Venice: December 1614, 16-31

Pages 277-291

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.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


December 1614, 16–31

Dec. 19. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 541. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Scarnafes has not yet returned, and while he continues to negotiate at a distance of two days' journey from here it is impossible to assert anything about the issue. I hear from Holland of the arrival of Count John of Nassau, who has travelled post, with only one gentleman in his company. On Sunday, the 16th ult., he set out from the Hague to visit Prince Maurice, his uncle. He chose the route by Brussels, and at Breda he had an interview with the Prince of Orange, the princess his mother being there also. The ambassador of the States told me that the count had afterwards set out with the reply on his way back to the duke of Savoy. The commissions which he received on leaving Turin were to propose an alliance, ask for assistance and to arrange that the Dutch should not come to an agreement with Spain. I am unable to inform your Excellencies if he received further instructions afterwards. The disposition of the States and their determination are clear, namely to do just as much for the duke as the king here, upon condition that he is the first and sets the example. What the king's reply was and how ready he showed himself to be the first, I have already reported to your Excellencies, as well as the negotiations which have taken place from time to time. At the present moment a complete declaration of his intention is expected momentarily, and if I succeed as I hope in discovering its nature, I will at once report upon it. The States have shown a good disposition, and Maurice an excellent one.
London, the 18 December, 1614.
Dec. 19. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni Venetian Archives. 542. To the Ambassador in England.
We have received at the same time two packets of the 21st and 29th ult. containing several of your letters with the most important advices, which will be of the greatest service, so much so that we cannot refrain from assuring you of the extreme satisfaction which they have afforded.
Of the affairs of Montferrat we have to tell you that the nuncio and the Most Christian Ambassador drew up an agreement comprising three conditions, namely, disarmament, peace with Mantua and negotiation upon the differences with the consent of the Duke of Savoy and his verbal submission to the Catholic king. This was taken to the governor, with a request for an armistice. As this was not granted, the Savoyards took action, an attempt to surprise Candia failed, but they have taken Zuccare, an imperial fief recommended to Genoa. Most of the royal ministers are greatly moved by this, the governor having withdrawn from the duke's territory to await the decision of His Majesty. It appears that at a meeting of the governor with the General Santa Croce, arrived from Naples with galleys and troops, and other important persons, His Excellency was given to understand that the postponement of the duke's punishment was very prejudicial to the king's service and reputation. He therefore decided to make reconnaisances towards le Langhe and other places, as he wished to discover without delay where an attack might best be made. In this state of affairs we shall not neglect to do whatever we think will further the cause of peace and the tranquillity of this province, as is our ancient custom, hoping for a happy conclusion to this affair. We send these particulars for you to make use of as your prudence suggests.
Ayes 112.
Noes 0.
Neutral 1.
Dec. 19. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 543. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
At midday to-day Scarnafes returned. He arrived opportunely at the Court. The king welcomed him kindly, he found that the agent had gone, and he received many favours and presents from His Majesty, and left him with complete satisfaction. The king first of all told him that he had advised the duke to make peace if he could obtain it with perfect safety and with a reasonable regard for his honour, but if he cannot, he promises to help him with 400,000 crowns yearly, with as many men as he may please to obtain from his dominions, and leave to take munitions of war and everything else that he may think opportune. He declared that the 400,000 crowns are intended as a succour both from himself and from the States. He will intimate to the latter that if they are unwilling to contribute, he will abandon them and separate himself from them, and that whether they share or no, he will infallibly pay that money to His Highness in any case, every year that the war lasts. That he will command his ambassador with your Excellencies to pass to Turin, and to act jointly with your ambassador to obtain a settlement which will make all fitting provision for the security and honour of His Highness. That within two days he will send the agent with letters to the duke, in which he will bind himself to pay the 400,000 crowns and grant the levying of troops and munitions in his dominions if an accommodation cannot be arranged, and declare open war upon Spain, and the agent will confirm the same by word of mouth. Thus the count of Scarnafes has left, and the king has given the agent, who is awaiting the despatch, only to-day for his affairs at the court. He will be here to-morrow, and will travel post to Turin, together with the count. The letters to the States will also be sent directly by an express messenger. I am not sure whether the letters for the ambassador with your Serenity will be sent by the courier or consigned to the count; probably the latter. I think I have discovered that His Majesty promised something more than I have written. If this is so, I hope to have discovered all about it in a week, and will forward the particulars worthy of your notice; but what I have written is a summary of the essentials of the decision taken upon these important affairs.
