Venice: March 1599

Pages 361-364

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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March 1599

March 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 778. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Cardinal of Austria has sent one of his gentlemen from Flanders to England to open negotiations for peace. He urges the Queen to accept so as to give repose to Christendom, impelled both by his own inclination, the consequence of his sacred office, and because he was quite sure that his cousin Archduke Albert would consent, and so would the new King of Spain. The Queen after replying to the credentials most graciously, and after showing every satisfaction with the Cardinal for his own sake and for the sake of the Archduke Ferdinand his father, whom she esteemed, has caused some of her council to inform the Envoy that nothing would induce her to hinder the return of Christendom to a desirable repose, and that their objects were identical, more especially at the present moment when she was receiving no hurt from the government of the Cardinal, nor yet from the young King of Spain; but she was bound to consider carefully her own security and dignity, especially when she remembered that on other occasions, while treating for peace with the late Duke of Parma, she had been attacked by an overwhelming force. Besides she was obliged to remember that what she agreed to would bind her inviolably, as she was a sovereign authority; meaning to indicate that it was not becoming for her to negotiate with the Cardinal, who was not independent, nor possessed of sufficient powers in this matter.
The Queen has informed the King of France most fully about this affair, and seems disposed to remain united with him in perfect harmony. With that object in view she has issued orders that the French vessels carrying corn to Spain are not to be molested, as she intends that trade to be perfectly free. This good understanding is reciprocated on this side for his Majesty has declared on the word of a Prince that if he finds the export of grain is injurious he will at once prohibit it, and has promised to lend every possible aid in harassing the movements of the Spanish fleet if it should ever attempt to molest the English.
It is also clear that, thanks to the representations of the English Agent, the proposal to prohibit English cloth and other goods has been upset, and I think will not be raised again.
The States of Holland have sounded some of these French gentlemen upon the subject of raising cavalry and lending it to Holland, and although his Majesty forbade it at first, their request will be granted. The French men are anxious to go because of the general belief that this year will see some notable actions. The money offered, however, is so small in amount that nothing is concluded as yet.
Signor Zuanne Basadonna, who is in London, asks me to obtain from the English Agent the suspension of the sequestration against certain goods of his until he can bring forward documents to prove that they should be set free. The Agent promised to make representation in the right quarter.
Paris, 6th March 1599.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 8. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 779. Francesco Vendramin, Venetian Ambassador in. Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
A son of the Imperial Dragoman at Constantinople is here. He brings letters from his father and from the English Secretary at the Porte, affirming that the Sultana mother is anxious for peace.
Prague, 8th March 1599.
March 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 780. Francesco Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The opinion is growing stronger every day that strained relations,, if not open rupture, will arise between the King of Spain and the King of France over the question of Saluzzo.
Valentia, 8th March 1599.
March 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 781. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France to the Doge and Senate.
Your Serenity will have learned from my previous despatches the nature of the representations which I made to the English Agent on behalf of Signor Giovanni Battista Basadonna, in order that the sequestration of the cargo of the ship “Experience” or “Basadonna,” which was shipped at Lisbon and fraudulently carried to London by its master, might be suspended until proof was adduced that the merchandise belonged to Venetians. When your Serenity's despatches arrived I sent to inform the English Agent that I desired to speak to him upon matters of importance. He came at once and I explained to him at length the grave injury done to Venetian merchants by the unendurable assassinations committed by the master of that ship. I informed him that your Serenity was moved thereby to an extreme displeasure, and that in virtue of the amity which the Queen professes towards the Republic, as a return for the courtesy and good treatment which Her subjects received in the States of your Serenity, he ought to represent to the Queen the obligation to set all those goods at liberty, and to punish the master as a warning to others not to commit a like excess; an act which would be of benefit to Her Majesty as well, in respect of her trade, which would most certainly be disturbed unless her wisdom made the necessary provisions. I insisted upon the matter as strongly as I was able, so that he might thoroughly grasp the justice of the claim put forward by your Serenity.
The agent showed great concern and promised to make vigorous representations. He sent despatches to England the following day. I will not fail to take all the steps that may appear opportune, especially on the arrival of the English Ambassador. I hear that his luggage has reached Rouen. In conversation with the Ministers I discovered that they have serious complaints to make of the damage done by the English to French shipping. A remedy is difficult to find, for they tell me that the booty is shared by the greatest personages in England (et it rimedio riesce difficile perche mi affermano che delle prede participano li piu grandi Signori di quel Regno).
Paris, 14th March 1599.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 782. Francesco Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
They have raised ten thousand men in Castile, and these will be employed where needed, either in England or in the affair of Saluzzo.
News from Portugal that the plague is raging. The English are harrying the shores of that kingdom. A carvel has brought word to Seville that the West India fleet has cleared the Havana channel, and is quit of the danger of meeting the English. In Ireland the rebellion is very active; and the result is that preparations for defence are relaxed here, as they hope that that island will do the business for them.
Valentia, 18th March 1599.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 783. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Rumours of an English defeat in Ireland. Ireland holds for the King of Spain; and the Queen has sent out sixty ships in the Bay of Biscay to effect a diversion.
Rome, 20th March 1599.
March 24. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 784. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Queen of England is pushing on her preparations against Ireland, where her rebels are still holding out. They are resolved to fight, and are said to be able to put twenty thousand men and upwards in the field, all of them warlike.
Paris, 24th March 1599.