Venice: April 1617

Pages 482-499

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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April 1617

April 3. Senato. Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 714. Antonio Donato, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
An English ship has arrived at Nice with the munitions given to His Highness by the king of Great Britain. They come at a very opportune moment. It is said that many other Dutch and Flemish ships passed the strait with it.
Asti, the 3rd April, 1617.
April 4. Senato. Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 715. Ottaviano Bon and Vincenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Baron of Tour who went as extraordinary ambassador to England has returned. It is reported that he has not brought back the satisfaction from his negotiations which they desired here; although they console themselves by the knowledge that as the king of England has no money, he cannot do very much against them, however greatly he might desire it (si bene si consolano col saper che non havendo il Re d'Inghilterra danari, benche avesse mala volontà, possa in effetto poco esseguire della sua intentione).
Paris, the 4th April, 1617.
April 4. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives. 716. Christoforo Surian, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
Pasini still writes to me that Stodder (Studler) is still a prisoner, but he may come out any day and will then leave immediately for Venice.
The Hague, the 4th April, 1617.
April 5. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives. 717. Piero Gritti, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday morning the Secretary Arostighi again came to see me. He told me that he had instructions to say that His Majesty still remained desirous of peace, as he had always been, and to satisfy His Holiness, the Most Christian King, the king of England, and other princes who had made strong representations to him, he agreed to establish a good peace with the duke of Savoy, upon condition that His Highness should give satisfaction to the duke of Mantua, submit his differences with that prince to the emperor; restore the places taken, and he would do the same. He asked me to review my instructions and give a reply.
Madrid, the 5th April, 1617.
April 6. Senato, Secreta. Dispacoi, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 718. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The king continues his journey in good health and will reach Lincoln to-day, 105 miles away. I hear that shortly before his departure letters arrived from the Lord Chancellor of Scotland, who rules there almost absolutely in his absence, (fn. 1) informing him that in accordance with his commands he had sounded the opinions of several persons of every rank upon the reforms in religion and the other matters which His Majesty proposes, and although he found in all of them the usual devotion of good subjects, yet he begged His Majesty not to come with the settled determination to carry into effect all the projects which he is turning over in his mind, but rather to govern them by what may occur and by possibilities, as otherwise either His Majesty or the people may suffer a rebuff. In confirmation of what the Lord Chancellor writes it is becoming apparent that the mere rumour of some change in religion and certain indications, which have preceded His Majesty, have begun to cause a stir, the women being the first to complain that they want to return to Popery, and what is more noteworthy, I hear that some of the leading Scottish earls and barons are leaving Scotland and crossing the sea upon various pretexts, so that they may not be there on the king's arrival and forced to accept his innovations or show themselves disobedient by not accepting them, choosing rather to remain away from home for this short time in the hope that after His Majesty's departure from Scotland it will be more easy to destroy what has been done than to dispute the matter in his presence (in conjormità di questo che scrive il Gran Cancr si va scoprendo che la sola voce di alterar in qualche parte religione et alcuni segni che sonno precorsi a Sua Maesta, comincia di la a metter bisbiglio et le femine sonno le prime a dolersi che si vogli ritornar il Papismo, et quello che più deve esser estimato, intendo che diversi de'principali Conti et Baroni Scocezzi se ne usciscono di Scotia per andar sotto diversi pretesti di la dal mare, con fine di non vi si ritrovare all'arrivo del Re, per non esser astretti ad adherire alle sue innovationi, o mostrarscli inobedienti col non accettarle, elleggendo più tosto star fuori questo poco tempo di casa, con speranza doppò la partita di S. Mta di Scotia poter più facilmente distrugger quello che si sara fatto che contrastarlo in sua presentia).
Lord Roos came as I said he would, and has gone to see the king, leaving a report with some who have visited him in this city that he brings from the Catholic Court some amount of liberty for His Majesty to intervene in the settlement of Savoy. In my opinion he has put this abroad solely in order to maintain his reputation with the multitude, which has suffered considerably by this embassy of his. He has orders from the Catholic king to make the most urgent representations to the king here, so that he may forbid the voyage of Sir Walter Raleigh, who is terriby feared by the Spaniards, who have better reasons for alarm than all the other princes of the world. Many of the English themselves are not without suspicion of him, as he is singularly bold, well armed, aggrieved with the king, owing to his imprisonment for thirteen years and the sentence of death which still hangs over him, reduced from great wealth to comparative poverty, and loaded with debts, all which things excite a doubt whether he will not turn to where hopes of greater booty invite him (tien ordini dal Catee di far ogni più efficace ufficio con questo Re aceiò interdica il riaggio a Ser Vat Rale, temuto assaissimo da Spagnuoli con tanto maggior raggione quanto ne possono anco temere tutti i altri Prencipi del mondo et molti delli medisimi Inglest non restono di lui senza suspetto, poiche l'esser rgli di singolar ralore, bene armato, disgustato del Re per la priggionia di tredeci anni et per la condanna della vita alla quale ancora sottogiace, riddotto da gran ricchezze si più dir in poverta et pieno di debiti fa dubitar che sia per rirolgersi ore la speranza di maggior bothino lo possi inritare).
