Venice: February 1615, 16-28

Pages 348-362

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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February 1615, 16–28

Feb. 16. Consiglio di X. Parti Secrete. Venetian Archives. 654. That a safe-conduct be granted to the Baron Francesco Furietti for two years.
Ayes 12. Second vote. Ayes 11.
Noes 4. Noes 4.
Neutral 1. Neutral 2.
The matter remains undetermined.
Feb. 16. Consiglio di X. Parti Communi. Venetian Archives. 655. That licence be granted to Marc' Antonio Correr, knight, to invite the ambassador of England upon the occasion of the marriage of Vicenzo Correr, his son.
Ayes 15.
Noes 1.
Neutral 1.
Feb. 16. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Verona. Venetian Archives. 656. The Rectors of Verona to the Doge and Senate.
The ambassador of the king of Great Britain arrived here late this evening. He is staying at the della Torre hostelry. After sending our compliments, to which he replied, we went to visit him, with a good number of carriages, showing him every respect due to the representative of a king so much esteemed by the republic and to his own merits. He spoke of the great consideration with which he had always been treated by your Excellencies, and excused himself from returning the visit, as he had to continue his journey to Turin very early the next day. After we had returned to the palace, we sent, as instructed, divers refreshments of sweetmeats (confetture), small game, and wine, which were received with many thanks. We will send an account of the expense.
From Verona, the 16 February, 1615.
Feb. 17. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Dispacci, Venetian Archives. 657. Pietro Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Last week Count John of Nassau was here on his way back to Turin from Holland, where he had been on a mission to procure help for the duke of Savoy from the States. On his way through Brussels he ran some danger of arrest and orders were issued by the archduke at the instance of the Catholic ambassador, but he got wind of it and escaped secretly from that town. He brings many fair words, but no certainty of assistance to the duke.
The duke's agent here daily solicits their Majesties for some favourable resolution, but sees how little inclination they have to do anything except make representations. They say that they must first see the results of the mission of the Commandeur Sillery, and they will not commit themselves to an express declaration against the Catholic king while there is some hope of accommodation, as they are given to understand here that one will be soon arranged.
He is also treating, but in different sort, with the Prince of Conde and the other princes, showing that there is no more certain way of breaking off the marriages with Spain than by helping the Duke and declaring in his favour, as this would give offence to the Catholic king. The Princes have done their utmost by speaking in the Council, but as their authority is no greater than that of their opponents they have had no success. The queen is sure that the duke means to prevent the marriage and then effect the alliance with the Prince of Piedmont arranged by Henry IV. She has always believed this to be the reason why His Highness made difficulties in coming to an agreement, and therefore she shows herself little inclined to send help. The English ambassador backs the efforts of the agent and told them that he has instructions to favour the duke's interests in the name of his king, who would always act in concert with this Crown to prevent the duke from falling completely into the power of the Spaniards. The same offices have been performed in Holland, in Germany and with others also. According to the account given by the Freach ordinary ambassador, returned from England, after completing his charge, the assistance given by the king there will amount to no more than a recommendation of His Highness to other princes and such declarations.
From Paris, the 17 February, 1615.
Feb. 17. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 658. Ranier Zen, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
Externally the duke indulges in feasts and rejoicings, but I know that he is very anxious. He places his chief hopes in your Serenity and in the influences you will set in motion, as the count of Verua has said that England will more in concert with you. The other day he showed me a letter of the count of Nassau, of which I enclose a translation.
Baron Rossi, an Englishman entertained and favoured by His Highness, has arrived at this court. He is at the house of Albert Morton the Resident, but I cannot discover that he has come for anything except curiosity. (fn. 1)
The courier for Spain has just arrived with the letters of your Serenity. When the ambassador of England reaches this court, I will visit him and execute my instructions.
From Turin, the 17 February, 1614 [m.v.].
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 659. Copy of a letter from Count John of Nassau to the Duke of Savoy.
