Venice: March 1617, 16-31

Pages 465-482

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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March 1617, 16–31

March 16. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 689. To the Secretary Lionello in England.
Among the various particulars contained in our letters of news to serve for information you will see the report of the galleys sent out by the Viceroy of Naples, which are said to be for the Gulf, to damage us, and our provisions to meet this. We send you a copy of what we propose to lay before the ambassador of His Majesty, and we direct you to ask for an audience and execute the same office as a sign of our continued esteem, sending us the reply you receive.
With regard to the report put about by ill-affected persons that Count William of Nassau, who is here, has been offended at his treatment, a thing quite contrary to the truth, we send you a copy of the exposition made by Sig. Piero Loredan to us, so that you may clearly perceive the truth, and use it when necessary. We may add that he proceeded recently to the camp in Friuli, where his reception and treatment gave him complete satisfaction.
Ayes 145.
Noes 4.
Neutral 3
March 16. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni, Roma. Venetian Archives. 690. To the Secretary Lionello in England.
The secretary of His Majesty's ambassador resident here has asked us for a passport for the property of the archbishop of Spalato. We have tactfully shown him the necessity for the refusal of his request. You will see all from the enclosed copies of the exposition and office. This is for information without broaching the matter to anyone. If you chance to be spoken to you will keep to the terms adopted by us.
That the like be sent to the ambassador at Rome for his information, and if pressed he may speak of the devotion of the republic to religion and the service of God.
Ayes 109.
Noes 0.
Neutral 0
March 17. Inquisitori di Stato. Dispacoi agli, Ambasciatori in Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 691. The Inquisitors of State to Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England.
When we had received all the money of the 600 ducats lent by Sir William Smith to Muscorno we at once sent for Mr. Henry Parvis, an English merchant, who was commissioned to receive it, and we hoped to finish the business then and there, but he asked for time to translate his commission from the English, and to recover the paper for the loan, which is in the hands of the ambassador of Great Britain, as he was very busy. He will then come to receive the money, and will write that the delay is due to him alone.
We have also to tell you for information that we heard from Parvis that when Smith's commission reached him, he presented it to the ambassador, who seemed rather annoyed with Sir William, who had already given him Muscorno's bond, which he had presented several months ago, when he made representations upon the matter and had recently sent his secretary to take it back and surrender it in due course; but Parvis-had mollified him, and for the better service of Sir William, the matter is to be referred to the ambassador, through whom he will obtain complete satisfaction.
March 17. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 692. That the English ambassador be summoned to the Cabinet and the following be read to him:
Owing to our confidence with His Majesty we wish to communicate as usual what is taking place in this province. We have directed our Secretary Lionello to inform His Majesty of the new and extraordinary resolutions of the Viceroy of Naples who is sending out galleys, report saying that they are to proceed to the Gulf. This has led us to increase our naval preparations by arming four great galleys, besides those at sea, and seven ships of high board, and we proposed to increase our fleet of thirty light galleys as we are determined to resist such extravagant designs, quite unjustifiable, as the republic has always been ready to listen to reasonable proposals for peace. We beg your Excellency to represent the same things to His Majesty, who will, we are sure, hear them with feelings worthy of his kindly nature, and if ideas and attempts of this nature are carried further he will doubtless show the spirit which we cherish of his affection for us and proceed to take steps worthy of his greatness.
With regard to the two English soldiers condemned to the galleys, although their fault deserved a far greater punishment than was inflicted, so that it was difficult to alter the execution of the sentence, yet at the instance of your Excellency we have decided to accede to your last request that they may be released from the chain, and we have sent them to serve upon the great galleys as men of the sword with the usual pay received by the other soldiers, for your special gratification.
Ayes 145.
Noes 4.
Neutral 3.
On the same day in the Cabinet,
Ayes 19.
Noes 0.
Neutral 3.
March 17. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 693. The deliberation of the Senate of yesterday was read to the Ambassador of England, he said: I have remained long useless in my house, not knowing what to do. I now return thanks for the favour to the two Englishmen. Works of mercy are their own reward; I did not wish for their complete liberation but that they should exchange rowing for fighting and the oar for the sword, as their fault excluded the hope of release. I have another thing to say. I have had a young man in my house, reared in my service from his earliest years. As he showed a liking for the sword, 1 encouraged him and put him as ensign with a French captain, equipping him at my own expense, as I thought it disgraceful that I should not serve your Serenity in these times at least with one man.
