Venice: March 1614

Pages 94-104

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

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March 1614

March 1. The Capuchin was summoned and admonished as resolved.
March 3. The secretary of the ambassador was informed of what had been done. (fn. 1)
March 4. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 196. Pietro Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Condé has written the enclosed letter to the queen, which will enable your Serenity to see the reasons for his departure, and the grievances cherished by him and the others. (fn. 2) The queen anticipated this by sending a letter, also enclosed, to the Parliament of Rouen, to remove the impression created by the prince and to show her wish to assemble the Estates before it was demanded by him.
The principal points for the Estates to deal with will be that the marriages with Spain be broken off. Those of the religion threaten to use every endeavour to prevent this union, showing themselves, in this as in other things, favourable to the prince. Then there is the government of the kingdom. The princes will not suffer the present state of affairs to continue, and the queen and ministers perceive that they will have to submit to some diminution of their authority. They will also deal with the Marquis of Ancre, depriving him of his title of Marshal, and, if they can, of the governorship of the places, granted by the queen. But the confusion is such that it is hard to predict the end. The king of Spain has offered his assistance if matters grow worse.
An extraordinary courier has arrived here from the States of Holland to request the king to pay the pensions which the Crown of France has been wont to give to those provinces.
From Paris, the 4 March, 1614.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 197. Copy of letter sent by the Queen to the parliament of Rouen containing her reasons for the absence of the prince of Condé from the Court.
Dated at Paris, the 13 February, 1614.
March 6. Senato, Mar. Venetian Archives. 198. To the Ambassador in England.
The ambassador of England here has informed us of the safe delivery of the princess, daughter of his master. We enclose herewith a copy of our letter of congratulation to his Majesty, directing you to accompany it with such friendly words as shall seem good to your prudence.
Ayes 134.
Noes 3.
Neutral 1.
March 6. Senato, Mar. Venetian Archives. 199. To the Majesty of the King of Great Britain.
Congratulations upon the birth of a son to the Count Palatine and the princess his wife.
Ayes 134.
Noes 3.
Neutral 1.
March 7. Senato, Secreta. Dispacei, Spagna. Venetian Archives. 200. Francesco Morosini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
An express messenger has arrived from Rome bringing the dispensation for the marriage of the queen. They are now using all diligence to get ready the things necessary for the day, putting aside a goodly sum of money, and providing horses, carriages, coaches and the queen's trousseau. It is said that she will make the journey in June, but is clear that everything cannot be ready before September, and some say that the day may be put off still later owing to the commotions in France. An important minister here has assured me that he is certain that the princesses will not go this year.
From Madrid, the 7 March, 1614.
March 7. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 201. To the Ambassador in England.
The Cardinal Duke of Mantua, by means of our Secretary Vincenti, has asked for our opinion upon his marriage with the Infanta and the two points of the damages and the rebels. We have written as you will see by the enclosed copy. We also send a copy of the resolution taken by the duke, forwarded to us by Vincenti a few days later.
The like, mutatis mutandis, to the ambassadors and residents in:
Ayes 145.
Noes 2.
Neutral 4.
March 8. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 202. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The question of the French marriage was committed, as I have said, to twelve of the Council, and the king is so eager for it that it seems likely to be speedily settled. The Ambassador Edmonds reports that the Most Christian queen has consented that the princess be sent at the age of eleven and that the marriage be consummated when she is twelve, the manner followed to be similar to that adopted by the late king with his first wife; that a dowry of (fn. 3) crowns be paid, one half at the betrothal and the other half on arriving; that a chapel be provided for the use of herself and her French servants. All the principal points thus seem about to be settled to the general satisfaction.
But letters have come from France upon the commotions with the princes, and this has thrown cold water upon the negotiations, which are now openly opposed by many, while a few say that they ought to be broken off without waiting to see the outcome.
