Venice: May 1614

Pages 118-126

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 13, 1613-1615. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1907.

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May 1614

May 3. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Roma. Venetian Archives. 245. Tomaso Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
It is understood that the queen of France proposes, before the meeting of the States General, to send the princess to Spain by way of Marseilles, and to bring the infanta by way of Barcelona, causing them to be escorted by the Swiss, in order to mortify the united princes, who propose to put an end to those marriages.
From Rome, the 3 May, 1614.
May 6. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives. 246. Francesco Morosini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The advices from France show that matters are not proceeding so smoothly as Don Innico de Cardines wrote.
The princes insist upon the suspension of the marriages, and are carrying their point.
The Spaniards, besides what I have written, are using every effort to prevent the marriage of the second princess of France with the prince of England. Besides offering the hand of the second Infanta, they propose other conditions much more advantageous than those of the Most Christian Queen, and even if these are proffered without serious intention to make them good, they will be able to gain time by prolonging the negotiations and to unsettle those with France.
From Madrid, the 6 May, 1614.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 7. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 247. Pietro Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The conditions proposed by the Prince of Condé have been confirmed, with the exception of an alteration of time in the matter of the suspension of the Spanish marriages, which is to be until the King's majority, not until the meeting of the Estates.
From Paris, the 7 May, 1614.
May 9. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 248. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Since my last, divers proposals have been made in the Parliament, which remain in suspense and undetermined. The proposal to gratify the king with an aid of money has been adopted, but they have not yet decided upon the amount, which is, nevertheless, expected to be great.
There has been a proposal with regard to the colony of Virginia, Bermuda and the affairs of those parts, with the intention of assisting them with the forces of this realm, to attain the progress which is desired.
They have discussed a change in the vestments of the ministers of religion, to which the Puritans are bitterly opposed. But the king says that it is his fixed pleasure that they shall be different from the others in their vestments and the shape of their cap. There have been many discussions upon all these points and others, and it is thought that the Parliament will rise for a few days and then re-assemble and that it will last for many months.
The king's ambassador in Spain has arrived here and has been several times with his Majesty. It is understood that he brings proposals of marriage, which the Catholic king did not wish to be made by his own ambassador, because he would not incur the risk of a refusal. The conditions are not known and they are kept very secret, without any sign of progress or any beginning of moment.
The ambassador of his Majesty, come from France, is doing what he can, but though his affair is better advanced and more settled, yet it remains doubly in suspense, owing to the commotions in that kingdom, which make the king move cautiously, so that he may see the end of them, as I wrote. It seems that the Most Christian Queen is also slackening her pace somewhat for the same reasons.
It is thought here that the marriages between France and Spain will remain in a state of suspense for some time, or at least the sending of the princesses. The king has advices in confirmation of this.
As for the summoning of the estates of that realm, it is generally considered advisable and necessary, but the multiplication of grants of places of safety may not please every one.
The ambassador of Sweden, who is in Holland, will have set out by now, as I hear by the latest letters from those parts.
The count of Schomberg is expected here in the name of the Elector. The General Sicel will spend some days with his Highness, by command of the king.
London, the 9 May, 1614.
May 9. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 249. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have had audience of the king and given him the letter of your Serenity congratulating him upon the birth of the prince Palatine. His Majesty replied that a son was born not less to the republic than to him, and your Excellencies were right in rejoicing to see the succession to these realms better established. He afterwards spoke to me of the princess, of the conference held at Heidelberg between certain princes, upon the affairs of Germany, and briefly of those of France.
The Sieur de St. Cler had letters in reply for his king and others for the States and prince Maurice. He had been highly successful in some questions of commerce, and at this moment he will be conferring at the Hague with the States and prince.
The ambassador of Muscovy dined with the king on Monday. His Majesty presented him with divers silver gilt vessels, and in particular with a large cup, from which the king drank to the health of that duke. He will leave in a few days and return to his master. Many favours have been accorded to him, as they are anxious to establish trade in those parts, and the sending of an ambassador has already been completely decided upon.