I pass to matters of more importance, and, indeed, if I had not been summoned, I should have asked for an audience. I have some recent letters from the Count Palatine, who sends to me every week. I also have a trusty relative at that court, the son of a sister, who was sent by the king to be secretary to Madame Elizabeth, and is his agent for the affairs of Germany. (fn. 1) That prince has received letters from the States discovering the best disposition towards the common service. They are not without suspicions of their adversaries, and advise the Palatine to keep his eyes open (di aprir ben gl'occhi). At the end of the month there is to be a general gathering of the princes of Germany to treat of these things. Your Serenity may make known your pleasure then, and the Palatine will be quite ready to fulfil it and to make a closer union with the republic. There are two things which may turn out prejudicial to the republic, one the report that the treaty for peace has been referred to Spain as if the affair was to be submitted to the judgment of that king, this is a point which may prejudice the princes; the other I hear from the Ambassador Carleton, my predecessor, now at the Hague, that the count of Levestein, who offered to lead troops here, had met with some difficulty, as there was a lack of soldiers, as the veterans left for this service who were wanted at home. But the most important point is that a public minister, recently arrived at the Hague, declares that the pass of the Grisons is open, thanks to the intercession of France, and this has prejudiced the plan of coming by sea. If your Serenity will make some approach to the princes, I will forward it. Carleton also writes to me that Sig. Suriano has had instructions to raise new levies, and recommends to me a gentleman named Tomaso Oglachi, (fn. 2) a worthy man, so much so that I do not know where I should find his equal. Already thirty years ago he was present at important occasions, at the taking of St. Jago and Cartagena. He went to found the first colony in Virginia and was present at the acquisition of the other islands added to the king's dominions. I say this to show you his condition. I may say that here your Serenity excites some jealousy among us, of the Flemish nation. You make use of Flemish vessels, and wisely because those here are good, and you make use of troops from those parts. Our English also have not forgotten the practice of arms, and even the States, when they need volunteers, come to us, because England and Scotland are the fountain from which they draw to maintain their warfare. The levies of your Serenity are made in the country which has recourse to us when it has need.
The feasts are at hand, I wish your Serenity every internal and external good. The first good is peace, the second glorious war.
The doge replied: We immediately assembled ready to gratify your desire in the matter of the two condemned Englishmen, as we are anxious to satisfy you, knowing your affection for the republic. We will consider the other questions raised in your speech and your Excellency may rest assured of the affection which we bear you.
With this the ambassador made a reverence and departed.
March 17. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 694. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
A week to-day your Serenity's letters of the 17th February were brought to me, with instructions to inform His Majesty confidentially of what the Catholic king said to the Ambassador Gritti, if I was sure that the count of Scarnafigi had told him the same thing. Accordingly I asked for audience of His Majesty on the following day, as I knew that the count of Scarnafigi had spoken to the king about it the day before, but with rather more reserve than he told me he would, because although he was advised by the Secretary Crotti from Piedmont that he had written out His Highness's permission to allow the republic to treat, and had orders to report it, as I wrote on the 9th, yet from fear that the king might be too much incensed with the duke of Savoy if the affair were set before him all at once, he concealed this part and only spoke of the offices of the ambassador Gritti and of the duke of Lerma's reply to him and the opening made for an accommodation. He told me afterwards that His Majesty and his ministers seemed much offended at such steps being taken without their participation. I saw the Secretary Winwood twice casually before I had audience of the king. He spoke to me about this affair but made me see that he felt much more keenly about it than he showed by his open speech, and he and the others believe that the negotiations are more advanced than the ambassador of Savoy and I tell them. Thus yesterday, in His Majesty's antechamber, he told me that they heard from France that peace is entirely concluded and from Venice that the duke has sent powers to your Serenity to treat. I assured him, what is actually the truth, that I know no more than I have told him, and I have confined myself to these generalities, as your Excellencies command me. Thus yesterday when I went to the audience I told the king that in reply to the considerations advanced by the Ambassador Gritti in Spain that the troubles of Italy cannot properly be brought to an end without a general accommodation, the Catholic king answered through the duke of Lerma that he also recognised the necessity of this and would like the negotiations to take place at his Court, offering to obtain the authorisation of the emperor and the archduke so that if the republic would obtain the like from the duke of Savoy, the negotiations might be taken in hand; that your Serenity, to prove your devotion to peace, had sent to the Ambassador Gritti the necessary instructions so that you could not be charged with any lack of good-will on your side, and I expressed the other ideas contained in the letters.
The king replied that he had always been desirous of peace and worked for it everywhere, notably in Italy by the treaty of Asti, so that obviously the news of peace would always be gratifying to him, but he thought it most strange that for a month past he had heard from Spain and elsewhere that the republic was negotiating with the Catholic king at Madrid for a general accommodation, but he had never heard a word of it from you, such as is the usual practice between such good friends as your Excellencies have always been. He had now heard that the duke of Savoy had given your Serenity authority to negotiate at Madrid, and he wished me to tell him all about this affair, as he marvelled greatly at the count of Scarnafigi, who had concealed as much from him as he could and up to the audience before last had tried to persuade him that the negotiations were not real but were reported by the Spaniards as one of their usual tricks, pointing out that they negotiate at the same time in various places and in divers ways, whereby they deceive everyone.
I replied that up to the present I knew no more than I had told him in the name of your Serenity as a sign of confidence, and that His Majesty ought not to marvel if he had received news from Spain of the affair a month beforehand, because the time and the situation of the countries involved this, because news brought from Spain must necessarily be known in England a month before it could be sent from Spain to Venice and thence to England. As the negotiations had been opened by the Catholic king upon the offices of the Ambassador Gritti, your Serenity could not inform His Majesty about them earlier.