I hope that your Highness has received all my preceding letters in which I sent word that the States are entirely disposed to send help to you if the king of Great Britain will do the same. We had not then heard of any decision by His Majesty, but six days ago Barnevelt received letters from the king's chief secretary informing him that His Majesty had decided to send a good sum of money to your Highness and asking the States to do the same. They quite expect that the king will declare himself, since they are already resolved, so much so that I hope soon to be able to send pleasant news to your Highness.
Here everything points to war. The Protestant princes of Germany and some towns have made a league with these States, to which they contribute 70,000 francs a month, and the States bind themselves to send 4,000 infantry and 500 horse if any one of them is in need. It is thought that the remainder of the Princes and lands will join.
The Prince of Neuburg is at Wesel, but a report says that he has ceded his pretentions to Juliers to the king of Spain.
I can add no more at present except that the States are waiting the decision of the king of Great Britain to confirm their own, and I hope that everything will turn out favourably for your Highness.
Postscript.—I wrote that the States had sent for news from France upon these affairs; but even if France raises difficulties the States will continue, all the same, to conform to the wishes of the king of Great Britain, upon whom they depend in everything and for everything, as I have told your Highness before.
From the Hague, the 3 January, 1615.
Feb. 18. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Firenze. Venetian Archives. 660. Antonio Maria Vincenti, Venetian Resident at Mantua, to the Doge and Senate.
Things seem to be moving towards war, though an accommodation is hoped for. The Spaniards continue to assert that they want nothing from the Duke of Savoy except an apology and verbal satisfaction. This His Highness seems little inclined to give, but it is thought that he will come to an accommodation at the end, the more so because France is quieting down and the marriages are approaching their conclusion.
Although it is published that the mission of the English ambassador to Turin is to procure an accommodation with his Catholic Majesty yet they think that it is due to a different reason and he is going in order to incite the duke still more to war. If this follows there is no doubt that the accommodatian will encounter more difficulties and delays, and the issue will be very doubtful.
From Mantua, the 18 February, 1614 [m.v.].
Feb. 19. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 661. The ambassador of France came into the Cabinet and presented a copy of a letter of M. de Vaucelas, ambassador in Spain, upon the affairs of Savoy, dated 9 January, 1615, containing the following matters:
In an interview with the Marquis of Velada, we spoke of the affairs of Juliers and Italy. He said that although his master might have claimed Wesel as a city of the empire, yet he had decided to restore it in the interests of peace together with the other places in his power, the Dutch doing the like. But they thought it strange that Count Maurice should create such difficulties about promising never to meddle with those countries, as they had made such a promise on their part. I replied that I thought this demand had only been made after the conclusion of the agreement and that the ambassadors of France and England had promised that their masters would give the interpretion of that promise. The Marquis replied that Count Maurice ought not to raise difficulties about signing this, saying that such promises are broken as occasion and interest demand. I report this to show that they are holding out rather upon a point of honour, especially when we see with what facility they have restored all these places.
Feb. 20. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 662. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After the proposition made to the States by Count John of Nassau on behalf of the Duke of Savoy, namely to beg them for help and ask them not to come to any terms with Spain unless the Catholic king made peace with him, arranging everything in unison, so that, if they cannot make peace on their side, he will be ready to make war, reminding them of the disposition of the king here to assist him, even if it were necessary to make war to defend him, the count has been assisted in his negotiations upon these propositions by the offices of the king's ambassador and by Maurice, to the top of their power. The count has interviewed others also and has followed out all the duke's instructions, pointing out that nothing is more likely to constrain the Spaniards to make a settlement everywhere, that the necessity of having war everywhere if they do not. He demonstrated how easy it would be for the States, if joined with the king here and the United Princes of Germany, owing to their forces at sea, to harass Spain, now emptied of troops. With regard to the land war of Flanders he promised that His Highness, when assisted by some succours, would in any case do his share in the State of Milan. He informed them of the intelligence which the duke has with divers princes, his hopes from those of the religion of the same country, his facilities in obtaining troops from various parts; he told them that the duke was not without intelligence in several places of the Milanese, so that if the Spaniards did not desire peace they might easily find themselves in difficulties in war. He took back the answer that the States had decided to help the duke with definite succour, together with the king of Great Britain, to enter upon open war with Spain if His Majesty decides upon it and is the first to break, but that upon no other condition would they break their truce with the Catholic king. They asked what policy your Excellencies were following, apparently attaching the utmost importance to this; that with regard to the settlement of the differences of Cleves, that was in the hands of Spain and not in theirs. With this the count set out post on the 1st inst. for Turin. He also took with him the opinions of Maurice, some advice and letters.