The king now receives couriers from France every third day, and he is thus in a position to have full information of what passes there. It is considered certain that these commotions will have no greater results than to reform the government, curtail the authority of the queen, limit that of the others and bring everything into the hands of a Council which will include the princes and officials of the crown. There matters will be discussed and resolved in accordance with the interests of the kingdom and the king. But it may cause a delay in carrying out the marriages with Spain and greater resolution towards the interests of the princes, friends and colleagues of the crown.
The chiefs of the religion of France, if matters go further, think of presenting a remonstrance to the prince of Condé, in order that he may show it to the queen, not in the name of himself alone, but with the advice and counsel of the princes, crown officials and principal members of the realm, in which the chief demand will be that the princesses shall not be sent until the king is older and can do what pleases him.
Two French gentlemen of the house of Cortone (fn. 4) are here. They claim to be descended from the royal house of France, and have told their reasons to the king as well as to all the ambassadors here. They set forth the reasons for their departure from France and say that they intend to return when the king is older and can do them justice. The king received them with some kindness and the Most Christian ambassador offered them a considerable sum of money to return, but they would not consent.
London, the 8 March, 1614.
March 8. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 203. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The ambassador of Muscovy has requested the king to procure peace between his master and the kings of Poland and Sweden. The king immediately consented and has sent to Poland a Scotchman named Patrick Gordon with letters asking that king to send a special envoy with his reply. He has done the same in Sweden, because although the inclination of that king to peace is well known, yet he wishes to make sure of it. The ambassador returned from those parts reported that Charles, the king's brother, was present with 10,000 combatants on the confines of Muscovy. In the spring the king himself is to go there, nevertheless he expresses himself ready for peace and the restitution of what has been occupied, that is Courland (Corelia), a large province, and the places of Russia if the Muscovites will pay him the money expended by his father and himself in seven years of war. That the parliament had met and provided for the necessary payment of 1,000 thalers to the king of Denmark within the time determined in the peace established by the king's means, and he will send here the stipulations settled by him, which he has not yet done. In from two to three months the king will again send the same ambassador to Sweden, to arrange a peace with Muscovy as he has already done with Denmark. Soon afterwards the one who was in Denmark will set out for Poland with the same purpose, and it is expected that the persons sent will return with the replies of that king. I have seen the letter written to Poland. It is to the effect that the king being desirous of peace between Christian princes is sending an ambassador to treat between that king and Muscovy.
The Sieur de St. Cler, by the order of the king, has had a long interview with the ambassador of the States, and afterwards came to his Majesty. He will return here, subsequently pass to Flanders and from there to his master. He will take the conclusion of a good understanding with the United Provinces and every encouragement to go further.
Last week I had an audience of the prince. He asked after the health of your Serenity and your Excellencies, what was happening between Savoy and Mantua, whether a marriage will take place between the widowed Infanta and the duke, and whether I thought that the confederates and Spain would break with each other. He asked about the disturbances of France, of the affairs of Germany, of the princess his sister, and said that the king will not send the duke of Lennox to the baptism but will ask the prince of Anhalt to represent him.
While I was replying that I did not know whether the marriages between the crowns would be proceeded with, adding that the second princess of France is in no way inferior to the first in beauty and grace, he showed his pleasure by his smiling (ne mostro gusto con facia ridente).
He is growing in stature, but much more in character (cresce nella persona, ma molto più nelle virtù), which is amiable and pleasing. He is, thank God, in good health, but is not perhaps so robust as might be desired. I must not omit to report the great esteem and affection which he expressed for your Serenity and your Excellencies.
By reason of the delay of the Catholic king in sending the betrothed children to the confines of France the king has postponed or rather withdrawn the order to his ambassador to come here, as he does not wish to leave that court without an ambassador at this time.
Both the archduke and the States are increasing their garrisons, acting with great vigilance. Four vessels have recently set out for Virginia with 900 infantry, and also to strengthen the garrison of Bermuda.
From London, the 8 March, 1614.
