Venice: June 1616, 16-30

Pages 223-242

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 14, 1615-1617. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1908.

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June 1616, 16–30

June 16. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 311. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The day before yesterday in the morning, I went to see the Secretary Winwood at Greenwich to learn what reply His Majesty had given upon my discourse of the preceding week. The Secretary informed me that he had communicated the whole to the king, who also had knowledge of the same advices by letters from Venice and from the relation of the ambassador of Savoy. With regard to the affairs of the duke he could do no more than await the results of the mission of M. de Bethune and he hoped they would succeed in settling all the new disputes between His Highness and the governor of Milan. To this I replied that we had the same hopes in Italy from the interposition of his Most Christian Majesty, but that it was not good, through too much confidence in a settlement, that the duke and his friends should neglect to make due provision for the contrary event, as the count of Scarnafes, ambassador of His Highness resident here, was very doubtful, on reasonable grounds, of what Bethune might effect. Winwood replied that the count of Scarnafes had already said something to him about this, but that all ambassadors are suspicious and he knew Bethune for an honourable man from whom good results might be expected, but in any case the upshot would be seen in a few days.
With regard to the affairs of your Serenity he told me in the king's name that His Majesty will always entertain the same friendly regard for the republic and the same friendship as he has shown in the past and as I had asked for nothing more than a declaration of his goodwill to be published to the world, he did not know how he could better gratify your Excellencies than by what he had already done at the instance of the late ambassador, in sending instructions to his ambassadors at all the Courts to make representations in favour of the republic. Similarly, in conformity with my request, he had charged Lord Hay, who is going to France, to do the same, and he did not know what more he could do, as it was not convenient for various reasons to make a declaration in writing; that if your Serenity is sure that in these disputes with the archduke the interposition of His Majesty may prove, of assistance, he offers to use every endeavour and all his authority to secure a good issue, if he is asked. He added that the king did not enter into further particulars at the moment, as your Excellencies had asked nothing particular of him, and whatever he might do in addition would arise from his own goodwill towards the republic, but not from the obligation of any treaty, as when by means of his Ambassador Carleton he proposed to your Serenity a strong bond of understanding, the Senate answered that a union of hearts was sufficient and it was not necessary to think of anything else; and when finally Winwood spoke by the king's order to the Ambassador Barbarigo about it in the presence of the ambassador of Savoy he got nothing more than the statement that a good understanding between princes is sufficient. But in spite of all this, His Majesty has never wavered in his habitual friendship for the republic, and whenever he can render assistance he will do so promptly.
I begged him to thank the king in the name of your Excellencies, not only for the continuance of his ordinary good-will, but for the results of that feeling, which manifested themselves every day, because actually the commissions which he had given to his ambassadors at the various Courts, and recently to Lord Hay, would serve as a great testimony of His Majesty's friendship and good-will, and these offices would produce a good impression, especially at the Courts of France and Spain. But in addition to this, His Majesty had been endowed by God with such power and authority that means would not be wanting to render even more manifest to the world his good-will towards your Excellencies, which you have recognised upon other occasions, and which will produce the best results at this time.
With regard to what he said about a closer understanding, I told him, as on my own responsibility, that this affair with the archduke must be dealt with, with all speed, and we cannot await the benefits and assistance of any treaty upon such matters. Treaties which are of such importance, like those which are arranged without limit of time, cannot be arranged so soon, as a great deal of time would be lost in sending and receiving replies at so great a distance, so that it is necessary to work in another direction. Your Excellencies were obliged to make immediate provision and to expect from your true friends the same offices which you are accustomed to use towards them in their need. Your Serenity has no league with any prince, except a feeling of friendship and goodwill, but when such friends are in need you have afforded help, as appears by many examples, the latest being the duke of Mantua, supported by the republic at a heavy expense, and the duke of Savoy, who has not been abandoned, despite this war with the House of Austria. In like manner the republic will always be ready to serve the king and his royal house owing to its great obligations contracted in the past, and from what it hopes in the present and future.
The Secretary answered this in the form given above, speaking of the offers of His Majesty, but without binding himself to any particulars, except about intervening for an accommodation.
The ambassador of Savoy is waiting to hear as soon as possible from the courier of Italy, what M. de Bethune has done, and in the event of further proceedings in Milan, he does not know what to think about the determination of the king, as he and his ministers are deeply committed to do great things if the Spaniards do not behave straight-forwardly, but on the other hand he knows how easily they change their minds here when any difficulties present themselves in the way of effecting promises, as he has had experience of this in his past negotiations for his master (non sa che giudicio formare delle rissolutioni che fara il Re, poich' egli et li suoi ministri si sono strettamente impegnati a far gran cosa in caso che Spagnoli non descendono a termine di honestà: ma dal altro canto conosce quanto sia facile giù il variar di proposito quante difficoltà si interponghino nella effettnare il promesso, havendone egli altre esperienze nelle passate negocii del suo Signore).
To-day the two letters of the 28th ult. of your Serenity for the ambassador Barbarigo have reached me. I will execute the instructions therein, as I feel sure that such is the best course in the interests of the public service. I will speak to the Secretary Winwood, as this is the better course, since I am here without authority or credentials, and as the king himself has enjoined me to do so. But ambassadors themselves are constrained to do the same thing, as His Majesty does not wish to be bothered by two frequent audiences except upon matters of great importance (ma coll'istesso sonno costretti di negotiare i medesmi Ambri da quali, eccettuate le cose di maggior importanza, non desidera la Maestà Sua di esser con audienze troppo frequenti molestato).
