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.
The present volume of this Calendar covers a period of twenty-six months, from July, 1613, to August, 1615. Owing to the troubled state of practically the whole of Europe, foreign affairs bulk much more largely than domestic in the despatches. Where war was not already in full swing there appeared every prospect of a speedy appeal to arms. The principal centres of disturbance are three in number, Northern Italy, the lower Rhine and France, and to the settlement of the troubles in those parts the efforts of European diplomacy were chiefly directed for the time being. Interest centres round the treaties of Xanten and Asti and the negotiations which preceded and followed them, and the civil disturbances in France.
In Italy the hot-headed Duke of Savoy, Charles Emanuel I., had thrown everything into confusion by his claims upon Montferrat, upon which he had practically gone to war with Mantua and come into sharp opposition with the Spanish governor of Milan. Owing to the support given by Venice to Mantua, diplomatic relations were broken off between the Duke and the republic, plans for crippling Venice were seriously discussed by Savoyard statesmen, while the Venetians instructed their admirals to treat as pirates privateers flying the duke's flag, and successfully endeavoured to obtain orders from James to forbid English adventurers to go out to help Savoy. (fn. 1) The duke was left in a position of perilous isolation and for a while he seemed inclined to save himself by coming to an understanding with Spain. Twice within a few months James expressed to Foscarini his opinion that the Duke was entirely Spanish (Nos. 28, 112), while the Earl of Arundel told Barbarigo that the Duke had been set on by the Spaniards (No. 82). But he could obviously only serve as a catspaw for the ambitious designs of Spain upon the whole of North Italy. Such a position was intolerable to a high-spirited and ambitious Prince; he became alarmed at the pretensions of Spain, and particularly at the claim of the Governor of Milan to have the custody of the heiress of Montferrat. Before long both he and the governor Hinojosa were arming their forces against each other upon the original question of the possession of Montferrat. Confronted by the might of Spain the Duke naturally looked to his old friends for assistance. Early in 1614 Cardinal Aldobrandino had endeavoured to bring about a reconciliation between the republic and the Duke, his nephew Don Ippolito Aldobrandini opening negotiations at Padua for this purpose. This attempt failed, but in July, 1614, the mediatory offices of Carleton were welcomed by the Venetians, and in spite of the difficulties thrown in the way by the Governor of Milan (No. 309) the English ambassador had the satisfaction of introducing in the College the Senator Pescina, the duke's envoy, after which formal and friendly relations were resumed between the two powers. This event combined with a knowledge of Aldobrandini's previous efforts aroused a suspicion at Rome that the Cardinal had been working in conjunction with Carleton, and he had some difficulty to convince the Pope that he had not been guilty of any dealings with the heretics.
This reconciliation between Savoy and Venice at once re-acted upon the relations between Savoy and England. While Savoy was under suspicion of truckling to the Spaniards, the duke's ambassador in London had been received coldly, so much so that he did not venture to ask for help, and his suggestion of a Savoyard Princess for Charles was merely snubbed. In September, 1614, however, there arrived in England Antonio Scarnafigi or Scarnafes, who was destined to occupy the position of the duke's ambassador in London for some years. A man of tireless activity and a sworn enemy of the Spaniards he was continually travelling backwards and forwards in his master's service between England, the Netherlands and Savoy. With Foscarini he contracted an intimate friendship, though during the estrangement the Venetian Ambassador had refused to receive his predecessor. The principal objects of his mission were to make proposals for an alliance and urgent demands for help (No. 387). James, who had been delighted at the success of Carleton's measures for bringing about a reconciliation between Venice and Savoy, and who dreaded any further augmentation of the Spanish power, seemed inclined to listen favourably to these proposals, especially as his policy was directed to building up a defensive league against the might of Spain under his own leadership. As usual, however, he was most unwilling to commit himself to anything definite, and above all he dreaded being led into anything in the nature of an act of war. Accordingly, although he spoke in unmeasured terms about Spain and made many high sounding promises, his actual performance amounted to very little. He gave the Duke leave to raise men and obtain munitions of war in his dominions, he promised a money subsidy and offered to allow Robert Rich to take 4,000 men to Piedmont. Rich's men never left their native shore (No. 623) and English adventurers do not seem at any time to have rendered assistance to the Duke in any number, none being mentioned in the list given of Savoy's effective forces in August, 1614. However, James did succeed in finding 100,000 crowns (£25,000) which was paid to the Duke of Mayenne, about April, 1615, on the understanding that he should take a force of 7,000 men to help the Duke (No. 776), though Savoy never derived any appreciable benefit from this assistance. James's real efforts were directed to an endeavour to patch up a peace between Milan and Savoy. When the negotiations of the French Ambassador Rambouillet and the nuncio Savelli broke down, James decided to send Carleton to Turin to co-operate with the new Venetian Ambassador to Savoy in endeavouring to arrange a settlement together with the French Ambassador and the nuncio. Carleton left Venice on this mission about the middle of February, 1615. He had a difficult task before him. The Ambassadors was really divided into two groups, Rambouillet and the nuncio on the one side, and Zen and Carleton on the other. The former pair strongly suspected a secret compact between England and Venice. Owing to the religious question Carleton could never meet the nuncio, whose status as an Ambassador he refused to recognise. Although instructed to act with Zen, Carleton considered his Venetian colleague much too anxious to make peace at any price. (fn. 2) Zen, while acting with an appearance of complete confidence with Carleton, took great care not to become identified with him in any operations, in order not to give colour to those who suspected an Anglo-Venetian compact (No. 696). He believed that Carleton, although ostensibly in favour of peace, would prefer to see war in Italy in order to divert attention from the Elector Palatine and other German friends (No. 739). The French Ambassador Rambouillet raised endless difficulties by his extraordinary conduct. He would say one thing to the Duke and another to his colleagues. He would one day contradict what he had said the day before. By the frequent presentation of fresh demands and by constantly shifting his ground, he was always bringing the negotiations to a standstill or threatening a complete rupture. The Duke of Savoy considered him to be little better than a Spanish spy and hated him with a fervent hatred, only tolerating him on the grounds of expediency. Carleton was amazed at such proceedings; he could not understand the Duke, who was one day in depths of despondency and the next the gayest figure in a scene of revelry (No. 684) and who in spite of all his warlike talk was very slow in making serious preparations; still less could he fathom Rambouillet, whose conduct he variously attributed to Spanish influence or to the desire to have the glory of making peace entirely to himself (No. 809). He told Scaramelli that he was quite dumbfounded at the way in which things were done and he could make nothing of it, as it seemed the most confused business that ever a man had been involved with in any court of the world (No. 739). The Governor of Milan refused to listen to any negotiations, saying that the affair had been taken out of his hands and was being managed from Madrid. The Duke of Savoy, owing to his volatile temperament and his hatred of Rambouillet, proved very difficult to manage, and at one time he was even suspected of a disposition to turn once more towards Spain out of sheer disgust with the policy of France (No. 822). It speaks much for Carleton that he emerged from this welter with credit. By his ready wit and constant good humour he turned many an awkward corner. Although he and Rambouillet were frequently engaged in hot disputes they usually ended as good friends. At the conclusion of an unusally sharp encounter he turned to the Duke and said: I see how this will end; hitherto the Ambassador and I have been labouring to bring about peace between the Spaniards and your Highness and it will now be necessary for your Highness to bring about peace between us. The jest put every one in a good humour and made them the more ready to laugh consumedly at Zen's quaint illustration of the joint protection afforded to Venice by St. Mark and St. Theodore (No. 918). In the end the peace was brought about rather in spite of the action of Carleton or Rambouillet. While the terms were under discussion Carleton contended that the Spaniards and Savoy should disarm simultaneously. James, in his eagerness for peace, waived this point, agreeing that Savoy should disarm first and that the Spaniards should disarm afterwards within a fixed space of time, insisting that it should be a real disarmament and not a mere withdrawal of troops. Carleton, who mistrusted Spanish assurances, received these instructions with unconcealed regret (No. 834) but he acted loyally up to them, and finally convinced Zen of the sincerity of his desire for peace. Rambouillet persisted in his capricious conduct to the end, raising frivolous pretexts to delay the signing of the treaty. His proceedings form the subject of a long letter from the Duke of Savoy to his Ambassadors in France (No. 930). However, Rambouillet was over-ruled by the arrival of the ratification of the treaty by Louis. The news of the signing of the treaty was received by the population of Asti with delirious joy and the occasion was celebrated by the publication of a squib in which the parts taken by the principal actors are aptly described by texts from the scriptures. Unfortunately the rejoicing was premature, and Carleton's misgivings proved only too well founded.
In northern Europe the question of the succession to the Duchies of Cleves and Juliers remained the chief disturbing factor. In the autumn of 1613 matters appeared to have been so far settled by the provisional partition between the two chief claimants that Nottingham expressed to Foscarini his belief that all would be well there and that the greatest danger was to be feared from Italy (No. 125). Events however were soon to prove how ill-grounded was this optimism. The Princes of Brandenburg and Neuburg did not trust each other. Believing that Neuburg was about to take steps to obtain possession of the whole inheritance, the Prince of Brandenburg made an unsuccessful attempt upon Dusseldorf. Upon this Neuburg occupied that town and drove out his rival's troops. Brandenburg retired to the citadel of Juliers, into which the States General promptly threw a Dutch garrison. War now seemed fairly in sight, Spinola gathered together an army near Maastricht and sent to the Count of Burquoi, who forced a passage through the Palatinate to join him. He advanced to Aix la Chapelle, where he restored the ascendancy of the Catholics, and then laid siege to Wesel. Prince Maurice, on the other hand, collected his forces on the Dutch frontiers and advanced to meet his old adversary, but too late to save Wesel, which fell into Spinola's hands after a brief resistance. The hostile forces advanced to the neighbourhood of Xanten, where an armistice was arranged, each side taking advantage of the respite to fortify the recent acquisitions.
