Venice: March 1615, 16-31

Pages 377-396

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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March 1615, 16–31

March 16. Senato, Secreta. Dispacoi, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 696. Ranier Zen, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
His Highness has pressed the French ambassador to join with the other ambassadors informing the governor of Milan of his readiness to give greater satisfaction to the Spaniards. Finally, the duke decided to again summon us three ambassadors. He is anxious at the rapid increase of the Spanish armaments, and if he cannot obtain anything else, he hopes in this way to justify himself to the world. While I was waiting, the Count of Verua and Father Isidore came to tell me that the audience was put off to another day. They told me that the Nuncio had sent this morning for his secretary to say that he had learned from the French ambassador that the Pope was excluded from these negotiations, and that England had entered in his place, and he sent to ask if this was true. Upon this Verua had gone to the Nuncio and had disabused him of everything, expressing his surprise that France should have performed this sinister office. He said that France had sent to the duke and told him that before going to audience he wished that a difference should be settled which he understood had arisen between the Nuncio and England, as since his king stood with both he did not wish to do anything to offend either, and he therefore hoped that His Highness would arrange that both the Nuncio and England should enter into this affair or that one of them should voluntarily stand outside. The duke replied that there was no difference, and this was not an affair, but simply a notification of his own intentions to produce a good effect while waiting for the decision from Spain and France upon the treaty of Asti, and it belonged to the part of all the ambassadors here in favour of peace. They told me that the duke did not wish to tell the ambassador that it was he who had sowed the discord, but that he was amazed at his proceedings. The duke bears with him as a lesser evil, though he knows that he has a minister of the Spaniards at his court who sends news of everything to Milan every week.
On the following day I saw the Nuncio, who spoke to me about the same things, and said that now France denied having done it, but he will put in writing the very words which he sent. Accordingly I am letting them fight it out amongst themselves and remain simply a spectator in order that I may not be left alone with England in any operation. I can enter gladly with the French and the ambassadors into efforts for peace, but not for affairs, as I think this is more for the service of your Serenity, but with England alone I act with circumspection even when there is no business, as apparently many see this with aversion, but I will contrive to act so as not to offend His Highness (lasciò che se la partino tra di loro, et vado sol occulato di non restar solo con inghilterra con qualsisia operatione, perche come con Francesi et gli Ambri nelli uffici di pace et non di negotio mi par di potere con servitio di V. Serenita venirne allegramente cosi con Inghilterra solo benche non sia di negotio vedo de molti contrarii per l'apparenza, son' andati sempre distreggiando, non interressare, ma procuro pero di farlo in maniera che tutto segua senza disgustar Sua Altezza).
On the day after the duke sent for us ambassadors and pressed France in particular to perform this office with the governor together with the other ambassadors. But his arguments failed to move him, as the ambassador advanced first one pretext and then another for refusing. So he departed, leaving His Highness very dissatisfied, although, as is usual with him, he concealed it at the moment, though he broke out afterwards, saying that he had an enemy in his house. He added that the mission ought to be performed even if the French ambassador would not go, and said he was willing that some one should be sent previously in our name. England replied that he was ready to do whatever His Highness commanded, and so I found myself in a quandary, I do not know when I have been in a greater, as I saw how anxious His Highness was, and the matter was not formal business, but simply to notify the duke's willingness, while I had my instructions to work for peace. On the other hand I saw that this public union with England would give rise to much comment. Accordingly I thought it wise, without showing a reluctance to comply, to say that I was expecting a despatch from Venice, and as His Highness had asked me to write to your Serenity upon the subject, I should possibly obtain some light which would serve to guide me. The English ambassador agreed, but the duke said: Time is always flying, and as this is simply an offer to express my good will, I should like it performed soon. Indeed, His Highness seemed much distressed, finding himself in difficulties, anxious for peace and to give satisfaction to the Spaniards, and there was no one to speak for him. In order to show my willingness, without abandoning my position, I said that the governor could give no other reply except that his hands were bound, and therefore our princes would not wish us to make such a long tourney for no purpose whatever, so that I thought it would be better to perform the office by letter than personally. The idea pleased both the duke and the ambassador, only they added that it would be well to send the secretary of England to speak in the name of both. This point about not going in person being settled, I noticed that His Highness was discussing with the English ambassador the sending of a special person in the name of both of us with joint letters of credit. To this I had many objections, and resolved to take advantage of the duke's confidence in me. I said, Sire, my good intentions are well known, as the republic is most grieved at seeing your Highness in difficulties, but this very sentiment compels me to say this: I am ready to serve you, but I see a great difficulty in performing this office jointly, as the governor of Milan may become suspicious if of the four ambassadors present at this court only two performs this office and the Nuncio and France abstain; therefore if the English ambassador, who has newly come to this court, and who has recently treated with the governor, performs this office alone, it will not point so markedly to the absence of the French as if another went with him, as the governor might easily say, why the Venetian and not the others! I also think that it would offend the French ambassador less if he went alone. In any case, if your Highness wishes me to represent to the governor that I was present at your expression of good will, I willingly consent, and will write to tell our resident to inform the governor, and perhaps France also will join in this and the Nuncio also.
