Venice: August 1616

Pages 269-287

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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August 1616

Aug. 1. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 384. The deliberation of the Senate of the 20th ult. was read to the Ambassador of England and Lord Dingwall. After conversing aside with the Baron, the Ambassador replied:
The baron has been much honoured by his reception here, of which he will give His Majesty a full account on his return. Owing to his being married he cannot bind himself to continuous residence in this state, and as he treated with the ambassadors for a command of 6,000 infantry he cannot abandon that proposal, yet he remains satisfied with his expedition, and will make the best report of it.
The ambassador went on to say that the late Ambassador Barbarigo, when he, Wotton, was in London, travelled from London to see His Majesty, and give him an account of the troubles caused by the tolerance for 70 or 80 years of the robberies and incursions of those thieves who were fomented secretly and publicly by neighbouring princes. That your Serenity acted solely on the defensive for your own safety. That His Majesty was pleased at this office, and most openly declared himself the friend of the republic, approved the justice of its cause, which may be considered as a common one, because as the civil law says latro habetur pro hoste of all not of one alone.
When I left, His Majesty favoured me with credentials to all the princes where I was to pass, especially the Count Palatine, giving me leave to employ his name and authority as I might judge best for the service of your Serenity. I arrived at the palatine court six days after the departure of the Ambassador Gussoni, whose prudence and ability spared me the trouble of dealing with many things. I remained there six or eight days. The prince and his councillors came every day to see me, and I may say that they spoke of nothing but the current affairs of your Serenity. Two subjects of discussion occurred which might be useful to this state, the first to approach the Imperial court for the withdrawal of troops; the second to persuade the Grisons to open the pass, as I thought that prince would be a good means to this end, his religion and language being the same as theirs. The Palatine replied in writing that he had already approached the emperor, and he and his allies would be able to effect more at the next diet, and they hoped to do some good with the Grisons. I sent the reply to His Majesty, and I was asked to report it here. The prince expressed great satisfaction with Sig. Gussoni, and the honour done to him by your Serenity by that mission.
I next passed to Savoy, and it is superfluous in me to relate what took place at that court, as you have been fully informed by your able ambassador, who took part, by the wish of His Highness, in all negotiations and meetings.
I now come to the point. His Majesty, as chief of the allied princes, states and republics, which are now called the Union, charged me during the two years that I was in the Low Countries to get them to enter this league. This took place, and His Majesty now hopes to persuade your Serenity to do the same, especially as the States have finally joined with the Hanseatic league, which is a matter of great moment. The point therefore is whether the republic will unite with His Majesty and the princes of the Union for defence and peace at the present juncture. I will speak of the reasons both for and against. To begin with the objections, sincerity demands that I should put them as strongly as possible. Firstly it is said that there is a great difference between the religion of those princes and that practised in this city, and it will give great offence to the pope. I reply that this difference should offend no one as the league is not made for the sake of religion, as the princes are greatly divided among themselves in religion, but simply for defence, not for spiritual but for civil ends.
In the second place it may be said that the princes of the house of Austria will be offended by the league. I reply, qui expectat nubes, numquam seminat, a prince is not bound to neglect his own advantage in order to avoid offending another. The king of Spain, in these marriages, has sought his own advantage, and has decided wisely from his own point of view. The republic can give no just cause of offence by uniting with its friends, as she is known to be surrounded by princes ill disposed to her.
The third objection is that a union with so many princes, republics and states would involve the republic in infinite trouble and constant expense. This is an important consideration, and the one which caused the greatest difficulty with the States. But compensation was found, because they concluded that the Union would be with money or troops, to be arranged under two heads according to whether a party was attacked and invaded by a third, or if, by an injury, he should be forced to take arms. This would depend upon the decision of all the princes united, and not upon the caprice of one alone.
To pass from the drawbacks to the advantages. In Germany all the princes and free states have concurred. Saxony, Bavaria, Salzburg and Brunswick alone remain outside. Brunswick will not enter because of his dispute with his town, but he will come in. Saxony has hitherto been considered somewhat Austrian, but he will also accede if his pretensions in the duchy of Juliers are satisfied, as it is hoped they may be. The States belong, and as I have said, they have now made a union with the Hanseatic towns. An ambassador of Berne, a person of great intelligence, took occasion to come to England, whether to consult a physician of the king or for some other cause, and expressed the inclination of those cantons to ally with the princes. This is the beginning of a great confederation, for if the Swiss enter the Union of Germany the Grisons will be forced to enter also, like quicksilver which only consolidates in contact with something fixed. This will open the door to your Serenity and troops and succours can easily reach the republic I press this the more because Venice is my second fatherland.
