Venice: May 1600

Pages 406-410

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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May 1600

May 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 876. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Secretary and Dragoman of the French Ambassador in Constantinople have arrived here after a journey of four months. They came to try to raise money to enable their master to pay his debts and come home. They bring letters from certain Pashas in praise of the Ambassador. His successor has not been named. They talk of a brother of M. de Sansi, but as he is a Huguenot, another may be elected, for it does not seem proper to send a heretic to protect the Catholic monks who are at the Holy Sepulchre and elsewhere, which has always been the duty of the French Ambassador. M. de Sansi, however, is doing all he can on his brother's behalf, as his own private interests dictate, especially his desire to sell some jewels, among these two diamonds of extraordinary size, which he has never been able to dispose of neither in Italy, nor elsewhere.
The King has sent the Governor of Dieppe, a Knight of Malta, to England to take part in a Chapter of the Order of the Garter; the King has never been represented since he received the Garter, four years ago.
The Queen of England's Secretary, who has been to Brussels, has arranged the time for the meeting of the commissioners at Boulogne, to negotiate the peace. The date is the 16th of this month. The Queen's Ambassador resident, will go to Boulogne as one of the commissioners. It is thought that within a month or a little more after meeting, we shall see peace made or negotiations broken off. Archduke Albert has assured the Secretary that he will not go beyond what is reasonable; and the question of free trade with Holland will probable prove the most serious difficulty; for if the Spanish assent they will draw but little profit from the peace, if they refuse to assent negotiations will be broken off, for the Kingdom of England cannot afford to lose this commerce for many important reasons.
The King has given fifty thousand crowns to the States, and this year he will give as much as two hundred thousand; he wishes to keep them well disposed.
In Holland they have news that Don Christoforo, son of the late Don Antonio of Portugal, has passed through Venice, and is now in Rome.
Fontainebleau, first of May 1600.
May 1. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 877. Francesco Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Procurators of the Cortes have voted the King eighteen millions of gold; of these seven are to go to secure this years debts, which as I told your Serenity, had but poor security, the remainder is to be paid up in six years. But it seems that the King, as yet, will not be content with this arrangement, for he has the example of the last donative of eight millions, which cost more than other eight to raise, and came in so slowly, that it was of hardly any use. The whole question is still unsettled, for his Majesty's wish is to create a revenue for the ordinary expenses. The desire to find a way out of these embarrassments is heightened by the rumour that the King of France is amassing money on all sides, and already has a considerable sum laid by.
Madrid, the first of May, 1600.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 878. Girolamo Capello, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
From all quarters comes news of the mischief wrought by every kind of pirate; and recently the French Ambassador has been informed by his consul in Zante that two french Sagitte (fn. 1) (Saette) laden with spices were captured by an English ship as they were on their way from Syria. They were taken into Patras. This incident has increased the ill-feeling between these two Ambassadors. The French Ambassador claims compensation for damages from the English; and on the top of this injury comes another and a greater to feed the fire, which is this; there have been some months now in Constantinople two French gentlemen, lodging with the Ambassador; they said they were travelling out of curiosity and intended to go into Persia, in the train of the first Ambassador who went there; and for this purpose they obtained permission and the necessary orders from Halil Pasha. Well, the English Ambassador, for what object I cannot say, has spread a report that these gentlemen intend to negotiate with the Persian something unfavourable to the Turk. This conduct reached the ears of the French Ambassador and of the two Frenchmen. They determined to call on the English Ambassador and to address most serious and pungent observations to him; friends however dissuaded them; but I do not think the matter will rest there, as the French Ambassador is determined to take offence at the English Ambassador's conduct, and to complain of it to the Grand Vizir. The French Ambassador also informed me that he would advise the French Ambassador resident in Venice of the capture of the French vessels, so that he might inform your Serenity, for considering that this affair nearly touches your Serenity's interests, the Ambassador thinks that if you and his most Christian Majesty present a joint memorial to the Porte, steps will certainly be taken and possibly English shipping will be forbidden to sail these seas.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 6th May 1600.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 879. Francesco Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The cities have not yet given their consent to the proposals made by the Procurators to give the King eighteen millions in gold; nor is the King thoroughly satisfied, as this scheme will not really meet his wants, especially if seven millions are to go to secure this year's debts. Nothing will be settled till he comes back in three days. Meantime they continue raising loans, their only means of getting money. They have raised one in Milan for seven hundred thousand crowns, and others for two millions are on foot, and, so the royal revenue is growing more and more hampered, and your Excellencies will be surprised to hear that an auction, though under feigned names, was held the other day for the sale of valuable furniture and jewels and silver belonging to the King, which fetched, two hundred thousand crowns, to meet current outgoings. This is a sign of the King's necessities, which indeed are common subject of talk owing to the number and the variety of persons who are creditors of the Grown. This diminishes the reputation of the King.
Madrid, 9th May 1600.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 880. Francesco Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
