Venice: April 1615, 1-15

Pages 397-414

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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April 1615, 1–15

April 2. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Grisoni. Venetian Archives. 726. Gregorio Barbarigo, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary to the Swiss and Grisons, to the Doge and Senate.
The Bernese have sent an ambassador to the Elector Palatine and the marquis of Baden to discover the intentions of the United Princes. They have also written to the Ambassador Carleton in order to learn exactly what the king of Great Britain means to do; and they have sent a gentleman to France to take note of the opinions of the ministers of England, Brandenburg, the States and others about an alliance between them and the duke of Savoy and to learn the opinion of the duke of Bouillon and the other princes, as they have little confidence in the court of France since these marriages and the great influence of the Spaniards there.
They told me that they had forbidden the passage of all troops of war through their territory, whether for Spain or Savoy, but they had not been so strict in carrying out this as regards Savoy.
Zurich, the 2nd April, 1615.
April 3. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 727. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The ambassador of Spain, in speaking of the governor of Milan, told me that he is no good either for peace or for war; that he might have avoided putting his king in a difficult situation and he afterwards proved incapable of doing anything worthy of note with the great forces at his command; that they speak of replacing him by the Duke of Parma. That the Duke of Infantado would be well fitted and above all the count of Benevento, formerly Viceroy of Naples. In speaking of the Ambassador Carleton who has gone to Turin to arrange a peace he showed that he expected no better result from his negotiations than from those of Savelli and Rambouillet, which proved fruitless. He hinted that the king here and His Majesty of France ought not to claim any authority in Italy with which they have nothing to do; that this treaty of agreement rather touched the pope and your Serenity, but that it ought to originate with Spain. If war followed he assured me that his king would not deprive the duke of his state in favour of his own sons. He seemed to be generally desirous of the peace of Italy, considering it advantageous and in conclusion he said that whether an agreement be made or no, war will continue in Germany. He seemed to believe that the duke would make but little resistance, and that Cleves will constitute the most important point, upon which it was necessary to think and work. This agrees with what he has already said to others, that his king wishes to be obeyed in Italy and to recover his own in Germany, and thus the mind of the Spaniards seems to be made clear.
As for the duke of Savoy, from what he has declared several times to His Majesty, and I have discovered the same from the conversation of his Ministers, he is resolved, if he cannot have peace with safety and honour, to put everything to the hazard, as I have written before. The hopes of His Highness are founded upon the situation of his country, so well adapted for receiving troops from France, the Swiss, Germans and Valesiani. He thinks himself well secured at his back by the friendship of Lesdiguières and the promises received from him to assure him from every danger on that side, aid him with all assistance and leave the pass open; that owing to the prolonged wars his subjects are for the most part skilful in bearing arms; in the fertility of Piedmont, which contributes, as it has done this year and will continue so long as need be, two per cent. on the harvests and supplies everything necessary for provisioning a considerable army for a great part of the year; in the friendship of the Valesiani, who use the corn of Piedmont and are bound to him by their own interests and by alliance; in the promises of divers princes in France and in those of the religion of that kingdom; on the powerful diversion for the forces of Spain which he hopes will be created by the States and in Cleves, in the promises of the king here, of the United Provinces and the Protestant Princes of Germany to assist him. He hopes that France and the princes of Italy will not in the last resort allow Spain to augment by his fall. He obtains a million of gold yearly from his state, including the new and extraordinary taxes, and with a like amount which reaches him from other sources, he will be able, as he writes to the king, to maintain his state in safety and the liberty of Italy uncontaminated. He says that Spain, since the departure of the Moors, is so denuded of population that it will take a long time to enlist a moderate number of infantry. The troops of Naples he considers as unfit, at least for the first year; in the state of Milan he has dependents and excellent intelligence, and finally he will rely upon himself in his character of prince and captain.
I have from time to time reported to your Excellencies what the king has declared his intentions to be and what he has promised to Scarnafes and told to me and to others, as well as the negotiations of the Duke with the States. The day before yesterday His Majesty's secretary added that the payment of 100,000 crowns will be made immediately to the Duke of Mayenne, and this will be done without further discussion; that it is well-known that the duke of Savoy would have been ruined without the protection of the king of Great Britain; that these 100,000 crowns are all that His Highness asked should be paid to Mayenne, that he desires no more and with the money which he will receive from another source he will pass to the service of the Duke with 6,000 foot and 1,000 horse notwithstanding the prohibitions. That the Ambassador Carleton has received many favours in all the towns of your Serenity, and was well received at Milan, the Governor having previously been in England and preserved a pleasant memory of it; that on his arrival at Turin the Duke gave him the warmest welcome; that the Illustrious Zen had been to see him and holds the same instructions; that he has been once to see His Highness, who seemed vigorous, and from what he reports there is not much hope of an agreement. He concluded by saying that the king is coming and will give me all particulars of passing events.