At this point he opened a letter and said: I forgot to say that I delayed to perform this office because I was expecting to hear from the duke of Savoy. I have a letter from the resident of His Majesty in Turin, a gentleman of good quality who was secretary to my predecessor. He says that Chatillon (Sciatiglion) will bring 4,000 infantry, Lesdiguieres 6,000, making four regiments, Montmorency 4,000 (I marvel, said the ambassador, shrugging his shoulders, seeing that France and Spain are bound together); that the count of Mansfeldt had arrived and offered the duke on behalf of the princes 4,000 infantry and 500 cavalry, asking nothing except the money for the first cost, and he proposes an alliance with the princes. His Highness had sent Mons. Biandra as ambassador, whom I know well. I return however to beg your Serenity to consider whether you will make this alliance for defence and peace, or at least to treat as negotiations will certainly lead to better and more friendly relations.
The doge replied thanking His Majesty for his friendliness. The matter should be discussed and what was thought expedient done.
The ambassador, after some formal words, took leave, having first introduced some gentlemen of Lord Dingwall to kiss the hands of his Serenity. The baron said that he would pass by the Palatinate on his return, would kiss the hands of the king's daughter and the Palatine, and would assist the affairs of his Serenity so far as he could.
Aug. 2. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 385. Ottavio Bon and Pietro Contarini, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday Lord Hay, Ambassador extraordinary of the king of England, entered this city. He comes to congratulate the king upon the marriages and the quiet of the kingdom. M. de Bonoeil (Bonaglio) went to meet him at St. Denis with the horses and equipment of His Majesty. A mile outside the city prince Joinville, brother of the duke of Guise, met him with a great company of horse, and accompanied him to the house of the late Queen Margaret, which was prepared for his reception. He made his entry with a good number of English cavaliers. We sent the secretaries to St. Denis to pay our respects, to which he replied very courteously. We will visit him later, and perform every office more fully.
The three sons of the late Ambassador Gregorio Barbarigo arrived here to-day from England.
Paris, the 2nd August, 1616.
Aug. 5. Senato, Secreta. Dispaoci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 386. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Secretary Winwood returned to London on Saturday, sent by the king to take to each ambassador the replies upon their particular affairs. After doing this he set off again on Tuesday to rejoin. His Majesty, with whom he will stay for about a month at a distance of some 130 miles from London. I saw him and he told me in the king's name that His Majesty's affection towards the republic continues as warm as it has ever been, that he will declare himself a friend and do everything which he can for your service, and that these disturbances with the Uscochi and the Austrians may be satisfactorily terminated he is ready to do whatever your Serenity may desire. He charged the secretary that if any commission to ask for anything should come to me while the secretary was in progress with the king, I should write him a line if I wished. That with regard to these sentiments and this declaration of His Majesty, orders had been sent to the Ambassador Wotton to go into the Cabinet and speak in conformity and in particular of the desire of His Majesty that these disturbances may be appeased. The secretary, as if of his own motion remarked to me that the king continued in his customary friendliness towards your Excellencies and his desire for a favourable issue in this matter, as in past years, but he did not enter into further particulars about more public demonstrations made by him at other times, because then the difference lay between your Serenity and a prince unfriendly to the king, with whom His Majesty had no occasion to mince matters, but now it is a question with the king of Spain, a prince of such greatness, with whom His Majesty enjoys friendly relations and to whom he is bound moreover by more considerable bonds than to your Serenity. He simply said this to explain the reasons why the declaration was not made in the same way as heretofore. But with regard to the manner of serving the republic, he will declare himself rather by acts if he is especially requested. As I knew that this was all that could be expected from the king, I begged Winwood to thank His Majesty in the name of your Excellencies for the kind declarations, which had not been requested because there was any doubt about the continuation of His Majesty's affection towards the republic but simply because you were sure that such declarations would greatly benefit your affairs and would also notably increase His Majesty's glory. I thanked the Secretary for the confidential manner in which he had expressed the ideas of His Majesty and showing by what motive he was guided. I could not say a word against that, and would simply take the liberty to remark that no prince in the world could reasonably complain of what His Majesty promised to do for the service of the republic in the present affair, he was simply taking the side of a power unfairly molested, which was more joined to him by friendly ties than others were by documents, but that I was satisfied because I felt sure that your Excellencies would be when you received my letter and especially when Wotton has executed the commands sent to him to express His Majesty's good will.
I also executed the commissions sent me by your Excellencies in the letters of the 8th ult. giving him the letters for His Majesty and expressing the feeling of satisfaction with Wotton, who is well known to your Serenity. I also returned thanks for the king's letter upon the death of the Ambassador Barbarigo, as commanded by your Serenity. The Secretary promised that he would transmit everything to His Majesty.
