Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 12, 1610-1613. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1905.
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Salisbury had before him the task of mending the King's finances. By means of impositions, exaction of Crown debts, aids, etc., he had succeeded in raising the royal income, derived from non-Parliamentary sources, from £315,000 to £460,000 a year, and had reduced the debt from £1,000,000 to £300,000. But the extravagance of the King rendered Salisbury's efforts abortive. The expenditure continued to rise, and it became clear that nothing short of £600,000 a year would suffice. Salisbury's problem was how to induce Parliament to grant such revenue and to make it “firm and stable.” The negotiations assumed the nature of a bargain. The King, through the Treasurer, asked for a “supply” of £600,000 and a permanent support of £200,000 a year, which would bring the annual income up to £660,000. In return the Commons asked for the abolition of certain feudal rights. This formed the basis of “the great Contract.” The haggling which followed merely served to exasperate both parties; James refused as inadequate the sum offered by the Commons, while they, in the consideration of the grievances for which they required redress, came to touch upon what he held to be his prerogative. Parliament was prorogued in July with the question unsettled, though the Commons had indicated the length they were disposed to go. When the House met again in October the King's mood had changed; his patience was exhausted; he saw that he would not gain much by any bargain he could make with the Commons, and he had already begun to contemplate other methods for raising money. Parliament was dissolved in February, 1611. The failure of “the great Contract” was a serious blow to Salisbury, and is said to have hastened his death. The proceedings as they struck the Venetian Ambassador, Marc' Antonio Correr, are noted and commented on in Nos. 111, 115, 125, 132, 151.
Among the expedients now adopted for raising money was the creation of the order of Baronets (No. 227). “The title will descend to the eldest son, and Baronets will have precedence over all other knights except those of the Garter and some who are knighted on the field in recognition of noble deeds. Baronets must prove nobility for three generations and have an income of four thousand ducats a year, or two thirds of that sum and expectation of inheriting the other third on the extinction of one life. This last condition causes many to withdraw their petition so as not to be obliged to declare their means, which might increase their burdens in the payment of subsidies.” Correr remarks that applications came in very slowly, only forty names were down on the list in May, 1611. But by April, 1612 (No. 499), two hundred had applied for the honour and had put in a complaint that the sons of Barons took precedence over them. “Three whole days were consumed in the endeavour to satisfy them, as the point is important; for the future all sons of Baronets are to be considered Knights. . . . . Barons' sons keep their precedence.”
The question of the currency, which had exercised the statesmen of the previous reign, (fn. 1) also claimed the attention of Salisbury (No. 373), Nov. 25, 1611. “The systematization of the coin will certainly take place, and gold will be placed on a par with French gold, which will be most convenient and will put an end to serious disorders; for eleven pounds in France and Flanders are only worth ten here, and therefore gold leaves the country and there is nothing but silver in circulation. Silver will be rated at its true proportion to gold and good results are expected” (No. 387). “The value of gold has been raised ten per cent., and the export of silver forbidden under severe penalties.” The principle which underlay this action is expressed in Miles' “Customers' Alphabet” thus, “The way to retayne Gold and Silver within a Kingdome and draw more into it, is to hold a perfect and steady standard at home and call all Forraine coynes currant, one penny in an ounce of Silver, and xij pence in gold above their owne.” (fn. 2)
Salisbury did not live to put the finances of the country on a sound basis. In spite of his diligence and abnegation in surrendering his profits from Wardship the King's extravagance outstripped his economies. He himself declared “that he was a hundred thousand pounds poorer than when he entered the Treasury” (No. 548). Foscarini, the Venetian Ambassador, reporting his death, says that the Lord Treasurer had always proved a warm friend to Venice and her Envoys.
As regards the complicated negotiations for the marriages of Prince Henry and the Princess Elizabeth, Salisbury's personal leanings are not clearly defined. He followed rather than led the King; but on the whole he disliked a Spanish match for the Prince, and favoured a Protestant match for the Princess. The Prince had received the Garter, been created Prince of Wales, and had established his own household. The question of his early marriage now came to the front. The rumour of the double Franco-Spanish matches, which the Queen Regent and Villeroy had succeeded in concluding, though vigorously denied both by Villeroy and the Spanish Ambassador in England, Don Alonzo de Velasco, had roused the King's alarm at the possible union of the great Catholic Powers. Velasco, in conversation with the King and Salisbury, hinted at the possibility of a Spanish match for the Prince. A similar proposal had already reached England from the Duke of Savoy whose Minister, di Ruffia, Count of Cartignana, had arrived in London to ask the hand of the Princess for the Prince of Piedmont, and to suggest the Infanta Maria as a wife for the Prince. He had instructions to keep the two proposals together, and on being informed that the match for the Prince could not be considered he returned to Turin for further orders. In this interval de Velasco put forward his suggestion, on distinct instructions, he averred, from Lerma and the King of Spain. The King and Queen were both delighted at the idea, whatever Salisbury may have thought of it, and Digby, the English Ambassador in Spain, was ordered to make a formal demand for the Infanta's hand. But Digby found that Philip put him off with polite phrases (No. 334), and when he came to interview Lerma the Minister said that “everything was satisfactory; it only remained to enquire which Infanta the Ambassador meant.” Digby said “the eldest,” whereupon Lerma drew back and said that the eldest Infanta was already destined for the King of France. Digby sent a messenger express to London and the King was furious at finding he had been duped. Salisbury feigned a like indignation. When de Velasco endeavoured to pacify him, and urged that the second Infanta was free to wed the Prince, he replied that the Prince could find roses elsewhere and need not trouble about this Spanish olive; if they still desired to discuss a match they might talk of “second with second,” meaning the Duke of York, if they liked. De Velasco endeavoured to excuse himself to the King by declaring that both his Master and Lerma had given him positive instructions to negotiate for the match, that he had letters in their own hand to prove this, that the eldest Infanta was always intended. James refused to be pacified, and de Velasco announced that he would ask for his recall, he could no longer serve employers who repudiated their written instructions; meantime he hired a house some way out of London in order to avoid the hostility of the mob.
When it was known in diplomatic circles that the Spanish match was off, the French Envoy tentatively suggested a daughter of France; Salisbury sounded Ottaviano Lotti as to the possibility of a Tuscan match with a large dower, the Grand Duke's wealth being notorious; and presently Cartignana returned from Savoy with instructions to ask for the Princess' hand for the Prince of Piedmont, dropping the proposals for a match with the Prince of Wales; but he soon found that the King had resolved to give the Princess to the Elector Palatine, and he returned, re infecta, to his Court, where his reception was chilly. The King did not wish to offend Savoy, and determined to send a complimentary Embassy with a handsome present to Turin. Lord Hay was designated, but finally Sir Henry Wotton was despatched. He took with him a large and distinguished suite, “ten light ambling geldings” (No. 506), and a richly jewelled sword, which “by good chance he kept better than his own, which was stolen out of his chamber the night before he went away, with full appearance, as it would seem, that it was the right one” (No. 472). The Duke still believed in the possibility of an English match, and he overwhelmed Wotton with attentions to such an extent that the Ambassador, who had caught a feverish chill crossing the Cenis, actually complained of the intolerable burden (No. 522). It seems that between Wotton and the Duke there was a renewal of the proposal to marry the Princess Maria to the Prince of Wales, for on Wotton's return to England the Savoy match entered on an active phase. The Duke sent as his agents, first Pergamo (No. 587), then the clever Banker Gabaleone (No. 646), who was soon followed by a fully accredited Ambassador, the Marchese Villa; William Parkhurst, one of Wotton's Secretaries, remained on in Turin.