March 17 Senato. Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives. 204. Zorzi Giustinian and Girolamo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassadors in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The allied princes are urging the States to allow them to have Count Maurice as their Captain General. He would like this appointment, and they hope that the States will agree; if the troubles of France do not prevent. These are causing considerable anxiety to the Catholic Ambassador, who fears that they may upset the marriages arranged and that the affairs of Flanders will suffer great prejudice by these accidents.
The ambassador of England has arrived here. He has indulged in many wiles with the emperor in favour of the confederate princes. At Prague he gave 7,000 florins to the Calvinists there towards the building of their church. All these things have given the greatest dissatisfaction to the emperor, which is increased by the stiffness with which the ambassador treats him, as he importunes for the audience, which has been postponed. The Emperor has endeavoured to induce the king of England to replace him, but that sovereign believes that he would impair his reputation by yielding this point.
From Linz, the 17 March, 1614. Copy.
March 18. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 205. Pietro Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Although the President de Thou is negotiating with the absent princes, with some hope of success, yet they are arming here and collecting troops, so that they expect to have 25,000 foot and a good number of horse in a month. The queen has sent to all the governors to keep the provinces under control.
On the other hand the princes have not as yet received any support from foreign powers. England has declared that she will support the royal authority, and will give no assistance to any one who tries to disturb the peace of France. The States of Holland have done the same; so has Count Maurice, of whom there was some doubt at first, owing to his kinship with Condé. From Germany it is not understood that the Protestants will do anything in their favour.
Those of the religion here remain quiet so long as there are no negotiations for the marriages with Spain.
The princes have sent to the Swiss to prevent the levies which are being made there by the queen's orders, telling them that they will only be sent to support ministers who are the creatures of Spain. Nevers continues to fortify himself in Mezières. Vendome has withdrawn to Britanny.
The ambassador of England is expected daily. It is hoped that he will bring the settlement of the marriage with the prince there. It is well known that the Spaniards have produced some disturbance by making other proposals, but the issue is awaited with considerable confidence owing to the favourable disposition of his Majesty.
From Paris, the 18 March, 1614.
March 18. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 206. Pietro Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Turks who were going to the Hague, as I informed your Serenity, were made prisoners on the way, near Brussels, by order of the archduke. When the States heard this, they immediately sent to procure their release. This has been obtained, not without time and trouble.
From Paris, the 18 March, 1614.
March 19. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Milano. Venetian Archives. 207. Andrea Surian, Venetian Resident at Milan, to the Doge and Senate.
The intentions of the duke of Savoy are not yet known. It is generally believed that he will not declare his mind in these present circumstances before the arrival in Italy of the prince, his son. It is said that he has arrived at Barcelona, but if so they have not received news of it at Genoa.
They believe here that the prince has received the consent of the Catholic king to negotiate for the marriage of the third infanta, his daughter, with the prince of England, but this seems unlikely, because of the advices that the negotiations for the marriage of the English prince with the second daughter of France are already far advanced. However, I hear that the duke of Savoy has despatched the count of Scarnafes to England immediately after receiving from Spain the letters of the prince, his son.
From Milan, the 19 March, 1614.
March 21. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 208. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
At the repeated instance of the States, which was more emphatic than the first, the archduke Albert has released the Chiaus from the castle of Antwerp, and sent him, with all those who were with him, to the Hague. He afterwards gave an account of all this to Spain, insisting upon the condition of the times, the absence of the count of Bucquoi (Buguir) and other captains of war, the few troops which are on a war footing, the numerous ones of the States, and concludes that the resolution taken by him was a counsel of necessity.
The latest letters from the Hague show that the Dutch are satisfied with this, that the Chiaus had not yet arrived, and Henry had left for Heidelberg with the ambassador, for the christening. This ceremony will afford the opportunity for a conference in that city between many of the princes of Germany upon their affairs, and that concerns the interests of the emperor.
The levies of Spain for Hungary arouse the suspicions of the united princes. They are willing to see partial levies, to be paid by the Catholic king, but enlisted by the emperor, and from that militia which is the only one which the Hungarians will receive, namely their own.