The duke and the ambassador were extremely pleased with this idea, and His Highness embraced me and said: Good, we will do so. It was therefore settled that England alone should write to the governor and should send the letter by his secretary, and that I should advise the resident of everything. I have done so, and enclose a copy for your Serenity. We are to induce the French ambassador to do the same. I can assure your Excellencies that I have never been in greater difficulties, as on the one hand I have to show a readiness to serve the duke, to keep up the friendship with your Serenity, and on the other hand I have to avoid compromising your Excellencies in matters which might arouse the suspicions of your neighbours and to maintain the neutrality which you profess. I have already shown that the ambassador will do nothing if he does not first receive the satisfaction which the duke desires, but it is something that in the present danger of war he will do nothing to prevent it. The duke and his ministers therefore believe that the French wish to arrange these difficulties in concert with the Spaniards. However, the ambassador said to me one day, the Spaniards will come to terms without an invasion, and if the governor does anything he is a ruined man. He said that he was awaiting orders from France upon the treaty of Asti, and if England and I remained behind alone he supposed we should be requisitioned by the duke. The other day he asked me laughingly if I was getting ready my corslet; I replied that I was preparing my weapons for shooting off (arma da sparire).
Turin, the 16 March, 1615.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 697. Copy of letter written by the Ambassador Zen to the Resident Antelmi Milan.
The ambassador of the king of Great Britain has come to this court, and in conformity with the other ambassadors is working for peace, to which the duke has never been disinclined. He hears that His Majesty desires greater signs of respect, and he is ready to give every satisfaction in the matter consonant with his own liberty. His Highness,. the other day, summoned all the ambassadors, first the nuncio, then France, and afterwards England and myself, and told us this readiness of his so that we might report it to our princes. The English ambassador has thought fit to send his secretary to the governor to inform him of this, and I also think it well to send you these particulars so that when you see the governor you may inform him about them.
Turin, the 14 March, 1615.
March 16. Senato, Secreta. Dispacoi, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 698. Ranier Zen Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
I have, on a visit, seen the letter written by the English ambassador to the governor of Milan. It contains nothing more than as His Highness had heard that the king desired greater satisfaction upon the point of honour, he is ready to afford this, saving his liberty as a free prince, and that the duke has expressed this in the presence of all the ambassadors. The ambassador sent his servant to report this and would come himself if his Excellency wrote that he was willing to negotiate. I did not ask for a copy as he did not ask for one of mine. He told me afterwards that the French ambassador had been to see him. He had said much the same as he did to me shortly before. He had compared the forces of the Spaniards with those of the duke and said that the Spaniards can do nothing for a long while, and if they attempt anything the duke will score, as he is the stronger. He said afterwards that all were watching for France to do something to help the duke, but they are under no obligation to do anything; the duke ought first to drive them out of his sea, but he has only himself to thank for his present situation. He said that others ought to do something and declare themselves. England told me that he replied that although his king, being so far away, was less interested in these things than the others, yet he had sent his envoy in the interests of peace, which must, however, be an honourable one, and if the Spaniards will not agree, he will declare his king's will and put it in writing that all his forces will defend the duke's liberty, and if they want it still move public, he will print it. He remarked that he had told him this in order that he might write it all to the Spaniards, but that in the letter to the governor he wished to go softly in the interests of the duke. He showed me in confidence a letter received that day from the king saying that news came from every side reporting that the Spaniards had accepted the agreement about Juliers and would restore Wesel with the other places occupied, but he did not believe it because the orders were indefinite, without a date and they were fortifying the places and levying contributions of the territories. Besides this he was informed that the Spaniards had 200,000 men collected between Italy, France and Germany, which certainly denoted some project in Germany or some other plan even if the affair of Juliers was settled, and he had told all to the Palatine, his son-in-law so that he might be ready with his friends, and that he would always assist him with all the forces of his kingdom; that he heard that the matters of Savoy were not being settled as the Spaniards would not accept terms, and the ambassador was to inform the duke that the king became more anxious to help him the greater the need.
The duke told me that the arrangement with the Bernese was as good as completed. The other day, when I was with the English ambassador, the duke asked me if your Serenity had arranged your league, as he was informed. I told him I had no information. He replied: I give you this good news as true.
Turin, the 16 March, 1615.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 17. Cl. VII. Cod. MXLIX. Bibl. S. Marco. Venice 699. Pietro Contarini Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Catholic ambassador has complained of the passage of many people who go to serve the Duke of Savoy. The king immediately issued a decree forbidding any subject upon his life to enter the pay of a foreign prince. The agent of His Highness, with all his efforts, has not been able to prevent the promulgation of this ordinance throughout the kingdom. He came to beg me to approach the ministers here in the duke's favour, and the ambassador of England told me that he had done so. I replied to both in general terms, without committing myself, but I would not seem to refuse the task and expressed to the agent in particular my readiness to serve His Highness so far as I might. I could not go further, as I did not know the wishes of your Excellencies.
Paris, the 17 March, 1615.
March 18. Senato, Secreta. Dispacoi, Milano. Venetian Archives. 700. Antonio Antelmi, Venetian Resident at Milan, to the Doge and Senate.
The secretary of the English ambassador has arrived post from Turin and gone straight to see the governor. He brings letters from his master, and tells him that the English ambassador has strongly urged the duke to peace, and learning that the difficulty in the way is giving certain satisfaction to the Catholic King, His Highness, at the instance of himself and the other ambassadors, had decided to give such satisfaction, so far as is consonant with the preservation of his own liberty, and had declared this to all the ambassadors together. He said that his master had thought fit to inform the governor of this. The governor said he would read the letter and send a reply. He said he did not understand why the ambassador had said nothing about it when he passed through. The secretary replied that the ambassadors at Turin were notified of this fact, but his master did not intend this as a matter of business because he did not know how far His Highness would go. This morning he received the governor's letter. This, after some complimentary phrases, says that he does not know the intentions of His Catholic Majesty and has no authority to negotiate, so that he cannot meet the ambassador's friendly advances. He told the secretary that they should apply to Spain, but he had his orders to execute and would enter the field as soon as the season allowed.