The character of this dispute as a struggle between Protestantism and Catholicism had been accentuated by the recent declaration by Neuburg of his conversion to Catholicism. By this step he acquired the whole-hearted support of the emperor, the Catholic league and the Spanish Austrian faction generally, while Brandenburg had to rely chiefly upon the Dutch, the Princes of the Union and James. When an Ambassador from Neuburg presented himself in London, to announce his master's conversion and give the reasons for his action, James dryly remarked that he would have liked it better if the Duke had not changed, and if he had continued in the faith he would have considered him as a friend (No. 375).
To avoid a general war in Germany both France and England intervened. At the first threat of hostilities James sent Sir Henry Wotton to the Hague and the Queen Regent chose Emile Reffugé to go and meet him there, to try to arrange some settlement. The French envoy delayed his departure for so long that Piero Contarini, the Venetian Ambassador at Paris, believed that he was being kept back in order not to offend the susceptibilities of the Spaniards (No. 391). In the interval Wesel had been lost, a catastrophe for which the Dutch blamed Wotton, saying that they had delayed to arm immediately at his instance and out of respect for James, and Spinola had taken advantage of their inactivity to capture the place. However, Reffugé arrived at Rees early in October and negotiations for a settlement were at once actively set on foot, with a firm determination to arrive at a definite issue (No. 479). As a result of this conference the treaty of Xanten was finally drawn up and signed upon 12 November, 1614, upon the basis of the mutual restitution of all the places recently taken and a provisional division of the Cleves-Juliers inheritance between the two Princes possessioners. To ensure the adoption of this treaty the Ambassador insisted that the parties interested should adopt the terms which they had arranged, giving them four days in which to accept or reject them, and declaring that if one accepted and the other refused all the parties concerned should act against the non-content. The treaty was signed by Reffugé and Du Maurier for France, Wotton and Dickenson for England, and by the representatives of the Netherlands and the United Princes of Germany. Wotton thought that he had scored a diplomatic triumph by obtaining the signatures of the French ministers to the treaty and thus binding the French crown to see that it was carried out; but the whole arrangement was vitiated by the absence from the document of the signatures of any representatives of the Emperor or the Archduke Albert. Both these potentates hastened to repudiate the treaty. Quite early in the negotiations the Count of Hohenzollern appeared upon the scene to claim that the decision of the question about the duchies rested with the Emperor alone, while the Archduke refused to recognise a treaty in which he had taken no part. The remainder of the year was passed in vain attempts to induce the Archduke to accept the terms of the treaty and agree to the restitution of Wesel and of the other places occupied. Boischot and Sarmiento, the ministers of the Archduke and of Spain in London, both assured James of the extreme readiness of their masters to make restitution if only the Dutch would give up Juliers. The Dutch on their side insisted that the treaty of Xanten should be carried out to the letter and refused to give up Juliers unless they received reasonable guarantees that Spinola would evacuate Wesel. Further difficulties arose because Spinola demanded a promise from Prince Maurice that he would never again enter the duchies, and matters looked so hopeless that Reffugé returned home, the Dutch made active preparations for war and every one expected the immediate outbreak of hostilities. At this juncture James sent for both Sarmiento and Boischot to meet him in the presence of the Privy Council. He asked them why the treaty of Xanten had not been carried out. Boischot replied that Maurice would not carry out Spinola's proposals. A heated discussion followed this answer, until finally James asked whether they would promise the restitution of Wesel and the other places occupied if some satisfactory formula could be found. They answered yes, and the King made them repeat the affirmative two or three times. James thereupon promised to devise a satisfactory formula himself, to which he guaranteed that he would obtain the consent of the States-General and France. Three days later the King asked the two Ambassadors to sign a promise of evacuation and when they began to make excuses he grew very angry and threatened war. To these heroics Sarmiento replied that he was quite ready to leave the kingdom at the first hint (No. 571). James now set himself resolutely to the task of drawing up a formula for the Archduke to accept. Month after month was wasted in a fruitless correspondence upon these particulars, much to the satisfaction of the Austro-Spanish party, who only wanted to gain time in order to consolidate their position and fortify their new acquisitions. Meanwhile the Dutch marvelled at the credulity with which James swallowed the assurance so glibly made to him by the Archduke and Spain, while the Duke of Brandenburg sent an Ambassador to urge him to leave these fruitless negotiations and decide upon some resolute line of action. James, however, convinced himself that there were good hopes of peace, and through Wotton he urged the States-General to consent to some modifications in the treaty of Xanten, which he was persuaded that the Archduke would accept. The Dutch, however, in spite of their reluctance to offend James, avoided giving a definite reply and practically shelved the proposal by referring it to the several provinces, because they had no confidence in the assurances of the Archduke or Spain.
In France the policy of the country was largely influenced by the question of the marriage of the three eldest children of Henry IV., in spite of their tender years. Ever since the death of Prince Henry, James had been on the look-out for a suitable match for Charles, although the boy was barely thirteen years of age, and of a delicate constitution. No doubt the recent wedding of the Princess Elizabeth contributed to give a matrimonial bent to the king's mind, and immediately upon the conclusion of the festivities at Heidelberg the Duke of Lennox, instead of coming home, proceeded straight to Paris to open negotiations for a marriage between Charles and the Princess Christina, Henry IV.'s second daughter. Though he brought no definite instructions with him he began to negotiate as if he possessed full powers, after first cautiously sounding the disposition of the French court. Villeroi, on finding that Lennox had received no definite authority to act, grew suspicious about the sincerity of James, but the general feeling in France was favourable to the match, the Queen Regent seemed well-disposed, the Duke of Guise gave his powerful support and the whole of the Huguenot influence could be relied upon. The French court thought that it would be an excellent way of satisfying the Protestant party and of silencing their discontents. Under such favourable auspices the negotiations proceeded most smoothly in spite of the active opposition of the pope and Spain. By October 1613 the marriage was looked upon in Europe as a settled thing, there being only a few points of detail to arrange which were not expected to occasion much difficulty. James, owing to the anxiety to secure the succession, would have preferred a more mature bride than the seven-year-old Christina, as he would be obliged to wait many years before he could expect a grandson from her (No. 38). However, the Duke of Lennox, who was set on bringing about the match, and the king's ordinary ambassador at Paris, Sir Thomas Edmondes, who came over to England on purpose, succeeded in talking the king over so that he became quite eager for the alliance (No. 202). On the French side they showed no less good will, and paid little attention to the coldness of the Spaniards or the complaints made at Rome. The pope was told that the marriage, if it took place, would be to the advantage of the English Catholics (No. 165). Although the Spaniards used every effort to prevent the alliance they plainly considered it a forlorn hope, their ministers referred to it as if it were already settled and they were unable to conceal their chagrin. At the beginning of the year 1614 it seemed as if nothing further were needed but the formality of signing the necessary documents. In the middle of February Edmondes came over from France with definite proposals to submit to the king, and some said that he had full power to complete the negotiations. James nominated twelve members of the Privy Council to discuss and settle the terms, and it was expected that in a few weeks they would have concluded the matter (No. 194). At this moment, when everything seemed to be in good train, news reached England of the withdrawal from Court of the Prince of Condé and other princes of the blood and of their manifesto against the Queen Regent and her favourites. James was keenly interested in what was taking place across the Channel, and kept his finger upon the pulse of French sentiment by means of frequent couriers. He remained eager for the match for a while, but in such unfavourable conditions the project drooped though it did not actually die. Under the advice of his ministers, who suggested that James should wait to see the issue of these disturbances, his zeal rapidly cooled. On more than one occasion the negotiations were resumed, but they never recovered their former vigour or reached such an advanced stage. At times they semed to have taken a fresh lease of life, but as a rule they were carried on for ulterior political purposes without any serious intention of bringing them to a definite issue. It is true that in the middle of 1615 James seemed once more bent upon obtaining Christina for Charles. He gave Caron, the Dutch Ambassador, the impression that he preferred an alliance with France in spite of the advantageous offers made by Spain (No. 891), and he told Sarmiento plainly that matters were so far advanced with France that he could not and ought not to treat with others (No. 900). But if this was more than a device to hinder the approaching marriages between France and Spain, it is certain that James did not long continue in this state of mind.
