Venice: December 1616, 21-31

Pages 384-396

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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December 1616, 21–31

Dec. 22. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra Venetian Archives. 566. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
To my request to Winwood for an audience, he replied from Newmarket that he had shown my letters to the king, who begged me to have patience until his return to London, which will be in a few days; meanwhile Winwood himself would come to hear if I needed anything. He wrote precisely the same compliment to the ambassador of Savoy; so I have been constrained to stop and await the pleasure of His Majesty in order to fulfil the commands of your Serenity of the 18th November.
Yesterday evening Winwood came to London, and I intended to go to him to-day; but it so happened that while I was walking this morning with the count of Scarnafigi in his garden, the secretary arrived, and when he saw that I was about to withdraw, he begged me to stay as he had to speak to us both in the name of His Majesty about our audiences. His Majesty begged us to wait until his arrival, and if there was anything requiring haste, we should impart it to him and he would at once inform the king. The ambassador of Savoy said that he had asked for an audience, because of the desperate condition of the negotiations for a settlement in Italy, and he entered at length upon the needs of His Highness, the obligations of His Majesty and the nature of the help required. The secretary replied that he would inform the king, and when His Majesty reached London he would immediately procure an audience, but everything was true and they had news from Paris and Turin that the negotiations for peace were over.
With regard to Venice, I said that I had definite news of the recent negotiations between the governor of Milan and the duke of Savoy by the interposition of Cardinal Lodovisio and M. de Bethune, and in my house I had all the documents, and from them it seemed to me that the chief difficulty was not on account of the republic, but upon the safety of the duke, as the Spaniards claimed that he should disarm, while they remained armed. It was true that the duke had wished to include the security of the Venetians in the treaty, not only out of gratitude, but for his own advantage, as the two powers are so united that the preservation of one depends in large measure upon the safety of the other.
The secretary replied that there were two points upon which they could not agree, namely, including the Venetians and disarming Milan. Both concerned the republic, because the Spaniards wished to remain armed solely on account of the Archduke Ferdinand and not against Savoy, and that was why negotiations were broken off, because of the republic, which hopes to gain an advantage against the archduke and secure herself from the Spanish forces by breaking the treaty of Asti, helping the duke of Savoy and compelling the Spaniards to defend themselves, as they are compromised in the treaty. Thus the few paltry crowns supplied by Venice have proved the ruin of Savoy, since the country is destroyed and in peril of utter ruin.
I replied that I marvelled that the upright actions of your Serenity, which are recognised as such by the unprejudiced, should be so interpreted at this Court, and by His Excellency in particular, whom I always considered most prudent and well affected towards your Excellencies. That the help of your Serenity to the duke might now be counted in millions, not tens of crowns, and without it His Highness would have experienced difficulty in defending himself. That the object aimed at was not to break the treaty or maintain disorder in Italy, which has never been the way of the republic, but the simple fulfilment of her promises made in the treaty, to support a friendly prince in the hope of helping him to obtain reasonable terms, and for the sake of his preservation, which concerns this kingdom as well as many other powers.
Winwood replied: I am the republic's servant, but things are as I have stated, and that is not the way to help Savoy. If my king gave 40,000 crowns a month to the duke, which would be a great help, he would do so with the hope of good results, because he could not keep up such an expense, and a peace would not be made without including the republic, disarming the state of Milan and settling the differences with the archduke. So you see that all hangs upon that, and all the help given to Savoy is for the benefit of the republic. I could not refrain at this point from remarking that even if the help granted by His Majesty to the duke of Savoy or any others for the liberty of Italy should chance also to be of some assistance to the republic, I should not have thought it would have displeased His Majesty, as your Serenity had always had a good understanding with him from the time that he ascended the throne, and had rather reason to expect benefits from his past professions and promises. Softly, said the secretary, my king has promised nothing to the republic. It is true, I replied, that His Majesty has not promised anything definite, but he has frequently expressed his friendship for your Serenity. I remember I was present on the first occasion that the late Ambassador Barbarigo informed His Majesty of the affairs of the Uscocchi and the archduke. In addition to other things the king promised the continuance of his friendship, which must mean acts of friendship in case of need. At present I have no commissions to ask His Majesty for anything, but simply to represent the state of affairs in Italy, the needs of the duke of Savoy and the desire of your Excellencies that he may be helped by the king's powerful hand.
