Venice: July 1614, 1-15

Pages 142-151

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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July 1614, 1–15

July 1. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Mantova. Venetian Archives. 296. Antonio Maria Vincenti, Venetian Resident at Mantua, to the Doge and Senate.
This morning I happened to be with the duke and after he had spoken confidentially about the marriage with Modena, he began to speak about the advices received from Venice, that a councillor had been sent by the duke of Savoy to humble himself before your Serenity and to seek an accommodation with the republic. He added that this office was affected and artificial and is being supported by the ambassador of England. His Highness is doubtful about the loyalty of his subjects, and suspicious of the prince his son, who is taking a public part to bridle his father.
From Mantua, the 1st July, 1614.
July 2. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Milano. Venetian Archives. 297. Agostino Dolci, Venetian Resident at Milan, to the Doge and Senate.
There are two things here which excite suspicion against your Serenity. The first is the negotiations for the league with the Swiss carried on by the Ambassador Barbarigo. The second, to which the Spaniards attach great importance, is the mission of the Senator Pessina to Venice, as they think it will prejudice their interests, if they wish to reduce Savoy to insignificance, if your Serenity concludes a league with the duke of Savoy, and if the States and England are included in this union.
From Milan, the 2 July, 1614.
July 4. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 298. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Sunday M. de la Grange, secretary of the Prince of Condé, took leave of the king, who detained him for an hour and more. His Majesty praised the prince's ideas for changing the government of France and that he had adopted petitioning as a means of doing so. He showed his pleasure at having been informed, and promised to display his friendship for the prince, saying that he ought to meet and confer with Edmonds, His Majesty's ambassador, from time to time.
He was to have sent off his despatch on Monday, but letters have arrived from France and the king sent Edmonds to tell him that he has something to add to the letters for the prince and the duke of Bouillon. This has delayed his departure until to-day. I have gathered all this from the secretary himself. From other sources, besides the confirmation of the above, I am assured that he also spoke of those of the religion in France and of the matters to be dealt with at the assembly of the Estates. To-day he will be presented with a chain, and to-morrow he will leave to return to his master. He told me that his prince had conferred with Rohan, Duplessis (Plesi) and Vendome and persuaded them to return to the court. I have heard that the prince will shortly arrive at one of his houses, called Chateauroux (Schiateo Rusg), where Sully (Sogli) will confer with him. He thinks that before the Estates meet a council will be formed, in which all the princes, the officials of the court and perhaps some presidents in order to interest the Parliaments, will have a place. He said that without this the meeting of the Estates would simply mean going to receive the orders of Villeroi and the Chancellor. To smooth the way he places great reliance upon the good offices of the Countess of Soissons (Suisson), the marchioness of Ancre and Queen Margaret, whom the prince has thanked for her good offices with the queen, in moving for the peace of France and to assure the tranquillity of the few years that remain to her, by pointing out that Queen Catherine, who also belonged to the house of the Medici, had had four sons without posterity. That it had been her good fortune to die before she saw the reign of the king of Navarre, who, as a prince of the blood, had been so obnoxious, and from whom she could have received nothing but mortification. He added that the prince will not directly oppose the marriages with Spain, but the conditions as they are are very unsatisfactory and unjust to the Infanta, who is obliged to renounce all hope of the succession, and that she is to be queen of France and nothing more. He said that the late king would never have listened to this.
The deputies who will appear for Navarre will complain of the damages received from Spain and being unable to obtain justice at the court of that king, they will ask for liberal assistance in order to indemnify themselves, and their request will not be unsupported.
These, in brief, are the proposals and plans of the Prince of Condé and the other princes of France in league with him. As they are from the mouth of their own secretary, who knows their inmost thoughts, I have thought them worthy of your notice.
London, the 4 July, 1614.
July 4. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 299. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England to the Doge and Senate.
The ambassador of Spain has informed me that the delay of the marriages with France for some months is of no matter, because neither posterity nor anything else will be lost. That the queen has informed the Catholic king of many particulars, and she will do more to remove his suspicions and to increase the prestige of Spain.