The main object of the princes of the blood, as set forth in their manifesto, was to rescue the government of the country from the hands of the faction which was devoted to the Spanish interests and whose policy was represented by the marriages which they had arranged between the royal families of France and Spain of Louis XIII to Philip's eldest daughter Anne, and of the Infant Philip to the French Princess Elizabeth. These marriages were the pet scheme of the Queen Regent and Concini, and were supported by the Chancellor Sillery and to a more modified extent by Villeroi. They hoped by such means to obtain the support of Spain for the by no means strong central government of France. While the negotiations for the English match were in full swing, the Spanish proposal remained in the background; and it was suggested that the English marriage should take place first, Villeroi hoped to carry out the two alliances together, and to use one as a guarantee against the other. He thought that the English alliance would quiet the fears of the Huguenots and pacify the princes. However, it proved impossible to work this scheme successfully, as opinion both in France and outside was too sharply divided. Spain, the pope, and the Spanish party at the French court dreaded the effect of an English match, while on the other hand feeling ran high in France against the Spanish marriages among all classes of the population. Such of the European powers as had reason to fear the excessive greatness of Spain, the Dutch, Savoy, the United Princes of Germany and even Venice, dreaded the secession of their most powerful ally to the common enemy. The opposition of the princes to the Spanish marriages was undoubtedly the most effective item in their programme; it assured them of the support of the whole of the Huguenot faction and the sympathy of those foreign powers which considered themselves menaced by Spain, most of whom were old allies of the French crown. The Queen Regent was placed in a very difficult position and very little would have turned the scale against her. The princes could rely upon a large measure of support both in the country and out of it, while her government was extremely unpopular. If there had been a man of commanding ability among the princes he might easily have seized the reins of government. The Queen Regent survived her perils owing to the incompetence and selfishness of the princes, the divided counsels of the Huguenots and the forbearance of James and other foreign powers. As it was, she had to make considerable concessions to the princes at Sainte Menehould in May 1614, where she conceded to them great sums of money, promised that the Spanish marriages should not take place before the king's majority, and agreed to summon the States General. She was able, however, to recover some of the lost ground. Acting on the advice of Villeroi she took the young king on a tour through the provinces, where his presence excited an outburst of enthusiasm. She utilized this loyal feeling to influence the elections to the States General, and she was so far successful that she was subsequently able to obtain from them a declaration in favour of the Spanish marriages. Even so, foreign intervention would have made her position untenable. The Dutch valued their alliance with the French crown too highly to interfere; the Princes of Germany had too much to look after at home, but the situation offered many tempting opportunities to James, who hated the idea of Spanish marriages and who seemed at times ready to go any lengths to prevent them. As the recognized chief of the Protestant powers in Europe he would have been followed blindly by the Huguenots in almost any measures that he chose to take, while the princes looked to him for leading and guidance. For the greater part of the year 1615 he held the fate of France in his hands. If that country remains at peace, wrote Foscarini in August, it will owe it entirely to His Majesty (No. 970). Whatever the reasons, however, James let his opportunities slip. Openly he made a strong formal protest to the King and Queen Regent against the hurrying on of the Spanish marriages by the mouth of his Ambassador Edmondes; secretly he kept in close touch with the disaffected elements in France, but he went no further. Although envoys came from both the princes and the Huguenots to urge him to intervene decisively in the struggle, he took no active steps. He continued, indeed, to coquet with both, but only succeeded in exciting the suspicions of the French court, who looked with anything but favour upon Edmondes. They need not have feared; in a message to the Huguenot assembly in July 1615 James characteristically informs them that as God had created him an absolute prince he could not encourage rebellion. He reminded them that prayers and tears were the arms of the church, advised them first to have recourse to remonstrance and petition, and if these failed, he made them vague promises of assistance (No. 957). To the princes, indeed, he adopted a somewhat different tone, as he urged them to arm if their remonstrances against the marriages proved unavailing (No. 974); in this case, however, it is noteworthy that he is not recorded to have made any offer of help.
Throughout the whole of these events Spain acts the part of villain of the piece. Both in Italy and in Germany their high-handed procedure caused general alarm among the smaller powers. By the double marriages they hoped to win over their old enemy France and even to range her on their side. There remained England, and the danger that James might step into the position rendered vacant by the death of Henry IV. To meet this danger the Spaniards devoted their powers to rendering James innocuous by flattering his vanity, by making a great show of friendship and by amusing him with negotiations. Philip early announced that he wished to forget all ancient animosities and to live in friendly relations with James as with a brother. James replied by sending valuable presents to Madrid. On August 8, 1613, Sarmiento arrived in London to begin his momentous embassy. The outlook for the moment seemed black enough. The Spaniards were hated by the people at large, while at Court the anti-Spanish party was in the ascendant and negotiating for a French marriage with every prospect of success. One of the first things that Sarmiento did was to offer the hand of the second Infanta of Spain for Charles, with a dower as large as James might require (No. 136). At the time James's head was full of the French proposals, and he paid little attention to the Spanish Ambassador's boastful offer. In the Queen, however, Sarmiento found a readier listener. Anne's ambition was flattered by the prospect of such a match for her son, and she was prevailed upon to bring the matter to the King's notice, although in doing so she met with a somewhat curt response (No. 194), James informing the French Ambassador of everything. For the time being France and Spain were bidding against each other for the English alliance. Besides his overt operations Sarmiento endeavoured by a liberal use of money to buy over the interest of the leading men at Court. He was so lavish that he was obliged to apply repeatedly to Spain for more money, and in June they decided to send him 30,000 crowns for his extraordinary expenses (No. 276) so Morosini reported from Madrid. It is true that Prof. Gardiner speaks slightingly of the idle stories which were a few years later so readily accepted by the credulous multitude' and the tales of the floods of Spanish gold which were popularly supposed to be flowing at regular intervals into the pockets of every Englishman worth buying.' (fn. 3) This view is not borne out by the Venetian papers. The information they give is very circumstantial, and they at least show that the opinion was a contemporary one. At all events Sarmiento conveyed the impression that he spent most lavishly. In June, 1615, Foscarini reports that the Spanish Ambassador had told him of the sum spent by Philip in England since the accession of James, which was so large as to pass belief. In May of the same year Foscarini sends word that the Ambassador had received an extraordinary remittance from Spain of several thousand crowns (No. 786), though he does not state for what purpose it was to be used. It is interesting to note in this connection that Foscarini never suspected the real reason for Digby's visit to England in the spring of 1614, but thought he had come to advocate a Spanish match for Charles, just as Edmondes had come over for the French match. (fn. 4) Sarmiento, however, did not really believe in the efficacy of this system of bribery; in January he had shown Foscarini a letter in which he had written to the Duke of Lerma telling him that the money spent in England did no good and would be much better employed in arming galleons (No. 611).
In the matter of the French marriage the course of events assisted Sarmiento's diplomacy and he had the satisfaction of seeing the negotiations suspended and practically broken off. In the dispute about the duchies and the restitution of Wesel he had a question of no less difficulty to deal with. In all the negotiations upon these points he worked in close concert with Boischot, the Ambassador of the Archduke Albert, who never took any important step without consulting him. Sarmiento adopted the line of protesting the readiness of the Spaniards to make restitution if only the Dutch would begin by evacuating Juliers, and put all the blame upon the latter for not carrying out the treaty of Xanten. When James pressed him hard for a definite declaration about the evacuation of Wesel, he succeeded in putting the king off by inducing him to take up the congenial task of devising formulae for the Archduke to sign, upon which negotiations could be prolonged indefinitely. In the case of Savoy he made repeated complaints about the permission given to the Duke to levy men and munitions of war in England. In general, however, he regretted the disturbances in Italy, which divided the Spanish forces, and severely blamed the Marquis of Hinojosa, the Governor of Milan. He wished Philip to concentrate his attention upon Cleves, where he believed war to be certain. He assured Foscarini again and again that he had written both to Philip and to Lerma urging upon them the desirability of establishing a stable peace in Italy.
Of Sarmiento's influence over James there are few traces to be found in these despatches. On the dissolution of the addled parliament Foscarini reports that the Spanish Ambassador expressed opinions upon it entirely to the taste of His Majesty (No. 305). On the arrival of the news of the occupation of Juliers by the Dutch, James consulted Sarmiento as to what action he should take before he sent Wotton to arrange a peace (No. 368). The Ambassador was an adept in the art of flattery, assuring James that no one's opinion had more weight with King Philip than his, and declaring than in accepting the treaty of Asti his Catholic Majesty had acted out of consideration for James, to whom Savoy ought on that account to be most grateful (No. 923).
There are a few scattered notices of Sarmiento's life in London. In June, 1615, when he was passing through London, his carriage was stopped by the mob. His attendants, in clearing the way, wounded an Englishman and the riot thereupon became so serious that the gates of the city were shut. Two of the Ambassador's train were arrested, and, when they were released on the following day, feeling ran so high that they had to return to the embassy in disguise (No. 850). On Twelfth night of the same year, Sarmiento created a sensation at court by refusing to attend a state masque in the company of Caron, the Dutch Ambassador, although his predecessor had shown no such scruples (No. 592). For some time his relations with Foscarini appear to have been strained, probably owing to the Venetian's strong anti-Spanish sympathies, but nominally upon a question of title, whether the Ambassador should be styled Excellency or merely Illustrious. For some months he abstained from returning Foscarini's visits, but finally Sarmiento broke the ice by offering to call and impart some important information. A most friendly interview took place soon afterwards in which the Ambassadors vied with each other in their compliments. It was supposed that Sarmiento, being aware of James's instances to Venice to help Savoy, thought it inexpedient to remain estranged any longer from the Venetian Ambassador.
Of other foreign affairs, the most important are those connected with Turkey. A revival in that direction was always a bugbear to Europe, and when reports reached James in July, 1613, of extensive naval preparations at Constantinople, he told Foscarini that if the Turks moved they would find themselves confronted by the forces of many realms. In December of the same year Carleton made an explicit offer of English naval help to the Signory if the Turks should attack Venice (No. 153). The republic, however, for the time being, had no fear of Turkish aggression, although they dreaded lest the Turks should be goaded into activity by the losses which they suffered at sea owing to the harassing tactics pursued by Spain, the Pope and Tuscany, in particular (No 90). A further incitement was provided by the severe losses inflicted upon the Turks by pirates. Already in July, 1613, the Turks were building galleys for the Red Sea to check the depredations of the English and Flemish corsairs. In November the Grand Vizier Nasuf staggered Paul Pindar, the English Ambassador, by handing him a claim for 300,000 sequins for damages inflicted on the Turks by English pirates. Pindar protested that such claims could not be made against him, but the Vizier declared that he would hold him personably responsible because he held him like a gambit in his hands (No. 135). In the fall of 1613 Nasuf decided to embark upon a very extensive programme for the ensuing year. For a while the dock-yards were busy with extensive preparations. But neither Turkish energy nor Turkish finance proved equal to the strain, and the results fell far short of the programme originally devised. All enthusiasm had evaporated out of the movement by the end of 1614, and they then spoke of the mistaken policy of Nasuf, who had alarmed all Europe by the noise of his preparations and had effected nothing (No. 546).