Winwood again assured the ambassador of Savoy, as His Majesty had previously done with his own lips, that he is resolved to use force against the Spaniards if they do not whole heartedly observe the treaty of Asti. In order that the offices of Bethune at Milan and of Hay at Paris may not produce their effect, it is believed that the Count of Bucquoi has at this moment gone to Brussels, as news has come that he passed through Paris. There are rumours that he took with him commissions for war. In a few days we may expect to see what will happen.
London, the 5th August, 1616.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Aug. 5. Inquisitori di Stato. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetain Archives. 387. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Inquisitors of State.
I received your letters of the 15 July this morning. I will not take action until I receive your reply to mine of the 1st July, as I feel sure that the disclosure of these letters is due to M. de la Forêt. Since those letters I have done no more in the matter, because Nodari continues absent in the country and Forêt went away with the French ambassador a few days ago. I think Nodari has done all that can be expected of him, and I hope that he will be contented with 50 ducats. I have promised nothing to Sir [William] Smith beyond an expression of my goodwill to facilitate the matter of his debt. I hope to get the whole affair out of M. de la Forêt, and I am sure to do so if I can add a promise of 50 or 100 ducats.
London, the 5th August, 1616.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Aug. 9. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Napoli. Venetian Archives. 388. Gaspar Spinello, Venetian Resident at Naples, to the Doge and Senate.
From the conversation of some of the principal men here I gather that there are two points upon which the Spaniards set great store, one that the treaty of Asti be not carried out on any account; the other that the affairs of your Serenity with the archduke shall not proceed pari passu with that of the duke of Savoy with Milan. Cardinal Sforza told me that the pope himself, notwithstanding that the Nuncio Savelli signed the treaty of Asti, is bound to be opposed to it, because the apostolic dignity is offended by the participation in it of the king of England, who has nothing to do with Italy either on account of his possessions proximity or religion.
Naples, the 9th August, 1616.
Aug. 10. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Grisoni, Venetian Archives. 389. Giovanni Battista Padavin, Venetian Secretary in the Grisons, to the Doge and Senate.
The duke of Savoy asked for 4,000 Bernese infantry, to be paid by them for four months, in defence of his states which march with theirs. He offers to pay them himself on the expiry of the four months. He also offers to refer to the king of Great Britain his claims upon the bailiwicks possessed by them, with a reservation to each of the parties to nominate another judge. There are some difficulties in the way of this, but I hear that the duke would be satisfied if they guaranteed him against Spain.
Zurich, the 10th August, 1616.
Aug. 13. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 390. To the Ambassador in England.
M. de Bethune has arranged a suspension of arms between the duke of Savoy and the Governor of Milan to last during the present month. They are not obliged to withdraw their troops from the frontiers or to stop arming, but only to abstain from hostile acts. His Highness in informing our ambassador of this proposed a closer union in writing, in which we should bind ourselves to make no agreement with the archduke unless the Spaniards disarm, and declare other fixed assistance. We pointed out many good reasons why this should disturb the general peace, and that a union of hearts is all that is necessary for the moment, accompanied by a good understanding and definite acts when occasion requires, in order to secure the peace of this province, which is our principal object. This is only for information.
The like to Rome, Germany, France, Spain, Constantinople, Milan, Zurich, Naples, Florence, the Hague, Mantua.
Ayes 162.
Noes 0.
Neutral 0.
Aug. 13. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 391. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
This week I received three letters from your Serenity, one of the 20th ult. relating the arrival of Lord Dingwall and what took place with him until his departure from Venice, and the instructions to present letters to His Majesty and to thank him, with other matters. As I cannot execute these with His Majesty for many days and weeks, until he returns from his progress, I thought well to pass the office with the secretary, but as he is still with the king and is not likely to return very soon, and as it is right that His Majesty should be informed before the return of the baron, I will follow the line of conduct usually observed at this court upon such occasions, even in affairs of greater importance, namely, to inform the secretary of everything by letter; he will immediately acquaint the king, and will forward me the reply if one is called for. When I have occasion to see His Majesty later on, I will seize a favourable opportunity to repeat the office, to the satisfaction of your Excellencies.
With regard to Lord Dingwall I have two things to say to your Excellencies, one is that he arranged nothing with the late Ambassador Barbarigo, and did not even impart to him what he proposed to ask of your Serenity. He only spoke to him two or three times in a general way about his goodwill, obtained a recommendation from him in an audience of the king, and begged him at his departure for those letters to your Excellencies which he took with him. I have always understood that he dealt with Sig. Foscarini in the same general terms, the latter never going beyond those expressions which are customary in order to secure the friendship of the magnates of the Court and those who are in favour with the prince. Neither of the ambassadors promised more in the name of your Excellencies than wise and prudent ministers could do.