They do not at all approve of this Medicean marriage of the King of France, and are very suspicious on account of the continual rumours that his Majesty is amassing large sums of money, and they doubt his objects. They learn with displeasure that the negotiations for peace with England are going on very slowly for it is ardently desired, besides the absolute need they have to put an end to those annoyances which they have endured for so long a time from that quarter without any results, and they expect a favourable issue, perhaps because they desire it. Here are no signs, not even the smallest, of preparation for a fleet, nor for garrisons, nor any sort of provision for the defence of the coast, although the season is so far advanced; on the contrary the Count of Fuentes is embarking more and more men for his government of Milan.
In the Council of State they have had a long discussion as to whether it is desirable to send an express to urge his Imperial Majesty to elect the King of the Romans, for there is a certain rumour that the King of France has not entirely abandoned that aspiration, perhaps because he has some very secret information that his Cœsarean Majesty is not in a thoroughly good state; and should death or any other disaster (fn. 2) overtake the Emperor without the election of King of the Romans having taken place they see that they run a very great risk, though in any circumstances they fear that the Empire will quit the House of Austria. The Imperial Ambassador, whom they have consulted, has dissuaded them from this step as premature.
Madrid, 13th May 1600.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 14. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 881. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Secretary of the Queen of England before leaving Brussels arranged with his Highness the date of the meeting at Boulogne. That was fixed for the 16th old style, 26th new style. The Secretary wished, and, indeed, insisted in the Queen's name, that the Archduke should declare himself upon the points raised by his commissioner in England, points which were entirely rejected, but he replied that the discussion of these really lay with the Envoys, for if the main points were to be settled in this way it would be quite superfluous to send any one to Boulogne. He promised, however, that in negotiating his Envoys would not go beyond the bounds of what was just and reasonable.
The Secretary returned to England with this answer, and then the four commissioners were named. They are the Resident Ambassador here—who has demanded audience of the King to take leave, a Master of Requests, the Secretary, who has been at Brussels, and another Secretary. (fn. 3) The other side are represented by two Spaniards, Don Balthazar de Zuniga, the Spanish Ambassador in Flanders, and Don Ferrando Cariglia, of the Royal Council, recently come from Spain, and two Flemish, the President Richardot, and the Audientiary, who were at the treaty of Vervins.
Although the Earl of Essex has been sent by the Queen to his own house, yet he is not free to move about, and is under the custody of certain gentlemen, who do not allow him to communicate with anyone. M. de Chatillon, nephew of the late Admiral, has been sent to England along with the Governor of Dieppe, for the reason I have explained.
Paris, 14th May 1600.
May 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 882. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The city is full of pilgrims, among them three heretic noblemen, one of the house of Bavaria, one the Prince de Montpellier, the third the Earl of Derby (?) (Milord di Derbi). They all three lodged at the hospital of the Trinità, and were much edified at the sight of Cardinal Mont' Alto washing pilgrims' feet. They were recognised, however, and had to leave.
Rome, 20th May 1600.
May 22. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 883. Piero Duodo, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Negotiations for peace between the Queen of England and their Highnesses are going on very slowly. It seems that the Archduke made four demands; restitution of the fortresses, renewal of the Burgundian confederation, offensive and defensive, free trade for Flemish ships, closing of the Channel to the Dutch. The Queen refused each as being too prejudicial to the States, her old allies. She, on the other hand, demands free trade, with only the old customs imposed, the abolish of the Inquisition on English subjects in Spain; free trade for England in West and East Indies alike, in accordance with the rights of nations. Edmondes (Edmone) has returned to England, and reports but slight prospect of a successful issue. The Archduke wished any one of his commissioners to attend the meetings, and so the Queen on her side, has withdrawn the Earl of Northumberland and sent Edmondes instead.
They say the Queen is very jealous of the prosperity of the French, her ancient rebels and foes. Some weeks ago she told the Scottish Ambassador that his most Christian Majesty had demanded in marriage Arabella, daughter of Charles Stuart, and descended from Margaret, daughter of Henry VII., who is a pretender to the Crown, no less than the King of Scotland, for they are second cousins. The Scottish Ambassador complained to the French Ambassador, who pointed out the improbability of this as his Majesty had concluded a contract of marriage with Tuscany.
The Earl of Tyrone has made a raid in Munster, and the Marquis, his brother-in-law, the best leader the Irish have, pushed on to the town of Coin (?), where the garrison, under their leader, St. Leger, attacked them. St. Leger wounded the Marquis with a pistol shot, and the Marquis wounded St. Leger with a dart, smashing his brains, and both died on the spot; the Irish fled.
Lord Montjoy wrote to the Queen promising to cut off the Earl of Tyrone; but he escaped, and the Queen is highly displeased with the Earl of Ormonde (Varmont) an Irishman, who was the cause.
At Embden in Frisia, a meeting between English and Danish commissioners (fn. 4) is to be held in order to regulate the English fisheries round the Kingdom of Norway, over which Denmark claims jurisdiction.
Prague, 22nd May 1600.
May 22. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 884. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador of the Queen of England has taken his leave and gone towards Boulogne to meet the other commissioners who are to treat of peace. From what I have gathered, the Queen will not consent so easily, but is using this conference as a pretext for gaining time, but I cannot be sure of all this.
Paris, 22nd May 1600.


  • 1. A sea-going vessel, so called from its swiftness. Jal says not to be confounded with the Turkish Sayka. The Sagitta was propelled by oars. Cf. Venezia e E. Sve. Lagune, I.; ii. p. 224.
  • 2. Hinting at Rudolph's madness.
  • 3. Secretary Herbert. Cf. Calendar of State Papers, Domestic, 1598–1601, pp. 434 439, 457.
  • 4. For England the Bishop of London, Dr. Herbert and Dr. Parkins. The Mission was unsuccessful. Cf. Calendar of State Papers, Domestic, 1598–1601, pp. 415–438, 439–445.