Venice: August 1593

Pages 95-103

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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August 1593

August 2. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 196. Matheo Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
I have arranged for the passage on board the GalleonZaguri” from here to Venice, of the lieutenant, his wife, and Salvadore, his soldier. I have bargained with the master for thirty-five ducats, for passage, use of his cabin, and all expenses.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 2nd August 1593.
[Italian; deciphered.]
August 2. Original Despatch Venetian Archives. 197. Matheo Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople; to the Doge and Senate.
The renegade who was majordomo to the Imperial Ambassador has been several times to my house to beg me to procure for him, from the Ambassador, the means of leaving Constantinople. I did what was suitable considering the nature of the applicant and the position of his master, but without success. And seeing that everywhere, and especially here, it is necessary to be on one's guard against villains, I have given him some assistance in his need. And now that, on the orders of the Grand Vizir, he is about to set out with army, he has come to me twice since the 24th, and has told me that he is a Bavarian and that he served six years as sub-lieutenant and lieutenant in Karlstadt (Carlostot) and three in Bihacs (Bicchia) ; and that he has full knowledge of all the frontiers of Istria, Carnia, Carniola, Friuli, where he is acquainted with the families of delta Torre and Colloredo, and where he passed his best years. He has a wife, children, and property in Altenburg, and his name is Ladislaus Mertin. He told me all his misfortunes and showed real sorrows for having left the true faith. He begs me to intercede with the Ambassador that he may return to favour with the Emperor and secure your Serenity's protection. I promised to write to your Serenity for both purposes, and I do so all the more willingly because I know the man to be capable of mischief. This miserable wretch complained of the Ambassador. He says that he himself was acquitted first on the charge of an abominable offence, and then of having had a hand in the loss of Becskerck (Bihacs) with which he had nothing to do. He further declares that he was not the instigator of the search for papers at the Imperial Embassy; it was an idea of the Grand Vizir, who exacted from him this proof that he was not shamming Islam. Your Serenity will see that it cannot but be to your prejudice if this man who knows the country should go with the Pasha, and so if it please you to give any instructions I will carry them out.
The household of the Imperial Ambassador which was quartered in the Slaves' prison but almost at liberty, has all been put in irons again on the receipt of certain news which is kept very secret, but is conjectured to be that the Turks in Hungary have suffered a notable defeat; if this be true or not your Serenity will know already from the seat of the war. A few Austrian soldiers were taken after the battle in Croatia, and among them a native of Friuli who was present at the action, and declares that it was won by a miracle, there being eight thousand Christians against about thirty thousand, Turks.
The French Ambassador has been to visit the Commander-in Chief, Sinan, in his tent to give him the news. Talking of the fleet, which is his special business, Sinan assured him that unless arrangements had already been made for the despatch of two hundred galleys, the march from Constantinople would not have taken place. As to the war with Hungary the General told the French Ambassador that the English had made representations in favour of peace which he refused to listen to and expressed astonishment that the Queen of England, who was the enemy of Spain, should put herself forward to favour the house of Austria. Sinan declared that he feared some treachery, and showed the Ambassador the very letters addressed to the Sultan so as to assure himself if they were genuine or forged (et trattando della guerra d'Ungaria il Bassà communicò all' Ambassatore l'ufficio di pace fatto seco dall' Inglese, rifiutandolo in tutto et per tutto, et mostrò di meravigliarsi come la Regina, nemica del Re di Spagna, si intromettesse a favor di casa d'Austria, et di temer di qualche inganno; et gli feci veder le proprie lettere scritte al Re per certificarsi se erano vere o finte).
The English Ambassador has returned to the Pasha and has asked for an answer to the letters of the Queen. This will be given him. I am told, by a person who has access to the Pasha, not to be surprised if he is convinced that your Serenity supports the Imperialists, for those of our own party tell him so. This person hinted at one or other of these two Ambassadors (England or France). I cannot make out upon which the suspicion should fall; however, let the great intelligence of your Serenity decide. The fact that both of them speak Turkish allows them, to carry on their negotiations with greater secrecy and more advantageously than those who are compelled to employ dragomans; the audiences are public; it will be very difficult to alter this custom which has become a rule of the Porte. (L'Ambasciator d'Inghilterra è ritornato al Bassà et gli ha ricercato la risposta alle lettere della Regina, che gli sarà stata data. Et m'è stato fatto dire da persona che è stata presso il Bassà che non mi maravigli s'egli sta impresso che la Serenità Vostra dia aiuto ad Imperiali, poiche li nostri medesimi glielo dicono; et accennò sopra uno delli due Ambasciatori predetti. Et in quale di essi cada il sospetto non so discernerlo, però il giudicio sia della molta prudenza delle Vostra Serenità. Et I'havere ambedue la lingua Turckesca causa che possono negociar piu secreti, et avantaggiosamente di quei che convengono passar per mano di Dragomano, essendo le audienze publiche, et malamente si può levar questo uso ch'è fatto Canon.)