The ambassador of the States told me that his masters will assist Savoy not only by a diversion but with some succour.
The ambassador of Brandenburg said that his Elector would be very ready to resist the forces of Spain with his own, with those of the States the United Princes and the king, which will afford great help to Savoy. He pointed out to me that it would be most necessary to keep a body of troops in Low Germany to prevent the passage and resist the troops which the Catholic King would bring across from Italy. The advantage would be the same and even greater, as while the duke is maintaining himself this can be done from a distance.
I acknowledge the receipt of the letters of your Excellencies of the 4th ult. containing the efforts used for peace, the sending of a courier to Spain and asking how the king is acting here in reply to the requests of the duke and in fulfilment of his own promises.
The day before yesterday the Secretary of France told me that in letters of instruction from Paris of the 23rd he heard that the duke of Lerma had complained bitterly to the Commandeur de Sillery, that the Frenchmen were continually passing to the assistance of the Duke of Savoy; that he has constantly received assistance from that quarter, without which he could not have offered a long resistance; that his king certainly desired the peace of Italy, but that he was by no means willing that the duke should continue any longer so intimate with His Majesty. If he does not humble himself 30,000 men will be ready at Milan to compel him and give him punishment. I asked him what France would do in such case; he replied that they would negotiate to procure peace, and if all these efforts proved vain they certainly would not allow the duke to be exterminated.
London, the 3 April, 1615.
April 3. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 728. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The ambassador of the Archduke had audience of the king on Wednesday the 25th ult. He presented to His Majesty the letter and document of His Highness, which is substantially what the Spanish ambassador told me. In the letter he thanks the king, says that he feels sure that all the differences of Cleves will soon be happily settled; that he cannot speak more clearly than he does, that for his part he did not and will not begin war and that in order to facilitate the agreement he has made a copy of the promise which he proposes to present to His Majesty's agent. He enclosed another copy and hopes that it is so expressed that it will allow no opening for scruples or difficulties. He leaves his ambassador to say the rest. The document is practically in the form of letters patent and begins with a preamble saying Be it known to all etc. that it is the will of His Imperial Majesty to deliver from war the countries of Juliers, Cleves, Bergh, the Mark, Ravensberg and Ravenstein, and as the States have promised to withdraw the troops without taking any place in the future, he is ready, in conformity with his previous declarations to withdraw the troops of the Catholic King, his worthy brother, and his own from all the places. The document contains two points: one the usual difficulty about not returning to take any place, except in case of open war, the other that the Archduke proposes to remove the troops of Spain and his own by virture of the Imperial will and promise and not by virtue of the treaty of Santen, which is in direct contradiction to the Imperial authority, and in the last clause the king here, the king of France, the Princes and the States bind themselves to carry it out; even against the wishes of the emperor. The ambassador said that it was necessary to preserve the dignity of Cæsar, and for the rest Wesel and the other places shall be immediately restored; this will be done in good faith; that the Archduke has sent a copy of the promise to the Dutch, that he is sure they will accept it and that he cannot do more.
The king replied in very clear terms that the States will never consent; that the Archduke deceives himself if he thinks so; that he himself had expended more labour than the thing was worth, that all the same he had awaited their reply and resolution although he soon knew quite well what they would be; he complained that Spain had promised to execute the treaty of Santen without any additions, and now she was acting in quite a contrary sense. He concluded in a few words that he would speak about it no more. The ambassador therefore sent a courier post to Brussels with this affair.
The ambassadors of the States and of the Elector of Brandenburg told me clearly that they would on no account accept such a document. They made complaints and the ambassador of Brandenburg said with more temper that the king in his last had sent to the Archduke an addition to his formula without saying a word; he said that if the Archduke had accepted it, Holland would have found herself in difficulties, because she would not easily have consented. The king having returned to London to-day they will begin to importune him. His Majesty's secretary told me that the States certainly will not accept, and the king, after having done the utmost for peace will reply to the Archduke in an urgent manner. I enclose copies of the letter and document sent by His Highness to the king with the addition of His Majesty, and translations. The letter of the king to the Archduke written on the 4 February is very reasonable. At the end he is somewhat pressing. The letter of the agent was a commission to fix the 5th inst. for restitution, as he did and as I reported. The same agent writes that Préaux (Preos), the ambassador of France, had proposed an addition somewhat similar to that of the king; that he had received three replies, the first inept, the second insufficient and the third delusory, of which he had finally sent an account to the king his master. The Archduke has taken possession of Syburgh and put a garrison there; it is on this side of the frontiers of Bergh; this has taken place by intelligence of the Duke of Neuburg with the abbot, its lord. It was previously a part of the duchy of Juliers, and is a place of some account both for its own sake and because of its situation.
The General Cecil (Sicel) left on the third day for the Hague, as have done all the captains and officers in the pay of the States.