The king of France has recently written to His Majesty that the duke does not desire an agreement upon any account, and begs him to use his authority to turn his mind towards peace. The king has decided to reply that he will do so willingly, and in order that the result may be more readily obtained, he will direct his ambassador at Venice to go straight to the duke for this purpose, and it is reasonable that the peace provide for the security and dignity of His Highness.
London, the 19 December, 1614.
Dec. 19. Senato, Secreta, Dispacci, Inghilterra, Venetian Archives. 544. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On the morning of the 10th inst. the ambassador of Spain received a courier from his king, who made the journey in ten days. The same morning the ambassador of Flanders received one from the Archduke his master. They were a long while together and afterwards the ambassador of the Archduke set out for the king without delay, and the Lieger of Spain sent his interpreter after him the same evening. The ambassador of Flanders' first words were to ask the king if he had news of fresh disputes in Cleves. The king said he had not. The ambassador went on to say that when they were about to ratify a certain document of the agreement, Maurice had been unwilling to sign before certain expressions had been removed, and he had introduced the claim that Spinola should be the first to make restitution. Here he enlarged upon the greatness of his master, saying that Spinola was commanding the army of the Catholic king, and that Maurice, setting aside all punctilio, ought to show a fitting respect for His Majesty and His Highness; that Spinola had waxed wrath at Maurice's intention to have his own way in the essentials and in matters of ceremony, and had withdrawn; that Maurice had done the same, and they were without hope of an agreement. The armies are being reinforced and are still in the field, and he supposed that the ambassadors of His Majesty and of France would abandon all discussion and depart. In conclusion he said that the archduke was ready to carry out the promise given to His Majesty, and that if war ensued, and it is already near, the entire blame would rest upon the States. He spoke heatedly, and disclosed that both His Highness and Spain were indifferent as to whether an accommodation or war ensued.
The king was very undecided. He gave a courteous reply, saying that he must await the advices from his ambassador, and he did not know what more he could say before. With this the ambassador returned.
On the 11th the ambassador of Spain told the Lords of the Council the same thing as the ambassador of the Archduke told the king. They sent for the Dutch ambassador to learn the truth. He told them that he had no information; he did not believe that Maurice had refused to sign an agreement previously settled, when what had taken place was known it would put a different complexion upon affairs, and he begged them in the meantime to refuse to credit such reports. Three days ago a courier sent by Wotton to the king passed through. So far as I have been able to discover he states that affairs are in such a condition as to allow little hope of an accommodation, and he fears that when it comes to the push the Spaniards will show themselves unwilling to restore Wesel.
It is said that the courier from Spain, who stopped some time in Brussels, brought instructions to spin things out as much as possible, to gain time, and not to make restitution.
London, the 19 December, 1614.
Dec. 19. Senato, Secreta, Dispacoi, Francia, Venetian Archives. 545. Pietro Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
While the execution of the arrangement made by the ambassadors of the two crowns in Flanders was being expected, orders arrived from the Catholic king to the Marquis Spinola not to come to an agreement before the arrival of further instructions. Thus the whole matter is undone and the ambassadors have departed elsewhere. The ambassadors of England and the States resident here have complained to their Majesties that the Spaniards are abandoning the agreement contrary to their promise. They asked for help if matters come to a rupture; but all they could obtain was that letters should be sent to Spain to obtain further particulars of the king's intentions, and after that they would decide what ought to be done.
From Paris, the 19 December, 1614.
