Venice: September 1614, 1-15

Pages 184-189

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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September 1614, 1–15

Sept. 1. Senato, Secreta. Dispacei, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 381. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Archduke Albert has assembled his army near Maestricht, as I wrote he was about to do, of 22,000 combatants, namely, 4,000 Spaniards, 2,000 Italians, 10,000 Walloons, a regiment of Germans, 1,300 Irish, six to seven hundred English and as many Scotch, with 28 cornets of horse, amounting in all to the above figure. The Spaniards and Italians are veteran troops and the others are partly veterans and partly new levies. The ambassador of the Archduke confirmed all this, representing the forces of his master as being even greater and saying that the position of Juliers was such that it could not easily be succoured by the States. He impressed upon me that however strong and well defended the place might be it could not long resist the attack of such an army.
The ambassador of France has displayed some suspicion that these forces may be employed, first to execute the imperial ban against Aix la Chapelle and then by bold action to arouse a commotion and great movements of arms.
It is understood that Denmark is preparing a fleet, but to what end there is more conjecture than ascertained information.
London, the 1st September, 1614.
Sept. 2. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 382. Pietro Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The queen has decided to send M. Reffugé as ambassador upon the affairs of Juliers. He will go to Brussels to treat with the Archduke and will then go on to the Hague, where M. Wotton, sent by the king of England for the same purposes, arrived some days ago. They will act together to find some form of accommodation satisfactory to the interested parties. This is not considered a difficult task, owing to the favourable disposition of the disputants favoured by the interposition of these crowns. Already proposals have been advanced to deposit that place, until a decision has been arrived at, in the hands of the landgrave of Hesse, the prince of Anhalt or the prince of Orange, and possibly Brandenburg and Neuburg would not object to place it in the hands of any one of them.
From Paris, the 2 September, 1614.
Sept. 7. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 383. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Three days ago I had audience of the king. I thanked him on behalf of your Excellencies for the good offices of his ambassador in the affairs of Italy and assured him of the esteem with which your Excellencies regarded his favours, and of your constant readiness to reciprocate them, following closely my instructions. His Majesty expressed his pleasure and told me that his ambassador informed him that at the first request you had shut your minds and ears against receiving the duke of Savoy into grace and hearing his senator, but from the way in which he spoke I clearly understood the favourable manner in which the ambassador has represented the whole. The king then added that the duke had previously been a Spaniard in sympathy and had founded his hopes in that quarter, but he has changed now and treats with sincerity. That having seen that the Spaniards wanted everything for themselves and that he could not advantage himself or expect anything but ill, he revised his views and changed, and if the matters are arranged, your Excellencies will have a large share of the honour. That the governor of Milan displays too much violence; that it is not reasonable that he should remain armed and that Savoy alone should disarm. He expressed other ideas to the disadvantage of Spain, showing a feeling and a spirit divided between hope and fear about the accommodation or a total breach. He declared that the troubles of the duke would cause him to take his part; that Spain is great enough and he cannot and will not permit her to become greater; that the annihilation of Savoy would be of too great prejudice not only to the princes of Italy but to those far off as well, and he certainly will not allow him to fall.
In speaking of the accommodation he said that the queen of France has sent into Italy to interpose, but that the duke does not believe it, and the Marquis of Coure, who was there, brings nothing else back from the governor of Milan. He went on to tell me that the army of the Archduke Albert has taken possession of the city of Aix la Chapelle. This was easy because he had always protested that he had not the slightest intention of doing such a thing, so that it was not well garrisoned. That it is understood he now wishes to take possession of Wesel, which would amount to a direct attack upon the Palatine and Brandenburg. He expressed all this with considerable vehemence, adding that on the preceding day he had sent post to the States urging them as a means of defence that they should press on their troops and openly declare war, and that he will help them with all his forces.
He afterwards spoke with great heat against Spain. He said he did not know why they meddled with matters touching the princes of Germany, as they had no pretentions there; that it is pure ambition, and that as regards Aix la Chapelle it will be necessary to remedy the evil as well as for Wesel and the other places. At present the States have quite sufficient forces on foot to resist. If necessary His Majesty will also cause his forces to be made ready and sufficient in numbers for the emergency. With regard to the negotiations of the Ambassador Wotton he only said that they were progressing well, but that as the Archduke's army was marching at the same time, everything remained disturbed and in suspense.