The Archduke Albert and the other neighbouring princes, who are interested, have been told that they ought to send their ambassadors or deputies to Wesel. They have done so, and Brandenburg has gone there in person.
We hear that St. Cler has reached the king of Denmark, who is in Scandia. There he is rebuilding a town near the sea which was destroyed in the last wars with Sweden. It will be called Christianople.
The ambassador of Muscovy has left to return to his master, after a very successful mission. News subsequently arrived by way of Denmark of the death of the duke of Muscovy. This has postponed the departure of the king's ambassador to those parts, until more certain news arrives.
His Majesty has sent to the king of Spain six palfreys, some arquebuses, cross-bows and hunting dogs, which his ambassador is charged to send there. The day before yesterday that ambassador had audience of the queen, and to-day his secretary has been sent to Spain.
I have been told that they have spoken at Court of the confederacy arranged by the Illustrious Barbarigo with Zurich, with such praise as it well deserves.
I have received the letters of your Serenity of the last day of last month (fn. 1) with information about the galley of Soliman di Catanea and the decision taken thereupon, and I will carry out the instructions. The ambassador of Spain spoke to me about it some days ago, saying that the Christian slaves ought to be set free and the others restored. I replied that your Excellencies would do what was demanded by Christian charity and the interests of the peace arranged between them and the Turk. The ambassador expressed his approval both by words and the expression of his countenance.
I hear that an extraordinary ambassador from France will be here in a few days. They say it will be M. de Bocise.
London, the 4 July, 1614.
July 8. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Padova. Venetian Archives. 300. Giovanni Battista Foscarini, Podestà of Padua, to the Doge and Senate.
Although in accordance with instructions, I broke off the negotiations made by the Cardinal Aldobrandini by means of Don Ippolito, his nephew, for a reconciliation between the Duke of Savoy and the republic, nevertheless Don Ippolito has not given it up. Some days ago he came to tell me that after the Cardinal's return to Rome, the Spanish ambassador had been to see him at Frascati and made known his acquaintance with these proposals, saying that he would be glad to see such a reconciliation, and frankly asked whether the nephew was still doing anything. To this the cardinal replied in general terms. Don Ippolito told me that he was sorry that the Spaniards had found out about this. I assured him of the loyalty and secrecy of the Senate and said that they might have discovered it in some other way. Last week Don Ippolito came to me and said the Cardinal had letters of the continued disposition of the duke for a reconciliation, and asked me to communicate this to the republic, not as podestà, but in my private capacity. I would not commit myself to anything, but the Cardinal seems to be very well informed as to the duke's disposition. He has always said that these differences would never end if the Spaniards had their way, and there is a great deal in that, and I therefore respectfully present these new proposals of Don Ippolito as being worthy of consideration in the present circumstances.
From Padua, the 8 July, 1614.
July 9. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Milano. Venetian Archives. 301. Agostino Dolci, Venetian Resident in Milan, to the Doge and Senate.
Letters of the 2nd inst. announce the arrival at the Court of Savoy as ordinary resident of an agent of the king of England. (fn. 2) He is nephew of that Wotton who was ordinary ambassador with your Serenity. This mission is greatly disliked by the royal party here, and they say that he is lodged and entertained by his Highness until he finds a house and his furniture has been provided.
They also write that the count of Scarnafes, who quite recently returned from England, set out again on the 5th inst. with the most secret orders and instructions to confer with Count Maurice before going on to England, and that the French in those parts are increasing daily.
From Milan, the 9 July, 1614.
July 9. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Zante. Venetian Archives. 302. Girolamo Bembo, Proveditore of Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses the mensuali of this fiscal chamber for the six months ending on the 6th inst. Not able to send them before because the books were in the hands of the Inquisitors general.
From Zante, 9 July, 1614.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 303. Mensuali.
14 March. Custom on goods of Richard Beresford, from London, in the ship Cambia real, master Anthony Wood.
4 April. Custom on goods of Henry Cont, for London, in the English ship Hercules.
Fine of Thomas Miller, English merchant, for contraband of lead.