The day before yesterday the ambassador of Spain called upon the agent of Denmark and the interview lasted more than two hours, the agent of the archduke also being present. He makes offers and does his utmost to stir up trouble (sturbare), but in vain.
The king was here last week, but, owing to the indisposition of the High Chancellor and the earl of Northampton, he has not yet formally taken the opinions concerning the marriage with France, though he may easily gather them from general conversation.
The assembly of parliament is fixed for the 15th prox., as I wrote would be done. Those who are to take part in it are already being elected by the city and the provinces. In it the little Prince Palatine will be naturalised, and he will be given a title, as the king promised to the count of Schomberg. The king will have the ordinary subsidy, which amounts to about 500,000 crowns. They will deal with lightening the burdens of the people and relieving the country from the obligation of providing the royal house at limited prices, a suitable payment being made in ready money. The king will make this proposal with his own mouth on the first day of the session.
London, the 21 March, 1614.
March 21. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 209. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday the agent of the king of Denmark spent a long time with the king. He informed His Majesty of what the ambassador of Spain had told him on the preceding day. In two or three days he will depart, and in six or eight he will be in Holland, afterwards returning to his king, as I advised.
The ambassador of Muscovy stays on without doing anything, and is waiting for the return of the persons sent, to hear the decision of Poland and of Sweden, of which he feels sure.
The Most Christian ambassador, and the one of the king, arrived from France, have shown to His Majesty a manifesto of the queen in reply to the letter of the prince of Condé. The day before yesterday the king received letters written from the spot, relating the advances made by the President de Thou (de Tu) to that prince, from whom he received a fairly satisfactory reply. The opinion is growing stronger that everything is leading to an assembly of the estates, who will have to deal with some reform of the government. It is said that M. de Villeroi is inclined to retire. The greatest difficulty seems to be in the manner, safety and liberty in which they can be convoked. The place will probably be one of the cities of Orleans, Blois, Tours or Troyes. It is known that the arguments of the letter of Condé are popular, and since the prohibition it has circulated more and has gained still further acceptance.
Here, where there are opportunities for knowing the inclinations of the Huguenots of France, it is understood that they wish to advance the settlement of the marriage, and they would like proceedings to be taken against a certain person whom they believe to have been concerned in the death of the late king, as I wrote fully at the time. What I can assert to your Excellencies of the mind of the king in these commotions is that he desires the peace of France, obedience with good government, and a good disposition in the right direction (verso chi conviene).
London, the 21 March, 1614.
March 21. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costant. Venetian Archives. 210. Cristoforo Valier, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
A French soldier was brought here lately. He was sent for and closely questioned by the Grand Vizier, who, when he learned that the Frenchman had been buccaneering with the bertons of Malta, immediately changed his manner and sent word to the ambassador of France to bring him the capitulations of his king. The ambassador, though greatly troubled, immediately brought the capitulations and left them in the hands of the Grand Chancellor. The same order was afterwards sent to the ambassadors of England and of Flanders, and to me. But I was not willing to let the capitulations out of my hands without the utmost resistance, and so I went to see the Pasha. But my arguments were of no avail as he had already received those of the others.
I have since learned from an important minister that the Pasha took this step in order to take away the protection granted by them to the ambassadors of France and England resident here, for all the Frankish people and ships. As these take under their protection the ships and subjects of the Catholic king and other princes hostile to the Porte, they consider the privilege is greatly to the prejudice of His Majesty. If this is the case, our capitulations will be restored without alteration. If it turns out otherwise, I will use my utmost endeavours to secure the removal of anything prejudicial to the interests of the republic. The other ambassadors are determined to do the same in the interests of their princes, as they clearly perceive how prejudicial to the common weal any change would be.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 21 March, 1614.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 22. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Roma Venetian Archives. 211. Tomaso Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Spaniards are still greatly disturbed at the prospect of the conclusion of the marriage between France and England. They now spread rumours that they have begun negotiations to have the princess of Lorraine. This is probably to thwart the designs of the French, and to unite that state, as they say, with the others of Flanders.
