Venice: May 1615, 1-15

Pages 427-440

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 13, 1613-1615. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1907.

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


May 1615, 1–15

May 2. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Roma. Venetian Archives. 778. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador of France came to tell the pope that Rambouillet wrote from Turin stating that the duke was bent on war; that four English galleons had arrived and others were expected to chase the Spaniards from the seas about Nice, and the governor of Aix in Provence was scrupulously executing the queen's orders and not allowing the duke to obtain a single man from that district. The pope began to laugh and said that the French were going in great numbers to the duke, who spread these reports about help from England to assist his cause. I remarked that it was true that His Highness had again sent Scarnafes to the king there. The pope said Yes, and he has also sent two ambassadors to France. I took the opportunity of pointing out the peril of Italy.
Rome, the 2nd May, 1615.
May 2. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Grisoni. Venetian Archives. 779. Gregorio Barbarigo, Venetian Ambassador Extraordinary to the Swiss and Grisons, to the Doge and Senate.
The messengers sent by the Bernese have returned from France and Germany. The United Princes asked them to grant a passage to the troops sent to help the duke of Savoy. They said they could not let an army through but they might allow a certain number of men to pass, say about 6,000 infantry. From France they hear of the readiness of many princes to help him. In their negotiations they have had close relations with the ambassadors of England and the States. There was some discussion with these that the princes, the king of Great Britain and the States should interpose to bring about the friendship which ought to exist between Savoy and Berne, and they also spoke about securing the intervention of your Serenity.
Coire, the 2 May, 1615.
May 3. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 780. Ranier Zen, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
The ambassadress of England has arrived at this city. It is said that she is going home to her native land, but she will not leave unless the ambassador does also. She has visited the princes and is greatly honoured by the ladies of this court. I also went to call upon her and pay the necessary compliments, and the French ambassador called afterwards.
The English ambassador has had audience of the Cardinal. So far as I can discover he went to tell him of a reply received from the Bernese upon the negotiations for an accommodation with the prince here. The deputies are to meet at St. Maurice in the Valais, now neutral, as they would not assemble at Ton on, in the State of Savoy, as His Highness desired. It is said that the agreement is nearly settled and they will give the duke 4,000 men during the war, paid by themselves.
Turin, the 3rd May, 1615.
May 4. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 781. Ranier Zen, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
The count of Verua has returned from Asti. After he had visited the Cardinal he called on the English ambassador and afterwards came to see me. He told me among other things that His Highness was expecting the assistance promised to him, and in addition to his natural inclination for war he was also engaged with other princes, and that it was hardly in his power to make peace.
From conversation with the princes and with the ministers here I gather that they will not consent to a peace which provides for the complete disarming of both armies. But the Spaniards will not agree, because, as I have frequently written, the two crowns are united to keep the Spanish army on foot and to disarm the duke, in order to facilitate the marriages and to remove a temptation from the malcontent princes of France.
Turin, the 4th May, 1615.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 4. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Milano. Venetian Archives. 782. Antonio Antelmi, Venetian Resident at Milan, to the Doge and Senate.
Some say that the duke of Savoy, in order to induce your Excellencies to assist him has proposed that you shall wait a month to see the issue of events, how much he can effect with his own forces and what help will actually come from England, Holland and elsewhere, so that you may be able to decide better.
Alessandria, the 4 May, 1615.