The other thing is that the offer of 6,000 infantry is so great that it would be practically impossible to make it good for the service of your Serenity, and even for a much smaller number someone remarked that your Excellencies might easily have received the offer by interesting the king, if by no one else. Moreover to take 6,000 foot out of England under a Scottish captain is a very difficult matter, and there are many serious questions involved with which I need not now trouble your Serenity.
The second letters of the same day, the 20th, contain information upon the news which I wrote had reached His Majesty from Italy about the assistance given by the republic to the duke of Savoy. I have succeeded before now with the assistance of the ambassador of Savoy, in acquainting both the king and the secretary of the real truth and I will continue the same course when any opportunity occurs, as I now know more certainly that the whole news is unfounded.
The third letters of your Serenity are of the 21st of the same month, and contain particulars of events in Istria and the reprisals upon the archduke. News of this has reached here by letters from many people. The general idea formed here by men in discussing their affairs is that the Spaniards and Austrians are deriving a great advantage from delay and the slow progress of the negotiations both with your Excellencies and with Savoy, as they take small account of the money which they spend to keep armies on foot, while they are making your Serenity and the duke spend a great deal to the great detriment of your dominions. What is more important, the Spaniards, whenever they wish it, can have peace, so that if matters prosper with them, they will push on the war, and if matters turn out ill, they will come to a settlement. The contrary is the case with your Serenity and Savoy who will willingly accept proposals for a settlement, owing to your inclination for peace, whenever they are put forward. For the rest all recognise that right is on the side of your Serenity and of Savoy, and they loudly blame the methods of negotiation adopted by the Austrians.
London, the 13th August, 1616.
Aug. 13. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 392. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have recently obtained from the king and his royal council leave to take from this island 50 thousand of powder for the service of your Excellencies. This powder, with great labour, has been gradually collected from various merchants who had previously received orders from Sig. Barbarigo, in obedience to instructions given in letters of the 18th March. I believe that it will be laded within a fortnight, and when it is. I will send more exact information to the Proveditori of the artillery. At present I can only say that the merchants will take it at their own risk without fixing a price. But they will deliver it at the arsenal, and they are to provide it for less than 20 soldi the pound at a lower price than what the other was bought for at Amsterdam. If your Excellencies wish for more still I hope in the future to be able to find a larger quantity, as there has been a great scarcity hitherto, so that the Lords of the Council opened their eyes when I preferred my request and made some regulations upon the matter so that the kingdom should be better supplied.
After Lord Hay left England they took up again the negotiations for a marriage with Spain and they are circulating various arguments among the people which have made an impression upon them, and seem plausible even to the Puritans. Among others one has produced a great impression, namely that if their future king, who was born in Scotland of a Scotch father, and with whom the Scotch will be in high favour, as they are at present, allies himself to a French wife, two nations, which have always been united and have had a good understanding together against the English, England will suffer grave prejudice which would not be the case if the prince took a Spaniard, in which event, with the sole exception of matters affecting religion, the situation would be more reasonable (partito che fu d'Inghilterra il Baron d'Hais si è ritornato a ripigliare la prattica di matrimonio con Spagna, et si vanno disseminando fra il popolo certe ragione che ricscono appresso di esso et anco delle medesimi Puritani assai plausibile, et fra le altre evi questa che fa grand' effetto, che se al loro futuro re, che' è nato in Scocia et di Padre Scoceze et appresso il quale i Scocezzi saranno come sonno al presente in tanto credito, si conguinge una moglie francese, nationi ambedue, che sempre sono state unite, et si sono ben intesi insieme contra gl' Inglesi, l'Inghilterra riceverebbe gran pregiudicio, cosa che non accaderà prendendo una Spagnuola, quale rimosso il solo rispetto della religione tutte le altre cose passeranno più moderatamente). Nevertheless it has seemed a great matter that the king should take up the negotiations as he has, immediately after the departure of the baron, and they say that he may have done so for one out of three reasons; either to make the French jealous, and thus have an advantage over them in the negotiations; to make a jest of the king of Spain, as His Majesty is warned that the Catholic king is only keeping up the negotiations as a jest, since he has no intention of giving him his daughter; the third to keep all the negotiations in such a state that if one fails the other may not fall through. I know that the French ambassador writes about this to their Most Christian Majesties, and supposes in his letters that the king wishes to make them jealous.
M. de Villeroi has written to their ambassador here about the prohibition issued in France that no soldier shall go to serve foreign princes, saying that this has been done simply to maintain their neutrality, and they will be the better able to help in an accommodation by their intervention, but that none the less, all who wish will be allowed to go to the wars, and no proceedings will be taken against them.
