Venice: December 1613

Pages 71-78

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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December 1613

Dec. 5. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costant. Venetian Archives. 150. Cristoforo Valier, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The consul at Aleppo writes that the orders sent upon the matter of the new imposts have worked very well. There was an attempt to make our merchants pay the new imposts with those of other nations, but with much difficulty I succeeded in inducing the Grand Vizier to insist upon the observance of the ancient custom. The ambassadors of France, England, and Flanders have offered the Grand Vizier 15,000 taleri without success, and as they were given to understand that it would be useless even to offer 30,000, they have departed, considering the affair desperate.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 5 December, 1613.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Dec. 6. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 151. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I was with the earl of Northampton on the 4th, and informed him of the contents of your letter of the 8th, and also of the threat of the governor of Milan to the duke of Mantua to use force if he would not give up the princess and surrender his affairs entirely to the disposition of the Catholic king. I insisted that now the way appeared clear for the oppression not only of Mantua but of all the princes of Italy and I concluded by saying that as His Majesty was some miles away, enjoying the pleasures of the chace, I thought it better not to trouble him but to inform him indirectly of what had passed. The earl heard me attentively and decided that the Catholic king was in the wrong and that the peace of Italy was truly in imminent peril. The governor of Milan must have acted upon orders from Spain, but your Serenity was quite right to trust in the king, and please God, he will make Spain desist from force and violence, justly abhorrent to those who love liberty. The Spaniards are resolved to have the princess by force as they cannot have her of her own accord, because they think that with her in their hands they will have a better claim upon Montferrat. But that is not the end of their designs, for in Spain they expect Mantua will be ready to surrender the princess at the first intimation, and they wish to avoid open force, as, although they do not show it, they are in great fear of a union among the princes of Italy, and still more of one with foreigners.
I met the ambassador of France and had a long conversation with him upon current affairs. He had written to France advising the Grisons to accord with your Serenity and he was expecting an answer; that the queen was resolved to assist Mantua and may at once name captains and raise levies. That it is difficult to send an armed force across the mountains during the winter, and he fears that arming for abroad may cause some commotion at home, and France must never arm without making war, especially at present. When the Spaniards saw the armies of France passing into Italy, they would not change their plans but only postpone the putting of them into practice. That the queen and her council were very resolute, as he has often told me.
I laid stress upon the difficulties which would follow upon the separation of the Grisons, the prejudice which the loss of Montferrat would be to France, and that, when need arises, troops can be poured in at any time by any of the Swiss.
London, the 6 December, 1613.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 10. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 152. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Tuesday the ambassador of France called upon me and said my efforts with France to re-establish the confederacy between the republic and the Grisons have not been fruitless, because owing to my representations the ambassador has been directed to forward it. He afterwards showed me a copy of the letter of Pasquale, ambassador in the Grisons, written to the queen on the 19th, in which he thanks Her Majesty for granting him permission to return to France. He was about to mount his horse to start when he heard of Sig. Barbarigo, a nobleman of Venice and ambassador. That he called on him the same evening, and three days later he sent him an invitation. He told him that if the republic had made capital of the friendship of Her Majesty, by negotiating in concert, then in confidence it would have been much more easy to maintain the union. At all events he had done everything in his power. That Barbarigo had at first spoken with contrary information, but he had easily been able to discover the truth. He had expressed the devotion of the republic to His Majesty, and had left, determined to send two couriers, one to Venice, the other to France, to which replies will be given in twelve or fifteen days. The ambassador added that a copy of the capitulations with the Grisons had been sent to Venice, by which they are bound to afford free passage to the friends and allies of France against every one. That as the queen has declared in favour, your Serenity can raise troops when you please, and in the future it will be possible to renew the union. That the ambassador Pasquale has already offered to the ambassador Barbarigo to approach some of the Cantons. That the queen has sent a protest to Spain, and despatched the marquis of Coure as extraordinary ambassador to Rome, to induce the pope to make a resolution. That the duke of Mantua has sent to France that Casale is not in a state to defend itself long, for lack of food, if it is not relieved. That the men of Savoy are pressing it on one side, but only in order to hand it over to Spain. That the governor of Milan wants to put a garrison there. That in France they are proposing to raise an army to be led by the duke of Nevers, but nothing will be settled before the answer comes from Spain. I pointed out that Spain's intentions appeared from her actions without any answer, and if Savoy helps Spain to conquer such an important fortress as Casale, it is very probable that they have decided to give some other place to him at the expense of France or of Italy.