From Rome, the 22 March, 1614.
March 23. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 212. Francesco Morosini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday I had the opportunity of privately visiting the ambassador of England, he has informed me about the prisoner who has been sent by ship to London, about whom there had been negotiations with the Senate, because he offered to disclose several plots against that king. He went on to say that he should like to have the most cordial relations with me, as being the minister of the republic. He told me that there had come to this court a certain Scopio (fn. 5) who had printed a book some while ago in Germany in answer to one written by his king upon the oath, and who had afterwards arrived here bringing another book also written against His Majesty, receiving from the ministers here a handsome acknowledgment for those writings. He said that if this book had dealt with religion as the first did, there would have been no occasion to trouble about differences of opinion, but that it was not permissible to write infamous libels against princes, to the end that they might be published and the authors rewarded. He told me that he had succeeded in getting hold of the manuscript in the author's own hand, before it was printed, for he knew that it would have been published under a false name in order that he might deny the authorship of it. The ambassador showed me the book and read some passages, which were certainly most licentious and offensive to the king. He asked me to keep the matter to myself and wished to know what I thought of it.
I thanked him for the confidence which he had reposed in me, and assured him of the readiness of the republic to serve the king in all circumstances.
The ambassador added, I am waiting to see what will be done with this man, and afterwards I shall have to take such steps against him as are necessary, not only in my capacity as the minister of His Majesty, but as a private gentleman, as it is a question concerning the reputation and honour of the king, my master.
He told me that he had been at this court for three years without a break, that His Majesty had given him leave to return home, and that he thought of setting out when the king left Madrid.
From Madrid, the 23 March, 1614.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 23. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives. 213. Francesco Moeosini, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
They have sent to Flanders to order the release of the Turk who was made prisoner, it being recognised that he brought nothing prejudicial to the interests of this crown.
By the same courier the Marquis Spinola has been ordered to state what reasons have led him to disband so many troops at a time when the States are armed as before, while the Protestant princes are the same.
From Madrid, the 23 March, 1614.
March 24. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives. 214. Zorzi Giustinian and Girolamo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassadors in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The Archduke Ferdinand has opened the diet of Austria at Vienna, at which not a single Protestant has appeared. This has troubled the emperor who fears that the assembly will give rise to nothing but confusion.
The English Ambassador, finding his audience delayed while everyone else obtained ready admittance, informed the emperor that he had received instructions from the king, his master, to depart. The moment this was known at the palace, the ambassador was immediately introduced to an audience, at which he took leave of the Emperor and Empress. Here they are very glad to see the back of him, as his presence is the cause of great difficulties and troubles.
From Veltz, the 24 March, 1614. Copy.
March 24. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 215. Niccolo Donado reported to the Cabinet that the ambassador of France had spoken to him of the affairs of his country. He referred to the dignified reply made to the manifesto of the prince. He said that with 8,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry the queen could have put down the movement by force, but she preferred to employ gentler measures. Outside the kingdom they have no following, as they are precluded from turning to England because of the marriage between the second sister of the Most Christian King and the prince there, which is considered as good as settled. The States are under many obligations to the Crown and in Germany they have their own divisions and the fear of the Turks. The princes had made a great impression by demanding passage for 20,000 foot of the duke of Lorraine, which was refused. But it is known they never had forces or money. The Prince of Condé would never have moved of himself as he had not the ability, but he had been incited by his uncle the Marquis of Bouillon.


  • 1.
  • 2. The copy of this letter is wanting.
  • 3. Torn. The sum was 800,000 crowns.
  • 4. Jean de Courtenay des Salles and Jean de Courtenay Franville. Their letter to King James advancing their claims is among the State Papers, dated 12 December, 1613. (S.P. Foreign, France.)
  • 5. Gaspar Schopp, a native of Neumarck. In 1611 he published a work entitled “Ecclesiasticus” which was chiefly directed against James I.