The 860,000 crowns which the States have paid for the recovery of the places in Holland have at this time been completely expended by assignment, and a great part paid. It is true that a number of the king's debts have been discharged thereby, and they are about to relieve his revenues and to improve his credit with the merchants, so that in future need he could raise great sums from them, a thing which could not have been done so easily before. I know that some of these merchants will pay His Majesty whatever he wishes to remit up to half a million of gold to Italy, and this facility might easily prove beneficial to the interests of our province.
London, the 13th August, 1616.
Aug. 13. Inquisitori di Stato. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 393. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Inquisitors of State.
With orders from your Excellencies of 21 July I saw M. de la Forét and after a long discussion, and a promise to give him 100 ducats, he confessed that he had obtained the letters from Ottavio, the chamberlain of Sig. Foscarini. One evening, about twenty days before Sig. Foscarini left England, Ottavio secretly brought him a small register of eight or nine sheets, beginning at the 28th August. He copied it that night, and took it back the next morning, giving him 12 crowns. Afterwards, when Sig. Foscarini went to the last audience at Newmarket remaining two or three days out of London, Ottavio remained behind and gave him the other papers up to the 20 November. Forêt kept them two days, made copies, and returned the papers in time for the ambassador's return, giving another gratuity. He had never had any other papers of Sig. Foscarini previously; but if Ottario had been able to find the other registers of England he would have given them, but he could only obtain these and those of France, which Forét did not care about and would not take the trouble to read. Ottavio did not know that he wanted to copy them, but thought he only wanted to read them out of curiosity and he begs that he may not be punished severely.
Forét afterwards showed the register to the ambassador of France and to another person, he would not say whom, but I know that it was the ambassador of Spain.
This is the entire affair. I do not believe that Ottavio had an accomplice. After the confession I gave Forét the 100 ducats and he promised to give a receipt. I will also give a reward to Nodari when he returns. I will inform Smith as instructed, I have only spoken to him on this affair through the mediation of Nodari, at Smith's desire, so that he can swear truthfully that he has never dealt with me.
From London, the 13 August, 1616.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Aug. 13. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 394. The Ambassador of England came into the Cabinet and said:
I come on behalf of the Lord Dingwell to thank your Serenity for the favours rendered to him. I have also to thank you for the honours received by him from the Governor of Palma and the general of the armies. He continued: After I have seen with what kindness your Serenity receives those who offer their service, I am come this morning to offer a new servant. This is the duke of Holstein (Ostel), (fn. 1) the only brother of the king of Denmark and of the queen of Great Britain. He has long desired to serve your Serenity, ever since M. de Vaudemont laid down his command. But at that time my master was under a promise to another prince and nothing was done. He is a brave prince, who could bring 5,000 horse to the service of the republic and convert them into infantry if that is preferred. I have simply come to learn whether his offer will be acceptable.
The doge replied expressing his gratification that the baron was pleased with his reception. No answer can be given to the other matter as yet, owing to pressure of business, but it shall be given as soon as possible.
The ambassador said that a reply would be opportune, as all the princes of the Union were shortly to meet in a diet, to be attended also by the ambassadors of the States, to settle a certain matter and come to some decision with regard to these affairs with the archduke in Flanders.
Aug. 14. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Spagna. Venetian Archives. 395. Pietro Gritti, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The ambassador of Florence here advances the same pretensions as the one resident at Rome, to treat as an equal with the ambassador of your Serenity. He acts differently towards the French ambassador and also with the English, as I learn from the secretary resident here.
Madrid, the 14th August, 1616.
Aug. 16. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francis. Venetian Archives. 396. Ottavio Bon and Pietro Contarini Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Lord Hay, the extraordinary ambassador of England, went to his first audience in great pomp, both because of the richness of the clothes and of the number of lords who accompanied him. He has since had audience upon the resumption of the negotiations for the marriage of the prince there to the king's sister. He also spoke upon the affairs of Savoy and of our own also with regard to the pass of the Grisons, saying that he had special instructions from his king. The ordinary ambassador has also spoken to the princes and ministers here, and as he is very well informed, the two together have done as much as they could in the service of your Excellencies. We have been to see Lord Hay, and thanked him warmly, assuring him of the esteem of the republic for his king, and saying that this increased our obligations and our desire to please His Majesty in all things. He told us that he had orders from His Majesty upon this subject so express that they bade him show no less zeal than upon the affairs of that crown.
The ambassador is entertained every day by the lords and princes here with great magnificence. The Catholic ambassador complains at this, as he does not think that the duke of Pastrana has been treated so courteously.
Paris, the 16th August, 1616.
Aug. 17. Consiglio di X. Criminate. Venetian Archives. 397. Resolved that Antonio Foscarini remain under arrest, in charge of the Inquisitors of State, who will continue to draw up the process both with reference to the things contained therein and also to the fact that many of his letters reached the hands of the Minister of a great power and other personages in England, and that on the conclusion of the process they do then come to this Council for the despatch of the case.