I heard afterwards that the governor received letters from the Most Christian Ambassador to the same effect.
The secretary also brought me letters from the Ambassador Zen, asking me to see the governor upon the same matter. I told him of the duke's declaration to the ambassadors. He said that he was greatly obliged for this confidential communication, and told me substantially what he had said in his letters to the English ambassador and verbally to his secretary.
Milan, the 18 March, 1615.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 701. Letter of Ranier Zen to the Resident.
Informs him of the arrival of the ambassador of Great Britain at Turin, of his efforts with the other ambassadors for peace, and of the duke's declaration to them all of his readiness to satisfy Spain. The English ambassador has sent letters upon this, and the ambassador desires the resident to inform the governor about it in the interests of peace.
Ranier Zen.
Turin, the 14 March, 1615.
March 18. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Mantova. Venetian Archives. 702. Antonio Maria Vincenti, Venetian Resident in Mantua, to the Doge and Senate.
The duke of Savoy has had a letter drawn up, apparently written by the Catholic king to the governor of Milan. In his he informs the governor of his designs against Savoy, England, the States and the Protestant Princes. This was communicated by the duke to the agent of England, in such a way that it caused him to believe in it completely, and after being much pressed the duke gave him a copy, which he sent to England. His Highness said he would keep the original to show to the king when occasion demanded.
It is feared that these proceedings of the duke will lead to greater difficulties.
Mantua, the 18 March, 1615.
March 20. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 703. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I told your Excellencies that the ambassador of Brandenburg, not having secured an audience of the king, had resolved to write to him. This reached the ears of the secretary, who begged him to wait until he had seen him, excusing the delay on account of the multitude of affairs. The ambassador agreed, and the secretary called upon him. He said that His Majesty had not given him audience owing to his numerous occupations, and because he had already made up his mind upon the affairs, so that he did not think it necessary. He added that if the Archduke does not make restitution within the time appointed by the king, levies will straightway be begun. The ambassador asked if he might write this, if they were words of committal. The Secretary replied that he promised it in the name and by express command of the king, and therefore the ambassador has reported this to the Elector.
The States have discovered a plot at Rees, Emmerich, Goch and Gennep to give them to the Spaniards and the same was to be done with the citadel of Cleves. The conspiracy was also aimed against the prince of Brandenburg, with the further purpose of closely besieging Juliers in the spring, but the whole has been discovered and twenty-six guilty persons arrested. The governor of Nimuegen has been in order to take measures against all dangers and to take note of the particulars. The States, for the same reason, have decided upon the fortifications of Rees and Emmerich, the first with six and the second with four bastions and they have fixed the 22nd inst. for the beginning of the work. They have also given instructions to throw into Juliers a very great quantity of provisions, so that it may be able to stand a long siege. The garrison of Wesel is constantly being reinforced so that it is thought there must be 4,000 soldiers and more there and in the surrounding forts. As the Dutch have no hope either of peace or of restitution, they are actively considering the question of war and are awaiting letters from Nurenberg announcing the resolution taken by the princes.
The Duke of Neuburg has gone to Germany to solicit assistance. The Archduke gave him 16,000 crowns for the journey and the Catholic king has assigned to him 2,000 crowns a month. He has left commissions at Brussels with full power, but with the clause that Cleves and Juliers shall not be dismantled in case of restitution, which is directly contrary to the treaty of Santen.
The United Provinces have decided to contribute 1,400,000 florins of their money for the war, equal to about 600,000 crowns. The Archduke, with the consent of the Elector of Cologne, has taken possession of the town of Munster in Westphalia. It is said that he intends to do the same with Bremen, which is a place of great importance, situated on the river Weser and well placed to hinder the passage of Dutch troops who might be destined for Germany. The Archduke Leopold has pretensions upon the bishopric there, which it is thought he wants to make good. The duke of Brunswick and the Landgrave of Hesse, as being the nearest, would be the most interested and injured. However, the people of Bremen are raising levies to defend themselves.
The States, by means of the ambassador of Sweden, have established a confederacy for fifteen years with that king for defence and offence against everyone, except the kings of France and Great Britain. There is one article which especially includes the defence of Lubeck, threatened by Denmark. The king of Sweden, with the approbation of all the States of his realm, has bound himself to assist the Dutch in all the wars which they may undertake, with 4,000 infantry within a term of three months after receiving notice. (fn. 1) I have all this from several letters, the last received from the Hague, of the 12th. Yesterday the ambassador of Brandenburg came and confirmed the matter of the conspiracy. He also briefly confirmed nearly all the things I have written, adding that Barnevelt has absolutely refused to accept the Archduke's article.
The Elector of Cologne has sent an ambassador to the States to complain that their cavalry is scouring his country and treating it as an enemy. I know that this has been done by the orders of Maurice and others of the government for the purpose of punishing the Elector, whom they consider as the source of all the trouble. The ambassador of Brandenburg is also informed that a letter written by the king to the Palatine and communicated by him to the Princes of the Union, has caused him considerable relief.
The ambassador of France at the Hague has promised in the name of the king that he will continue to pay for another year the two regiments of infantry and the two cornets of cavalry which are in that country, under the command of M. de Chátillon, a cavalier of great merit, to whom His Majesty has granted the title of general.
