Venice: May 1601

Pages 457-462

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 1601

May 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 983. Agostino Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The prohibition of wine is causing great loss to everyone; the Greeks have suffered to the extent of three hundred thousand ducats and the Jews of four hundred thousand. With difficulty I obtained leave for the Venetian merchants to send theirs into the Black Sea. The officers entrusted with the execution of the order insist upon entering all houses, the French Ambassador's house at Scutari included; but this was avoided by an order from the Grand Vizir. I have obtained an order which covers this Embassy and the houses of the Venetian merchants. But the danger is that when the wine I have is finished it will be impossible to get any more. The Ambassadors of France, England, and myself, are seriously disturbed by the rigidity of the Grand Vizir and the Mufti, who insist on treating the matter from a religious point of view; declaring that their law-giver Mahomet forbade wine precisely to render his soldiers more obedient and more capable of fighting.
The French Ambassador has given it to be understood that he would consent to a simple royal decree conferring on the English the right to be the covering flag for the Flemish, and announces that he will write to his master urging him to abandon his claim to jurisdiction over them. He has done this to gain time, and in the hopes that Cicala will leave in the interim, when he could easily cause the decree to be revoked. Cicala, however, saw through the stratagem and has caused the decree to be inserted in the Capitulations with England. The French Ambassador still hopes that he may one day alter the English Capitulation as the French one is modified to-day. He will never desist, but will always maintain the contest with the English.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 2nd May 1601.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 984. Agostino Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
I have only just heard what your Serenity knows already, that two of the French captains who were fighting with Ibraim have been sent via Venice to France and to England. I would not venture to affirm what reasons have induced Ibraim to take this step without orders from here; possibly to engage those sovereigns on behalf of peace, or perhaps to prevent them from lending an ear to the Persian Ambassador, who has been at the Imperial Court, and to sow suspicions about him.
I have been told that the French Ambassador these last few days has been negotiating that the Sultan should send a galley express to Marseilles, with a present to the King of France. This only to alarm the Spaniards, not because he entertains any hope of assistance from the Turks. But orders have come from the King that if the galley has not sailed it need not do so; perhaps because he is on the point of making peace with Savoy, and he fears that the despatch of a galley would hinder rather than facilitate such an issue.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 5th May, 1601.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 985. Marco Venier and Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassadors in Rome to the Doge and Senate.
The Persian Ambassador has had another audience of His Holiness in his chamber, in the presence of the Cardinals nephews and of those who lodge in the Palace, to the number of eight. The Ambassador declared that the King his master desired nothing so much as his Holiness's favour, and begged him to urge the Princes of Christendom to form a league against the Turk. The King intended not merely to send an army against them, but to head it himself, and to wage a cruel war. The King, said the Ambassador, was well disposed towards the Catholic religion and had issued a decree that any Christian who desired to reside in Persia should be free of burdens; and in order to foster that religion he promised that churches should be built and everything done that might be needful for the service. The Ambassador added that God had so touched the heart of his master that he and all his kingdom might be converted. His Holiness displayed great satisfaction at all this.
The Englishman gives out that on this point of religion he has special orders; but in spite of this it does not seem that he is making much way in the favour of His Holiness and of the Court; although the large number of his fellow countrymen here in Rome do all they can to support him and maintain him as Ambassador. He is now paying his visits to the Cardinals, and is treated as they are in the habit of treating Ambassadors.
Rome, 5th May 1601.
May 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 986. Agostino Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
A Turk has arrived here with a number of letters, I managed to bring him to my house first, and learned that some of the English pirates from Algiers were on their way here to obtain, by means of their Ambassador, an order for the restoration of the merchandise on board the ship they had captured. When they got to Patras they regretted their journey for they learned that the English Ambassador had orders to put them in prison. I kept the Turk engaged in conversation while search was made in the bag where he carried the letters. I took the one addressed to me and also an open one addressed to Bairan, the Chiaia of the arsenal. From this I saw the fraudulent intention of the Pasha of Algiers to retain the goods for himself under pretext of favouring the Venetians.
I met the English Ambassador and complained of the action of the English. The Ambassador admitted that the depredation was made by pirates, named Brook and Lever (Bruch et lever); that he had orders from the Queen to arrest and seud them to England; that the ship was really Venetian, part of the cargo also, though the other part was Spanish, and on this account he declined to give me the orders to the English Consul in Algiers which I demanded.
He told me the Queen had no intention to molest Venetian shipping, and goods and persons on board should be secure as in a moveable fortress. She had accordingly given orders that privateers should only cruise outside Gibraltar and not in these waters. The Ambassador remained firm in his view that he could not surrender Spanish goods captured in Venetian bottoms as all that belonged to the Lord High Admiral. To confirm his assertion as to the Queen's intentions with regard to pirates he read and then gave me the copy of a letter written by a merchant in Patras.