Meantime the step taken by Salisbury in approaching the Florentine envoy, Lotti, was beginning to bear fruit. The Grand Duke was extremely anxious to conclude a match between his sister and the Prince of Wales and would have considered the money which James was likely to demand as well spent. The alliance would place him above the Duke of Savoy in prestige and would be an important step towards securing the title of King (No. 447). The scheme had the support of Salisbury and Sir Thomas Challoner, the Prince's Chamberlain, and was handled by General Cecil, Lord Salisbury's nephew. As early as February, 1612 (No. 442), the Venetian ambassador reports the arrival of couriers from Tuscany with instructions to pave the way for the match by a lavish use of gold. The Queen was opposed to the alliance, and spoke contemptuously of the Grand Duke's envoy, whom she called “a man” (No. 462). But the King was tempted by the prospect of a large dower, his endeavours being directed to fixing the sum as high as possible. To that end he played the Savoyard proposal against the Tuscan. The question now seemed to resolve itself into a struggle between Tuscany and Savoy, each attempting to outbid the other. Whether either match was seriously intended by the English Court is doubtful. In both cases negotiations turned on the question of dower and religion. James professed liberal views; he said he was willing to allow his son's wife free exercise of her religion in her private apartments; but popular feeling as expressed in the pulpits was hostile to a Catholic match. The Pope entered vigorous protests both at Turin and at Florence against the conclusion of any alliance with England until the question of religion had been settled to his satisfaction. Savoy does not seem to have paid much heed, and in all probability had the other points been arranged he would have gone on with the match in spite of the Pope. The Grand Duke, on the other hand, showed a great desire to conciliate the Holy See. He sent Don Giovanni de' Medici to Rome with instructions to secure the Papal assent (No. 549). When the subject was broached the Pope raised objections, and referred the question to a committee of Cardinals. Don Giovanni endeavoured to force his hand by declaring that negotiations were so far advanced that the Grand Duke could not now retire, whereupon the Pope flew into a rage and averred that he neither could nor would consent to the match. The truth is that Spanish influence was at work in Rome to prevent either the Tuscan or the Savoyard match; and Philip was on the point of despatching Don Pedro de Zuñga to England with that object, among others, in his commission. The delay in Rome had its reflex in London. As the prospects of the Tuscan match waned Savoy redoubled its efforts; the offers for the dower rose till they were rumoured to reach a million (No. 674). French proposals, too, began to take a more active character. During these negotiations the person chiefly concerned, Prince Henry himself, took little part in the discussion. He feared to irritate his father, between whom and himself the relations were slightly strained, as the following episode proves. The Prince despised his father's fanatical devotion to the chase; one day, at Royston, the King chid him for his lack of interest and the Prince resented it, whereupon the King rode at him with his whip. The Prince put spurs to his horse and galloped off, followed by the larger part of the company. By the evening the King had recovered his temper, and when the Prince begged pardon he merely said laughing “Well, you are no sportsman” (No. 217). But though the Prince thought it prudent to remain in the background while his marriage was being discussed, his conduct during the last days of his life leads us to suppose that he would have intervened decisively at the final decision. When the Tuscan match was mooted he showed aversion. “If the Grand Duke was not good enough for the Princess Elizabeth the Grand Duke's sister was not good enough for him.” He even talked vaguely of marrying an Englishwoman. The Savoy match on the other hand, met with his apparent approval at first. He thought the blood sufficiently noble and liked the adventurous, restless spirit of the Duke, though he disliked the idea of a Catholic spouse and used to declare that “two religions should never lie in his bed,” and this may have been the real reason for the opposition which, under the influence of Count Maurice, he displayed towards the end when the negotiations were on the point of being concluded. He was to have attended the Council which was summoned to consider the final answer to Gabaleone, the Savoyard Envoy, and he had drawn up a number of reasons against the match. Possibly the chief reason was that he thought a Catholic marriage would hamper the design he nourished for making himself the head of the Protestant Anti-Austrian party in Europe. However that may be, the Prince never presented his objections. He was stricken by a fever, which proved to be typhoid, and died in November, 1612. There was a suspicion of poison, and dark rumours as to the King's complicity were flying about France and Savoy, but the record of the malady leaves no doubt as to its nature. Foscarini sums up the Prince's character and the effects of his death thus: “Many predictions centred round his person, and he seemed marked out for great deeds. His whole talk was of arms and war. His authority was great and he was obeyed and lauded by the military party. He had begun to put the Navy in order. He was hostile to Spain and had pretensions in France. He would not suffer the Pope to be ill spoken of, and in his familiar conversation he declared that he admired him as a Prince. His designs were vast; his temper grave. He had few equals in the handling of arms, be it on horse or on foot. He was so secret that he kept everything entirely to himself. He listened to all, but conferred with none. With a high conception of himself he reached all his decisions alone. He desired all his correspondence to be burned to save from danger those whom death prevented him from rewarding. It is certain that he was in touch with Prince Maurice, whom he esteemed above all others. In fine, all the hopes of these kingdoms were built on his high qualities” (Nos. 692, 698).
The marriage of the Princess Elizabeth proved a matter less complicated than that of the Prince, her brother. Savoy was first in the field here. But Cartignana soon found that the King was averse. On the outburst of indignation which followed the Spanish answer to the demand for the Infanta's hand, Philip became alarmed both by the reports as to the English temper furnished by de Velasco from London, and by Digby's strong language at Madrid. He resolved to conciliate James, if possible, and began by making concessions in favour of English merchants in Spain. He also caused the idea to be put about that on the expiry of mourning for the Queen of Spain he himself would ask for Princess Elizabeth's hand. Don Pedro de Zuñiga was sent to England with instructions to smooth away the irritation, to negotiate about the colony of Virginia and the North-West passage, and if the occasion offered, to introduce the proposal for a royal match. The King was still sore from his rebuff and either hoped that proposals from the King of Spain would restore his prestige or else would give him an opportunity of returning the affront in kind. In any case he wished the proposal to be made. But when Zuñiga reached the Court at Theobalds he found the atmosphere so chilly that he confined himself to merely formal explanations as to the Franco-Spanish matches and the action of de Velasco. The King was disappointed and returned a very brief answer in a few cold words (No. 594); and Zuñiga, after saying that he desired to stay on for a few weeks, took his leave and returned to London, where an awkward accident befel him, for “as he was riding in his carosse with his six mules over Holborn Bridge, with his great lethagador about his neck and coming upon his elbow, at the side of the carosse comes a fellow by him on horseback and snatches the Ambassador's hat off his head, which had a rich jewel in it, and rides away with it up the street as fast as he could, the people going on and laughing at it.”
But James had really made up his mind to give his daughter to the Palatine, on whose behalf the Huguenot Duke of Bouillon had been negotiating with such effect (No. 539) that by May, 1612, it was virtually settled. The Venetian Ambassador was present both at the reception of the Palatine and at the marriage, which, though postponed on account of the Prince's death, was celebrated with great pomp in February, 1613.