I made haste in returning from the court in order to send off these presents which I think your Excellencies should see as soon as possible. I acknowledge the receipt of your letters of the 14th ult. with the exposition of the king's ambassador and the reply made thereto and the letters to Savoy, Milan and Mantua.
London, the 7 Sept., 1614.
Sept. 7. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 384. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have letters from the Hague (Ahe) of the last day of last month reporting that the Marquis Spinola had encountered no resistance on the confines of Germany, but that all the country was disarmed. I also have the copy of a letter of the 15th ult. written by the Archduke to the States in which he asserts that these arms are not moved against them and that he will cause the truce to be observed punctually. Nevertheless they are resolved to oppose his progress and to protect the interests of Brandenburg and the other confederates. Count Maurice is on the frontiers with 126 companies of infantry and 3,000 cavalry to oppose the forces of Spain. The Marquis Spinola is constructing a bridge over the Rhine above Rheinberg (Rimberga), it is thought to be for the siege of Wesel.
There are no further particulars of Aix la Chapelle except that it surrendered upon terms that the garrison of Brandenburg and their own should go free; that the government should be committed to a Catholic magistrate and that the preaching of those of the other religion should cease. Neuburg is increasing his forces and expecting succours. The whole country of Berg in the duchy and a part of Cleves have been already reduced.
On the 29th the States replied to the ambassadors of this king and the king of France that they place in their Majesties' hands the matter touching Juliers, and they have sent to the Archduke to exhort him to suspend arms in those parts, where his army is. They have also written to the elector of Cologne, the duke of Neuburg and the Prince of Brandenburg.
London, the 7th September, 1614.
Sept. 11. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Inghilterra, Venetian Archives. 385. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Six days ago the king received letters from the duke of Brandenburg by a special messenger. He represented to His Majesty the consequences of the taking of Aix la Chapelle, the progress for which the army of Flanders is preparing, the promise given by his Majesty not to fail in such case, and he begs that His Majesty will make a pronouncement as soon as possible both by words and deeds. The reply ran that with regard to Aix la Chapelle it was necessary to repair what the Spaniards have destroyed and as regards the other progresses he has already written to the States to throw troops into Wesel, advance their army and if necessary break openly into war, when he will assist them with all his forces.
Advices came yesterday from the Hague that the troops of Brandenburg have joined Maurice, who is acting apparently under the name of his Highness, but really with all the forces of the States, to the number reported in my last. The ambassador of the States told me yesterday that Wesel is besieged and there are also reports, though not very certain, of its capture. He added that the troops of his masters are fighting under the name of Brandenburg because the forces of the Archduke are doing the like, under the name of the emperor, in order not to break the truce, and, to use his own words, this is simply a mask which must soon be removed.
From the letter of the Archduke mentioned in my last, of which I enclose a translation, your Excellencies will see what concerns the truce and Juliers.
The Secretary of the Ambassador Wotton has reached the king, being sent to inform his Majesty that the Dutch, as regards Juliers, put themselves in the hands of himself and France, and afterwards he enlarged upon their wishes touching Aix la Chapelle and those proceedings. The ambassador has a commission from the United Provinces to pass from this to his king, and he will do so to-day.
The ambassador of France will also cross to-day to the king in order to learn his resolution and impart that of his king, which is with regard to Aix la Chapelle to send an ambassador so that the emperor may agree to the carrying out of what was arranged three years ago by their Most Christian Majesties.
The ambassador of the States has a commission and is going not only to discover the intention of the king and impress upon him the importance of the affair, pointing out that he is bound both by honour and interest, but to persuade him to declare himself and assist the States openly.
London, the 11 Sept., 1614.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 386. Letter of the Archduke to the States.
