Venice: August 1599

Pages 371-373

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.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


August 1599

August 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 804. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
It seems that the Irish business will be drawn out at great length in spite of Essex's success. The Irish are determined never to come to terms, and seek for nothing but to gain time by retiring to the strongest and wildest places of the island.
Paris, 7th August 1599.
August 18. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 805. Francesco Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Adelantado of Castile has taken the command of twenty-two galleys (galere) strengthened as best they could be, and of thirty-two other oceangoing vessels (vasselli di alto bordo) among which are twelve levantines (levantine) kept back on purpose, ten Royal galleons (galeoni del Rè), and the rest hulks (urche), and other craft. He has eight thousand soldiers and three hundred jennets, with munition, provisions, and one hundred and twenty pieces of artillery. Besides he has called out fifteen new galleons (galeoni) just built in Biscay, and is going to arm them. They are lying in Ferrol, with ten others under Don Diego Brocohiero. All this force when united is to be directed on Ireland to the defence of the Irish Catholics and the support of the rebellion against the Queen. But the season is little favourable to these designs on account of the north winds which are dominant just now in those parts and hinder all navigation in that direction. The French Ambassador, who is always expected, has not arrived.
Valentia, 18th August 1599.
August 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 806. Girolano Capello, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
After waiting a long time for the Queen of England's present to the Sultan, they say that the ship (fn. 1) which is bringing it has at last passed the Dardanelles. It brings a cargo of woollen cloth (pannine) and other high-class goods; and the letters patent confirming the English Agent here as Ambassador of the Queen. He is making preparations for the liveries of a numerous suit, and shows that he intends to live in great state. The Turks are much pleased at the arrival of this ship as they consider it a confirmation of their alliance with England which they think is highly important for holding the King of Spain in check. The English, who know their advantage, will make all profit out of it, and will find a ready assent to all their demands, especially if they are accompanied by gifts, of which they are very liberal. If the trade in woollen cloth especially makes way here, as is expected, on account of its excellence and its appearance, in which the Turks delight, the Venetian trade will receive a great blow. The English would open factories throughout the entire Turkish Empire, as I am told they have done in Syria, and Alexandria, and will obtain any concessions they care to ask for. (Della venuta di questa nave con il presente, hanno preso li Turchi gran contento parendo loro che con questo mezo sia confirmata l'amicitia di quella Regina, che non intendono essi che habbia a servire per altro che per tenire in gelosia il Rè catolico; et gli Inglesi che conoscono questo loro avantaggio si faranno in questo tempo valere, et troveranno facile Vadito ad ogni loro instanza, quando medesimamente vi concoreranno donativi, de' quali sono assai libercdi, et se il negotio delta pannina principalmente pigliarà qui indriccio come si dubita, per esser di bella conditione et di vista come apunto si diletano hora li Turchi, potrebbe la Venetiana prendere gran smaco; perchè costoro ampliaranno li loro negotii per tutte le parti di questo Imperio, come di qui ho inteso che hanno fatto in Soria et Alessandria, et obteniranno qua qualsivoglia privilegio che sapranno ricercare.)
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 21st August 1599.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Aug. 22. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 807. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
A vessel arrived some weeks ago at Brest. The Adelantado of Castile had sent it to beg the governor of that place to allow free entry into the port for the Spanish fleet when it shall appear in those waters, and to use all courtesy towards it, as becomes the friendly relations between the crowns of France and Spain. The English Ambassador, here resident, was at once informed of this, and went straight to his Majesty to beg him to refuse the request as a thing repugnant and utterly hostile to the convention and the good understanding with his mistress, as the King is bound neither to admit into his ports nor in any way to succour the enemies of England. His Majesty has pledged his word and his honour that he will never give his consent, and has told the Ambassador that he may assure the Queen of this most absolutely. Her Majesty, in alarm at the prospect of the Spanish fleet, is mustering sixty vessels, of which a considerable number are Dutch. The whole will be under the command of the Admiral or of one of his brothers, and its operations will be guided by the movements of the Spanish. The fleet will take up its station at the extremity of the island, near Plymouth.
If all this be not a ruse of the Adelantado's to raise the prestige of Spain, and to divert the Dutch fleet which is operating off the Canaries, it is thought that the Spanish will either effect a landing in some remote part of England to sack the district, or else that their object is to carry succour to the Irish rebels, and to augment their forces. Either one or the other, if it succeeded, would utterly upset all negotiations for a peace with the Queen. The Cardinal of Austria three weeks ago sent one of his gentlemen to England to beg the Queen to continue those favourable inclinations towards the peace which she displayed at the time when he sent another envoy to her; for the King of Spain, he declares, is still of the same disposition. The Irish rebels, having surprised five hundred of Essex's troops, killed three hundred; the rest fled. Essex has sent their colonel to England to be dealt with as justice requires, and the lieutenant he has caused to be shot, while he has decimated the two hundred who fled. Two thousand fresh troops were sent to him from England last month, and the like will take place every three months. The Queen is determined to put an end to this business, but that is reckoned very difficult; and Ireland may well be called the Englishman's grave.
Paris, 22nd August 1599.
Aug. 27. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 808. Francesco Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Flemish knight who was here with letters of introduction from the Cardinal of Austria, to treat about a peace with the Queen of England, has left. He entered on no negotiations and left suddenly, as was foreseen: for it was discovered that he had no sound basis neither to conclude nor ever to initiate any affair of moment. Nothing definite will take place until the Archduke and the Infanta return to Flanders, where their presence will give the real impulse to the negotiations.
Valentia, 27th August 1599.


  • 1. The “Hector.” Cf. English Hist. Review, Vol. v., p. 656.