Venice: January 1602

Pages 486-491

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 1602

1602. Jan. 5. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1040. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
One of the inducements held out to tempt the Queen of England to make peace with the Archduke Albert is this, that the King of Spain will recall his troops from Ireland. As they have just been reinforced with four thousand men it is thought they may make some progress.
Rome, 5th January 1602.
Jan. 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1041. Marin Cavalli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Nunico has endeavoured to persuade the King to recall M. de Buzenval, his Ambassador in Holland, and to dismiss the Dutch representative. The King made it clear that such a request should never have been preferred. The States had helped him at a pinch and he would not desert them now; besides if he did do so he would offend the Queen of England to whom he was under obligations.
Paris, 7th January 1602.
Jan. 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1042. Marin Cavalli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
While the siege of Ostend was still dragging on, his Majesty was suddenly informed that the besieged were thinking of coming to terms, and had given hostages; and that the Archduke expected to occupy the town in a very few hours. But a strong reinforcement was thrown into the town and so the surrender did not take place.
This news was sent by M. della Boderia (?) who resides at his Highness's Court on behalf of his Majesty. His letters were dated Nieuport, the twenty-third of last month.
The terms were that the garrison should march out with arms and baggage, and likewise the inhabitants. They might take away guns and ammunition; they were to receive one hundred thousand crowns and to be escorted wherever they wished. Two hostages for good faith to be given on both sides. But while negotiations were pending, the Spanish drew up to the wall, intending to scale it. (fn. 1) They were discovered and repulsed. On the 24th a very high tide allowed sixty vessels to enter the harbour and all negotiations were broken off. Sir Francis Vere (Vuer) who is in command of the English wrote to his Highness saying that as long as he was in straits he was open to treat, but now that he had all he wanted he would not continue negotiations. He demanded the liberation of the hostages, which was granted, and he sent back the ones he held.
The real reason for the contemplated surrender was that the garrison feared a general assault; and the defences on one side had been burned by troops who had waded through water up to their middles. And so to gain time till succour arrived these negotiations were set on foot, three thousand five hundred men., between English, Dutch, and Walloons, have entered the town.
Paris, 7th January 1602.
Jan. 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1043. Marin Cavalli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I have confirmation of my last news from England that the King of Scotland had sent help to the Queen; and that an archpriest who is under the Jesuits is doing much to assist Spain. I am told that it is impossible to foresee what will happen for the last time the Spanish fleet attacked England the Catholics all remained loyal to the Queen.
Parliament, they say, has voted four millions to the Queen for the war; it is to be paid in four years. The Duke of Lennox has been dismissed most graciously; and the Queen shows a disposition to grant him the succession. The French Ambassador holds that for an accomplished fact.
In Ireland the Spanish are shut up in Kinsale, by land and by sea. The Earl of Tyrone trying to join them has been repulsed. Some ships that have come into Dieppe, say that they sighted a number of Spanish ships making for Ireland. The Chancellor tells me that one thousand five hundred Spanish were brought by them to Ireland, where they landed a little higher than Kinsale which is occupied by the English.
Paris, 7th January 1602.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1044. Francesco Vendramin and Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassadors in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
In spite of the advantageous terms which the Archduke Albert offers to the Queen she will not lend an ear. She is occupied in collecting troops for Ireland and hopes soon to drive out the Spanish.
Rome, 12th January, 1602.
Jan. 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1045. Agostino Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The French Ambassador sought to free himself in Cicala's eyes from the accusation that he was in intelligence with the Spanish ministers. When talking to me he endeavoured to involve the Queen of England and your Serenity as disseminators of this rumour.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 12th January 1601 [m.v.].
[Italian; deciphered.]
Jan. 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1046. Ottaviano Bon, Francesco Soranzo, and Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassadors in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The question of the French Ambassador's suite is nearly concluded, but it is to be feared that fresh difficulties may arise between Spain and France, for the Adelantado, who was cruising off Almeria to protect the shores from the Barbary Pirates, falling in with nine ships making for the Straits sank three and took the others, because they refused to shorten sail at his orders. Of these four are French and the rest English and Dutch. The Adelantado has made a rich prize, but the French will not readily submit. The Adelantado defends his action by saying that he first fired a blank shot and ran up the royal standard, to which they replied with cannon shot.
Three hundred cavalry have been mustered and are to be sent to support the troops landed in Ireland, though in fact little result is expected beyond a show of bravery.
Valladolid, 13th January 1602.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Jan. 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1047. Marin Cavalli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
It seems that the proposals for surrendering Ostend arose rather from the wishes of the General Vere (Vuer) than from any want of soldiers, which as a matter of fact did exist, owing to sickness or any other cause. Nay, the colonels and captains were enraged that, contrary to the customs of war, Vere should have come to this resolution without consulting them. The soldiers swore they would not give up the place and Vere was made to understand that they would rise against him unless he abandoned his designs. Vere declares that he embarked upon them in order to gain time to repair the fortifications and to allow succour to arrive. He was forced to withdraw from the negotiations and to send back the hostages without recovering his own. At this moment five large men-of-war appeared off Ostend. They had been delayed in arriving, but immediately began to disembark troops and provisions in small boats. They received no damage from the cannonade kept up from the platform at the mouth of the harbour which was rendered innocuous by the distance and the motion of the sea.