Carlo Cicala, brother of the Capudan Pasha, has arrived. He was brought by galley from Silivri, so as to avoid passing through the camp of Sinan Pasha. He has a large train of servants in full dress livery and a complete household; more it would seem in order to maintain the dignity of his brother than for himself; for as yet he only assumes the position of a private gentleman. He has been dissuaded from calling on Sinan Pasha, and Ferrad Pasha, and he has inquired whether his brother will present him to the Sultan to kiss hands. He also wishes to know how Count Juan Marigliani dressed when here. He will in all probability do nothing till the return of his brother, even if he is commissioned to negotiate about the treaty; and it is quite possible that he has no such instructions, and is here merely to secure the support of his brother in favour of Spain.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 2nd August 1593.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Aug. 3. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 198. Matheo Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople to the Doge and Senate.
Sinan Pasha started on the 29th of last month. He was followed by twenty-eight or thirty thousand men. He. hurried his departure quite as much because his troops were insolent as because of any fear that the Christians would follow up their victory. He has left the Spahis at liberty to make their march at their own leisure, on condition that by the 20th of September at the New Moon, they are to be in camp at Belgrade under penalty of being erased from the books and their place given to the Adventurers' Company.
There is a great dearth of bread in Constantinople; the bakers having been entirely occupied in making biscuits for the camp.
Sinan still acts as Grand Vizir precisely as though he were in Constantinople, The Grand Chancellor and the first Treasurer (Defterdar) support him, and he has the Imperial Seal.
Sinan Pasha has taken with him the Imperial Ambassador, in opposition to the advice of the other Pashas. It is thought that he will die of fatigue and hardship on the journey. The Ambassador's household is still in the slaves' prison and it is said they will be sent to the galleys. The Dragoman is in the public prisons.
I waited on Ferrad Pasha. He told me of the order for two hundred galleys for next year.
The French Ambassador tells me that until he sees the money ready he will not believe that they are arming. He admits that he has requested the despatch of one hundred extra galleys to sail to Spain with orders to harass the King's dominions; but he declares he never asked, for a larger number than that. I told him he might rest assured that the fleet would be despatched for commissioners had been sent throughout the kingdom to raise money. The Ambassador also told me that he had been asked if the seaports of the King would be open to the Sultan's fleet, to which he had replied that the King would afford every assistance in his power provided that the fleet was not commanded by Cicala, whom he considered an enemy of the French nation and of the faction of Navarre.
I know that Cicala does all in his power to injure them. Ferrad gives it to be understood that if he were chosen to the command he would remove the Capudan, as there is no love lost between them.
I have had an opportunity of speaking at length with Signor Carlo Cicalla. He assures me that he has no intention of negotiating between Prince and Prince, and that he is here on his own private business alone, He says he is here under a passport from the Sultan and the protection of his brother, and so no question as to his religion will be raised. But I am informed that there are some who are seeking a decision from the Mufti on this point, whether it is lawful to use force to compel the son of a Turkish woman, born at Castel Nuovo, carried slave into Christendom, to return to Islam, which is precisely the case of Signor Carlo Cicalla.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 3rd August 1593.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Aug. 3. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 199. Giacomo Vendramin, Secretary to the Venetian Embassy in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The Pasha of Buda has written to the Emperor expressing surprise that an Ambassador is not sent at once to Constantinople. The letter urges his Majesty to forget the past, and assures him that at the Porte he will be cordially received, and the Pasha of Bosnia will be suppressed by a violent death, fully deserved on account of his fury and insolence towards his Majesty; all the same Popel will not move from the frontier till news comes from Constantinople. The English Ambassador, after receiving an answer from Curtius, identical with the Emperor's first answer, has left. He received as a present a chain worth about four hundred crowsns.
Prague, 3rd August, 1593.
Aug. 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 200. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English are already on the march for Dieppe, on their way home, and other foreign troops will do the same, as the lack of provisions is serious.