The Secretary replied: What the king promised to the Sig. Barbarigo was fulfilled by the friendly offices performed in various places in favour of the republic. We are bound to no more. It is true that His Majesty always entertains the same friendly feelings, but when Carleton, at the end of his embassy proposed a closer understanding, he was told that you did not recognise a closer friendship than what already existed. When at the coming of Don Pedro of Toledo I proposed to Sig. Barbarigo in the presence of the ambassador of Savoy an offensive league against the Spaniards as the only means of defence against them, I received no reply. Recently again Sir Henry Wotton has spoken about this at Venice and they would not hear a word of it, so that we do not know what more to do, and as the republic does not desire an understanding with us, it is no wonder that we do not wish for an understanding with her, and be sure that you will have no help from the United Princes or England unless you make promises on your side; and you must not found any hopes upon the duke of Savoy. He left it to be inferred that the king will not help that prince so that your Serenity may not benefit thereby.
I said that the reply of your Serenity to the proposals made by His Majesty were based on such good reasons that His Majesty ought to be satisfied. If we said that there was no need for a firmer union and a closer understanding, it was simply because documents could not increase the esteem of your Serenity for the king, owing to past obligations and ancient friendship, and the desire to see the duke of Savoy helped was for the preservation of the liberty of Italy, and if your Serenity had received from God sufficient strength to defend His Highness alone, you would do so willingly, and you are doing what you can; but you are not strong enough and you have the war in Friuli, that is why you ask for help.
Winwood turned to the ambassador of Savoy and to me and said: Gentlemen, this is not the way to fight the Spaniards; this is the way to lose and not to defend. If you do not make war on the state of Milan you will obtain no advantage. Either do what you can or make war in earnest on the Spaniards and then you will have real help from His Majesty and all the rest. But to give help in this purposeless way, is to throw everything away.
The ambassador of Savoy replied that it was the desire of his prince either to make a good peace or war, and as regards offensive war and a league he had always expressed his readiness to do what the king proposed. I know, replied the secretary, but these, indicating me, will not hear of it, and are the cause of all the trouble. But I assure you that the king either wishes to make a treaty between the Spaniards and Savoy or will render effective help.
He afterwards invited me to visit him on Saturday as he had something else to say. I do not think it is very necessary to enquire why this minister happened to speak so freely to me to-day. If I did not make satisfactory replies I beg you to pardon my stupidity, as I had to abandon instructions and trust to my own wit. I am sure that it will not be easy to remove these opinions from the king, the secretary and the others, as they are too deeply rooted, and because of the bad information which they receive from their ministers in Italy. In their own interests also these pretexts serve as an excuse for their coldness. Their profession of discontent, because your Serenity did not accept their proposals, must be left to you to remedy. If the feeling becomes more deeply rooted, it will be more difficult to remove. They give out that for this offensive war and general league, help would come from Italy, from the princes of Germany, from the States and England, to harass the Spaniards in unison if they did not agree to terms. They think this the right way of defence and all others vain, difficult and dangerous. The duke of Savoy and all the others are ready, but without the concurrence of your Serenity the matter remains without results, and so they lay all the blame upon us.
London, the 22nd December, 1616.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 22. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 567. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Last week an extraordinary was sent off to Lord Roos in Spain. I understand that Winwood had a hand in this, and to-day he confessed as much to me. But I think that it has all passed through the hands of Digby, the late ambassador in Spain, now the king's vice-chamberlain. So far as I can gather and am able to guess, Lord Roos has been recalled so that he may not have the opportunity in a long stay to negotiate about the marriage, because Digby is destined as ambassador for the marriage and will leave on the first day of the year.