May 5. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 783. Ranier Zen, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador has been to see me. He told me that he had sent an account to the king by his secretary of his arrival at the court and his negotiations with all the ambassadors, and especially of the confidence and friendship chosen by the ambassador of your Serenity. To-day he has received a reply from His Majesty expressing satisfaction and his indebtedness to your Serenity for the treatment of his ambassador. He also expressed his dissatisfaction at the attitude adopted by the French ambassador, especially in the matter of writing to Milan. The ambassador added that His Majesty directed him to treat with me in complete confidence. Finally he produced various letters, saying that they had come from the Courts of England and France and he wished to show them and read them to me if I understood the language. In this way, between reading and speaking, he told me that he learns from France that Gueffier only brings forward three points, absolute disarmament, except such garrisons as were maintained by the duke's father, not to attack Mantua, and to refer the differences to the emperor, and that when the duke has disarmed the Spaniards will withdraw their troops from the duke's frontiers, the queen promising that he shall not be attacked. The ambassador dwelt upon the defects of these proposals, to which he is certain that the duke will not consent, from what the Count of Verua said to him, who had been to ask his advice. He had told him frankly that he advised peace and disarmament, but in unison because no other way was safe. Although at other times he had told me that he did not know about the king's help, he now says that the promised money is ready, and a part is in France. With regard to the men he went on to tell me that if the duke desired them the king would comply, but unwillingly, and he thought he would not for several reasons. He told me that in the country he had accidentally fallen in with the gentleman of the duke of Mayenne. The latter, when he saw him, dismounted, took him into his carriage and told him that he was commissioned by the duke and the princes to inform His Highness of the articles to be proposed by Gueffier. If His Highness thinks them safe and honourable, Mayenne will cease his operations, but if not, he and others will come with assistance, and this gentleman has come for no other purpose than to learn the duke's decision. The ambassador asked me what I thought and advised. I replied that with regard to what the duke had said I would report the whole to your Serenity and await your decision. The ambassador insisted that the only safe way was for both forces to disarm together and the Spaniards would be forced to comply if they were addressed strongly and in unison, because it would be ridiculous to give offence to Italy and all the world upon a simple point of procedure, in wishing to remain armed when they have blamed the duke for wishing the same thing. If they are spoken to resolutely they will certainly yield, but the representations must be backed by force and resolute. They must be frankly told that it is not reasonable to keep all the world under arms upon the mere pride of being first or last, that they must disarm like other princes and as they themselves have done at other times. I asked whether he thought we should have peace or war. He said peace, when the Spaniards make up their minds to disarm together with the duke. When I objected that as so many people were coming over to help the duke this would compel him to make war, he said, no, because although many French will come, and one of the princes, Mayenne almost certainly, yet if the Spaniards disarm they will do the same because all they want is that the duke's army shall equal that of the Spaniards.
I thought well to incite him towards peace, saying that it would immortalise his prince and himself. If after the pope and the French had failed to reconcile these princes his prudent negotiations should succeed in obtaining peace, Italy would remember it for ever. I would not fail to assist in such a worthy task. He seemed attracted by this prospect of glory and said he would work with me as much as possible, but there was certainly no other way than disarming together, and it was also safest for your Serenity and it was not necessary to have the promise of any prince. With this we parted.
Turin, the 5th May, 1615.
May 6. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives 784. Ranier Zen, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
Gueffier has arrived and has been to see me. He told me he had orders from the queen to communicate everything to me and to work in concert to persuade the duke to peace. He is to do the same with England also. Directly he had gone the count of Verua arrived, greatly perturbed. He told me that he had been to see the ambassador. He had insisted that the duke should disarm. The count replied that this was impossible while an army was in his dominions and His Highness would never accept peace without security for himself and all Italy. The duke relies on God, the justice of his cause, his arms and his valour. The count told me that he would never disarm except at the same time as the Spaniards, and he thought this would be considered reasonable by the king of England and your Serenity. He considers it wise to put himself in a posture of defence and by the representations made by himself and England in France and Spain to show that he desires peace and not war in Italy, where they are keeping everything in suspense because of their marriages. He said that the queen proposes to disarm the duke and to keep on foot the Spanish army. The princes and the parliament beg His Highness not to disarm. Commandeur Sillery had promised the Spaniards that if the States did not accept the peace upon the question of Juliers, the queen would break off the league with them and with the Protestant princes in favour of Spain. Verua added that the peace of Flanders must certainly go hand in hand with the settlement of Italy. He said that the queen had made great offers to Lesdiguières to induce him to get the duke to disarm. Verua is to go and see him to keep him true, and as Lesdiguières is an able man of great experience it will be sufficient to show him the strength of the duke, backed as he is by England and the States, and possessing a good understanding with the republic. He said other things, and advanced the same considerations as the ambassador of England. As I have already written these I need not repeat them.
Turin, the 6 May, 1615.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 7. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Candia. Rettori ed Altri. Venetian Archives. 785. The Rectors of Candia to the Doge and Senate.
The English ship Gionata arrived in this port on the 5th inst. and landed the bishop of Ceneda. He left the galleys on account of the length of the voyage and because he was anxious to begin his duties.
Candia, the 7 May, 1615.
