Venice: June 1598

Pages 327-329

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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June 1598

June 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 696. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English Agent has had an audience of the King, and left at once for England. They say special envoys will be sent to negotiate a peace with the King of Spain.
Paris, 3rd June 1598.
June 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 697. Agostino Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
As yet the Ministers are very reserved on the subject of the conclusion of the peace with France. They say the French desired to postpone the publication of the peace for a month, which expired on the 2nd inst. The King of Spain is extremely angry that in spite of this the French have actually published the peace and printed the terms before he had signed. His Majesty's signature was forwarded quite lately by the same courier who brought the news that the Cardinal had reached an accommodation. Peace must be proclaimed here immediately as well as in France and by the Cardinal Archduke. Don Juan d'Idiaquez told me that that would take place as soon as a certain answer they were awaiting should arrive. This is supposed to be the signature of his most Christian Majesty; for the French insisted on seeing his Catholic Majesty's signature first.
I enclose the terms of the peace. They were communicated to me by the Nuncio who had them from the Cardinal Legate.
Here they await with vehement desire the conclusion of an accord with the Queen of England and with the Flemish rebels; for without this the peace with France would bring but little profit. Don Juan d'Idiaquez tells me that the King of France is extremely anxious that England and the Slates should share the benefit of this reconciliation, and says “Dimidium facit qui bene cœpit.” A Minister of great importance tells me that the Queen having done all she could to hold bach the King of France, even to the length of threatening war, he replied that “he wished to free himself first from the lion's paws and then he could easily protect himself from the cat's claws.”
(Qui si aspetta con vehementissimo affetto che segua medesimamente accordo con la Regina d'Inghilterra, et ribelli fiamenghi, poiche senza di questo quello con Francesi apportarebbe poco giovamento; et il Signor Don Giovanni predetto mi disse che il Rè di Francia mostrava anchor' lui molto desiderio, che questi altri potentati godessero delta reconciliatione con dire Dimidium facit qui bene cœpit habet (sic). Et in oltre ministro principalissimo mi ha raccontato, che havendo la Regina col mezzo de' suoi Ministri fatto ogni cosa possibile per ritirarne sua Maestà Christianissima, fin col minaciar di farle la guerra, lei haveva risposto, che prima voleva liberarsi dalle mani del leone, et che poi facilmente si diffenderebbe dalle ungie della gata).
I understand that the King intends, if matters in Flanders settle down, to bring both the Cardinal Archduke and his cousin who is destined to marry the Infanta here, and to celebrate both marriages.
Madrid, 11th June 1598.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 698. The Terms of the Peace.
The Spanish to restore all strong places occupied in France, within the period of two months, which will expire on July 2nd. Up to that date the Queen of England and the Low Counties shall be free to come in.
The fortress of Blauet to be demolished.
All old claims suspended for the present.
The Duke of Savoy shall be included on condition that he restores Bera and some other places.
The question of the Marquisate of Saluzzo shall be referred to the Pope.
June 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 699. Agostino Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
A short way out of Lisbon the English have sunk two great ships of one thousand two hundred tons each. They were come from Ferrol for provisions for the Armada. The English number only thirty-five sail, but they succeed in harrying the coast. The West India fleet has not dared to sail.
Madrid, 11th June 1598.
June 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 700. Agostino Nani and Francesco Soranzo, Venetian Ambassadors in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
I, Soranzo, made my entry into Madrid yesterday.
The movements of the French on the borders of Catalonia towards Perpignan have ceased, as a result of the conclusion of peace. The French have surrendered Opouls le Fort (Opolo); although, before arms were laid aside, skirmishes took place with the loss of many lives.
Madrid, 13th June 1598.
June 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 701. Agostino Nani and Francesco Soranzo, Venetian Ambassadors in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Every day an answer is expected to the message which conveyed the signature of his Catholic Majesty to the peace with the King of France, for they are anxious to know what the consequences of this peace will be. Besides the doubt as to the action of the Queen of England, they are afraid of the part the States may play, and especially Holland and Zealand, who have openly declared that they will not hear of any accord. It seems, however, that Gueldres and Friesia show some disposition for an accord, and that they have announced to the islands (Holland and Zealand) that they do not intend to serve as bulwarks to them against Spain. All the same it is obviously difficult to come to any agreement with Gueldres and Freisia without the consent of Holland and Zealand, upon whom all their traffic depends. Besides, Holland and Zealand could easily harass the others, while Spain could hardly help them, for the Spanish have no forts on the Rhine. The Cardinal has sent persons to dismantle Blauet.
Madrid, 26th June 1598.
June 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 702. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Signor Hieronimo Gondi, and the King of Scotland's Ambassador, the Archbishop of Glasgow, (fn. 1) came to visit me. The Archbishop is acting for the King, though a heretic, with the consent of Rome; and his business is connected with the succession to the throne of England, and hopes that the King may declare himself a Catholic.
Paris, 26th June 1598.
June 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 703. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Pope has not quite given up his belief that the Queen of England has listened with satisfaction to the ministrations of a certain hermit who spoke to her of the Catholic faith. The hermit is thought to be an Irishman (Herlandese) who has passed an exemplary life. He has frequently seen the Queen, and even admonished her in the presence of her nobles; exhorting her to change her life and habits. This has amazed every one, for hitherto her Majesty has hated the Catholics, and has had to force herself to attend the sermons of her own ministers.
The well-known good fortune of the Pope induces him to hope for excellent results from this attitude of the Queen.
Ferrara, 26th June 1598.


  • 1. James Beaton.