Confiscation of the lead of the said Thomas Miller.
15 June. Custom on the goods of Richard Beresford.
Copy from the journal of the Fiscal Chamber of Zante.
18 Jan., 1614. Custom on goods of John Auri, English merchant, laded in the ship . . .
19 Jan., 1614. Custom on goods of Robert Boris, English merchant, in the ship . . .
21 Jan., 1614. Custom on goods of William Norton in the ship Centurion.
26 Jan., 1614. Custom on goods of William Norton in the ship Centurion.
28 Jan., 1614. Custom on goods of Richard Beresford, English merchant, in the ship . . .
5 Feb., 1614. Custom on goods of Richard Beresford, English merchant, in the ship Elizabeth.
16 Feb., 1614. Custom on goods of William Norton, from London, in the English ship Grandifesa.
14 Jan., 1614. Custom on goods of Spiri le Freri and cloth from London in the ship Grandifesa.
July 10. Senato, Terra. Venetian Archives. 304. The trade in Syrian coarse silk having declined in this city, because the Flemish merchants and other ultramontanes, who used to come here to obtain such silk, have gone elsewhere, all such silk taken from this city, to be carried by way of Pontieba over the mountains shall be exempt from the export duty for the next two years, the Cinque Savii alla Mercantia seeing that the silk so exempted is really carried beyond the Alps and not elsewhere.
Ayes 93.
Noes 8.
Neutral 68.
July 11. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 305. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The secretary of the ambassador of Spain left on the very day on which he took leave of me, and I understand that he is going in order to proceed elsewhere.
The offences of Cornwallis (Cornovales), who is still confined in the Tower, are some circumstances while he was ambassador in Spain, for having promised money to some one in the Parliament, (fn. 3) and for acting in a sinister manner, contrary to the peace. It is now known that the Catholic king, two or three months ago, wrote letters to the king, asking that Cornwallis might be sent to him. The Most Christian ambassador suspects that this had to do with breaking off the negotiations for the marriage of the prince here to the second princess of France.
The ambassador of Spain, in his last audience, spoke of the affairs of the Parliament, expressing opinions entirely to the taste of His Majesty; he spoke of the affairs of Cleves and concluded with some special matters. He received a fairly satisfactory reply, but nothing conclusive.
Fourteen well armed vessels of the States have gone to Greenland, for the whale fishing, and so have nine English, who claim to be masters in those parts. The Spanish ambassador made some reference about this also to the king.
The States have sent their troops to the frontiers of Cleves, and their deputies speak with great resolution at the assembly at Wesel, causing the archduke and many other princes no small displeasure. They are determined not to do more, as I wrote; wherefore matters are becoming worse. The gentlemen of the Palatine and Brandenburg will leave with a good reply.
On Saturday there came news from Ireland, which, as I have heard from a good source, does not give entire satisfaction. The Viceroy has been sent back with money, for this time.
The earl of Northampton (fn. 4) is dead. His office of Privy Seal will not be given to any one, and it is thought that the earl of Somerset will have the revenues as well as the office of warden of the Cinque Ports, which the late earl also held.
The clergy and nobility continue to contribute to the king. They want to induce London to do the same, but nothing has been determined as yet.
A ship has arrived from the East Indies, laden with more than half a million of gold. It is said that the greater part is plunder taken from the subjects of Spain, beyond the line.
The secretary of Condé received from the king the gift of a chain. He left the same day, after having received every honour and favour. He took letters advising the prince to insist upon the formation of the council before his arrival at the court, as more consonant with his dignity.
Yesterday morning the ambassador of France had audience of the king at Greenwich. I have not yet been able to discover what they discussed.
The Count of Scarnafes has discussed with Prince Maurice propositions of marriage and alliance. Nothing more can be learned about it.
I have received your Serenity's letters of the 13th ult. containing documents referring to the negotiation of the Illustrious Barbarigo in Switzerland. I will fulfil the instructions and send an account of what takes place.