May 7. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 786. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Whilst they are anxiously awaiting the count of Scarnafes here and he does not appear, they say that His Majesty could not have done more for a brother than he has done for the duke of Savoy up to the present, with the determination to go on. They say that when the count left, the king, perceiving the duke's need, declared that he would secure a good peace for him and if he did not succeed he would assist him jointly with the States with 400,000 crowns a year for the war, and obtain 200,000 crowns for him from the United Princes; and this would suffice for the maintenance of 12,000 infantry, or little less. That he gave permission to take from these realms men, arms, ships and everything else; that on the arrival of the count and His Majesty's agent at Turin, they sent to the ambassador with your Excellencies, that in conformity with orders received before he should go immediately to the duke, and as a step towards peace they sent to the governor of Milan the offers of the duke to give every satisfaction to the Catholic king that could be given by a free prince, and as soon as that governor had shut out all hope of negotiation for peace by saying that his hands were bound and that the orders from Spain must be carried out, the ambassador sent his secretary post here, who represented the state of affairs to the king, remarked that it was necessary to afford assistance to the duke, and transmitted the urgent request of His Highness to cause the duke of Mayenne (Humena) to be paid immediately to effect the levies of the 6,000 foot and 1,000 horse. That His Majesty made the payment without delay, and remitted the money to his ambassador in France to be transmitted to the duke of Mayenne in conformity with the wishes of Savoy; that the other 100,000 crowns are ready to His Highness's call and if he had replied his pleasure would have been followed as with the other matter; that the States have already paid some money to count John of Nassau for the levying of six companies of horse to be enlisted on their frontiers in the country of the Landgrave of Hesse and of count John William of Nassau, and they will do more; that the United Princes are well disposed on their part; that with regard to the ships to sail under the duke's flag, they need the patents of His Highness, which the count of Scarnafes ought to bring with him.
The secretary of the ambassador in Spain brings word that on the 25th July the betrothals with France will take place at Burgos, and in September the betrothed will go to be married. That the ambassador had made representations to the Catholic king and the duke of Lerma to let the duke of Savoy have peace. He had performed the same office several times with all the other ambassadors. He sent the reply obtained.
Two days later a courier arrived for the ambassador of Spain, who brought the same things, and an extraordinary subvention for the ambassador of several thousand crowns, with a letter from his king praising and thanking him.
The ambassador in France reports that the king of Spain means the duke of Savoy to disarm entirely and that he shall not retain bigger garrisons in his fortresses than the duke his father did, that he must promise not to attack the Duke of Mantua, and refer the disputes to the emperor. That the queen had sent M. de Gueffier to the Marquis of Rambouillet with the orders which your Excellencies have heard long since. The king's secretary, who told me this as well as a good part of the things which I write, remarked that to compel the duke of Savoy to retain in garrison no more than the number of troops which his father kept is an unjust pretension which will give offence to the king, who will not allow free princes to be outraged or his friends oppressed. That advices have come from the Ambassador Edmondes in France with the receipt for the bills of exchange, remitted by way of Rouen; that the duke of Mayenne (Humena) after passing to Soissons is asking that the levies may be hastened on, in spite of the rumours of peace; that he has sent his lieutenant to Turin, that the agent of the duke at Paris asserts that his master will not accept such unjust conditions and would rather fling himself upon fortune.
The ambassador of the States told me yesterday the same things which I wrote a week ago about the intentions of his masters towards the duke. I am doing my utmost to discover what is said and to find out what is thought in these very important affairs, in order to forward reports upon them to your Excellencies.
The king's secretary has informed me that in conformity with the commands of His Majesty he has written to the Grisons to assist towards a favourable issue in the confederacy with your Serenity. I thanked him in a suitable manner.
From London, the 7 May, 1615.
May 7. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 787. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After writing the preceding letter I hear that last night a person sent post from Turin by the Ambassador Carleton had arrived here. He brings letters of the 24 and 25th ult. with news that the duke has taken the field, and that the count of Scarnafes has set out. This time His Highness has confided to him a quantity of jewels in order that he may raise money on them at Lyons or at Paris, with which he will be able to pay his troops. They are awaiting his arrival here to hear what he asks and requires, so that they may be able to decide what to do. Meanwhile the king's secretary has sent letters in reply to the Ambassador Carleton and has written to the Ambassador Edmondes at Paris to assist the Senator Pescina, whom the duke has sent to that court. The same secretary has shown in the copy of a letter written by the king to the Grisons to further the league of your Serenity. He said that the letter had already been sent. I enclose a copy herewith. I have also obtained confirmation of what I write.