Of James' relations with the Catholics we hear a good deal in the Venetian despatches. The Jesuits were apparently working for the establishment of an English hierarchy (No. 193); “the priests in the kingdom are negotiating with a view to the appointment of four or five bishops by the Pope.” They had drawn up separately various memorials on the point and therein they named the persons they held to be most fitted for the office; they argued that should any of these be put to death it would rouse a spirit of veneration and devotion among English Catholics. The Jesuits on other occasions had opposed the scheme, but the success of the petition was now all the more eagerly desired in that the fathers had in their hands the whole management of Catholic affairs in the kingdom and by their rules were themselves debarred from accepting the episcopal dignity. James took occasion to explain to Foscarini his attitude towards the Church and especially towards the Jesuits (No. 453). His Majesty said that he was doing all that in him lay to imitate the primitive Church, and he complained of being called a heretic. He declared that Bellarmin's opinions had changed after he became Cardinal. As to the Jesuits, “Let it be said that the Pope does not approve of certain opinions which are absolutely and palpably contrary to the truth, yet books are published which contain these opinions, and I hold it all one whether a person says a thing or allows it to be said. The Jesuits are gradually building up a religion according to their own desires, as anyone may see who will compare the teaching of the Sorbonne with the teaching of the Company. I know not what grace or virtue they have above their fellow faithful that they should appropriate the name they do, calling themselves `the Company of Jesu,' as if by some privilege they were superior to other bodies who, as is fitting, take such modest names as `Servites,' `Minorites,' and so on.” He then declared that in his controversy with Vorstius he was defending the faith that is called Roman quite as much as any other creed of Christains, and Foscarini assured him that “in truth he could not have spoken in more Catholic terms nor with greater piety.” The dread of the Jesuits and of Catholic plots was ever present to the King's mind. Both Salisbury and Abbot frequently received warnings to be on their guard, and the Catholic Embassies, especially the Spanish, caused constant anxiety as offering asylum to the evilly disposed. Rigorous measures were adopted and some executions took place (No. 151). “The prisons are full of Catholics and priests. On Monday a Benedictine friar and a secular priest were put to death; the first because he had been five times banished, and last year was one of those who were handed over to the French Ambassador and by him taken out of the kingdom; the other because, when being examined by the Bishop of London, he pressed him with close arguments and vigorous demonstrations that principles adopted against his own judgment were worthless. They might have saved themselves by taking the oath, but both persistently refused. They were frequently visited in prison and were accompanied to execution by a crowd of about three thousand persons, among whom were many of the leading ladies and gentlemen. Some of the mob insisted on drawing the cart; many fell on their knees to receive their blessing and to kiss their feet; nor was anyone hindered in such demonstrations, except that after the execution those who wished to collect the blood were driven back. In his dying speech the friar urged them to pray for the King, nor did he lack hearty applause from the very Protestants. Diligence that the corpses should not be disturbed nor carried off was used in vain, even though the bodies were placed on purpose under the bodies of sixteen thieves.” At Rome the Pope was advised by some of his Cardinals (No. 160) that the only way to stop the persecution was to cease to annoy the King and to abandon the policy of the Jesuits, “which experience has shown to produce the worst results, contrary to all expectation.” In view of this dread of conspiracy a request was sent to all Ambassadors not to admit English subjects to the Mass, nor to allow English priests to officiate (No. 4). This was resented by some of the Ambassadors, who replied that they could not shut their doors, the dignity of their Embassy preventing them. The Venetian, however, assured the Government that in his case the doors were always closed during Mass. The Spaniard, it seems, took no notice of the request, and the result was (No. 205) that the Embassy was surrounded by officers of the Bishop and the Sheriff of London in order to arrest the English who frequented it. The Ambassador complained, and was then invited to attend in Council. There he declared that it was not his business to expel those who came to his house, upon which Council replied “Very well; if it is not your business we shall arrest them even in your chapel.” The Ambassador flared up and the words were eventually withdrawn. But his conduct remained unsatisfactory, and on Christmas Eve, 1611, a certain Sir John Freer was assaulted and arrested when leaving the Spanish Embassy. He was rescued by the Embassy servants (No. 408). The Ambassador sought the King in order to complain, but was referred to Council; he refused to go and insisted on seeing the King, which he did, and in the course of his remarks he attacked the Archbishop of Canterbury, but he got no satisfaction from his Majesty. Council undertook to speak to the various Ambassadors on the topic.
The Flemish Ambassador declared that the question raised a new point and that he must write home for instructions. The French Ambassador seemed inclined to follow the Venetian and to keep the doors closed during Mass; both however resented the interference. The Spanish Ambassador told the Council that he had already written home and could say nothing till the answer arrived; but to avoid offence by his refusal to shut the doors, he was ready, in the meantime, to hire a house out of London. The matter was allowed to drop, and Foscarini reports home that if anything more is heard of it it will be more in the nature of an order to the English to abstain rather than of a request that the Envoys should use vigilance. In discussing the matter with Foscarini the King said that the whole difficulty arose in the first case from the conduct of the Spanish Ambassador, who caused more than one Mass to be said daily and invited attendance by ringing bells. During Don Pedro's first Embassy a scandal had been created by a procession being formed in the Embassy Garden. The French Ambassador was more circumspect, still he had annoyed the King by urging that the position of the French differed from that of the rest, for as his Majesty's Ambassador in Paris had sermons preached in his house and freely admitted Protestants, it was only fair that the same liberty should be enjoyed by the French Embassy in London. To which the King replied that there was a fallacy in the argument, for France was a country which professed freedom of conscience, whereas England did not (No. 451). The matter seems to have caused no further difficulty except in the case of the Spanish Embassy, which continued to attract the vigilance and the suspicions of the Archbishop of Canterbury. In August, 1612, Blakman, the Jesuit Confessor of the English College in Rome, was arrested at the Spanish Embassy in the Barbican, and two others, Blount and Pelham, were wanted. The Embassy was kept under surveillance, and in September two more Jesuits were arrested, upon whom were found notes and memoranda showing an extensive correspondence between the Order and the Embassy, and that money was being freely supplied by the King of Spain. The dislike of the Embassy was increased by the fact that a Spanish priest, who had come to England with a view to embracing the Protestant faith, had been decoyed to the house and disappeared; “it is believed that they have either killed him or sent him secretly to Spain or Flanders.” The King ordered the Archbishop to demand his surrender, but Foscarini did not know the upshot. The truth is that this suspicion of the Spanish Embassy was closely connected with a threatened Spanish invasion of Ireland, which rendered the position both of the Ambassador Extraordinary, Don Pedro de Zuñiga, and of the Lieger, de Velasco, untenable.