The king retorted that the Ambassador Gritti had opened the way to negotiations by his offices and not the Catholic king. I replied that Gritti's offices were general considerations and that the Catholic king had gone further by entering into details. The king said that he wished your Excellencies had communicated these general offices to him at the time that you instructed the ambassador to make them. I replied that the republic keeps many ministers with the various powers of Europe, and if you communicated to His Majesty all the offices, including the ordinary ones, performed by them, it might prove too wearisome to him.
In reply to what he said to me about the count of Scarnafigi, I thought it well to excuse him in excusing myself, and to speak in the common interests. Accordingly I said that if the count, a fortnight ago, did not believe in the truth of the rumours about the treaty, but that it was probably a Spanish trick, I felt sure that he knew nothing at that time, because I did not know it myself, as neither of us had then received the news from Italy, and the arguments which he advanced about the various negotiations of the Spaniards were not to be utterly despised. Moreover, at the present moment, although negotiations for peace are proceeding, it will not do to confide in this and abandon all thoughts of our safety, the more so because we understand that the Spaniards are making very great preparations both by sea and land. At Naples they are levying 12,000 foot and some horse; in Flanders 6,000 Walloons and 1,000 horse; in Germany they have issued orders for new levies; at Naples there is a fleet of twelve galleons well furnished; fourteen have left the port of Cadiz, well provided. The king seemed to know of all these preparations and to attach great importance to them. He said that it really would be well not to rely too much upon peace, but that everyone should dread some disaster. With this, after saying something about the voyage of the Dutch troops, he dismissed me. So far as I could judge from outward signs he was quite satisfied with the reasons I had given, possibly more than I had expected beforehand.
The ambassador of Savoy has taken leave of the king and the ministers. He takes with him a verbal promise upon the subject of assistance, that if peace be not obtained His Majesty will send armed vessels to help His Highness.
Baron Tour has left. He received a present of 3,000 ounces of silver gilt plate.
Winwood told me recently that His Majesty would do something for the Princes of France if he knew how their affairs stood, so that he cannot but wonder greatly that they do not send someone to negotiate. However, the Ambassador Edmondes will be sent soon, and I hope to be able to inform your Excellencies of the instructions given to him.
Three days ago I received two other letters of your Serenity with the current news and two extracts from letters of the Residents Spinelli and Dolce. As regards Count William of Nassau I will use the information if I hear anything said, to make known generally how welcome he is to your Excellencies and how well treated.
London, the 17th March, 1617.
March 17. Senato. Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 695. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
When after the unhappy fate of the Ambassador Barbarigo it pleased your Excellencies to direct me to remain at this Court, I tried to render the charge lighter to myself by the hope of a speedy end. But I find my confidence was misplaced and although it is nearly a year since that command, I am more uncertain than ever of regaining my freedom from this service, which is full of distress for me, not only for various reasons on which I must be silent at present, but because of the heavy cost. Although I have procured some moderation yet the Court of England is excessively expensive, and the cost of everything is so great that it is certainly unexampled elsewhere in Europe. Moreover as ambassadors have usually resided here for your Serenity with worthy grandeur becoming the prince they serve, many officials of the Court and others, who used to receive some profit from their liberality, have not been willing to take into account to their own prejudice the notable difference between such ambassadors and myself, so that in order not to prejudice the service of your Excellencies I have been obliged to satisfy them out of my own pocket. The beginning of this year in particular has been especially costly and now that the king is going to Scotland there will be new pretexts for expenditure in order to obtain news of what is taking place daily so far away. All these things tell very severely upon my modest fortune and I beg your Excellencies to afford me some relief to console me.
London, the 17th March, 1617.
March 18. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 696. That the English ambassador be summoned to the Cabinet and the following read to him:
From what your Excellency has recently said we again recognise your excellent disposition towards our republic and we thank you for your friendly offices, which we take as further argument of your feeling, and for sending the young man of your house to serve in the camp. With regard to submitting the negotiations for peace to the arbitrament of the king of Spain, your prudence can easily see whence these reports come, as you know the determination of the republic to defend herself but to listen to all reasonable proposals for peace. In Spain they pointed out the difficulties placed by their ministers in the way of a general conference, recognised as the only means of settling the disputes, so that king proposed to carry on the negotiations at that Court. We showed our good disposition, as we had already done in France and elsewhere, by instructing our ambassador at that Court to negotiate upon this, if the other side would meet him, and nothing definite can as yet be stated. We wish, however, that the true state of affairs may be known, especially by the Prince Palatine, as a sign of our esteem for him and the other princes of Germany, with whom we shall always be glad to have a good understanding.
The Secretary Surian at the Hague is informed about the difficulties put in the way of the pass of the Grisons, which are greater than ever, but as the affair is important and as the special news of your Excellency is worthy of deep consideration, we will acquaint him more particularly with everything that happens so that he may take any necessary steps.