It has been stated recently that the king wished to send three ambassadors to the Catholic king, and the persons were named, but up to the present Digby's appointment is confirmed. He is in great credit here, though altogether a Spaniard. I cannot learn what he is to do, but there will be plenty of difficulties.
The ordinary English ambassador is to leave Paris for England on the 18th inst. He will be made a member of the Council and receive some other honour, (fn. 1) after which he will return to his residence.
The resident of Florence has gone to Newmarket to audience of the king and has not yet returned. All are surprised, as it is not usual for him to have business, but no one has hitherto been able to scent the reason.
They are trying hard to obtain money for His Majesty and they are pledging lands, rents and jewels even beyond the sea. Some are persuaded that this is to help the duke of Savoy, but I rather think that it is for the journey to Scotland, in which the king will want to use great liberality, as it is the first time he returns to that country.
A ship has been found for the munitions of Savoy and will leave within two weeks. The ambassador with his own money, has bought 30 more tons of lead for the duke.
Some disputes have taken place recently between some of the Court magnates, Viscount Villiers, the king's favourite being involved, but all has been settled. (fn. 2) After a year of the king's favour Villiers has reached a net income of 80,000 crowns, an immense amount of money and jewels and the highest offices and dignities of the kingdom.
I have this week received your Serenity's letters of the 25th November with the news of the final breaking off of the negotiations with the archduke. There are reports here that matters in that direction are turning out very badly and that your Serenity has no more than three or four thousand foot there.
London, the 22nd December, 1616.
Dec. 22. Senato. Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 568. To the Secretary in England.
The events in Friuli have been important. Various conflicts have taken place on the banks of the Lisonzo. A considerable battle was fought on the 15th inst., which ended in our favour.
The duke of Savoy is well again. On the 20th inst. he was to go and meet M. Lesdiguières at Riccoli. Prince Vittorio is besieging Gattinara, which he hopes to take shortly and then proposes to enter Milan with a united force of 18,000 foot and 2,000 horse.
The like to the Imperial Court, the Hague, Rome, France, Spain, Constantinople, Naples, Florence, Padavin, Dolce, Turin, Milan, Mantua.
Ayes 141.
Noes 0.
Neutral 0.
Dec. 23. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 569. To the Ambassador with the Duke of Savoy.
The Secretary Lionello writes that the king of Great Britain has decided to assist the duke of Savoy with some thousands of powder and tons of lead and matches for cannon. Although this is a small quantity at all events it is help and the beginning of a declaration, even if he should do it by means of a private merchant, so long as everything is known and understood. Moreover he told the count of Scarnafes that he had sent Francesco Biondi, of Liesena, to His Highness to acquaint him that His Majesty hopes to have the influence that the Spanish ambassador told him that he would have with the Catholic king for procuring a settlement, and if His Highness desires he will try, and if not he will try to obtain his admission to the union with the princes of Germany and the States, so that they may join to support his cause. He further informed him of the good offices performed by us in this matter by means of the said secretary, and that he had directed Lord Roos, his ambassador in Spain, to tell the king that if the treaty of Asti is not observed, His Majesty cannot abandon the duke, and will make war on the Catholic king.
The same Secretary writes that 120,000 ducats have been paid as wages on the royal galleys, and by Easter twenty will be armed.
In speaking to His Highness you will strengthen his feeling that it will be good to continue to make requests to that king, because as he has begun, it may be hoped that he will continue, and this arming of galleys is worth considering, because if it does nothing else it will excite suspicion and create a diversion.
Ayes 140.
Noes 0.
Neutral 0.
Dec. 23. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 570. To the Secretary Lionello in England.
We are glad to hear from your letters of the 1st inst. that the king has begun to do something by providing munitions for the duke of Savoy. We desire that when you have occasion to speak to the ministers or to the king you will express satisfaction at this and say that this duke's need is the greater as the more extensive ambitions of the Spaniards disclose themselves, so that we feel sure that His Majesty will continue to afford still greater help, worthy of his greatness.
