Venice: January 1599

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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'Venice: January 1599', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 9, 1592-1603, (London, 1897) pp. 353-360. British History Online [accessed 4 March 2024]

January 1599

1599. Jan. 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 763. Francesco Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
After hearing of the great preparations in England to furnish a fleet to harass the commerce along the Spanish coast, we learn that a part of this fleet has already put out and has made for the West Indies. As there is no news of the gold and silver fleets, there is alarm lest the English may have fallen in with them.
Orders have been sent in haste to the shore to send out at once the twelve galleons lying in Seville to protect the fleet. They are afraid lest if the Turk makes peace with the Emperor he will send out his fleet to infest the waters of Sicily, Naples, and Barbary to divert the forces of Spain from an attack on England.
Madrid, 2nd January 1598 [m.v.].
Jan. 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 764. Francesco Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
What his Majesty will do after the marriage is quite uncertain: it will depend upon the news from England and the progress of the preparations there. In the meantime, so as not to remain inactive, they have, in addition to the orders for as large a number of ships as possible, given leave to any and all to fit out buccaneers on their own account. This step is very popular, and the number of volunteers, attracted by the prospect of booty, is great. Federico Spinola has been appointed to the command of twelve galleons which he is building at his own charges.
Madrid, 3rd January 1598 [m.v.].
Jan. 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 765. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I have received your Serenity's despatches of November 12th. These ought to have reached me in twenty days instead of in forty-eight. The delay was caused by the want of couriers.
In audience of the King, his Majesty asked for information about the person who had arrived in Venice, and who gave himself out to be the King of Portugal, Don Sebastian. I said I had no information from your Serenity, but that I was convinced this was a repetition of the case of the Emperor Baldwin, who fell in battle against the Bulgarians; after his death an impostor arose in Flanders, who eventually paid the penalty with his life. No one has any positive information on the subject, and every one makes his own conjectures. But the Portuguese especially annoy me with inquiries, and some of them are ready to take horse and to set out for Venice.
Paris, 5th January 1598 [m.v.].
Jan. 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 766. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Holland and the United Provinces have solemnly renewed their oath never to make peace with Spain, but to fight on to the end, even though completely abandoned by the Queen of England. They have increased the ordinary taxation by two hundred thousand crowns a year, and they intend to take the field in force at an early period. They think that the Spanish army can move only slowly for want of money. Archduke Albert is already spending on his journey the money intended for the war next year; he has raised one hundred and twenty thousand crowns before reaching Milan, and as many again in that city.
This week a duel took place at St. Germains between two archers of the Scottish Royal Guard. One was killed, the other seriously wounded.
Paris, 5th January 1598 [m.v.].
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 767. Francesco Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain to the Doge and Senate.
Since I last wrote there is no news from England; but preparations continue here, as they are certain they will be called for. The Adelantado will leave one of these days for Portugal to take up his office. The King leaves for his journey to Valencia shortly.
Madrid, 8th January 1598 [m.v.]
Jan. 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 768. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The embargo imposed by the King of Spain upon all ships in the harbours of Portugal is confirmed. This leads to the conjecture that the negotiations for peace with the Queen of England are broken off; and that both powers will arm for war, which may drag other Princes in. The warlike nature of the King of Spain leads the Spanish to expect this issue.
Rome, 9th January 1598 [m.v.].
Jan. 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 769. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
A proposal to prohibit English woollen goods, which pass in great quantities into Normandy, Guienne, and Brittany, is before the Council. The English Envoy has presented a memorial couched in language of protest. The memorial loudly complains of the proposed resolution as being injurious to the commerce of both countries and to the friendly relations which at present subsist between them. The injury, it says, will be all the more deadly as it will coincide with the prohibition of English trade in Spain and in the Empire, where the trade ordinarily lay; and if France, the only market left to them, is also closed, the English wool trade which supports so many thousands of persons, will be forced to cease, and these people driven to desperation will take to the sea as so many pirates, to the signal damage of France, and the Queen would not find it in her heart to prevent them. The memorial concludes that such a prohibition can have no other effect upon the minds of the English than to renew the former conviction of the natural hostility which must exist between the two races. These representations have carried such weight that the decision has been postponed.