He is hastening on in order to leave in a few days. He has seven ships in the river here as well furnished with everything as possible. In addition to the sailors he has seven hundred soldiers, picked from the nobility and young men who flocked to him. It is said that an equal number of ships are awaiting him at sea outside to join him. If this be true it seems that there is scarcely any project which he might not undertake with good hopes of success.
I am assured, on very good authority, that the meetings between the king's four councillors and the Catholic ambassador about the marriage of the prince have ended, after long discussions and negotiations, in such agreement that Sir [John] Digby is going as ambassador to Spain simply to ask for the princess to be the wife of the Prince of Wales and await the reply of the Catholic king. The ambassador promises that the reply will be so courteous in granting her and accompanying her with offers and most honourable conditions that it will give every satisfaction without need for anything more, and a conclusion will immediately be arrived at, and even if the offers of the king of Spain do not meet with the wishes of England the king here may declare what he desires and reduce the affair to negotiation. These instructions have given satisfaction here. In conformity with them Sir [John] Digby will leave within ten or twelve days. The king here, by sending this ambassador, by other signs and by various remarks made upon several occasions, has shown that he is very anxious to make an alliance with Spain, the queen is inclined the same way and the prince also, as although it at first seemed rather distasteful to him, owing to the influence of his tutor and others with him, he is now being won over by degrees, and his own servants do not dare to stand against so much weight, as the whole of the royal Council is of this opinion, with the possible exception of the Secretary Winwood and Sir [Thomas] Edmondes, who have little love for Spain. (Questo Re se dimostra con là missione dell'ambre. con altri segni et con diverse parole dette più volte assai volonteroso di apparentarsi con Spagna, la Regina vi è medisimamente inclinata et il Prencipe istesso, che per opera del Precettore et altri che lo assistono se ne mostrava più tosto alieno, hora vien a poco a poco guadagnato, et li istessi suoi servitori non ardiscono contraporsi a tanta piena, poiche medesimamente tutto il Consiglio Reale è di questa opinione et forse non eccettuati altri che il Secretario Vinut et il Cavr. Edmonds, poco affettionati alla parte di Spagna.) Thus Edmondes recently spoke very warmly about this in the Council, saying that if the marriage with Spain took place, in addition to various other prejudices which England would suffer, she will lose all her ancient alliances and friendships, but on the other hand someone undertook to answer him, taking a stand upon false premises, that this was the proper way to preserve them. I may say the same thing of the archbishop of Canterbury, as he has frequently declared to me and to others that he was strongly opposed to the marriage, although it seems to me that he has not at present offered any great opposition to the negotiations or to the sending of the ambassador, reserving himself to do so with the rest of the clergy when they come to the point of religion, upon which and the manner of bringing up the children and some other questions there may arise such difficulties that the whole affair may end in nothing yet.
The king has destined Sir John Bennet, the queen's chancellor, to be ambassador extraordinary to the Archduke Albert. The occasion is not generally known, but I find that it is about a book which Dr. Puteanus of Louvain in Brabant has written against His Majesty, not only in blame of his religion, but full of slanders and especially with respect to his character, upon which he has cast many vile aspersions. His Majesty has felt this attack more than any other thing that might befall him, and has therefore decided to send a special ambassador to the archduke, either to demand the author or ask for his punishment, or at least that the book may be suppressed. I hear also that some few days ago two Englishmen went to Louvain to avenge themselves on Puteanus (fn. 2) for the insult to their king, but through a mistake in the name they took another doctor of that university instead, and beat him so severely that they left him half dead. This mistake has rendered the libel even more famous.
The Spanish fleet which left Cadiz and entered the Strait has turned back. According to the news brought by another ship which comes from Spain, it is resting in the port of Cadiz, which leads to the supposition that they are meditating upon some design in Africa or against the pirates, who are very strong in those seas. The Spaniards have also deliberated upon making a fort in the Strait of Gibraltar, where all the ships which go from there are accustomed to stop to victual.
Although I have been keenly on the watch for the passing of the Dutch ships, not the smallest news has reached this mart, no ship having ever arrived which could have met them near the Strait. But this is considered a good sign.
Your Serenity's letters of the 7th and 10th of March have reached me with the news of current affairs in Italy and of the naval provisions made by your Excellencies.
The latter have been already made known here by the letters of others and are generally praised as being worthy of the Senate.
London, the 6th April, 1617.
April 8. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 719. To the Secretary in England.
The Ambassador Donato confirms the news of the capture of Montiglio in Montferrat. The prince of Savoy went there as it was a convenient post to prevent help from reaching S. Germano. On his arrival, after a few shots, they offered to treat, and hostages were exchanged. Meanwhile a strife broke out between the French and Piedmontese, and among the slain was the duke's hostage. For this a Provencal knight was beheaded.
The like to Rome, Germany, Spain, France, Florence, Naples. Milan, Zurich, Coire, the Hague.
Ayes 144.
Noes 0.
Neutral 2.