Yesterday at 8 o'clock in the morning there arrived Rivas, the courier from Spain, with letters for the Catholic ambassador. He left only two hours later. He said that he had letters for Brussels, that he had come here first in accordance with his instructions, which bade him continue his journey without delay.
London, the 3 April, 1615.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 729. Promises of His Highness.
Albert etc. to all etc. It is the Imperial will to deliver the country of Juliers, Cleves, Bergh, the Mark, Ravensberg and Ravenstein from troops of war. The United Provinces have promised to withdraw their troops and never to return, we therefore promise to withdraw all the troops dependent upon the Catholic King or ourselves from all the places occupied by the Marquis Spinola including Wesel on the of of this year evacuating the country entirely by the end of the month, and also that such troops shall not re-enter in the future under any pretext whatsoever. This promise to be of none effect if these countries are involved in a new war, in which case both parties may do what they see fit.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 730. Translation of the above.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 731. The addition and limitation of the King of Great Britain.
That the States promise to take no towns or places in the said country for the future under any pretext whatsoever, provided that no other party make any invasion or rupture in that country or upon any of the confederates and friends of the States; in such case they may help their friends and confederates and it shall not be accounted a rupture of the promise.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 732. Translation of the above.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 733. The Archduke's letter to the King.
Your Majesty's letter of the 4th ult. shows your great concern for the re-establishment of peace in the country of the late duke of Juliers. I hope this result will be attained, especially as my last communication to your Majesty is more than sufficient to dissipate all the clouds which have delayed a settlement. I can add nothing further to that declaration, but in order to facilitate an accommodation I have sent your agent a copy and enclose another of a declaration which I am prepared to sign in return for a reciprocal promise from the States. I commit the rest of this affair to M. Ferdinand Boischot, my councillor with your Majesty.
At Brussels, the 13 March, 1615.
Your Majesty's most affectionate brother and cousin,
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 734. Translation of the above.
April 3. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni, Venetian Archives. 735. To the Ambassador in England.
The Ambassador Barbarigo in negotiating with the deputies of the Cantons of Zurich and Berne upon the question of an alliance, drew up certain articles which have since been approved by both parties, and he has consequently received instructions to carry these into effect, and to enlist militia there and some companies from the Grisons for the security of our state in the present troubles of Italy and to test the reality of the agreement.
(1. We instruct you to inform His Majesty of this as a sign of confidence so that he may know the present situation of the negotiations in which he has so frequently interposed his courteous offices, for which we are much indebted to him.)
With regard to the affairs of Savoy there is nothing to say except that the Duke, at the instance of the Ambassadors accredited to him has decided upon a congress of those ambassadors and expresses his willingness to show a fitting respect for his Catholic Majesty, though he asks what will be accepted and will suffice to bring peace. When this was told to the governor of Milan he excused himself, saying simply that his hands were tied by the royal commands, that His Majesty was conducting this affair himself and it was necessary to go straight to Spain.
(2. From Spain the Ambassador Morosini writes in letters of the 14th ult. that in reply to the representations made by him to the king and ministers in accordance with his instructions, he had been told, by the Duke of Lerma in particular that His Majesty would abandon all idea of humiliating the Duke and only asked him to disarm, saying that if he consented everything would be settled.)
At the same time the Ambassador of the Most Christian King here says that the reply to the Commandeur Sillery, Ambassador Extraordinary in Spain, was that his Catholic Majesty forgives the Duke everything upon condition that the differences with Mantua shall be submitted to the Emperor, and that His Highness must disarm, not in appearance but effectively, so that there may be no doubt whether he will take up arms again. The ambassador said that the Duke could disarm with safety and honour, as the Catholic and Most Christian Kings would pledge their word that he should not be attacked.
(3. We must add, however, that the Commandeur Sillery, in speaking to the Ambassador Morosini in Spain, said nothing to him about the pledge of the Most Christian King for the safety of the Duke.)
Active preparations for war continue on every hand, and as the season will soon be fit for campaigning, there is more fear of a breach than hope of an agreement. We send all this for your information only, so that if any one speaks to you about these things you may reply as the occasion and our service demand.
The like to Germany, saying between the first brackets, for your information only.
The like to Spain, saying the same at the first brackets, and between the second, we have received yours of the 14th ult.
The like to France, saying between the first brackets, for your information only, and adding: We have instructed the Ambassador Barbarigo to go to Glairon if he sees fit, and treat there, raising two bands and suggesting a union. We have also sent him letters for the three leagues to facilitate the levying of the bands and to treat for a league if things seem favourable.
Ayes 161.
Noes 0.
Neutral 3.
