Venice: November 1613

Pages 62-71

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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November 1613

Nov. 2. Senato. Secreta. Dispacci, Roma. Venetian Archives. 132. Tomaso Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
I have communicated to the pope the advices from Constantinople telling him that it has always been our opinion that the harassing of the Turks by the galleys of one prince and another would only sting them to take resolutions prejudicial to Christendom. We thought so after the last capture, and said as much to the ambassador of Spain. But I did not believe that the Turks could maintain a force both on land and sea at the same time, referring to the expected attack on Transylvania.
The pope asked me the opionion of your Serenity upon these advices. I replied that I had received nothing beyond instructions to communicate them to him.
From Rome, the 2 November, 1613.
Nov. 6. Senato, Mar. Venetian Archives. 133. To the Ambassador in England.
As we understand that the use of fusees (fucili) in arquebuses has taken the place of wheels in that kingdom as well as in Flanders, and that the former are easier to use, quicker and of less hindrance to the user, as well as being cheaper, as we hear that they may be obtained for a crown each, we instruct you to provide 500 of them as soon as you can conveniently do so. If these fusees prove satisfactory after trial we shall make a larger provision of them.
Ayes 121.
Noes 12.
Neutral 18.
Nov. 8. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 134. To the Ambassador in England.
To thank the king for his friendship, and say that efforts for the quiet of the province and his authority may do much to bring an end to the present difficulties and make others desist from force. Matters are proceeding contrary to our hopes because the governor of Milan has threatened to use force to compel the duke of Mantua to send the princess to Milan and to submit his affairs absolutely to the Catholic king. Such proceedings are of great prejudice to the liberty of all the princes of Italy, and they also concern the reputation of those crowns which by their greatness and authority are able to unite the interests of their good friends.
Ayes 110.
Noes 4.
Neutral 4.
Nov. 8. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costant. Venetian Archives. 135. Cristoforo Valier, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
There has been a lively passage of arms between the Grand Vizier and the English ambassador about the damage inflicted by English bertons upon the subjects of the Grand Turk. The Pasha wants to be indemnified by the ambassador himself, the claims amounting to 300,000 zechins. The ambassador protested in vain that such claims ought not to be made upon him, the Pasha replied that as he was there he would hold him as the gambit, so to speak, until satisfaction has been given for the damage which has been so excessive as to greatly prejudice the reputation of this empire. Things being in this pass, it will not be easy for the ambassador to free himself without some trouble, as the Turks have been greatly exasperated against his nation for a long time on this account.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 8 November, 1613.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Nov. 8. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 136. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Saturday night last, the 25th, I was attacked by a fever, which did not leave me till yesterday, so that I have betaken myself with more good will than strength to one of those places where matters are usually discussed, and may be relied upon as being from a trustworthy source.
I first learned that the new ambassador of Spain on arriving here suggested the marriage of the prince to the second Infanta, promising as dower such quantity of gold as should please His Majesty, hinting at hopes for the succession of the Infanta and of the archduke in Flanders.
He let it afterwards be understood that his king would desire conditions considered prejudicial to the quiet of these realms, so that all negotiations have fallen through before he has spoken to His Majesty.
That the Catholic king is doing his utmost to show his good will and assure himself on this side. As regards the affairs of Italy, I got him to tell me what the ambassador in Spain reported. He first told me substantially the same things which I reported in my last and other letters.
He added that both the governor of Milan and the duke of Savoy certainly desire to disturb the peace. They consider the present moment a favourable one to acquire new and important possessions, and their first thoughts are for Casale.
That France has endeavoured to induce Savoy to lay down her arms, and subsequently to have troops of Milan withdrawn from Montferrat which are quartered so near to Casale. That courteous replies have been given.
The Spaniards consider that they now have a good chance of effecting their purpose without open force, making use of the duke of Savoy, by keeping his army on foot, increasing them as need arises. They feel themselves safe to manage the affairs of Italy after their fashion, to keep its princes in fear, and its neighbours in perpetual suspense. The only thing they fear is union; especially with the greater princes. All these things have been discussed in the Council of State in Spain with the resolution to extend their power in Italy, especially at Casale. The governor knows the wishes of Spain so well that he is certain to be praised for throwing men into the citadel.
The ambassador of France, on whom I called yesterday, confirmed this and said that the action of Spain was undoubted. That a few days ago the Most Christian Queen sent to know the intention of the Most Catholic King, and that France cannot fail Mantua, to which she was bound by promises and interest. He spoke in somewhat better terms than at other times. The ambassador in France wrote to the king a month ago that if it were not for the queen a resolution would be proposed to assist Mantua with open force. That the duke of Nevers complained greatly and publicly, as His Majesty hinted in his last audience with me.