Dec. 19. Senato, Secreta, Dispacci, Costant, Venetian Archives. 546. Cristoforo Valier, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
After the arrival of the Captain of the Sea at Constantinople a new Maona was immediately put on the stocks of the same size as the one already existing. Of the galleys returned with the Captain, ten are unfit for sea, but fifteen hare arrived from the Black Sea. These with five which could not be commissioned last summer bring the number up to twenty. Eight others are expected to be ready before the departure of the fleet. The work on the eighteen new ones being built at the Arsenal proceeds with no enthusiasm, and it is doubtful if they will be finished owing to the scarcity of money, timber and iron. If His Majesty does not decide upon some extraordinary provision of money, there will be great difficulties in all departments. I learn on good authority that they propose this year to adopt quite a different policy from that of Nasuf. He by his great preparations aroused the suspicions of all the princes of Europe, without effecting anything, they propose now to act with as little ostentation as possible and prepare a hundred galleys, including those of the guard, as they might if they could obtain the money.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 19 December, 1614.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Dec. 20. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna, Venetian Archives. 547. Francesco Morosini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
A certain Giulio da Sancta Maura has been put to death secretly. He served as a double spy in the house of the English ambassador, and it was he who, by the ambassador's orders, took away from Schopp (Scopio) the book written against that king. Although the ministers here assured the ambassador that it was not expedient for them to refuse to allow him to live here, just as they did not prevent the fugitive Flemings from living in England, yet they would not favour him or reward him for his writings. Therefore after staying here all these months under good guard, so that he might not suffer another assault from those of the ambassador's household, he has at length returned to Germany. He received 1,000 crowns as a gift and a pension of 80 a month upon the embassy of the emperor. He promised to write upon the greatness of the Spanish monarchy, and for this they gave him 400 crowns more.
From Madrid, the 20 December, 1614.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Dec. 22. Senato, Secreta, Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives 548. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Besides what I wrote the king promised Scarnafes to send to the Palatine and get him to induce the Union so that they may assist the duke together. He promised to do the same in France with the Princes, and to thank Lesdiguières again and incite him to help the duke. So far as the Palatine is concerned His Majesty has absolutely promised help, and in order to influence Lesdiguières the more he has directed the agent to visit him on his way to Turin, give him the letter and urge him to act in conformity. Matters being in this state, the letter was written. I have seen a part of it. The day before yesterday letters arrived from the ambassador with your Excellencies. He reported that the agreement had been effected and everything had been settled peaceably by the influence of the Marquis of Rambouillet, ambassador of France. He relates the commission given to him by your Excellencies upon this. The letter begins thus:
I was summoned at an unusual day and hour by the Cabinet. The doge informed me of the agreement which had taken place and went on to give the conditions somewhat succintly, and he sends a copy of all the articles. (fn. 1) The letters were immediately opened by the king's secretary, and when he saw that they entirely change the state of affairs he sent the agent, who was about to leave for Turin, post with them to His Majesty and thus the Count's letter also remains behind until further resolution. The ambassador of France also has information and a copy of the agreement and capitulations. I visited him to-day in order to obtain further particulars. It is since reported that the agreement has been broken, and the Spaniards have entered Piedmont. Such unexpected news is keeping men's minds in great suspense.
Yesterday the king's secretary came to see me and asked me what I thought of these affairs. He did this in one or two words without telling me that he had news. I, knowing very well what the king's ambassador had written to him, and not thinking it would be for the service of your Excellencies in such an important matter to unbosom myself, without having received any instructions from you, told him that your Excellencies advised me of the agreement and informed me that you had also communicated it to His Majesty's ambassador. He agreed that it was so. I replied that I had nothing more. He, approving, said that he had forwarded the letters to the king with a long document sent by the ambassador about this. He afterwards went on to speak of the breach of the agreement and the invasion of Piedmont, showing that he considered it a matter of great importance, as it certainly is. He asked what information I had of it. I replied that I had heard something, but nothing at all about it from the Senate. Then seeing him stand silent and irresolute, I asked him what decision His Majesty had taken with regard to the duke. He replied that he had decided to send the agent and to cause the ambassador with your Excellencies to go to Turin to obtain information and to act jointly with the representative of your Serenity in endeavouring to obtain a settlement. I asked him what His Majesty would do supposing this could not be obtained. He said that if the failure were due to the Duke nothing more would be done, but if it was due to the Spaniards he would afford the assistance of 400,000 crowns a year and more, he would move the States and Princes of the Union, and in short do everything which I wrote in my last, except that he made no mention of Lesdiguières. I asked him if the Palatine had pledged his word. He answered, no, but the king's influence over him and with the other princes of the Union was such that he could answer for it.