Of the Sherley brothers we get some further notice. Sir Anthony was in the Mediterranean in command of the Sicilian galleys for the King of Spain. He was little better than a pirate, and we find him harrying Venetian shipping in those waters (No. 2). Sir Robert had come to Europe in 1610 on a mission, he said, from Shah Abbas to induce the Kings of Spain and of England to attack the Turk, in return for which all Persian exports would be sent to Lisbon and the Atlantic ports instead of through the Mediterranean (No. 163). As far as Spain was concerned he merely got fair words; and in June, 1611, he resolved to leave for England. Foscarini confuses the brothers and talks of “Thomas” Sherley arriving in England on August 5th. The King took offence at a subject of his daring to call himself the Persian Ambassador and made difficulties about receiving him. By the help of Sir Lewis Lewkenor, the Master of the Ceremonies, he was admitted, but in English dress and on condition that he went down on his knees and begged pardon. This was granted and also a small daily allowance. But his negotiations with Salisbury did not prosper. Arms against the Turk were positively refused, while the merchants found that his samples of Persian silk were not good enough (No. 387), and by July he recognised that his mission was a failure and resolved to sail with three ships manned by merchant venturers, “but,” says Foscarini, “I am sure they will take to piracy.” That was the conviction of the Spanish Envoys in England, who warned their Government (No. 666), and of the English as well, for by February, 1613, Foscarini reports that “the Persian Ambassador has set out to return to his Master. He goes by sea and has only one ship with him, the merchants who trade to those parts being opposed to him, as they found out that the ships that were to accompany him would take to piracy.” As he passed down the Channel he was caught in a storm and seemed to be labouring heavily, “we do not know whether he has continued his voyage or been lost.”
The whole question of the pirates gave the English Government serious trouble. The pirate strongholds were at Tunis, at Ma'amura, or Mehdia, on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, where they had established themselves after Fajardo (Fasciardo) burned their fleet at Goletta. and in wild indented shores of south-west Ireland. Their leaders were Ward, Tomkins, Bishop, Dauncer, and Eston. At Tunis they had the support of Kara Osman a Turkish adventurer, virtually master of the place, and in most other ports under Turkish rule they found no difficulty in securing shelter on surrendering a part of their plunder. In 1609 Don Luis Fajardo and M. de Beaulieu had fired Ward, Bishop and Verney out of the Goletta, with the result that the pirates had taken to Ma'amura and the ports outside the Straits, (fn. 3) where they made themselves as great a nuisance as ever. James was forced to take action, under pressure of claims that were being advanced by Venice, France and Spain. He endeavoured to combine joint operations by England, Holland and the other powers interested in the extirpation of the “sea-sharkers.” The Venetian Envoy in France was actively promoting the cause (Nos. 37, 50, 53, 59). Dauncer, one of the leading pirates, had been induced to come into Marseilles and make his peace with the Governor of Provence, the Duke of Guise. The merchants of Marseilles took him into their pay and commissioned him to sail against his old friends the pirates of Tunis and Algiers; and Wotton in one of his last audiences of the Doge (No. 103) told him that an Englishman, who had been captured by the pirates at Tunis and was now serving them under compulsion, was anxious to escape, and placed his knowledge and experience at the disposal of Venice. But Dauncer let himself be decoyed ashore and was put to death by Kara Osman (No. 156), and little seems to have come of Wotton's offer. Ward and his gang continued their depredations. We hear of him in command of six ships challenging an English merchantman in the waters of Zante (No. 108), though he failed to take her. He is reported wrecked off Clarentza (No. 120), but he escaped. By January 11th, 1611, he is reported buccaneering off the Spanish coast. A little later in the same year the examination of John Collever and other captured pirates revealed the fact that the pirate fleet at Ma'amura numbered forty ships with two thousand men. On March 10th, 1612, the Venetian Ambassadors present a complaint to the Grand Vizir stating that Ward had captured the Venetian ship the “Valnegrina,” and had received shelter and support from the Turkish officials in Tunis. The Vizir asked why England, France and Venice did not combine to suppress the pirates, and hinted that if they could not police the sea Crete might meet with the fate of Cyprus (No. 458). Spain was taking some steps in that direction; she had seized El Arish and commissioned Fajardo to protect trade (No. 230). They proposed to block the port of Ma'amura and entrusted the task to Don Pedro di Toledo. He sank eight ships in the fair way. The work was not completely successful (No. 321), but as we shall presently see when we come to the question of Leghorn and Villefranche, the pirates began to leave Ma'amura in considerable numbers. In England James was embarrassed. He himself genuinely detested the lawlessness of piracy; but the buccaneers had powerful supporters He had caught the pirates Bishop and Tomkins. Tomkins was tried and defended himself with great boldness—declaring that he only regretted not having killed every man on board the Venetian ship, the “Balbiana.” He was condemned to death. Yet the King suspended execution under pressure of Court influence. James had no ships capable of dealing with the pirates, and Nottingham deprecated the despatch of a small force as it could only end in dishonour. James had granted leave to the Dutch to do police-work even in British harbours and waters. He expected much, but not much came. Finally he made up his mind to try the effect of a pardon; the plan had proved successful in the case of Dauncer; and some of the English pirates, Ward and others, had before now sought the royal clemency. He found a little difficulty in bringing “his honour and his conscience” to accept this line of conduct, which, however, was urged upon him by the majority of Council (No. 271). The pardon was sent by Captain Roger Myddleton to the pirates' headquarters in Ireland; but many of them were out, off the coast of Portugal, in full expectation of making rich prizes (No. 296). When Eston was found he haughtily remarked that he had no intention of obeying the orders of one king when he himself was, in a way, a king as well (No. 663). James could neither capture the pirates, nor hang them when he had them, nor induce them to accept a pardon.
The history of Peter Eston as revealed by the despatches from Savoy is one of the most remarkable in the annals of piracy. He was a bold sailor ranging from Ireland to Newfoundland and from the Straits to Genoa. The fleet he commanded varied in number from time to time, but we hear of him with as many as twenty-five ships under his orders. On his return from Newfoundland to the Mediterranean in March, 1613, he was casting about for some place where he might store his plunder. The Duke of Savoy, who had been watching with a jealous eye the development of Leghorn, thought that he might raise Nice and Villefranche to the position of rivals if he could tempt the English pirates, now leaving Ma'amura, to use those ports in place of Leghorn. He accordingly issued a proclamation (No. 781) virtually making Nice and Villefranche free ports and offering asylum and safe conduct to all—no matter what their crimes—who chose to seek them. Eston accordingly sailed into Villefranche with four ships, leaving ten others cruising outside the Straits to pick up booty. On board his four ships he had nine hundred picked soldiers, upwards of four hundred thousand crowns in coin, and goods “to an incredible amount.” Eston opened communications directly with the Duke, and, on condition that his property should be free from molestation at the request of any foreign prince, he offered to invest the whole of it in Savoy, and to pay once for all a tithe on the sum total. Eston considered himself safe, and no doubt the Duke, who was in need of money for the large designs he was nourishing, gave him fair words. Anyway the pirate bought a palace in Villefranche and moved into it. He warehoused his property, which was reported to be worth two millions of gold. His other ships began to come in and he gradually proceeded to lay them up; housing their masts, rigging and tackle generally. While this was going on Eston was shot by a harquebus and narrowly escaped death. He declared that he was willing to part with his ships to the Duke, as he meant to retire from the buccaneering business. He was expected at Turin as soon as his wound healed. Meantime there were not wanting those who prophesied an evil end for him. He had placed himself at the Duke's mercy, they said, by dismantling his ships, and it was not likely that the Duke would let all that money slip through his fingers; the proclamation of safe-conduct in Villefranche would not cover the pirate as he had sailed into that port before the proclamation was published. Eston, himself, however, had no fears. By March 4th he had reached Turin; and at once began negotiating for the purchase of titles and lands. He immediately acquired the Duke's favour and was always about the Court. The Duke was on the very eve of his famous raid upon the Duchy of Mantua and intended to employ Eston in his siege train. In fact we learn (No. 824) that “the Englishman has covered himself with glory; among other achievements he is so skilful in laying guns that a few shots by him produce more effect than most gunners can produce by many.” When James heard all this he made representations to the Marchese Villa, Savoyard Ambassador, and the Duke promised to follow the King's wishes in the matter. This did not look favourable for the pirate; but he managed to parry the stroke by offering to raise and command a squadron on behalf of the Duke in order to threaten the Venetians, with whom he had a rupture over the Mantuan raid. Whether these ships ever sailed we do not gather from our documents, but we know that Venice took it seriously and ordered her commanders in the Adriatic to treat all ships flying the Savoy flag as pirates.