April 4. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Roma. Venetian Archives. 736. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The French ambassador has been to see me. He said he understood that the duke of Savoy was in ill odour with the pope, who therefore might not trouble about his difficulties. He asked me if it was true that the republic and the king of England had the duke's promise to humble himself before Spain, a report current here. He said this in such a way as to show his fear that the Most Christian King might be excluded from the conclusion of this affair, in which the French are aggrieved, and the pope most highly offended at the intervention of the English king. I simply replied that the duke was ready for satisfaction to the king of Spain, saving only his liberty. I said that it would now appear whether the Spaniards spoke the truth when they said they desired the peace of Italy. He said he feared war, Rambouillet had flattered the duke and had mismanaged the whole affair.
The Marquis of Urfé has called upon me. He said, if the negotiations take a peaceful turn, the matter will reduce itself to the selection of arbiters. The duke will choose for his side the king of England and your Serenity. The choice of England would be regarded very unfavourably here. He told me that the marriages are postponed to September; as the winter follows, the delay might be longer and further accidents might intervene.
Rome, the 4 April, 1615.
April 7. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 737. Ranier Zen, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
I have had audience of the duke. He spoke about the marriages between France and Spain, and said that the queen thought of nothing else. The Jesuits had endeavoured to prevent troops from entering his service and have said publicly in their pulpits that all those who go are excommunicate, as it is contrary to the good of Christendom. They have done the same very secretly in this city, being incited by the French ambassador. They have even gone so far as to tell the archbishop of this city and to say in the house of the Marchioness of San Germano that soon the whole of the country will become heretical, since the duke inclines that way and the English ambassador has come on purpose in the name of the king to promise assistance in money and men. He said, I am a Catholic and the religion of my house is well known. He spoke with great emotion. In conclusion he told me that Fresia had met with great difficulties in his request for troops at the French court, owing to the opposition of all the ambassadors except the English. He said he did not wonder at the pope and Spain, but was amazed at the attitude of the ambassador of the republic, as it is against the interests of the liberty of this province.
Turin, the 7 April, 1615.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 7. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 738. Ranier Zen, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
I have succeeded in discovering the intentions of the ambassadors with regard to keeping with the court and following His Highness to the camp. England will follow and has to-day sent carriages to fetch his wife whom he has sent away, either to go to Venice or to come here, as he cannot leave. He told me that he would go wherever he was commanded. France has declared that he will remain at Turin wherever the duke may go. The nuncio said he would go wherever the duke commands, and I have said the same, but the duke will not send for anyone before he has established his camp. The English ambassador informed me that His Highness had told him so.
The duke invited the English ambassador to dine with him in the park, and afterwards they hunted, obtaining a bag of fourteen deer. His Highness shows himself every day outside the city and displays the greatest courage in the present troubles.
The English ambassador has begged me to recommend to your Serenity a favour which he has asked for the Furieti of Bergamo, asking that his wife may be allowed to carry that good news to Bergamo.
Turin, the 7 April, 1615.
April 7. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 739. Ranier Zen, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
The duke has asked the nuncio to put in writing his request in the pope's name to send the Cardinal to Spain, so that he may answer in writing. The nuncio has done this but has not yet received a reply. I do not know why the duke has asked for this in writing. Prior Isidore told me that it was because the nuncio speaks now one way and now another and they wanted something definite, but from what the duke has said I believe he wished to discover if this came from the Spaniards; I think also that he wishes to show that the idea did not come from himself but at the request of the princes. However he delays and acts with great secrecy, and I believe he has also done this out of respect for the English ambassador, who recently took it into his head that negotiations were on foot and peace near while he knew nothing about it; upon this he was reassured by the duke.
I must inform your Excellencies that although rumours of peace are circulating in the city, those who know are aware that they issue from the house of the French ambassador. His Highness appears to be moving slowly in his preparations for war, though he is ready enough in giving orders. He has made a great show, but little money has been spent. A short while ago the English ambassador said to Scaramelli that he was amazed at the slowness of the duke in arming, seeing that the Spaniards were more numerous, and he did not know why Scarnafes had not been sent off, as he was already commissioned to go and ask for help from England. He believed that at bottom the duke thought peace was certain. He said that he was quite dumbfounded at this way of negotiating, as one day they said one thing and the next another, and with all his reflection he could make nothing of it, as it seemed to him these things are the most confused that ever a man had been involved in in any court of the world. He asked me what I thought of it.
With regard to England, although to all appearance he is working for peace I believe that owing to the interests of Germany and of the Count Palatine they would rather see fighting here far away from their own state, to divert it from those parts, than expose themselves to manifest danger by making peace. I remember what the Marquis of Urfé told me, that this ambassador had said to him that he had asked Venice to urge the duke not to disarm, or to wait until an agreement could be made with the States simultaneously. However, outwardly they advise peace and I pretend to believe it, although I know that they urge the duke to arm, as I wrote in my last. I take neither the one side nor the other, in order that I may not commit myself. But it has always seemed to me that the Spaniards and the French are in accord, and I wrote from Vercelli that they might certainly desire peace, but on two conditions, that they alone should be the arbiters of these arrangements in Italy, and that they should unite to humiliate the duke.
