Venice: January 1601

Pages 438-444

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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January 1601

1601. Jan. 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 941. Agostino Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople to the Doge and Senate.
The French Ambassador told me that his most Christian Majesty had lately sent an answer to the Sultan's letter on the subject of the Ambassador's congé which was refused months ago, unless another Ambassador arrived to fill his place. His most Christian Majesty now declares that as he finds he is well served by the Ambassador he will not change him for the present.
Some days ago an English bertone arrived here with a cargo of tin, caviare and tallow (caviari e seui). The English Ambassador, with the help of the Chief Gardner, (Bostarigi Pasha), who alone supports him; induced the Sultan to come down to the seaside kiosk to watch the ship sail in with flags and pennons flying, and to hear the double salute, very smartly fired by the artillery. And with this empty smoke the English blind the eyes of the Turk so that he cannot see their rapine and their cruelty (et con questi vanni fumi aciecano Inglesi gli occhi a questi in maniera che non vegono le loro rapine et crudeltà).
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 7th January 1600 [m.v.].
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 8. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 942. Piero Duodo, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The Persian Ambassadors have not yet received their congé, to their great annoyance. There is an attempt to make them go back by Muscovy. I enclose the answer they have received. There are two points besides the general answer on the question of a confederation; one that the Englishman, though not called Ambassador in the letters he brought, is honoured with that title in the reply, where he is called the Chief Ambassador; the other that the King of Persia has proposed a deviation of the trade route from Alexandria and Syria.
Prague, 8th January 1601.
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 943. His Cesarean Majesty, our most clement Lord, of his benignity and clemency replies to the letters laid before him by the King of Persia, through his Legate, the celebrated Anthony Sherley (Antonium Syhirle), with whom is joined Cuscuistti Bey.
First; right pleasing is it to him to receive this legation, so memorable for the long stretches of sea and land that it has had to traverse, in order to convey the friendly greetings of the King, and to propose an alliance first with the Emperor, and then with other Christian Princes against the Turk.
His Imperial Majesty has been struggling without intermission against the Turk; and has already attempted to form a league with other Sovereigns. He will do his best to secure such a league; and meantime he promises that he will continue the war with all his might, and will omit nothing which may be needed to break the power of the Turk. He will summon a Diet of the Empire, will raise funds, and will urge all Christian nations to join him; he will send embassies, and will endeavour to prohibit the commerce of Christians with Turks.
The King of Persia should do the same on his side with the Georgians and Muscovites, What moment more favourable for the Persian monarch to secure himself and his kingdom than this, while the Turk is being attacked by the Emperor. The following spring should see a joint attack.
That the King of Persia will permit all Christians not only to trade, but to enjoy liberty of conscience, will certainly bring him great favour with all Christians.
His Cesarean Majesty will take care to do all that may foster and preserve the friendship of the Persian King. He thanks Anthony Sherley (Syhirle) and his companion; Cuscuitti Bey, for the long and laborious journey they have taken, and offers them his Imperial favour.
Prague, 11th December 1600.
To the Legate of the Persian King, Anthony Sherley, Englishman, and his companion, Cuscuitti Bey.
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 944. Credentials to the Emperor.
Anthony Sherley (Cherle) has arrived at our Court, and during his residence has shown his most pure and faithful affection towards us; and now as he is returning to his own land; by his means we have sent as our Ambassador our highly esteemed Usein Alibri in company with the aforesaid little lord.
Casuin, 11th October 1006 (sic).
San (Shah?) Abbas, King of Persia.
Similar letters to the Pope, the King of Spain, and the King of France.
Jan. 15. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 945. Piero Duodo, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
I have just received the letters which these Persian Ambassadors are to present to your Serenity on the orders of their Sovereign.
Prague, 15th January 1601.
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 946. Credentials to the Republic of Venice.
In the same terms as those to the King of France.
Jan. 17. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 947. Francesco Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
News from Flanders that the Queen of England continues to display an excellent disposition; she is waiting to see what attitude they will take up; her own depends largely on that.