The disorganisation of the Turkish government led to many abuses, and the high-handed action of their irresponsible officials caused the representatives of Venice, France, England and Holland at Constantinople to sink their mutual jealousies and to act in concert for the maintenance of their rights. A serious situation was created by the action of the Cadi of Pera, who imposed the carazo upon the Christian merchants residing at Constantinople, contrary to the capitulations granted by the Sultan. The four ambassadors made a joint protest against this arbitrary proceeding, but while the matter was under discussion the Grand Vizier took advantage of the occasion to demand the capitulations of all the nations. When he returned them he had made considerable alterations, the chief being the withdrawal of the privilege of affording protection to the subjects of other princes. The Ambassadors protested loudly against such an unwarrantable infringement of their rights, and after a stormy interview they succeeded in inducing the Vizier to withdraw all the alterations except the one affecting this right of protection of foreigners, by which the subjects of the King of Spain had profited, as well as other enemies of the Turk. Upon this point the Vizier remained firm, and after energetic protests the Ambassadors agreed to made a virtue of necessity and accepted the altered capitulations. It is curious that Pindar's despatches at the Public Record Office contain no reference to these disputes, of which the Venetian Ambassador sent back very detailed accounts. Although the Ambassadors had protected Spanish subjects at Constantinople their general policy led them to encourage the enmity between the Turks and the Spanish-Austrian house, in order to keep the Emperor and his relations busily occupied on their eastern frontiers (No. 805). However, in spite of their opposition a peace was arranged between the Emperor and the Turk in August, 1615, a Turkish envoy having been sent to Vienna in the preceding May.
In August, 1613, Giustinian, then Venetian Ambassador at Paris, reports that France and England were joined together to oppose the Spanish scheme of nominating the Archduke Albert to be King of the Romans. On the other hand the Spanish-Austrian party had serious misgivings about the action of the Protestants. They suspected them of designs to take away the imperial crown from the house of Austria and bestow it upon the Elector Palatine, who had increased his consideration in the empire by marrying James's daughter (Nos. 269, 357). For these reasons and because of his active negotiations among the Protestant Princes of Germany, Lesieur, James's Ambassador at Vienna, was viewed with extreme distrust and dislike at the imperial court, and for a long time he was refused audience of the Emperor. When at length he obtained audience he was first taken aside by the leading ministers, who made a long series of complaints against him (p. 50, note). The Emperor asked James to recall him, and although the king at first hesitated, Lesieur ultimately left in March, the Emperor being very glad to see his back. His place was not again filled. Lesieur attributed the ill-feeling against him to the machinations of Sarmiento, though that Ambassador, when James showed him Lesieur's letter, warmly denied the imputation (No. 149). Nevertheless, Spanish influence ruled predominant in Germany. Any resolution of the Emperor, writes Giustinian, is of the slightest consequence, owing to his feeble influence over the princes. They all wait upon the Catholic King, who at present places the affairs of Germany above all others (No. 269).
Owing to the Queen the relations of England and Denmark are more than usually intimate. James was very anxious to bring Denmark into his league of Protestant and anti-Spanish powers, and he particularly desired the opening of diplomatic relations between Denmark and Venice and that the Republic should send an Ambassador to his brother-in-law. The antagonism between Denmark and the Dutch and the Hanse towns presented a serious obstacle to James's schemes of a league. In July, 1613, the Danish Ambassadors in Spain actually proposed to Philip that they should close the Sound against the Dutch and prevent them from taking wood and other things for their ships, if the King would indemnify them for the 60,000 crowns yearly which the Danes would lose by such action (No. 22). James did all in his power to dissipate these sentiments and ultimately succeeded to some extent. Through James's influence Christian was induced to satisfy Lubeck, to make peace with Sweden and to abate his hostility to the Dutch (No. 356); he could not, of course, afford to offend three such maritime powers simultaneously.
During the early stages of the Montferrat dispute Carleton suggested at Venice that he should go on a friendly mission to Mantua. The idea was well received at Venice and the Signory directed their resident at Mantua to prepare the way for the coming of the English Ambassador. At Mantua, however, the proposal created something like consternation; neither the Cardinal Duke nor his ministers welcomed the idea, as they were too much afraid of Spain. The Duke made his illness an excuse for postponing a visit that was never paid. In referring to the matter at a later period Carleton says that the Duke's resident threw his Cardinal's hat in the way.
In August, 1613, favourable news reached England from Virginia of the capture of the chief Powatan's daughter, the famous Pocahontas, and the consequent readiness of the chief to make terms of peace, with an offer to show the settlers some rich gold mines. The Earl of Arundel told Barbarigo what excitement this news had caused in England, where large sums had been promised for a fresh return. He omitted to add that many repented of their enthusiasm and had to be sued for payment. (fn. 5) However, additional forces were sent to the colony in the following March. Foscarini relates that a proposal was made in the parliament of 1614 to afford assistance to Virginia and Bermuda from the forces of the realm. The despatch containing this news is dated May 9, and so it cannot refer to Martin's speech on behalf of the Company on May 27, which aroused so much excitement in the Commons and was described as the most improper speech ever made to them. (fn. 6) At the beginning of 1615 disputes were reported between the English Colonists of Virginia and the French Colonists of Canada, but they were not expected to lead to serious difficulties. This bald reference must relate to the destruction of the French settlements by Samuel Argall acting under instructions from Sir Thomas Dale, the governor of Virginia. (fn. 7) The matter was supposed to be capable of adjustment, and in fact by the end of January Foscarini was able to report that the French Ambassador had obtained some satisfaction.
Ireland during this period enjoyed a term of comparative quiet, and the references to it in the despatches are scanty and unimportant. Foscarini mentions that both the Spanish Ambassadors, Sarmiento and Velasco, exhibited great interest in the affairs of Ireland and evidently attached importance to them. James said that he was aware of the Spanish machinations in Ireland, but spoke slightingly of them, chaffing the King of Spain for relying on the advice of the Earl of Tyrone and saying that he could easily repress any insurrection in the east (No. 60). Meanwhile munitions of war were being shipped to Dublin and the colonisation of Ulster was proceeding. In his speech to the parliament of 1614 James mentioned the expenses incurred upon the latter undertaking and we learn incidentally that money and tools for the building of Londonderry were brought from Virginia. For the time complete calm reigned in Ireland and Carleton was able to boast about it in his speech before the College at Venice. It is true there were indications that the peace was more apparent than real. On 11 August, 1614, Foscarini reported that news had arrived from Ireland which did not give entire satisfaction and the Viceroy had been sent back with money. (fn. 8) But for the time being all went well. In April, 1615, the Irish parliament granted the King a subsidy estimated by Foscarini at £50,000, but probably more nearly worth £30,000. It was the first subsidy ever granted by an Irish parliament to an English Sovereign, and no doubt the most was made of it in England, where subsidies were not so easily obtained.
The despatches afford a lively picture of James in his various moods as recorded week by week by the Venetian Ambassador coming hot from his audiences. They give the impression that the king was far more strongly anti-Spanish than he is generally credited with being, even at a time when he is usually represented as completely under the influence of Sarmiento and desirous of obtaining a Spanish bride for his son. His steady policy in Europe was to build up a league of all the powers threatened by the overweening greatness of the Austro-Spanish house and to resist the Spanish idea of a Catholic world state. He hoped in this way to divert the Spaniards from schemes of further aggrandisement and compel them to think only of their own affairs (No. 20). He told Foscarini that Spain was great enough and he could not and would not permit her to become greater. With this end in view James brought about a league between the Dutch and the Princes of the Union. (fn. 9) He sought to reconcile the Princes of Brandenburg and Saxony, and Denmark to the Dutch and Hanse towns, while he sent special missions to Sweden, Poland and Muscovy for the purpose of bringing about peace in those parts. In Italy he succeeded in bringing Venice and Savoy together once again, and at one time he suggested that Venice should endeavour to reconcile Savoy and Mantua and join in league with both and with the Swiss and Grisons, to which Parma also might accede, to resist the encroachments of Spain (No. 410). He told Caron that the true policy for the States was to unite with all those who were oppressed by Spain (No. 500) and he promised Scarnafes that he would set a good example in the matter, although he was not so deeply concerned as others (No. 486). On 13 October, 1614, Carleton suggested in the College that the time had come for the fostering of a good understanding between free Princes, though he carefully abstained from using the words league or alliance. (fn. 10) On January 22, 1615, however, just before his departure for Turin, he definitely proposed that Venice should enter a league with England, the Dutch and the Protestant Princes of Germany (No. 589). This proposal he renewed upon his return to Venice, after having previously sounded Zen upon them atter. James was much chagrined when the cautious Venetians replied that the excellent relations subsisting between them were better than any league, for he hoped by this alliance to hold Spain in check and maintain the peace without any fear of drawing the sword. With similar aims James did everything in his power to further the Venetian negotiations with the Swiss and Grisons, writing letters to the towns and offering to send Carleton to render what help he could, indeed it was only the Asti negotiations that prevented Carleton from going.
In his relations with Savoy, James went even further in his anti-Spanish policy. When the Duke was suspected of Spanish leanings, James treated his Ambassador coldly and forbad his subjects to go and serve him. When the Duke became hostile to Spain, James not only brought about the reconciliation with Venice but interested himself to obtain for the Duke the support of the Dutch and the United Princes of Germany, and desired that the Duke should be admitted into the Union. When these powers did not show such alacrity to help as he thought proper, James complained bitterly of the slowness and irresolution of the Princes (No. 408) and sharply chided the Dutch for not taking immediate action (No. 500). To the Princes and Huguenots in France he wrote letters urging them not to allow the Duke to be destroyed, he was in close communication with Lesdiguières upon the same question and from his depleted treasury he scraped together £25,000 to enable Mayenne to lead a French force to the Duke's assistance. In addition to this incitement of his friends and allies, James was loud in promises and professions of what he would do himself, and swore again and again that he would make war on the Spaniards if they did not desist from harassing Savoy. At the suggestion of the Duke of Savoy, James appears to have seriously entertained a project for seizing Genoa by a coup de main in the event of an open rupture with Spain, as the town was carelessly guarded and he understood that it could be taken easily. He told Foscarini that the expense incurred by Spain was immense and she would not be able, with all her Indies, to bear it without Genoa, which was supplying her (Nos. 685, 688, 694, 768). In the negotiations upon the Duchies, James more than once threatened war if Wesel were not restored (Nos. 408, 461). In France he steadily fomented the anti-Spanish faction, receiving the envoys of the revolted Princes with great favour and keeping up an intimate correspondence with Bouillon and Condé. With the Huguenots he had the closest relations and exercised a great influence over them. The prospect of the double marriages between France and Spain was distasteful to him in the highest degree, and he protested against the step in the strongest terms. Again and again he deplored the way in which France was serving the interests of Spain and deserting her old allies (No. 743). When labouring under excitement he made use of the strongest expressions against Spain and the tortuous methods of Spanish diplomacy (Nos. 383, 408, 410, 430, 461, 570, 571). He was pleased, though not deceived, by the flattery of Sarmiento, and no one seemed able to discover whether the negotiations for the Spanish match at this time were with serious intent or merely a diplomatic blind. (fn. 11) He was aware of the latest hostility of Spain and knew of the Spanish intrigues in Ireland. One invasion had been expected in 1613, and, later on, when news came of the mustering of a Spanish fleet at Corunna, the royal ships were made ready and the train bands called out.