The States have sent to their ambassador here directing him to inform His Majesty that with regard to assisting the Duke, as they have frequently repeated, they will follow if His Majesty will act first; that if, in order to afford efficient assistance, he enters upon an open war with Spain, and breaks the peace with that crown, they are ready to do the same and break their truce. They evidently think that this would be the best course and they express themselves very anxious to enter upon war jointly with His Majesty, with a determination not to break in any way except in conjunction with this crown. I have not only gathered this, but I heard it from the ambassador of the States, who imparted to me the instructions which he has and who asked what your Excellencies would do if the Spaniards are determined upon war in Italy, and if you will allow the Duke to succumb. The ambassador Wotton received the same reply from the States and sent it to the king some days ago. The courier from Turin is expected here daily, to receive a decision.
I have received your Excellencies' letters of the 16th ult. with regard to the affairs of Savoy. They will serve me for instructions and to know what to say when occasion arises.
London, the 20 February, 1615.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 20. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 663. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The king's agent at Brussels gave the archduke His Majesty's letter and the formula drawn up by him. For reply he was told that the answer would be sent to the ambassador, and this was done on the 25th ult. On the 6th inst. that ambassador went to see His Majesty. The king gave him audience on the evening of the 8th as soon as he arrived, and he returned on the following day. At the first he told the king that since the very first day he had told him that all the places occupied would be restored if the Dutch would do the same; that he has always asserted the same thing, and now he brought it with the Archduke's signature, and he presented the letter in reply to that of His Majesty. He added that the Archduke, following the wise advice of His Majesty, had drawn up a formula, which he presented; that he is moved by the same desires as the king and it will be to their eternal glory to avoid a general war and to establish peace in Christendom with other similar ideas. The king was pleased, and as the hour was late, the ambassador took leave. After he had gone the king looked at the letter, which is complimentary and replies in formal terms with regard to the restitution in the manner already frequently described. The formula is the same as that proposed by Spinola; indeed it may be said to be in the very same words, but whereas they previously only asked for the signatures of Maurice and Spinola, they now want the States to sign and say that the archduke will do the same. This caused the king to break out into the angry words which I reported, swearing three or four times by the living God that it was impossible to trust him. At the second audience the king said that the article was the same as Maurice's. The ambassador, without denying it, said that his master desired peace, but that it must be durable, otherwise neither Spain nor the archduke wished for it; that it was no good to make restitution to-day and four days later to take it again; that the article contains nothing but restitution on all sides and promises that no return shall be made in any conceivable circumstances; that while the armies were in the field the signatures of Spinola and Maurice as generals might suffice, but now that they have withdrawn, the signing ought to be done by the United Provinces and the archduke; that in case of a general war, every one may succour his friends and this formula will do nothing to prevent that. Finally the king said that he would write to his ambassador and to the States, and this he has done.