Madrid, 17th January 1600. [m.v.]
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 948. Francesco Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The French Ambassador has received despatches on the subject of the peace with Savoy. The substance is that the Duke surrenders la Bresse as far as the Rhone, and retains Saluzzo. The passage of troops from Italy to Flanders is to be left free. The King wants to retain the two Bailès of Verome and Beauge, and, that the Duke shall restore the four places he has occupied.
Madrid, 20th January 1600. [m.v.]
[Italian : deciphered.]
Jan. 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 949. Agostino Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The renegade, Luca Mariani. continues his suit against Carlo Cigala, and has drawn up a very long memorial to present to the Sultan. He took it to the English Ambassador to have it translated into Turkish, but the Ambassador replied that as a friend of the Capudan Pasha, he must decline to interfere.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 20th January 1600. [m.v.]
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 950. Agostino Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Some days ago about twenty Turks appeared in Divan to complain that a Caramusale (fn. 1) belonging to them had been sunk by an English Bertone. Achmet Pasha publicly reproached the Dragoman of the English Ambassador with much bitterness, saying that the Porte received nothing bat damage from the Queen's subjects, and in his anger he went so far as to declare that the Ambassador was doing no service here and had better go; words which, I learn from a sure source, gave great offence to the other Pashas. The Ambassador, in great anxiety at this outburst and insult, has prepared a vigorous note; and, although I have been told to-day that by means of the Chief Gardener he has succeeded in presenting it to his Majesty, still, when I was visiting the Ambassador, he himself, while relating his grievance to me, told me that twice he had endeavoured to present the memorial in person to the Sultan, having even gone the length of landing at the garden walls, close to the kiosk of Sinan Pasha, in the hope that his Majesty passing that way might see him, but the Sultan never came. The Ambassador would not entrust the memorial to the hands of any of the Eunuchs of the Harem for fear that it might miss its effect. He also told one that the Chief Gardener was his most intimate friend and it was from him that he obtained leave to wait for the Sultan by the garden wall for three hours, a place which no one is allowed to approach, especially as the Sultana was there, and without the help of the Chief Gardener or Chief Eunuch he would never have ventured to draw near in that way. All the same the Chief Gardener told the Ambassador that he could not intervene in the presentation of any memorial to the Sultan, on account of the respect he entertained for Hafiz Achmet, Grand Vizir, but that he would favour him to the extent of letting him know when the Sultan was going out. I remarked “but the Sultan was out in Stamboul a few days ago;” the Ambassador replied that the expedition was a surprise and the Chief Gardener could not inform him. It is conjectured that the reason why the Bostangi and the Chief Eunuch refuse to interfere in the presentation of memorials just now is on account of the rumours which were set afloat against them and the Sultana at the time of the murder of Chirà, the Jewess, and are now revived, and the Sultan, on the persuasion of his mother has refused to issue any more signs manual; but the Grand Vizir in the presence of the other Vizirs, writes out the Sultan's replies, as used to be done in the days of Suleiman Sultan. In this way the Sultana and the Chief Eunuch hope to obviate the danger which threatens them from the insolent soldiery, and to free themselves from the charge of turning the Sultan round absolutely; all the same, owing to their secret influence with the Grand Vizir, everything is arranged to suit their views.