His Majesty is writing to your Serenity about sending the ambassador to Turin, praises him, saying that he knows of no one more fit or more ready. He adds that it is also in the interests of your Serenity, who is so deeply concerned in the peace of Italy, that he is going.
Two letters have been written to the duke, one by the count, whom he calls ambassador, and the other by the ambassador, to whom he has also given copious instructions. I will not rest until I have managed to see them.
The letters to Lesdiguières are in French and so are the others, except the one to your Serenity, which is in Latin. I thanked him and said that the assistance rendered to Savoy was not less grateful than if it had been rendered to ourselves. I begged him to continue and said that it was expedient to help the duke if it was not possible to secure for him a lasting and satisfactory peace. I asked him for his opinion, and begged him to place entire confidence in the gentleman who will present the letter, sent by the king to stay with the duke in his name. When more certain news has arrived, the king will take his resolve, and I hope, please God, to forward all particulars.
London, the 22 December, 1614.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 22. Senato, Secreta, Dispacci, Inghilterra, Venetian Archives. 549. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The affairs of Cleves are in great confusion. The king's secretary has told me that everything is broken off and after long negotiations matters are worse than before. He added that the courier sent by Wotton relates that after the conclusion of the agreement between the two princes Spinola had presented a document to Maurice to sign which bound him never and in no circumstances to return with an army into Cleves; that Maurice replied that it was sufficient to promise and carry out what the ambassadors had arranged and the princes agreed upon, and it was not reasonable to bind him to more; that they are bound to consider the accidents which may happen, and that to say never is too much, and that he could not say more. He evidently believed that the Spaniards do not wish to restore Wesel and they are only playing with the matter in order to gain time. He added that they will soon have further particulars.
The king has expressed the wish to have more frequent letters from Wotton. He has commanded him to send the words contained in Spinola's document and what Maurice has changed in it. The Archduke and his ambassador lay all the blame upon the States, who in their turn lay all the blame upon Spinola, as also do the ambassador and agent of the king with them, it appears.
The States claim to have intercepted a letter from which they have discovered the orders sent from Spain not to restore Wesel to the hands of others than the emperor.
Both armies, owing to the severity of the season and the bad weather are going into winter quarters in the country of Cleves and part of Spinola's in Aix la Chapelle. It is expected that both sides will fortify the places occupied, especially Wesel and Düren. The Archduke is anxious for peace, but Spinola holds commissions and never ceases to work. The Count of Hohenzollern (Honzoler), sent by the Emperor, continues to negotiate upon the points which I reported.
The Elector Palatine has written to the king and the letters arrived here on the third day. There is one section in which he says that nothing is more certain than a universal war in Germany; the Duke of Saxony has joined the emperor who has promised him the possession of Cleves, upon strange conditions for a Prince of the religion. I have succeeded in obtaining a copy which I enclose with the translation from which your Excellencies will learn the particulars.
Reffugé, the extraordinary ambassador of France for the accommodation of Cleves, upon seeing everything upside down, has taken his departure. He will travel by way of Brussels, and will continue his journey to France if the Archduke does not find some means for a settlement, which is not expected.
London, the 22 December, 1614.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 550. Copy of a Letter from the Elector Palatine to King James.
Nothing is more certain than a general war in Germany. All the priesthood has resolved upon it and contributes all that it can. Bavaria will have the command in High Germany; under him the Count of Bucquoi and M. Tilly in the Rhine district, the Elector of Mayence, and M. le Comte de Vaudemont, who has taken into his service the Colonels Vaobecour, la Fontaine, Luxembourg, Florenville, and for the Cavalry Chastinov, Flarancourt, the Comte de Brie, the Marquis Havray and divers others, who received their commissions in February. The Emperor has won Saxony entirely to his side in giving him the hope of possessing him of the country of Juliers under conditions very strange for a prince of the religion, namely that the pope is everywhere to have the disposition of the churches and convents and the emperor or the Spaniard various towns in their hands, Wesel, Düren, Duisburg, Sinzig (Zinzich), Remagen and various others of importance.