From all sides, and from Germany in particular, come reports that the Spaniards want war. The ambassador of Brandenburg has passed through and is at the court. The archduke continues his levies of thirty ensigns of infantry. At the diet of Nurenberg some representatives of the kingdom of Bavaria were present, very discontented with the empire. The eldest son of the Landgrave of Hesse is going as ambassador to France in order to congratulate the king on his majority in the name of the United Princes, and to obtain succour if they are involved in warfare. I hear in letters from the Hague of the 7th that Neuburg has returned to Dusseldorf. He has increased the garrison there, and soon Spinola will be in the field, as Maurice is preparing to be. Some colonels of Brandenburg have left to make levies. At the Hague they are daily expecting deputies from the archduke to negotiate an agreement, but they consider their mission a device simply to gain time. On the 14th General Cecil (Sicel) was here. He left the Hague on the 9th, having taken leave of Barnevelt on the preceding day. He told him that war became nearer and more certain every day, to be waged directly against the Princes and indirectly against the States.
London, the 20 February, 1615.
Feb. 21. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Roma. Venetian Archives. 664. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
On receiving your Serenity's letters of the 14th inst. I immediately asked an audience of the pope, who at once granted it. I urged him to use his influence in favour of peace, as the intention of the Catholic king to punish the duke of Savoy and invade his State could not fail to create great disturbances, the duke not being destitute of allies and dependents. I said that the republic desired him to send an express mission to Spain to make remonstrances. The pope listened attentively and said that things were certainly in a serious condition. He promised that he would send a mission to Spain and said that they ought to keep at a distance every pretext for the heretics to enter Italy. He thought that the duke of Savoy might safely disarm, but instead of this he was increasing his forces. The Spaniards did not want his territories, as they would have all the world against them. Then there was the difficulty of arbiters. The place belonged to the emperor, but the duke of Savoy would not trust him because he was a relation of Mantua. The Spaniards on the other hand would not suffer the intervention of a non-Christian prince such as the king of England. If these two points are settled, the nuncio is hopeful.
I represented the danger, as from a small beginning the fighting might spread and the conflagration get out of hand for some time, especially if Italy were flooded with heretics, that the season was nearly ready for campaigning, and the duke of Savoy, incited by his adherents and dependents, might not so readily entertain proposals to humiliate himself. The pope replied that he did not wish the duke to sacrifice his honour, but simply to give some satisfaction to the Catholic king. He asked me if the English ambassador was going to Turin. I said that I had heard so, but knew nothing for certain.
From Rome, the 21 February, 1615.
Feb. 21. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Roma. Venetian Archives. 665. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The book Novissimus homo' has been submitted by the pope to the office of the Inquisition. In spite of the secrecy observed there I have learned that they have found no reply and they have concluded that if the author had lived long at this court he could not have treated the matter more exactly. It deals, as I understand, with the present government, the popes and the customs of the palace. The Cardinals wish to get the pope to commission Cardinal Bellarmine to reply.
From Rome, the 21 February, 1615.
Feb. 21. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Grisoni. Venetian Archives. 666. Gregorio Barbarigo, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary to the Swiss and Grisons, to the Doge and Senate.
Complains of the unhealthy conditions and the fatigues and expenses of his present mission with the Swiss and Grisons, and asks that the time spent upon it may count as part of his embassy to England. Asks them to consider the inconvenience he has suffered in flitting hither and thither, while his goods were awaiting him on the shores of the Ocean, Heaven knows in whose hands.
From Zurich, the 21 February, 1614.
Feb. 23. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Verona. Venetian Archives. 667. The Rectors of Verona to the Doge and Senate.
The cost of the refreshments presented to the ambassador of the king of Great Britain amounts to 239 lire 19 soldi, of which we have notified the Signori at the Razon Vecchie.
From Verona, the 23 February, 1615.
Feb. 24. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 668. Ranier Zen, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
The ambassador of England is expected here the day after tomorrow. He has reached Vercelli. The resident is there with Lord Roos (Rossi), who has been greatly favoured by the duke.
At dinner to-day I was shown the letters of which I enclose a translation; one is from the king to the Palatine, the other an information to the ambassador of France on his return, both concerning the disturbances of Italy and Cleves.