London, the 20 March, 1615.
March 20. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 704. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On the evening of the 13th arrived the courier previously sent by the king to Spain. He has letters of the 18th and he immediately went to His Majesty. He brings word that the marriages with France are thought to be put off until September, that the Commandeur Sillery has not yet had audience, but was to have one two days later; that a firm resolve is shown against Savoy. This is all that I have been able to discover up to the present.
On the 15th letters were sent by His Majesty to the Ambassador Carleton at Turin with what the ambassador of Spain said touching His Highness, at the audience, what the ambassador in Spain writes, the news sent by the Most Christian ambassador touching the passing of the duke of Mayenne (Umena), and what the king has written in all directions in the service of the duke. I am assured that they command him in addition to use every effort to obtain an agreement, and to assure him, if this proves impossible, of protection and the fulfilment of the promises made by means of the count of Scarnafes. The king's secretary has confirmed the truth of all that I have just written. His Majesty has written to the princes of France and those of the religion and says that he has left no stone unturned, he used these very words, so that in this pressing need the duke may be readily provided and effectively assisted. In speaking of Geneva he said that His Highness may obtain troops in that city as well as in Turin and that Lesdiguières will not fail.
The gentleman of the Duke of Rohan has presented the letters to the king and effected his commissions. Next week M. du Moulin (Molins) will be here, the chief minister of those of the religion in Paris. He comes with the leave of their Most Christian Majesties, nominally to treat with the king upon some points of theology; but I understand that the real cause of his coming is to assure His Majesty of the resolution of their churches to wait for a sign from him with regard to the prevention of the marriages with Spain by force, if they wish to effectuate them without delay. On his arrival I hope to obtain information and send word.
With regard to the affairs of France, the king has advices that if the marriages are postponed all will be well, but otherwise, it is very doubtful if peace is assured. With respect to the interests of Savoy, he could not possibly display a better disposition than he does. He is anxiously awaiting the arrival of the count of Scarnafes, who has left Paris, where he explained the peril of his master, and passed to Holland. He will be here soon. He has conferred with divers Princes in France with good results.
I have received your Serenity's letters of the 14th ult. with the decision to raise 3,000 Italian infantry, some companies of cuirassiers, and to make other provisions.
London, the 20 March, 1615.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 20. Cl. VII, Cod. MXLIX. Bibl. S. Marco. Venice. 705. Pietro Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Commandeur Sillery sends word that he has found the most favourable disposition with regard to the marriages and he was told that they were anxious to carry them out as soon as possible.
Paris, the 20 March, 1615.
March 21. Senato, Secreta, Dispacci. Roma. Venetian Archives. 706. Simon Contaeini, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
This evening I called on the Cardinal Delfino. After we had been together a short while the French ambassador arrived. I was about to leave but the ambassador detained me. He said, Matters are going badly, my king writes that he has just heard that the king of England is determined to help the Duke of Savoy, with all Germany. We can well see what destruction this will work in Italy, if it is overrun by English and German heretics. My king writes with great feeling. I said that I had received no news about the bursting of heretics into this province, whether English or others. The ambassador spoke with great emotion and I am sure that the French will take it very ill if the English interfere in these affairs, and will even consider it shameful and possibly even injurious to France, which desires peace, and nothing but turmoil in Christendom can result from this.
Rome, the 21st March, 1615.
March 21. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives. 707. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
After many hesitations the Emperor has decided to pass sentence upon the question of Cleves and Juliers. The deputies of all the claimants are here except Brandenburg, who remains firm in his refusal to submit to this judgment. To satisfy him the Emperor has offered to associate six princes of the Empire with himself for this, but he will not agree and proposes to associate with the king of England with other suggestions, not consonant with the Imperial dignity. Copy.
Vienna, the 21 March, 1615.
March 23. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 708. The Catholic Ambassador came into the Cabinet and left letters written by the Ambassador of England to the Governor of Milan, and the reply. The letters are as follows:—
In my passage through Milan I have been so much honoured that I shall remain under an eternal obligation. My master, the king of Great Britain, has directed me to come to these parts. The ministers of the other princes have brought about an almost exact balance between peace and war. Your authority, which has been so happily employed in other parts of Europe upon other occasions, may decide the scales for a peace which is so much desired by all. I was therefore much pleased to find your Excellency was not disinclined for peace, if it could be obtained with honour and reputation for your king. After I arrived in this court, and had observed your good will, both in public matters and towards this prince, so far as your duties to the king allowed, I thought it right to inform you of the disposition of this prince to give every satisfaction to this king in the interests of peace. As a proof of this, His Highness having heard that he rested under the imputation of not having given satisfaction upon a point of honour, considering the difference of the interested parties, immediately called together on the 13th inst. the ambassador of France, the ambassador of Venice, myself and the English resident here, and in the presence of us all declared his readiness to give every satisfaction in his power consonant with the liberty of an absolute prince, promising to effect this when the way has been opened to an accommodation. He charged us to inform our masters of this his purpose, and to make it public where we thought fit. I think that your Excellency will have learned from the other ambassadors present with what frankness His Highness made this declaration, professing his service and devotion to so great a king, but I thought it right to add my own particular attestation. I am ready to perform this office in person if your Excellency agrees, to treat upon this matter or others which may occur in this affair. I await your reply by my secretary, the bearer of these presents, who has been sent expressly.
From Turin, the 15 March, 1615.