April 8. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Roma. Venetian Archives 720. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
I have heard of the evil proceedings of the archbishop of Spalatro, and I may certainly say that he has deceived me. I will use the information when an opportunity occurs.
Rome, the 8th April, 1617.
April 10. Collegio, Ceremoniale. Venetian Archives. 721. The English ambassador came into the Cabinet accompanied by Joachim Ernest, duke of Holstein (Olsatia).
The ambassador took his customary place with the duke on the left hand of his Serenity above the Councillors. He said that he had come to serve the republic. He was thanked and presented with refreshments to the sum of 50 ducats. Before leaving, all the gentlemen in his company kissed the hand of His Serenity.
April 10. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives. 722. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
I can hardly doubt but that the galleons of Ossuna are intended chiefly to molest the affairs of your Serenity. Their action is generally recognised as scandalous. I have heard Zuniga say that his king has completely lost the obedience of his ministers in Italy and there is no wonder that he is losing his reputation and even worse. But perhaps the sending out of the ships and great galleys may stay them, as those galleys enjoy a great reputation everywhere, and when I was in England the mere report that they had been sent out sufficed to bridle their pirates, and they said that nothing was more effective against sailing vessels.
Prague, the 10th April, 1617. Copy.
April 11. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 723. Ottaviano Bon and Vincenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador who is expected here in a few days is to make representations in favour of the princes and of the peace of the kingdom. It is not thought that he will have much success, as they know beforehand that his commissions are nothing more than words, and as these have no support from the fear of their being followed by action, they rather serve to confirm than to delay the determination of Their Majesties to proceed to the complete discrediting of the malcontent princes.
Paris, the 11th April, 1617.
April 11. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Napoli. Venetian Archives. 724. Gasparo Spinelli, Venetian Secretary at Naples, to the Doge and Senate.
The pope recently wrote to the Viceroy exhorting him to peace. I hear that His Excellency replied that he was acting in the interests of the Catholic religion, for which the republic evidently cares so little, as they maintain in Venice schools of schismatic friars and with their money they have brought heretics from France and now they are even fetching ships from Holland and England, who aspire to the ruin of religion, the sack of the holy house and of Rome itself. The service of God requires that your Serenity be cut off from these ships.
Naples, the 11th April, 1617.
April 14. Inquisitori di Stato. Dispacci agli Ambasciatori. in Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 725. The Inquisitors of State to Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England.
On the 12th instant the debt due by Muscorno to Sir William Smith was settled by the payment to Mr. Henry Parvis of 631 ducats 13 grossi in the presence of the secretary of the ambassador of the king of Great Britain, who has acted jointly with Parvis throughout; we believe that Sir William will be completely satisfied.
April 14. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 726. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have this week received your Serenity's letters of the 16th ult. and one of the 25th, which in addition to the current news from Italy contain an exposition of Sig. Piero Loredano. This will greatly assist me, supposing that the false rumour about the dissatisfaction of Count William of Nassau passes the sea. I will make use of the contents.
I will also save up for a fitting opportunity the news which your Excellencies send me about the office performed by the Secretary of England about the passport of the archbishop of Spalatro, governing my reply in accordance with the decision of the Senate of the 7th- March. So far I have not heard a word about the subject, although I have recently seen both the archbishop of Canterbury and the Secretary Winwood, and I hope that nothing will be said to me about it in the future.
With regard to the news from Naples and the naval preparations of the Viceroy, I desired to inform the king immediately, just as your Excellencies communicated the matter to the Ambassador Wotton. I went on Tuesday therefore to see Winwood, through whom, as I have already written, all business must be transacted in the absence of His Majesty. I told him that your Serenity felt that the confidential relations with His Majesty required that you should inform him of all the important events that take place in this province, and therefore of the new preparations of the Viceroy of Naples. I went on to describe them and for what purpose they were made, according to report, and what your Serenity proposed to do on your side to otter a proper resistance to such overweening designs, so removed from all decency since the republic has always shown her perfect disposition for quiet everywhere and always meets with proper readiness all reasonable proposals for peace. Your Excellencies felt sure that His Majesty would hear all this with sentiments becoming to the worthiness of his disposition, and if attempts of this kind are carried further, he will support his opinion by action worthy of our high opinion of his friendship, and I went on to say something of the reponse which he has always met with from your Serenity upon all occasions.
Winwood replied, Threatened men live long and if the Spaniards give out that they wish to enter the Gulf, their intentions are certainly directed elsewhere; however, it would be quite worthy of the prudence of the republic to make preparations for her own defence, of which word had reached him from the ambassador Wotton, in an office similar to mine. Both offices would be sent together to the king on the same day, and if His Majesty ordered any reply he would communicate it to me. He told me that they had no news from Spain of what had been done with regard to the negotiations for peace, of which some people had very little hope. Thus the Ambassador Wotton in his last letters reports that your Serenity was aware that the negotiations were simply a trick of the Spaniards to separate them from the duke of Savoy, and this knowledge stimulated your Excellencies to do more for the duke, and you had given orders to enlist more troops for his service. I said that I did not know so much as that, but most certainly the republic enjoyed an easy conscience through having shown a disposition for peace at every opportunity, and if she had not been able to obtain it, owing to the failure of others, she would act with her usual generosity, whatever might occur.