London, the 11th July, 1614.
July 11. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 306. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The man is here who has shown the king a way of preserving gunpowder (la polvere d'archibugio), not only in magazines, but in the field in time of war, so that it cannot suffer any harm. It is preserved in such a condition that it is not necessary to touch it for a long while, and it remains in a perfect state, safe from all danger of treason or other peril. He has also shown His Majesty a way to protect ships and all other vessels from cannon shots which may reach the powder, so that the fire will not damage the wood, and the powder will only burn to a small extent grain by grain, without the possibility of doing mischief.
I have succeeded in getting the man to impart his secret to your Serenity also. He showed every readiness to comply, and gave me at the same time a proof of the truth of his claims. He put 100 pounds of powder in a parcel, rested his hand upon it and applied a light, without running the slightest danger. It only remains for your Excellencies to give the command. The reward is left to your pleasure as well as the manner and place of testing. I will await your commands.
London, the 11 July, 1614.
July 11. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Mantova. Venetian Archives. 307. Antonio Maria Vincenti, Venetian Resident at Mantua, to the Doge and Senate.
While the governor of Milan is arming, Savoy is also making preparations, and has finally mustered all her troops. They are said to amount to 15,000 infantry and 1,500 horse. Among them are mingled French, Huguenots and other nations besides.
From Mantua, the 11 July, 1614.
July 12. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Firenze. Venetian Archives. 308. Domenico Dominici, Venetian Resident in Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
Letters from Livorno state that a ship has arrived at that port in seven weeks from London, laden with lead, cloth and pepper, but bringing no news.
From Florence, the 12 July, 1614.
July 14. Senato, Secreta. Communicazione. Venetian Archives. 309. Copy of a letter to the Marquis of Inoiosa from Don Alonso della Cueva.
I have news of the interposition of the ambassador of England with Savoy, and the Venetians are greatly delighted; that your Excellency thinks it fitting to put difficulties in the way.
That the letter be kept without being read to the Senate.
Ayes 8. Second ballot, Ayes 8.
Noes 12. Noes 14.
Neutral 2. Neutral 0.
July 14. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 310. The Ambassador of England came into the Cabinet and said:
I am especially glad to present my respects upon this occasion as I have to deal with the question of peace. From the very beginning of the troubles of Montferrat your Serenity informed me of what passed there and of what policy you intended to pursue, charging me to procure the co-operation of my king in the interests of peace. In this task I was assisted by his natural inclination towards universal peace and by his well-known desire to fall in with the wishes of the republic. The result has been delayed a good while, but better late than never, and at length the Duke of Savoy shows a disposition to consent to a reasonable settlement of his differences with the duke of Mantua. He considers that the first step towards this will be to renew friendly relations with the republic. He recognises that the republic in these negotiations must have the position belonging to her as a great power in this province, while he claims his own right to treat in this matter not as a subject but as a free prince. Moved, as I said, by the desire of the favour of this republic, he sent some days ago to the city Sig. Giovanni Giacomo Pescina, a Senator of his council, with letters of credit to me, asking for my good offices to procure him access to your Serenity so that he might represent the friendly disposition of His Highness and his desire that the good relations which have existed between his house and the republic in the past may be no longer interrupted. I received these advances with great satisfaction, and sent off to my king for instructions, and at the same time I advised Sig. Pescina to withdraw from this city until the reply should arrive. But new movements of arms in the state of Milan have aroused the just suspicions of the princes of this province and it appears that the duke of Savoy has been asked to settle his differences with Mantua. He has, therefore, sent a special courier to the Senator to ask me not to delay to treat about his waiting upon your Serenity in order to present the letters of the duke and to wait to know if he will be admitted. Wherefore I judge that I ought not to fail in my duty to the common weal in general and to the republic in particular. On my coming to the audience this morning, the Senator sent me this memorial, which your Serenity may read for a more perfect knowledge of this affair. I may add that though it is a difficult matter to discover the hearts of princes, yet this shows the duke's mind and acts as clearly as can be desired. The reports spread abroad, to the delight of the evil-minded, that it will be impossible to renew this ancient friendship, must incline your Excellencies the more to respond to the duke in showing your customary prudence and to accept his humiliation when he is so anxious for your friendship, and as the representative of a house in possession of the gates of Italy.