With regard to the king's hopes, based on the ambassador's remark about his great influence with Spain, you will say that every one ought to desire peace under proper conditions, but it is to be feared that this is a mere artifice of the Spaniards to render him lukewarm and to stay his worthy resolution to support Savoy and preserve the liberties of Italy, for the peace of which all the efforts which His Majesty thinks fit to make will be most praiseworthy, but at the same time urgent necessity demands due provision for the defence and maintenance of Savoy.
We hear with satisfaction of the payment of 120,000 ducats in wages upon the royal ships and that twenty will be armed by Easter. You will observe what is being done, and keep us informed. We receive the special information about the expense upon ships of war and what you add about the possibility of using those ships in another manner upon the occasion of a rupture with the Spaniards, and that this was the idea of Lord Dingwall. You will bear yourself towards him so as to keep him well disposed, losing no opportunity that occurs.
Ayes 138.
Noes 0.
Neutral 0.
Dec. 23. Senato. Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 571. To the Secretary in England.
Some weeks ago we wrote to our ambassadors in France to represent to Their Majesties that we could not obtain the passage of troops from the Grisons unless we treated at the same time for a league, and to ask Their Majesties to favour the negotiations for a league. The ambassadors found Their Majesties disposed to grant us facilities for our defence and have accorded some rules under which they will agree to the conclusion of the league. We have informed our secretaries in the Grisons of this and they have begun to negotiate for a league. They have express instructions to abide by the rules laid down by France. This is simply for your instruction and you will not speak about it unless provoked, and you will always express our esteem for Their Majesties.
The like to Rome, Germany, Spain, Turin, the Hague.
Ayes 144.
Noes 1.
Neutral 1.
Dec. 24. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives. 572. Christoforo Surian, Venetian Resident in Holland, to the Doge and Senate.
In speaking of current affairs Barnevelt told me that in order to resist the vast ambitions of the Spaniards he thought there was no better remedy than union. In this France, England, which expressed a wish for it, the republic, the princes of Germany and others should join; but time and opportunity were necessary to adjust this. I replied that the intention of your Serenity was to have a good understanding with these states. It will not be easy to obtain men here, as they are unwilling to weaken their forces, and Barnevelt told me last week that the Spaniards wish to lull them to sleep by their proposals of restitution in order to obtain possession themselves and send troops to Italy. They are not disposed to make a speedy reply to the exposition of Carleton, but will keep postponing.
The Hague, the 24th December, 1616.
Dec. 24. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives. 573. Christoforo Surian, Venetian Resident in Holland, to the Doge and Senate.
I hear that the Elector of Brandenburg asked the king of Great Britain that he might have an ambassador. The king replied that he should like to know the reason for this request, and he would then do what he would think proper for his satisfaction.
The Hague, the 24th December, 1616.
Dec. 26. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 574. Antonio Donato, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
Giovanni Francesco Biondi arrived here four days ago, sent from England by the count of Scarnafis, ambassador of His Highness. He is a pensioner of the king and by birth a subject of your Serenity. He has brought the promise of the sending of a ship with 1,000 barrels of powder, with rope and lead in proportion, which is the most that His Majesty can do. Nothing more can be hoped for. The king is not inclined to grant men and money and it is not possible for him to do so without greatly upsetting his own affairs, which are difficult and in great disorder.
Biondi, therefore, proposes the sending of some ships under private owners, urges the duke to ask for them and encourages him with very far-fetched hopes, which are uncertain and ill-founded and in my opinion nothing but empty phrases.
He has gone so far as to make various fantastic proposals to His Highness. I do not know whether they come out of his own head or whether it is something which he has heard the English ministers talking about. Not content with setting them forth orally he has put them in writing.
He strongly advises the duke to peace and asserts that this is the opinion of the king and the ministers. He considers it dangerous to think of anything else. He predicts a great revolt in France; and represents that defensive war will prove the ruin of Piedmont and will involve the total fall of this house. Offensive war waged by a minor power is very uncertain. Biondi went even further, showing the expense of waging war with French forces, which are rapacious and unsatiable and harm their friends as much as their enemies. He said the union with our republic was not stable, as they had different ends in view; he knew your Serenity desired peace and the majority of the Senators objected to the help given here.