Ayes 12.
Noes 0.
Neutral 2.
Aug. 18. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 398. To the Ambassador in England.
Our troops on the way to Pontieba had frequent skirmishes with the enemy, especially when crossing a bridge over the Torrisite della Fela; but, praise God, they recovered Pontieba, killing several of the enemy and taking some booty, with inconsiderable loss to ourselves. Our troops have made some raids into the territory of Trieste, inflicting considerable damage. This is for information.
Ayes 156.
Noes 0.
Neutral 4.
The like to the Imperial Court, Rome, Spain, France, Turin, Milan, Florence, Zurich, the Hague.
Aug. 20. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 399. To the Ambassador in England.
We hear from Prague that the ambassador of Tuscany made proposals with regard to our differences with the archduke Ferdinand, which you will see by the enclosed note. The ambassador has sounded the archduke's ambassador in order to discover the sentiments of His Highness, but so far without finding anything clear. We do not know what to say about this new proposal, except that it has been proposed with more firmness than the preceding ones. Our ambassador will treat with sincerity. We send this simply for information.
The like to Rome, France, Spain, Constantinople, Milan, Florence, Naples, Zurich, the Hague, Mantua.
Ayes 175.
Noes 1.
Neutral 2.
Aug. 20. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 400. To the Secretary Surian.
The ambassador of England has proposed that we shall join a league with the king, the princes of the Union and the States, whose ambassadors, he says, are to meet at a diet, shortly to be held in Germany, to discuss the arming of the Spaniards. We replied as you will see by the enclosed copy, neither rejecting the proposal nor embracing it for the present. You will follow the same line if the prince of Anhalt and Lenchio the Chancellor of Brandenburg speak to you upon the same affair, showing that the preparations of the Spaniards arouse great suspicions in all, in us as much as themselves; thus to arm and make proper provision is the prudent course, as if their intentions are bad and they see opposition on every side, they will disturb no one, especially if they see that we are united for defence and the maintenance of ourselves and our liberty.
Ayes 155.
Noes 1.
Neutral 11.
Aug. 20. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costant. Venetian Archives. 401. Almoro Nani, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The Starzer came here to advise me of the day of the entry of the imperial ambassadors. I sent my Secretary to meet them in great state, which was not excelled either by France or by Flanders. England did not go, owing to the question of precedence with France, and neither did Poland. I believe that upon other occasions they have come to blows over this very question.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 20 August, 1616.
Aug. 20. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Roma. Venetian Archives 402. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The Most Christian Ambassador told me that he heard from France that the king of England is sending a cavalier to Paris (fn. 2) to negotiate a marriage between the English prince and the sister of his Most Christian Majesty, so that the negotiations with Spain are broken off.
Rome, the 20th August, 1616.
Aug. 20. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 403. That the following be read to the Ambassador of England.
The proposal of your Excellency that we should form a league with His Majesty and the Princes of the Union is great in itself, every power being bound to consider the forces which the Spaniards are collecting everywhere; we also have to think of our own rupture with the archduke and of the duke of Savoy owing to the reluctance to execute the treaty of Asti, which was guaranteed by so many powers and by His Majesty in particular. Therefore, it is only right that His Majesty and the said princes and states should arm and make provision. We are most closely linked in spirit with His Majesty and the said princes by preserving the best understanding and by a determination to join to protect our common interests, as we have explained by our ambassadors and secretaries. As the diet of the Princes is shortly to meet the ambassadors of the States to discuss the arming of the Spaniards, and the inclusion of the duke of Savoy and the Swiss and to see the resolution of the Grisons, we make reply that it is well to proceed in such a manner that every one may be certain to carry out what is agreed; meanwhile your Excellency may assure His Majesty and the princes of our best disposition in this affair, and of our indebtedness to them. We have the same objects of maintaining the liberty of all which we have displayed in the past and present troubles of Italy.
With regard to the disposition of the duke of Holstein (Ostoch), brother of the king of Denmark, mentioned by your Excellency, to enter our service, we know that this is the fruit of the friendship of the king of Great Britain towards us, which is known by those most closely connected with him. Our needs are present and do not admit of delay; but we receive with heartfelt gratitude this testimony of the affection of His Majesty, for which we are deeply indebted to him.
Ayes 156.
Noes 0.
Neutral 14.
Aug. 20. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni, Venetian Archives. 404. To the Secretary Lionello.
We send you our reply to the ambassador of England upon his proposals for a league and the offer of the duke of Ostoch. This is simply for information.
Ayes 156.
Noes 0.
Neutral 14.