Some pirate vessels have arrived in Ireland, richly laden with booty captured beyond the line, almost all of it taken from the Spaniards. The Catholic ambassador is endeavouring to recover it, and in some part at least he hopes for success.
The Count of Scarnafes is doing all he can to push the proposals made to the king for the marriage of the younger daughter of the duke to this prince. He receives encouragement from those who are dependent upon His Highness and who are reported to receive gifts. But these hopes are remote, or rather they are based on very slender foundations, for the king certainly shows no inclination that way.
London, the 9 May, 1614.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 9. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 250. To the Proveditore General, sent to Dalmatia and Albania.
Order to push the siege of Segna as much as possible as well as of Vinadol, Fiume and all the other archducal places on the shores of the Quarnaro; to cause a strict blockade to be made at sea and to be proclaimed, and to sink all ships which are found entering or issuing from the said places, after the proclamation.
Ayes 41. Second vote, Ayes 47.
Noes 3. Noes 0.
Neutral 62. Neutral 62.
May 9. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 251. Proclamation of a blockade of Segna, Buccari, Fiume and other places of the Vinadol and of the shores of the Quarnaro from Serisa to Bersel, inclusive, and that no ships with merchandise, victuals or other things shall attempt to enter or to leave those places upon pain of being instantly sent to the bottom.
Ayes 41. Second vote, Ayes 47.
Noes 3. Noes 0.
Neutral 62. Neutral 62.
May 10. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 252. The Prince of Anhalt, who had been a student at Padua, being given a place near his Serenity, presented a letter from his father, Christian, Prince of Anhalt, dated from Hamburg on 29 March, 1614, upon his leaving the University. Compliments were passed on both sides, and the prince then took leave. The prince is aged about fifteen and possesses distinguished manners.
May 10. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Firenze. Venetian Archives. 253. Domenico Dominici, Venetian Resident in Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The prince Don Francesco was so ill that he was given up by most of the doctors. But after he had received the extreme unction, some Scotchmen, with the consent of Madama, gave him some medicine, which at once afforded relief, and he is now out of danger. (fn. 1)
May 12. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costant. Venetian Archives. 254. Cristoforo Valier, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The Captain of the Sea is doing his utmost to make his fleet ready for sea, but he encounters no small difficulty, because the Grand Vizier keeps him very short of money, and he will not be able to start for some days yet if he does not very quickly receive some provision of money.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 12 May, 1614.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 21. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Milano. Venetian Archives. 255. Agostino Dolce, Venetian Resident at Milan, to the Doge and Senate.
The duke of Savoy has a considerable share in the commotions of the French Princes, which he foments for the sole purpose of throwing difficulties in the way of the marriages between the houses of France and Spain.
From Milan, the 21 May, 1613 (sic).
May 23. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 256. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In the Parliament, besides the propositions which I have reported, divers others have since been made. But the king is pressing the question of money. He made a long speech to show that they ought to leave everything else to attend to this, commanding them straitly at the end to do so. They met on the following day and in the lower Chamber nothing was done except to speak of the manner in which his Majesty commanded them. Although they have met again at other times, no other resolution has been taken as yet, though it is hoped that they will arrive at one soon.
The Count Searnafes has at last received the king's answer to his proposals for a marriage. He says that as negotiations are proceeding with France, he cannot and ought not to listen to others. The count has received as a present a diamond of 1,000 crowns, and has departed.
The ambassador of Muscovy who was with the emperor, arrived some days ago at the Hague. He was cordially welcomed especially by Count Maurice. He had audience on Ascension day. He gave an account of the succession of his prince, and expressed also some doubt about the war with Poland. He then proposed friendship and an alliance, adding the self same offers of trade which were already expressed in the letters of that duke. He received a courteous reply. In the matter of the proposal for an alliance he was told that he ought to have brought it in writing, as he promised to do. It is not thought that he will remain more than a few days in these parts.