The duke heard him and had him closely questioned by the count of Verua. He is not at all satisfied and has told him to stop here, as he will be sent back to England with due thanks to His Majesty. As that king's faith and word has been violated in this matter it is uncertain whether the duke will repeat his requests. The duke said to me that he considered Biondi a fiorentinello, and laughed.
This is all that has happened except that Biondi has constantly asserted that nothing can be expected from the king of Great Britain and His Majesty is very far from being ready to involve himself in grave and troublesome affairs.
Turin, the 26th December, 1616.
Dec. 28. Senato. Secreta. Dispacoi, Zante Venetian Archives. 575. Almoro Barbaro, Proveditorè of Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
I have received news up to November last of the troubles in which our bailo at Constantinople was involved by reason of a purchase of Pena made here by a merchant named Cariati, sold to English merchants and sent by them to Constantinople on the ships Terzona and Martinella. I have done my utmost to discover particulars, but have hitherto found nothing, owing to the death of Cariati, who was killed by his enemies, and owing to the death of one of the English merchants, named James de Bernardo, in the Morea. Last June a French saetta arrived here, the master named Julo. They sold 67 sacks of Pena, part of which Cariati bought. Silvan Marcock an English merchant and the said James de Bernardo his companion bought this part, laded it on the aforesaid ships and sent it to their correspondents. It might be worth about 400 thalers. This is all that I know.
Although I have given strict instructions to the officials that subjects may not buy stolen property least of all sell it into the Turkish states, yet it is difficult to prevent such purchases, this being an open port, and the merchants succeed in defrauding the customs officials in a thousand ways. However, I will use all vigilance to stop the traffic.
Zante, the 18th December, 1616, old style.
Dec. 29. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 576. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
After doing what I could to obtain audience, I shall have to wait for His Majesty's return to London on Sunday. I have already spoken to the master of the ceremonies to remind him as soon as he arrives. Meanwhile despatches of the 2nd and 9th December have reached me from your Serenity, the first telling me what the Senate proposed to have read to the Ambassador Wotton, and new offices for His Majesty; the second with news from Italy and Wotton's exposition. When I see His Majesty I will endeavour to express to him the offices and desires of your Excellencies.
I spoke of m intention to go last Saturday to see Winwood again, but after having found a good opportunity I thought it better not to go, as I did not want this to serve as an excuse for depriving me of audience and I know I should only obtain the usual replies from him, and I do not want, if possible, to cause any more friction between us, before I have spoken to His Majesty. I will try and discover whether the king entertains the same views as his secretary and I will try and show him the truth, more particularly that your Serenity did not cause the breaking of the treaty of Asti or the postponement of an accommodation and your agents have acted solely in the interests of His Highness.
The ambassador of Savoy is in the same position as myself. He asked for an audience and has been put off until His Majesty's return to London. In despair he went three days ago to see Winwood, who told him he must have a little patience, and it would do no good to importune. He gave him some hope that His Majesty thinks of supplying the duke with 10,000l. a month, equal to 40,000 crowns, which would be a great deal, but I cannot believe in it, because I do not know where he could get so much money. I am more inclined to believe that they will fritter away two or three months in negotiations, and then His Majesty will go to Scotland and so the summer will pass without any decision. I pray God I may be wrong, but everything points in that direction.
Yesterday I had two interviews, one with M. Caron, ambassador of the States, who told me that he had instructions to make strong recommendations to the king in favour of Savoy and for the general interests, and he will obtain an audience for this. I encouraged him warmly. In conversation he told me that his masters were much occupied with their own affairs and always had the forces of the enemy before their eyes, but they would do something for the duke if the king would also. However he did not see how His Majesty could do anything owing to the great scarcity of money here, without which it is impossible to render useful services to His Highness.
Yesterday morning, knowing that the earl of Arundel, a member of the Council and very intimate with His Majesty, was in London, I called upon him and spoke about the affairs of Italy. I took the liberty to tell him that your Serenity knowing his great prudence and his love for our province, was sure that his advice to the king would be advantageous to it, and it would benefit this kingdom also, in the reputation of His Majesty, who is deeply interested, and for reasons of state.