I asked him why the sending of Sir [Thomas] Edmondes to France was so much delayed, as I knew that His Majesty desired him to leave some weeks ago, and that kingdom seemed to be falling into greater and greater confusion. He told me that Edmondes would have left some days ago, only, a thing which seemed very strange to the king, since the beginning of the last rupture he had received no news from the prince of the state of their affairs, and although he is willing to do them some service, he does not know how he can if they do not let him know themselves. Accordingly he wrote recently to some of them, and to Bouillon in particular, asking him to make some communications. Until Bouillon's reply arrives, and they expect it soon, Edmondes will stay his departure, and afterwards he will be sent with instructions, which will be determined by Bouillon's letter.
I hear that the fleet of Cadiz which returned to port was compelled to do so by lack of provisions. A report was abroad and Winwood wished me to believe that it was intended to go to the Adriatic sea, but when they became aware of the lack of provisions they returned. I am not so ready to believe this however, because if it had been intended for such a purpose I do not think that the person responsible would have been so foolish so that the lack of provisions would not have been found out long before; and even if it were not so, the Spaniards have so many safe ports in the Mediterranean that they could provide themselves with sufficient without turning back. Whatever their intentions were or may be, and so far I confess I do not know, the fleet has been at Cadiz these last days, and the Spanish ambassador here seemed mortified at its retirement, and there is no lack of suspicious persons who go about whispering about some design of the Spaniards upon England, as they reckon that the Catholic king might suddenly collect a hundred ships from his western ports and make some attempt now that the king is far away, but the opinion is not general and there are no grounds for making it credible (non vi mancano huomini sospettosi che dubitano et vanno susurrando qualche disegno de Spagnoli sopva l' Inghra facendo loro conti che possi il Catco far in un subito raccolta di cento vesselli da suoi porti di Ponente, et tentar qualche impresa hora che il Re e lontano ma però il concetto non è universale ne vi è cosa fondamentale che lo rendi credibile).
Sir Walter Raleigh has gone down the Thames with his seven ships, with written commissions to go to Guiana to acquire mines. I know quite well that his sole purpose in choosing this undertaking was to escape from perpetual imprisonment, and that he would willingly exchange it for something else. Many others are aware of this and he leaves behind him a general curiosity upon his affairs (io so assai bene che da lui non è stata eletta questa impresa con altra fine che di liberarsi dalla Preggion perpetua, et che la cangiarebbe volontieri in qualsisia altra, et questo lo sanno molti altri, onde è generale la curiosità che lascià qui di casi suoi).
Some private brawls have taken place in Scotland between the earl of Errol (Grol) and the marquis of Huntly (Ontele) both leading Catholics of that country and members of the Council. Owing to their numerous adherents this has caused something like a civil war in the kingdom, as each of them can lead from five to six thousand men into the field. This circumstance added to other disturbances will give rise to some changes about the continuation of His Majesty's journey, although the fire has been somewhat quenched, and both have agreed to remain in their houses until the king's arrival in Edinburgh.
Lord Hay (Gis), who was recently ambassador extraordinary in France, has been admitted to the Council of State.
London, the 14th April, 1617.
April 15. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costant. Venetian Archives. 727. Almoro Nani, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Since the arrival of the Imperial ambassador here I have only called upon him once and that was when the Ambassador Gallo was here. I acted thus because such meetings were not received favourably by the last Caimmecam, so that Gallo had to ask for leave in writing for the other ambassadors and myself to receive the visits of the Imperial ambassadors and return them. Since the appointment of the new Vizier I have been so busy that I have scarcely had time to breathe; but now I think a continued reserve would only increase mistrust, and accordingly I called. The Imperial ambassador was very pleased, the more so because I shall set an example to the other ambassadors to do the same, as they have not called either more than once in all this time. Two days later he returned the visit. The Caimeccam tried to induce the Vizier to prevent it, but he exclaimed that he was an ambassador and not a slave, and they thought it better to let him alone.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 15th April, 1617.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
April 15. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costant. Venetian Archives. 728. Almoro Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
I wrote on the 13th ult. that the Pasha gave me and the other ambassadors of France, England and Flanders an order for the removal of the carazo from the subjects of our four nations and that for the sake of greater security I obtained an Imperial decree for the special interest of your Serenity. The ambassadors have now discovered that I have assured the interests of your Serenity, though they do not know how. They have more than once approached me, saying that the matter requires further consideration to establish it better, though they pretend not to know that I have obtained anything in particular. From these advances it appears either that they have tried to obtain some advantage in this affair and have not succeeded or that they did not know how to manage the affair. However, I decided to help them, especially as I knew it could not prejudice the service of your Serenity. I told their messenger that the Pasha's order was of little or no use, but I would think out something for the general benefit. Accordingly I have tried to induce the Pasha to give an Imperial decree to cover all. He replied the others had an order which would serve their purpose, and no more was necessary. However, by repeated offices and the help of one who has great influence with him, I finally induced him to issue another Imperial decree like the first, but including France, England and Flanders. I did this to remove the suspicion of the other ambassadors that I had something else to myself in this matter. I had four copies made of this last decree, and gave one to each of the ambassadors, keeping the fourth for myself.