The ambassador of Constantinople is fostering the inclination of the Grand Turk to send a Chiaus to invite the States to the circumcision of his son. They do not seem very anxious for this honour.
The preparation of ships to go to the East Indies will be somewhat greater than usual, twelve of them are already under sail. Some are also being prepared for Guinea and some for Greenland.
I have received a copy of the letter written by the king of France to the States, and the exposition of the ambassador in the Assembly upon the affair of Vandermyle. I am sending them with these, and they will serve to give more exact and particular information. I know from a good source that it does not please the Spaniards that the Most Christian King continues to pay the French troops who are in those parts, and they allow their lively dissatisfaction to be clearly seen.
London, the 23 May, 1614.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 257. We have seen and heard M. Cornelius Vandermyle, lord of Myle, your ambassador extraordinary, bearer of your letters of the 5th of February. We have received them as the sincere testimony of your affection for us, accompanied with gratitude for your friendship for the late king; we thank you, as the Seigneur Du Maurier will also do in our name, who will tell you our intention upon the matter.
Your good friend and ally,
Dated at Paris, the 4 March, 1614.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 258. Copy of the exposition made by the French ambassador on the 27th March in the assembly of the States after having presented the letter of his king.
Expresses the gratification of the king at the expressions of their friendship made by Cornelius Vandermyle.
States that in spite of extraordinary expenses of the crown for various causes, the king will pay the expenses of the French troops maintained in their country for 6 months of the past year and for the current year. There is reason to believe that the work done by the late king for the establishment of their State will be liberally continued by the queen to a successful issue, and Her Majesty wishes it to be generally known that everything which concerns the welfare of their republic, touches her no less.
May 23. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra, Venetian Archives. 259. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The differences of Cleves have increased to such an extent that the beginning of war is in sight (si veggono principii di vicina guerra). The ambassadors of Brandenburg and Neuburg at the Hague have been in long and angry disputes, the latter showing most mistrust and stiffness. Brandenburg relies upon Saxony for assistance, with whom he is said to have a good understanding and alliance. Neuburg, on the other hand, is fortified by the assistance and favour of the elector of Cologne, his cousin, and Bavaria, and he also has hopes in the archduke. The archduke has written to both princes to make them desist and settle their differences peaceably, and in other letters he has informed the States of this, expressing his desire for peace and adding that the taking up of arms might break the universal peace. Your Excellencies will see all by the enclosed copy, which is translated.
The reply of the United Provinces was in general terms and, as it were, of neutrality. But I hear by letters of the 10th that they have since secured the castle of Juliers with 150 soldiers. The duke of Neuburg offered some resistance and he has taken possession of the court of Dusseldorf, driving out all the officials and troops of Brandenburg. I have all this in a postscript of the same day, as important news which reached the Hague at the very time of the departure of the ordinary.
London, the 23 May, 1614.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 260. Copy of the letter of the Archduke to the States.
The nobility, consols and city of Cleves have informed us by letters of the 24th of some discords which arose a short while ago between the Marquis George William of Brandenburg, and the Count Palatine, Wolfgang William, asking us to remedy it. We have therefore written to those princes urging them to settle their differences and above all to avoid force, and we have forbidden the former to move. We ask you to perform those offices, which will serve the public peace and will prevent the taking up of arms.
At Brussels, the 12 April, 1614.
Dorse: To our good friends the States-General of the United Provinces.
May 25. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costant. Venetian Archives. 261. Cristoforo Valier, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The news of the arrival of a considerable fleet at Messina has stirred the Grand Vizier to send money to the Captain of the Sea without delay. This has enabled the Captain to complete his preparations and on Friday last he sailed for Bizerta with 26 galleys. Yesterday morning he set out for Scios.
The Captain left in an anxious state of mind, recognising that his forces were quite inadequate for the necessities of the situation. He received orders to make good the losses of the past year. He has gone with the determination to fight the Spanish fleet if he meets it.