The earl showed that he understood matters rightly and that his advice would always be profitable to Italy and to the republic in particular, which he esteemed so highly, but he did not know what to say or to do as the king seems very well disposed, but shows great coldness when it comes to deeds. I am bound to add that the earl did not seem to like the claim for help of the king by virtue of his promise, possibly he thought it touched the king's dignity. On this head he told me that His Majesty ought to help the duke for the common service; that for the promise, the king was prudent and knew what was proper. I said that His Excellency ought not to mind the mention of the king's promise, as it was not private nor given to two or three persons, but public, given by the ambassador in the face of the world. That the duke recognised that His Majesty must be treated with respect and begged humbly for his help, and the republic also did not ask him in the usual confidential manner, but because the duke disarmed under the promise of France, England and Venice, and had afterwards been attacked, without his having infringed the articles, and so he asked for help and called to mind the promise. Your Serenity also promised with France and England in the treaty of Asti, and now the time has come and she is disposed to act, she may certainly, with all reason, invite France and England to do the same. The earl seemed convinced and admitted the obligation.
The agent of the king of Denmark follows the court continuously, and he is there now. On his return I will inform him of present affairs, and will see that his king is assured of the continued esteem of your Serenity; and how Italy is harassed unrighteously by the Spaniards. I will do the same with the agent of the Count Palatine. There are no other ministers here at present. I will also see Lord Dingwall again, thanking him for his kindness, assuring him of your esteem, and I will try and keep him well disposed to serve your Serenity.
London, the 29th December, 1616.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 29. Senato, Secrets. Dispacci. Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 577. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The Earl of Arundel told me yesterday with regard to the Spanish marriage, what I heard from other sources, that there are many difficulties to surmount, and it will not be concluded so soon as many believe. The Ambassador Caron said to me that negotiation was all the Spaniards wanted, in order to occupy the mind of the king of England, and alienate him from his old friends, especially Holland. This also concerns the requests made throughout the present year by the king to the States for the execution of the treaty of Santen and the restitution of the places; if the States consent, they will be deceived by the Spaniards, and if they will not, they will greatly offend His Majesty, who is very eager for it. A new reply is now expected from the United Provinces, as new proposals have been made to them by the Ambassador Carleton, to the great astonishment of the French ambassador, as I hear from elsewhere; because both crowns intervened in the treaty of Santen, and the king here might have declined, if the Spaniards had asked him, to make the demand of the Dutch if the Most Christian did not join him; yet now he has chosen to act alone. The French ambassador says that he will also receive the refusal alone, as he feels sure that the States will not consent.
The Spanish ambassador was entertained at dinner four days ago by the lords of the Council. He proposed to them the opening of Flanders to English cloth, which used to go to Zeeland. This also aims at splitting up the understanding, although there will be difficulties in the way. The merchants have their eyes on Nice or Villafranca, but the rumour of war frightens them. Perhaps the example of the merchants of S. Gallo restrains them from putting so much capital in the power of His Highness.
I have at last discovered the reason for the audience of the resident of Florence, which excited so much curiosity among the ministers of princes. He went to ask leave of the king in the Grand Duke's name, for the earl of Oxford, who is now at Florence, to sell a part of his property in this kingdom, which generally is forbidden by the laws.
M. Leon, ambassador of France with your Serenity complains much of the Spaniards in recent letters to the French ambassador here, because they do not wish the French to have any hand in the settlement of Italy, so that they may not acquire prestige, and informs him with satisfaction that their fighting is not proceeding very successfully.
I hear that the Catholic ambassador here recently told the king that the French have upset everything in Italy by their interposition. When this reached the French ambassador's ears, he grew angry and proposes to reply in strong terms.
They report from France not only the journey of Lesdiguières to Piedmont, but the prohibition of His Most Christian Majesty, issued at the instance of the Spanish ambassador, saying that they needed him too much in the kingdom; however, by the letters written by Lesdiguières to His Majesty, it is thought that he will not alter his purpose either for promises or threats.