This important affair has greatly increased the reputation of your Serenity at this Court, and the ambassadors seem supremely satisfied, as without any labour on their part they have obtained their desire after they had become firmly convinced that the point about the dragomans would never be conceded.
An English gentleman has recently arrived, sent by his king to their ambassador resident here, with letters to the Grand Turk and to the Captain of the Sea, now the Grand Vizier, upon the affair of the carazo and to procure the restitution of the money wrongfully taken from the English merchant Garvai by the last Caimecam. About the first matter the ambassador had no occasion to bother himself, as it was completely settled; with regard to the second it may be that with the advantage of a just cause and the favourable disposition of the Pasha he may obtain what he desires. The ambassador and the English gentleman both went to see the Pasha, who made them both be seated. The ambassador presented his king's letters, saying that those for the Grand Turk had not yet been translated, and these were to be presented first. For my part I hope that their request will be granted, as it would at least make it certain that the late Caimecam would not return to power for some little time. Every one wishes him away, because with him there were always trouble and disturbance.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 15th April, 1617.
[Italian; the part in italies deciphered.]
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 729. Translation of Imperial decree that French, English, Venetian and Flemish subjects and merchants shall be free from the earazo, as well as their dragomans. Dated at the residence, Constantinople, on the first of the moon Rebuilachin, the year 1026, that is, the 10th April, 1617.
April 15. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Roma. Venetian Archives. 730. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
I have been to call upon the Cardinal Borgia. Among other things we spoke about the Turks. I happened to refer to their extensive and united dominions. He said: Our king lacks that cohesion; oh those Indies, those Indies. I reminded him that Flanders was also separated. It is only too true, he replied.
Rome, the 15th April, 1617.
April 16. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives. 731. Piero Gritti, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Secretary of England told me of the suspicions which he hears that the duke of Savoy cherishes that your Excellencies will settle your differences and will not try to arrange his, but will abandon him. He assured me that when the secretary of his king resident at Turin charged him to keep an eye on my negotiations, at the request of His Highness, he had replied that he had heard not only from me, who had kept him supplied with information about the negotiations; but from other sources also that my offices were directed to obtain a joint settlement of present affairs, and to achieve the universal peace of that province.
He went on to speak of the proposal to transfer the negotiations to Rome. He seemed pleased that this had not taken place. He said that the duke, when pressed to consent by Cardinal Lodovisio, had refused, saying that the ministers of all the princes, his friends, could not be present at Rome. He added that he was pleased that the negotiations were passing through the hands of your Excellencies, and asked me if the French ambassador would take part in them, being seemingly somewhat jealous. He ended by remarking that your Serenity had acquired the greatest glory by your last operations, and had undeceived many who at this court and elsewhere had formed a very low idea of the forces of the republic.
From more than one direction I hear that the duke of Savoy will not consent to lay down his arms unless the differences which he has with the duke of Mantua about Montferrat are settled at the same time, and that he claims to retain some place in his hands until the issue of this affair appears.
Madrid, the 16th April, 1617.
April 18. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 732. Ottaviano Bon and Vincenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The count of Scarnafis, who was ambassador of the duke of Savoy in England, has passed this way on his return to Piedmont. He visited none but us ambassadors of your Serenity, as a sign of the esteem of His Highness for the republic. He made various remarks about the help which the princes of Italy may expect from the king of England in their affairs and of the evil offices performed in England by the baron of Tour, the extraordinary ambassador of His Most Christian Majesty there, against the service of the duke of Savoy. We send no particulars, as your Excellencies will have full information from the Secretary Lionello, because Scarnafis told us that he had given him the fullest information from time to time.
Paris, the 18th April, 1617.
April 21. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 733. To the Secretary in England.
Yesterday we heard from the General in Dalmatia and the count of Liesina that they decided to attack two galeasses of Naples at Liesina before our other maritime provisions arrived. An action took place, in which one of the ships was damaged. Nothing of moment has happened in Istria. In Friuli the archducal forces sacked a town, not sparing the church, but they were repulsed with loss at Cividal.
The Dutch troops have arrived safely. The long voyage seems to have rather invigorated the soldiers. The ships all arrived separately, and neither received nor feared any molestation. One of them fell in with the galleys of Naples, but on being challenged and ordered to haul to, they proceeded straight on without any hindrance. The troops seem well disciplined and obedient and are all veterans.
We have received letters this evening stating that at Bossina seven children, male and female, of the age of ten to twelve years, our subjects, have been taken by the archducal forces and sold as slaves to the Turks.
The like to the Imperial Court, the Hague, Savoy, France, Spain, Rome, Milan, Naples, Florence, Mantua, Zurich, Coire, Constantinople.
Ayes 159.
Noes 0.
Neutral 8.