London, the 16th June, 1616.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 16. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 312. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
A few days ago the French ambassador here received letters from the Court with news of the sending of Bethune to Italy and of his instructions. These will have reached your Excellencies earlier from a better source. However I venture to state them. Firstly there is the promise given by the king of Spain to the French that the forces of Milan are not to attack the duke, and that Bethune is to assure His Highness of this in the name of his Most Christian Majesty, so that greater disturbances may not arise. The duke is to restore some lands which he holds in the Langhe to Don Pedro, who will restore his. After receiving this promise from the duke Bethune is to go to Milan to receive that of the Governor and get him to confirm what the Catholic king has said and thus settle the differences. He is then to come to Venice and to arrange a settlement between your Serenity and the archduke, and to reduce all Italy to universal peace. He also has orders not to allow Spanish troops to enter Montferrat and to work with Don Pedro.
Some one asked the French ambassador for what purpose the Catholic king is keeping this force in the state of Milan, since he declares that he has no intentions against the duke of Savoy. The ambassador replied that it is kept there in order to render your Serenity more inclined to an accommodation with the Archduke Ferdinand, such as was accomplished some months ago by the States of Holland, when they raised the siege of the town of Brunswick, when pressed by the duke.
The Count of Schomberg, marshal of the Elector Palatine, has left England, after receiving slight satisfaction from his negotiations with the king. He said that His Majesty keeps many things going, but decides nothing, and he complained about this to me. On the other hand the king says that the Palatine, his son-in-law, is very cold, and sometimes allows two months to go by without writing to him, and such like things, one complaining of the other, with little advantage.
On the 10th inst. took place the restitution of Flushing to the States. It was effected with great ceremony, Prince Maurice coming to take possession. The conditions of restitution are these: they have paid 215,000l. sterling equivalent to 860,000 crowns, and the rest of the debt, which amounted to three millions, is diminished by some interest already current, and because the king maintained for fifteen years at his own expense all those troops in the service of the States, which he used to keep in garrison in those fortresses, which amounted to 108,000 crowns a year, the States have engaged to make payment to the soldiers from time to time.
The chief causes which have moved the Dutch to secure the recovery of their fortresses are because the English did not guard them with necessary care, and also because of the negotiations for a marriage with the Spaniards, a great number of the king's servants being interested on the side of the Catholic king. It is certain that the Spanish ambassador pays 150,000 crowns yearly in pensions to certain individuals at this Court, so that they feared that one day they might lose Flushing or one of the other places by the means of some corrupt Englishman, and your Excellencies may easily see the importance of this (perche dalli Inglesi non erano custodite con quel riguardo che bisognava, et anco per le trattationi che corrono de matrimonii con Spagnuoli, per veder gran parte de servitori del Re interessati col Catholico, essendo cosa certa che l'Ambr. de Spagna paga 150m. scudi all' anno di pensione a particolari soggeti in questa Corte, onde dubitavano che un giorno per opera di qualche Inglese corotto potessero perder Flesinghen, o alcuna delle altre piazze, che li sarebbe stato di quel momento che l'EE. VV.con la loro soma prudenza possono conoscer).
By letters from the Hague of 7th June I hear that news has arrived there that Count Henry Vanderberg, with a good number of Spanish troops, attempted to take by force the town of Neuss (Nuys), six leagues below Cologne, pretending that he wished to punish it as rebellious to the empire and to its prince, namely the Archbishop of Cologne; by this means he would have closed almost every passage of the Rhine. But the States showed that they would not tolerate this and although hitherto there has been no decisive resolution, it is thought that they will send their troops against him.
The other day I asked the Secretary Winwood what he thought about the affairs of Cleves. He said he thought that a fierce war would be kindled.
This week the States are sending a deputy by a warship to Barbary, with very strong letters to the Viceroys there for the release of the slaves and the observance of the articles arranged with the Grand Turk; and saying that if in the future they did not behave differently they would try another way to free themselves from the constant losses which they suffer in the Mediterranean.
Last Monday the ambassador Barbarigo's funeral ceremony was celebrated by his sons in their house. The ambassadors and a large gathering of English and foreign Catholics were present. This is the more remarkable as there is no memory of any other ambassador of a foreign prince who has died in this kingdom. They have not yet gone to kiss the king's hands, as he has been spending some days at Theobalds, hunting. He is returning to Greenwich to-day, when they will see him.
London, the 16th June, 1616.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 16. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 313. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
There are two troops of Italians in Flanders in the service of the archduke Albert, one commanded by Sig. Marcello dal Giudice, the other by Lelin Brancacio, a Neapolitan, knight of Malta. They number 4,000 and hail from all parts of Italy. They are the most courageous, honoured and valued soldiers who are now serving, but owing to the difficulty of returning home, their pay and other reasons, I am told by one who knows that they might easily be induced to serve your Serenity. In discussing the means, I was told that as they are the most trusted, they are all posted on the frontiers of the Dutch, and if they obtained the permission of the States and if there was someone there to receive them in the name of your Serenity they could easily go to embark at Amsterdam, where ships would be ready to transport them. To effect this it would first be necessary to treat with the captains and other officers who are disposed to accept such a charge on account of their treatment by the Spaniards. They are mostly Romans or from the western march, but very valorous, and would readily take up anything to increase their fortune. If they passed the word among the soldiers that men were wanted for Italy, it is considered certain, by those who know Flanders, that in four or five days about a thousand Italians with some Walloons would assemble, all experienced in war and well armed.
The cost of taking these to Venice would be somewhat as follow:—
Food for 4 or 5 days while assembling, a ducat a head.
Food for three or four days more; until the embarkation, a ducat.
A donation at embarking, 4 ducats.
Payment by the month on a voyage of two months, about 3 ducats.