The queen of England has sent a present to the king her brother in response to one received from him. It is very valuable and includes a bed with some brocaded hangings of great richness.
The archbishop of Spalatro has arrived here to change his religion. He is awaiting the king's arrival in London to kiss his hands. I hear that His Majesty will receive him gladly and assign some pension to him. Winwood told me lately that they had been expecting him for three years. He did not seem to think much of him. He said jestingly to me that we in Italy have more need of English soldiers that they here in England have of Italian learned men.
The Ambassador Edmondes has arrived here from France, and he will soon return to his residence.
London, the 29th December, 1616.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Dec. 31. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costant. Venetian Archives. 578. Almoro Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The Proveditore of Zante writes to me in letters of the 4th ult. that of the two agents of Arthur Garnai the English merchant, one is in the lazaretto as having recently come from places suspected of the plague, and the other, who sent the archenda, is dead. Cariati who sold the stuff has been assassinated and so it was most difficult to obtain information, but so far as he could gather the property was worth about 400 ducats, which ought to be recovered from Cariati's heirs.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 31st December, 1616.
[Italian; deciphered.]
Dec. 31. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Siguori Stati. Venetian Archives. 579. Christoforo Surian, Venetian Resident in Holland, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador has asked the states for some reply to the proposal of his king upon the affairs of Cleves and Juliers. He received the enclosed answer. He told me that it was provisional and he had sent it to His Majesty. I am told that the resident of the margrave of Brandenburg has been to see the ambassador to inform him of Cardinal Klesl's advice to the emperor. He raised two points, that it would prejudice the general weal if the pretending princes were dispossessed; and they ought not to allow the Spaniards to employ larger forces in Italy. The English ambassador said nothing to me of this speech, but he told me that the States are keeping a close watch upon the present state of the affairs of the world and the interests of Italy. He seems satisfied with what they have decided to say to His Majesty up to the present, and expected the king would receive the decision soon.
He then asked me if I had heard that Sig. Ottavio Bon was to go to England. I said, no. He replied that M. de Langerach writes from Paris that Bon is leaving the matter of the Grisons with the Ambassador Gussoni and will proceed to England, and thence he will come here upon some friendly office. When I said that I knew nothing about it, he said that the journey would prove opportune, as although the Secretary Lionello has made himself very agreeable to His Majesty and all his officials, yet he is encompassed about by the ambassadors of Spain and the archduke, the secretary of Florence and some other unfriendly ministers, so that Bon's arrival will be most serviceable.
Several days ago the same ambassador asked me when the Ambassador Donato would be sent to England, adding that the Ambassador Contarini might go to England on his way home from Paris. I cannot think why he has spoken thus, or why the Ambassador Bon should go to his king, except as a sign of honour, while Donato cannot yet leave Savoy, owing to present events.
The Hague, the 31st December, 1616.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 580. Reply of the States General to the proposals of the English Ambassador.
After mature consideration, we thank His Majesty for his care for the general welfare. We desire that the countries of Juliers and Cleves shall remain under the legitimate governance of the princes Possessioners in conformity with the treaty of Zanten. But it is necessary to act cautiously owing to the proceedings of the Spaniards for example, the taking of Syburg, Soest and Lippstadt after the treaty and contrary to its provisions, wherefore we cannot take a final resolution in the absence of some of our colleagues; while the opinion of the Elector of Brandenburg, the prince his son and the Palatine of Neuburg must be taken, and this will require time as they are far away.
Dated at the Hague in the assembly of the States General of the Low Countries on the 24th December, 1616.


  • 1. Comptroller of the Household.
  • 2. There have fallen some round words between the Lord Villiers and Lord Hay for the introduction of Lord Coke lately to the king at Newmarket. The Lord Hay was his conduct, but the office was excepted at by the other as a matter of some forwardness. John Castle to James Millar, Dec. 12, 1616, o.s. Birch: Court and Times of James I, i. page 447.