The reply of the governor:
Your letter has caused me great satisfaction. Your Excellency puts two points to me, if my memory serves me right, one to assure me of the goodwill of the king of Great Britain towards my king, which is undoubted, the other is that you went to Turin by your master's orders in the interest and service of His Catholic Majesty. Now I hear from you of what took place at Turin on the 13th in the presence of the ambassadors. No other ambassador of those present has informed me of what took place, and I did not expect it, because I have told each of them more than once, the king has taken this affair out of my hands and is dealing with it by himself. I informed your Excellency of this when you were here, and I have no authority to give any reply other than what I say I have given to the other ambassadors.
From Milan, the 17 March, 1615.
On the dorse. Copy of the letter of Iniosa to Rodrigo (sic) Carleton, ambassador of England, in reply to his of the 15 March, 1615, to send to the Marquis of Bedmar.
When the letters had been read he said: I need only add that the ambassador speaks of the will of this duke to give satisfaction but says nothing about his king or of the office performed by the ambassador Zen. But I must inform your Serenity that some time ago His Majesty took the settlement of this affair upon himself, taking it out of the hands of the governor. But the duke is not following a right course. We have a speech made in his name to the States which contains many improper things.
March 24. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 709. Ranier Zen, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
The secretary of the English ambassador has returned and brings the reply that the governor's hands are tied and he must address himself to Spain. The Resident Antelmi also writes to tell me that he received practically the same reply to the office performed by him. The governor said that previously he had known the king's wishes, but that now he did not, though he believed that every sign of humility on the duke's part would be acceptable to His Majesty. When the secretary reached this city the English ambassador went straight to inform His Highness. On the following morning I did the same.
Turin, the 24 March, 1615.
March 24. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 710. Ranier Zen, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
The count of Verua showed my secretary a letter from Fresia announcing the arrival at that court of two couriers from Spain, one from the English ambassador in residence to his king, who also brought letters for the English ambassador in France, and speaking of the readiness of His Catholic Majesty to restore Wesel for which he had given repeated orders, but with all this there was little hope of peace. The other courier was sent by M. de Sillery to the Queen. Fresia had at once gone to audience; he was told that Sillery had not yet had audience, but the letters of the English ambassador expressly state that he had two very long audiences of His Catholic Majesty, and, so far as he could ascertain, with little result. He also relates that the Queen had tried to dissuade the duke of Mayenne from going to serve His Highness, but he asserts that he will take 6,000 foot and 2,000 horse. From England they say that they will be very careful not to give him any money before they have his promise to go in person, as if he did not go, the brother of the duke of Rohan and other princes would not fail to go and serve His Highness.
The duke and his ministers not only have the promises of 100,000l. sterling from England, equal to 400,000 ducats, but also the payment of 10,000 ducats on account for their troops from France and the permission to enlist troops in that kingdom for the duke's service, but I must say frankly that the English ambassador and the Resident before he came, have always been very reserved upon this matter and have never told me anything about it, and when I have said anything they have replied in general terms, that they were working for peace but we should see whenever the duke's needs required it. Yesterday his Excellency came to see me, assuming that these statements were true I artfully contrived to obtain some information from him. He said expressly that he did not know whether any sum of money had been paid or if it would be paid by his king and that as for levying troops, it would not be worth His Highness's while to do it for many reasons which he pointed out; his king has now no need to do any of these things, as the duke does not want them when he is simply negotiating for peace. I do not know whether this promise has actually been given or whether England wishes to keep it secret in her own interests.
Turin, the 24 March, 1615.
March 25. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Milano. Venetian Archives. 711. Antonio Antelmi, Venetian Resident at Milan, to the Doge and Senate.
Before the English secretary left here he came to see me and tell me of what he had done. He added that by the intercepted letters the intentions of the Spaniards were discovered, cloaked under the pretext of their own honour, and the duke had justified himself in the eyes of the world. He said that from the manner in which the governor spoke he understood that the Spaniards pretended they must be understood by His Highness without speaking, and were waiting for due signs of respect from him, with the power of asking for more still, as if he were their vassal. The duke was now so well disposed that if he was asked to send a son to Spain or to disarm he felt sure his ambassador could persuade him, but he did not know what might happen on the matter being referred to the Catholic court, owing to the length of time. He went on to say that although some argue that owing to the distance of Great Britain from this province, his king would not meddle with these affairs, yet history showed that he would not be the first king of England who had powerfully supported oppressed princes in Italy, though at that time Scotland and Ireland was not united with that crown, and it could not count on the devotion of the States or its close understanding with the Protestant princes. The king would do everything to introduce peace here, as this has always been his policy throughout Christendom, as witness the truce in Flanders, the case of Denmark and his activity in the matter of Cleves. But if this was not accepted by one who wished to suppress the liberty of others, we might be sure that His Majesty would stir his people to arms and move other stones.
I have heard from a sure source that this secretary made strong representations to the governor on behalf of the ambassador not to consign the Marquis of Caluz to Mantua. He was told that the Cardinal Duke was expecting him, and if he continued to ask he could not be refused. The Most Christian ambassador has written to the same purpose and expects more detailed orders from the queen. The secretary said that His Excellency would have no difficulty in dissuading the Cardinal Duke from making such a request. This did not diplease the governor.
Milan, the 25 March, 1615.