We thank you for the confidence you have shown us and for the offer of Sig. Thomas Oglachi, (fn. 3) of which Surian also writes to us, and when new levies are to be raised we shall certainly consider his qualifications and the testimony which your Excellency has rendered. We maintain the same opinion of men and help from England that we have always entertained of that valorous nation, and also of the excellent disposition of His Majesty, to whom we are sure your Excellency will represent this last office of ours in a manner worthy of the good-will which we know so well.
Ayes 136.
Noes 2.
Neutral 0.
March 18. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 697. To the Ambassador with His Highness of Savoy.
From Spain we hear of the departure of the English ambassador without receiving satisfaction upon the marriage or for free traffic with the Indies. Moreover he had an altercation with the duke of Lerma about His Highness, for when the ambassador declared that his king would be bound to help Savoy if the treaty of Asti were not observed, Lerma replied that if His Majesty decided to keep a fleet in the Strait of Gibraltar, the king could not send help. This provoked the ambassador to retort that if his king wishes, he has so powerful a fleet that it will not be so easy a matter to stop him. It is well that His Highness should know this.
Ayes 138.
Noes 0.
Neutral 2.
March 18. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives. 698. Christoforo Surian, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
I am anxiously awaiting news as to whether the ships have passed the Strait.
The Hague, the 18th March, 1617.
March 20. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Svizzesi. Venetian Archives. 699. Agostino Dolci, Venetian Secretary with the Swiss, to the Doge and Senate.
Encloses letters received from Berne upon the negotiations of Gaballeone.
Zurich, the 20th March, 1617.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 700. F. Erlac to Agostino Dolci.
The ambassador of Savoy demands almost impossible things; he asks that the chief magistrate should find 4,000 soldiers and pay them for six months; he further asks for 200,000 crowns to continue the war against the Spaniards. He received a prompt reply, that our magistrate never sent out soldiers to another prince at his own expense. We hope that the English ambassador will be able to moderate all these things. I will send word what takes place.
3rd March, 1617.
March 22. Collegio. Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 701. The deliberation of the 18th inst. was read to the ambassador of England; he said:
The information read to me is both necessary and opportune. I will not fail to make known the truth, especially at the court of the Palatine, as I am instructed by that prince to inform him of the true state of affairs in time for the assembly at the end of the month. I hope that your Serenity will soon be free from anxiety or will have a good band of brave men. If new levies of volunteers are required they may be found in the realms of His Majesty. No better person for this service can be found than the one of whom I spoke. Before I leave I wish to speak of one thing. It is possible that something may come to my knowledge which it would be well to make known to your Serenity. My coming here is always seen by many. Where a third person and another prince is concerned it is not possible to speak quite freely, and even the sending of the secretary is observed. I therefore think it would be well for my secretary to speak to someone deputed by your Serenity, so that he might listen without being noticed and without commotion.
The doge replied: It is not usual to alter the established proceedings of the republic. This is the gate where all things are heard and your Excellency will be always welcome here. But their Lordships will consider the matter.
The ambassador said: There are some delicate matters, touching perhaps a prince. This has moved me to speak, not a desire to interrupt the ordinary usages. The reply is the same as the one I received when at my first coming I requested that someone might be deputed from your Lordships to confer with me upon certain things which cannot be spoken quite freely. I did not intend to change the gate, but to arrive by the way that I have suggested, that the Secretary Gregorio should speak to one deputed by your Serenity. Something has happened during these past days which has made me think of this remedy. The Secretary Gregorio is a subject of your Serenity, and is high in the king's favour, owing to the accounts sent of him by me and my predecessors, who have employed him. Thus His Majesty last week sent him a patent confirming him in the service, and he may be believed in all matters which I commit to him, as if he were myself.
The doge replied that the secretary and all who came on the ambassador's behalf would be readily admitted and heard.
The ambassador said: This matter weighs upon me so that I cannot leave without saying it, especially as it concerns my interests also. A German of the Low Countries, a man of the States, an engineer of position who is very well informed, has come here to offer himself to your Serenity. He has some memoranda, notably of two pieces of artillery. He wished to make three of the same kind. He imparted these secrets to the States, who profited greatly by them. His work is very valuable because he imparts a fineness to the metal so that it unites more easily. He had a kind of petard for galleys which the Lords of the Arsenal would not accept, perhaps because they were otherwise occupied. He contrived such a petard that if thrown into a ship would utterly destroy it. There is someone here who bears no good-will to your Serenity, there is some minister of a prince, perhaps more than one, who has approached this man through a watchmaker who was in my house. They have arranged to take him to serve the Archduke Ferdinand, not direct, but by sending him to the Archduke Maximilian at Innsbruck, whence he can be taken to Gratz. This affair touches me, especially as it was arranged by one who was in my house. I have complained about it, and gave a lecture to him, telling him that he did ill and it would not please the States. I should have preferred to make this known by other means, but I could not keep silence. The doge thanked him and said that the matter should be duly considered. The ambassador then took leave and departed.