We have received your letters of the 8th inst. and reply that our past actions are sufficient evidence of our good intentions, and we have always observed the truce punctually, and we declare again that we will keep it punctually. As regards Juliers, we leave it to the judgment of yourselves and of all dispassionate persons, whether we have not done our best for the satisfaction of the two claimants. If we have moved our forces for the public weal we have done so without any other consideration. We hope that you will not raise difficulties, so that the said place may be put in a condition satisfactory to both princes and that no means may be neglected for satisfying the interested parties and to avoid evil consequences.
From Brussels, the 15 August, 1614.
[Signed] Albert.
To our good friends the States General of the United Provinces.
Sept. 11. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 387. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Three days ago the Count of Scarnafes arrived here and with him the king's agent in Savoy, who immediately passed to his Majesty. I sent a welcome to the count, who has sent to say that immediately after he has seen the king he will call upon me. I replied that before, after or at any time I shall be most glad to see him. So he came here late yesterday evening. He told me of the devotion of his master for the republic, which has received him as a servant. That at Rome he had caused it to be said to the Cardinal Delfino and our ambassador that his Highness is moving not only in his own interests but also for the good of Italy. He ended by saying that the duke has instructed him to impart everything to our ambassador and to be ruled by his advice, and after seeing his Majesty he would return to visit me. He holds two commissions, one to inform the king of the duke's reasons and of what has passed hitherto; the other to invite his Majesty to make a defensive alliance, including whom he pleases, that the duke will be ready to fulfil his commands. How willing his Majesty is to listen to this proposition, the prudence of your Excellencies may gather from the decisive manner in which he spoke to me at the last audience, touching the interests of his Highness, the designs of the Spaniards and the harm which might come to him through the fall of a prince to the augmentation of the Catholic king. I hope to be able to inform your Excellencies of the progress of his negotiations during his stay here, which will, I find, be for two or three months. He hopes to have audience in one or two days, and will at once send a courier to the duke with the reply. The nephew of the ambassador of France has informed me that his king has sent to Italy to compose the differences, and if the Spaniards do not disarm this will be the last time that their Majesties will prefer the request and they will straightway assist the duke.
London, the 11 Sept., 1614.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Sept. 13. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 388. The Marquis of Urfé, sent by the Prince of Condé and the other princes of France, came into the Cabinet and presented his credentials. He left documents to be read containing [among other things]:
The designs of Spain were not only to weaken the kingdom, but under pretext of marriage to stir up civil war. There are those in France called of the Religion. To be brief, France is divided into two parties, the first consists of the Catholics, who have no head but the king and no members but his ministers; the second is this Religion, which may be called a republic in the midst of a monarchy. This second party, called Huguenots by the Catholics, stands for liberty. By their understanding with the Protestants of Germany, the Huguenot Cantons of Switzerland, the kings of Great Britain, Denmark and Sweden, and the United Provinces, they might subdue the Catholics if it came to a civil war. The Spaniards proposed the French marriage knowing that it would offend the Huguenots. The Prince of Condé thought fit to set his face against this, and he has the support of many magnates.
The princes recognising that the steady aim of the republic is for the peace and union of Christendom and especially of France, ask for its protection in their just and holy purposes, so that they may not remain fruitless through weakness. They know that as soon as it appears that the republic embraces the cause of the princes and does not wish so great a realm to become the prey of civil war under pretext of these marriages, the king of Great Britain, the kings of Denmark and Sweden, the United States of Flanders, the Prince Palatine of the Rhine, the Protestants of Germany, those of the religion of France, the duke of Savoy and many others will unite with the republic and with the princes of France to oppose those who wish to divide France into factions so that it cannot help Italy against their ambition, and who wish to take away the liberty of Italy in order to prevent her from helping France in her troubles.
Sept. 13. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Firenze, Venetian Archives. 389. Domenico Dominici, Venetian Resident in Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses reply sent by the United Provinces to the proposals made in the name of the elector of Cologne.
From Florence, the 13 Sept., 1614.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 390. Reply of Holland to the Proposals of the Elector of Cologne.
Thanks for the proposals made on the 12 July. Relate the proposals for accommodation between Neuburg and Brandenburg, under the guarantee of the kings of France and England. The envoys of the two princes had discussed a method of holding Juliers provisionally. The arrangements had been sincerely made with a view to the advantage of both princes and the peace and security of their neighbours.
The Hague, 17 July, 1614.