The Ambassador told me that the Grand Vizir had sent for him and seriously complained about the Caramusale. The Pasha declared that the English ships, with which the seas off Alexandria were swarming, plundered not only the Turks but also the French and the Venetians, and he was determined for the future to allow no ships inside the Dardanelles, which carried more than two pieces of artillery. The Vizir affirmed that the Ambassador could not deny the fact as there were two Englishmen present at the event, and who were captured at Chios. The Ambassador, however, did deny the fact most positively, but said he would suspend his judgment till these two men arrived, and if it proved true he would know what to do. As for the complaints of the French and Venetians he would leave them to be settled between their Princes and, his mistress, where the grievances would be better adjusted than here, as took place some years ago between the Queen and the Grand Duke of Tuscany, although the Grand Duke of Tuscany subsequently executed an exiled thief. The Ambassador declared that the Captains of the two Bertoni captured at Patras, proposed to take service against the Turks under the King of Spain, and sent their supercargoes to England to come to an arrangement with the Lord High Admired, but they were unable to accomplish their design as they were hung. Further, the Grand Duke of Tuscany has lately bought two Bertoni, and has sent them out as corsairs flying the English flag; in the same way certain French ships from St. Malo are out as corsairs; while latelg a large Englishman called the “Santa Maria Rossa” was captured by the Neapolitan galleys, and the men put to the oar. She was fitted out in the kingdom of Naples, and was sailing as a pirate, also under the English flag. Everyone was trying to hide his own misdeeds under the cloak of those English Bertoni, which were obliged to carry artillery for their own defence as they had to sail through seas belonging to their great enemies; and in short if the Pasha had nothing more to say than what he had alleged the Ambassador would leave as the Pasha desired. The Pasha, however, perjured himself by swearing that he had never said that the Ambassador had better go, although the Dragoman of the Ambassador, urged by his master, confirmed the fact; he was roughly put down by the Pasha who employed abusive language.
Besides this, the English Ambassador has assured me that he distinctly told the Grand Vizir that in the question between himself and the French Ambassador the Pasha had acted not as a judge but as an interested party and advocate for the French. The Pasha answered that he would always maintain the usual Capitulations with the Queen; but the Ambassador replied that the Queen would never accept any Capitulations with the Porte, which did not give her the protection of the Flemish. Apropos to this question of jurisdiction, some days ago the French Ambassador informed me that he had obtained from the Grand Signor a fresh order that the Flemish, who are trading in Syria, should be placed under the flag of his most Christian Majesty. When I remarked to the French Ambassador that the Grand Vizir months ago had already decided on principle in his favour, the Ambassador said that he had done so by word of mouth only, not in writing. Later on the English Ambassador explained to me more fully the nature of this new order which the French Ambassador had obtained, to take out of the Venetian Consul's hands the sum of one thousand crowns deposited by order of the Sultan many months ago, until letters should arrive from England and from France upon the subject of the Flemish nation. These letters have not yet come to hand; but now the French Ambassador, in order to attain his object, is quite willing to destroy almost the whole of this sum by making presents out of it to the Grand Vizir, the Grand Defterdar, and others. The English Ambassador complained that he had received no despatches from the Queen since last April, and that by way of Venice they were excessively delayed. He is expecting despatches by his ships which have sailed from England, one for Syria, the other for Constantinople; and in the first despatches that come to hand he is sure, he says, to receive full instructions as to the navigation of English ships. I said that in truth a resolution, and a vigorous one, was needed to give satisfaction to so many Princes who had been injured in the persons of their subjects. The Ambassador admitted that it was so, for in no other way would it be possible for English ships to continue to trade and to traffic either in these waters or in other parts of the Levant.