Food on the voyage to Venice, about 10 ducats a head.
Two vessels to Venice, 3,000 ducats.
Munitions for the soldiers to fight, whatever your Serenity pleases, as they might lade as much as 6,000 ducats per ship, using what they needed on the voyage, while the rest might be kept under guard and consigned to the arsenal or elsewhere.
By this reckoning it would cost 22,000 ducats to take a thousand of these men to Venice, without the military provisions. For the rest it is not probable that the States will raise any difficulty about the passage, as it is not contrary to their truce, while the most courageous soldiers of the enemy will be removed.
I have reported this in order not to omit anything that may be of service to your Serenity. I have obtained the particulars from one who knows Flanders well, and who offers to take part in the negotiations. Your Excellencies may receive further information from Sig. Pompeo Giustiniano; it would also be of great assistance if you sent Sig. Cornelius de Vimes, a Flemish gentleman of great experience, not only in military matters, but with a great knowledge of the whole country, who has worked for your Serenity with the Swiss and the Grisons.
London, the 16th June, 1616.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 16. Collegio. Ceremoniale. Venetian Archives. 314. The Secretary of England announced the arrival of Sir Henry Wotton in this city, but with the intimation that he wished to remain in retirement for some days owing to his numerous occupations, as there were some English gentlemen who wished to offer their services to the republic; he asked pardon for his delay in coming to pay his respects. The doge expressed their pleasure at his arrival, and said they would be glad to see him.
The Secretary returned some days later and announced that the ambassador would make his entry on the following Sunday, if it pleased his Serenity. It was accordingly arranged that the senators should go and fetch His Excellency at San Giorgio Maggiore, although previously the ambassador of Great Britain had as well been fetched at San Spirito. This was accordingly done, and on the following morning the senators went to fetch him from his house and bring him to the Cabinet, where he was graciously received by the doge. The usual refreshments were subsequently offered.
June 16. Inquisitori di Stato. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 315. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Inquisitors of State.
I ventured to open the letters of your Excellencies of the 27 May to Sig. Barbarigo, who is dead, to see if there were any orders which I might execute, but finally I have decided to await instructions.
From London, the 16 June, 1616.
June 17. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 316. To the Ambassador in England.
The deliberation of the Senate of the 28th May was read to the Catholic ambassador and Marshal Manriquez. They replied by pressing for the restoration of the places before a remedy was applied to the Uscochi; and further raised fresh difficulties. We delayed our reply until we heard from the governor. At first, in conversation with the secretary Vincenti, he seemed to disapprove of these new movements of the ministers, but he would not reply before receiving their letters. Two days later he told our secretary that he approved of the position of the ministers. He said that the Catholic ambassador and the bishop of Trieste informed him that these bandits would be removed only from our state and not from the Turkish country, but these are the worst. This simply means the continuation of the disorders. We may say that the matter has ended badly. You will inform His Majesty of these particulars. Our position, you will inform him, consists of two points: A remedy against the Uscochi and the question of the posts. In the first we simply ask for the fulfilment of promises, to punish robbers and burn their boats. These would have been fulfilled if evil intentioned and interested ministers had not interfered. We only insist upon this in self defence.
The Catholic ambassador appears to be acting in such a manner as to lead to throwing everything into confusion. You will inform His Majesty of as much as you see fit about this.
You will also impart the above information to the ambassador of the States, as a sign of friendship. In speaking to the king you will lay particular stress upon the great advantages we may derive from the exercise of his authority and of his friendship for the republic, by declarations and acts as at other times. You will inform him of the offices performed in Italy by M. de Bethune, ambassador extraordinary of France, for the purpose of disarming the duke of Savoy, while keeping the Spaniards armed in the state of Milan, to place the republic at a disadvantage in dealing with the archduke. In the same way the French ministers never cease their efforts to counteract all our offices with the Grisons. You will tell His Majesty that we shall do our utmost for the duke of Savoy by the levy of 4,000 French, leaving 2,000 at his disposition, and we are ready to do anything else in reason for the common service and the good of that prince
Ayes 168.
Noes 1.
Neutral 1.
June 18. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 317. To the Ambassador in England.
You will provide with all information and whatever is needed for the proper execution of his task, the secretary Christoforo Suriano, who, by public decree, is going to the States to inform them upon current affairs.
Ayes 147.
Noes 4.
Neutrals 2.
June 19. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 318. Antonio Donato, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
I have seen the duke, and in the course of our conversation he spoke strongly against the Spaniards. He said: They have fomented villains against the republic, they keep up the archduke's army, they pay whole nations, they have erected forts to cut off all help, they have bought France with their gold; and are trying to buy England by negotiating a marriage, all to further their vast ambitions.
Turin, the 19th June, 1616.
June 19. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 319. Antonio Donato, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
As I was about to send off these despatches a courier has arrived from London with news of the death of my dear friend the ambassador Barbarigo, which has filled me with grief.
Turin, the 19th June, 1616.
June 20. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Padova. Venetian Archives. 320. The Rectors of Padua to the Doge and Senate.
We received information this morning from the Rectors of Vicenza of the expected arrival here of lord Dingwall, a Scotchman of high rank, on his way to Venice, who has been highly honoured by the representatives of your Serenity wherever he has been. Accordingly we prepared to receive him, and on his arrival we bestowed upon him such honours as we thought fitting and invited him to dine in the palace of the Captain with his three companions. One of these serves as interpreter, as he does not understand Italian. He accepted the invitation and the Podestà pressed him to stay this evening and sup with him, but he expressed a wish to continue his journey. So he left this evening, thanking us for the courtesy shown to him.
Padua, the 20th June, 1616.