Aug. 22. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 405. The reply of the Senate of the 20th was read to the Ambassador of England. He replied:
I thank your Serenity for the reply which has been given very speedily, considering the gravity of the matter. I also thank you for your recognition of my goodwill, which I may say, once for all, will never change. I will transmit the reply to His Majesty, but as I cannot trust my memory I beg your Serenity to allow me to hear it again, apart. The doge having given permission, he rose and took leave. The deliberation was again read to him, and he took notes, weighing the passage referring to the necessity of awaiting the decision of the diet of Germany.
Aug. 22. Senato, Terra. Venetian Archives. 406. Giovanni Battista Lionello has served diligently in a manner which leaves nothing to be desired, for seven years continuously, in three embassies, and has devoted his allowance of 10 ducats a month to a decipherer. At present he is supplying the place of ambassador at the English court. He is now reduced to difficulties, owing to his slender fortune. That 10 ducats a month be granted to him for life of the money of the debtors of the office of the Rason Nuove, in recognition of his services.
Ayes 157.
Noes 9.
Neutral 10.
In the Cabinet, Ayes 16. Second vote Ayes 17.
Noes 1. Noes 2.
Neutral 4. Neutral 2.
Aug. 22. Consiglio di X. Criminale. Venetian Archives. 407. That Ottavio Robbazzi of Lonà, valet of Antonio Foscarini during his embassy in England, be detained under arrest and made over to the Inquisitors.
Ayes 10.
Noes 1.
Neutral 2.
Aug. 26. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Signori Stati. Venetian Archives. 408. Christoforo Surian, Venetian Resident in Holland, to the Doge and Senate.
Carleton, the English ambassador to the States, is at Spa, and at this holiday time there are no other ministers of princes here.
The Hague, the 24th August, 1616.
Aug. 26. Consiglio di X. Criminale, Venetian Archives. 409. That Don Gieronimo Moravio, chaplain to Antonio Foscarini during his embassies to France and England, detained by order of the Inquisitors of State, be dismissed from custody, without putting him on oath to what he has hitherto deposed, in the course of the process, swearing him to silence however, should it be thought fit.
Ayes 12.
Noes 0.
Neutral 0.
Aug. 26. Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 410. Giovanni Battista Lionello. Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
With the progress of the king and the absence of all the grandees of the Court there is such an absence of business that nothing fresh has happened for some days, the more so because all the most important decisions depend at present, to a certain extent, upon the negotiations of Lord Hay in France and of Bethune in Italy. It is not yet known what the latter has done in Milan, or what will be the results of his intermission, but everyone is greedily awaiting news, and the ambassador of Savoy in particular, in order to have an opportunity of asking the king for the carrying out of his promises if an accommodation proves impossible as he anticipates. The Spanish ambassador has told the ambassador of France that Don Pedro of Toledo is willing to entirely carry out the treaty by restoring the places, and that the duke will be satisfied. The French ambassador replied that he had quite other information from other sources and in particular from the ministers of his Most Christian Majesty in Italy, but that he cannot believe it unless it is to do him a service. The Spaniard replied that that is actually the case, since the Catholic king does not desire a palm of land from any prince, and if the Governor does not disarm, it is not on account of His Highness, but because of your Serenity, owing to the disputes between you and the archduke. Upon this they had a long argument, the Most Christian ambassador very ably supporting the side of the duke, as for some days he has been revising his position upon various matters, and showing himself a better Frenchman than before, possibly because he sees that the state of affairs in France requires rather more moderation. Moreover, with regard to himself personally, he asked leave to depart and has received letters from his friend Villeroi exhorting him to continue to serve with a good heart, as he will not share in the fall of the Chancellor, his father-in-law, and there is no thought of removing him from this service.
Two days ago Mr. Moore arrived here from Paris, sent post by Lord Hay with an account of the beginning and introduction of his affairs. It has not been possible to discover anything here at London, because he immediately went on to the king, who will send him back to France with his decision. He left a report somewhere that Lord Hay has not only received the most complete satisfaction in his welcome, but that his negotiations are in very good train, and this Moore would stake 4,000 crowns to 1,000 that the marriage with France would be concluded.
The Spaniards publish the contrary, that Lord Hay will do nothing, that he has not been well received in Paris and that one of his men has been killed. I hope before many days have passed that we in London shall be able to obtain some certain news of the state of these affairs, and that your Excellencies may also receive information from those parts, besides what you may have received from elsewhere.
I have already informed the Secretary Winwood of what your Serenity committed to me with respect to Lord Dingwall, and have sent him the letters for the king, but he has not made any reply, nor do I expect one, as the custom here is to pass over any matter that does not require particular attention.