He showed me a letter of the agent in Turin describing the bad condition of Piedmont and the even worse plight of Montferrat. That the duke of Savoy was laying an imposition of 300,000 crowns upon his country to be paid immediately, showing that he had no intention of disbanding his soldiers.
London, the 10 December, 1613.
Dec. 12. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 153. The ambassador of England came into the Cabinet and presented a letter of the king to the Doge which has been delayed a month and more owing to the king's absence from London and the bad weather.
Letter of King James to the Doge.
Intelleximus ex sermone legati vestri quam gratum vobis sit, quod Ducem Mantuanum invisere, eique studium et benevolentiam nostram deferre, Legato nostro apud vos jusserimus. Nobis vero jucundissimum est quicquam quod a nobis proticiscitur vobis probare. Principes autem Mantuanenses cum semper charos habuerimus propter generis sui splendorem et propter aliquam affinitatis rationem, tum pluris fecimus postquam res eorum vestris cum rebus conjunctas esse perspeximus, non enim alio nomine res ulla vel causa libentius a nobis amplectitur, quam si eandem vobis cordi esse sentiamus, etenim cum ea, quae ad publicam Italiae tranquillitatem pertinere videbuntur, nobis cura futura sunt. Tum si quid erit, quod ad vos ipsos spectabit nos quae prius, vel per litteras, vel per legatum, a nobis esse expectanda, promissimus, ea cum res postulabit libentissime prestabimus, sicut Legatus noster fusius explicabit, cui etiam mandavimus, ut nulla in occasione, quae usum ejus vobis faciet, neque studio, neque opera sua desit. Data e palatio nostro Westmonasterie 14 die Octobris anno Domini, 1613. Amicus vester Jacobus Rex.
The ambassador went on to refer to reports which had reached the king of great preparations made by the Turks both by sea and land. The king does not wish the power granted to him by God to remain unused for the most part, and he is especially ready to employ it in the service of your Serenity, and has asked me to express his intention, as he feels sure that what he offers with his right hand will not be embraced by you with the left.
The republic has always been a bulwark against the Turks on the one side, and on the other has been engaged in maintaining the peace and safety of Italy. But being in such an exposed position it has need of defences to protect it from the consequences, as the proverb runs, Gutta cavat lapidem non vi sed sepe cadendo. The great preparations of the Turks are intended to wreak vengeance on those who had given them such cause to desire it. The ambassador then dwelt on the advantages of a good understanding between maritime powers, and said: This is His Majesty's commission to me, to tell your Serenity how much he desires that his friendly offer may take effect on all occasions, and that I may assure you in his name that if you take advantage of his friendship you will never have cause to regret it.
With regard to Italy the king is in great doubt owing to the subtle proceedings of some (alcuno) who wish to establish themselves in the position of arbiters, by openly fostering divisions, now entering where they have no title, now devastating the provinces of disputants, now taking advantage of delay, now planting the royal standard in the towns of others, now under protestations of peace discovering the devastation of war, and finally, abandoning argument, have recourse to force, expecting by means of being arbiters to arrive at absolute dominion and become rulers, as the saying goes sic rolo sic jubeo. In state affairs His Majesty will not allow himself to be carried away by vain suspicions, but everything suggests the need for vigilance and to be prepared for every eventuality. He praises to the highest degree the prudence and foresight of your Serenity, and the saying periculum periculo vincitur is very applicable to this state of affairs, for by providing against one peril you also provide against another.
The method suggested by the king in this state of affairs is to send ministers to and receive them from the united princes of Germany, the States of the Low Countries and the king who has been frequently mentioned, in order to foster a good understanding between them, while those who object to this procedure can be told that it is only to acquire friends and to harm no one, that it is for defence and not for offence.
The senior councillor Donado replied thanking the ambassador and informing him that the Cabinet would communicate their decision to him afterwards at a convenient time.