Chartres, 4th August 1593.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Aug. 4. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 201. Matheo Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassadors of France and England are on bad terms owing to some private differences; and that feeling is now increased by public reasons, since the English Ambassador without informing his colleague took steps to procure peace for the Imperialists. On the other hand the English Ambassador accuses the French of insisting upon the despatch of a larger fleet than is necessary to injure the King of Spain; which may end in the injury of all Christendom.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 4th August 1593.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Aug. 13. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 202. Francesco Vendramin, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
There is news that Antonio Perez has gone to the Queen of England. His Majesty is doubly enraged against him. His wife and his children are confined in the dungeon of a tower.
Madrid, 13th August 1593.
Aug 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 203. Giovanni Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
When the Duke of Feria went to congratulate the Duke of Guise on his election as King of France the Duke declared that he did not aspire to such greatness.
Chartres, 16th August 1593.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Aug. 16. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 204. Matheo Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The Sultans Secretary said to the Ambassador of France, who was paying him a visit in his garden, that he desired to make representations to the Ambassador once again. He saw that the Ambassador believed the Capudan Pasha to be doing all he could to force Venice into the arms of Spain; as this was contrary to French policy the Ambassador was straining every nerve to injure the Capudan, but the Secretary wished to warn him that if the Capudan were changed it would be a change for the, worse as he would be succeeded by Ibrahim Pasha, who in general had the reputation of being mad. In spite of this, however, the Ambassador continues to use every effort, even in secret, in favour of Giaffer Pasha, at present Pasha of Tripoli in Syria. The Ambassador is convinced that the terror of a large Turkish fleet would suffice to detach the King of Spain from the League in France, and that peace would follow as a matter of course.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 16th August 1593.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Aug. 17. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 205. Giacomo Vendramin, Secretary to the Venetian Embassy in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
News from Basel that the Swiss cantons, Catholic and heretic alike, have granted to the King of Navarre from six to eight thousand infantry, as he may choose, on the ground of their treaties with the Kings of France, thereby recognising Navarre as King of France.
Prague, 17th August 1593.
Aug. 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 206. Matheo Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Sinan Pasha, Commander-in-Chief, owing to the violence of the soldiery, who almost put Adrianople to the sack, was forced to leave that city and to move on to Philippopolis. He complains that he has been followed by a mere handful of troops, and here very severe orders are promulgated against all who are recalcitrant; though some critics say it is undesirable to face a winter out in camp.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 20th August 1593.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Aug. 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 207. Polo Paruta, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador urges the Pope not to be too severe about the conversion of the King of Navarre. He quotes the example of England; that kingdom was lost owing to excessive rigidity. Perhaps, had Clement VII. known how to temporize, King Henry would have continued faithful to the Roman Church. Charles V. had the greatest weight in the councils of Clement, and yet Charles, a few years later, was obliged to enter into alliance with Henry, who, chiefly at his instance, had been declared schismatic.
The Pope lent a kindly attention, and then said “Well, we will” wait a little and see what happens. If it please God to make “Navarre King of France it is not for us to oppose His will.”
Rome, 21st August 1593.
Aug. 21. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 208. Polo Paruta, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
On Monday morning a courier arrived from France with news which was confirmed by another courier on Tuesday night; and so there is no longer any doubt about the conversion of Navarre.
It took place in the following manner. The King, the Archbishop of Bourges, (fn. 1) thirteen Bishops, three Doctors of the Sorbonne and many nobles, went to St. Denis, where the church had already been nobly adorned. He was dressed in royal robes of white embroidered with purple fleurs de lys. He approached the church, and, as arranged, found the door shut. He then asked leave of the prelates about him to enter the church, affirming that he recognised his errors, deeply repented them, was most ready to embrace the Catholic faith and religion, and to live in absolute obedience to the Holy See, for which, if need were, he would not shrink from shedding his blood.
He then recanted and cursed all the opinions and thoughts which he had hitherto entertained, and abjured one by one every doctrine of Calvin which he had hitherto obeyed. The doors of the church were then opened and the King entering went straight to the High Altar, where he knelt and repeated his confession and abjuration, with tears, it is said, and refusing to be seated on the throne made ready for him: He implored the Prelates to admit him to the holy communion, and after confessing to one of them he heard mass and communicated—though there is some diversity of opinion about that.
Rome, 21st August 1593.