Paris, 14th January 1598 [m.v.].
Jan. 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 770. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
There is news just arrived that the Queen of England is very ill of a sore in her breast, and cannot live long. It is understood that she has made the King of Scotland her heir, and has sent a gentleman of her Court to inform him of all he ought to do after her death; especially exhorting him to make no change in religious matters, otherwise he would destroy his own peace and that of the kingdom, because there is nothing that would so much arouse the English, and make them throw off their due obedience as to touch their scruples of conscience.
The Pope has been urged to consider how excellent is the opportunity to succour religion and relieve oppressed Catholics. It is generally thought that no one will mount that throne without a large number of pretenders putting forth their claims; and so they advise that some English Jesuit of spirit should go there incognito and take the risk of observing and reporting all that is going on.
Rome, 16th January 1598 [m.v.].
Jan. 17. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 771. Francesco Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
To-day comes news that the fleet has been sighted not far from the shore, and that it has escaped the perils of the English squadron which had sailed to meet it. This causes universal joy.
Madrid, 17th January 1598 [m.v.].
Jan. 25. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 772. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
There is a rumour at Court that four thousand Spanish troops have landed in Ireland; if this be true it will greatly encourage the rebels of the Queen. She had not intended to send her troops to Ireland before the spring, thinking that she would not be further molested this winter; but things have turned out differently. The rebels have made such progress that the Queen, they say, holds only the places on the coast. She intended to send the Earl of Essex to Ireland, but her alarm at the prospect of a Spanish attack will make her keep him at home. The new King of Spain is resolved to attack England.
I enclose the terms agreed on between the Queen of England and the States of Holland after the peace of Vervins. It was very difficult to obtain a copy.
Paris, 25th January 1598 [m.v.].
Enclosed in Preceding Despatch. 773. Terms of Agreement between the Queen of England and the States of Holland.
The States-General of the United Provinces of the Low Countries to all who read or see these presents, greeting.
Seeing that we, on the proposal made in our assembly on behalf of the Queen of England by Sir Francis Vere, knight, and George Gilpin, counsellor, who presented themselves on the 29th of June in Council in virtue of Her Majesty's credentials, dated the seventh of June—have sent our envoys to England, namely George de Duvennarde, Lord of Vuarmont Vuonde, Admiral of Holland, Van Oldenbarneveldt, Lord of Tampel, Advocate General and Keeper of the Seal of Holland and West Frisia, George de Vuarek, Councillor and Pensioner of the City of Middleburg, George de Holtinga, Esquire, Andrew de Hassels, Councillor of Brabant, and have commissioned them in conjunction with Ibois (sic, Noel?) de Caron, Lord of Schondobal, our agent in England, to negotiate with Her Majesty upon the points raised by the said Sir Francis Vere and George Gilpin, and upon some other difficulties which have arisen subsequently to the treaty of 1585, between us and her Majesty, and which her Majesty has constantly sought to resolve, to which intent she 1ms frequently approached us by letter and by envoys:—
And seeing that our Envoys have held many conferences with her Majesty's Councillors appointed for that purpose; and with a view to preserving the favour, friendship, and royal graciousness of her Majesty towards our States, and in the desire to give her Majesty every possible full satisfaction:
Our Envoys shall come to terms of accord with her Majesty's Council upon the said points and difficulties, with her Majesty's consent. Our confirmation and final adhesion shall be submitted to her Majesty within one month from the date of the said treaty, and her Majesty's within ten days of the presentation of ours to her, in accordance with the dispositions of the treaty made, subscribed and sealed by her Majesty's Council and by our Envoys on the 6th (which ought to be the sixteenth) of August last; the tenor of which here follows, word for word:
Whereas in the year of our Lord 1585 on the instance, solicitation, and request of the States General of the United Provinces of the Low Countries, her Majesty was pleased to concede them some help against their foes, a treaty to that effect was made at Nonsuch on the tenth of August of that year, by which the amount and the manner of that succour were defined. After the conclusion of that treaty some difficulties arose, and though her Majesty frequently pressed for solution of these difficulties on one side and on the other, and opened negotiations both by letter and by Envoys, she never received, neither by letter nor by Envoys, a reply which gave her complete satisfaction:
The States have now sent their Commissioners (as named above) to England to negotiate both upon these difficulties and upon the propositions laid before them by Sir Francis Vere and George Gilpin. The Commissioners have held many conferences with her Majesty's Counsellors appointed for that purpose, and finally the Commissioners for the States, actuated by a desire to preserve the favour, friendship and royal graciousness of her Majesty, have proposed certain terms and offers on their side; but on being approached upon other points they declared that they were not authorised to concede them. Nevertheless in order to give all satisfaction that in them lay they came to the following agreement,—subject to the approval both of her Majesty and of the States, which approval of the States is to be signified to her Majesty within a month of the signing of this treaty, and her Majesty's approval within ten days from the presentation of the approval by the States:
One. The treaty of 1585 is to remain in all its original force and vigour, except such clauses as concern the State, the government or the policy of the said Provinces, as regards the authority of the Governor or Lieutenant-General, and those clauses which shall be either abolished or modified, or which lapse in virtue of this present treaty. But it shall always be understood that her Majesty may continue to appoint a qualified Councillor to the Council of State as long as the war lasts.
Two. The States relying on the benign favour and affection of her Majesty towards the maintenance of the common cause and the preservation of the United Provinces, are ready from this time-forward to accept the amount of support which it shall please the Queen to send them of her Royal free will With such help they will, with God's assistance, pursue the war as best they can.
Three. The States General of the United Provinces of the Low Countries will acknowledge within a month from the signature, in sound and legal form and in words which are binding, that they are her Majesty's debtors for the sum of eight hundred thousand pounds sterling, payable in the following manner; as long as her Majesty shall be at war against the common enemy, the States shall pay annually to her or her Ministers in the City of London, the sum of thirty thousand pounds sterling, such payments to begin at the close of the month following the conclusion of this treaty; on which day the States shall pay fifteen thousand pounds sterling, and at the end of another three months the remaining fifteen thousand sterling; and subsequently year by year thirty thousand pounds in one single sum at each year's close, until four hundred thousand pounds of the debt have been extinguished.
Four. As to the remaining four hundred thousand pounds, the moiety of the eight hundred thousand pounds, in which the States are debtors, her Majesty's rights as to time of payment, which were defined by the first treaty, shall be in no way affected by this treaty; but her rights are understood to be precisely what they were before this treaty was drawn up. Should her Majesty at any time before or after the complete extinction of the four hundred thousand pounds mentioned in the preceding article, think fit to enter into negotiations for peace with the King of Spain, his heirs or successors, present or to come, or with any one who claims the kingdom of Spain or other kingdoms or the Low Countries, her Majesty shall advise the States in time, so as to allow them to send their commissioners to England to negotiate about the payment of and security for the remaining four hundred thousand pounds, as may suit the condition in which one party and the other finds itself, and also about the restitution of the cities and fortresses which her Majesty at present holds as security; in which negotiations her Majesty will act graciously and benignantly.
Five. Should it happen that her Majesty concludes a peace with. the enemy while some part of the first sum of four hundred thousand pounds is still unpaid, the annual payments shall continue, but at the rate of twenty thousand instead of thirty thousand a year, payable on the days already stipulated, until the extinction of the entire four hundred thousand pounds.