The ambassador then went on to ask them to expedite the case between the patrons of the ships Bonaventura' and Bonasperanza' and the two merchants Falgher and Gio. Maria Riva, as they have been much delayed and put to expense, by delegating the affair to the Cinque Savii so that it may be settled summarily. He would take this as a great favour.
Donado replied that every effort would be made to give him satisfaction, and with this the ambassador took his leave, after submitting a memorial.
Dec. 19. Senato, Mar. Venetian Archives. 154. That to gratify the ambassador of the king of Great Britain the cause pending between the masters of the ships Bonaventura and Bonasperanza, and the two merchants of the city, Falgher and Riva, be delegated to the Cinque Savii alla Mercantia, so that they may administer speedy justice, their decision being as final as if it had been rendered by this Council.
Ayes 171.
Noes 1.
Neutral 3.
Dec. 19. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costant. Venetian Archives. 155. Cristoforo Valier, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The Cadi of Pera was instructed some time ago to take a description of all the foreign Christian merchants in the city, and from this he proceeded to make an attempt to force them and the dragomans to pay the carazo for the new mosque. This plan remained some time in suspense, but on the departure of the king and Grand Vizier it was revived by the Cadi, who informed all the ambassadors and myself that we should direct the merchants of our nations and the dragomans to pay the carazo. Seeing the gravity of the situation, all the ambassadors met and agreed to act together in the common interests. The ambassador of England agreed to waive the question of precedence with the ambassador of France. They resolved to go to the Mufti at once. They informed him that the measures taken by the Cadi were contrary to the capitulations, and that the merchants would be obliged to abandon their trade if this was not stopped. The Mufti replied that to demand the carazo of those who had lived long in the country was just and reasonable and he was not aware that our merchants were exempted by the capitulations, and even if they were it would be contrary to law. Merchants were not obliged to stay more than a year, but if they did they ought to pay tribute. Similar impositions were made in other places in Christendom, particularly in Venice.
I replied that the subjects of the Grand Turk enjoyed every advantage in Venice. That laws were made in the interests of justice and justice demanded the maintenance of the capitulations, adding that a friendly commerce was advantageous to all parties.
The Mufti still insisted, and said that if the merchants went Spaniards would come in their place, and even if they did not Constantinople would manage very well with her own people. He also declared that if a merchant happened to die, he would claim all his property for the king.
The ambassadors, seeing him so resolute, endeavoured to gain time. They referred the matter to the lieutenant Pasha, but he maintained the same positions as the Mufti. The Pasha said, however, that they only proposed to take the carazo from those who were married and had houses, and promised to order the Cadi to desist. I pointed out that by the capitulations married men were also exempt and said that we were all instructed by our masters to act together if any attempt should be made to infringe the capitulations. On the following day the lieutenant sent for the Cadi, who showed him an order of the king and a direction from the Grand Vizier. The Cadi afterwards summoned the dragomen and said he would leave them alone but that he meant the merchants to pay, otherwise he would visit their houses.
This affair is of great moment, as the consequences will affect merchants at Cairo, Aleppo and other places. The ambassadors and I are acting together to offer the utmost possible resistance and we are using every effort to avoid violence.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 19 December, 1613.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Dec. 20. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 156. To the Ambassador Foscarini in England.
Enclose copies of replies given to the English ambassador in the Cabinet last week. Owing to the ever increasing cordiality of His Majesty, we desire you to express to him how greatly we value his favours and continual marks of friendship, so that he may know that we are most sensible of the greatness of his favours, and are always ready to correspond to them. As His Majesty in speaking of the Grisons expressly said that he knew a sure way to oblige them, we think it necessary that you should probe the bottom of this remark, and find what means there are of removing difficulties and impediments.
Ayes 145.
Noes 6.
Neutral 29.
Dec. 20. Senato. Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 157. To the King of Great Britain.
Thanks for friendship, the offers contained in the letters of 14 October last, and his wise counsel in all emergencies, with assurances of cordial amity which will appear by deeds when occasion arises.
Ayes 145.
Noes 6.
Neutral 29.