June 21. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 321. Ottavio Bon and Piero Contarini, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador has called upon us. After the usual compliments he said that he had spoken to some of the Council about the affairs of the republic, and, in conformity with his instructions he had shown them that the service of the republic was not unconnected with that of their kingdom, and that it befitted the dignity of their king to express his friendly feeling by deeds, not words; they replied in the usual French fashion, showing plenty of good intentions, but he could not venture to promise anything.
Paris, the 21st June, 1616.
June 21. Consiglio di X. Parti Comuni. Venetian Archives. 322. That leave be granted to Zuane Rizzardo to go at once to the house of the new ambassador of England, who has expressed a desire in the Cabinet to speak to him. He shall report what is said to him.
Ayes 14.
Noes 0.
Neutral 1.
June 22. Senato, Terra. Venetian Archives. 323. To the Secretary Lionello in England.
We are satisfied with your execution of the instructions which reached you after the death of the ambassador Barbarigo. You will continue to do the like with the others. We are certain that the ambassador's sons will receive from His Majesty and his ministers those favours which are required for their journey and for their household and goods.
Ayes 126.
Noes 1.
Neutral 2.
June 22. Senato, Terra. Venetian Archives. 324. Owing to the death of the ambassador Barbarigo on the 8th inst. that another ambassador be elected in his place, under the penalties provided in case of refusal. The one elected shall receive for his expenses 300 gold ducats a month for which he need render no account; for horses, trappings and chests, 300 ducats of lire 6 gr. 4. His secretary shall receive 100 ducats to put himself in order, and the two couriers who accompany him 20 ducats each, as is usual. 40 crowns a month of lire 7 are assigned for all other expenses except couriers and the carriage of letters. The chaplain shall receive 180 ducats a year and the interpreter 100 ducats. He must start when the council see fit.
Ayes 126.
Noes 1.
Neutral 2.
June 22. Senato, Terra. Venetian Archives. 325. That a donation of 2,000 gold crowns of lire 7 be paid to the two sons of the late ambassador Barbarigo, as a testimony of the satisfaction of the republic, seeing that the late ambassador was not qualified to receive the usual donation from the republic or the usual gifts from the king.
Ayes 172.
Noes 8.
Neutral 10.
On June 22, in the Cabinet, Ayes 20.
Noes 0.
Neutral 0.
June 22. Senato, Terra. Venetian Archives. 326. To the Secretary Lionello in England.
We are much grieved at the news of the death of the ambassador Barbarigo. We direct you, when you see His Majesty, the ministers and the grandees of the court, to thank them warmly in our name, adding that we have chosen another ambassador to maintain our good relations with His Majesty, namely Antonio Donato. Meanwhile we instruct you to remain at court and inform us of all that passes worthy of our notice. In order that you may provide yourself with horses and other necessaries, to keep up a proper appearance, we have granted you 300 ducats and have assigned to you 120 crowns of lire 7 a month for your expenses, to begin from the day of the ambassador's death, and 10 crowns a month for other expenses, except couriers and the carriage of letters, for which we have made a provision of 150 ducats of lire 6 gr. 4, for which you will render account on your return. We further grant you a gift of 200 ducats for expenses of mourning. You will continue the services of the chaplain and interpreter of the late ambassador for which we shall give you the usual allowance.
Ayes 126.
Noes 1.
Neutral 2.
June 22. Inquisitori di Stato. Lettere agli Ambasciatori d' Inghilterra. Venetian Archives 327. The Inquisitors of State to Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England.
Express grief at the news of the death of the ambassador Barbarigo. The secretary will remain in charge with the custody of all minutes, letters and documents, which are not to be communicated to others, and to be delivered up on his return.
June 23. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 328. To the Secretary in England.
Our troops in Istria have inflicted some damage upon the enemy. Our horse have penetrated to Zemino, engaged the enemy and brought back some booty, without loss. The people of Atbona have entered the archducal territory as far as Cosliaco and Pedena, taking 2,500 animals. They have burned several houses near Trieste. Nothing of moment has taken place in Friuli, as although the archducal force drew out near Gradisca, they did not advance to a place where they could be attacked by our forces.
The like to the Imperial Court, Rome, France, Spain, Savoy, Zurich, Naples, Milan, Florence.
Ayes 160.
Noes 3.
Neutral 6.
June 24. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 329. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Last Sunday I went to Greenwich to see the secretary Winwood and communicated to him the contents of your Excellencies' letters of the 28th May, so that he might inform His Majesty. I first told him of what had taken place in Friuli and Istria, with all the particulars. He was amazed, as everyone must be, when he heard of the barbarous cruelty practised by the archduke's men to the subjects and territory of your Serenity. But they simply say that this is the usual thing at the beginning of all wars, which after a while are conducted with more humanity; that at the beginning of the revolution of the Low Countries the cruelty was extraordinary, but both parties afterwards agreed to observe the usual practices of war. With regard to the negotiations of the marquis Manriquez, upon which I gave him full information, pointing out the fickleness shown by the governor of Milan, and the consequences which must arise from his inclinations, Winwood answered that the king had the same news with regard to the provision of troops made by Don Pedro, from which and from his general proceedings it is clear that he desires war. He said nothing further, but by his expression he showed that he was much moved.
When I began to tell him of the journey of the ambassador Gussoni through Germany and of the orders received from your Excellencies to visit the Elector Palatine first of all, the secretary interrupted me, saying that it was unnecessary to report this to His Majesty, since he had been distinctly advised of all by the Elector himself. I begged him, all the same, to hear me, and went on to tell him of the friendly replies received by the ambassador from the various princes, and of the courteous offers which they had made to him, and how the duke of Wirtemberg in particular had said that none could more fitly intervene for an accommodation than the princes of the Union, offering his services to send in their name an express ambassador to His Imperial Majesty and the archduke, for which the ambassador Gussoni thanked him. Your Excellencies had performed the same offices with all the princes, and your Serenity desired to give special information about this to His Majesty, with the usual confidence, because, in addition to other reasons, he is the head of that Union.
