Venice: July 1599

Pages 369-371

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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July 1599

July 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 801. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
There is news here that the English fleet has captured Cascaes, a place near Lisbon. They sacked it and carried off thirty pieces of artillery, and then retired towards Biscay to capture a port. A large number of Dutch ships have put out to joint the English. They have more than ten thousand souls on board.
Rome, 3rd July 1599.
July 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 802. Francesco Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
A private gentleman, a Flemish knight, has appeared at court. He is sent by the Cardinal of Austria, and has obtained letters from him. He is commissioned by the Queen of England, so he says, to set some negotiations on foot, but under orders to treat with no one but the King. As yet he has not been received in audience, nor has he opened any negotiations; it is generally believed that his ideas and intentions are founded on vanity, and that he has no authority to treat nor to negotiate. Perhaps the Queen is using her accustomed artifices, in employing these diversions and negotiations, until she sees herself a little freer from the troubles which the disturbances and rebellion in Ireland are continually causing her. News comes from Ireland in confirmation of the rumour that of the troops recently landed there three thousand have been cut to pieces. The Queen is afraid that while she is occupied in subduing this rebellion she may be attacked by Spain, or that the Irish Catholics may receive fresh support from here, and so she adopts this method to cool the warmth of schemes and preparations in Spain. However that may be, even supposing this gentleman to be really possessed of authority to negotiate, no resolution will be taken here till the Archduke and the Infanta return to Flanders. The interests of the States of Holland are always conjoined with those of England, and they wish to see what effect the presence of the Archduke will have if on nothing else at least in ameliorating the conditions of the negotiation, if indeed there is really any desire to treat.
The Flemish gentleman will be kept on here, and they will endeavour, if he shows a disposition to negotiate, to induce him to display his hand to the Ministers first before he has any sort of dealing with the King.
Barcellona, 6th July 1599.
July 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 803. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
From England we hear that the Earl of Essex is making progress in Ireland, especially as the rebels have resolved not to fight in the open. But that untamed people withdraws to the marshes and the forests and prolongs the war. They burn their own castles and houses; and they hope that the English will suffer greatly and fall sick on account of that malaria which is deadly to foreigners. Skirmishes have taken place, however, always to the worsting of the Irish, who have lost several people of importance and many waggons belonging to the Earl of Tyrone, head of the rebellion. Some other chiefs have surrendered and demand pardon. The English have captured by assault some castles; and they hope that before winter sets in they will have settled that troublesome business; all the more as there is no great number of Spanish in Ireland as was at first reported. The English interpret this as a sign of weakness on the part of the King of Spain, who by sending a mere handful of troops might have seriously embarrassed the Queen and rendered it very difficult for her to recover and pacify the island in a short time.
Paris, 10th July 1599.