From Turin, the 24 February, 1614 [m.v.].
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 669. Letter of King James to the Elector Palatine.
Although the letter written last week by our order by the Secretary Winwood shows clearly our anxiety for the public weal and our determination to be on the side of those who desire the peace of Christendom, nevertheless the ambassador of the Princes of the Union, after having related the negotiations at the Hague, has informed us that our declaration would greatly advance the settlement of the affairs which are to be treated in the diet of Nurenberg on the 25th inst., we have decided to send these presents as head of the Union, asking you to assure the Princes in our name that in addition to our resolution to abide by all that was arranged in case the Marquis Spinola should fail to restore the places occupied by him in Cleves and Juliers, and particularly Wesel, in case we or your States are attacked or any other prince under the name of the emperor or under the pretext of his pretended holy league, we shall declare ourselves against the disturbers of the public peace. As we know that the States of the United Provinces will share in this, we will also approach our brother the king of France and represent to him that it concerns his honour that the treaty of Xanten, in which his ambassador was engaged, be not rendered vain, and that it is for the public weal that the peace of Germany be not troubled by any violent attempt against his good friends and allies, under the pretext of religion. In fine, be assured that we will show how much we are lovers of justice and with what zeal we embrace that religion of which God has made us one of the principal protectors, and so, etc.
No date given.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 670. Memorial from the King of Great Britain to M. de Besser, ambassador of the Most Christian King, on his return to France.
The ambassador will be so good as to obtain a decision from their Majesties upon the following matters, which concern the public weal and the peace of Christendom.
Firstly: As the king of Spain is at peace with all the kings, princes and republics of Europe, what do their Majesties think of his keeping on foot upon a pretext of a quarrel in Germany, little less than 20,000 men, both foot and horse, and whether they do not think it prejudicial to liberty, especially of the princes of Italy and Germany, to permit this, as they are kept thereby in a constant state of fear, and almost in slavery?
Secondly: If the king of Spain will not allow the duke of Savoy to live in peace, attacks him with open force, or keeps a fleet in being to exhaust him with expenses, or wishes to force him to accept unjust and dishonourable terms; in this case the king of Great Britain would like to know the intention of the king his brother, if he thinks it would be beneficial for the peace of Europe to give assistance to the duke, and to come to an understanding for the public weal?
Thirdly: If the Marquis Spinola will not allow the execution of the treaty of Xanten, and in spite of the ambassadors of their Majesties, who intervened at the archduke's request, continues to retain the town of Wesel and the other places occupied by him in Cleves and Juliers, whether the/irs their honour to resent this affront, and whether they are not bound to stand by their friends and allies and to give them assistance in conjunction with the king of Great Britain?
Finally: In case the peace of Germany is disturbed by the pretended Holy League, and if the Elector Palatine or some other prince of the Union is attacked by open force, the king of Great Britain desires to be informed what resolution their Majesties will take under the circumstances, and if their forces will unite with his in the defence of their common friends, with united assistance as in a common cause? (fn. 2)
Feb. 25. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 671. Pietro Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Count of Scarnafes has gone back again to England from Turin. He stopped here three days negotiating with the ministers and repeating his request for assistance. He received no other reply than the first time, as they said they must know the results of the mission of the Commandeur Sillery, upon which they based great hopes. He left them with many expressions of goodwill and courteous words, without any absolute promise to do anything.
From Paris, the 25 February, 1615.
Feb. 25. Senato, Seoreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 672. Pietro Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
They have recently sent by courier to the Commandeur Sillery the jewels to be presented to the Infanta, which were kept back until a decision was reported; however, it is to be expected, according to what Sillery says. The English ambassador here told me that as soon as ever he hears that the marriages are to be completed he will immediately beseech Her Majesty to put them off until the differences of Italy and Flanders have been settled, and that many persons of the kingdom and outside will make like representations. He went on to say that he was carrying on negotiations that Frenchmen should not be hindered from going to the service of Savoy, although express orders to prevent them continue to be issued to Lesdiguières, because if only the permission were granted, many would be ready to go. As a good number of Frenchmen were interested in the war, the duke might possibly be rendered more and more strong, and the marriages with Spain would become more difficult.