Two shipping cases occur, the case of the “Costley” sive “Corsaletta,” for which see the preceding volume of this Calendar, and the case of the “Red Camel.” The Venetian contention that the case of the “Costley” was closed did not meet with the assent of the English merchants, who continued to importune the King. Wotton declared to the Doge, “I wish the matter were ended, but, so help me God, never a despatch reaches me without express orders from my Master to deal closely with your Serenity on the subject, because of the incessant complaints and persistence of the owners, whom his Majesty cannot abandon” (No. 9). Wotton proceeded accordingly to a moderate and lucid recapitulation of the case from the English point of view; he demanded restitution, first, because the seizure was illegal—the captain having conformed to the terms of the convention between England and Venice; second, because the Senate itself had ordered the restitution as an act of grace towards the King. The Doge replied that they had supposed the incident closed, but since the Ambassador re-opened it he must remark, first, as to the seizure the officer in command could not do less than carry out his general orders; as to the fact of whether the ship conformed to the convention there was a clash of evidence, their officers affirming that she did not. As to the ineffectiveness of the resolution of the Senate for the restitution of the ship and cargo “in pristine condition,” that was due to the failure of the owners to make immediate use of the order; the second order arrived too late, lapse of time had injured the goods and rendered restitution “in pristine condition” impossible. However the Cabinet and Senate would again take the matter into consideration and give a reply. The reply was read to Wotton on Sept. 4th, 1610, and was a recapitulation of the Venetian contention; it closed with these words, “This is what we have to say to your Lordship in reply to your requests and in termination of the incident. The same answer will be laid before the King by our Ambassador in London. We trust our representations, especially if brought to his Majesty's notice with your Lordship's wonted prudence, will prove acceptable.” Wotton's silence did not convey the impression that he shared this expectation. The Venetian Ambassador was instructed to lay the final answer of his Government before the King, but before he had time to do so the Venetian Governor-General in Crete sent home a despatch and documents (Nos. 71 to 78) showing what had been done with the “Costley.” In accordance with the orders of the Senate she had been handed over to the agent for the owners, Arthur Sheers, who on leaving for Chios, instructed the English Consul in Canea, Vivian Segari, to sell her for one thousand sequins. He did sell her to Zorzi Vlasto, who, however, failed to keep his bargain, and Segari, to avoid a suit, took over the purchase in the terms of the contract with Vlasto. Segari averred that Sheers had been informed of this transaction. He held the purchase money at the disposition of Sheers or of the Senate. The purchase was effected so as to prevent the “Costley” from rotting to bits in harbour, and he was now sailing her in the Archipelogo to purchase corn. Thus the subject in question legally changed hands and the incident was brought to a close as far as facts were concerned. On November 18th Marc' Antonio Correr had an audience of the King; he insisted that every request of the English Ambassador in Venice had been promptly granted; the whole matter reduced itself to the question of the legality of the seizure; the King assented, and Correr then pressed the clash of evidence. On the English side the testimony came from a few men, some of them agents in the alleged offence, others bound to the owners; on the Venetian side the evidence was given by the officers of the Republic and the ships' crews; as the Republic had frankly accepted the King's word for it that there was no contraband on board the “Costley,” so Correr trusted that his Majesty would accept the Republic's word that there had been a breach of the convention. This was a subtle piece of diplomacy on Correr's part and produced the desired result, for the King replied, “It is the merchants' business to seek their own advantage; and without most convincing proof I shall not lend them credence,” a remark which apparently cut across all Cordall and Company's hopes of recovering losses on the “Costley.”
The case of the “Red Camel” (No. 111) was a case of derelict ownership. She was a Dutch ship which had on board Venetian merchants and their cargo of currants from Zante. She was cast away off the coast of Sussex and the Lord High Admiral and Lord Arundel both entered claim on the ground that she was found rudderless on the shore with “Neither human being, dog, nor cat on board.” The Venetian Ambassador put in a request that the ship should be sequestrated, the cargo housed and inventoried, on the strength of Venetian ownership, until such time as the legal question could be settled. The Ambassador appealed direct to James, who said that the Admiral and Lord Arundel were quarrelling over the wreck; that the law was against the Venetian claim; but that as an act of grace, he would speak to the two Lords. They both professed willingness to waive their claims in order to oblige the Ambassador, but to avoid any prejudice to their rights, they refused to allow inventory, warehousing, or examination of marks. Negotiations produced no result (No. 153). The Earl of Arundel while professing readiness to assent, insisted on a written renouncement of all claim as of right and a reference of the whole matter to himself. To this the Venetian would not agree, for such a course would destroy all hope of recovering in the future. He resolved, if the solatium he intended to offer the Earl proved ineffectual, to apply once more to the King and even to seek a judgment from the Courts. Meantime Arundel and the Admiral had put forward their estimate of the value of the “Red Camel” as four thousand ducats. When James was again appealed to he expressed displeasure at Arundel's obduracy, but declined to interpose his own authority, though he promised to speak to the Judge in the Admiralty Court. This step was efficacious (No. 186), and Correr had the satisfaction of reporting that the Judge had shown himself so firm in demanding that Arundel should make immediate and effective deposit of all that had come into his hands that the Earl himself came to a voluntary composition, leaving two-thirds of the capital to the owners.
The Venetian Ambassadors add nothing new to our knowledge of Arabella Stuart's unhappy story. They give us some interesting details as to the marriage and the flight and a considerable amount of information as to Seymour's wanderings. Marc' Antonio Correr was clearly touched by the hard fate of the lady. He represents her as showing far more courage than her husband when summoned before Council to defend their conduct (No. 24). Salisbury also seems to have felt a respect for Arabella. He was ordered by James to read through and comment on Arabella's petition and took occasion to remark to Correr “that he did not blush to own that his style, for all that he was first Secretary, could not rival that of a woman; for he thought it would tax all Parliament to draft an answer that would correspond to the arguments and eloquence of the petition.” Her flight in a French ship gave rise to a diplomatic incident. A courier from the Embassy was on board with despatches for France. When the ship was seized the despatches were opened and returned to the Ambassador without their covers. The Ambassador at once protested to Lord Salisbury and to the King (No. 258), and with partial success. He extracted a public declaration that both the captain and the courier were innocent. The King asked the French, the Archdukes, Spain and Venice to arrest Seymour if he should be found in their dominions. From the Archdukes he received a doubtful answer, conveyed in vague terms of respect. Venice promptly replied that she would oblige his Majesty, and did actually send orders to the governors of places where it was likely that Seymour might appear (No. 286). For this favour James returned thanks by letter, read to the Cabinet on December 1, 1610.
