Venice: April 1600

Pages 403-405

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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April 1600

April 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 869. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
English ships in Provençal waters have been doing damage.
The Secretary of the Queen of England has gone back to Brussels. They wish to smooth away the difficulties which might hinder a peace before the commissioners meet.
Paris, 8th April 1600.
April 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 870. Francesco Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
News from England that the Queen is in very bad health and that affairs in Ireland are steadily going in favour of the Catholics. Nevertheless a considerable number of ships have sailed from England, while others have put out from Zealand and Holland, and have steered for the Indies. All the same the peace negotiations which are being conducted in Boulogne are not interrupted, nor are the parties without hopes of a favourable issue. Perhaps the Queen thinks she will better her position if she makes her fleet felt while negotiations are on foot.
The merchants here have not been able to prevent the King, who is in great difficulties, from keeping back fifty per cent. of the sum secured upon this fleet, and although he has done so with their assent, and they are to draw the ordinary rate of interest, still many of them are very anxious; for, as I have already told your Serenity, the credit on the future fleets is engaged up to the year 1603. In this way the arrears are sure to mount up, and some fine day a royal decree may be issued, which will throw everything into confusion, as did the decrees of the late King. For although, to say the truth, the King is averse from such a step as breaking his word, and is well aware of the damage which the last decree wrought to the King his father, still he is in such straits that he does not know where to turn for relief. The Duke of Lerma, seeing his Majesty's needs, has sold an office he held from the King, the secretaryship of Seville, for the sum of three hundred thousand crowns and has given them to the King, though one may imagine that he has ulterior motives. The Archbishop of Toledo has also offered to be content with ten thousand crowns a year of his income and to renounce in his Majesty's favour all the rest, which would amount to quite two hundred thousand crowns a year, and although this offer is made out of compliment, still the spirit in which it is made is acceptable.
Madrid, 8th April 1600.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 871. Francesco Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The King came from Toledo three days ago and stayed till this morning, when he returned to Aranjuez. He is expected here the day after to-morrow. The convocation of the Chivalrous Orders is fixed for the 16th.
While his Majesty was here he saw the Procurators of the Cortes in order, that they might devise means for meeting the dearth of money. They sat at the palace from one o'clock in the afternoon till daybreak, and in spite of it all no resolution was reached. They have offered his Majesty the eighth part of this year's vintage, which they calculate to be worth two millions and a half, though one may doubt it; but two difficulties arose, one that the King wished them to guarantee that sum, without waiting on the chance; the Procurators declined to do this. The other difficulty is that the Procurators will not allow the King to alienate this revenue, for then they would soon be back in the old position, and they insist that this money shall be handled by the various kingdoms and by no one else. As no arrangement on these points was reached, everything is undecided. They will have to come to some definite resolution soon, for his Majesty's needs are most pressing. Nevertheless he continues to spend money on quite unnecessary objects, which causes great pain, and on his journeys which cost a treasure.
After the news that the English and Dutch fleets were out, a violent quarrel took place in the Council of State between the A delantado and the Count of Fuentes, about the employment of the three thousand troops in Andalusia and Ferrol, the remains of the Adelantado's expedition of last year. The Adelantado insisted that they were needed for the protection of the coast, and Fuentes said he would not go to Milan without them. Later news announced that the English ships had gone to Ireland, and that the Queen's affairs are in a very bad way, and this led to an order for the embarkation of the troops, which, however, will take place very slowly.
Madrid, 13th April 1600.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 872. Francesco Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The King came back on Saturday last from Aranjuez. The next day the meeting of the Orders, St. James, Alcantara and Calatrava, took place, and three days were occupied with ceremonies. The knights will now have to meet again for the reform of abuses, and to raise money for the King. There will be difficulties in the way, for if any money can be raised at all it must come from the private purses of the knights; there is not a penny of common funds available.
Madrid, 20th April 1600.
April 22. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 873. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
On the business of the peace with England we hear that they are endeavouring to induce the Queen of England to surrender the strong places she holds in Flanders. She shows herself little inclined to such a step. The Spanish assert that without this condition no satisfactory conclusion to this important business will be arrived at.
I learn that the King of Spain has sent a personage express to deal with the matter.
Rome, 22nd April 1600.
April 22. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 874. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Lord Montjoy, who has taken Essex's place in Ireland, has left with three or four thousand men, and fresh troops are following him. Letters from the rebel Earl of Tyrone to the King of Spain have been intercepted. In them the Earl calls himself a subject of the King, and asks for aid in money and ammunition, as he has no need for men nor for provisions. The Queen will soon give orders that Essex is to go to his own house, but in charge of a gentleman; in this way she prepares for his liberation and return to favour.
Paris, 22nd April 1600.
April 29 Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 875. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
It is well known that the negotiations for electing the King of France as King of the Romans, are very far advanced, both because his Majesty has secured the support of all the electors, and for many other reasons.
The Spanish in particular are very anxious about these negotiations, and I know that they are doing all they can with his Holiness, and with others to upset all schemes that are favourable to the French. There are rumours set about, though credited only by some, that his most Christian Majesty has already appointed a heretic preacher for Pinerolo, in case the Duke of Savoy adopts the resolution to surrender the Marquisate of Saluzzo and to effect the exchange, and also a heretic governor for that province. But these are reports intended to damage the King.
By the death of the Cardinal Madruccio the Spanish have lost an important element in their party.
Rome, 29th April 1600.