551. Translation of the above.
Dec. 22. Collegio, Secreta Esposizioni Principi, Venetian Archives 552. The Ambassador of England came into the Cabinet this morning and said:
My master sent me back to serve the republic with new letters of credence which runs as follows:—
Jacobus etc. Rex M. Antonio Memmo Venete Reipublice Duci, amico nostro charissimo etc. In hoc inquieto rerum Statu intempestivum duximus, ut legatus noster Dudleius Carletonus eques auratus ex Italia discederet, eoque magis, quod Henricus Vuottonus, quem in ejus locum surrogavimus occupationibus nostris in inferiori Germania adhuc destinetur. Cum ergo intelleximus litteras, quas ad legatum nostrum scripsinius ut retitum suum retardaret, serius ad manus ipsius pervenisse, quæ eum Patavii in itinere offenderunt, Serenitati Vestre hoc significandum putavimus, nos valde cupere et munus, quod mandato nostro dereliquit, mandato nostro resumat, quod Republicæ Vestræ, quod speramus, non erit ingratum nobis erit quam gratissimus, si solita humanitate Serenitas Vestra eum excipiat, eique omnibus in rebus, quas nostro nomine tractabit, plenam fidem adhibeat.
E palatio nostro Westmonasteriensi 7a die Novembris, 1614.
Serenitatis Vestræ bonus amicus,
The ambassador continued, my king desires to use his power in the service of the republic and for the liberty of this province, although the obstinate desire for peace is very hateful to some. His Majesty has his eyes opened to the evil actions and activity of the Spaniards, and he sees the imminent peril of Italy in the sluggishness, not to say coldness, of others. He has therefore resolved to draw the sword in favour of whoever is unduly oppressed. In the countries near to him the effects of his decision will very quickly appear. He is justly indignant that after the affairs of Flanders had been settled by the interposition of princes and the negotiations of ministers, the Spaniards took possession of some places which they will not restore. I expect that in the affair of Asti as in that of Vercelli some adventitious circumstance will be found, which, aided by the usual evil operations, will lead to the same result in those parts as has happened at Xanten. They hold another vessel' in Montferrat, because I understand that the Spaniards in a conference held at a place near Alessandria, called Bosco, if I remember right, resolved to winter a great part of the army at Alba, San Damiano and other places of Montferrat, which may rather be said to be in the bowels of the duke of Savoy's state than near it. His Highness may well be excused, therefore, if he occupies those places in anticipation with his own forces without waiting for them to be taken by others. I know that the ambassadors of His Highness have asked your Serenity to employ your authority and prudence in these serious matters, and have asked the duke of Mantua not to permit the Spaniards to carry out their intentions, so that it may not be necessary for Savoy to take steps to prevent them. Nevertheless I have thought good to add my own instances to theirs, because I know that this is the will of my king, who is prepared to use force in the defence of his great friend the duke, if other means fail. I must not omit to say that the Spaniards give out that they are not only assured of the concurrence of the princes of Italy but also of the ultramontane princes, so that there is no one left now to act against their designs. But this is their usual practice. They spread out their wings like an eagle that is about to pounce upon small birds. I wish I could speak publicly of this manner of preying upon others, but in this august place I will content myself with a quotation cognosees longas regibus esse manus.
In the absence of the doge Sig. Alvise Morosini replied acknowledging the king's letter. Niccolo Donado added: Instructions were sent on Saturday to the resident in Mantua to urge the duke to act as your Excellency has desired, and the same was said yesterday to the ambassador of Savoy.
The ambassador expressed his satisfaction. He then said, I venture once more to ask for the release of the tow Bergamese youths. The elder one has taken a wife in a neighbouring state. Sig. Morosini replied that everything possible would be done. With that the ambassador took leave.