All along the line James' policy came into contact with Spanish ambition. He desired to offer a steady resistance simultaneously on the Rhine and in Italy. From the Duke of Savoy he obtained a promise that he would not make a separate peace unless he could obtain the complete disarmament of the Spanish forces, and upon this point he insisted with great emphasis. Under the circumstances it seems astonishing that James should have effected so little. He had a policy both simple and direct, and his friends and allies were more than ready to help him to carry it out, and yet he never did a thing to render them efficient help or to check the advancement of the Spanish-Austrian house. Three causes contributed to paralyze all effective action on his part—his indolence, his love for phrase-making and dialectical subtleties, and the serious depletion of his treasury. The two treaties for which he was mainly responsible, those of Xanten and Asti, proved utterly worthless. His indolence and his confidence in the efficacy of a signed document led him to subscribe treaties without securing proper guarantees that they would be carried out. The moment the signatures were affixed difficulties began about carrying out the terms, while James amused himself by devising formulae, which he hoped would gain general acceptance. His efforts only resulted in the gratification of his foes and the exasperation of his friends. The Dutch regretted that they had ever listened to him and involved themselves in the loss of Wesel. Sticke, the Ambassador of the Duke of Brandenburg, despaired of obtaining any decisive resolution from James, and prepared to go home where he would be less useless to his master than in England (No. 869). The Duke of Savoy, the princes and the Huguenots of France began to realize that they could not rely upon any real help from England. In a conversation with Contarini, Villeroi expressed his irritation with James's passion for tinkering with the wording of treaties (No. 929). The Spanish method of dealing with James proved a complete success, and he was speedily being reduced to a nonentity in Europe. In France, Holland, Germany and Italy powerful forces were only looking to him to give them a strong lead. In his place a capable man might have occupied a more commanding situation in Europe than had been enjoyed by any English sovereign. James frittered away his opportunities and, what is more, he did so with his eyes open. He knew the danger of the Spanish ambitions to the general liberty, he saw through all their flattering professions and he placed a proper valuation on their profuse promises, but his indolence led him to grasp at a peace which was no peace, and to accept assurances which he could but mistrust. He realised the great forces which he had at his command, the accession of strength gained by the union of England and Scotland and the quiet of Ireland, and that thousands in Europe were only waiting for a sign from him, but he could not bring himself to a decision which would have involved strenuous action, while his reluctance to meet the representatives of his people and listen patiently to their grievances deprived him of the only means of bringing his forces into active operation.
The great importance of European politics entirely overshadows domestic affairs, which are very sparingly referred to in these despatches. It is, indeed, remarkable how many important events are not even mentioned. Foscarini never breathes a word about the Essex divorce, the Somerset marriage, Overbury's death, or the rise of Villiers, though the court must have been full of discussion about every one of them. It is less remarkable that he says nothing about Peacham's case or the opening of the new river. The ambassador must have lived singularly aloof from court life to completely pass over all these topics, though possibly he considered them beneath the notice of the Senate. The chief domestic event of the period is the addled parliament of 1614, upon which Foscarini has some additional facts to record, if his information may be depended upon. On February 1 the king finally decided to convoke the parliament. The elections took place in March, when it was said that the three principal points for decision were the naturalisation of the newly-born son of the Elector Palatine, the granting of an ordinary subsidy to the king (valued by Foscarini at 500,000 crowns), and the regulation of the King's right of pre-emption (No. 208). Parliament was opened in state on the 15th April and Foscarini gives an interesting account of the opening ceremony and the King's speech. On Saturday the 19th the King remitted fourteen grievances, one concerning purveyance, two of which he pronounced with his own mouth. This looks like a confusion between James's second speech on Friday the 18th, and the list of grievances which the King proposed to redress read out to the Commons by the Solicitor General on Monday the 21st. The bill for the naturalisation of the Elector Palatine's issue had passed through all its stages by the 25th, after a conference upon it had been held between the two houses. In his despatch of May 9th Foscarini mentions the subjects discussed before the Easter recess. The proposal to grant a subsidy had been adopted. In the debate on this subject on April 22, no one had uttered a word against it, as Sir Dudley Digges remarked. There was a proposal to help Virginia and Bermuda and an animated debate took place upon the vestments of ministers of religion, in which James intervened in favour of the wearing of a distinctive dress by the clergy. Only the first of these subjects is mentioned in the Journals. Parliament rose for the Easter vacation on April 30 and reassembled on May 12. In his despatch of May 23 Foscarini speaks of a long speech of the King pressing for supply and telling the House that they should give this their first consideration. On the following day the Commons discussed nothing but the manner in which the King had spoken to them. Both these items are new. Of the question of impositions Foscarini says nothing until his despatch of June 13, although the matter first came before the House as early as April 28. Here again the Ambassador seems to have fallen into some confusion, as he speaks of a discussion in the Lords about holding a conference with the Commons upon the subject of impositions, when thirty voted for taking the opinion of the judges and thirty-six for the conference. He must obviously be referring to two distinct votes, such as we know were taken, in which he only records the number of the Ayes. (fn. 12) From the Lords' Journals it would appear that the House went into committee on the question of the impositions on June 2. They first asked the judges to give a decision upon the legality of impositions. After a brief consultation the judges excused themselves. The Lords then considered the question of a conference with the Commons, which they were apparently inclined to grant. On the following day, however, the House decided that it would not be bound by a decision of its committee and resolved not to meet the Commons. (fn. 13) Prof. Gardiner has pointed out that in the majority of thirty-nine who voted for this not more than twelve independent lay peers at most could be found to vote with the government. (fn. 14) It would appear as if the House had voted in favour of a conference on the 2nd and that this decision had been reversed on the 3rd by beating up the reserves of the court party. In the debate upon this question the Commons took great offence at a speech delivered by Neile, Bishop of Lincoln, who argued that the prerogative was a Noli me tangere. Foscarini states that they were reluctant to meet again because of this and only consented to do so at the King's command (No. 279). Actually, after a violent discussion on the 5th upon Neile's speech, they decided to abstain from all further business until they obtained satisfaction from the Lords. The King, understanding that they meant to suspend the session, sent word on the 6th that the prerogative of assembling and dismissing Parliament belonged to him alone and ordered them to continue their meetings. On the 7th he sent word that he would see the Speaker accompanied by not more than forty members. On Sunday, the 8th, he told them that they had no right to discuss the prerogative. He asked them to lay aside all other matters and make up their minds to vote his subsidies. He gave them a day in which to make their decision. The delegates of the Commons saw the King on Monday. They told him that the Parliament had assembled to serve the King and for the good of the realm; they petitioned him to leave the question of money to the last and proceed in the order he had suggested in his first speech, namely first the mind then the body and lastly money, (fn. 15) that it was necessary to make a settlement in matters of religion and the affairs of the kingdom and afterwards satisfy His Majesty's demands for contributions. They added some remarks about the administration of the finances (No. 285). The King replied by re-affirming his prerogative and power to levy impositions, and hinted that he had only summoned Parliament as an act of grace. The King's reply was reported in the House the same Monday, and debated on that and the following day. The House did not meet again till Thursday, when the King sent word that if they did not deal with Supply he would dissolve them. They re-assembled on the 16th, when they learned that a commission for the dissolution had been signed, and on Tuesday the 17th the Admiral entered and dissolved Parliament. In his despatch of June 27 Foscarini gives particulars of the debate upon impositions which took place in the House on June 1, with the speech of Winwood in the defence of the prerogative, and Wentworth's outspoken reply (No. 292). It is noteworthy that at court they still counted upon obtaining the subsidies as late as the time of the disturbance about Neile's speech. Foscarini's account, though containing several errors of detail, which may be due to the fact that he generally wrote some little time after the event occurred, is probably correct in its main outlines, and it almost certainly represents the matters which were most discussed at court. He says that the King had the upper House with him and a great part of the lower. It is perhaps significant that he makes no mention of the undertakers.
After the dissolution of the Parliament the King issued a declaration that the son of the Elector Palatine could succeed to the English throne without any declaration of Parliament, James's own case being a precedent; he asserted that he could undoubtedly levy customs, from which he had received 150,000l. since his accession, and he had only followed the late Queen's example. Parliament had always arranged with the King about subsidies and could not claim anything further. A voluntary benevolence to make up for the shortcomings of Parliament was instituted by the Archbishop of Canterbury and taken up by the clergy and nobility. They hoped the example would be followed by others and that 1 ½ millions of gold would be realised. (fn. 16) The King's consent to this scheme was not at first obtained, but evidently he raised no objection (No. 292). The plan proved an utter failure, as it was never taken up at all generally. London was asked to contribute, but had not made up its mind on July 11. By July 18 only a poor 23,000l. had been collected, and a special appeal to the country realised no more than a beggarly 500l. (fn. 17) Four of the most prominent members of the late Parliament were sent to the Tower, and the King's resentment was so great that when Sir Thomas Roe was selected by the East India Company to go as Ambassador to the Great Mogul in December, 1614, the King objected because of the part which he had taken in the Parliament (No. 523). Roe had served as a member of the committee upon impositions, but he does not appear to have taken any specially active part against the crown.