Turin, the 7 April, 1615.
April 8. Consiglio X. Parti Secrete. Venetian Archives. 740. That in execution of the decree of this council of 27 March last, Zuanne Rizzardo, notary in ordinary to the Chancery, be sent as secretary to our ambassador in England, Foscarini; that he be despatched forthwith and that our Inquisitors of State do give him all such information as they shall deem suited to the matter on account of which principally leave has been given to Giulio Muscorno to return to this city.
Ayes 14.
Noes 0.
Neutral 1.
Owing to his relationship the Councillor Giovanni Battista Foscarini was expelled.
The Councillor Foscarini swore not to say that he had been expelled.
April 8. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Milano. Venetian Archives. 741. Antonio Antelmi, Venetian Resident at Milan, to the Doge and Senate.
The royal ministers at Novara have inflicted some insult upon Lord Roos (Roz), a distinguished Englishman, nephew of the late Earl of Salisbury. In order to palliate this, the governor invited him to come here and would have received and honoured him at the palace. However, he took another way home to England in great wrath.
Milan, the 8 April, 1615.
April 9. Cl. VII. Cod. MXLIX. Bibl. S. Marco, Venice. 742. Pietro Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I have seen Bouillon and thanked him for his good offices with the Bernese, which had helped in the conclusion of the league with the republic. He expressed his gratification and added that he had also written to the Grisons in the interests of your Serenity. He did not conceal that those of the religion here were using their good offices with that nation, and when the individual was sent from the Bernese to the ambassadors of England and Holland to ask their opinion about the duke of Savoy, as I wrote, they also asked for the advice of the Huguenots, who counselled them to make an alliance with His Highness as soon as possible. In conjunction with the ambassadors they had written to the Grisons advising them to make an alliance with the republic on the arrival of the Ambassador Barbarigo which would prove beneficial not only to them but to all those who distrusted the Spanish monarchy. He went on to speak about the duke of Savoy, and said that the king of England promised to assist him, the States of Holland, if not prevented by their own necessities, would lend him troops; the Swiss had declared in his favour and if your Excellencies lent him a hand, not by open force but by supplying money, it would be sufficient to preserve him and compel the French to come to his defence, as the majority believe this to be in the king's interests. All those of the religion and all Catholics who are good Frenchmen, except the few who have become Spaniards, are of the same mind, being led by the example of other princes and by the persuasion of those who are already well disposed.
Paris, the 9th April, 1615.
April 10. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 743. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Monday morning I had audience of the king. He told me that his ambassador in Spain advised him in letters received shortly before, that the Catholic king will show a disposition in favour of peace in Italy, if Savoy will make some sort of apology, but that this was not easy to believe. Suspicions are increased by the daily augmentation of the forces of that king, who will now have nearly 40,000 armed men in Italy; that the same ambassador advised him that in Spain they were very suspicious that a fleet was going to Villafranca to succour the duke, and for this reason they have strengthened their own. He said this with an appearance of satisfaction at such a mark of respect. He added that if the duke had been near, he would have assisted him very strongly, but as it is, he will not fail. That the duke of Mayenne has removed from the court of France to pass with succours to His Highness, and the queen makes a pretence not to know it; that he has promised his ambassador to go there, and that duke alone counts for all the house of Lorraine; that the duke of Guise is not doing what he ought and seems unlike himself; that France is altogether Hispanified; that the refusal of permission to allow troops to pass in favour of Savoy is a policy which he does not understand, but this is no marvel, since there is a man there who maintains the opinion that kings may be deposed and this is tolerated in that realm (che la Francia è del tutto Spagnolizata; che la prohibition di passar gente a favor di Savoia è una politica che non intende; ma non se ne maravigliare, poichè vi è chi sostenta per buona la dottrina che possano i Re esser diposti, e si tolera in quel regno); he enlarged upon this; that he is anxiously awaiting news from his ambassador at Turin; that he will work for peace is certain and he who does not desire an accommodation is a disturber of the peace of Italy and of the world, and on this account he is most determined to help the duke of Savoy, that he will not fail him, and he considers it certain that your Excellencies will unite with him upon such a good work; that as for the 100,000 crowns, the order has already been given and the money will be paid when required; that in a few days he will have letters from the ambassador Carleton with some essential matter, and he will also hear from France, and if the hopes for peace come to naught it will be necessary to decide to act in close unison with a perfect understanding together. He repeated that on his part he is determined not to fail the duke and considers it settled that your Excellencies will move jointly with him. He said that the extent of the Spanish armaments was calculated to make war, perhaps in more than one place, and rendered it advisable to stand forewarned.