The queen insisted that the two first orders should expressly ask for the execution of the marriages already arranged with Spain. They did so to please her, and it has caused general dissatisfaction.
From Paris, the 25 February, 1615.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 673. Reply of the Queen Regent to the letter written to her by the Prince of Conde on the 19 February, 1614.
I received your letter on the 19th. It contains several heads and I will reserve my reply until the meeting of the States General. I was glad to see that you approve of that assembly which will serve to pacify the disorders of the kingdom. But by sending copies of the letter to the Parliament you wished to place my actions in an unfavourable light, and that is why I make the present reply. The expenses incurred hitherto have been caused by efforts to maintain the public peace. All divisions are dangerous, and I have therefore endeavoured to maintain a good understanding between the princes and officials of the Crown. But if I commanded the exact observation of the edicts, they have pretended that it was in order to lull to sleep those of the religion in order the better to surprise them. They have made use of this to the prejudice of the alliance negotiated with Spain, as if it had been expressly negotiated against them, and to the same end they have concealed from them the alliance at present in negotiation with England, in which the duke of Bouillon has been the principal intermediary. But whenever I have shown indulgence to those of the religion they have always put an evil interpretation upon it. In the same way I have done my utmost to preserve the friendship of the allies of the Crown. I have certainly preferred the friendship of Spain to that of Savoy, but the late king would have done as much. I was not led to this by want of affection towards the duke, but simply by the utility of such an alliance, so necessary in the present state of affairs. The duke of Bouillon was expressly sent to inform the king of Great Britain upon this. I hope by this alliance to secure the weal of the kingdom and the particular satisfaction of the king and my eldest daughter. I hope as much for the second on the side of England, of which you make no mention in your letter as it would spoil the plans of those who advise you. I hope that the differences of Navarre will be honourably settled. I expected praise for the action taken with regard to Montferrat, as undoubtedly we have relieved the Duke of Mantua. The interests of this realm have alone guided me in dealing with the question of the league of the Venetians with the Grisons. I admit that the king would have been better served if the Council of State had been composed solely of Princes of the Blood and officials of the Crown, but it was impossible to arrange this. Dated at Paris the 27 February, 1614.
[French; printed pamphlet of fifteen pages.]
Feb. 26. Consiglio di X. Parti Communi, Venetian Archives. 673A. That the jewels of the sanctuary and the armoury of this Council be shown to certain English gentlemen now in this city.
Ayes 16.
Noes 0.
Neutral 0.
Feb. 27. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra Venetian Archives. 674. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England to the Doge and Senate.
In my last I informed your Serenity of the interview of the ambassador of the archduke with the king and of the letters which he presented to His Majesty in reply and the formula of His Highness. I enclose copies of the letters and formula with translations. The better to acquaint myself with passing events I called yesterday upon the king's secretary. He confirmed the truth of what I wrote and added that the ambassador of the archduke had not only contradicted what the ambassador of Spain has said and the news from Madrid sent by the king's ambassador as from the lips of the duke of Lerma, but himself also to some extent, as between the first to the second audience; that on the side of Spain they assert that the treaty of Xanten will be carried out, and the archduke in his letter says that it is impossible because His Highness never had any one to represent him at the negotiations; that the king is greatly displeased and told him so clearly, but he has ordered his ambassador in Holland to use his offices with the States to induce them to consent to the article, promising them that he and the king of France would compel the Spaniards to observe the terms by force, as was done in the case of the truce if they should break their word. He seemed to think it settled that by the 20th of next month the king will insist upon a declaration from the Archduke and Spain in favour either of war or of peace. He seemed to believe that the States would not consent to the formula and added that they are already preparing for war. So also is the Elector of Brandenburg, whose ambassador here has pressed for a decision upon the succours and has come for that purpose. That the courier sent to Spain has not yet returned, more is not known, I understood quite well from his discourse that he believes war is coming and that preparations for it are being made on every hand.