In the absence of the desired subsidies various devices were resorted to for obtaining money; but they brought very little to the treasury to compensate for the irritation which they caused. One of the most noteworthy of these schemes was a tax on all houses built since the King's accession within a radius of seven miles round London, (fn. 18) which was expected to realise 400,000 crowns. Parliament would at once have solved every financial difficulty and might have provided the King with five or six millions (fn. 19) if only the King had shown some complacency. However, for the time being, the opposition to summoning a fresh Parliament proved too strong. James was reluctant to meet the representatives of his people, the Spaniards did not wish to see him in funds and feared a Parliament while the people hated them so thoroughly, and therefore they used their influence against it; Somerset and Suffolk and some others to whom the King had given enormous amounts feared lest they should be called to account, and opposed every proposal for convoking the assembly (No. 912).
The two noblemen of whom Foscarini writes thus are reported by his Secretary Rizzardo to have been almost his only friends among the English nobility (No. 870). They were certainly valuable friends, for they stood highest in the favour of the King. Since the death of Salisbury, Carr's influence had notably increased. James did not at once fill Salisbury's place and for a while acted as his own secretary, using the favourite to carry out his orders (No. 61). Owing to James's indolence and love of hunting this state of affairs was not likely to continue long, and Carr soon had foreign affairs almost entirely in his own hands. In November, 1613, he was created Earl of Somerset and treasurer of Scotland. In July, 1614, he expected the office of warden of the Cinque Ports, vacant by Northampton's death. He is the one, wrote Foscarini in October, 1614, with whom the King decides everything and in whom His Majesty confides above all others (No. 441). He was the only person privy to the reasons for the King of Denmark's visit in that year (No. 356). In June, 1615, he was preparing a present of dogs and horses for the Duke of Savoy, as if he himself had been a reigning Prince (No. 612). He probably found foreign affairs too burdensome, and from the time of Winwood's appointment as secretary on April 8, 1615, his control over them must have diminished. In any case his reign was drawing to its close. In August, 1614, George Villiers appeared upon the scene and in the following May he was created a gentleman of the bedchamber. Signs of the decline of Somerset's influence were not wanting, but Foscarini apparently observed no change and never so much as mentions the name of George Villiers, who had already risen to a high place in James's favour.
Two despatches (Nos. 84, 95) relate Foscarini's impressions on a tour through England and Scotland. The journey was undertaken at the instance of James, who wished the Ambassador to see the resources of his realms by personal inspection before he returned home, as he was then expecting to do, with the idea of furthering the project of a league between Venice and England, which James had much at heart both then and thereafter. Foscarini remarks on the devotion of the people to their sovereign, apparently because they had so little to do with him; they paid him no taxes and chose their own rulers in the towns. There was no standing army and he found no forts anywhere, even Berwick being allowed to fall into decay since the union. He was struck by the fertility of the soil, the number of parish churches and the quantity of fine ships in the ports. Of Scotland, Foscarini saw very little. The country was quiet on the whole, though apt to be disturbed in the more remote parts. Towards the close of 1614 he reported a rebellion made by an illegitimate son of the imprisoned Earl of Orkney, which was, however, promptly put down by the Earl of Caithness (No. 515). Even in England conspiracy showed her face. On 6 July, 1614, James found a letter at Whitehall warning him of danger of his life about the 14th of that month. Some negotiations passed with Venice for the surrender of Giovanni Vincenzo Gaetano, who professed to have details of a plot against James's life. To please the King the Senate decided to send their prisoner to England. The act was recognised as one of singular favour, but little came of it. Gaetano stuck to his story that he and three others had been sent by the Viceroy of Naples to attempt the King's life. Three men giving the countersigns indicated by Gaetano were observed in central Italy, and a watch was kept for them in England (No. 185), but nothing happened. For a man with such a wide experience in conspiracies as James, these were trifles indeed.
England appears at this time to have been considered a convenient place from which to obtain munitions of war, especially gunpowder, for which both Tuscany and Savoy applied (Nos. 812, 830). An inventor endeavoured to interest Foscarini in a method of preserving gunpowder from sudden ignition. He applied a light to a parcel containing 100lbs. of powder, which he had treated, without harm and convinced the Venetian Ambassador, who does not relate where he stood the while, of the genuineness of his claims. The Venetian Senate, in spite of Foscarini's recommendations, proved more difficult to move (No. 306). They instructed him, however, to procure for them some flintlock muskets which were coming into use in place of wheel lock muskets in Flanders, the school of arms of the period (No. 133).
The management of the navy under Sir Robert Mansell is illustrated by Foscarini's remark that the cost of maintenance was half as much again as under the late Queen. The fleet probably was not half as efficient. Shortly before his death the Earl of Northampton made some attempt to cut down expenses (No. 56). At various times a certain amount of naval activity is reported. In September, 1614, when the Manila fleet moved towards Corunna for a proposed expedition against Emden, orders were issued for the fitting out of the royal ships (No. 411). It was expected that the menace of the English fleet would cause a diversion in favour of Maurice in his operations against Spinola (No. 418). In the winter of 1614–5, as matters looked darker on the Rhine and war seemed probable if the Spaniards would not restore Wesel, the naval preparations became more considerable. In November, 1614, three royal ships were armed and manned with 700 men each, three others being got ready (No. 515). The preparations continued steadily until the new year (No. 611), and in February, after a stormy interview with Boischot, when James excitedly swore that he could put no trust in him, the King ordered the treasurer to issue instructions for the arming of twelve royal ships (No. 643). But the real naval strength of England lay in her merchant fleets. In his voyage through England, Foscarini had been amazed at the number of fine large ships lying in the principal ports, forty-three at Bristol, ninety-eight at Newcastle, and as many more, he was told, further down the Tyne. The men who manned the ships were the same daring and resourceful sailors as of yore, with the same love of adventure for its own sake. For service to help Savoy and a fight with Spain any number were willing to come forward. The mere rumour of their coming terrified the Spaniards and even alarmed the Pope. In reply to the remarks of Cardinal Borghese upon English help to Savoy, the Venetian Ambassador at Rome indulged in a high-flown eulogy of English seamanship, and succeeded in making an impression upon the Cardinal (No. 480). In October, 1614, there returned one of the ships which had set out to find the North-West passage, after penetrating 1,500 miles further than any other expedition and bringing back some interesting particulars (No. 126). The long disputed affair of the Coastley was finally settled in 1613 after dragging on for six years. In August, Carleton asked for compensation for the damage suffered by the owners, which was considerable in both ship and cargo owing to their long detention. Upon this point, however, the Senate remained firm, pointing out that they had dealt leniently with a highly suspicious case merely out of respect for James. Foscarini presented their reply to the King in October and told him that the men had infringed the law in every way and had merited the most rigorous treatment. The Signory had, however, accepted the King's assurance that the men were not pirates, and had made full restitution. James showed his gratification that the restitution had been made at his instance and after remarking that but for his intervention the merchants would have lost everything, he assured Foscarini that the Senate should not be troubled again in the matter, repeating this two or three times (No. 111).
From a reference to the great activity of English shipping it is natural to pass to the development of English trade. New fields for commercial activity were opened or developed in Muscovy and the Far East. In November, 1613, Alexis Zyuzin arrived in England on a mission from the newly-elected Duke of Muscovy, Michael Romanov. He brought rich presents of furs and other things for James, and he came chiefly to ask for help for his master against his Polish and Swedish enemies. In London, however, his embassy was valued as a means of obtaining advantageous commercial privileges. The merchants made much of him and defrayed all his expenses. Before he left it was decided to send an English Ambassador to Russia, who set out early in 1614, after a brief delay caused by a rumour of the death of Michael.
The India trade was taken up in opposition to the Portugese, who claimed a monopoly. The English had no recognised standing at Jehangir's court and were frequently subjected to all manner of humiliation. (fn. 20) A sea captain named Hawkins, by dint of great address, had managed to stand up to the Portugese at the Mogul's court for a while. But on his departure in November, 1611, matters became worse than ever. The victory of Best over the Portugese in the following year did something to improve the situation, and Downton secured further advantages. In spite of this it was felt that the English ought to be represented by some one whose person may breed regard.' (fn. 21) The Company chose Sir Thomas Roe, who was accepted by James after some demur. He was ready to sail in December, 1614, in the character of Ambassador, though paid by the merchants. Four well-armed ships formed the expedition. They went prepared to encounter the hostility of the Portugese, but fortified by assurances of the Sultan's goodwill (No. 523).
In the near east the commercial interests centre in the trade in raisins at Zante and Cephalonia. The mensuali or monthly accounts sent home by the Proveditore of Zante give the names of the principal English merchants engaged in the traffic, though they are not always easy to recognise under their Italian disguise. The trade was very valuable to the Islands, and a decree of the Venetian Senate, fixing the value of the ryal, which was expected to drive away the foreign merchants, led to an energetic protest from the Syndics of Zante (No. 682). In 1615, the Venetians raised the export duty on raisins, which was farmed out at 48,000 ducats instead of at 36,000 ducats as previously. Various attempts were made to avoid payment both by direct smuggling and by taking advantage of a law which permitted Venetian ships to take raisins and wine to the west duty free, provided that two-thirds of the crew were Venetian. The duty was evaded by filling the ships with Venetian subjects who were mere spectators, and taking on good Flemish or English sailors, nominally as passengers, but really to work the ship. The object of the law, which was to encourage Venetian seamanship, failed to be realised, for the Venetians were no longer equal to navigating ships in the dangerous western seas, and no Venetian ship had gone thither for many years. There was a danger, however, that foreigners would buy Venetian ships for the trade, as they would recover the outlay by the profits of a single voyage. In this way the duty would be evaded, the farmer of the customs would be ruined and the Venetian exchequer would suffer severe loss. In view of these circumstances and acting upon the recommendation of the Cinque Savii alla Mercantia the Senate finally abolished the privileges accorded to Venetian ships and on August 15, 1615, decreed that all ships of every kind taking raisins to the west from Zante, Cephalonia and Ithaca should pay the duty indifferently (Nos. 832, 977). The decline of the Venetian carrying trade was such that although there were several English houses open at Venice, Zante and Cephalonia, there was only one Venetian merchant residing at London instead of the numbers that there used to be (No. 854). However, the commerce with England, though carried largely in Flemish bottoms, was valued at Venice, where a considerable flutter was caused by the proclamation giving the Levant company the exclusive right to take goods on their own ships from the near east to England. Foscarini immediately lodged a protest against this before the King and Council, with some amount of success. He was told that the edict was aimed solely at the Dutch carrying trade, which had grown rapidly owing to their lower rates.