April 21. Inquisitori di Stato. Dispacci agli Ambasciatori in lnghilterra. Venetian ARchives. 734. The Inquisitors of State to the Secretary Lionello in England.
You have heard of the particulars about the affairs of Sir William Smith and the payment of his bond in the presence of the secretary of the ambassador of Great Britain, who returned thanks very courteously; we desire to express our satisfaction with your conduct of the business.
April 22. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci Spagna. Venetian Archives. 735. Piero Gritti, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
I have recently been trying to discover the arrangements proposed for the succession. His Catholic Majesty intends to leave to Ferdinand his claims on Bohemia and Hungary, giving up the idea of transferring the Empire to Albert. He has given up his pretensions for a recompense for yielding his claims, recognising the hatred of the Bohemians and Hungarians for the Spaniards. This information was given me by a friend, agent of the princes of Germany, who is staying at this Court, through whom they are trying to conciliate people, and they are even spending considerable sums of money, to enfeeble the forces of the league of Hall, which is greatly feared here. The secretary of England has told me the same thing. He has orders from his king to keep an eye on these negotiations, because of the suspicions which His Majesty and the Dutch States feel about them.
Madrid, the 22nd April, 1617.
[Italian; deciphered.]
April 23. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 736. Antonio Donato, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
Bethune says that the king of England has informed Their Majesties that he is going to Scotland to remain there six months, so that he will not be able to listen to the requests of princes or give them any help whatsoever.
Turin, the 23rd April, 1617.
[Italian; deciphered.]
April 24. Senato, Secreta, Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 737. Ottaviano Bon and Vincenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Send word of the death of the Marshal d'Ancre, which took place about ten that morning. M. de Vitry (Vittù), captain of the king's guards, M. du Hallier (de Vagli), his brother, the two brothers Luynes and the rest of the guards, accompanied by a number of the nobility, stood with drawn swords at the entrance of the Louvre and shot down the Marshal with pistols. It is said to have been done by the king's express orders, who could no longer support his insolence. The queen and the Marshal suspected nothing. This event has caused scarcely less sensation in the city than the assassination of the late king, but it has occasioned very different emotions. His Majesty sent word of the event throughout the kingdom, hoping that the news will appease the princes and other malcontents, who will submit without further difficulty, and recognise the king as they have always professed to do.
Paris, the 24th April, 1617.
April 25. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives. 738. Christoforo Surian, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
In response to the office of the French ambassador in the congregation of the states of Holland, they have replied that the province is resolved to defend the crown, but will not declare for the number of 50,000 foot. With regard to the obligations of these States to the crown, they contend that they are not bound to go against the king's subjects, and in any case His Majesty must ask for help; that the object of the league was against the Spaniards, and had always been understood as such, as if they had to go and help the king whenever he gave the slightest sign, they would be obliged to help him against the king of England, and every other ally.
There is an English ambassador in Brussels (fn. 3) to demand the punishment of the doctor of Louvain, who has slandered the king in a book which may be called a notable libel.
The Hague, the 25th April, 1617.
April 25. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives. 739. Christoforo Surian, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
Your Excellencies may believe how relieved and glad I was to hear that Count John Ernest of Nassau would be in Venice on the 7th, the day of your letter, and that the ships with the troops from these parts were beginning to arrive. Here this rejoicing has been general, and when I communicated the news to the States General they expressed their great satisfaction to hear that the ships had arrived in so short a time. They are surprised here that no hindrance was encountered after all the threats of the Spaniards.
The Hague, the 25th April, 1617.
April 27. Collegio, Secreta. Esposizioni Principi. Venetian Archives. 740. The Ambassador of England came into the Cabinet and said:
I have brought to the palace the earl of Oxford, one of the chief nobles of our country, who holds the office of Lord Chamberlain, which has been hereditary in his family for many years. In other times his ancestors have rendered great services, to-day the general of the English in the Low Countries is of the same house and so is a colonel of Count Ernest. He has stayed some time in Florence to learn the language and cavalry exercises. In these unquiet times he has come to see this city and take his sword in hand in the service of your Excellencies. Your Serenity will do me the favour to allow him to enter and kiss hands and to see the beauties of this city. His curiosity has been excited not only by universal report but by the action of his father, who when once he reached Venice, did not wish to proceed further and even built himself a house here.
I rejoice to find that in the coloneley of Dutch troops there are quite 600 soldiers of our nation. The captains have called on me and declare that they are all veterans. They hope to find occasion to prove their worth and that your Serenity will consider them equal to 6,000, and excuse a certain amount of disorder at the beginning, as they have had a long journey, and the change from small beer to wine has been sudden. (fn. 4)
I am informed from the court of the Elector Palatine that there will be an ambassador of Savoy at the meeting of the princes, and therefore the affairs of his master and the general interests will be considered.
The ambassador then introduced the nobleman, both the doge and ambassador rising to welcome him; and after the doge had replied they both left immediately.
