Venice: October 1601

Pages 474-477

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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October 1601

Oct. 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1018. Marin Cavalli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Marshal de Biron arrived here to-day from England, and passed straight on to the King at Fontainebleau. His Secretary said he would be back in three days, and would come and see me.
Paris, 4th October 1601.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Oct. 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1019. Marin Cavalli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The mission of the Marshal de Biron to England was intended to please the Queen who had been far from satisfied at the remarks of the King to Secretary Edmondes (Etmog) when he was here some months ago on the business of the pillaging of French ships by the English. The King had observed that the Queen could quite well manage her own affairs, thanks to her superiority over the Archduke Albeit, and he advised her to raise a force and to attack some place in Flanders, which would assist the people of Ostend by compelling the Archduke to raise the siege. His Majesty offered to bear a share in the cost. Thereupon the Queen sent the same Secretary Edmondes to Calais to meet the King and to say that she was ready to raise six thousand men and to send them to the succour of Ostend and of the States, on condition that the King should raise a like number, declare open war on the King of Spain and give her security for the payment of her credits. To this the King replied that he had never had the smallest idea of contributing half the cost as the Secretary had represented, that it did not suit him to declare war with Spain just now, and that he required some time for the payment of his debts. That he was ready to pay secretly and without letting it be known the sum of forty thousand crowns. The Queen was far from satisfied with this answer on account of the small sum offered.
Paris, 4th October 1601.
[Italian; deciphered]
Oct. 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1020. Marin Cavalli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Duke de Biron, who has just come back from his Embassy. He met the Queen of England at Basingstoke (fn. 1) (Basin stoc) forty Italian miles from London; in a pleasure house where she is wont to spend a few days on her progress, or pleasure trip. The Duke was received in public audience and said that his most Christian Majesty, being at Calais for the inspection of certain places, had ordered him to visit the Queen in his Majesty's name. The Queen invited him to the chase and to dinner, and in a second audience he took his leave. Though it is possible that the Queen may have touched on some other subjects, I do not understand that the Marshal had any other mission than one of pure compliment. Although the Marshal was received with marked honour, still here they are of opinion that there should have been more, and as he received no present at his departure, as is usual, it is thought that the Queen's conduct has been governed by the motives already explained.
Cœmans, who has been to England several times on the service of the Archduke Albert, was there at the same time, negotiating for peace; and during the Marshal's visit he lived retired, nor could he obtain audience of the Queen till the Marshal's departure, I hope to send you information as to Cœman's mission in my next despatch. M. de Chatillon has been killed at Ostend by a cannon ball. The Archduke's army which was compelled to retire by the cutting of a dyke, has now advanced so far on the other side that the artillery can almost entirely prevent any entry into the old harbour. The beseiged cut through the counterscarp and let in the sea, thus forming another large and most convenient harbour. The Archduke's troops are labouring to deprive them of this also. The spring tides have done damage to the beseiged by injuring the fortifications, and to the beseigers by destroying their trenches. The Archduke finds the operations more and more difficult. He is building shelters for his men as he is resolved to carry on the seige to the end. Others say that he will be forced to retire owing to the desertions among his troops, and that he will build a fort to command the harbour of Ostend. Although five hundred thousand crowns have arrived from Spain for the immediate payment of the troops, and other six hundred are promised shortly, no one can foresee the issue.
Paris, 16th October, 1601.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Oct. 25. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1021. Ottaviano Bon and Francesco Soranzo, Venetian Ambassadors in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
After the Atlantic fleet sailed we have no further news of it, except that several ships and other vessels have been lost in a great storm. The Queen of England, with a view to facilitating an accommodation in Ireland, has offered a general pardon to all the rebels who will submit and return to their allegiance. Many of the chief personages of the island have made their submission, and the Queen has not only pardoned and restored them to grace, but has given them considerable sums of money besides and chains of gold. They, returning with these to Ireland, have tempted a large number of the rebels to follow their example. In this way the Queen's affairs take a very favourable turn and they fear that if the Spanish fleet should make any attempt on the island, it will meet with more difficulties than were at first contemplated.
Valladolid, 25th October 1601.
Oct. 27. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1022. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Archbishop of Ireland has been here for many days. He has letters informing him that there is great alarm at the fleet which is being mustered at Lisbon. The Queen of England being engaged in helping Ostend will be unable to lend that support which will be necessary. Some serious injury will be inflicted by the Spanish fleet which will find support among the Irish favourable to the King of Spain.
Rome, 27th October 1601.
Oct. 29. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1023. Marin Cavalli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Nuncio has general instructions to do all he can to maintain the peace between France and Spain. The Archduke has besought him to make representations to his Majesty so that succours be not given to the States. The Nuncio spoke to his Majesty, and touched on the presence of a French Ambassador in Holland. The King replied that for many reasons there had always been one, but that no help had been given. The Nuncio approached the Grand Chancellor on the same topic; he did not deny that a certain sum of money had been supplied, but said it was repayment of a debt, and that if the States would give a receipt in full or abstain from pressing for payment, the French would be delighted to furnish no more money.
Cœmans's mission in England is merely to arrange for a meeting of deputies from both parties to negotiate for peace. After having declared his object, he left without a decisive answer of any sort; although the Queen for her own purposes lent an ear to the proposals and even entered into certain details. But it is unlikely that a durable peace can be concluded, though the Queen is in straits for money just now.
Four or five thousand Spanish have landed in Ireland to support the Earl of Tyrone, who without this assistance would have been in such a condition that he must have submitted to any conditions in order to come to terms with the Queen. It was thought that these troops were held ready in Lisbon to be sent to Africa if the operations of the fleet were successful in Algiers, rather than to Ireland, where no Spanish troops have been hitherto; and now they come so late that it is difficult to see what good they can do; and if they do not agree with the natives who are very haughty, they may fare ill. The King of Spain has been advised to send these troops in order to divert the Queen from assisting the States and Ostend, and in the hopes that if any places are captured in Ireland, they may be exchanged for the places the Queen holds in Holland.
The Duke of Biron in the course of his Embassy in England, said to the Queen in his masters name, that some of the places she holds in Holland and Zealand, fearing to suffer if she were to die, had offered themselves to his Majesty; but that he had no intention of lending an ear to anything that might cause the Queen disgust, and further that he wished to inform her of the whole matter, so that she might give what orders she pleased.
Signor Marco Guistinian, son of the illustrious Signor Giacomo, has just come back from England. He has been a month at that Court, has kissed the Queen's hand, and received many favours from her. Besides inviting him to the chase and asked many questions about Venice, she ordered her first Secretary Cecil to provide two gentlemen to accompany him, and to show him the principal sights, as that was the object of his visit. The Queen did not omit to show, whenever she could, her great esteem and affection for the Republic.
Paris, 29th October 1601.


  • 1. Basing House, belonging to the Marquis of Winchester. Cf. Calendar of State Papers. Domestic. 1601–1603, p. 98.