March 27. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra, Venetian Archives. 712. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Friday a person for the ambassador of the Archduke arrived from Brussels. He said he had brought him permission to leave. On the following day he received a courier sent post. After he had had a long conference with the ambassador of Spain, he went to the king on Monday morning. There are reports that His Highness had adopted the proposal of His Majesty to restore all the places occupied between now and the 15th prox.; that Don Luis de Velasco, the constable of Antwerp, and other Spaniards had opposed it, saying that the victory ought to be followed up, and pointing out the ease of the undertaking. I am also told that Spinola has asked the king's agent what reasons His Majesty has for interesting himself in the matter of Wesel, and the latter replied, the interests of the Elector Palatine, his son in law, and of the other Princes, his. allies. The Archduke is somewhat troubled by the gout, and it is thought that what the ambassador said to the king shows that he is disposed to make restitution, but with a clause for the purpose of gaining time and of laying the fault upon the States.
His Majesty will be here on Wednesday, (fn. 2) and please God I hope to inform your Excellencies of all that the ambassador said and the reply made to him. The ambassador of the States told me that his masters know quite well that Wesel will not be restored, that by Easter a great body of troops will have been collected, and about that time some blow will be struck. He used those very words. That they cannot accept the article because it is contrary to the treaty of Zanten, and if the archduke was not represented there, it was because he had no interests involved; nothing concerns him except to restore the places occupied as his masters are ready to do; that at Zanten the contents of that article were proposed by the chancellor of the duke of Neuburg and were rejected by all, so that it was fruitless to discuss it.
The governor of Guelders contrived the conspiracy of which I wrote, and was ready to carry it through. Prince Maurice and the M. de Barneveldt had knowledge of the affair six weeks ago, and immediately sent word to Charles Lambert, the governor, to be on his guard, and if the conspirators set about effecting their purpose, to detain them. This he did. The gates of Cleves and of Goch were closed for six days. Among those convicted is the referendary of the chancellor of Cleves.
The Archbishops of Mayence and Treves have had a conference with the Elector Palatine. He first told them that the Emperor was acting so that the treaty of Zanten might not be carried out, as it was contrary to the dignity of the Empire. The ambassador of Brandenburg is waiting until the 5th of next month has passed; he will then importune the king and not desist until some results appear. He told me yesterday that up to the present he had contented himself with moderate representations, but after that day he will be most importunate in his solicitations. His instructions from the Elector are very full, and he also has commissions from the States. In their conference the letters were first seen which he is writing to the Elector for more exact information and better action in concert, every little demonstration of hostility made occasionally by the king against Spain, and the Archduke, and all that will content the Elector and the States.
In speaking of the affairs of Cleves and Holland the Catholic ambassador said that he is awaiting a courier from Spain with the resolution, and that his king will come into his own again. The ambassador of the Archduke will leave soon and is asking for leave.
The colonels and captains of the States who are here have received orders to be back at their posts by the 10th prox. I wrote a week ago that their Most Christian Majesties have promised the Dutch to pay for this year also the 4,000 foot and 300 horse of France who are in their country. I now enclose a copy of the exposition made upon this in their assembly, with a translation.
London, the 27 March, 1615.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 713. Copy of the exposition of the French Ambassador to the States.
Returns thanks for congratulations to the king on attaining his majority. The king will assure them their peace and security, and in reply to their request will, in spite of the heavy expenses incurred of late, continue to maintain the French troops in their country for another year.
Pronounced on 10 February, 1615, in the assembly of the States General of the United Provinces of the Low Countries by me the undersigned ambassador of His Majesty.
Du Maurier.
714. Translation of the above.
March 27. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra, Venetian Archives. 715. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After I had written the preceding letter the Spanish ambassador came to fetch me from my house, and after we had taken a walk outside the city he was good enough to return with me. The substance of what he told me in a long and important conversation is that a firm resolution has been taken not to make restitution without the article and they will further do something for the dignity of the emperor, which he laid stress upon as a more important point. That the ambassador of the archduke had gone to the king with the resolution and had presented the reply to the letters written by His Majesty to the Archduke, and a document in which His Highness says that as a final resolution he will be ready to restore Wesel and the other places, provided that the Dutch do the same with Juliers and all the other places, binding themselves never to return again whatever may happen, to occupy those or any others in the country of Cleves; that in the same document he sets forth the reasons which move him to this, namely, his own inclination for peace, the instances of the Emperor for him to remove his troops from the places of the Empire and the orders of the Catholic king, his good lord and brother; that conditions have also been added to save the Imperial dignity with the declaration that if assent is not given, no further reply will be made, the Archduke having done everything that could be expected. In speaking of the part concerning the Emperor he said he did not know how they meant this, hinting that it will not please them, and seeming to feel sure that they would not consent to it. In that case the ambassador of the Archduke will take his departure and war would begin in a few days. He seemed to be awaiting with curiosity the reply which the king will make. He told me that the Duke of Saxony is entirely for the house of Austria, extolled the forces of the Catholic league and seemed to consider war in Germany as certain. That the Elector of Brandenburg had openly shown himself to be the enemy of the Empire, that the service of his king requires that his fleet should constitute the majority of vessels in the ocean and that the strait should be well secured: From the whole of his discourse I understood very well this decision for war, how far their thoughts are from accepting the treaty of Zanten and that Spinola's forces can be augmented easily and in a few days, so that it becomes more clear every hour that no restitution will be made on either side and there is every appearance of a great war in a little while.
London, the 27 March, 1615.
March 27. Consiglio di X. Criminale. Venetian Archives. 716. It is understood that there are public as well as private reasons which have induced Giulio Muscorno, secretary to the ambassador Foscarini, to ask for leave to return home. It is resolved that leave be granted to him, and that another individual be sent to England to take his place. The new secretary shall receive the same amount from the senate and this council for his outfit and travelling expenses as Muscorno received on his departure, and a similar sum shall be paid to Muscorno for the expenses of his journey home.