Six. The one thousand one hundred and fifty soldiers destined by the treaty of 1585, as a precautionary succour, to the garrisons, of Flushing, of the Castle of Ramechan, of La Briella and its fortresses, shall be maintained under the oath which, in virtue of the said treaty, they took to her Majesty and to the States, and as long as her Majesty remains at war the States shall pay to her Commissioner or Treasurer in the city of London either one thousand twelve hundred lire in coin of the United Provinces or one hundred and seventy pounds sterling every month for the payment of each company of one hundred and fifty men. The said sum amounts every three months to five thousand one hundred florins or five hundred and ten pounds sterling, and shall be payable every three months, together with the interest at the ordinary rate; the interest to be paid by the places held as security. The obligation for the States is to begin on the twentieth day after the conclusion of the present treaty. Should her Majesty desire to increase the garrisons of the places she holds in security she shall do so at her own expense, though the troops she puts in shall take the oath as prescribed in the first treaty.
Seven. On the expiry of twenty days from the signing of the peace her Majesty is free to disband all the cavalry and infantry which she has maintained in the United Provinces, except the one thousand one hundred and fifty men in the cautionary fortresses, or any additional reinforcements she may have added at her own charges. But the States may take into their service under English officers any of these disbanded troops that they please. Further, her Majesty, if it suits her at the time, may permit the States to recruit among her subjects for service in the field or elsewhere, From this time forward her Majesty is absolutely freed from her obligation, under the previous treaty, to maintain five thousand foot and one thousand horse for the support of the States.
Eight. If at any time during this war the enemy should make a naval attack on England or the islands belonging to her, the Isle of Wight, the Scilies, Guernsey or Jersey, and her Majesty prepares a fleet to repel him, the States shall furnish thirty or if possible forty well-found ships, half shall be of two hundred and half between one and two hundred tons burden. These shall be under the orders of the English Admiral as agreed by the treaty of 1585, and as prescribed by the conditions therein expressed.
Nine. If the enemy effects a landing in England or the Isle of Wight, the States, at her Majesty's request, shall raise and pay five thousand infantry and five hundred horse, to serve under the English commander or as her Majesty pleases. Payment to be as determined in the treaty of 1585, to begin on the day of the landing and to cease only when the enemy is defeated, expelled, and driven out.
Ten. If during the war her Majesty should see fit to make a naval attack on Spain, Portugal, the Spanish islands, or the Indies, with a fleet of fifty or sixty sail, the States shall be bound to furnish a similar number, in similar condition, or should her Majesty resolve to land in Flanders or Brabant with at least ten thousand infantry and two thousand horse and artillery and munitions to match, the States shall be bound to pay half the costs of her Majesty's army, and shall share in the acquisitions in a like proportion.
Eleven. Her Majesty out of special grace towards the States General of the United Provinces, hereby renounces all claims she may have against them contracted later than 1585, always excepting the eight hundred thousand pounds sterling above provided for.
Twelve. Further, Her Majesty abandons all the claims of private persons, except a debt to Sir Horatio Pallavicino, which is to remain as it at present stands, so that neither Pallavicino nor the States shall be injured by the present treaty. But all her rights and claims against other cities and provinces which are not now of the union, shall remain in full force.
Thirteen. Similarly the States General renounce all claims, pretensions, rights that they had or may think they had previous to the date of this contract.
Made, agreed, concluded and signed by the Lords of the Council of the one part and by the Commissioners of the States General of the other, at Westminster, 6th August in the year of our Lord 1598.
Thomas Egerton, Essex, Nottingham, G. Hunsdon, R. North, F. Buckhurst, N. Knollys, Ro. Cecyll, J. Fortescue, J. le Duvennarde, Jelian de Oldenbarnvelt, Jan de Vuarck, Jehan de Holtinga, Andrew de Hessels, Noel de Caron. Seals of the Lords of the Council and of the Commissioners.
We, finding each and everyone of the conditions and articles set forth in the treaty to be satisfactory, do hereby ratify, approve, and confirm the said treaty, promising and pledging ourselves to its punctual observance as far as in us lies, without directly or indirectly contravening it in any way whatsoever. In conclusion of which we have caused our great seal to be affixed and subscribed by our Secretary.
Done at the Hague in Holland the 20th September 1598.
Subscribed, Sloeth, by order of the States General,
[The seal is of red wax in golden strings with red tails.]