The latest advices are, that to give some satisfaction, at least in appearance, to Nevers, who has many followers and is united with the magnates of this realm, a rumour had been put about that they would not fail Mantua, and a courier was dispatched to Spain. This will be what the ambassador already told me.
The negotiation for a marriage between the prince and the second princess of France is making good progress here. The queen desires it, and the Council broaches the matter to please the Huguenots, and thus to consolidate internal affairs by binding them to the crown; their safety will also be secured abroad. Let them say what they will, it is commonly believed in France that they will not proceed to open force in favour of Mantua, but the most they will do will be to allow the duke of Nevers to go with his partisans, who would be few enough.
From London, the 8 November, 1613.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Nov. 8. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 137. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The electors of Brandenburg and Saxony have embraced, eaten together and gone hunting with each other. The king has redoubled his efforts to consolidate this understanding and is awaiting the result, while the efforts of the king of Denmark are also directed to the same end.
The marriage of the duke of Neuburg with one of the princesses of Bavaria will take place on the 3rd. The eldest son of Brandenburg is at Dusseldorf; he has received the oath of fealty from Juliers and Cleves in the same manner as his uncle, lately deceased. He is to proceed to Holland to notify the States and prince Maurice, to cultivate the friendship of that province, to which the king of Sweden has sent an ordinary ambassador, who has been very well received at the Hague (Aga).
The Dutch have heard of the loss of two of their ships in the East Indies, one taken by the Spaniards near the Moluccas, and the other by the natives. They have also heard of the arrival of those which were sent out a year and a half ago, with which they have increased their fleet in those parts to the number of forty-five, very well found.
Great preparations of men and vessels are being made in Holland and Zeeland to send as a reinforcement to that part of the East Indies. The States and Prince Maurice are disbursing for the extraordinary expenses of next year half a million florins. This is an important point, owing to the quantity of money, their reputation and the results.
The day before yesterday an ambassador from Muscovy (fn. 1) was received here with great honour. He is come upon affairs of state and of commerce.
On Tuesday last the ambassador of Spain was at the council, without obtaining any results from his efforts.
From London, the 8 November, 1613.
Nov. 17. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. 138. Girolamo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The duke of Brunswick has had a public funeral attended by all the principal Protestant princes of Germany, including the electors of Saxony and Brandenburg, the marquis of Anspach, the prince of Anhalt and many others. The king of Denmark was expected and the ambassador of the king of England was there. This gathering has displeased the emperor, as by such means those princes become more closely united and there are many signs that Brandenburg and Saxony have settled their disputes, so that it is feared that the duke of Saxony may detach himself entirely from the House of Austria.
From Veltz, the 17 November, 1613. Copy.
Nov. 20. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Milano. Venetian Archives. 139. Andrea Surian, Venetian Resident at Milan, to the Doge and Senate.
Count John of Nassau has been staying some days at Turin, and it was thought that negotiations were going on, but it is finally believed that the duke is simply entertaining him.
His Highness proposed to send to sea the English corsair (fn. 2) with his vessels in order to infest the shipping of others; but the governor of Milan has warned him to abstain, at least until instructions have arrived from Spain, protesting that if His Majesty's galleys fell in with him they would treat him as an enemy.
News comes from Turin that in the port of Genoa fortune has destroyed all the ships, and also in the port of Villafranca the galleys of His Highness have suffered from the storm. Two of the ships there, which are said to belong to the English corsair, are lost, and the others have been badly damaged.
From Milan, the 20 November, 1613.
Nov. 21. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costant. Venetian Archives. 140. Cristoforo Valier, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Reports of an attack on Malta are dying away. Similar plans against Sicily are now discussed, but there is no real foundation. Another galley has been put on the stocks in the Arsenal, and the ten galleys in construction at Ismit are being pushed forward. But the number of galleys cannot exceed ninety in all. Nothing can be done with the old galleys in the Arsenal.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 21 November, 1613.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Nov. 22. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 141. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Saturday morning I had audience of the king, and congratulated him on his good return to London and his excellent state of health, wishing him all prosperity on behalf of your Serenity. His Majesty received me very graciously. He told me that he had written to offer his forces to your Serenity, and had directed his ambassador to offer his assistance in placing the republic in safety, by joining them with the allies of this crown, leaving it in their power to include the Grand Duke also and the Duke of Mantua. As regards the Grisons he would tell me that he knew a sure way to lay them under an obligation, and as they are the frontier between the king and the princes they can receive help to maintain their dignity and peace with great ease and quickness. He declared that the sole object he had in extending the union was to maintain peace and security. He afterwards impressed upon me that all the differences of Italy seemed to consist in four points, but only one of them was essential, that questions of the damages and of the rebels were very considerable, but these might be arranged. That the laying down of arms would be more in appearance than in reality, because there was no desire to begin with open force, attack or surprise, and there will be no lack of arms at Milan and Piedmont. That everything turned upon the princess because she carries with her pretentions to Montferrat, and the Spaniards only required pretexts for which they were looking everywhere.