The ambassador of Brandenburg had an audience alone at New-market. He asked for a decision and effective assistance. He gave a full account of past events; that but for the advice of His Majesty Wesel would have been saved; that they have promised and letters have arrived to carry out the treaty of Santen; that whereas they first wanted the ratification of the Electress, in order to create an impediment, they now desire to add articles, to gain time; that in short his master and the States do not wish to be taken unawares a second time; that the United Princes have promised 4,000 paid infantry, or 1,500 gold crowns a month, so that they may break into open war with Spain; that this addition they will prevent the Catholic king from sending troops into Italy to their harm, and would do something else for them also by arms. That His Highness wished to know His Majesty's decision, and he had instructions not to leave before he had seen the effectuation of the succour. The king replied that he remembered very well the things which had taken place, the promise given and the joining in a resolution to assist the Elector, Princes and States absolutely, but it would be better for him to make his reply at another time. The ambassador replied that with regard to the Archduke, His Majesty may do what he pleases; that with Spain they may not lose so much time, because the season is advanced, and, in short, that it is necessary to come to a decision, either to frighten the Spaniards once and for all, or to fear them for ever. He also showed the king a letter written by the Emperor to the Archduke, in which he says that he would have wished the Emperor Rudolph, his lord and brother, to put Cleves in deposit, but this had failed through some unknown impediment; that now he asked him to do his utmost to this end, and that if this proved impossible, he should give his prudent advice. Upon this he writes at great length. I called upon this ambassador, who told me clearly that the States will not on any account sign the Archduke's formula, and he asserted that he will not leave here without seeing some part of the king's promises fulfilled in the matter of assistance.
At Brussels the deputies of Dusseldorf who went there to exhort the Archduke to carry out the treaty of Santen have lost all hope, as they have been told that they had better address themselves to the States and His Highness had already decided upon his line of action. At Cologne they are enlisting 1,000 infantry and 200 cavalry.
London, the 27 February, 1615.
Postscript.—After I had written I hear from Holland that levies of troops are being made in the country of Mayence, and they expect a great number from Lorraine. That on the 15th of this month a general meeting will begin to decide upon the method of assisting Brandenburg in the war which they believe to be near.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 677. The Archduke's Promise.
His Highness declares that on the of he will withdraw his troops from all the places occupied by them in Juliers, Cleves, Berg, la Marck, Ravensberg and Ravensberg, and promises that in the future he will not take any places under any pretext whatsoever.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 677A. Translation of the above.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 678. Copy of the Archduke's Letter to the King.
Your Secretary Trumbull has delivered to me your Majesty's last letter with a minute of a promise to be signed by the Marquis Spinola and Count Maurice of Nassau. Your Majesty has ever been forward in the cause of peace and this is testified in the affairs of Juliers, so that I feel sure that a favourable conclusion may be expected from the continuation of your good offices.
In reply to the letter, your Majesty must be aware that no one represented me at the treaty of Zanten, so that nothing done in my name can have relation to that treaty. I can discover no reason worth considering why the Stat/ess should raise any difficulties over the clear and precise form of promise proposed to them, taking into consideration the declarations so frequently reported to the ambassadors that in case of a new war all parties would remain free to take what action they pleased without being bound by such promises. It has always been my sincere intention to make restitution of the places occupied by our troops provided the States do the like. I feel confident that your Majesty will see the reasonableness of the request that the promises be made as soon as possible in order that peace may be put upon a sure footing without delay. My Councillor Boischat will inform you more particularly upon these matters.
The 25th January, 1615, new style.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 678A. Translation of the above.