From London, the 7 May, 1615.
Postscript.—The secretary arrived from Spain brings, in addition to what I reported, that the duke of Lerma has told the king's ambassador that the Catholic king is a kinsman of Savoy and will treat him with humanity, and he begs the king here not to assist him.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 788. Letters of King James to the Cantons of the Confederation of the Grisons.
We have heard with great satisfaction of the league recently concluded between the Venetian republic and the principal Swiss cities, which we recognise as a guarantee of public liberty. While we praise the prudent action of Zurich and Berne, we exhort you to imitate their excellent example. It would be an action praised by all Christian princes except those who look upon the public liberty with prejudiced and malicious eyes. The addition as a middle term of the alliance of the Grisons with the friendship between Venice and the Swiss would be most beneficial, so that by this triple bond your own and the general safety may be rendered secure from all violence of enemies and all underhand contriving, while it will be a great glory to your republic to be allied with so noble a body.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 789. Translation of the above.
May 7. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 790. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
In my letters of the 23rd ult. I said that the ambassador of the States had audience of the king a few days before. I now add what His Majesty then said to him. He said that it was necessary that the reply made by his masters should be retained, and in the document to be signed on their part mention should be made of the emperor, but they should say, in conformity with the promises made to His Majesty and the Most Christian King; they should promise to remove their troops from Juliers and the other places, and in this way the treaty of Zanten would be entirely preserved. He afterwards observed that in one document the archduke declares that he will not attack the friendly and united princes, and he makes the promise to His Majesty and the Most Christian King, that they ought not to mind putting in the document the two controversial phrases, as the States might consider the matter as of little importance after the promise which was given not to attack the princes and the word of His Highness to promise in a letter what is desired in the document.
His Majesty also sent a courier post to the Ambassador Wotton, who spoke to the States in conformity on the 22nd. On the 25th he received the reply that they will accept His Majesty's advice, in the assurance that both he and the king of France desire the treaty of Zanten to be carried out, and that if the archduke delays to make restitution he will be compelled to do so by their Majesties. I enclose a copy of this reply with a translation.
The ambassador of the archduke in the audience which he had on the day preceding my last letter presented to the king a letter from the archduke in reply to the one of His Majesty written at Newmarket. He says clearly that the States must sign the document proposed, and that there is no other way to an agreement; that he had made the same reply to some other propositions of the king of France. No reply has yet arrived to what the king recently proposed to the same ambassador. With His Majesty he pretends that he thinks it certain to be adopted, but to others he speaks doubtfully. Here and in the country of the States they seem to have little hope of the restoration of Wesel and the reply is awaited with curiosity.
Both the archduke and the States continue to fortify the places occupied, especially Wesel, Rees and Emmerich. Maurice has gone to Hernen, only two leagues from Cleves, to take part in the meeting of the estates of Guelders, which began the day before yesterday.
The prince of Brandenburg has received a good sum of money, sent to him by the Elector, his father, to pay his troops and increase their number.
With the arrival of a caravel with news, I hear that the Dutch fleet in the East Indies has beaten the Spanish in several encounters, and they are soon expecting very rich ships from those parts. I hear this in letters of the 29th and 30th ult.
From London, the 7 May, 1615.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 791. Reply of the States.
Upon the proposition advanced by the king of Great Britain on the 22nd of this month by Sir Henry Wotton, his ambassador, the States General of the Low Countries, after consultation with M. du Maurier, ambassador of France, reply firstly that they thank His Majesty for his care for the public weal, and as they feel sure that their Majesties are resolved to see the treaty of Xanten carried out so that they will use their royal authority to that effect if the king of Spain, the archdukes or others desire to prolong matters further, they agree to accept His Majesty's suggestion to omit the word outside and to add the word manifest, without prejudice to the treaty or their resolution of 27 March last.
Given at the Hague in the assembly of the States General, the 25 April, 1615.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 792. Translation of the above.