Dec. 22. Senato, Secreta, Dispacci, Savoia. Benetian Archives. 553. Ranier Zen, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
Rumours are current here that English ships have arrived at Nice bringing troops, and it is said that others are coming in favour of His Highness. But the agent of England resident there tells me that they are the ships of adventurers, who are coming to serve the duke for hire, and to these they could send quite fifty if required. That the king is ready to support the duke, but up to the present he has seen no necessity for it, and has never had a palm of territory taken from him, except Oneglia recently, by which I see that the agent likewise does not promise the things which the duke publishes.
When I first came here the duke gave out that a gentleman had come from the Count Palatine and the princes of Germany, offering assistance. He was never seen publicly, but when I reached Asti, the first evening a Fleming called on me saying he had been sent by the Count and other Princes and had come to me for information. I replied in general terms, simply saying that a most friendly feeling and a good understanding existed between your Serenity and the duke. I assured him of the esteem of your Serenity for those princes and especially for the Count Palatine, as the son-in-law of the king of England, for whom your Serenity cherished so much affection and regard. After some further conversation he left, begging me not to make him known or to publish his statements.
From Turin, the 22 December, 1614.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 23. Senato, Secreta, Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 554. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The morning of the day that the king's Secretary was with me, he saw the ambassador of France. He told him that he had written to His Majesty according to his instructions from the Most Christian King in the matter touching Savoy, and as letters had subsequently arrived from that king in conformity, he had decided to direct the ambassador with your Excellencies to transfer himself to Turin to negotiate an accommodation and he is sending the agent from this end for the same purpose, with orders to stop at Paris with the ambassador in order to learn the will of His Majesty, and to concert a manner of acting together. The Secretary did not say a word about the agreement effected, possibly waiting for the ambassador to speak about it first. But he, as he told me, remained reserved, and began to speak about the affairs of Cleves. The same ambassador, after telling me the conditions of the agreement and the journey of Rambouillet to Milan and Mantua, added that he had letters from France of the 10th expressing a doubt that the agreement would not be effected. In speaking of the reports that the Governor of Milan had attacked the duke, he said that he had no information about it. He spoke with a favourable disposition towards the peace and liberty of Italy.
I have received your Serenity's letters of the 15th with the offer of the king's ambassador to send his secretary to Switzerland and the Grisons, to assist the league of your Excellencies, the reply of the Senate and the instructions to me to discover whether it is for some purpose of His Majesty or only for the affair of your Excellencies. I have used all diligence and discovered that it is solely for your service, His Majesty having directed his ambassador to act strenuously in this, as he told me, and the ambassador had taken this step. The king is moved by his affection for your Excellencies and by what he thinks will be for your interests.
London, the 23 December, 1614.
Postscript.—The king on hearing of the agreement of Savoy and afterwards the report of its rupture and the invasion of Piedmont by the Spaniards, has commanded his agent to go to the duke and congratulate him if the agreement is established, and if he is attacked and at war, he promises 400,000 crowns yearly in succours and as much more as he needs. The agent is here to-day, ready with this. Scarnafes is now with the king's Secretary and to-morrow he proposes to go to His Majesty.
Dec. 23. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 555. Pietro Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Two days ago a gentleman came to me in the name of the Prince of Condé. He spoke about the meeting of the Estates and accused all the three orders of many failures; they will request the king to postpone the marriages to another time. The princes are so dissatisfied that at the first opportunity they will break out into revolt again.
From Paris, the 23. December, 1614.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Dec. 23. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 556. Pietro Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The negotiations in Flanders having been broken off, the Marquis Spinola has doubled the garrison of Wesel. The ambassador of their Majesties has been to the Hague to take leave of the States and on his way back he saw the archduke at Brussels and complained of the difficulties which had been introduced. It is thought strange here that the Catholic king should raise difficulties after he requested that an ambassador should be sent to arrange an agreement, and they have sent an express courier to Spain.
M. de Villeroi has withdrawn to Conflans in disgust with the queen and the chancellor. His dissatisfaction with the queen arises from the appointment to the governorship of Picardy, with the chancellor for having sent a mission to England without informing him about it. It is thought, however, that his absence will only be for a short while, in order that his vanity may be gratified by a request to return. (fn. 2)
From Paris, the 23 December, 1614.