Dec. 20. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 158. The Ambassador of the King of Great Britain being summoned to the Cabinet, the following was read to him:
The last letters of His Majesty have been so cordial, and his recent kindness to our ambassador has been such that, while he continually multiplies his favours, we find it difficult to correspond in a fitting manner.
At your last appearance you particularly informed us, in the name of His Majesty, that he knew the intentions of the Turks, and the dangers to which all are exposed, especially the nearest. In reply we may say that the maritime preparations of the Turks do not at present give us cause for alarm, as their plans are directed elsewhere, but we value highly the fact of His Majesty's great friendship for the republic and his interest in her affairs. We may add that for the further satisfaction of His Majesty, who is so anxious for the peace and quiet of this province, we shall not fail to perform the duties with the princes named, at the opportune moment, to confirm our friendship with them.
In accordance with our customary frankness with your Excellency, we inform you that Barbarigo, the ambassador designate to His Majesty, has found a good intelligence among the people of the Grisons, and is instructed to stay there for a certain time, to disabuse them of any bad impression they might have received with regard to our intentions for the common service, and he is to express our esteem for that nation and our desire for the preservation of its liberty. In any case we shall always highly value the favours of His Majesty.
It is decided that copies of the present minute, of the speech of the English Ambassador, of his letters of the reply thereto, and of the other things sent to the Ambassador Foscarini, shall be sent to the Ambassador Barbarigo.
Ayes 145.
Noes 6.
Neutral 29.
Dec. 21. Senato. Secreta. Dispacci. Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 159. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The ambassador of France informs me that Spain has replied to the protests of the queen offering to the Catholic King the alternative either to leave harassing Mantua or to break the friendship with France. That the Spaniards had at first put a bold face upon their pretensions, but had afterwards modified their tone and become friendly. They had decided in favour of the friendship, and declared that they would not speak of the princess. They also touched upon the marriage of the Infanta with the Cardinal. That the cession of the places had been settled, but there had been no reply about the marriage. He concluded by exhibiting great suspicion of the Spaniards.
I pointed out to him that they had easily evaded the protestations of France, as they promise not to speak of the princess at present, and yet they want Mantua to yield the essential points, and that they would return to their purposes later, as they only wished to gain time.
In speaking of the Grisons, he said that the ambassador Pasquale is staying there expressly for the renewal of the league with Her Most Christian Majesty. That the ambassador resides in the principal city of the Swiss, which cannot be said of Spain. He asked me if your Excellencies did not think it strange that when Spain was so near it did not make a confederacy with the eleven Cantons, but that France should have a special one.
From a long conversation with him, I gathered that he places little reliance upon the promises of Spain, and is assured that the Spaniards have designs upon Italy, that assistance will be given to your Serenity in the negotiations with the Grisons and the Swiss to give them power to resist. That the Spaniards use every art to lull into security, but they are determined to strike, and think it will be a great advantage to avoid open force at the beginning, so that there may be no time for the princes of Italy to unite, or to join with foreigners, which they fear more.
The Grand Duke has lost the good name which he had, and his change causes a suspicion that Spain is deluding France with words. Villeroi and some others of the government think it might be advantageous to take further steps, but this will not be suffered by the others.
Great praise is given to your Serenity for the instructions of the Illustrious Barbarigo, and all say that such powerful forces as those of the Swiss and the Grisons ought certainly to be enlisted for the security of the republic.
From London, the 21 December, 1613.
Dec. 21. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 160. The ambassador of the king of Great Britain came into the Cabinet. After the deliberation of the Council had been read to him he replied that the proposition lately made by the king proceeded from his desire to show his friendship towards the republic and his desire that all his friends should be in good relations with it, and he requested that the deliberation might be read privately to him so that he might transmit it to the king more exactly.
The senior councillor Donato replied, adding that the matter of the two ships had been referred to the Cinque Savii so that speedy justice might be rendered.
The ambassador answered that the king would be rejoiced to hear that the affairs of the Turks were not so disposed as had been reported in England. In the matter of the Grisons he was sure that His Majesty would do what they thought most opportune. Your Serenity knows his mind in this particular, and I need not dwell upon it.
He then took leave, and in the antesecreto the Secretary read the deliberation to him once over, the ambassador taking short notes.