Venice: October 1598

Pages 347-349

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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October 1598

Oct. 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 745. Francesco Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Of the old Ministers, Don Juan d'Idiaquez is the only one who keeps his place, the Marquis of Denia is aware of his value. News that the Queen of England has entered into a new alliance, offensive and defensive, with the States of Holland, for fourteen years. And the States are hound to consign to the Queen other four strong places in addition to those she holds. This will hasten the expedition for the recovery of Porto Rico, and will exasperate the Spanish more than ever against the Queen.
Madrid, 3rd October 1598.
Oct. 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 746. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Last month, seventy-six ships sailed from Holland. One part steered north, and starting from Norway, they will make, by way of Muscovy and Tartary, for the strait which they discovered three or four years ago, and by which they intend to reach China by a route different from that followed by the Portuguese.
The success of the Earl of Tyrone against the Queen of England, is more important than was at first announced. He was attacking a small town, when a colcnel in command of three thousand men came up to its relief. An engagement ensued, and the colonel was defeated with a loss of two thousand men. The town was captured. This action, important in itself, is even more important from its results, for many waverers have now joined the rebels. The Queen is turning her attention to vigorous measures, with a view to repairing the mischief.
Paris, 10th October 1598.
Oct. 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 747. Agostino Nani, retiring Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
As soon as his Majesty heard of the loss of Porto Rico, he gave orders that twenty ships, the remains of last year's Armada, lying at Ferrol, should sail at once. They were to embark the infantry which had returned from Blauet, Don Alonzo de Bazan is to take the command, and if the ministers carry out the orders as the King has issued them, by the end of this month they ought to be in sight of the enemy.
Savona, 11th October 1598.
Oct. 17. Original Rubricario Venetian Archives. 748. Girolamo Capello, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
In the matter of a truce with Spain opinions vary; it is thought beneath the Sultan's dignity to write to the King of Spain before receiving letters from him. The negotiations are hampered by the Mufti and the Chief Eunuch, chiefly because they fear that the Queen of England will withdraw her friendship if the truce is concluded. This view is fostered by English agents and merchants who use loose and threatening language.
The English are establishing a traffic in the seas and islands belonging to the Republic; and have opened relations with Zante, Cephalonia and other places. Many of the natives come to Constantinople with English capital, and lodge in English houses. Some English have applied for passports; the Venetian Ambassador in these cases makes difficulties.
17th October 1598.
Oct. 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 749. Francesco Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Imperial Ambassador has urgently implored the King not to abandon Flanders, although he has renounced it in favour of his sister, but to lend the Archduke Albert all his aid in men and money. He has assured the King that grave troubles are brewing as a result of this recent accord between the Queen of England and the States of Holland. It is impossible for the small forces of the Archduke to hold out long against attacks which kept the King, his father, in such continued trouble. If Flanders is lost, the King runs a great risk of losing the India trade, which is so important for this Crown, and Spain itself will always be exposed to joint attacks from the fleets of the States and of the Queen.
The King returned a gracious answer, and promised that he would do all that was needful. It is certain that were the deed to do again the alienation of these States would not take place. The grandees openly declare that it would have been better to have given Portugal to the Infanta rather than Flanders, so important do they consider Flanders to be, both on account of the ocean traffic and as a bridle on France.
Madrid, 23rd October 1598.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Oct. 24. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 750. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
M. de la Boisiers (de Boisize), brother-in-law of M. de Maisse left last week as Ambassador in ordinary to England. (fn. 1) He is a Catholic and so will have leave to cause Mass to be celebrated in his own house, but he is instructed to allow no strangers to be present without informing the Queen and gaining her consent. She will refuse such consent to her own subjects, but will grant it for all foreigners residing in England for trade or business.
The Earl of Cumberland has reached Spanish Isle, in the West Indies, and has made a rich booty, He captured, by force of arms, St. John of Porto Rico, though at a heavy loss in men. This was a plan designed by Drake, but interrupted by his death. In England they are manning many ships to send them in that direction. If this be true it cannot fail to greatly injure the King of Spain. The Count of Feyra has put out from Portugal with a view to fighting the Earl of Cumberland.
They are recruiting vigorously throughout England, to raise men to send to Ireland, where the Earl of Ormonde, who is for the Queen, is reported to have defeated the rebels.
Paris, 24th October 1598.
Oct. 24. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 751. Francesco Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The King will not hear of raising new loans. He says he has found the kingdom burdened by his father to the full, and rather than create fresh debts he will sell his jewels and his trappings. The ships which ought to bring gold and silver have not appeared yet, and it is supposed that they are blockaded by Cumberland in Havana. No news has come from those parts since the fall of Porto Rico.
The Portuguese fleet, which went out to protect the West Indiamen, has captured a single English ship with twenty thousand crowns on board. There is great dread of the effects which the union of the English and Dutch fleets will produce.
Madrid, 24th October 1598.
[Italian; deciphered.]


  • 1. Cf. Calendar of State Papers, Domestic, 1598–1601, pp. 105, 118, 121. He married a daughter of President Harlay.