The Count of Bucquoi has arrived at Brussels. By letters which I receive from Flanders, and from what the Dutch ambassador says it is almost certain that he bears commissions of great moment, but he says nothing about them, and no particulars have been discovered, and the more weighty the matter the more closely it will be kept secret among a few individuals. However, many are agreed upon this point that owing to the advanced season nothing now can be expected at present, but everything will be kept for the beginning of next season.
The queen asked her brother, the king of Denmark, for six pregnant mares of that country, in order to propogate the race in England, as it is a very fine one. He sent her twelve, and in addition a sideboard decorated with solid gold for her use, worth about 40,000 crowns, as that king is glad to cherish the affection of the queen, owing to the advantages which he may derive in his differences with the states of Holland, with whom the queen, chiefly on his account, is on unfriendly terms, and sometimes openly speaks her mind.
I have your Excellencies' letters of the 23rd July, and will use them as instructed.
London, the 26th August, 1616.
Aug. 26. Consiglio di X. Criminale. Venetian Archives. 411. That Giulio Muscorno be detained under arrest and made over to the Inquisitors of State to be examined upon the things laid before this Council and also upon those contained in the process against Antonio Foscarini.
Ayes 13.
Noes 0.
Neutral 0.
Aug. 26. Inquisitori di Stato. Lettere agli Ambasciatori d'Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 412. The Inquisitors of State to Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England.
Our letters of the 21 July will remove your doubts with regard to dealing with M. de la Forêt. The powers we gave will enable you to obtain information about the copies of Foscarini's letters. Your letters of the 5th inst. inform us of the necessity for superseding the affair owing to the absence of la Forêt. But we are most anxious for these particulars. Above all things, even if the matter cannot be elucidated by M. de la Forêt the investigation must not be abandoned.
Aug. 26. Inquisitori di Stato. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 413. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Inquisitors of State.
On my return from Oxford yesterday evening, my servant Antonio Padoano told me that one Pietro, a Frenchman, servant of M. de la Forét, had come to speak to me. He had been ill-treated by his master, and wished to disclose matters of importance, in particular that his master had received some public letters from Ottavio, servant of Sig. Foscarini, had copied them and given copies to the ambassador of Spain, who had assigned him a provision of 50 lire or 20 ducats a month for this. He showed me copies of the letters to prove the truth of the statement. He said he would come again after he had returned from Villa, where he was going.
I have not yet spoken to Nodari or communicated with Smith.
In the public library of Oxford, which is the principal University of the realm. I found a large volume in manuscript containing a relation of Venice and some discourses, without any author's name, and a number of the relations of Venetian ambassadors. It seemed strange to me that important papers of the republic should be so disseminated, and I have thought right to report it, especially as this accident happens too frequently to the documents of other princes. (fn. 3)
From London, the 26 August, 1616.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 414. Relations in the library of Oxford.
Of England, by Ser Z. Michiel.
Of Savoy, by Ser Francesco Molin.
Of the King of the Romans, by Ser Lorenzo Contarini.
Of the King of the Romans, by Ser Michael Surian.
Of Spain, by . . . Tiepolo, 1567.
Of Poland, by Ser Hieronimo Lippomano.
Of Constantinople, by Ser Marc Antonio Barbaro.
Of Constantinople, by Ser Giacomo Soranzo.
Of Persia, by Vincenzo Alessandri, Secretary.
Of Rome, by Ser Barnardo Navagier.
Of the Main land by Ser Alvise Mocenigo, Proveditore, 1568.
Of Dalmatia and the Levant, by Ser Ottavian Valier and Andrea Zustinian, 1576.
Of the Syndicate of the Levant of 1566.
Discourse on Portugal by Ser Costantin di Garzoni.
Aug. 28. Senato, Secreta, Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 415. To the Ambassador in England.
Nothing has been done to disturb commercial relations in the parts of Pontieba on our part, but the archducal forces recently descended upon Pontieba doing considerable damage and taking the place. We have been compelled to assemble our forces and recapture it, and we have also occupied the German Pontieba and captured papers containing the archduke's orders to take that place. Our captains have also taken further steps to secure our territory. This is for information. In occupying Malsorghetto some of our soldiers set fire to the place. We have accordingly republished very strict orders against such incendiarism. “Our troops have taken Chiavoredo, an important place, after a long fight. We captured two pieces of artillery and other booty. This led the enemy to abandon Lucinis and withdraw beyond Lisonzo. Our cavalry occupied Lucinis, destroying the trenches and burning the quarters.
The like to France, Rome, Germany, Spain, Savoy, Florence and other princes.
Ayes 162.
Noes 0.
Neutral 1.


  • 1. Probably Joachim Ernest, duke of Holstein Sunderburg. John Adolph, duke of Holstein, who married Augusta, sister of Christian IV., king of Denmark, died on 31st March, 1616.
  • 2. Lord Hay.
  • 3.