The secretary said that this had not actually been heard by the king, whom he would inform about it at the first opportunity, and if His Majesty wished to say anything in reply, he would let me know. I begged him to grant me permission to call on him some day to learn if he had any reply to give me. He replied that it was not necessary, as most certainly if he had anything to tell me after he had spoken with the king, he would send for me. I did not insist any further, as this offer of the duke of Wirtemberg is more likely to be favoured if the king is inclined to it, than obtained in any other way. I have been waiting until to-day for Winwood to send for me, but nothing has happened and I cannot even be certain that he has given the information to the king. The latter has been hunting every day of late and three days ago he went to Theobalds. However, as His Majesty has fixed Sunday next for seeing the sons of Sig. Barbarigo, who will go to kiss hands at Greenwich, I may then see Winwood, and with good fortune hear what has taken place. It may very well be that the secretary has delayed telling me anything, because they are daily expecting news here of the operations of M. de Bethune, and the king and his ministers will not discuss any of the affairs of Italy, however insignificant, until that time as Winwood has several times declared to the ambassador of Savoy and to me, and as I have written before.
I have also been to see M. Caron, ambassador of the States, passing those offices with him which your Excellencies command, and begging him to write to his masters to testify to the continued friendship and esteem of your Serenity. He has promised to do this, but I do not know how much he will do. He has lived for many years in this city under various titles, and has always given more time and attention to matters of trade than to negotiations of state. He avoids as much as possible negotiating with the ministers of princes, and when the ambassador Barbarigo begged him many times to write to his masters upon current affairs, he never gave any other reply, but when I was at the Hague I could not discover that he had written to the States anything of importance. I decided to acquaint your Serenity with this so that you may know what results your most prudent officers produce in the various places.
Yesterday evening I received your Serenity's letters of the 3rd June, containing the same news as the last, but with clearer information. I have as yet had no occasion to make use of them.
London, the 24th June, 1616.
June 24. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 330. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
A report is current among the best informed persons at Court that His Majesty has dismissed the French ambassador upon the negotiations for the marriage with the sister of the Most Christian King, and is continually approaching nearer to an alliance with Spain. Thus there is a close understanding between lord Roos, who is selected to go to the Catholic king, and the Spanish ambassador resident here. The secretary Lake, his father-in-law, enjoys the same confidence. The latter told a person in my confidence that matters are so far advanced that they can hardly suffer any serious reverse, and in a week or so it will be made known to the Council, by which it would appear that the king has quite made up his mind. The archbishop of Canterbury, who is the chief subject in the kingdom, and who has not been favourable in the past, is now said to be willing to advocate it to the people as being salutary to the kingdom, with many plausible reasons.
Six days ago there arrived in this city one of the Appiani from Basel, sent by prince Francis Julius of the house of Saxony, second son of duke Francis, who holds some states near Lubeck and other Hanse towns. He is a young man anxious for employment and desires to come and serve your Excellencies against the archduke. As yet he has no introduction, but he has written to the king here begging him to honour him with his advice and with letters of recommendation to your Serenity. Appiani has already spoken to the king and presented letters to him, but as yet he has received no reply. He has been to see me, telling me of the prince's wishes, adding that though he is young he is of great spirit and would have valourous captains under him. He proposed to bring 4,500 infantry with him or a large number of horse. If all that he told me is true, this bringing of these men to your territory would cost little and would be easier than many other levies, which your Excellencies might make, always supposing, however, that the pass of the Grisons is not so closed that the men could not pass in small companies. He told me that the prince enjoyed confidential relations with the elector Palatine, the margrave of Baden and other princes nearer Switzerland, from whom he feels confident he can obtain leave to make the levies in their states, which would only be a short distance from Basel, from whence, in a few days and with great ease, he could lead them wherever he was directed. He is of the confession of Augsburg, and although of the house of Saxony has but little leaning towards that of Austria. He proposes, so soon as he has received the advice and letters of His Majesty, to betake himself to Venice, where he has previously been incognito, to treat with your Serenity. I encouraged him to continue his plans, assuring him that the recommendation of the king would always have great weight with the republic, which is, moreover, always disposed to receive and honour all the princes of Germany and of that house in particular.
At the restitution of Flushing and even more at that of Brill a mutiny took place among the English soldiers in those places, who refused to leave before they had been paid for their clothing, as they are the creditors of the king and their pay for the preceding six months has been already deducted. The matter was disputed awhile with some peril to viscount Lisle, governor of Flushing, but at length all was pacified, the States having paid 6 crowns per soldier, which will be made good by the king of England.
Three days ago the king spent three hours with the ambassador of the States. He spoke to him in particular about the restitution of the country of Cleves to the margrave of Brandenburg. The archduke asked that the Dutch should do this and expressed his readiness to perform similar offices with the duke of Neuburg. Accordingly this matter is being warmly pressed upon the States by the kings of France and England but the States perceive in it an open artifice of the Spaniards to their grave prejudice. Accordingly they have resolved not to consent, and this is what the Dutch ambassador replied to His Majesty.
From Flanders, Holland and Cleves there is at present no news. The attempt upon Neuss met with no success, and thus all parties continue quiet but in the midst of shadows and suspicions.