April 27. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra Venetian Archives. 741. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
This absence of the king from England, taking him so far away from all the ministers of princes has so enfeebled all foreign negotiations that your Excellencies must not expect any news from these parts. This applies especially to Italy, of which they speak and think little or nothing. The duke of Savoy, since he took away his ambassador from here, has made no further office and has written nothing to Biondi, who remains here to negotiate in his name. The councillors here attend solely to the private affairs of the kingdom, and if any one of them chances to say anything about the other affairs of the world it is rather to show that they have not forgotten them entirely, than from any inclination whatever to come to some good resolution for the common benefit. The Council meets frequently at Greenwich, where the queen generally lives. The prince is going there to-morrow to stay some weeks.
The expedition of Sir [John] Digby to Spain is being delayed. Everyone speaks differently of his negotiations, according to their own particular sympathies. The ambassador has left for Flanders upon the occasion of the book published against His Majesty.
The question dealt with most steadily by the Council and the one which may prove of the greatest importance, is a negotiation between His Majesty and the merchants trading in the east and the south. They have represented to His Majesty that owing to the swarms of pirates the trade in those parts is almost entirely ruined, and if a remedy be not speedily applied there is clearly a danger that the mischief will spread to the Ocean and affect universal trade. They contend that His Majesty is bound to protect them, while they are ready to bear the bulk of the cost of destroying the pirates if His Majesty will give them six of his ships, facilities for munitions and other things. These matters have been negotiated in the Council every day of late by order of the king. It seems that after some difficulties they have arranged to give four royal ships to the merchants, who are to arm them and send others of their own with them. They propose to do this, and promise 40,000 crowns as a gift to the earl of Southampton if he will undertake the command. It is said that they will soon begin to arm, to be ready to start in September. They hope for the co-operation of the Dutch, and expect to be so strong that they will not only destroy the pirates, but damage the Turks also. The matter is not yet completely settled, but it takes more definite shape every day.
The reply of the duke of Bouillon has never appeared to the letter written to him by the king here. Winwood and the other ministers have lost patience at this, and Edmondes is still waiting to start immediately they arrive. But it has become clear by the latest advices that the affairs of France are not only ripe for a complete breach, but matters have come to such a pass that they do not recognise the king except in name, while many individuals are showing discontent who had not hitherto declared themselves, and even cities and entire provinces are in such a state that, if a remedy be not applied, the monarchy may speedily be reduced very easily to a number of separate princes and free towns, as is the case in Germany.
The Spaniards have tried to attract to their service for the war a prominent subject of this kingdom. He would not listen to them; except only to serve them against the infidels, but not against any Christian prince. This circumstance, in addition to the great provisions which they are making throughout the world, gives rise to the belief here that they are quite determined to make war in Italy. Accordingly most people have heard very gladly of the prosperous voyage made by the Dutch troops, and some of those who formerly came to me with offers to serve with troops now cherish fresh hopes that your Excellencies, encouraged by this example, may decide to take a certain number of them.
The king is 200 miles away from here, everything going exceedingly well. He has made many knights and dispensed other titles on the journey at the instance of the Scottish servants, as in this way they provide the expenses which must be incurred in Scotland, The parliament of that kingdom is summoned for the end of next month, when His Majesty will state what he proposes to do. The earl of Montgomery has been made a member of the Council.
I have received your Serenity's letters of the 7th April, with the current news.
London, the 27th April, 1617.
April 28. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 742. To the Secretary in England.
Letters from Curzola and Liesena states that the captain of the galleys of Naples left Sabionello with a north-west wind and proceeded to sea, it is not known whither. It is conjectured that they have gone to the Levant or Brindisi to join their other forces. Our ships and galeasses on arriving at Liesina on the 22nd inst. left the same night with two other galeasses, ten light galleys and armed barques under General Bellegno, to follow those galleys and protect the navigation of the Gulf.
We have begun to send a portion of the Dutch troops to Friuli and we shall dispose the remainder as our service requires. In Piedmont the Spaniards do not move; the Savoyards are still pressing the siege of S. Germano, guarding Montferrat and refreshing their cavalry.
The like to the Imperial Court, the Hague, Rome, Spain, France, Milan, Naples, Florence, Coire, Zurich, Mantua, Constantinople.
The like to Savoy, except the last part about the news from Piedmont.
Ayes 157.
Noes 1.
Neutral 5.
April 28. Inquisitori di Stato. Dispacci dagli Ambasciatori in Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 743. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Inquisitors of State.
As soon as I had got back from Sir [William] Smith's house, he came after me, having heard that I had called, and showed me a letter from Parvis stating that he had been summoned to receive the money but had been unable to do so because he had not got the deed, and there was some difficulty with the Ambassador Wotton, who wished to have the money in his own hands to make use of it himself and afterwards send it to Smith as a set off against the sums owing to him from the royal exchequer for such a long time. Smith was somewhat upset at this and will take it as a favour that the money shall not get into the hands of the ambassador.