The question of the North-West Passage to the Indies receives some illustration. Prince Henry took a lively interest in the project and made himself “Protector” of the “Company of Discoverers of the North-West Passage,” who received a grant of Incorporation on July 26th, 1612 (No. 358). Sir Dudley Digges published a little treatise on the subject, but Chamberlain writing to Carleton remarks “beatus qui intelligit.” The Prince considered that the discovery would be a blow to Spain (Nos. 404, 446), and this was the opinion of the Spanish themselves (No. 492). Don Pedro de Zuñiga was instructed, when on his extraordinary mission, to do all that in him lay to thwart the scheme (Nos. 594, 604). But apart from the Prince's desire to injure Spain there was a strictly commercial reason which animated the English merchants. Complaints against the East India Company had been growing in volume; it was urged that the long voyage denuded England of many of her best ships and men, while the fact that English goods—that is chiefly English cloth—were not in demand in those hot climates led to the export of bullion as out-going cargo. Accordingly they “do resolve to attempt the discovery of a passage by seas into the said East Indies by the North-West through some part of America, which if they shall find navigable, then shall they by that passage arrive at the countries of Cataia and China, being the east parts of Asia and Africa, climates of that temperature which in all likelihood will aforth a most liberal vent of English clothes and kersies.” (fn. 4) On Oct.22, 1611, Foscarini sends a report on the subject. He says that seven years earlier a certain Captain Thompson, under the protection of the Dutch and in a Dutch vessel, had made the attempt to force the passage, but returned unsuccessful after a voyage of two years. Later on the East India Company again employed Captain Thompson, but with no better result. But two years ago, in 1609, he succeeded in forcing his way through into the China Sea and returned again by the same route; putting into Plymouth with the remains of his crew, twelve out of the twenty-five that sailed with him. Their ship was a small berton of about one hundred and fifty tons. The Prince examined them and they gave very full details of their voyage and submitted drawings, declaring that the journey there and back would only take eight months as against the two years required by the Cape route. Of course Captain Thompson's report was entirely fallacious. He probably had sailed into Hudson's Bay.
To turn now to foreign affairs. The death of Henry IV., early in 1610 postponed for thirteen years the development of the anti Spanish-Austrian policy which would have governed the course of events. Marie de' Medici, the Queen Regent, and her ministers Villeroy and Sillery, were Spanish in sympathy and firmly resolved that no breach should occur during the King's minority. The Italian branch of Henry's scheme, defined and established by Lesdiguières at Brusol, was now dropped, but the question of the Cleves-Juliers succession was too far advanced to be lightly abandoned. Salisbury was quite aware of the geographical importance of Cleves and Juliers in the struggle between Catholicism and the Reform; it formed a connecting link between the Protestant Princes of Germany and the United Provinces of the highest strategical value. James at once began to enquire what were the intentions of the French Government as regards Cleves, and he found that rather unwillingly they had resolved to carry out that part of Henry's plans; the Marshal de la Chatre was to be sent at the head of the French troops. James at once resolved to act in conjunction with the Dutch, and the English troops, under Cecil, reached Juliers by July 17th. Juliers fell on the 22nd of August, and was placed in charge of the Princes of the Union until the question of “possession” should be decided. James had no desire to be dragged into a war in which France would certainly remain neutral. Salisbury frequently declared that there would be no war. The King aspired to act as representative of the Protestant Princes in the dispute. The Princes of the Union were anxious to bind James definitely to their cause, and in November, 1610, Prince Christian of Anhault came over in their name to “urge the needs of the Union and to press the King to come to a resolution to place himself at their head and take them under his protection.” The King was willing to support the Princes, but wished them to adopt a pacific policy. He laid stress on the fact that though the Union was formed merely for defence little could be expected from Denmark and Sweden. He observed that without a strong nucleus of foreign auxiliaries they could not make much resistance. Christian undertook to lay the King's views before his brother Princes, and departed with a present of a diamond jewel and several dogs and horses.
James was meantime acting as peace-maker between Denmark and Sweden, quite unsuccessfully at first; but after the capture of Kalmar (No. 342) and the battle of Wildsjö, the temper of both parties was more inclined to an agreement. James' agents, Sir Robert Anstruther and Sir James Spencer, were able to report on January 18th, 1613, that a basis of agreement had been reached chiefly, they say, thanks to their own ability.
In October, 1610, Dudley Carleton, who was appointed to succeed Wotton at Venice, started on his mission. He was accompanied by his wife and a suite of nineteen or twenty persons. He reached Turin on the last day of October and Milan on the 2nd November. But on approaching Crema in Venetian territory he found that the sanitary authorities had given orders to place him in quarantine (No. 86). The Governor of Crema found the matter a delicate one and sent off an express to intercept the Ambassador, but while waiting the messenger's return the Ambassador arrived before the gates and learned that he could not be admitted. Carleton was annoyed and declared that he would leave Venetian territory so as to avoid further inconvenience. The lateness of the hour, the Ambassador's fatigue and the expostulation of the Governor all combined to induce Carleton to accept the lodging that had been prepared for him outside the gates; and an express was sent to Venice for orders in the matter. But next morning Carleton was more than ever resolved to turn back, and the Governor was obliged to send apologies; the horses were already harnessed and the trunks on the carriage; but after some difficulty the Ambassador agreed to stay, and “still further to placate him bowls of sweets, quince, peach ices, peach paste, pistaccio, two jars of preserved citron, thirty different kinds of salad and some salted tongue, sixty pounds of cheese, six cappons, a barrel of Malmesey and another of Muscat were offered him. These Carleton received graciously and called the Ambassadress to come and taste the dainties, and after dinner he was so much mollified that he declared that if the Government decided to keep him out of Venice for fifteen or twenty days he merely begged that they would allow him to pass the time at Desenzano on the Lake of Garda.” Orders arrived from Venice removing all obstacles and Carleton was allowed to proceed; he avoided Brescia and made for Desenzano, Verona and Padua where he lodged near the Eremitani, and met Wotton who came out of Venice on purpose. Meantime, the Governor of Crema, after having spent two hundred lire on the refreshments above mentioned, had a visit from an inn-keeper of the city who said that during the six days of Carleton's sojourn he had supplied his suite and fed his horses and coachmen on orders from the Ambassador's Majordomo. A bill for seven hundred lire had been presented and the Ambassador told the host to apply to the Governor and if that officer refused payment the bill might be sent on to Venice, where it would be discharged. “At such a claim,” writes the Governor (No. 114), “I was amazed; for as I had made a present to his Excellency he could gather from this that I had no orders to be at charges for him, and had I had such orders the Ambassador would have been more civilly served than by a taverner. Feeling sure that a gentleman of his rank would not have acted thus without some grounds, I determined to go deeper into the matter, and on conferring with the two gentlemen I had appointed to wait on him I found that when the Ambassador had complained of the heavy expenses to which he was put by this delay, they, to end the matter courteously, had held out hopes that your Serenity would not allow him to be put to such charges.” There is no evidence that Venice did pay the bill.