He said afterwards that the elector of Brandenburg is disposed to satisfy the elector of Saxony by the cession of some place, and claims no more than the third parts of Juliers, so that the accommodation is at hand.
From London, the 22 November, 1613.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Nov. 22. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 142. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The king has lately been giving audience to all the ambassadors. On Saturday to France and myself; Sunday to him of Muscovy and Monday to those of Spain and Flanders.
The ambassador of France spent about an hour, dealing with the question of the marriage for most of the time, which makes continual progress, and the king's ambassador to that court is expected here in a few days with the particulars.
Spain and Flanders spoke in concert, complaining of matters pertaining to merchants, and of things taken from ships; but His Majesty displayed a contrary opinion. During the audience with the ambassador of Spain, His Majesty went to the door of the room and directed the Secretary Lach (fn. 3) to give him a letter. I am endeavouring to discover the contents, and if I succeed as I hope, I will communicate them to your Serenity.
The ambassador of Muscovy had a solemn audience, being received by their Majesties and the prince in the great hall, full of lords and ladies. He presented sixteen bundles of sables and some knives of good workmanship. He caused the letter to be read and fulfilled his office, which was to express the friendship of his master and to render thanks to His Majesty for his goodwill. He proposed a renewal of commerce in those parts promising great advantages to this nation, and concluded that he would speak of another matter in another audience.
The king thanked him and referred the negotiations to the Council. He spent the whole day here, surrounded (spesato) by the merchants.
The secretary of the ambassador in Spain has been here some days and set out on Monday to return to his post.
The king has declared the Viscount Rochester to be treasurer of Scotland, and on Monday the 18th he created him baron of Brancepeth and earl of Somerset. To the duke of Lennox he has given the title of earl of Richmond, but with the privilege alone and without any ceremony. (fn. 4)
The agent of Savoy is pushing his old propositions of marriage as much as possible with new and greater offers. Their source is well-known, and yet he labours in vain. The departure of Murton (fn. 5) is put off from day to day.
London, the 22 November, 1613.
Nov. 22. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 143. The ambassador of the king of Great Britain came into the Cabinet and rendered thanks for the favours shown to the earl of Arundel in his absence. The earl, owing to unforeseen accidents, had perhaps been somewhat wanting hitherto, but after visiting some of the cities of Italy he would, before returning home, come to receive the commands of the Doge. The ambassador could not go to Mantua as he was detained in Padua by a slight indisposition, while the duke also was sick, and he will not go there without receiving fresh permission and the commands of the Doge. He intends to return to Padua for a few days, where he is always glad to stay chiefly on account of the courtesy of the rectors and more especially of Gio. Battista Foscarini, whose father was so friendly to the English.
After further compliments had been exchanged, the ambassador departed.
Nov. 23. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Roma. Venetian Archives. 144. Tomaso Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
It is declared in the Court that the Duke of Mantua has been to Verona to have an interview with the ambassador of England. So far as I understand the pope at first heard that the duke had not gone for this, but a subsequent despatch confirmed the first report that the interview took place. The pope expressed his regret at this to Sig. Carlo, who has assured him that the report was not true as it had been published, but that the duke simply went to Verona for pleasure, that city being no more than a few hours' journey from Goito; and the pope was satisfied. If His Holiness speaks to me about it, I will reply in accordance with my instructions.
From Rome, the 23 November, 1613.
Nov. 25. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Germania. Venetian Archives. 145. Girolamo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The Archduke Leopold has come post to Linz and has spent a day with His Majesty. He brought news that the Elector Palatine is collecting troops, which causes great vexation because it is certain that that prince will not move a step without the participation of the king of England. The ambassador of Spain is more concerned at this than the others, because the Spaniards always fear some new move of the States of Flanders made with the concurrence of these princes of Germany.
From Veltz, the 25 November, 1613. Copy.
Nov. 27. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Milano. Venetian Archives. 146. Antonio Maria Vincenti, Venetian Resident at Mantua, to the Doge and Senate.
A man who called himself Don Pietro has been sent here by the ambassador of the Catholic king with your Serenity. He is to ascertain whether it is true that Chieppio went to Venice and that the duke had a conference with the English ambassador at Verona.
