Venice: November 1601

Pages 477-481

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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November 1601

Nov. 10. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1024. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The courier has brought positive news that the Spanish force has landed in Ireland, and with the help of the Earl of Tyrone, has captured an important city. The King of France will feel this on account of his excellent relations with the Queen. It is certain that all these operations are intended to facilitate the attack on England.
Rome, 10th November 1601.
Nov. 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1025. Marin Cavalli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The landing of five thousand Spanish troops in Ireland (fn. 1) took place on the fifth of last month. They are commanded by Don Juan d'Aquila, the same who built the fort of Blauet, in Brittany. They wish him to play a similar part in Ireland. They landed, not at Cork, as some say, but at Kinsale, where they seized a small town of that name. They say the Bishop of Cork is with them and promises various things. The King of Spain's object is, not merely to effect a diversion in favour of the Archduke, but to plant foot in Ireland, and to push on gradually; for the distance from Corunna to Ireland is not great, and the navigation in the open sea is easier than in the Straits of Dover, where the last Armada went, There are even greater objects, for the Queen is sixty-eight years old, and, in the natural course of events, she cannot continue much longer her reign of already forty-three years; and, in the case of her death, this footing in Ireland would allow the King either to acquire the country or to assist the catholics, and by supporting his own nominee among the pretenders to the crown, he can render England dependent on himself. The French ministers know that his most Christian Majesty cannot contemplate this fresh movement on the part of Spain with indifference, for his own interests are too deeply involved; he could never submit to see the King of Spain more powerful than he is, nor could he permit him to enter into possession of England, a kingdom so near his own frontiers and from which France has suffered most cruelly in times past; all the same, they consider that as the King of Spain has been for long at war with the Queen of England, it is impossible to object to his doing anything which may injure her; and from this fresh landing the Spanish promise themselves important results.
The Queen, on the other hand, although warned of this contemplated landing in Ireland, either did not believe it or her troops failed to find the enemy, for they landed without any armed opposition such as they expected to find. The Deputy, as the Governor is called, who resides at Dublin, in the middle of the Island, on receiving notice drew six thousand of the sixteen thousand infantry which he has in the north against the Earl of Tyrone, and set out towards the Spanish, shortly after their landing. The Queen, moreover, sent him some small reinforcements, and has given orders for a levy of six thousand men for this service. She can, therefore, engage the Spanish on land, while she has already sent by sea some of her ships, which, as a rule, are admirably equipped., with orders that one squadron of them shall blockade the port of Kinsale and prevent the Spanish ships from leaving, while another is to scour the seas and cut off all succours that may be sent from Spain. She has already informed his most Christian Majesty through her Secretary.
The opinion here is that all these troops sent from Spain will be thrown away to no purpose, on account of the change of climate and the lack of provisions; also, because they will not be able to effect a junction with the Earl of Tyrone, who is at the opposite extremity of the Island, while the Deputy holds all the country between them, with well provisioned forts. The strength of the Earl lies in one or two very strong positions which he holds, and if he abandons these he will expose himself to obvious peril of ruin. As yet, he has received some support from the inhabitants of certain of the neighbouring Scottish islands, which belong to independent chief's (Signor Particolari), the inhabitants are of a like courage with the people whom Tyrone commands, and are, therefore, called savages. This assistance given to Tyrone did not altogether displease the King of Scotland, who is far from satisfied with the Queen upon the question of succession to the Crown of England, to which he lays claim. But being now aware that the landing of the Spanish may be an obstacle to his designs, he must feel differently on the matter, and will watch events closely.
The Duke of Lennox, the Scottish Ambassador who was here on a mission to congratulate the King on his marriage and on the birth of a son, also to renew the ancient treaty between these crowns, has taken his leave after obtaining his object. The Baron de Toul (?) (Tal) is presently to go to Scotland as Ambassador in ordinary from the King of France. I have taken care to assure the said Duke of Lennox that the Republic has the highest regard for the King of Scotland. He sent to tell me that he had suddenly received orders to go to England to assist at a meeting of Parliament summoned by the Queen for some reason not yet known. We learn by letters from England that after the Spanish landing in Ireland, Cœmans had again had audience of the Queen to see whether she was more disposed to treat for peace.
Paris, 12th November 1601.