March 25. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 702. To the Secretary in England.
Nothing notable has happened in Friuli. The Proveditore of Cavalry in Istria has made a raid and learned from prisoners that after Easter they expect help from Carlestot under the command of Tersat. The archducal forces burned Scuffia, but were repulsed from Risean with loss.
The duke of Savoy has returned to Asti. As his stratagem to recover S. Germano did not succeed he is closely besieging it, although at Milan they say it has been relieved by smugglers, so that the garrison can hold out for some days. There have been skirmishes between the Savoyards and Spaniards in relieving la Rochetta, with equal loss.
The like to the Imperial Court, Rome, Spain, France, Milan, Naples, Florence, the Hague, Germany, Zurich, Constantinople.
Ayes 114.
Noes 2.
Neutral 1.
March 25. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Roma. Venetian Archives. 703. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday the pope said to me: We hear that Dr. Sertorio at Padua is creating doctors to the sound of trumpets and drums; we are surprised at this, especially after what has been said; I replied that nothing new had been introduced in this matter.
This morning I again saw His Holiness. He said: We are advised that the Dutch who are coming to serve the republic are bringing with them the Psalms printed in Italian with marginal comments infused with the doctrines of Calvin. We beg the republic to prevent these books from being distributed. I promised to write about it.
The pope then referred to the archbishop of Spalatro, saying that he heard that he was not so high in the esteem of the king of England as was supposed. I thought it opportune to add, as the pope seemed in a good humour, that according to my information he was very slightly esteemed, in fact almost despised. In spite of your caution about referring to the request of the English ambassador, I thought this a favourable moment to tell His Holiness of the refusal given to the ambassador by you upon his request in the archbishop's favour. I cannot express what a change came over the pope's countenance at this, as from being melancholy at first he became quite joyous. He said, Blessed be the Signory, that is a sorry rascal; your Excellency has greatly comforted us by what you have said, and by your report that he is all but despised in England.
Rome, the 25th March, 1617.
March 25. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 704. Antonio Donato, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
The duke sent for me on the 21st inst., and I found him in a small chamber with the prince, the count of Verua, the General San Georgio and the Secretary Crotti. The duke said that he had received bad news, the duke of Nemours had suddenly left Savoy and gone to a place outside Paris, where he was conferring with Montelione, the Spanish ambassador. He also had news from Berne, whither the agent of England and Gabaleone had betaken themselves, that the people there would not give any money whatever, saying that they had never done so to any prince, and if they did they would excite the hatred of some cantons as if they had done something against the laws and against religion itself.
His Highness is much upset that the difficulties of obtaining troops should increase at the time when has dominions are in the greatest difficulties.
I told His Highness what had passed between the duke of Lerma and the English ambassador at that Court, and gave him some other news.
Asti, the 25th March, 1617.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 28. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives. 705. Christoforo Surian, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
Thomas Stodder (Studler) has informed Pasini of his intention to leave this Easter. I am awaiting further news.
The Hague, the 28th March, 1617.
March 28. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Napoli. Venetian Archives. 706. Gasparo Spinelli, Venetian Secretary at Naples, to the Doge and Senate.
Of those who communicate with the Viceroy from Constantinople, one is a Pasha and another a renegade of the seraglio, possibly Mehemet the Neapolitan. But what grieves me most is that the letters and advices come principally from the houses of the ambassadors of England and France, and I know that they are in constant communication with the French one; the same news reaches me from Zante.
Naples, the 28th March, 1617.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
March 29. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives. 707. Almoro Nani, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
With regard to the affair of the archenda the English merchant has never said anything further to me. It is my opinion that he has some idea of approaching the new Vizier to recover from the Caimecan the money which was wrongfully taken from him, but in these matters it is easier to wish than to succeed. If this English merchant says anything more to me about the promise which I made to him, I will procrastinate until I have the information from the Proveditore of Zante, which your Serenity promised to send to me with the last despatch, but which I have not yet received, to rule my action by it as I am instructed.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 29th March, 1617.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 29. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci Costant. Venetian Archives. 708. Almoro Nani, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
I have been more than once with the ambassadors of France, England and Flanders, to discuss the question of making a presentation to the Grand Vizier. We agreed that the Grand Vizier had freed us from the carazo in spite of many obstacles; that it was a question which concerned the honour of princes and others, and therefore the service ought to be recognized, the more so because he had never asked for any recognition of his services, though it is well known that this is a country where the ministers, and especially the chief ones, always expect some reward if they act in any important affair for our interests. We therefore decided firstly to give, all four of us, forty robes. I inclined to this because it did not introduce ready money, but I thought it a small present because it did not amount to 250 sequins each, and it would not prove very pleasing to the Pasha because the present could not be made without great display, and so give his enemies a handle against him, and it would be better to make a purse and each put in 500 sequins. I brought the others round to my opinion, and I presented him with a purse in the name of all, in the presence of a dragoman of France, England, and Flanders, and of Bonisi, at a time when no one of his following was about. He was much gratified. We could not do less than recognize various others who acted in this affair, each of us sharing. This will keep them well disposed to serve us on future occasions.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 29th March, 1617.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 30. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 709. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The king has been so determined in his idea of going to Scotland that although finally the whole Council went on their knees to beg him to put it off, he decided to leave London on Friday evening, the 25th inst., to begin his journey. To-morrow he will reach Abthorpe, sixty-three miles away, and he has so divided the journey that on the 20th May he will reach Berwick, the first town of Scotland. He will remain in that kingdom until the 16th August, returning to London for the 25th September, so that the whole will be done in about six months. His company has been somewhat reduced, as of the leading magnates, besides the duke of Lennox and the other Scots, there will only be the earls of Arundel, Pembroke, Montgomery, Buckingham, Southampton, Rutland; the bishops of Ely, Winchester and Lincoln, Viscount Fenton, Baron Mordaunt and the Secretary Lake. With the other courtiers and serving men the company will not amount to 500 persons.