From Mantua, the 27 November, 1613.
Nov. 28. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives. 147. Francisco Morosini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Don Alonso di Velasco has arrived here on his return from his embassy to England, and has been to the Pardo to see the king. He is now giving an account of his relations with that court to the council of State.
From Madrid, 28 November, 1613.
Nov. 29. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 148. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After I had despatched my last, which was late, I met on the following morning one who is acquainted with affairs before they are discussed at the Council, and even those which remain locked up in His Majesty's bosom.
He told me that the king had negotiated and brought the Swiss to enter the alliance with him, the States and the Princes. For the confirmation of this nothing is required beyond the consent of France, without which they would not decide, and he has arranged so far with France that it is thought the queen will consent or seem to shut her eyes. I submit this report as it is of the utmost importance. He pointed out to me that by means of the States, Princes and his other allies, His Majesty will see straight to the gates of Italy, where if your Serenity knocks and calls, you will be heard and assisted, assuming that you reply to the proposals.
He afterwards said that the king had informed him of what passed in my last audience, and in considering the two first points of the damages and the rebels, he had weighed them, and that it will not be possible to abandon the first without shewing weakness, and still less the other, but that in any case it would not be an absolute abandonment of freedom. That giving up the princess meant everything, and the Spaniards are determined to have her in their hands because of her pretensions to Montferrat. For this they need a pretext, upon which they have settled long since in their own minds. They look upon Casale as their own, and they have intelligence and pretensions in other parts. The ambassador of France told me, that now their designs are becoming plain, that his queen will prevent them as she was bound to do both by honour and interest. He showed me a letter written to him from France, to delay the passing of the princess as much as possible.
London, the 29 November, 1613.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Nov. 29. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 149. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have received your letters of the 8th, with the summary of that of Mantua of the 5th, containing the declaration of the governor of Milan in wishing the Cardinal Duke to place the princess in his hands and to submit to the command of the Catholic king in all things, threatening otherwise to take possession of Montferrat and proceed further. In them your Excellencies instruct me to thank the king for his offers to protect the republic. As His Majesty is away and as I have had divers audiences in a few days upon these pretexts, I put off a little, because there are two things in His Majesty's relations with me, one the offers of his power, and the other a closer union with his allies for the sake of safety, so that it would have been presumption to hasten an audience in answer to one thing only.
I have also received the letters of the 2nd touching the ambassador of Spain resident with you and that of the 6th with orders to send 500 fusees for arquebuses. I have already given orders for them. They will be ready in a few days, when I will send them at once.
The king's ambassador in Germany has gone to visit the duke of Brunswick to include him in the union, and this will assuredly follow. The agreement between the two electors is nearly concluded, and Savoy also will be included in the confederation. In Holland they are awaiting the provisions, which will be magnificent, for the East Indies.
The letter which the king showed to the ambassador of Spain in his last audience was from his ambassador in Germany, who complains much of slights received from the emperor and council, through the machinations of that ambassador. He denied it, affirming with oaths that his master desired to live with the king as with a brother, and all his ministers share the same sentiments.
I learn here and also by a trustworthy source from Holland that the Spaniards are making a great show of a desire for peace, which leads one to believe that their designs are directed elsewhere.
London, the 29 November, 1613.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]


  • 1. Alexis Ziousine, sent by the newly elected emperor to ask James for help in his wars. Rambaud, Hist. de la Russie, p. 373.
  • 2. Peter Eston.
  • 3. Sir Thomas Lake.
  • 4. On the 6 October, 1613, Lennox was created earl of Richmond, but without investiture, because he was a duke before. S.P. Domestic 1613, p. 201. The same authority gives Nov. 3 as the date of the creation of Rochester to be baron Brancepeth, and Nov. 4 as earl of Somerset, in the same year. Ib. pp. 204, 205.
  • 5. Albertus Morton, nephew of Sir Henry Wotton. On 1/11 Aug. 1613, Chamberlain wrote to Carleton that Morton was to be dispatched to Savoy as the king's agent. Birch. Court of James I, i. p. 260. Morton did not actually go until May, 1614. That the delay was occasioned by a serious carriage accident, as suggested in the Dic. of Nat. Biog. is most unlikely, seeing that this accident took place on 24 May, 1613. Rel. Wott. p. 417 ed. of 1685. A more probable reason is given by Chamberlain in writing to Carleton on 22 December, Albert Morton should have been going to the duke of Savoy and is still hastened on, but he wants his golden feathers to fly withal, and can get no money.' Birch, Court of James I, i. p. 356.