I told him that I knew that there was something behind this matter and told him how Parvis had returned to take the money, accompanied by the English Secretary, and of the three difficulties in the way of payment. We had a long conversation; I showed him that Sig. Muscorno was not accountable for the delay and asked him to be content to receive the money without the bank rate or any interest. He has replied to-day that he never intended to make any profit out of the money, which was merely a friendly loan. He has therefore written the enclosed letter to Parvis and says that he makes no claim to anything by reason of the exchange or interest or any other gain, so that he receive in England the £150 sterling which he lent. I may add that I do not see how Smith can have £150 sterling in England unless they are sent to him by letters from Venice and the money adjusted to the ordinary rate of the Piazza, so that it will be necessary for the money to pass the banco, and either Muscorno or Smith must bear the loss.
I send your Excellencies a part of the examination of Sig. Foscarini, and now that I am in better health, I will diligently continue the remainder.
From London, the 28 April, 1617.
April 29. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 744. To the Ambassador at Turin.
You will inform the Spanish ambassador that we shall only treat in conjunction with the duke. We have never failed to maintain good relations with the States and the princes of the Union. The princes are assembled at Embrun; we shall learn their decision, the offices there of the ambassador of the king of Great Britain and the States, and the replies given. We shall answer in conformity to the Ambassador Scaglia.
That the above be read to the Ambassador Scaglia.
Ayes 152.
Noes 1.
Neutral 2.
April 29. Senato, Secreta, Dispacci, Costant. Venetian Archives. 745. Almoro Nani, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Last week the English ambassador called upon me, and I took the opportunity to ask him about the projects of his king to take away from the Turks the silk trade with Persia and transfer it to England, by the navigation of the Ocean, as I understand that the ambassador of His Majesty with the Great Mogul has found ports for lading and facilities for carrying to the immense advantage of that kingdom, and a corresponding loss to the Turks, and that the chief difficulty appeared to consist in finding the money, which would amount to three to four millions to buy the silk for the first year. The ambassador replied that the question of money was the smallest difficulty of all, and that he knew fall well what were the bases of this affair, because the letters of the king's ambassador with the Great Mogul, directed to His Majesty, had come first to his hands, and after he had read them he had sent them on, but it was all a chimaera, because the silk was taken from the stock of individuals and not from the king's, and that those who look out for it to take it to Aleppo and elsewhere must go and collect it from various individuals who are countless in numbers; some would not have more than 2 live of silk to sell, and even the largest stocks were not considerable, so that it would be necessary for the king of Persia to become the factor of the king of England, and for these and other reasons he thought that the project was an affair of phrases merely, and that the facilities mentioned exist only in the lively imagination of the ambassador, who believes in what he proposes and not because the nature of the affair promises success.
I also took this opportunity to remark to the ambassador that I heard from that court that the merchants interested had admitted that the French and Venetians were far from being distressed at the troubles which arose in connection with the carazo, and that they were secretly intriguing to exclude the English from the East, to increase their own trade the more. I told him, in this connection, that I could not penetrate into the hearts of men, least of all into those of aliens, but from the part which I had taken in this affair I could assure His Excellency that there was nothing in view except the common benefit, and this appeared clearly by the Imperial decree which I had obtained in the name of all.
The ambassador replied that no one was forbidden to desire what he considered would be most to his advantage, and as no active steps had been taken to the prejudice of his nation, no attention should be paid to casual remarks, and he would always bear witness to the perfect understanding which evisted between us. To tell the truth he seems to be a worthy man and he professes the greatest esteem for the republic.
This ambassador has not yet presented to His Majesty the letter of his king which the gentleman brought. The Pasha has told him that he shall have audience as soon as His Majesty returns to the seraglio, but he is now away taking his ease. There is some suspicion that the letter contains a complaint against the late Caimecam for the money wrongfully taken from Mr. Arthur Garvai, an English merchant, to the amount of 30,000 and more, as I have already reported. The Caimecam, to avoid the ruin which might overtake him for this reason is making large gifts in the seraglio, either to prevent the presentation of the letter, or to assure himself even if it is presented.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 29th April, 1617.
[Italian; deciphered.]
April 29. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 746. Antonio Donato, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
Next month will complete the year since I was appointed to act as ambassador with the king of Great Britain, and for the same period that court had been left without a representative in these stirring times, to its no small dissatisfaction. I am at fault for keeping silence so long, but the public service demands that I should do so no more. If I do not go to my office this summer, winter will be upon us, a season unfit for crossing the mountains and the sea, and I shall have to wait yet another year, and perhaps your Excellencies will not secure the continuation of that friendship which ought to be highly esteemed and which may prove of great assistance in troublous times. Moreover I am no longer able to support this way of living; I suffer the tortures of hell, and have te make the most severe inroads into my fortune.
I humbly beg your Excellencies to have regard for my pitiful condition.
Turin, the 29th April, 1617.


  • 1. Alexander Seton, earl of Dumfermline.
  • 2. The book was entitled Isaaci Casauboni corona regia.
  • 3. Sir John Bennet. See No. 718 at page 485, above.
  • 4. Sir John Vere still in Istria. The souldier extreamely unrolable uppon the chaunge from smale beere to strong wines. Wotton to Winwood, 21 April, 1617. State Papers, Foreign, Venice.