Owing to this episode and the conduct of Sir Francis Vere, the States conceived some suspicion of his person, which was increased by his having written to the Archduke that he had opened negotiations with his highness because he was in difficulties and he returned thanks that his proposals had been entertained; he also expressed a hope that should a similar occasion arise he might find a like disposition in so magnanimous a Prince. Many people think that the Queen of England, owing to her occupation in other quarters, is weary of helping Ostend and would not be sorry to see the undertaking at an end, though others do not believe it, as that would be to her damage. There is also a suspicion that Vere may have been bribed. Any way, in order to be prepared, the States have reduced the number of the English and made other provisions which they think necessary.
The succours thrown into Ostend consisted, as I reported, of three thousand five hundred infantry, divided into twenty-four companies. Fresh supports are to be sent till the total of six thousand is reached, which is the full compliment of the garrison of Ostend. The companies which have been serving there are to be recalled to Holland. The Archduke, however, was informed that only four or six hundred men had entered the town, and he resolved to see what would be the result of an assault. He planted seven of his fourteen guns on each side of the town and opened fire from daybreak till sundown, then he ordered an assault and escalade from various quarters at once. He met with so vigorous a resistance, however, that he was repulsed with loss of, they say, eight hundred of his best soldiers.
The Archduke's Ambassador in his last audience with the King thanked his Majesty because he had refused to accept the two strong places of Flushing and Brill, which the Queen of England had offered to hand over to his Majesty, on the ground that he would not contravene the peace with Spain. All the same, I do not really believe that the Queen ever proposed to deprive herself of these places by which she keeps a hold on the States and retains a security for a large sum of money they owe her.
There is confirmation that the Spanish have landed one thousand five hundred men in Ireland, in that part of the island where the Earl of Tyrone is, and have effected a junction with him. To the number of six thousand, they are marching to the relief of Don Juan d'Aquila, who is besieged by the Lord Deputy in Kinsale. They encountered some difficulties on the march, both from want of provisions and because they were harassed by the three thousand infantry sent by the King of Scotland. They say that the ships which brought this last Spanish contingent have been captured by the English, but there is no certainty of this; though the Queen has asked the States to supply her with several men-of-war, which in conjunction with her own would push towards Spain with a view to secure Ireland by investing that coast.
Paris, 21st January 1602.
Jan. 22. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 1048. Marin Cavalli, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
In Ireland, on the 13th of last month, an engagement took place between the troops of the Queen and the forces of the Earl of Tyrone, in conjunction with the last contingent which has arrived from Spain. They were marching to the relief of Kinsale. In this engagement the Irish fled and the Spanish were routed (nel quale essendo fuggiti li Irlandesi li Spagnoli furono rotti), with heavy loss in dead, wounded, and prisoners. The result of this will be that Don Juan d'Aquila will not be able to hold out for long, and will be forced to surrender, while the Earl of Tyrone will endeavour to secure the Queen's pardon.
Your Serenity will gather all the particulars of this action, and of all that the Spanish have done since their landing from the enclosed, which the Queen of England's Secretary resident here has presented to the King.
Paris, 22nd January 1602.
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. (fn. 2) 1049. A Report of all that has happened in Ireland since the arrival of the Spanish.
Don Juan d'Aquila landed at the port of Kinsale, in the Province of Munster, with four thousand infantry on the 21st of September, old style; within fourteen days they were attacked by Lord Mountjoy, the Viceroy of Ireland, at the head of three thousand infantry, and three hundred horse, and within a month they were blockaded by eight thousand infantry and eight hundred horse.
On the 5th of December the rebel Earl of Tyrone, with all his accomplices and leaders of the rebellion, gathered his whole forces, numbering six thousand men and eight hundred horse, and advanced to within twelve Italian miles of the Viceroy. On the same day Pedro de Sevior (landed) eight miles from Kinsale, with seven hundred men and a large quantity of victuals and provisions; he had four other ships with one thousand five hundred infantry, the remains of the expedition that was to have sailed with Don Juan, but had got separated by the gales.
Lord Mountjoy sent four of the Queen's ships lying in Kinsale, to attack the Spanish before they could land their provisions. The engagement between the English and Spanish ships lasted five hours. Three of the Spanish were sunk; two drifted inland and struck the English flag ship. Sir Richard Leveson and twelve of his men were killed, forty wounded, and the ship itself riddled with perhaps a hundred shots.
Pedro de Sevior, on the 15th, sent seven companies of his men to effect a junction with the Earl of Tyrone. The Viceroy intercepted letters from Tyrone to Don Juan, in which the Earl informed the Spanish commander that on Christmas eve, old style, he would attack the English on one side and Don Juan was to do the same on the other, with one thousand five hundred of his men. The Earl said he intended to put one thousand Irish and five hundred Spanish in Kinsale. When the Viceroy understood this plan, he picked out one thousand infantry and three hundred horse, and waited till the Earl had debouched from the forests and the marshes, and then attacked him in the open country. The Irish fled, and the Spanish were left to the mercy of the English, who with only one thousand foot and three hundred horse routed the whole army of eight thousand men and eight hundred horse. One thousand two hundred were left dead on the field, eight hundred wounded; one hundred Spaniards and one thousand suits of armour remained in the hands of the English.
The Spanish implore the Queen's mercy, and detest the brutality and cowardice of the Irish, by whom they say that they were betrayed into the hands of the English troops.
Since the Spanish landing the Queen has sent seven thousand foot and four hundred horse into Ireland, besides other provisions; and now she is sending another four thousand, which will be in Ireland within this month of January.


  • 1. Cf. Motley's “United Netherlands,” Chap. xxxix.
  • 2. Cf. Calendar of State Papers. Domestic. 1601–1603, pp. 132–136.