Dec. 23. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia, Venetian Archives. 557. Ranier Zen, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
The Marquis of Urfé has been to see me. He told me that he had been summoned to Asti by the duke, after which he will proceed to Rome to complete his mission. He thinks it certain that if the marriages take place a civil war will break out in the kingdom. That the affairs of Flanders are not in such good condition as the ambassador of France represents; that he had lately been at Venice incognito, and the ambassador of England had sent to ask him to use his offices with that prince so that he may not come to a settlement with Spain unless he can do so early, because the king will help him. The ambassador made this offer on the part of the States, with whom the king is allied, so that all the forces may not fall upon them. He pointed out that Savoy cannot make war alone against the Spaniards, and that the duke will not know what he may expect, being pressed by France and begged by the republic to disarm and accept an accommodation. In the end the ambassador's office reduced itself to a request not to make an accommodation without first informing the king, so that the agreements may proceed in concert, and that he had already made the proposal.
Turin, the 23 December, 1614.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 26. Senato, Secreta Dispacci Inghilterra. Venetian Archives 558. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On the 8th all the ambassadors of the kings and princes were at the Hague, and the same day Prince Maurice arrived there also. On the 9th began the general diet, and the deputies related the course of the negotiations for the accommodation of the differences of Cleves, concluding that although the ambassadors had done everything possible, yet this conference had separated without any results. The ambassadors of France were present there, and after they had stated their opinion the extraordinary took leave and left the States as I reported. He passed by Brussels, where he made strong representations, pointing out and protesting what dangers might arise from not carrying out the agreement as it stands. The ordinary ambassador accompanied him as far as Brussels, so that he might return to the Hague with the Archduke's decision.
On the 10th the ambassadors of the United Princes proposed the agreement of the confederation already established and, in view of the probability of a great war in the spring, they consulted how it should be made and of the common interests, service and safety. On the 15th they agreed, obtained a satisfactory reply and resolution, with which they were going to return to their masters.
The Marquis of Brandenburg will make his residence at Rees. The Count Ernest of Nassau will be with him and four companies of picked infantry. The Duke of Neuburg and the Marquis Spinola are at Brussels to consult, and the Imperial ambassador is also there. The ambassador of the Archduke told me that it was true that the Catholic king had founded his resolution upon some letters of the Marquis of Guadaleste, his ambassador with their Highnesses. He had given orders not to restore Wesel, except upon such condition that it should remain evacuated. Spinola's proposals are that restitution shall be made on all sides upon the same day, and now, giving the orders in each place in this manner:
You who are at Wesel on such a day at such an hour, shall be with the troops outside the gates, and march towards such a part; and so to all the others, but as security that it shall be effected he will give nothing but his word. The ambassador of the Archduke confirmed this to me, saying that Juliers is practically in a state of siege, that the States cannot relieve it; that the province of Juliers is surrounded by the dominions of the Archduke and by a large number of garrisoned towns. He also expressed a hope that an accommodation might be effected. Here, on the contrary, they have information that the Emperor and the Catholic king have promised the duke of Saxony to put him in possession of Cleves, thus drawing him entirely away from their side, and that he has agreed to leave Wesel and other places in the hands of Spain. I have this from the lips of the king's own secretary, who told me that Neuburg would become a jest and a by-word and he as well as Brandenburg would be expelled from Cleves by all the power of the Emperor and Spain.
Yesterday morning, which was Christmas Day, the ambassador of the archduke went to Theobalds to have audience of the king. He returned yesterday evening, and in this short time I have been unable to discover more.
London, the 26 December, 1614.