The Ambassador, on the orders of the Queen, has dismissed the English Consul in Patras because he had a share in the booty captured by the pirates. He is to be sent a prisoner to England; for the same cause he has succeeded in securing the dismissal of the Cadi of Patras. He showed me letters from the Queen to the Grand Signor. All this will do more to remove the complaints against England than to suppress the privateers.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 13th May 1601.
[Italian; the parts in italics deciphered.]
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 987. Copy of a letter from Mathew Stocker, merchant in Patras, to the illustrious gentleman Henry Lello, Ambassador of the Queen of England in Constantinople.
Illustrious Sir,
After my humble salutations, etc. Since writing I have received letters and orders from England that if there is no resident consul here in Patras I am to seize the captains, masters, and officers, as well as goods of all privateers that come into this harbour, because her Majesty is greatly annoyed at hearing that insults have been offered to her allies. But as long as this Cadi remains in office I shall be able to do nothing; for he shares with the privateers and is their confederate. On the tenth of last month for example, the “Griffin” a Flemish ship came into this port; she is a noted privateer. By the help of the Cadi she was able to revictual and then sailed away to the Levant, and I fear she will do some damage, and may come back. I therefore humbly beg you to issue orders to capture her. The pirates Brook and Lever who were here last year have come back this year, too from Algiers, where they had taken a prize of which the Pasha has taken possession along with Mr. Brook's ship; while another privateer, Captain Buckley, is in prison. They were determined to go to Constantinople, but I suspect that, having got wind of the Queen's orders to your Lordship to apprehend all such malefactors, they will abandon their design. If they come back here I will arrest them until I receive orders from you.
On the 16th of this month the ship of Captain Buckley sailed in here with his villanous crew on board. They had been in an engagement and had lost their mast. They put into Cephalonia (hofflania), where the Venetian galleys were lying. The Venetians arrested the captain and four of his men; the rest came on here. I have suborned the Cadi and arrested two of the chief men, but I fear that the Cadi will be tempted by money to let them free again in my despite. Your Lordship would do well to secure his dismissal.
1600, 20th February, old style,
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. 988. To the Beglierlbeg of Algiers.
Order to hand over to the Venetians one of the two English privateers; and the cargo of the captured ship, its artillery and fittings; and to punish the English as they deserve. And if the English should already have secured an order for release, the Beglierbeg is not to obey it.
In the middle of the month Seval 1009; that is about April 18th, 1601.
May 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 989. Agostino Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
In the course of an audience with the Grand Vizir he asked me if I drank wine; the Mufti has presented a petition that the Ambassadors shall be forbidden the use of wine, and he says that if they do not comply he will close his doors and perform none of his duties; and indeed, when the French Ambassador sought an audience of him he sent to say that the Ambassador must stave in his wine casks first of all, and then he might speak to him. I replied that had not I and my household become accustomed to wine as a matter of health, I would to please him have habituated myself to sherbet. I also pointed out that the houses of Ambassadors had never been subjected to similar regulations. The Pasha called for the Cavass who was charged with the destruction of the wine casks, and asked him if he had been to the Venetian Embassy, the Cavass said that he had not, but only to the French and English Embassies. The Pasha smiled and told me to drink as I chose, I and my household, for he knew we made only a moderate use of wine, and did not touch spirits; I smiled too, and said that no respectable Italian ever did. The Mufti adopted this line of conduct because he had been informed that in the houses of the French and English Ambassadors there was collected more wine than could be required for their own use. possibly with some other object in view. The Pasha asked me who were those privateers who were doing all this damage, and recalled the fact that the English had carried a Venetian ship into Algiers. I replied that the English had captured not only this but others, and that there were Mussulman pirates as well as English.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 23rd May 1601.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 26. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 990. Marco Venier and Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassadors in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
News from England that the Queen having learned from the evidence of those who have been executed for participation in the Earl of Essex's plot, that the Earl himself was incited by money from the States of Holland, has become very suspicious of them. And it is thought that their ancient thorough understanding will be broken up. This rumour is encouraged by the Spanish as they hope thus to demonstrate that they had no share in the plot as they were charged with having.
Rome, 26th May 1601.
May 31. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 991. Francesco Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
In Portugal they are preparing an expedition to take the sea, and apparently, to push forward to Ireland, where, it seems, they have excellent hopes of achieving something. In truth, however, there is a great lack of volunteers and of soldiers for this armada. and it seems that it will serve rather for display than for any serious work.
Valladolid, the last day of May, 1601.
[Italian; deciphered.]