parole, e se i miei carissimi amici et confederati non m'assistano, chi lo faranno ?) That being so, it seemed to me that it was so much for the interest of the Republic to support me that this consideration would have outweighed all else. My people are so absolutely ruined that I can look for no help from them. Everything is in such decay that the whole world sees it only too well, What I am now doing is my last effort. God grant that the issue be successful; otherwise, with no other course left open to me, I shall be forced to conclude a peace, which will be the result not of my wishes but of necessity; and in that case I fear me Italy will suffer. (Questo che io faccio è l'ultimo sforcio, e si deve pregar Dio che nasce in bene, altrimente io son necessitato, non potendo far altro, accomodarmi alla pace; la quale se non sarà conforme alla mia volontà sarà almeno secondo la necessità, et in questo caso dubito che la Italia non sarà senza pericolo).” I replied that his Majesty had always been favoured by the hand of God, and that we must hope that it would be so for the future, and that whatever resolution he took would be agreeable to the Republic.
Then, as the English Ambassador had preceded me, I, to change the subject to less tiresome topics, asked the King if he looked for prompt help from England; he replied that there were difficulties and that the Ambassador was a bad minister, with whom he was far from pleased.
The Agent of the Queen of England has returned once more this week. Her Majesty excuses herself from furnishing the desired assistance on the ground of Ireland and the fleet which has already sailed for Spain, they say. But the Queens ministers, who are dependents of the Earl of Essex, the great supporter of the King of France, have again suggested to the Queen that she should attempt the recovery of Calais if the French give leave; and this not on her own orders, but with a view to induce her to undertake the King's affairs if they can extract the requisite conditions. The French have replied that they desire first of all the despatch of the four thousand reinforcements and the guns, as I have reported, and they say that if the Queen likes to undertake the recovery of Calais at the same time, they raise no objection. The English, however, excuse themselves on the ground that as the enterprise against Calais would require twenty thousand men at least, they are not prepared to embark upon such large operations.
The French say that without the four thousand men they cannot recover Amiens, while the Queen by occupying Calais would be drawing help from the French instead of affording it to them. These are the difficulties which his Majesty pointed out to me, (tutta volta questi suoi Ministri che dependeno dal' Conte d'Esses, che è affetionato molto a questa Maestà, le hanno proposto di nuovo se la Reina si risolvesse di far ella l'impresa di Cales se (che ?) questi se ne contenterebbono, et cio non per ordine di lei, ma per obligare per qualche verso quella Maestà, quando potessero persuaderla a queste conditioni, all' intraprendere l'affari del Re. Questi gli hanno risposto che desiderano prima esser soccorsi essi delli 4,000 soldati et delli canoni et monitioni scritte, et che se nel medesimo tempo essa vorà fare la impresa di Cales che se ne contenteranno; ma gli Inglesi se ne scusano che dovendo venirecon 20,000 homeni at meno sotto Cales, che non potrebbe far tanto, e li Francesi dicono che senza li 4,000 soldati essi non potranno prendere Amiens, et la Reina con la sua gente occuperebbe Cales, in modo che essi soccorerebbono lei et non ella questa Maestà. E questa è la difficoltà che mi accenò il Rè.)
Paris, the last day of May 1597.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]