Carleton's diplomatic career in Venice closely resembles that of Wotton. There was little stirring of great moment, and his speeches in the Cabinet offer a close family likeness to those of his predecessor: the same windy compliments, the same petitions for pardon on behalf of protegèes. Two episodes of a lively character took place. In September, 1611, the Inquisition arrested a certain Giacomo Castelvetro, a man who had acted as Italian master to King James and was now in Carleton's service in a like capacity, though he did not inhabit the Embassy. Carleton at once sent to protest, adding that he imagined Castelvetro's position as his servant was unknown to the officers who had arrested him. The Government replied that they regretted the incident, but must hear the Holy Office before taking steps. Carleton waited four days, but seeing that nothing was done he appeared in person in the Cabinet, and lodged a vigorous protest against the indignity offered to his Embassy and himself. On September 10th the Senate ordered the release of Castelvetro and his surrender to the Ambassador on condition that he left the City and the State of Venice at once. The information of this order was conveyed to Carleton by a Secretary of the Senate late in the evening. The Ambassador was out taking the air, as was his wont every day after supper. On being fetched by his servants he expressed his satisfaction, but added that he could not compel Castelvetro to leave the city; he would, however, withdraw the certificate of protection, and that would, no doubt, induce Castelvetro to do so. The Nuncio, Berlingerio, Bishop of Rimini, meantime, protested that this episode would be resented at Rome, but the Patriarch and the Inquisitor declared that all would be well if Castelvetro would leave the State; as a matter of fact he did leave at once for France. The favour shown to Carleton was claimed as a precedent by the Spanish Ambassador when Georgio Cardosa, a dependant of the Spanish Embassy, was arrested by the Council of Ten, though the Senate refused to admit the plea that the cases were analogous (Nos. 682, 683).
The second incident of Carleton's mission was the arrest of a Neapolitan, a certain Giovanni Vicenzo Gaetano, who had roused the suspicions of the English Ambassador by offering to reveal to him a plot for murdering the King of England. The Venetian Government ordered Gaetano to be held at the disposition of the Ambassador, but refused to examine him themselves or to have anything to do with the case. Carleton reported the matter home, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, to whom the case was entrusted, considered it serious, though we doubt whether there was anything more in the story than in the many wild plots with which Europe was filled at the opening of the seventeenth century.
Sir Thomas Glover was still Ambassador at Constantinople and continued to protect and to house at the Embassy the Moldavian pretender Stephen Bogdan. James had committed himself to the interests of Stephen, but on finding that his presence at the British Embassy caused trouble at the Porte, he was anxious to withdraw. Glover, however, either did not find it easy to abandon Stephen, or for some reason, not clear, did not choose to do so (No. 134). He continued to bribe and to petition on behalf of Stephen until at last he was reported to have obtained an Imperial decree in Stephen's favour (No. 173). But the Polish Ambassador entered a protest against the presence of the pretender at the British Embassy (No. 344). Trouble was brewing for Glover. He had sheltered at the Embassy an apostate Minorite Friar, Vincenzo Marini, of Madaloni near Caserta. The English merchants made a collection for this man and he preached with virulence on Sundays against the Church of Rome (No. 240), “but as one abyss leads to another,” writes Contarini, “the Blessed God disposed him to a life of such abominable looseness that his money ran out though he had good store of it.” To eke out his resources Vincenzo offered to betray to the Turks a gentleman of the Ambassador's household and by a ruse he carried his plan into execution. The Ambassador was, of course, enraged, and arrested and imprisoned the friar while he imperatively demanded the release of his dependant. The Venetian Ambassador, Contarini, sent to suggest that the friar should be placed in his hands, and Glover assented. Contarini put Vincenzo in chains and sent him to Crete for good custody, adding, at the close of his despatch, “that ills never come singly and evil example is catching, and so the Dominican friar who serves this Embassy took to dissolute ways and when his vicar wished to change his monastery he flew into a rage and became a Turk along with a little slave of his, to the scandal and grief of those other poor clerics. It would be well that his Holiness should tell the Superiors of the Orders to send here only friars of proved virtue.” But for various reasons, largely on the suspicion of being in Spanish pay, Glover was out of favour at home and the Turkey Merchants resolved to supersede him by Paul Pindar. Pindar passed through Venice in December, 1611, but left almost immediately and with all secrecy. By the 31st he is reported at Constantinople, where he informed Glover of his recall. This was the end of Stephen's hopes from English support. On February 24th, 1612, as the Sultan was going to the old Serraglio, Stephen approached him and in the usual formulæ professed himself a Turk, whereupon the Sultan gave him the Sanjak of Pistrina in Albania. Glover returned to London and successfully defended himself against the charges advanced. Pindar did not find his mission all smooth sailing. He informed his colleagues and the Turkish officials that his object was purely commercial, not political as Glover's had been. He was well received by all except Sanci, the French Ambassador, who was positively rude to him. Glover had reported to Pindar a conversation with Sanci in which the Frenchman had asked him, “How is it that your successor has come here so quickly and secretly? I hear he is a bankrupt merchant; take care he does not cozen you.” Glover very loyally defended Pindar, and affirmed the validity of his letters. When Pindar made his formal visit to Sanci he at once brought up this conversation, declared it was true he was a merchant, but an honourable one. It was further true that bills of his for forty thousand piastres had been protested in England, but it was also true that he had instantly taken post for London and satisfied all claims; he, therefore, did not merit the term bankrupt. Sanci affected to be amazed, and swore he never said anything of the sort, but Pindar replied, “Sir, don't say that; a person who heard you use the expressions will tell you to your face that you did employ them.” This tiff did not prevent Pindar from acting in concert with his French and Venetian colleagues. The Grand Vizir gave orders that all letters going out from Constantinople were to be stopped and opened, purely business letters would be forwarded; against this a joint protest was entered by the Ambassadors. Similarly they jointly resisted the imposition of the casaplick, a tax of one per cent. applied to the up-keep of the Janissaries. The Grand Vizir wished to apply the tax to all foreigners in order that he might farm it out and raise money for the Adrianople expedition, in which the Sultan was to take part. But the Ambassadors offered a vigorous and combined resistance. They declared they must report home on so striking an innovation. In vain the Vizir threatened to prohibit foreign cloth and silk if they would not grant his request. The first conference ended in a promise that the Ambassadors would consult and reply. At the second meeting the Vizir tried to bring pressure to bear by declaring that if the Ambassadors would not yield he would have to re-examine the various Capitulations, and by hinting that the Embassies might be removed from Pera to Stambul, an old weapon of the Grand Vizirs'. The Vizir argued that there was no law either in Gospels or Koran to prevent a Prince doing what suited him best in his own State; to which Contarini replied that it was much nearer the truth that no law permitted a Prince to break his word sworn in the Capitulations of each nation. At this point in the conference the Mufti came in, and was begged by the Ambassadors to speak in their favour, and thereupon the Vizir sent for the Sherbet and “let it be understood that no change would be made.”
