Venice: March 1600

Pages 399-403

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 1600

Mar. 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 861. Francesco Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The knightly orders have been convened for Eastertide, in order to amend abuses and also to endeavour to extract from them some contributions towards the King's necessities.
Madrid, 1st March 1600.
Mar. 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 862. Francesco Vendramin and Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Dutch ships have captured two more Frenchmen, besides those they seized some days ago off Calais. M. de Villeroi, on the King's orders, has summoned the agent of the States and has used most threatening language, and shown a thorough determination to be revenged, even to the extent of attaching the agent's person, unless these irregularities are brought to an end. It is supposed that the Dutch are driven to these measures as they find themselves abandoned by all foreign help, for the negotiations for peace between the Queen of England and the King of Spain are proceeding vigorously. A few days ago the audientiary (fn. 1) of the Archduke Albert, who was present at the peace of Vervins, crossed over to England to see the Queen. His mission is to accommodate certain difficulties which might possibly disturb the negotiations before the commissioners meet at Boulogne. That meeting will take place during this present month, for the King has given his consent to the Spanish Ambassador and to the English Secretary. The names of the Spanish commissioners were given in the preceding despatches; of the English commissioners we have no notice as yet, on account of the bad weather which has prevented the passage from England to France.
The Dutch fleet has returned from the Canaries with very small gain. The commander and many men have died.
A duel between twenty French and twenty Flemish gentlemen was fought between Bois le Due and Breda.
Head of the Flemish was the Governor of Bois-le-Duc, (fn. 2) head of the French, the son-in-law of M. de Sansi, M. de Briante (Briote), a young gentleman of high spirit who has often been in engagements; he and sixteen of his men were left dead on the field, the rest fled; the victors had half their men either killed or wounded. They say here, however, that the Flemish acted treacherously and had an unfair advantage in arms.
Paris, 5th March 1600.
Mar. 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 863. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
A personage arrived here from Flanders gives ever surer hopes of a peace between the Queen of England and the Archduke Albert. It seems that her two agents, one to the King of France and the other to the Archduke, have settled that the place of conference shall be Boulogne; and Ambassadors from the Emperor have reached Brussels to take part in the peace negotiations. But the more disposed the Archduke showed himself to open negotiations with the States of Holland and Zealand, in which he is zealously supported by the Queen of England, the more the States threatened bitter war; and recently, to the number of four thousand, their troops seized a fortress in Brabant, which on account of its relation to neighbouring fortresses, is of the highest importance.
Rome, 4th March 1600.
March 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 864. Girolamo Capello, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
I am informed that Cigala advises the Sultan that it is necessary to garrison the Morea in order to put an end to the damage which the western galleys are committing. Cigala in conversation with the English Ambassador, who subsequently told me, was very pressing in his endeavour to find out what I had said about him; adding that he was a friend to your Serenity, and that I would soon see what he had done against the pirates. He said that he regretted to find that he was not trusted. Then on the subject of the third son of Lorraine, he remarked that, as your Serenity was at peace with all the powers, these preparations could only be directed against the Grand Signor; though he could hardly believe that your Serenity contemplated breaking the peace. The Ambassador assured him that there was no fear that your Serenity would move so easily; and as to my remarks about Cigala, the Ambassador declared that he had never heard a disparaging word from me nor from any of my suite.
The French Ambassador in alarm lest his most Christian Majesty should hold him responsible for not retiring, has begged me to make an affidavit of the facts. I declined; and he then asked me to inform your Serenity in order that the truth might be conveyed to his Most Christian Majesty's Ambassador resident in Venice.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 7th March 1600.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 865. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
As the prospects of the conclusion of a peace with England increase and consequently the need for troops to guard the shores of these kingdoms diminishes, so the number of troops to be sent with the Count of Fuentes into Italy is raised.
News from Seville that the entire fleet has arrived there, without encountering storms or pirates. As regards its cargo it does not bring more than eleven millions. The larger part of this belongs to private individuals, only two and a half millions go to the King. As the money raised before hand on the cargo of the fleet amounts to three millions, the remaining half million continues as a debt. And although his Majesty is already spending money raised on security of the fleet of 1603, the fleets of 1601 and 1602 being already mortgaged, nevertheless, as the Duke of Lerma was the first to give him news of the arrival of this fleet in Seville, the King ordered the Duke to be paid one hundred thousand crowns out of the royal property on board. We may be sure that this hundred thousand crowns will be first money that is paid out; and the event causes considerable grumbling on the part of the public.
Madrid, 8th March 1600.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 866. Francesco Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The mutiny in Flanders is growing more and more serious. The Spanish troops have made themselves masters of a very strong position and have invited all those who wish to join them. The mass of troops is very great and there is alarm lest they should take to pillaging the country. Doctor Carrillo has been sent off there post haste with urgent orders to negotiate and conclude a peace with the Queen of England.
The Dutch fleet has done much damage at St. Thomas. It has sacked and burned the island and the fortress, ruined the sugar mills, carried off the sugar and slain the Spanish garrison; a rising among the blacks is dreaded.
Madrid, 16th March 1600.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 20. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 867. Piero Duodo, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
It seems the chief difficulty in the way of peace with England has been overcome by conceding the Queen's demand to retain the security cities. Other two points which do not involve any concession will easily be arranged; one that the Queen insists that neither the King of Spain nor their Highnesses may send a fleet up the English Channel; the other is that she demands security in London for her credit with the States, in case by making peace with their Highnesses, the security places should have to be restored. The Audientiary Vereiken has left for England.
Prague, 20th March 1600.
March 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 868. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Don Ferrando Cariglio has passed through Paris on his way to Brussels. He comes from Spain, and is commissioned by the King to take part in the conference which will meet at Boulogne to treat about peace with England. That meeting should take place this month, but there is a delay because the Audientiary of the Archduke has not been so cordially received by the Queen of England, and is waiting fresh orders from his Highness. For when he had an audience of the Queen in order to sound her disposition before the commissioners met, he encountered opposition to his suggestions which were mainly two, that the Queen should surrender Flushing and Brill, and that the English trade with Holland should cease and be transferred to Antwerp. To the first a resolute and absolute negative was returned, as such a step would not comport with the honour of the Queen, for those places were not captured by force of arms, but were consigned to the Queen as security until the money she had advanced was returned to her by the Dutch, and it would be a slur on her good name if she surrender them to any other than the Dutch themselves, who have always acted honourably by her; besides the loss would be too serious if she surrendered the fortresses without recovering the millions she had disbursed. As to the second, it was pointed out that it was impossible for the Queen to assign Antwerp alone as a trading port for her subjects, for they would be exposed to continual annoyances, and run the risk of being plundered on the journey. The meeting of the commission at Boulogne will, accordingly, be postponed till these difficulties are removed.
Paris, 26th March 1600.


  • 1. The Audientiary was Louis de Verreiken. Verreschen he is called in the copy of the Peace of Vervins. Dispacci, Francia, 3rd July, 1598. Cf. Calendar of State Papers. Domestic 1598–1601, pp. 397, 402, 407, and Sully's Memoirs, tr. London, i., 471.
  • 2. Grobendonk, cf. Calendar of State Papers. Domestic. 1598–1601, pp. 397, 407.