At the Hague the confederation with the Hanse towns has been definitely concluded for twelve years, with an obligation upon each city to supply one fifth of a hundred for the establishment of their countries, for the defence of their liberty and free navigation in all parts of the world, against anyone whomsoever who may attempt to hinder them. The ambassadors of the towns were to return home last week, with great satisfaction.
The king of Denmark has prepared war ships to prevent the ships of the States from whale fishing. The latter are setting out at this time, well escorted, and consequently some news is expected. If it happens this year it may involve important consequences.
It is announced that the peace between the king of Sweden and the Muscovite has been satisfactorily arranged by the interposition of the English and Dutch ambassadors.
London, the 24th June, 1616.
June 24. Inquisitori di Stato. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 331. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Inquisitors of State.
One Angelo Nodari, a musician of Padua, who is in the city, told me six days ago that the ambassador of Spain and Sir [William] Smith were in possession of several letters written by Foscarini to the Senate. I have a poor opinion of the man, and as he is an enemy both of Foscarini and of the secretary Muscorno I concluded that this was some device to prejudice one of them and placed little faith in it, simply telling him that he should contrive to get me one letter that I might see in whose hand it was written and that he should bring me other proofs. This he promised to do.
He came back in two days, repeating the same story and added that if I wanted to have the secret and would give him something, he would get me the letters which are in Smith's hands. This made me think that there was some bottom in the matter, and I promised him some reward if he would try to recover the letters for me.
He came again this morning saying that he had the affair in good train as after much trouble he had induced Smith to let him see the letters and make copies of them, assuring me that he has great quantities (molte e molte) of the ambassador Foscarini's letters in his hands as well as those written jointly by him and the ambassador Barbarigo, up to November 20. He offered to disclose the whole affair as well as the person who told him. He gave me particulars which still further persuaded me, in particular that in the margin in certain places there is writing in cipher and in some places Sig. Foscarini describes entire audiences which the ambassador of Savoy had of the king. I believed this the more readily because the ambassador of France said that he had seen some of Foscarini's letters on such matters, as Barbarigo wrote to your Excellencies on 14 January last. Yet I am amazed and confused at this strange thing, not only for the harm that may have been done in the past; but because it may continue in the future if the letters of your Serenity should be opened in Flanders or elsewhere. I asked him to let me see these letters, promising him a handsome reward, which he will richly deserve if so prejudicial a matter be discovered by his means. He told me that this Sir [William] Smith is the one who is the creditor of the secretary Muscorno for 600 crowns. He will be induced to disclose the matter in the hope of facilitating the recovery of the debt. Without committing myself I said that by such an action he would certainly render himself worthy of all protection. He promised to bring the letters on Sunday or Monday, and I await him anxiously as he seems to have a matter of the greatest importance.
As regards the ambassador of Spain, Nodari, who is engaged in his house, says that while he was dining with him with one Bernardi and a Genoese physician the ambassador remarked, Sig. Foscarini was not a bad fellow especially in public matters. He writes well as appears by copies of his public letters in my possession, bought for a great price.
With regard to the letters written jointly by the ambassadors Foscarini and Barbarigo, I can assure your Excellencies that there is no danger on our side as all public documents are kept safely either in register or in file, in the custody of His Excellency or of myself, without anyone being able to see them. Thus the French ambassador bribed one of my servants recently to bring him my registers whilst I was in bed so that they might be replaced early in the morning. But the youth, being faithful, apprised me of the fact the moment he returned from the ambassador's house and even if he had been of evil intent he could not have committed the treason, because my papers are in a separate room where no one but myself sets foot.
I shall await instructions. I have received the letters of 3 June, directed to Sig. Barbarigo, and I beg your Excellencies to excuse me from undertaking the affair of the examinations without order, as it is always easier to make good an omission than an error.
From London, the 24 June, 1616.
June 26. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 332. Antonio Donato, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
When the duke, the Marshal Lesdiguières, M. de Bethune, the minister of the king of Great Britain and I, with the count of Verua and the Secretary Crotti were all gathered in one room, His Highness said: We have sent for you so that the affairs relating to the peace may be laid before you. Bethune said that he had been sent to see that the treaty of Asti was completed. His mission was only to His Highness and he was not bound to negotiate in the presence of others, but as he was in the presence of ministers of princes friendly to France he thought he might speak. The whole difficulty consisted in disarming the Spaniards; but they say they are not bound to this as the treaty of Asti does not provide for fresh accidents. They were only keeping 5,000 men, which was no considerable number for so great a prince. The treaty should be carried out, but he could speak more fully after his journey to Milan, where he would show the utmost diligence, and as he is the Spaniard here he would be the Savoyard there.
The duke would not suffer it to be said that the treaty did not include disarmament and sent for the original document with the ratification under the seal of their Majesties and read the words about disarming and the article not to grant the pass for six months. The minister of England said that his master claimed that the army should be entirely disbanded, and every man sent home, or that it should be sent out of Europe, because it will not do for it to be sent to molest others and carry war elsewhere. He had instructions to send word of the negotiations and their result, because His Majesty was resolved not to break his word or fail the most sincere friends that he possesses, the republic of Venice and the duke of Savoy.
The French ambassador waxed wroth and said: What, these troops must leave Europe; what high pretensions are these! The agent replied that they must not be sent to Flanders, but if they decide to do so the remedy would be easy. I spoke in favour of peace and said that the French crown had taken a hand in concluding the treaty of Asti, and promised that it should be completely carried out. The only sure means of procuring peace was by disarmament. I had instructions to try that this might be carried out.
The duke concluded the conference by saying: You may judge which is the just cause. I am the injured party, the district round Asti is a picture of the wrongs inflicted upon me; I have sustained a struggle alone against 40,000 armed men, and God alone has saved me. The word of the king of France has disarmed me, and it is not right that I should be abandoned. I demand justice. If the king my cousin wishes me to be beaten and subdued, let us two alone fight it out sword in hand.