Four reasons have hitherto appeared to induce His Majesty to take the journey, besides his desire to see the country where he was born. The chief one is to introduce the Anglican religion there, as the Scots almost universally follow the Puritan type. His Majesty proposes to introduce bishops and the other ceremonies used by the Catholic Church, but which were not abandoned in England, and through these the church there is different from the other reformed churches of Germany (la principale e di introdur in esso la Religion Anglivana, vivendo li Scocezzi quasi generalmente alla Puritana, et dissegna Sua Maestà di ponervi li Vescovi con le altre Ceremonie, she usate dalla Chiesa Cattolica non furono però mai levate dall'Inghilterra, et per le quali e questa Chiesa differente dalle altre rifformate di Germania). His Majesty wishes to reacquire possession in the Scottish kingdom of the guardianship of minors, which he previously sold to various individuals to obtain money. He wishes the administration of justice in the country, which is now in the hands of perpetual sheriffs, to be managed in the future on the English model and that they may be amovable at pleasure. Fourthly he wishes to see the accounts of his income, which have never been revised since his first visit, and it may be said that during all these years he has received the scantiest possible benefit from it, as the Treasurer states that the expenses necessary there come to a little less than the income. From all this it is clear that the king's object is to unite the two nations as much as possible and render them uniform in religion, government and everything else, so that in time he may hope for a more perfect union of hearts and perpetual tranquillity and peaceful dominion for his successors.
All these things in themselves are very vexatious, and the religious matter more than the others. We hear already that His Majesty sent on beforehand some organs to be placed in the churches of Scotland, whereupon the people, unaccustomed to the music, began to dance out of derision, so it may be that His Majesty will encounter some difficulties, especially in the wilder parts of the country, protected by great mountains, where they have always been ready to revolt, as they have shown quite recently. However, in all his kingdoms His Majesty enjoys the good fortune not to have subjects of great power by their blood or by their supporters among the people, as there have been before, so that he need not be so much afraid of those civil disputes, which occurred in times past, so it is thought that he will overcome all difficulties and bring the above mentioned things to the desired end, and whatever else he may desire for his people (tutte le sopradette cose sono per se stesse assai fastidiose, et quella della Religione più delle altre, et gia s'intende, ch'havendo Sua Maestà inviato avanti alcuni Organi, per ponerli nelle Chiese della Scotia, il popolo non assueto a quel suono per derisione si habbi posto a danzare, per il che potrà avvenire, che Sua Maestà vi incontri qualche difficultà, massime in quella parte del paese più selvatica, che diffesa da gran montagne si è in tutti i tempi, et anco questi ultimi anni dimostrato assai pronta alle sollevationi, tuttavia gode la Maestà Sua cosi buona fortuna in tutti i suoi Regni che non havendo sudditi di gran potere per qualityà di sangue, ò per adherenza populare come altre volte sonno stati, non si deve cosi facilmente temere de quei disordeni civili, che si sonno veduti a tempi passati, onde stimasi che sia per superar ogni difficulta ct condur al dissegnato fine le sopradette cose, et quel di più che da suoi populi potesse desiderare).
The queen and the prince with the flower of the court accompanied the king to Theobalds, and stayed there until after dinner on Monday, when they separated. Although troubled by fever I followed the court to Theobalds and on Sunday evening at the end of the last Council I had the honour of kissing the king's hand. I wished him a most prosperous journey in the name of your Excellencies, and asked for his commands upon what I should do, especially if any instructions reached me from your Serenity, by which I might have something to make known to His Majesty. The king seemed pleased at my office and upon the last point he said that for complimentary affairs of no great importance one of his secretaries would always be here and he would send one to me without delay; and for matters of greater moment he would not be so far away but that I might communicate them to the secretary, who could inform him in Scotland by a courier sent post in the space of four days, and I should receive the reply in the same time. I said that I would do what His Majesty commanded, kissed his hands again and said the last farewells.
London, the 30th March, 1617.