I remarked that the special weal of Italy consisted in peace, for which His Majesty is now working, and, please God, successfully. He replied that your Excellencies perceive his intentions as regards peace, and God knows how much he desires it, there and everywhere else, that his actions show this on every occasion. If it cannot be obtained, he offers to your Serenity the liberty to take from these realms arms, men and ships with every other thing at your pleasure; that in a few days he will send letters informing your Serenity about the 100,000 crowns destined for Savoy, and also that he will afford yet greater assistance and will confirm these offers.
When he told me that if he had been near to the duke he would have given powerful assistance, I recognised that he meant to convey that he would have done so by allowing his subjects to pass over and arm in his favour, that would have been enough. He asked me how the princes of Italy are moving. He said that it touches them nearly to assist Savoy; he spoke in particular of Florence, and expressed a wish to see some enthusiasm for the common safety. He concluded by saying that he is expecting the Count of Scarnafes. I thanked His Majesty on behalf of your Excellencies for his efforts in the cause of peace, and his care for their service, and so took leave.
On Tuesday the Spanish ambassador told me that he has a courier from Milan with letters of the 23rd ult., a copy of a document of the 17th from the ambassador of the king here at Turin to the governor, in which he tells him that the duke is the most devoted servant of His Catholic Majesty and of his Excellency also; that they will see what he can do since he will be ready; that the governor's letter in reply says that his hands are tied. He expressed displeasure at such a reply. He told me that the governor also sent him a copy of a document sent by him to Spain, in which he excuses himself and promises great things with much bravado. He went on to make disparaging remarks about the governor, and concluded by saying that it would be to the advantage of his king to make peace in Italy on every account. I seized the opportunity to dwell upon the advantages of peace for his king, using suitable arguments.
London, the 10 April, 1615.
April 10. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 744. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In speaking of the affairs of Cleves the king told me that while the king of Spain promises to make restitution without any document, carrying out the treaty of Santen, the archduke insists more strongly than ever upon requiring the signature of the States to what he first suggested, and now he wants something more as well. He seemed to think that this might in a great measure result from the offices of the Imperial ambassador at Brussels, who, he says, is throwing everything into confusion by claiming among other things that due respect shall be afforded to the Imperial dignity. He seemed to have doubts about the restitution, even if the States accept the document of His Highness; that for his part he thinks more of the restitution than of the words; that in France, Spain and the archduke have spoken to the same purpose; that they knew better here than to rely upon their words and promises; that he has written to the Dutch that the ambassador of the archduke is leaving very shortly; that his own ambassador would unite with the ambassador of France to learn their final wishes and to make a decision.
The archduke sent to the States his document upon the manner of restoring the places, as his ambassador informed the king that he would do. The ambassadors of the two kings have spoken with Maurice and Barneveld, and afterwards made proposals at the meeting of the States. The ambassador of France decided that they should accept the archduke's document; the advantage of obtaining Wesel and the other places again will be immediate, and the disadvantages involved in the form of words are in the future and uncertain. The king's ambassador was of the same opinion, both being agreed upon the essentials. I am advised from a sure source that the States will never depart from the treaty of Santen, they desire it to be carried into effect, and this has been firmly resolved. I also know in addition that they have deliberated what reply they should make to the ambassadors of the two kings, and upon a document which they think of printing and publishing on their own account. This reply states that the ambassadors having made various representations upon the method of restitution, and during the month of February and the following month two proposals were made by the archduke and two additions, one by France and the other by the king of Great Britain, that they should agree to withdraw their troops from the places occupied upon condition that at the same time Spain and the archduke will also withdraw theirs, never to return upon any other name or pretext except in case of open war or that invasion of these countries is made against their friends and confederates, declaring in addition that all this is not to prejudice the agreement of Santen, which they wish to be observed, without departing from it in any particular. The document goes on to say that they are content to withdraw their troops, and they continue with a part of the archduke's very words, adding the clause suggested by the king and concluding that this is in conformity with the reply made to the ambassadors, to whom they wish the promise to be made, and the whole to remain secret until it is carried out. This seems to remove every hope of peace, because first they refuse the clause about saving the Imperial dignity; then they desire the king's clause which the archduke has already refused, and, what is most important of all, the observance of the treaty of Santen with which His Highness will have nothing to do. The ambassador of the archduke told me that if the Dutch desire peace they must make a clear and explicit promise, and say in four or five words that they will withdraw their troops and will never return to Cleves, Juliers, and the dependent provinces, to occupy places, except in case of open war; that to say declared instead of open war, as the king desires, is not sufficient, because now it is not customary to declare war, as used formerly to be done, but war is begun by taking places; that to speak of invasion is not sufficient, because an invasion may be used of a rabble of some twenty soldiers, he ended by saying that it was necessary to accept the very words proposed by His Highness, and that with regard to the treaty of Santen, His Highness did not mean to have anything to do with it.