The French Ambassador does not fail, by every means in his power, to renew his representations quite openly about these recent events, and fans the flame of the Grand Vizir's indignation against the English. Accordingly, on the return of Giaffer and Memi Corso from the Black Sea, he informed them of the English depredations, and stirred them up to speak to the Grand Vizir on the subject, and perhaps it was they who caused the Vizir to fly out in such a hot fury. I found myself, later on, in the company of the third Vizir, Jemisgi Hassan (Gemis Chiassa), where was also Memi Corso, accidentally, along with the other two. Memi began to express his hatred for this alliance with the English, who, as a rule, do mischief to every one; I confirmed this, saying that the English nation, under cloak of friendship, harassed most barbarously all and sundry on the sea, and prevented their traffic; that the only sure and certain remedy was for the Sultan to prohibit English ships from entering any of his ports. Jemisgi, however, replied that the English alliance ought to be highly appreciated for the English were employed infighting the ships of Spain, and were the enemies of Turkey's enemies, which is precisely the main consideration which inclines the Turks not to abandon the English alliance, especially as long as the English remain at war with Spain. And for this reason the English Ambassador, after telling me that he had learned from the crew of the last ship which arrived that negotiations for a peace between England and Spain had been reopened, suddenly seemed to repent of the admission, and added that he could not believe that peace would be concluded. I, recalling your Serenity's instructions, contained in the despatch of 2nd September last, ordering me to assist the French Ambassador in his endeavours to secure the prohibition of English shipping, will not fail as occasion offers to heighten the heinousness of their crimes; and, as I see that Achmet Pasha is so hot against them, I will make a pretext for visiting him after the Divan, and I hope some remark of his may give to me, as to my predecessor, an opportunity to rouse his suspicions still further, and to dispose him to come some day to a resolution, to exclude English shipping from trade with Turkey in order to secure the seas. I will proceed with the greatest caution and secrecy so as not to be discovered, for the English Ambassador while complaining to me of the unfriendly offices of the French Ambassador, was able to relate them precisely word for word as they were said, and openly displayed his hostility, while covertly he alluded to me by complaining that my Dragomans sometimes also acted in an unfriendly spirit. To this 1 replied with a reverse that was fitting; but I suspect that he has delayed to present his memorial to the Sultan for some fear lest I should be hostile to his objects; and this suspicion imposes on me the duty of keeping before me your Serenity's instructions that I am to use all caution in touching this matter.
The Bertone above-mentioned which came in some days ago, picked up at Zante from some English vessels there, some cloth and some tin. The rest of the cargo of caviare, tallow, and cables, it brought from Muscovy; and as far as I can judge from her capacity there will not be a large profit; for the Turks have taken the larger part of the tallow and cables for use in the Arsenal, at a price fixed by themselves. Just as I was finishing this despatch, Borisi came in; I had commissioned him to find out whether the English Ambassador had really presented his memorial to the Sultan when he was at the kiosk. Borisi tells me that when the Sultan saw the Ambassador he inquired what he wanted; and on the Ambassador making signs that he wished to hand in his petition, the Sultan ordered a cord to be let down from the window of the kiosk and the Ambassador tied his petition to it. It seems that, unless it was shame at this undignified method of petitioning which prevented the Ambassador from relating the occurrence to me, it must have been the difference to which I have already referred.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 21st January 1600 [m.v.].
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 951. Agostino Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
For fear lest the Spahis should be enraged at seeing Christians and Jews better dressed than themselves, the Grand Vizir has renewed an order similar to that which was issued on the death of Chirà the Jewess, namely, that no Christian or Jew, except those attached to the Embassies, may wear silk or Venetian cloth.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 21st January 1600 [m.v.].
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 22. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 952. Piero Duodo, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The Persian Ambassadors are still waiting for an audience. The Englishman is in a fury. He went to take his leave of the Spanish Ambassador, and complained bitterly of Dr. Petzen, who had answered to his remonstrances that if he did not like to stay he could go. I think there is some mystery underneath all this; for though, as your Serenity will see from the letters I sent, the Englishman is not really the Chief Ambassador, yet in the answer they give him that title to flatter and please him. They tried to persuade them to go back to Persia by Muscovy. The Englishman refused; and now they wish to separate him from the Persian, to whom they would attach an ambassador of their own, who would bring them more honour than the Englishman. Dr. Petzen aspires to that post; and this explains his desire to weary out the Englishman. I do not think it will be easy to separate them, though there is a certain amount of ill feeling between them on account of the vanity of the Englishman and the caution of the Persian. The Englishman told the Spanish Ambassador that if he has to leave without an audience, he will go to Florence, and then to France and England, without visiting Spain. In England he will attend to his private affairs and then return, to Persia by sea.
Prague, 22nd January 1601.


  • 1. “A Turkish vessel with square and very high stern.” So in Pedrocchi. Novo Dizionario.