March 30. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 710. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The day after to-morrow the count of Scarnafigi leaves London for Italy. He received from the king a gift of 800 ounces of silver gilt plate, and his son, the cavalier, received a chain worth 400 crowns. Nothing further has been done upon his affairs, except that the earl of Buckingham told him that for the sake of His Highness he would advise him to make more confidential communication of his affairs to the king, to give him greater opportunities of helping, because in the negotiations for peace proceeding at Madrid and the authorisation given to the republic, His Majesty had received much earlier information from Spain and from the Ambassador Wotton at Venice than from His Highness, and although this was said by the earl, yet because he is the one with the king, it is taken as coming from His Majesty's own mouth. Upon the same particular I have nothing further to say to your Serenity beyond what I wrote on the 17th inst, because neither the king nor the ministers have said anything further to me about it, so that I did not wish to provoke further discussion. Only Sir [John] Digby, the Vice-Chamberlain, told me that the king had news from Spain that difficulties had arisen over the negotiations for the peace of Italy after news had arrived there of the death of Don Sanchio di Alunes and other successes of the duke, at which the Lords of the Council were very wroth and of the opinion that it did not become the greatness of the Catholic king to come to an accommodation with His Highness, at a time when His Majesty was in some sort at a disadvantage, in order not to allow the world to believe that he was driven to it by necessity.
Before the king left London he appointed four Councillors who for five days running have been to the house of the Spanish Ambassador to treat most secretly with him about the marriage of the prince of England. At the same time he instructed Sir [John] Digby to go as extraordinary ambassador to Spain, where he had previously been as ordinary. For more than six months report has stated that he would go there and I wrote about it at the time to your Serenity. What will come of all this it surpasses mortal wit to divine, but the difficulties are known to be very great. The French Ambassador who is keeping the closest watch upon these negotiations told me that he could not believe they would come to anything, although he was quite aware that the English (he referred to those who share in the government) are much more anxious for the marriage than the Spaniards, who may possibly think the king of England to be more powerful, and desire by these marriage negotiations to keep him neutral in the various affairs of Europe, to their advantage, and they attribute to their artifices the scanty satisfaction which the king affords to all his friends for other reasons (l'ambr di Francia, che sta qui vigilantissimo sopra questa trattatione mi dice che non può creder che si faccia, se ben sa di certo che li Inglesi, parlando però de quelli che intervengono nel governo, ne sonno molto più desiderosi delli Spagnuoli, li quali stimando il Re di Inghra forse di maggior potenza pensono con la trattione del matrimonio tenerlo neutrale in diversi negotii di Europa con loro avantaggio, et attribuiscono ad effetto de loro artificii quella poca sodisfattione che per altre cause dona il Re a tutti li suoi amici).
Digby will leave within twenty days, very eager to conclude the marriage and personally he will be very acceptable at that Court, because his inclinations are just as Spanish as if he had been born a subject of the Catholic king. (fn. 4)
Lord Roos was to arrive at Dover yesterday evening. He will leave immediately for Scotland to meet His Majesty.
Sir [John] Finet (Finetti) has returned from Heidelberg, whither His Majesty sent him upon some domestic affairs of the princess his daughter. He brings word that the Palatine is seriously inclined to help the duke of Bouillon, but has been very cautious about declaring himself hitherto. Thus he had received the extraordinary ambassador of His Most Christian Majesty with great honour, and to the request for help he replied that he was so bound in blood and friendship to Bouillon that he could not move against him, but he begged His Most Christian Majesty to be content that he should remain neutral. The French ambassador had the same reception from some other princes of Germany, while others spoke to him in quite the opposite fashion.
An extraordinary courier from France brings word of a confederation sworn to at Soissons on the 16th March between the malcontent princes, in which they bind themselves to defend each other, with the object of restoring the king to liberty, driving the foreigners from the government, and managing in the old way, using expressions of obedience towards His Majesty, recognising him as legitimate king of France and, in the event of his death, the duke his brother, under the regency of the prince of Condé. They afterwards chose the duke of Bouillon as the chief of their union, and the king with the parliament had declared the dukes of Bouillon, Nevers, Vendome, Mayenne, the Marshal de Coure and the President Le Jay (Gil) to be rebels, confiscating their goods and fees and depriving them of all their dignities. Some actions had taken place and the eldest son of Nevers was taken prisoner. Orders have been issued for the departure of the king from Paris on the 24th inst., but it is not expected to take place. Great perplexity reigns at court and Paris is most rigorously guarded as if a great army were in the neighbourhood.
The Lord Chancellor of England died this week. (fn. 5) No one has as yet been chosen in his place; it is thought it will be Mr. Bacon, who has received the great seal from the king, the chief dignity which is habitually held conjunction with the Chancellorship. After the Archbishop of Canterbury he is the first person of the Council, which in the king's absence will decide all the affairs of the kingdom. The queen was expected to take part in it frequently, but I do not believe that she will ever go there, as she proposes to pass the whole time out of London, and the prince will do much the same.
I have received your Excellencies' letters of the 3rd March with news of current events and instructions not to proceed further in negotiating for levies. I will, therefore, break off all negotiations and will try to keep those who are inclined to serve your Serenity favourably disposed, as I have done in the past.
