Venice: August 1597

Pages 280-282

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.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


August 1597

August 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 601. Piero Duodo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Queen of England, who hates the house of Guise on account of the late Queen of Scotland, is doing all she can to dissuade Madame from accepting the Prince of Lorraine as her husband.
Paris, 9th August 1597.
[Italian; deciphered.]
August 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 602. Piero Duodo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English troops, and also the one thousand five hundred raised in Rouen, are beginning to arrive at the siege of Amiens.
The Cardinal Archduke is in straits for money; he is unable to muster troops except a few at a time, for fear of mutinies. All this raises the French hopes of recovering Amiens. I am told that the Cardinal has instructed the Spanish commander to hold out as long as he can, and then to come to terms.
Paris, 16th August 1597.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. My Lord,
I received your Lordship's letter along with another announcing the very sad news of the death of my uncle, Governor of Brescia. This has caused me to delay writing to you an account of what happened here yesterday.
The action took place at the point where M. de S. Luc is making his approaches. The enemy fired a bonfire (affocato) which was even more deadly than the one of a day or two ago, for they had filled the bonfire with cannon and muskets charged to the muzzle; these exploded with admirable results; but seeing that there were, through God's grace, no people about, we lost not a single man, nor yet had any wounded. Yesterday afternoon an attack was made on the counterscarp. As the English were on guard here, they assaulted a small fort which had been built on the counterscarp. They carried it at the first charge, but were subsequently forced to abandon it. All the same they carried off three gabions. Our gabions are close up to their palisade and there is a lively fire of grenades and stones and an action is expected hourly. In this skirmish sixteen English have been killed and forty-two wounded. The enemies' loss is not known, but considering how vigorous a fire we kept up the mortality must be great.
I hear that the commander Hernandiglio is very ill, and that there is great difference of opinion among the other captains.
From Camp, 6th August 1597.
Your most obliged and sincere servant,
Lodovico Vimercato Sanseverino.
August 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 603. Piero Duodo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English fleet has put back, having experienced very rough weather; twenty ships are still missing. This will be the end of the operations this year.
Paris, 16th August 1597.
[Italian; deciphered.]
August 23 Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 604. Piero Duodo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I enclose a letter from Vimercato at Amiens. I am also informed that this week the King takes up his position in the fosse to bombard the casemates.
A fiery exhalation has been seen to settle over the city, and though this is merely a natural phenomenon the soldiery draw good omens from it.
They have seized a messenger who was carrying to the Cardinal letters rolled up in wax pellets. These he swallowed; but he was taken to the Provost, and by help of a dose they got them out of him. From these letters it would appear that the city can hold out for fifteen days more. The Spanish have made a mine under the King's battery.
Paris, 23rd August 1597.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. My most illustrious and revered Lord,
Here, though not asleep, things are going quietly. The enemy holds several casemates in the fosse, and among others one towards the quarters of M. de S. Luc on the counterscarp, and this gives considerable trouble, and it will cost much to clear them out, for it cannot be cannonaded. The fort by the palisade cost four days' fighting, and M. de S. Luc was forced to mine it. This was fired, but owing to the great current of air it made the enemy were warned and were able to retire before the explosion. Our soldiers made a breach and so entered, and the fort fell into our power. Six pieces are now in position and we are working to plant more so as to cover us when we get down into the fosse. At present our works are at the middle of the counterscarp. The day before yesterday four hundred English arrived, fine troops, and five pieces of artillery. Yesterday the Normandy regiment, under Captain Bonifacio, one thousand three hundred strong, marched in, and with the four other companies that were left behind, they muster one thousand five hundred in all. Fine troops, well appointed. They are quartered at Lompré, on the other side of the water. They say that M. de Mayenne, who is here, will attack the city as soon as the eight hundred English and other troops expected have arrived. The Duke of Mombazon arrived yesterday with three hundred men.
From the Camp, 15th August 1597.
Your most obliged and sincere servant,
Lodovico Vimercato Sanseverino.
Aug. 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 605. Agostino Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Nunico asked me if it was possible to treat of the inclusion of the Queen of England in the peace between France and Spain when she was so much disliked by the Spanish Ministers, and said that he as Nunico must act cautiously.
Madrid, 21st August 1597.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Aug. 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 606. Giovanni Dolfin, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Spanish Ambassador remarked to me that in the negotiations for peace between France and Spain it is certain that the strong places will not be restored to France until Spain is assured that France will assist neither the Queen of England nor the States. It is natural that the French should not wish to see the Spanish masters of England. The best way would be that both France and Spain should attack England, under promise of naming a Catholic Sovereign in that country who should be approved by Spain; as it is only fair that Spain, after spending so much money, should have this honour. The Cardinal Archduke might marry the Infanta and be raised to the throne of England.
Rome, 23rd August 1597.
Aug. 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 607. Agostino Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Some pinnaces (patacchi), which have been captured on their way from England to France, furnish news that the English fleet, to the number of one hundred and twenty-six sail, had put out from Plymouth, but had been forced to retire owing to contrary winds. The ships composing the fleet range from four to six hundred tons, besides sixteen or seventeen galleons of one thousand two hundred tons. The number of men on board was sixteen thousand; and in command were the same officers who effected the landing at Cadiz. They are supposed to be out with the intention of scouring the seas and of burning the Adelantado's fleet, or at least blockading it.
There is an uncertain rumour that ninety English ships have been sighted off Cape St. Vincent, and fifty off Ferrol; but it is more likely that the whole fleet will cruise near England so as to be ready to defend that country if attacked.
Madrid, 26th August 1597.
Aug. 30. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 608. Piero Duodo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate. I enclose a letter from Ercole Remussati, son of Colonel Leone, who has been a month now at the siege of Amiens. I am glad to see such persons there, for they can learn more at this siege than in ten years elsewhere. The siege and assault are one of the most remarkable feats of arms of our day, since the siege of Antwerp.
Paris, 30th August 1597.