The question of the carazo seems to have submerged all particulars about the English trade with Turkey at this time. A tax upon foreign money at Aleppo was expected to affect chiefly the French and English merchants trading there, and the Ambassadors at Constantinople of the two nations endeavoured to obtain its removal. Dutch trade at Constantinople, despite the friendly intercourse between Holland and Turkey, seemed likely to decline, so Foscarini reported, because the Dutch merchants would not combine together and were unwilling to pay their contributions towards the expenses of the Ambassador (No. 43). Perhaps the wish was father to the thought.
The profits of trade had need be great, for piracy constituted a serious tax upon it. The evil seemed more likely to increase than to diminish, for pirates are frequently reported as swarming in all the seas. Of individual pirates we do not hear quite so much as heretofore. Peter Eston appears on the scene for a while and seems prepared for further exploits. In the service of the Duke of Savoy he collected a fleet at Villefranche with the supposed object of attacking the Venetian shipping. His vessels were reported as being no better than boxes and valueless as ships of war, but the Venetians thought it advisable to renew their instructions to their admiral to deal rigorously with pirates even if they carried the flag of Savoy (No. 89). However, a serious gale in November, 1613, sank two of Eston's ships and seriously damaged the others. This clipped Eston's wings for the time being, and not long afterwards Savoy and Venice were reconciled. Meanwhile Eston had become a respectable member of society. He had been seriously wounded by one of his companions in August, 1613, and was reported to have turned Catholic. By February, 1614, his conversion is confirmed; the Duke found him a rich heiress to marry and created him a marquis (No. 186). From this moment he disappears from view, not even turning up at the time when the Spaniards were threatening a descent upon the Savoyard seaboard or when they actually did take Oneglia. During the siege of Asti, however, Carleton writes home of a battery called the English battery which was doing good service and in which the Duke was particularly interested. (fn. 22) There is little doubt that Eston, assisted by some of his old companions, was exercising his well-known skill in gun laying.
The activity of the pirates is reported from every direction. In the Red Sea the Turks suffered severely from the depredations of the English, and we may possibly recognise the handiwork of Captain Thomas Best, who captured a station there. The King of Denmark himself was attacked on his way to England, and indeed no one was safe. The Spaniards suffered most severely, their rich treasure fleets being a much coveted prize. One pirate, supposed to be Walsingham, entered the Mediterranean with a fleet of six ships and proved a terror to the Spanish coasts and shipping. He was said to have taken booty to the value of 500,000 crowns in six weeks. Another pirate, probably Mannering, with three ships inflicted a severe defeat upon a Spanish squadron of four ships which had gone out against him. Goaded by the swarms of pirates infesting the Spanish coasts, both within and without the Mediterranean, Philip issued a proclamation giving permission to any of his subjects who chose to arm ships and go privateering. The difference between pirate and privateer was a very fine one and the Princes of the time issued privateering licences to captains with considerable caution. James would have allowed his subjects to go and serve Savoy with much more readiness but for the experience that the adventurers thus let loose generally turned pirates (No. 830). English sovereigns had not always been so scrupulous. When the Grand Duke of Tuscany proposed to pay his fleet out of the booty which they took, the Venetian resident at Florence quaintly says that this was a method of campaign invented by the English. It was a method approved, however, by both Tuscany and Savoy, who opened Leghorn and Villefranche respectively to privateers. Cosimo of Tuscany, nevertheless, had a short way with proved pirates. When two English ships laden with booty arrived in Leghorn in November, 1614, the Grand Duke, suspecting that the plunder came from Christians and not from the Turks, had the captains and crews arrested. When on enquiry being made he found his suspicions to be well grounded, he had two of the ringleaders hanged and sent the rest to the galleys for life (Nos. 481, 518, 536). The greatest seaman of the day, himself an adventurer and not above suspicion of piracy, still languished in prison. When the King of Denmark paid his surprise visit to England in August, 1614, he enquired after Raleigh and perhaps wished to see him. James evaded the question and it does not seem to have been raised again (No. 375).
Perhaps nothing strikes the modern student of these times so much as the extraordinary importance attached to political works. A book of this character, no matter how insignificant and obscure the author might be, often became a matter of international importance. The work of this class which excited the greatest stir at the time was A petition to the Emperor to convoke a general council against the present pope,' generally known as Novus homo, published in England and written by a Benedictine monk called Roger Widdrington (No. 54). This book was reprinted by the Huguenots in France, where the papal nuncio endeavoured to have it suppressed and those responsible severely punished, but on an appeal to parliament he only succeeded in getting the sentence against the publishers reduced to the suppression of the book and a small fine, a result regarded by the Huguenots as a victory. In May, 1614, the nuncio at Venice complained of the introduction into the city of sixty copies of this book and appeared twice in the College to ask that it might be suppressed. At Rome the pope was much upset by the book and called the author un gran ribaldo (No. 283). A copy was found there in the house of a man named Roberto, with annotations in his handwriting applying the propositions of the book to the life and actions of Paul V. This cost the unfortunate man his head.
Another book on the same lines, called Novissimus homo, appeared early in the following year and caused hardly less sensation. The pope wished Cardinal Bellarmine, James's famous antagonist, to reply, but the book contained so many home truths that this was not considered an easy task.
In the war of books James found himself in his element and he was certainly a favourite butt for the dogmatic writers of the time. His most redoubtable theological opponent was the Cardinal du Perron, with whom he engaged in a controversy extending over several years which produced more than one book. James suspected the cardinal of being the author of a scurrilous libel which had appeared against him in France, but this charge was indignantly denied by Du Perron, who prided himself upon the courtesy of his methods. Later on James was much incensed at a speech delivered by Du Perron in the States-General in opposition to the proposal made by the third estate that the King should declare in full assembly that he held his crown of God alone and that no power, whether spiritual or temporal, could deprive him of it. Du Perron denounced this as the most detestable doctrine imaginable. The Church alone, he contended, had the right to touch such questions. In matters of doctrine and discipline the King only executed what the Church decreed. With regard to the right of deposing Kings he declared that laymen were no judges of such questions and the Pope could never accept the proposed articles even if he would. (fn. 23) In June, 1615, Edmondes on James's behalf protested against this speech before the King and the Queen Regent. He declared that such words would disseminate evil ideas among the people and render them more subject to the Pope than to their natural lord. Such doctrines had led to the death of two Kings in less than twenty-five years (No. 884). In a conversation with Foscarini some months previously James had burst out, saying that he did not understand the French policy of preventing men from going to help Savoy, but there was small wonder since they tolerated a man who maintained the opinion that Kings might be deposed (No. 743). At last, finding his protests unavailing, James published a book of his own against Du Perron entitled Declaration du Roi Jacques premier pour le Droit des Rois,' which was by no means well received in France.
A far more obscure individual than Du Perron caused James hardly less annoyance. This was Gaspard Schopp, who had libelled the English King in a book called Ecclesiasticus.' He came to Spain, where Digby believed that he received every encouragement from the authorities. While there he wrote another book full of scandalous libels upon James. By means of a spy Digby succeeded in obtaining the manuscript (No. 547) and was filled with indignation. He lodged a complaint against the man with the Spanish government, but they always protested that they had nothing to do with him and could not refuse him the right of asylum. Seeing that all hope of redress from the government was vain, Digby took the law into his own hands and set ten of his servants on to Schopp in the public streets, with orders to slay him, so the Venetian Ambassador declares. By great good fortune Schopp escaped to a monastery with only a slight wound, and from this safe retreat he proclaimed his intention of writing other books against the Schismatic and tyrant' (No. 224). Schopp remained some months longer in Spain under special protection to guard him from the Ambassador's servants. Finally he returned to Germany, where he received rewards and a pension and was commissioned to write upon the glories of the Spanish house.
A work of a more pleasing character was Sir Henry Savile's edition of Chrysostome, of which Carleton presented a copy to the Doge on behalf of the author (No. 163). In return it was proposed in the Senate that a chain worth 400 ducats should be presented to Savile. This was not carried, however, and the matter was referred to the five hundred in the College. They seem to have settled the point by presenting Sir Henry with a medal, for which Carleton returned thanks on June 3, 1614. This medal is referred to by Sir Henry Savile in a letter to Carleton of August 14, of the same year. (fn. 24)
The tragic fate of Antonio Foscarini renders him the most interesting figure of all the Ambassadors sent by Venice to England. During the last two years of his stay in this country the toils were gathering about him. England was not a fortunate country for him. The climate did not suit him, and three times within two years he was prostrated by serious chills. His relations with his brethren of the diplomatic corps were not of the best. He refused to see the Ambassador of Savoy in 1613, owing to the dispute between Venice and the Duke. The Florentine resident, Lotti, never paid him a farewell visit on leaving England, and his successor Quaratesi did not call upon the Venetian Ambassador at all. A long period elapsed before Sarmiento or Boischot returned his visits. With the latter he was engaged up to the very last in a dispute about precedence. This dispute seems to have come to a head in August, 1614, when Foscarini caused great offence by his importunity in the matter (p. 276 note), Winwood writing about it to Carleton to relieve his feelings. At the same time Boischot was equally importunate for a decision in his favour. James consulted Digby about the order observed at the Spanish court and he made some attempt to satisfy Foscarini, but without success Both Ambassadors ultimately left the country while the question remained undecided. At Court, Foscarini seems to have led a comparatively lonely life. He was indeed well treated by James, though the King's favour was less hearty than at first. He had good friends in the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Earls of Somerset and Suffolk, but for the most part he remained at home shut up in his house. He grew tired of his manner of life and very home sick. He left Venice for France in 1608, and after spending over three years there he proceeded straight to England without returning home. The appointment of Barbarigo to succeed him had given him hope, but Barbarigo was detained much longer than was expected by his important negotiations with the Swiss and Grisons, and as month after month rolled by Foscarini's appeals to be relieved of his post became more and more pathetic.