The Marquis Lesdiguières, who had not opened his mouth for three hours together, though he listened very attentively, said with much gravity: The duke is right, the Spaniards must disarm; the treaty is clear and the king must unsheath his sword to have it executed.
M. de Bethune declared that he would go to Milan and do his part. The duke retorted that the Governor must disarm or he shall beg the duke to do so, and whispered in my ear, I will supply the men and the republic the money, and the leader shall be your humble servant. Finally Bethune said that he would go to Milan on Tuesday and send word immediately of Don Pedro's wishes.
Turin, the 26 June, 1616.
June 26. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 333. Antonio Donato, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
Acknowledges receipt of letters announcing the election of his brother to the Camera d'Imprestedi, and of himself as ambassador to England. We three brothers shall always be ready to spend our lives and fortunes in the service of the republic.
Turin, the 26 June, 1616.
June 27. Consiglio di X. Parti Communi. Venetian Archives. 334. That leave be granted to Marc Antonio Correr to visit once the newly arrived ambassador of the king of Great Britain, and to receive his visit in return, as a matter of courtesy, owing to their acquaintance while Correr was ambassador with that Crown.
Ayes 16.
Noes 0.
Neutral 0.
June 27. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 335. Sir Henry Wotton, the new English Ambassador, came into the Cabinet and said:
It is unusual for an ambassador to return a second time to a place where he has once served. As many may conceive opinions upon this remote from the purposes of my king and my own sincerity, I will begin by stating how it has fallen out. Some two years ago His Majesty sent for me upon some extraordinary occasion, when I was twenty miles away from London. His Majesty passed over my faults, and graciously informed me that he proposed to employ me on one of the ordinary embassies. I thanked His Majesty, and though it does not become a subject to ask when and how, yet his extreme kindness emboldened me to ask that the choice might be left to me. This was granted, and I chose to come and serve the republic. I had three reasons for this. Firstly, my natural inclination for the Italians, whom I have loved and esteemed since first I crossed the Alps. Secondly, my admiration for this marvellous Government, replete with persons of such distinction, led me on, as I always take a singular delight in the contemplation of its worthy institutions. The third reason why I preferred this charge to all others was that my imperfections had been borne with for the six years and four months of my first embassy, and I felt sure that the same kindness and sufferance would be extended to me again. His Majesty approved my reasons and praised my good judgment. I went to the States in the matter of the treaty of Xanten, which was expected to be an affair of two months and took fourteen. This will explain why I have come to reside here a second time.
The king my master commands me to salute your Serenity and your Excellencies in his name. I present my letters of credit. I must excuse their being five months old. His Majesty sent them to me on leaving London. Owing to the disturbances in France at the time, as I proposed to go that way, I awaited a convenient season and a favourable opportunity. But His Majesty directed me to go by way of Germany to fulfil some commissions with the princess Palatine, his daughter, so my journey was prolonged. I also received orders to pass through Savoy and visit that truly heroic prince who well deserves the title of duke, and I could not possibly stay with him less than ten days, so difficult is it to tear onesself away from that most gracious prince. The letter is as follows:—
Jacobus etc. Domino Joanni Bembo, Venetae Republicae Duci, amico nostro charissimo, salutem etc.
Henricus Wottonus, eques aureatus ad vos redit, qua in re et nostro judicio et suo desiderio satisfecimus; nobis quidem fidem ejus, ac diligentia, variis jam legationibus probate sunt quibus nunc ornatior, in istius super omnes alias celebratissimae et vetustissimae Republicae gremium revertitur, cujus dignitatem, magnificentiam, pulchritudinem, coeteraque admirabilia saepius nobis predicavit, quo digniorem aesimavimus, qui apud Serenitatem Vestram hoc munere fungatur, pro communis amicitiae pignore. Huic igitur legato nostro ut Serenitas Vestra faveat rogamus, eique in tractandis quae obvenerint negociis, eandem quam nobismet ipsis fidem adhibeat. Deus optimus maximus Serenitatem Vestram universamque Rem-publicam in florentissimo statu conservet.
Jacobus Rex.
After the letter had been read the ambassador went on to congratulate the doge on his election. He continued: I have come here a second time not so much by the choice of His Majesty as by my own special disposition, as there is no lack of other subjects more worthy to sustain this charge. I propose to live rather as a philosopher than as a courtier. Neither I nor my household will ever do harm to anyone. We propose to remain quiet without scandal or offence, at peace with everyone.
The doge replied thanking His Majesty for his expressions of affection. He also thanked the ambassador, welcoming him on his return to that embassy.
The ambassador replied: I have a sad and painful duty to perform touching the loss of the ambassador Barbarigo, for which I offer condolences to your Serenity. I had special opportunities of knowing him and I feel his loss so acutely that I cannot find words to express it. His Majesty has supplied my weakness by his letter, which I had intended to present at another audience, but which I may now offer.
Jacobus etc. Domino Joanni Bembo, Venetae Republicae Duci, amico nostro charissimo, salutem etc.