May 8. Senato Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 793. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
This morning the count of Scarnafes arrived here. He made the journey in twenty days, three of which he stayed at Lyons to raise money on the jewels given to him by His Highness. As he did not succeed in this, he sent back a part to the duke by a gentleman, and went on to Paris with the others. There he found the money ready which had been sent by the king to his ambassador and ascertained about the orders given for the levies who are mostly on the march. He then came on to this court where he is to stay as ambassador in ordinary. To-day he is to see the king's secretary, to whom he sent immediately, and to-morrow he will go to His Majesty. This is all I have discovered in so short a time. By the ordinary I hope to send a complete account of his interview and of his instructions.
From London, the 8 May, 1615.
Postscript.—At this moment I hear that a gentleman has arrived from the Marquis of Bonnivet, and has gone to the king.
May 11. Senato Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 794. Ranier Zen, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
The ambassador of France has been to see me, after visiting the Cardinal, the Nuncio and England, but he gave no particulars to me or to any of the others, he only said that the queen had summoned all the ambassadors resident at that court and had communicated the conditions to them; they were accepted by all and they promised that the princes would join with her to induce the duke to accept them. He assumed that I had been informed of all by our ambassador and that I must have special orders from your Serenity to persuade the duke to accept the French proposals. I told him that I had heard nothing. He said that in three or four days I should certainly receive instructions.
He performed exactly the same office with the ambassador of England.
Turin, the 11 May, 1615.
May 14. Senato, Deliberazioni, Secreta. Venetian Archives. 795. To the Ambassador in France.
From the letters to Savoy and our replies to the ambassadors of France and His Highness you will understand the present state of affairs in those parts. We now direct you to go to His Most Christian Majesty and speak to him in conformity with what we have said to M. de Leon, so that he may understand that our sole motives are the general good and the peace and liberty of Italy, in whose preservation His Majesty is greatly interested. In case you are asked by the ambassador of England or the ministers of Savoy to join with them in making representations, you must abstain from this and treat separately, telling them that it is better for the duke's service that such offices should be free from all passion, but that we wish every good thing for His Highness and the preservation of his state.
Ayes 174.
Noes 0.
Neutral 0.
May 14. Senato, Deliberazioni, Secreta. Venetian Archives. 796. To the Ambassador in England.
We send you a copy of what we have written to Savoy and to France and of the replies given to certain officers of the ambassadors of those princes, from which you will learn the present state of affairs in Italy, so that in case of need you may reply and speak in conformity with our intentions. [But because we understand from your letters what care His Majesty takes for the preservation of the liberty and peace of this province and with what effect he makes known this disposition, we direct you to thank him at the first opportunity for the confidence displayed by his ambassador towards ours at Turin and assure him that he cannot exert his authority and prudence in any matter which will bring him more praise or glory than this or in which he will better earn the universal gratitude. We therefore feel sure that God will prosper his designs and we wish him every success. You will not depart from this general office, as His Majesty must be excellently informed of the affairs of Piedmont by his ambassador, and you will only use the information to reply to anything said and not otherwise.]
The like to Spain, except the part between brackets.
Ayes 174.
Noes 0.
Neutral 0.
May 12. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 797. Ranier Zen, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
On Saturday evening the French ambassador arrived at Valfenera, a place five miles from Asti, and at five o'clock in the evening the duke arrived there also. The ambassador had audience on the following morning, at which the agent of England, Mr. Albert Morton, was present. He had gone to Asti on the preceding day to take leave of His Highness before returning home, as the air here does not suit him and he has been sick nearly all the time since his arrival. The French ambassador returned to this city on Sunday when he at once wrote off to France; when he was free he was visited by the nuncio, by England and myself. He told me of what he had said to the duke and how his queen had promised, if he was attacked by the Spaniards, to defend him with all the forces of the kingdom, and that this resolution had been communicated to Spain and to all the ambassadors. He said that if the duke desired the promises of other princes, the queen would be pleased if he obtained them, but if others would not she would promise alone. He told me that he had spoken to His Highness while the agent of England was standing a little way off. The duke asked him if he would object to his calling the agent to take part, the ambassador agreed, and the duke called the agent and told him the exact words which the ambassador had said to him and the reply given. This amazed him, and he said: Signor Ambassador, this is not what your Excellency told me and what I replied. He asked, as the matter was very important, that it might be put in writing. The ambassador refused, and when His Highness insisted he directed Gueffier, who was present, to say what Crotti had declared and written. However, neither the ambassador nor Gueffier signed. Finally the duke said that he would think over it and make up his mind. When the ambassador told him that he was instructed by his queen to obtain a speedy and definite resolution, he said that he must consult the prince, the ambassador at Turin, and some of his council, and he could not do this before the following Friday or Saturday. The duke asked him to go to Asti and confer with the ambassadors, but he refused. It was arranged that he should come on Friday with the other ambassadors. He said that he hoped for peace, especially if the ambassadors of your Serenity and of England would persuade the duke to accept his proposals. (fn. 1)
Turin, the 12 May, 1615.