London, the 30th March, 1617.
March 30. Inquisitori di Stato. Dispacci dagli Ambasciatori in Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 711. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Inquisitors of State.
Immediately upon receipt of your letters dated 3 March, I went to Sir [William] Smith and informed him of your instructions and of Muscorno's desire to satisfy him, and that the 600 ducats are now at his disposal. He expressed his satisfaction and has always felt sure that the delay was caused by Muscorno's imprisonment. He desires that the money may be paid to the ambassador Wotton, because he has written letters of complaint to him to this effect that after he had set the affair going and placed it in the hands of your Excellencies, the superintendence of the close of the business is now transferred to Parvis. Should the payment not have been already made Sir William asks pardon for his contradictions and leave that the amount may be paid to the ambassador; but should it have been already received by Parvis the payment will have been duly made and his obligations to your Excellencies extreme.
From London, the 30 March, 1617.
[Italian; deciphered.]
March 31. Inquisitori di Stato. Lettere agli Ambasciatori in Inghilterra. Venetian Archives 712. The Inquisitors of State to Giovanni Battista Lionello, the Venetian Secretary in England.
Henry Parvis, the assign of Sir William Smith, delayed until yesterday his return for payment of the 600 ducats due from Giulio Muscorno. It was arranged to disburse them this morning in the presence of the secretary of the English ambassador, who had brought the receipt. All was ready when Parvis claimed bank value with an allowance for an exchange, and that the account should be made out for £150 at the rate of 20s. to the £, although he had originally admitted that the £150 was equal to 600 ducats at the rate of 6 livres and four grossi the ducat. He was told that no advantage would be claimed, as it will be easy to learn the value of the pound sterling in current Venetian coin, but that Muscorno's opinion must be taken about the other claims. Muscorno believes that this is an attempt of Parvis, especially as Sir William is aware that he would have been repaid in London, but the accidents which befell prevented him from making certain purchases there for the Lord Chamberlain, the earl of Somerset, who would have paid for them in London and thus cancelled the receipt given by Muscorno to Sir William (se gli accidenti suoi non gli havessero levato 'l modo di far qua alcune spese per il Sig. Conte di Somerset, Gran Ciamberlano, per reimborso delle quali haveria esso in Londra pagato il suo scritto al Sig. Carr. Smith). Muscorno is willing to pay the equivalent of £150 at 20s. to the £ in current Venetian value, and will await Sir William's reply as to whether this is a full repayment of the loan. We therefore desire you to acquaint Sir William with these particulars, saying that the delay is not due to Muscorno, to whom it would be well to consign letters of receipt, or should he write to his assign he may then announce his wishes to us through your Lordship, as we are most ready to procure all reasonable satisfaction for him.
March 31. Cinque Savii alla Mercanzia. Risposte. Venetian Archives. 713. Demetrio Ruccani informs your Serenity that the oil, cheese, cordovan leather and wool which are exported from the island of Zante and are taken thither from the Morea and Corfu are unlawfully sold to merchants sailing to the west and it would be well to impose a heavy custom upon them as it would not sensibly affect your subjects and would bring in 30 to 40,000 ducats. We have to state that by decree of the Senate of 31 July, 1609, oil from the islands of the east may not be taken to the west, but must come to Venice; but smuggling has been rife, as the gains are considerable since oil sells in the west for half as much again as it costs in these islands, and the difficulties of the governor are increased by the very close understanding between your subjects and foreigners. On account of this smuggling we think it would be advisable to adopt Ruccani's proposal, but to impose so heavy a custom that no merchant would gain anything by taking the said oil, cheese, cordovan leather and wool to the west. We suggest 25 for every miaro of oil, 15 for every miaro of cheese, 10 for every miaro of wool and 10 for every pelt of cordovan leather, so that if the merchants buy these commodities and pay the customs, your Serenity will benefit by that revenue, and if they do not, the goods will go to Venice more readily.


  • 1. Albert Morton. Winwood writes to Carleton on 7 October, 1616: This bearer, Mr. Albert Morton, is so well known to you that I should wrong both you and myself to recommend him unto you. This I will only say, that out of devotion to do service to my lady Elizabeth, he doth quit all other hopes, and intendeth to serve her in place of secretary. Letters from and to Sir Dudley Carleton, page 68.
  • 2. This must clearly be Sir Thomas Gates. mentioned in Surian's despatches of the 7th and 14th January, Nos. 587, 595, 596, at pages 404 and 408 above. The Secretary of the Collegio probably took down what he thought he heard Wotton say. He not unfrequently distorts English names beyond all recognition.
  • 3. Sir Thomas Gates. See note to No. 693 at page 467 above.
  • 4. The instuctions to Digby drawn up by Lake contain precise directions to conclude a marriage with Spain. State Papers. Foreign. Spain. April 4, 1617.
  • 5. Thomas Egerton, Lord Ellesmere, the chancellor, died at York House, Whitehall, on 15/25 March, 1617.