Innopinatus Gregorii Barbarigi vestri apud nos nuperi legati obitus, duplicem nobis animi molestiam attulit, nam et Serenitatem Vestram tali ministro oblatam, pro mutua benevolentia nostra, uti par est, dolemus, et tam gravi casu optimi viri, cujus probitatem, ac prudentiam, et amicitiae nostrae fovendae, conservendaeque studium perspectissimum habuimus, merito commovemur, sed ea lege nati summus, ut quicquid homini accidere possit equis animis ferendum cogitemus. Ad liberos et familiam defuncti quod attinet, ea cura adhibebitur, ut nullum aliud incommodum sentiant, praeter desiderium optimi parentis, et Domini, si quidem, et dum manebunt in Regno nostro et cum discedent, non solum tuta iis omnia praebimus, verum etiam nihil de esse patiemur, quod consentaneum videatur, ipsique expectare possint. Quod reliquum est quicumque alius a Serenitate Vestra mittetur in locum defuncti successurus, ipsius adventus erit nobis admodum gratus, eoque modo accipietur, et tractabitur, quo aequum est accipi et tractari legatum Principis tam amici tamque arctis benevolentiae vinculis nobiscum conjuncti.
Datum e manerio nostro Grenovici, xxix. die Maii Anno Domini, 1616.
Jacobus Rex.
Before the letter was read the ambassador said: Allow me to say a word about the appointment of Sig. Antonio Donato as ambassador to my king. I knew and valued him at Turin and am much delighted at this appointment. After the doge had replied in courteous terms the ambassador departed.
June 29. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 336. Sir Henry Wotton, Ambassador of England came into the Cabinet with Lord Dingwall (Dinguel), a Scotchman, who was given a place above the Savii of Terra Firma. The ambassador said:
I have a letter from His Majesty introducing the Viscount Dingwall. He is not travelling to advance his fortunes, since he is well provided by birth and with property, being the sole heir of the countess of Colorno in Ireland, the leading one in that kingdom. (fn. 1) Therefore he has no need to seek advancement except for his reputation, and it is not necessary for him to seek the love of other princes, since he enjoys the special affection of his own. I may say there is no other Scotchman so popular as he is at court, both with the Scots and the English. All that your Serenity can do for him will be very grateful to His Majesty.
The viscount then rose, and as he did not know Italian, the ambassador interpreted for him. The viscount thanked the republic for the favours granted to him, which he had experienced in dealing with the ambassadors Foscarini and Barbarigo. He greatly regretted that the one was in prison and the other dead. At all events he was ready to serve the republic, and presented the following letter.
Jacobus etc. Domino Joanni Bembo Venetiarum duci, amico suo charissimo, salutem:
Egit nobis cum Antonius Foscarinus dum hic apud nos legati vestri munere fungeretur, ut si forte Celsitudini vestre e re vestra futurum videretur ut subditi aliquot nostri vestris stipendiis militature conscriberentur non solum id concedere dignaremur, verum, et ipsis Richardum Prestonum, Baronem Digualensem preficeremus: Gregorius quoque Barbaricus legatus itidem vester non ita pridem memorato Prestano suasit ut quae Fuscarinus coeperat prosequeretur, et perficeret id Celsitudini Vestre non ingratum futurum. Ideoque Prestanus, ut sibi ad Celsitudinem Vestram proficisci, suamque operam offerre nostra liceret, serio, supplexque a nobis petiit: id tam evixe petente recusare non potuimus, homini praesertim, quem non immerito diligimus. Is enim Prestonus est quem et ab ipsis pene incunabulis ipsis educavimus, et postquam adolevit, fortem, fidumque sepius experti sumus. Nil igitur mirum, si hominem nobiscum natum altum, educatum, et non semel probatum commendemus vobisque (si ejus opera uti libeat) gratias agamus, qui cum ad tam illustre munus obeandum evocaveritis, cum non dubitemus illum ita suum studium, fidemque vobis probaturum, ut vestri in eum beneficii minime vos imposterum poeniteat. Quodcumque autem ille vobiscum pepigerit id eum omnem sedulo prestiturum audacter pollicemur. Alia huc spectantia plenius ab ipso Celsitudo vestra intelliget. Nos itaque longioris epistolae tedio supersedemus et Vestrae Celsitudini reique publicae vestrae fausta omnia precamus.
E regia nostra ad Westmonasterium prope Londinnum, Cal. Maii 1616.
Celsis V. amicus Amantissimus
Jacobus Rex.
The doge assured the ambassador that they welcomed the Baron with peculiar satisfaction. After this the ambassador and Viscount departed after making a reverence to His Serenity, and leaving a letter of Sig. Barbarigo, which was then read.
Most Serene Prince:
Lord Dingwall is setting out to offer his services to your Serenity. He shows the more devotion because he desires to learn your mind in person the better to execute your commands. He goes with the favour of His Majesty, who is always well inclined to those who desire to serve your Serenity.
From London, the 14 May, 1616
Gregorio Barbarigo, Ambassador.
In the superscription of the king's letter an error was observed, the doge being addressed as Most Illustrious instead of Most Serene. It was explained that this was due to the error of some new secretary.
June 30. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 337. To the Ambassador in England.
Nothing of moment has happened this week in Friuli. From Istria the Proveditore inform us that on hearing from deserters of the plans of the enemy, he gathered all his forces, and advanced in the direction of Trieste, burned ten mills and captured a quantity of grain, destroying much else. He also burnéd some villages and as many as 130 houses. The Proveditore Barbaro also made a raid into the archducal country and inflicted some damage.
The like to the Imperal Court, Rome, France, Spain, Savoy Zurich, Surian, Milan, Florence, Naples.
Ayes 143.
Noes 1.
Neutral 1.


  • 1. The secretary has probably misunderstood Wotton. Richard Preston married Elizabeth, widow of Theobald viscount Butler of Tulleophelim, and only daughter of Thomas Butler, earl of Ormonde and Ossory. She died in January, 1613, and in the following year her father died, leaving the estates to his heir male his nephew Walter Butler. This nephew refused to surrender the estates to Preston, and for this he suffered imprisonment until James's death. G.E.C. Complete Peerage.