Aug. 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 209. Matheo Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The fortress of Bihacs (Bicchia) was taken by treachery. The traitor became a Turk and reached Constantinople. Sinan Pasha has now sent for him and intends to use him and, I expect, the Major-domo of the Imperial Ambassador, in Croatia. Orders have been issued to-day to the officers in Volo, Negropont and the Morea to store grain for making biscuits for the fleet which is to sail next year.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 23rd August 1593.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Aug. 28. Original Despatch, Venetian Archires. 210. Francesco Vendramin, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Enclosed is the invoice of the precious cargo just arrived from the West Indies, and now unlading at Seville.
Madrid, 28th August 1593.
Enclosed in preceding Despatch. List of the cargo of the Western fleet, consisting of gold coin and jewels:—
Dti. Rli Mis. (fn. 2)
From the mainland, for His Majesty, Castilian ducats of eleven reals each 1,806,442 8 18
For the crusade 43,550 6 6
For the salaries of the Council 12,752 10 20
1,862,746 3 1/10
Deduct ducats 198,292, reals 10, maravedis 15, detained by the Generals Luis Alfonso Florez, Don Francesco de Leyva, Martin Perez de Olacabal and Don Francesco della Colonna, for the cost of the fleets; and by the Lieutenant-Governor Antonio de Puebla for the garrison of the Azores, so that there remains net for his Majesty, the crusade and the salaries 1,664,453 3 19
In addition; for his Majesty, four chests of pearls of different kinds; 2,595 pesos (fn. 3) of emerald, and one loose emerald. Two chests of bar silver and bezoar stone sent by the Vice-Roy of Peru. Fifteen pesos of unsmelted silver.
For private merchants and mortgages 3,696,015 1 1
From New Spain
For the King 297,018 2 16
For the crusade 102,867 5 5
From the sale of offices 75,416 2 32
Total 475,301 10 19
Deduct ducats 37,467, reals 9, maravedis 1, which the Generals Martin Perez de Olacabal, and Luis Alfonso Florez detained for payment of their fleet, and Antonio de Puebla, for the garrison of the Azores; leaving net for his Majesty 437,834 1 18
For private merchants and mortgages 1,445,861 10 29
Grand Totals
For the King 2,102,287 5 3
For private individuals 5,141,877 30 0
The amount of jewels for private individuals, the grain, the skins and other merchandize not known.
Aug. 29. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 211. Matheo Zane, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The Imperial Ambassador is still following the march of Sinan Pasha; he is in his coach, but with a chain round his neck. Four or five of his attendants are in irons. The rest of his household is here at the slaves prison, with chains on their feet. There are people here who have let the Sultan know that the double tribute was already on the Hungarian frontier. His Majesty replied that Sinan Pasha would go to fetch it; nor would he be content with money, but would require territory as well. The Ambassador may find some alleviation of his misfortunes when he reaches the government of the Beglierbey of Greece, if that officer remembers that for the release of the Ambassador and his household he received, before his departure, four thousand thalers, besides other presents.
About eighteen prisoners, who were in the fortress of the Black Sea, have broken the floors and escaped, all but a certain Alexander, cousin of Simon, Prince of Georgia, and two Poles who were nearly impotent. About fifteen are off, and as yet no one knows where they are. The Cadi of Pera has compelled the brothers of San Francesco to proclaim excommunication against any Christian who gives them shelter.
The Grand Vizir has issued some pay in the arsenal in order to hasten the work required by Sinan Pasha and the Ambassadors of France and England.
Signor Carlo Cicala, brother of the Capudan Pasha, tells me that no sooner had M. de Lancome reached Palermo than he informed the Count Olivarez that the Capudan would compel his brother to become a Turk; whereupon orders were sent after Signor Carlo to Messina bidding him stay his departure, but he was already at Ragusa. His brother forwarded the orders and urged him to return. He says he is in no fear of danger, but wishes he had never undertaken the journey and were well out of it.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 29th August 1593.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Aug. 80. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 212. Francesco Vendramin, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
News has come from Lisbon that two ships of the East India fleet have arrived, and that they only saved themselves from the attack of four English corsairs with the greatest difficulty. These English ships followed them up for a long while. They report that in the China seas an Englishman seized a ship with a cargo worth upwards of a million; and that as there is no word of the two ships of last year it is thought certain that they are either sunk or captured by the English.
Madrid, 30th August 1593.


  • 1. Rene de Beaune. See De Leva, “La legazione di Roma di Paolo Paruta.” R. Dep. di Storia Patria. Miscel. Tom 1, pp. 278, 315, 316.
  • 2. Maravedis.
  • 3. See Martini, Manuale di Metrologia. Torino 1883, p. 388.