Nov. 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1026. Marin Cavalli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The suite of M. de Rochpot, French Ambassador in Spain, has not yet been set at liberty. The King of France acccordingly ordered the suspension of commercial relations, and this will be all the more strictly enforced on account of the Spanish landing in Ireland, which is a fresh act of war, and the shipping that went just now to Spain would be exposed to an embargo.
At Ostend they are continually endeavouring to prevent succours from coming in by sea. The old harbour to the west has been blocked and they are trying to close the new harbour on the opposite side. They are advancing along a mole made of sand bags. Two guns on the counterscarp cause some difficulty.
Count Maurice has taken the field with six thousand men, and has done some damage at Cadsand.
Paris, 12th November 1601.
Nov. 17. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1027. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Queen of England is most indignant and grieved at this Spanish landing in Ireland, especially as the Spanish had just sent to her Envoys to negotiate for peace. She has hastily mustered eight thousand foot, and despatched them for the protection of Ireland. The French here say that his most Christian Majesty will not permit the conquest of Ireland by the Spanish; an event which might easily take place now that the Earl of Tyrone is supported by a picked body of Spanish infantry. For the maintenance of this invading force eight thousand crowns have been raised in Portugal, but the expedition will cost much more, and they are trying to impose new burdens on the people. There is great discontent; and discontent was caused in Calabria too by a tax on silk, which brought in forty thousand a year.
Rome, 17th November 1601.
Nov. 17. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1028. Ottaviano Bon and Francesco Soranzo, Venetian Ambassadors in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Atlantic fleet which recently left Lisbon, after encountering a great storm, made land in Ireland. There Don Diego (? Juan) d'Aquila landed with the infantry under his command, numbering between three and four thousand men. He made himself master of a neighbouring town, garrisoned by two hundred English. He has camped there and waits reinforcements, with the help of which he hopes to join the rebels and effect something of moment.
Don Diego Brochiero returned with the fleet to Corunna, to convey the news to His Majesty and to secure the despatch of a larger force, in order to enable them to hold out and to make some acquisitions.
The Persian Ambassador has left. He is not going to France where it seems that the King has shown little disposition to receive him with honour. He has gone towards Lisbon. The present of three thousand crowns received here has not satisfied him: he claimed much more. On his way to the frontier of Portugal he experienced no small annoyance and affront, for one of his suite was killed in the Ambassador's own chamber by some natives who had crowded in out of curiosity. Two Jesuits have set out with the Ambassador very privily and with all secrecy; they will go to Persia to endeavour to do something for the cause of Christendom, or perhaps to inquire into the truth about this Ambassador.
The French Ambassador's suite are still prisoners.
The Spanish are very suspicious of every action of the King of France. They are alarmed at noting a closer relationship than usual with the Queen of England, under pretext of settling the succession in favour of the King of Scots. The news that many French are volunteering for the help of the States causes little satisfaction.
Negotiations for a loan of four millions of gold are on foot. The Archduke Albert will require one and a half during the next six months.
Valladolid, 17th November 1601.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Nov. 25. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1029. Marin Cavalli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Parliament which the Queen of England is now holding in London, usually meets at a fixed date; and from it she receives her supplies for the war. The Duke of Lennox, the Scottish Ambassador, who has recently gone to England, has offered the Queen three thousand infantry, all paid, against the Earl of Tyrone. The offer was promptly accepted.
Cœmans, as I wrote to your Serenity, has been to see the Queen again. His former departure from England was caused by the fact that when discussing various points, he was asked to produce his powers; he replied that he had no special mission beyond that of discovering the Queen's wishes, for when this was discovered there would be no difficulty in bringing the negotiations to a satisfactory conclusion. This time he has been dismissed because the Queen refuses to hear any propositions for an accord as long as the Spanish remain in Ireland.
The Spanish who landed' in Ireland do not exceed four thousand in number. Two days after their arrival the cavalry began to harass them. Then other troops arrived, and hemmed them in by land, while the ships endeavoured to do the same by sea. In the harbour of Kinsale there are still some Spanish vessels which had not sailed.
Paris, 25th November 1601.
Nov. 26. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1030. Piero Duodo, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
All this week the Aulic Council have been considering the difficulty which has arisen between the Hanse towns and the English. As far as I can gather they are inclined to decide that the decree of the Diet of Ratisbon shall not apply to those English who are tarrying on legitimate and honest trade. If that be so it will, doubtless, inflict a serious loss on the Hamburg merchants in the first place, and then on the others who are brought under the new taxes in England, as are the subjects of your Serenity.
Prague, 26th November 1601.


  • 1. Cf. Calendar of State Papers. Domestic. 1601–1603, pp. 100, 112, 114, 119.