To add to his misfortune he became involved in a violent quarrel with his secretary. Giulio Muscorno had been sent out to England in June, 1612, to replace Moderante Scaramelli, Foscarini's previous secretary, who was reported to have behaved badly. (fn. 25) For a while, all went well. In February, 1613, Carleton told the College that the new secretary's gracious manners had rendered him a favourite at Court. Muscorno was a skilful musician, who could both play and sing, and this rendered him very popular among the court ladies, notably Lord Hay's first wife, who stood highest in the grace of Queen Anne. At an audience of Foscarini in July, 1613, the Queen spoke to the Ambassador in praise of Muscorno and the Ambassador heartily endorsed the encomiums. But the serene sky became clouded ere long. Exactly what happened is unknown. Private reasons may have caused an estrangement, or the petting of Muscorno by the Court ladies may have rendered him arrogant and Foscarini jealous. The first ostensible cause of quarrel was a refusal by Foscarini to grant some favour which Muscorno had asked of him. Soon after there followed the episode of William Lumsden, a Scotch servant of Foscarini, who was beaten by Muscorno for using disrespectful language about him and who threatened to take his life. Eventually Muscorno left the embassy and went to reside elsewhere. He accused Foscarini of inciting Lumsden to murder him and spread all manner of reports affecting the Ambassador's character. Foscarini retorted by charging his secretary with neglecting his duties, with treasonable intercourse with the Spanish Ambassador and with designs upon the King's life. The affair made a great stir at Court, where every one sided with one or other of the disputants. It came to James's ears and Foscarini actually laid a formal accusation against Muscorno before the King. James treated this lightly and endeavoured to pacify the quarrel. About the same time there appeared in London a book in manuscript entitled “Sayings and Doings of Antonio Foscarini,” of a scandalously libellous character. The authorship was attributed to Muscorno and to Giovanni Francesco Biondi, a Venetian subject turned Protestant and pensioned by James. In Venice no public notice was taken of the dispute for some time. (fn. 26) The first intimation was an application, from Muscorno to be allowed to return home for private reasons. This was backed by Foscarini, who was anxious to get rid of his secretary and sent a medical certificate showing that the English climate did not suit Muscorno's health. At first the Council of Ten refused to entertain the application, chiefly on the ground of expense. Muscorno then threw aside all reserve and in a secret letter written on February 20th, 1615, he laid a number of serious accusations against Foscarini (No. 716). Upon this the Council of Ten decided to take immediate action. They gave leave to Muscorno to return and at the same time issued instructions that he should be arrested and examined immediately upon his arrival in Venice. On April 8 they appointed Giovanni Rizzardo to go at once to England to act as Foscarini's secretary, with private instructions from the Inquisitors of State to collect all the information possible about the charges made against Foscarini and send back word at regular intervals of the results of his enquiries. Rizzardo reached England on June 5, and from that time until his departure from England with Foscarini in the following January he sent word regularly of the results of his enquiries. It has been my good fortune to discover these letters of Rizzardo written to the Inquisitors of State. They are twenty-four in number, ten being printed in the present volume. They are practically entirely written in cipher including even the dates, and the only indication of their nature is a brief abstract of their contents written on the cover by which they had been sent through the post. Two of these covers contained only a fragment of the original letters and eleven contained nothing whatever. Further search revealed the existence of all the missing letters and fragments arranged under a different heading and classified with documents of a much later date. A slight examination showed their real nature, and they have now been replaced in the covers which belonged to them and arranged with the other letters of the same series. Unfortunately not only had the decipher of the letters been either lost or destroyed, but no key to the cipher could be found, though the Cavaliere Giomo very kindly devoted a considerable amount of time in searching for it. Nothing remained but to endeavour to work out the cipher for oneself. Fortunately the cipher proved to be constructed upon the same plan as that used by the Ambassador himself, of which the key is still preserved at the Frari. It is mainly on a syllabic basis, with a letter and a number to represent each syllable and all proper names are carefully spelled out, there being no separate symbols even for Foscarini and Muscorno, though there are for Ambassador and Secretary. By degrees it was possible to reconstruct the key to the cipher, which is printed at the end of this preface for the benefit of those who are interested in such matters and who may desire to consult the original documents.
The reports sent home by Rizzardo contain nothing sensational, but they present an interesting picture of Foscarini's life at court, his relations with the King and Queen, the courtiers and his fellow diplomatists. They also tell us where he obtained his information, an important point for the historian, the more so because the veracity of his reports was impugned by Muscorno. Rizzardo seems quickly to have come to the conclusion that the more serious charges against Foscarini had no foundation in fact and owed their origin to the malice of Muscorno, whose behaviour he viewed with strong reprobation. He made ceaseless but unavailing attempts to obtain the scandalous libel upon Foscarini. He spoke to Biondi about it, but that worthy solemnly declared that he had had nothing to do with it. His departure from England on a mission to the Huguenots prevented any further search for the time being.
Muscorno left England at the end of June, and though detained a while at Paris by sickness he reached Venice early in August, where he was immediately arrested in accordance with the decree previously referred to. It was supposed in Venice that the charge against him was the authorship of the book against Foscarini. (fn. 27) On August 13, apparently as a result of the preliminary examination of Muscorno, the Council of Ten issued a decree for the arrest of Foscarini immediately upon his arrival in Venice. It is characteristic that on the preceding 13 June, when the imputations were hanging over Foscarini's head, the Senate had voted him a special donation of 1,500 ducats in consideration of his heavy expenses owing to the delay in the arrival of the Ambassador Barbarigo. That there was danger ahead for him at Venice was sufficiently well-known, though perhaps he did not fully realise it himself. In a memorial of what Carleton was to do during his embassy at Venice the 9th article runs, that he must endeavour to restore the credit of Foscarini upon all fitting occasions. (fn. 28)
Foscarini's diplomatic career was nearly run. Barbarigo was already on the road to take his place. Although somewhat vain and probably indiscreet and with perhaps less ability and penetration than many of his colleagues, he appears to have served his country faithfully and conscientiously with possibly too much insistence upon points of etiquette and procedure, over which he came into opposition with most of his diplomatic brethren and succeeded in annoying both James and Winwood. He was certainly unfortunate in his secretaries. He fell out with both Scaramelli and Muscorno, and Rizzardo was practically acting as a spy upon him. The remainder of his tragic story is for later volumes.
A few scattered points which do not range themselves easily under any of the above headings call for a passing reference. The famous Italian tour of the Earl and Countess of Arundel receives a good deal of notice in the despatches. Their reception at Venice is recorded in some detail and mention is also made of their reception at Florence. At Milan, no doubt for political reasons, the Earl did not find a cordial welcome. On leaving Venice he had some difficulty with his baggage owing to the excessive zeal of an official, but the matter was adjusted after a brief interval. When the Earl returned to England he called on Foscarini, but the Countess excused herself from receiving the Ambassador, though no reasons are assigned for her conduct.
Some interesting particulars are given of the young Prince Charles, who was beginning to be brought forward to take the prominent position to which he succeeded by his brother's death. At the beginning of 1614, he formed his own court at St. James's palace. From a delicate child he was beginning to grow more robust, while his temper was amiable. He seemed pleased when Foscarini praised the little Princess Christina, to whom they proposed to marry him (No. 203). He was already cultivating the art of popularity (No. 60). The other notices about him chiefly concern his marriage, the proposed brides being the Princess Christina of France, the second and the third Infanta of Spain, a Princess of Savoy and others, but the boy was naturally no more than a spectator at the diplomatic game.
Mention should also be made of the remarkable sermon of Fra Fedel, at SS. Apostoli, Venice, upon Queen Elizabeth for which Carleton secured an admonition to the preacher from the Council of Ten (No. 195). At page 101 Foscarini values a subsidy at 500,000 crowns, or 125,000l. (No. 208).
It may be as well to mention some slight changes in the manner of editing which have been introduced into this volume. In dealing with the marginal references describing the nature of the documents in the text, Mr. Rawdon Brown, the first editor of the series, adopted a somewhat irregular system of his own devising. When Mr. Horatio Brown took over the work he continued this system, but wherever he had occasion to refer to a fresh series of documents, not consulted by the first editor and upon which no precedent had been created, he put in the margin the description by which the documents are known and asked for at the Venetian Archives. At the suggestion of Mr. Horatio Brown the latter method has now been made to apply to all the papers. In the index the figures will be found to refer to pages and not to the number of the documents as calendared. This is for convenience of reference, a page being a fixed quantity, whereas the length of a document varies from a line or two to several pages.
It is no light task, especially for one whose work has mostly led him to quite other fields of research, to follow such an accomplished editor as Mr. Horatio Brown, whose knowledge of Venice is unrivalled among living Englishmen. Mr. Brown has done all in his power to lighten that task by readily giving his valuable advice and assistance whenever he has been asked. I wish to take this opportunity of warmly thanking him. My thanks are also due to Commendatore Malagola and his staff at the Frari for their unfailing courtesy and readiness to render help whenever help is required.