London, the 10 April, 1615.
745. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Whilst the negotiations are proceeding with little hope of success, as your Excellencies are aware, confirmation has come of the news about the attempted surprise of the places which the Spaniards were to have made, as I reported. The guilty parties have confessed everything. The king also has heard everything in letters from his ambassador in Holland. The capture of Syburg is certain, and the ambassador of Brandenburg has told me that three companies of his master's infantry, backed by a great body of levies of the country had taken possession of the town, and when the Spaniards had sallied out of the citadel they had compelled them to return with some losses. The ambassador of the Archduke confirmed the truth of the above, adding that subsequently the citadel had been relieved by the troops of Spinola who routed and dispersed the troops of Brandenburg to the number of 2,000, and took the town. The Spanish ambassador spoke to me to the same effect, adding that this town will be fortified, and he seemed to think it chiefly valuable on account of its position.
The prince of Brandenburg writes to the ambassador of the Elector here that some companies of Spaniards had taken up quarters in the country of Ravensberg, from which he expelled them by force, and he was going to send a greater number of troops into the archducal territory. He commands him to urge the king to take a decision and not to return without. The council of that prince writes very urgently to that ambassador to speak to His Majesty. He addressed him with great moderation the day before yesterday at Hampton Court, where he had audience.
I hear in letters from the Hague of the 21st ult. that raids are allowed to take place freely on all sides and they fight obstinately for the booty. The assembly of the States of Holland has separated and the matters there decided are being carried into effect as necessity requires. At Nurenberg they have decided upon an expenditure sufficient to arm 18,000 foot and 5,000 horse for the common defence of the United Princes, and each of them is providing for his own security; this will be done for the most part with the people of the country. The Elector Palatine will send here the Count of Schomberg or the Lord of Plessen to give an account of this, which concerns the interests of the United Princes. The king, in speaking of them, said that the archduke had promised His Majesty that he would not attack them; that the promise was certainly made verbally to his agent, but with a good form of words. The Spanish ambassador in speaking of this told me that His Majesty had pressed His Highness to tell him if he knew whether there was any idea or plan to attack those princes; he replied that he knew of none. The duke of Neuburg has had some quarrel with his brothers and with his mother in his state. He wished to open his father's will, and on account of religion there is a danger of some reversion to his subjects; Leopold, made canon of Cologne and Liège, is going to live there, and he has certainly taken the canonry with a greater object in view. He aspires to the bishopric of Munster, as I reported, and it is thought that the Elector of Cologne has already promised to elect him as coadjutor. This affects Brandenburg and the States adversely for they know him to be a vivacious prince with great ambitions, so that they do not want him as a neighbour.
I have letters from Brussels of the 30th ult. with the news that Leopold had been there three days and had very frequently been with the archduke Albert. He afterwards went on to Liège. They confirm the report that he aspires to be the coadjutor of the Elector of Cologne, that at the instance of the duke of Bavaria, his brother, who is without heirs, he agrees to take a wife. He is treating with a sister of Leopold, who in such case would be Elector in his stead.
London, the 10 April, 1615.
Postscript.—Molins has arrived, the principal minister of the Huguenots at Paris, as I wrote that he would. He is with the king.
April 11. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Roma. Venetian Archives. 746. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The ambassador of France has had letters from Rambouillet with news that the duke of Savoy had asked the ambassadors of England and your Serenity to treat with the governor of Milan, and had not asked the nuncio. Rambouillet objected to this as if the pope's honour were at stake. All this goes to show how much the French dislike the intervention of the king of England in their affairs.
Rome, the 11th April, 1615.
April 13. Consiglio di X. Parti Comuni. Venetian Archives. 747. To the Ambassador Foscarini in England.
Notification that Giovanni Rizzardo has been chosen to succeed Giulio Muscorno as his secretary.
Ayes 15.
Noes 0.
Neutral 0.
April 15. Consiglio di X. Notatorio. Venetian Archives. 748. Order to Zacharia Sagredo, chamberlain of this Council, to pay 200 ducats to Giovanni Rizzardo, destined as secretary with the Ambassador Foscarini in England, to put his affairs in order, and 300 crowns 2 lire for all his expenses on the journey, which is the same sum as was granted by the Senate to his predecessor.
Dated on 15 April, 1615.
April 15. Consiglio di X. Capi, Lettere. Venetian Archives. 749. Letters patent directing the representatives and subjects of the republic and requesting the friends to render every assistance and favour to Giovanni Rizzardo, bearer of their presents, on his voyage to England, whither he is being sent to act as secretary to our ambassador with the king of Great Britain.
April 14. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni, Venetian Archives. 750. To the Ambassador in France.