May 14. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 798. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On the 8th inst. the very day that the count of Scarnafes arrived here, as ambassador of Savoy, he went to see the king's secretary, who showed him a list of the names of the captains of the duke of Mayenne (Humena), among whom they would divide the money sent by the king to his ambassador in France for the purpose. They spoke of the matters which the ambassador brought, and said that he must go on to His Majesty the following morning. The same day Lord Rich visited the ambassador, and they set out together by post on the next day to the king. On the 10th His Majesty gave him audience. He confined his requests to three points. He asked firstly for the promised assistance in money, both on his own behalf and on that of the States, secondly for the inclusion of His Highness in the confederation with the States and United Princes and thereby to place him in safety, and thirdly to grant the levy of 4,000 English, to be paid by His Majesty, as the promised assistance. The king replied that with regard to the help in money he had made a good beginning by the payment of half and it will be easy to supply the remainder. With regard to the portion which concerns the States, they also have done something in the levies which Count John of Nassau is now raising on their frontiers, of 600 horse and they will not fail to do better still. As for admitting the duke into union with the princes, he had already urged this. The king enlarged upon this, and ended by saying that in three or four days he expected the decision of the States and of the Palatine, and that of the other princes a few days later; within a month the duke would undoubtedly be received into their union. That with regard to the levies he would do what was in his power, but it seemed easier to employ French and Swiss, as well as less costly and more advantageous because there would be no loss of time or expense and no danger in the passage.
The ambassador pointed out that the greater part of the duke's army was French and it would not be easy to counterprise this by the Swiss and his own subjects alone, and he would be glad of the 4,000 English.
The king then asked him what were the plans of the duke, and in what part had he taken the offers for peace which, it appears, have come from Spain. He blamed the rigour with which the queen of France attempts to prevent the passage of Frenchmen to the assistance of His Highness, and concluded by saying that he ought to put his demands into writing, and then he would give a categorical reply. With this the ambassador took leave. Shortly afterwards the king's secretary saw him. He gave him the demands in writing and had a short conversation with him upon the same matters. They returned to this city, but not together. These affairs, by the king's command, were laid by the secretary before the Council at two meetings. They debated upon the inclination of your Excellencies towards peace, the efforts made quite recently by France for the same ends, and the rigorous orders given to Gueffier for Rambouillet if the duke would not accept the proposals for a settlement, and the most earnest supplication of the Catholic king not to incite the duke, saying that he was a kinsman and promising to treat him with humanity. All these considerations have had weight, and yet they decided to reply to the ambassador that the king abides by his determination to protect the duke; that he will on no account allow him to succumb; that he desires his good, his peace and tranquillity and advises him to accept a good peace if he can obtain it with complete security and honour, not otherwise. If he cannot, His Majesty will declare war, as he does not wish the duke to be compelled to do anything unseemly, and that meanwhile the money paid down and the troops which he pays and which are already on the march will suffice to provide sufficient assistance to the duke, when joined to his own forces, for his defence.
A courier will be sent at once by post to the ambassador at Turin to learn the duke's wishes and to propose an armistice to introduce negotiations for peace. The secretary told all this to the ambassador the day before yesterday at a late hour, after long consultations. This morning an express courier has set out by whom he has sent letters to His Highness. To-morrow he will go once more to the king to ask again for the provision of the remaining money so that it may be ready against all contingencies.
This is my information about what has been dealt with up to the present. To day I shall see the king's secretary in order to make more certain.
I have called upon the ambassador and he has since been twice to see me. He said a great deal about the indebtedness and the respect of his duke to your Excellencies. I made a suitable reply, which he listened to gladly.