But perhaps the most remarkable event which took place at Constantinople as far as British interests are concerned was the advent and expansion of the Dutch. After the conclusion of the truce with Spain the United Provinces came rapidly to the front as a sea power; we have seen that they had undertaken to police the waters of Ireland and of Gibraltar against the pirates (No. 342); they were expanding in the East Indies and in the Levant. At Constantinople their object was to secure Capitulations on the same lines as France, England, and Venice. All three countries were suspicious of this move. The Dutch ambassador in London, when announcing to Lord Salisbury the despatch of a Dutch mission to Constantinople, adopted an almost apologetic tone; as the truce with Spain had deprived them of one flourishing source of revenue it was necessary for them to open up trade in the Levant and the Mediterranean (No. 383). The English merchants were much disturbed, and foresaw the decline of the London market. Foscarini reports that “it is feared that as the Dutch have begun to trade in almost all parts of the Mediterranean they will absorb the whole traffic, as they are content with very moderate gains; their ships are light and do not cost half as much as English ships cost; owing to their lightness and the skill of their crews, they can sail with half the number of hands, and so though they last a shorter time they can offer freights at half the price of an English ship” (No. 492).
The Dutch Envoy was Cornelius Haaga. When he reached Constantinople he found a combination of French, English and Venetians opposed to him, and it cost him large sums of money and much time before he succeeded in securing the Capitulations (No. 569). The French Ambassador even went the length of offering ten thousand sequins to upset the negotiations. He had invited Pindar to stand in with him, but Pindar declined. When he saw, however, that the Dutch were really going to succeed, he himself approached the French Ambassador offering concerted action; only to be told that it was now too late (No. 631).
The main point of the Dutch Capitulations was that Dutch traders “were to pay five per cent. duty as do the French. The Envoy could not secure the English tariff of three per cent.” The other nations, especially the French and the Spanish, suspected that there was a secret clause binding the Dutch to furnish ships and men in case the Turks came into collision with Spain. Very sinister rumours as to Dutch disloyalty to Christendom were diligently spread about. But James instructed by Pindar never believed them and vigorously denied them. The Dutch wasted no time in erecting factories and consulates at Aleppo, Cairo and other Turkish ports, and in despatching rich fleets to trade in the Levant; and presently a great ship “worthy of so great a monarch” was sent as a gift to the Sultan (No. 765). By April 18th, 1613, Foscarini reports from London, “the Dutch have brought such quantities of merchandize from Cyprus and Syria that prices have fallen so much that they stand to lose eighteen to twenty per cent. of their capital and that is quite certain. The cotton that three or four years ago fetched two shillings has dropped to ninepence.” Contemporaneously Dutch expansion in the East Indies was going on apace (No. 822). They had made themselves masters of the Moluccas and had determined to establish their governor in Java. They sent a mission, of which Grotius formed a part, to endeavour to come to terms on common interests and common action in the East Indies between themselves and the English. They dwelt on the large sums they had expended on acquiring those islands and urged that it was unfair that the English and other subjects of his Majesty should trade there without contributing something towards the expenses; an argument the cogency of which James seemed to admit.
The documents in this volume throw considerable light on the history of the English at Leghorn. When Ma'amura was made uncomfortable for the pirates by Toledo's efforts to destroy the harbour entrance the buccaneers began to look about for other quarters. There were two sovereigns in Italy, the Grand Duke of Tuscany and the Duke of Savoy, who were ready to bid for their presence. We have seen that Savoy virtually opened the ports of Nice and Villefranche to them under a safe conduct for almost all imaginable crimes, while the Grand Duke encouraged them to settle in Leghorn, and held out hopes that he would allow them to fly the Tuscan flag. An Englishman, (fn. 5) Robert Dudley, calling himself Earl of Warwick, was in Leghorn enlarging the harbour and building a vessel on lines of his own designing. At the Tuscan Court Dudley was much consulted upon English affairs. He supported the Dowager Grand Duchess in her schemes for an English match, and he acted as a kind of protector to the English who desired to settle at Leghorn. The Grand Duke wished to preserve appearances and to be able to declare that his new subjects were not buccaneers; he accordingly required them to become Catholics and to swear to abandon piracy; but the London merchants were not taken in and repeatedly complained that stolen English goods were run into Leghorn and taken across to Goro and Ancona for re-shipment for the Levant.
Neither Dudley's ship nor his works on the port of Leghorn appear to have been very successful (No. 208). “It seems,” says the Venetian Resident in Florence, “that the operations are harmful on account of the stench from the excavated earth; and some think the place will be uninhabitable; at least for a time”; “to avoid the great expense they employ only a few hands at a time, and the work will be a long one. Pray God it prove not useless as well. As to the expense, some put it at two, some at four, some at eight hundred thousand crowns. There is some complaint of the Earl of Warwick as though he were trying to secure his continuance here as long as he has no other asylum. His ship is like a galleasse but much smaller. It is to have twenty oars per bench and is certainly meant for privateering” (No. 263). “That ship of his has been launched and turns out to be good for nothing. It is likely to leak.” By July, 1611, it is reported that three English captains who had come to reside in Leghorn, had arrived. They were first of all re-blessed at Pisa, as they now made profession of Catholicism. They left their ships behind at Ma'amura where the others were. “The Earl of Warwick will try to make them all come here, but it is doubtful whether they will care to share their booty with the Grand Duke. The plan is not impracticable, however, and if they do come it is to be feared that under the flag of the Grand Duke they will do much more mischief than in the past.”
In September of the same year Captain Gifford sailed into Leghorn “on board a most beautiful ship, fully armed with one hundred and eighty men.” This is the Captain Gifford who, resenting the Dey of Algiers' conduct as regards a prize he had brought in, set her on fire in the harbour and all but destroyed the whole Algerian fleet, causing the Dey to drive out the entire gang of English, among them Ward, who took shelter in Tunis. (fn. 6) When Gifford came to Leghorn he gave out that he had orders from James to engage the pirates at Ma'amura and to clear them out of Leghorn. But Gifford's brother buccaneers were not so easily decoyed; and presently it turned out that “his papers were forged and that he had put into Leghorn merely to spy the sailings,” with a view of snapping them up whenever they left port. Meantime in London (No. 342) the Grand Duke's secretary, Ottaviano Lotti, vigorously denied that his master was sheltering pirates, and complained loudly of those who spoke so ill of his Highness. The Grand Duke on his side was dealing out justice at Leghorn among the turbulent crew his own policy had accumulated there (No. 366). Vendramin reports that “some slaves and Christians and other scamps have been hung for stealing silk, after having their noses and ears cut off.” But this did not mean that the Grand Duke had ceased to encourage the settlement of pirates. In July, 1612, he gave leave to three buccaneers from Ma'amura to establish themselves in Leghorn with all their property which was in money. Complaints in London grew loud on the “report that goods plundered by English ships have been sold in Leghorn and taken to Ancona and Goro where the prices are higher.” Many persons advocated the Tuscan match for the Prince of Wales as the best means of putting an end to this intolerable state of affairs. Whether it would have done so may be doubted, but it was never brought to the proof, as the Prince died in November of that year.
List of Documents Consulted.
As this is the last volume of the Calendar which I shall edit, a list of the series of documents consulted may be of service. Certain numbers in the series yield but little that bears on English affairs, though I do not think that any can safely be neglected. It is also possible that in the great store of papers at the Frari there may be other series which have escaped my notice.