After the memorial had been read the Illmo. Viaro, the senior councillor, in the absence of the doge, said:
His Majesty's friendliness towards the republic appears at every opportunity, and we shall be glad to grant the interview which is desired, while we thank you for your good offices.
The Procurator Sagredo, Savio of the Cabinet, told the ambassador that it would be well to leave the memorial.
The ambassador replied that as he had no duplicate he would simply leave the memorial to be copied. He added that the Senator might be admitted to the doge or to the senators apart, but this was only a suggestion as it would be an impertinence to advise their Excellencies.
With this he took leave, and after the memorial had been copied, it was-sent to him.
The Memorial.
Your Excellency is requested, as soon as possible, to notify the doge that several weeks ago, at a time when there seemed no probability of a warlike movement by the governor of Milan, his Highness sent the Senator Pescina here to treat of the disputes about Montferrat, and to express the extreme regret of his Highness that the republic had declared in favour of the duke of Mantua, as he feared that this would alienate him from the republic, whose power and prudence he had always admired and with whom his ancestors had been closely allied for so many centuries and had always been considered as the eldest sons of the republic. He had been on the point of making the republic arbiters upon the disputes of Montferrat, and from the first moment he has desired nothing more eagerly than to be reconciled with the republic and to show the sincerity of his friendship. He feels sure that the love which they have shown towards him in the past is not extinguished, as some mutual friends assured him of this some months ago. Your Excellency has sent a courier to England, because he does not think it right to perform the office in the king's name without his express command, and in order that you may act with greater authority. But this delay may cause grave prejudice, not so much to his Highness as to the republic, because the negotiations about Montferrat are transferred to Milan, where the governor is arming, and arousing no small suspicion among the princes of Italy. His Highness has therefore ordered the said Senator to delay no longer to assure the republic of his goodwill. He is writing to this effect to the doge a letter to be presented by the Senator, who is commissioned to expound it with regard to the common advantage of their states. Your Excellency may assure the doge that if he responds to these advances, his Highness will not fail to make every demonstration of friendship, and will at once send a resident ambassador in the usual way, the republic doing the like for him.
Gio. Giacomo Piscina.
From the house in Venice, the 12 July, 1614.
July 14. Senato, Deliberazioni, Secreta. Venetian Archives. 311. That the Ambassador of England be summoned to the Cabinet, and the following read to him:
We understand from your communication of the day before yesterday the goodwill of his Majesty towards the republic and his wishes for the common good. To show our approbation, in answer to your request, we will admit the Senator Piscina to audience, who has come with letters of credence from the duke of Savoy, and we will hear him in what he has to say with the singleness of mind which is customary with our republic.
Ayes 161.
Noes 3.
Neutral 6.
July 14. Senato, Deliberazioni, Secreta. Venetian Archives. 312. To the Secretary at Mantua.
When you advised us on the 1st inst. that news had reached the Cardinal of the arrival here of a Councillor of Savoy, we replied truly that we had heard nothing of it. The ambassador of England went to the Cabinet yesterday and begged that the Senator Piscina, sent by the duke of Savoy, might be heard. We have decided to admit him, and it will be as well to disabuse the duke of any ill impressions gathered by him with regard to this mission by a frank relation of what takes place.
Ayes 161.
Noes 3.
Neutral 6.


  • 1. This is an obvious mistake, probably due to the different system of dating in use in England, where the month was still June when Foscarini wrote. The letters referred to were sent on the 30 May; see No. 287 at page 125 above.
  • 2. Albert Morton, see note at page 68.
  • 3. Hoskens. See Gardiner, Hist. of Eng. ii., p. 250.
  • 4. He died on June 15.