London, the 14 May, 1615.
May 14. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 799. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
To-day I told the king's secretary that I had reported to your Serenity the things which he had told me on several occasions touching the affairs of Italy. He added that the count of Scarnafes has now arrived here, and as I made no remark, he went on to say that he has asked His Majesty for the promised assistance; the king remains constant in his determination to assist the duke and has provided for his present security by causing the duke of Mayenne (Humena) to pass over with the succours paid by His Majesty's money. He is now thinking of establishing His Highness in peace with safety and honour, and for this purpose he has this morning sent an express courier to the Ambassador Carleton. That the most prudent considerations of your Excellencies, represented by me to His Majesty more than once, have in great part led to these decisions, and it is certain that the true blessedness of Italy consists in peace. That an armistice will be proposed before everything else, as it is known that the governor of Milan entertains ideas of invading Piedmont and attacking the duke's principal towns, and this must not be allowed. That if Spain will not consent to a reasonable agreement, the king will employ all his forces that the duke may not be oppressed; that of the three demands which the Spaniards make of His Highness, the one, not to attack Mantua is reasonable; the second, that disputed points shall be submitted to the emperor cannot be admitted because Caesar has already declared himself in favour of Mantua, and it ought to be judged by the Imperial chamber and not by his Imperial Majesty. As for the disarming of the duke, that ought to be effected, but the Spaniards ought also to disarm, at least shortly afterwards, so that His Highness may enjoy complete security, and that he may retain as many soldiers in his fortresses as is fitting. That to limit the number to the figure maintained by the duke's father would be to prejudice his liberty, as he is a sovereign prince, and to submit the judgment of the dispute with Mantua to the emperor, who is a partisan, would be the surrender of his claims. That during the present rumours of war in Germany and Cleves, the king's interest would counsel him not to procure peace in Savoy, but in his mind justice prevails over all other considerations.
I replied that it was an action worthy of His Majesty to procure a safe peace for the duke, and for this your Excellencies and all Christendom would be under the greatest obligations to him.
He concluded by saying that a courier had been sent first with instructions, and if the Spaniards will listen to reason Italy will enjoy peace, otherwise the king will take the duke into his protection and will assist him with all his power.
From London, the 14 May, 1615.
May 14. Senato. Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 800. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The last letters from Holland are of the 5th instant. They report that fortifying is being carried on on all sides, and the armies are being increased in order to take the field after the agreement between Brandenburg and Neuburg to allow Syburg to become neutral again, the archduke having consented, he asked that this should be confirmed by the elector, who is a long way off, and by the States; thus the Spaniards remain in that place, give nothing but words and gain time.
The ambassadors who are at the Hague are considering the decision of the archduke with regard to the restitution of the places, and they were going to send to Brussels. The archduke has not yet made any reply to the proposals made by the king and there seems no sign that he will accept them. The day before yesterday His Highness was to go to Marimont to escape from affairs for a few days.
To-day the king's secretary told me that the archduke might possibly be willing to restore Wesel, but the Spaniards are far from being so, and he clearly expressed to me his doubts about its restitution. To-day also the ambassador of Brandenburg told me that if no resolution came from the archduke, he would be obliged to go to the king to-morrow to urge that if His Highness does not make up his mind His Majesty may decide upon vigorous action.
The news brought by the gentlemen of the Marquis of Bonnivet to the king, taken with what the Ambassador Edmondes reports and and what His Majesty hears from other sources, gives rise to the belief that the tranquillity of France is in great danger. The king's secretary has told me just the same.
From London, the 14 May, 1615.
May 15. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 801. The deliberation of the Senate of the 14th was read to the ambassador of Savoy. In reply he thanked them for their offices. The Ambassador Rambouillet and Gueffier had been to the duke and explained their commissions. He said that he could not come to any decision in so important a matter before consulting Prince Thomas and the resident ambassadors, namely those of Venice, England, and the Pope. His Highness recognises the difficulty of the situation as he does not find the necessary security, though he is well disposed towards any reasonable accommodation. The Spaniards have not the power which they imagined, they thought that they could swallow the duke in a fortnight.


  • 1. Carleton sent home a long account by Albert Morton of this conference at Valfenera. It is preserved in the Public Record Office. State Papers, Foreign. Venice. 10 May, 1615.