It is resolved that on the arrival of Muscorno in this city, he shall be immediately arrested by the Inquisitors of State, and examined concerning all the particulars contained in his letters of the 20th February last, now read, in order to act as may subsequently seem fit to this council.
Ayes 16.
Noes 0.
Neutral 0.
Covered by the preceding Document. 717. 1613, 23 March, in Pregadi.
That 302 ducats 3 lire be paid to Giulio Muscorno, secretary with Antonio Foscarini, ambassador in England, for his expenses on the journey from this city to that court, and 100 ducats as a donation.
In a letter from England of 8 February, 1613.
Account of expenses of Guilio Muscorno with a servant and baggage, on his journey to England.
By gondola to Fusina lire 3
By coach from Fusina to Milan Ducats 25
By food and drink Ducats 18
By coach from Milan to Turin Ducats 15
By food Ducats 8
By four horses from Turin to Liscenae, guide and baggage Ducats 36
By food Ducats 22
By crossing the Mont Cenis and Gabelletta at Marone Ducats 8
By four horses from Lyons to Paris Ducats 60
By food and drink for eleven days Ducats 21
By coach from Paris to Calais Ducats 30
By food and drink Ducats 15
By crossing the sea, embarking and disembarking Ducats 10
By horses from Dover to London Ducats 24
By food and drink Ducats 10
Ducats 302 lire 3
March 27. Consiglio di X. Criminale. Venetian Archives. 718. To the Ambassador in England.
Leave for Giulio Muscorno, his secretary, to return home at his pleasure, owing to the state of his family affairs as represented by his father. This leave is granted notwithstanding the refusal of the Council made on 13 January last to the ambassador's request made to them on 15 December preceding to grant such leave.
Ayes 16.
Noes 0.
Neutral 0.
March 27. Inquisitori di Stato. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 719. Pellegrini, Secretary to the Council of Ten, to Giulio Muscorno.
Your solicitations and domestic necessities have induced the Council to grant you leave to come home. Your masters, especially Barbarigo, exerted themselves to obtain this. I congratulate you and send you a copy of the letters of the Council sent to the ambassador granting this leave.
Venice, the 27 March, 1615.
Order was given to the Secretary Pellegrini to write the foregoing letter which was read immediately to the Council of Ten.
March 28. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Roma. Venetian Archives. 720. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
I have had audience of the pope and represented to him how the duke of Savoy had expressed his readiness to give every satisfaction to the king of Spain, but the hard reply of the governor of Milan promised fresh difficulties. Your Excellencies had done everything for peace and begged His Holiness to use his authority for the same purpose. The pope said he had heard about the duke's assembly, and about the king of England; he had not heard of the governor's reply, but it was nothing new. He went on to make complaints about the Duke of Savoy. I thought fit to point out that the duke was in a position to offer a stout resistance, backed as he is by the king of England, all the Protestant princes of Germany, Holland, Lesdiguières and other French princes. The pope replied, True, the matter is very involved, but we do not know what else to do.
Rome, the 28 March, 1615.
March 31. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 721. The ambassador of France came into the Cabinet and, after reading an extract from a letter of the Commandeur de Sillery of the 14 March, 1615, he went on to say:
With regard to submitting differences to the judgment of the emperor, the duke's reluctance in this is only reasonable, seeing that the pope himself would not be a judge in it, being notoriously a good, quiet man who would not willingly embrace occasions for dispute. Thus Clement, at the time of the peace of Vervins, would not arbitrate upon the dispute about the marquisate of Saluzzo between the late king and the duke of Savoy, although there was such a disparity of power, so that it was necessary to arrange the exchange of Bresse for that marquisate. Other princes cannot interest themselves in this because my king is cousin to the duke of Mantua and the queen is his aunt, so that it is not credible that they would desire a decision against the Cardinal. The king of Spain is already the open enemy of the duke of Savoy and the king of England is a long way off, and for various reasons he cannot be a judge in this affair. In Italy, since this republic has hitherto protected and maintained the Cardinal Duke it is not credible that the duke of Savoy should submit to her judgment, upon which account the Cardinal is very devoted to your Serenity.
March 31. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni Venetian Archives. 722. Instructions to Nadal Donà, appointed Captain in the Gulf.
If you meet with armed ships which have belonged to pirates, you shall treat them as pirates.
If in the gulf or near our islands, you meet with western vessels, sent by their princes or ministers on their service, if they have patents or commissions from their superiors, and you hear nothing of any harm done by them to our places, ships or subjects, or to Turkish ships or subjects, you shall allow them to go free, treating them as friends, but if you find that they have done harm to the ships or subjects of ourselves or the Turks, about our islands, they must be surrendered, and the ships and men kept with all their property, of which an inventory shall be made, and sent to us so that we may decide upon what is to be done. If they resist, you shall in like manner keep the ships and men with their property, after they are captured, making an inventory and forwarding as before.
You will see what was written on 24 September and 15 October, 1605, with regard to the observation (obedientia), which must be made by English ships in future, in accordance with the arrangements made with that crown. We send you a copy so that you may be able to execute the wishes of the Senate.
Ayes 147.
Noes 0.
Neutral 0.