Feb. 27. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 679. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The king's secretary has shown me the copy of a long exposition made by His Majesty's ambassador in the cabinet, where he says he left a copy. He emphasised various points in it and then added that if the duke of Savoy could have peace with safety and honour, it would be best; that the king is doing everything to this end, and will do whatever is decided upon by your Excellencies. But if the king of Spain is determined to deprive the Duke of his state, punish him and place him in subjection, His Majesty is ready for his part to help him, although his interests are not comparable with those of your Excellencies. The help will be in money. In such case he has no doubt of your Excellencies, as you will be moved by your own interests, since the strength of Spain on the confines of your Serenity would be notably increased by the acquisition of the whole of Piedmont, the keys of Italy would be in the hands of the Catholic king and your Excellencies would be surrounded and hemmed in on every side; that it was first necessary to do everything to secure peace, but if that is not possible, it will be necessary to provide a remedy in time, otherwise the designs of Spain will take effect in a few months. That it was necessary to concert action and work together for peace and to help the Duke with succours; that his state is so situated that he can easily receive troops from France, the Swiss, the Germans and other nations; that the most suitable way of helping him was with money, which can be sent with great ease and safety by letters of exchange, without commotion, under some pretext either public or private, without thereby becoming involved in war; that the reply of your Excellencies to the ambassador would be seen which is to guide him; that very soon a person will be here from the duke of Savoy, who will make known his wishes and the state of affairs; that please God there will be peace, but if not, it is necessary to make a decision. He informed me that the States are displaying a favourable disposition; they will do their share and they wish to move in concert with the king. He mentioned that there is, meanwhile, a person at the Hague acting for Savoy, who must have been left there by Count John of Nassau.
I replied with great reserve, and in order to discover his purpose, without either checking or spurring their resolution in this matter. In conclusion he highly commended the ambassador of the king with your Excellencies, saying how entirely satisfied His Majesty was with his services. I heartily concurred, adding that he also gave the greatest satisfaction both to your Serenity and your Excellencies.
The day before yesterday I received the letters of your Excellencies of the 27th ult. containing a copy of this exposition with the reply of the Senate, and instructing me to speak to His Majesty in conformity. To this end I will ask for an audience, to tell the king your will, confining myself strictly to the letter of my commission; as I always have done and shall continue to do in matters where the words themselves are so important.
The affair proceeds and may God preserve Italy from troubles. I beg you to inform me of your will so that I may be able to serve effectually.
London, the 27 February, 1615.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 28 Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Roma. Venetian Archives. 680. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Cardinal Borghese asked me if the provisions of your Serenity were considerable, adding that he did not think it would be necessary. I said that I did not know exactly, but that the republic thought it well to be prepared. He asked me if we were arming at sea also. I said that I did not know, but that as a rule when the Turks made any special preparations, your Serenity armed also. He afterwards said that he had heard that the English ambassador was at Turin and that your Serenity had begged him to work for peace, but he did not know whether he would do so really because the ideas of heretics never coincide with those of Catholics. I said that I had heard that the English king would most zealously endeavour to bring about peace between the Catholic king and the duke of Savoy, and how resolute he was to assist him in case of war. At this point I thought good to inform the Cardinal of your Serenity's office with the Senator Piscina, in favour of peace.
The pope and the partisans of his placid and languid methods of negotiating say that he is serving the cause of peace better by keeping neutral.
From Rome, the 28 February, 1615.


  • 1. The Lord Roos is daily expected here from Genoa, and Mr. Sackvile from Geneva hath tendered his service to the duke in the warres.' Albert Morton to Winwood on 6 Feb. 1615, o.s. State Papers, Foreign, Savoy.
  • 2. The original of this memorial presented by James to M. de Buisseaux, and dated 6 January, 1614, o.s., is preserved in the Archives of the Ministère des Affaires Etrangères, Paris. Angleterre, Vol. 26, No. 50. The document is written in French.