You replied prudently and in accordance with our wishes to the Fresia, the agent of Savoy, when he asked you to assist the levy of French troops for the service of His Highness. As the duke, by means of our ambassador Zen has shown some feeling because our offices were not in conformity with those of the ambassador of England, but even contrary, as he said, we have decided to write to our said ambassador at Turin what you will see by the enclosed copy, which will show you our intentions, namely to continue as before to work for peace and an accommodation, abstaining from anything which might lead other parties to interpret our action otherwise.
Ayes 158.
Noes 0.
Neutral 1.
April 14. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni, Venetian Archives. 751. To the Ambassador at Turin.
We believe that the information sent by the Agent Fresia to the duke has given His Highness an entirely wrong impression of our action. We are as anxious for his safety and tranquillity as for our own, and our ambassador would never take part in anything prejudicial to his interests but is ready to help on everything that will favour the affairs of His Highness. We ask you to represent this to the duke, not as a justification of the ambassador Contarini, who needs none, but that he may know the truth.
Ayes 158.
Noes 0.
Neutral 1.
April 14. Cl. VII. Cod. MXLIX. Bibl. S. Marco, Venice. 752. Pietro Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
No resolution has yet been taken upon the reports brought back by Sillery from Spain. With regard to the marriages, although they say at court that they are certain to be carried out soon and although Sillery asserts that the Catholic king is quite willing, yet the preparations made show that they are not sure whether there may not be fresh delays. The provision for the journey, although not postponed, is not being energetically carried on.
The Archduke having named the emperor in the form of agreement which he sent on the 31st ult., the States on the other hand wish to include their confederates in it, out of consideration for England, to secure the Prince Palatine, his son-in-law. Thus the treaty is being altered and there is some doubt whether all will end well.
Paris, the 14 April, 1615.
April 14. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 753. Ranier Zen, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
The count of Scarnafes has shown me a letter of the Cardinal Borghese written in the pope's name in which he suggests disarmament, but no longer as a humiliation before the Spaniards, with a promise not to attack Mantua, submitting the differences to the emperor. He urges the duke to accept this and promises to write immediately to Spain. Scarnafes read me the first part of the letter which states that all the ministers of princes of Spain considered this reply reasonable. He pointed out that there was no security that His Highness should not be attacked if he disarmed, not even a promise to that effect from His Holiness or France or others. He said that the duke begged me to go soon and give him my opinion. He performed the same office either before or after with the English ambassador.
Turin, the 14 April, 1615.
April 14. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 754. Ranier Zen, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
Mons. Isidore and the count of Verua have been to see me and in speaking of the proposals by which I mentioned in my other letter, they said it would be very prejudicial for the duke to accept; they asked me to represent the whole to your Serenity, pointing out that for the duke to disarm in this way would be harmful to his dominions and perilous to your Serenity, by removing a counterpoise to the Spaniards. They said that the prince, the English ambassador and all of them had come to the conclusion that this was not the reply of Spain, but that it had been drawn up at Rome by Italian ministers with the consent of the pope, as a counterblast to the declaration made by the duke at Milan, and now they see that their evil intentions are discovered they no longer pretend to want to humiliate the duke, but simply to disarm him.
Yesterday evening I went to see the nuncio. He told me that he had received the fluke's reply to the request which he had been asked to put in writing, but that it was not signed. I asked him whether, if the duke accepted the proposals made to him, His Holiness had authority to accept or if it would be necessary to write to Spain. He replied that he could not say. He said he wished the duke had made a more definite reply. With regard to his safety he could get any prince to accept the word of the Spaniards not to attack him, and once they had given their promise they would certainly keep it. If His Highness had requested him to ask the pope he would have written, and he can negotiate with the others, including England. His Highness could get as many princes as he liked to guarantee his safety, and the pope would offer no objection. I came to the conclusion that the ministers here take advantage of the assistance which they say they have from France, England and Germany and also from your Serenity if matters go further, to inflame the duke. When the nuncio asked me about this, I said that I knew that your preparations were for the defence of your dominions.
Turin, the 14 April, 1615.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 14. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 755. Ranier Zen, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
When I had certain news of the departure of the princes, I asked for an audience to wish them a happy journey. All the other ambassadors have done the same to day. I wished them safety and a long and honourable peace. The count of Verua came to see me afterwards and proposed to confide to my keeping the prince's jewels. I excused myself as I did not wish to involve the republic in this affair. They afterwards found another way with the help of the English ambassador, but not by letter, for the sake of safety.
From Turin, the 14 April, 1615.
[Italian; deciphered.]
April 15. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 756. Ranier Zen, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
Scarnafes has left for England. He is going to France to act until the ambassadors Moreta and Pescina arrive. This sudden despatch of Scarnafes to England gives rise to the belief that the duke is sending to tell the king of his decision to fight, or at least to say that he is now in the field against the Spaniards, in order to urge him to give the promised assistance.
Turin, the 15 April, 1615.