It is clear that their entire fleet this year will not exceed the number of 80 galleys, as I have so often written.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 25 May, 1614.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 26. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives. 262. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The news from Cleves this week has greatly displeased the emperor. Brandenburg with the help of Prince Maurice has taken the citadel of Juliers, slaughtered Neuburg's troops, who resisted, and driven out the rest. Neuburg, on hearing the news, made sure of Dusseldorf. This affair is sufficient to kindle a great conflagration in Germany, as Neuburg is under the protection of the Catholic league, while Brandenburg is one of the union of confederate princes. The conflicting interests of these princes may therefore involve all Germany and Flanders as well. The States of Holland at once gave out that these movements had been made without their knowledge, with Prince Maurice's own troops, but it is not believed that their general can have acted without their knowledge. The emperor is greatly upset by these disturbances, because they will spoil his plans, preventing him from levying contributions. The whole affair will be more in the hands of the king of Spain than in his. Neuburg, Bavaria, and Cologne have already approached that king's ambassador here.
The confederate princes, after these events, remain on the alert, and Brandenburg presses his cause before them. The Palatine, who is the head of the union, has given notice of a conference, to be held very soon, and the duke of Bavaria has done the like. The issue remains to be seen.
From Veltz, the 26 May, 1614. Copy.
May 27. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 263. Pietro Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
In the capitulations made with Condé the suspension of the Spanish marriages has not been specified, in order not to give umbrage to the Catholic king. But the prince insisted upon having the queen's promise, which is expressed in the enclosed letter. Though every effort has been made to keep it secret this has not suited Condé, who was determined to have it published.
The difficulties of this realm now seem to be ended, but the Crown cannot be considered as quite out of danger, as the assembling of the estates may easily give rise to inconveniences which have occurred at other times on similar occasions.
It is said that the two other general assemblies will meet at almost the same time, those of the clergy and of the Huguenots, which will be a source of danger in the present weakness of the royal authority.
From Paris, the 27 May, 1614.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 264. Letter from the queen to the prince of Condé promising that the marriage of the king and of her elder daughter shall be suspended until the king's majority.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 265. Copy of articles of agreement between the deputies of the queen and the prince of Condé and the other princes of his party.
May 27. Senato, Terra. Venetian Archives. 266. In past years the press of this city was under the control of the Reformatori del. Studio, and this proved adequate. Now certain representations have been made, especially by our ambassador in Rome, that the fame of this important art here is not what it used to be; it will therefore be necessary for a special person to be appointed to see to this.
Ayes 73.
Noes 3.
Neutral 11.
May 30. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives. 267. To the Ambassador in England.
We are informed that the galley of Suliman di Catania has arrived in the port of Canea from Catanea, with Suliman himself on board and about twenty Turks. And as the Christian slaves ought to be set free, the galley has been taken into custody with the property and Turkish slaves. All will be restored later. Draft.
The like to the ambassadors and residents in Rome, France, Spain, Germany, Naples, Milan, Florence.
Ayes 150.
Noes 1.
Neutral 5.
May 30. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Roma. Venetian Archives. 268. The papal nuncio announces that a case of books from England has been sent to this city, sixty of which are by a new English author named Roger Widdrington. The father Inquisitor would not give licence for them to be taken away, but they were afterwards given to the English ambassador. If they were for his reading alone, there would be no objection, as he can do what he likes, but it is understood that they are being sold by some booksellers. The author, who is new and has been prohibited at Rome, is bad and those who read him are excommunicated, but he knows no particulars. The books have been offered for sale not as a matter of business but as a favour to the author. The danger is great, because if sixty such books are brought here, sixty more may go to another city, and so forth.
The Councillor Viaro replied that the matter had been referred to a master of the Reformers of the University, where the senators were very zealous for the preservation of the Catholic religion.


  • 1. He had a relapse, however, and died on the 17 May.