March 31. Cl. VII. Cod. MXLIX. Bibl. S Marco. Venice. 723. Pietro Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The other day an individual sent by the Bernese went to the ambassadors of England and Holland. He informed them that the Duke of Savoy was continually pressing his masters to join a league with him, and various other proposals. As they were not far from concluding a favourable agreement they did not know what they might expect from the duke, and therefore reserved their judgment. He was immediately sent back to say that they thought that the duke was acting in good faith, simply in order to obtain help against the Spaniards.
Count John of Nassau has passed this way on his return to Holland, leaving reports that he is going to ask for help from the States. He also said that he brought money to levy 2,000 foot and 500 horse of the best seasoned troops of those parts, intending to send them to the duke through Germany.
Last week the king's sister gave a masque, which proved a most brilliant function. It constituted practically a triumph upon her marriage, allusions being made to her journey in the music and ceremonies. All the ambassadors were invited, but owing to difficulties of precedence only the Nuncio, Spain and I attended.
Paris, 31 March, 1615.
March 31. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 724. Ranier Zen, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
In the audience the duke told me that the Nuncio had been to ask him on behalf of the pope to send the Cardinal to Spain; His Holiness had replied saying that he also might write to represent the willingness of His Highness to give greater satisfaction, referring the matter to the two interested princes, and excluding your Serenity and England. He said that he would send the Cardinal to Spain, but only when the affair is completed. His Highness asked me what I thought of this exclusion of the republic and England. I said the judgment must come from Venice, it was enough for me to advise His Highness from time to time when he asked me. I also said that the republic desired peace for him. His Highness replied I do not want these powers to have a hand because I do not trust either of them. I prefer the king of England and the republic, who will support my cause. I cannot rely upon the republic alone because if the pope and the king settled upon anything it would avail little if the republic should differ. So far as I can see I must continue to arm and to postpone disarming, and as the Spaniards see me armed and capable of attacking them they will confine themselves to questions of duty. He said that he had done his share by publishing his willingness to give greater satisfaction. He hinted that he ought to take the opinion of the ambassadors upon this so that he might include England. If it comes to referring the matter to arbitration England cannot possibly be included together with the Pope, and in order to avoid this he had published his intentions to all the ambassadors so that he might receive their opinion.
The English ambassador expressed the same idea to me when he came to see me yesterday evening, so I conclude that it has been arranged between them. The nuncio does not seem averse from this form of negotiation, by what he said to me.
Turin, the last day of March, 1615.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 31. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Savoia. Venetian Archives. 725. Ranier Zen, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
The secretary of the English ambassador left yesterday by post for England. He is the one who went recently to Milan and he is going in order to inform the king of the true state of affairs, and of the operations of the ambassador up to the present. The latter will not leave, as reported, before the secretary returns with the reply.
Scarnafes will also set out for the same kingdom in two days. It is thought that he is going to solicit assistance there. In this connection the ambassador told me yesterday that he is sending his secretary for the purpose mentioned above, and he thought Scarnafes was going to ask for help. He did not know that the king had given any particular promises, because he had been sent here unexpectedly to treat for peace; from what he heard here the assistance in money and men had been promised to Scarnafes when he left that court. He assured me of the will of his king to assist the duke in case of need so that he might not be deprived of his state, but he thought it superflous to send help while the negotiations were at their height. If the duke is really attacked he will certainly be assisted, not only by the king, but by the Low Countries and the Princes of Germany, but they only wish to help him when it is necessary for his defence. His Highness is strong enough to defend himself from a first attack by the Spaniards, but if there was a real rupture, help would not be wanting.
I asked him if Scarnafes will really raise the troops offered and if ships will come from that kingdom as they say here. He replied that Count John of Nassau has orders to send twelve ships from the Low Countries bringing the 4,000 infantry mentioned, while he will come by land with the horse. The troops will be used for the defence of the coast of the duke's dominions, and the ships will go towards Villafranca to defend that port and prevent any troops being landed by the Spanish galleys. That no armed vessels are coming from England and he did not believe that any were coming. With regard to the troops the duke now seems more anxious to have them, as he thinks their coming will add to their prestige. He went on to say: If the king sees the duke really in need, I believe he will satisfy him, but I know that he will do so unwillingly by sending troops to Italy, and for this reason; he desires the peace of this province and is unwilling, by sending troops, to be thought to be fomenting these disturbances. As for the present negotiations, I exhorted the ambassador to continue to work in concert with me, as he has done hitherto, to persuade the duke to peace and to agree to give satisfaction to the Spaniards, as he can do without endangering his liberty. He said I shall not advise the duke to do other than arm, because I should not like to be responsible for any harm that might come to him, and because I fear that the Spaniards propose, in concert with the French, to invade his dominions. It is better for the sake of peace that they should see him armed.
The other day I saw the French ambassador and exhorted him to use his great influence to find some means to avoid the imminent peril of war. He said: If the Spaniards entered Montferrat the duke said he would enter also. I replied that if he did I would take away the French. He said that they could not attack the places at present because there was no forage in the country, they may invade and sack some open place, but if the duke goes on he will come off badly. Your Excellencies will see how this minister delivers himself. He has spoken to England to the same effect. Here the duke and his ministers cannot bear him and he is most unpopular with everybody.
Turin, the last day of March, 1615.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]


  • 1. The treaty was made at the Hague on 5 April. 1614. and ratified on 11 December of the same year. See Dumont, Corps Diplomatique, ed. 1728, Vol. V. pt. i. p. 245.
  • 2. The king did not actually arrive till Saturday, the 3rd April. Nichols: Progresses of James I., iii, p. 76.