Dec. 27. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 559. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The matter dealt with between the Count of Scarnafes and the king's Secretary on the visit which I reported in my last, was a request that the letters for the Palatine, the States and other Princes might be sent, to give orders, prepare the succour and effect all the things already determined with greater force and solicitude than before. He laid stress upon the danger in which the duke found himself, and he found the Secretary very well disposed. He replied that all this ought to be done, and advised him to go to the king immediately, and that if the capture of the places and the invasion of Piedmont were confirmed, he would find His Majesty more than determined to make dispositions for his necessary defence, and that he would give him a letter for His Majesty, which he did. The Count went post to the king, sent the letter at once, was visited and accompanied from his house by a gentleman sent expressly by His Majesty. Without allowing him to speak, the king told him that he had heard of the hostility of the governor of Milan and of the wicked way, whereby he proposes to annihilate His Highness without more ado; that now it is a question of defending his friend, whose possessions are being oppressed, he will declare himself openly, as it is no longer a time to keep silence or to procrastinate, that he will succour him with all his forces, will induce the States and his other friends to make a brave show with their forces. He expressed and repeated many strong opinions of this nature. The Count kissed hands and said that the needs of his Duke are pressing and do not admit of delay, and he begged His Majesty to give immediate orders for the payment of the money, to write to France, to your Serenity, to the States and Princes and to make his letters more expressive and urgent than before. The king approved and said that he would send for the Secretary that very evening and give him the necessary instructions to make the assignment and payment without delay; that a declaration had already been sent to the States saying that if they fail the duke, His Majesty will fail them; that all the others shall be written to and all the offices performed, and if he would wait a single day he should have orders to his taste in his presence to the Secretary to whom the king sent that very evening. On the following day the king fulfilled his promise to the Count, who was here in the morning of the day before yesterday. The Secretary was also here at the same time, and the count was with him on the evening of the same day, and yesterday also for the assignment and expenditure of the money. Very urgent letters were written to France, and others to the ambassador, with whom the count and the agent will confer, and after begging His Majesty not to allow the duke to succumb, they will press him to declare his will. They have also written to the ambassador with your Serenity to declare the king's will, and to do everything possible so that they may support the duke and not allow him to be oppressed. Letters have been sent to Lesdiguières, Bouillon and Rohan, to help by allowing as many men as possible to cross over to the duke's assistance; and to Condé and Nevers to the same purpose to help as much as possible the offices of the ambassadors and letters of His Majesty with the Most Christian King. The king told the count that he would see all the princes at Paris. He will go on to Lesdiguières together with the agent, and will see how actively the king has operated with all these. Letters are also going to the Palatine. The count will leave in one or two days, and the agent also, with the king's letters to the duke, more emphatic than the first, in which he promises him assistance and comforts him.
London, the 27 December, 1614.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 27. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Roma. Venetian Archives. 560. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The French ambassador has recently been to see me. He asked me why the republic would not sign the articles drawn up by the duke of Savoy, the Nuncio Savelli and M. de Rambouillet. I said that I had no information upon the matter. He said, We are very anxious for the republic to sign because in that way a league would have been formed between the Pope, the Most Christian King and your Signory, which would have given the Spaniards something to think of in Italy for the future.
The count of Verua writes here that His Highness's arrangements for war are prospering. Here they consider his statements bombastic, and designed as a reply to the pretentions of the Spaniards to punish the duke. They do not believe it possible for the duke to receive assistance either from England or from Flanders. Cardinal Borghese has insisted upon this with me more than once, perhaps because of what I said to him on the 7th ult.
I recently called upon the Catholic ambassador. He spoke about the temerity of the duke of Savoy, but said that his king desired peace in this province. He said there was a report that the republic had given 100,000 sequins to the duke. I assured him that it was a fable. He accepted this and added that the duke would be obliged to have recourse to the Turk.
From Rome, the 27 December, 1614.
Dec. 30. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Mantova. Venetian Archives. 561. Antonio Maria Vincenti, Venetian Resident at Mantua to the Doge and Senate.
The governor of Milan has decided to commit to the duke the Marquis of Calus, son of the count of Verua, who was taken prisoner. He will be sent to this city upon condition that if no cause is found why he should be put to death, he shall be restored. The duke seems to have reconsidered his first decision to deal quickly and rigorously with him. He will probably guard him carefully and use him as a means of bringing pressure upon Savoy.
From Mantua, the 30 December, 1614.


  • 1. This letter is preserved at the Public Record Office, and is dated 18/28 November, 1614. State Papers. Foreign. Venice.
  • 2. Villeroi lost his influence with the queen by a proposal to postpone the Spanish marriages for two years. Accordingly he left the court, hoping thereby to prove how indispensable he was and so regain his ascendancy. Zeller: Louis XIII, Marie de Medicis chef du Conseil, p. 38.