Venice: May 1617

Pages 500-513

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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May 1617

May 1. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives. 747. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
Stodder having received an assignment for his men upon future contributions of the diet, will not leave without it, and that will not be a quick matter. His soldiers are crying out.
Prague, the 1st May, 1617. Copy.
May 2. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Signori Stati. Venetian Archives. 748. Christoforo Surian, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
I enclose the translation of a letter written by the king of Great Britain to the States General, exhorting them to find some means of settling their religious dissensions. His ambassador performed an office in conformity. The letter has been printed by the party at Amsterdam which is opposed to the Arminians, who did not wish it to be published. However, matters remain undecided and it is thought that ultimately they will decide to summon a synod.
The Hague, the 2nd May, 1617.
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 749. Letter of the King of Great Britain to the States.
When we heard of the heresies and schisms which are rife among you we were moved by our zeal for the Church of God and by our affection for your state to lift a hand to arrest the course of this evil. When we heard that some of your ministers were preaching predestination, we wrote to them to point out how little good could come of such preaching, which only excites by means of arguments too obscure for the common people. But soon afterwards we found that the evil had made still further progress. We feel bound to again urge upon you the imminent danger with which the state is threatened by these unhappy divisions, which we should be sorry to see result in schism and the formation of factions among you. They are the more dangerous as your state is still in its childhood. We beg you in the name of God to put aside these errors which the devil has introduced among you, as the ruin of your state may ensue if you do not provide a remedy by holding fast to the true and ancient doctrine which you have always professed and which is approved by all the reformed churches, while it has formed the principal bond which has so closely united our crown and your provinces for so many years. If the evil be so deeply rooted that it cannot be plucked out so readily, we beg you at least to arrest the danger and use your authority to keep the peace, not allowing those of the true profession to be molested. You might summon a national synod to put an end to these unfortunate differences, and many think this would prove the best way. We doubt not you will shew all necessary zeal.
From our court at Hinchingbreocke, the 20th March, 1617.
Your good friend and ally.
James R. (fn. 1)
May 5. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 750. To the Secretary in England.
By the last news, of the 20th ult., the galleons of Naples have gone to Calamota while our fleet is at Curzola awaiting a favourable opportunity to attack them. We have taken two of their anchors and a Ragusan barque sent to recover them. A barque of Uscocchi has come out of Trieste and done some damage. A raid of 500 horse has been made from Gradisca.
The like to the Imperial Court, Rome, Spain, France, Savoy. Constantinople, Milan, Naples, Florence, Zurich, Coire, Mantua, the Hague.
Ayes 99.
Noes 0.
Neutral 0.
May 6. Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives. 751. To the Secretary in England.
Our fleet left Curzola on the 26th and approached the galleons of Naples, but could not get nearer than 9 miles off at the mouths of Stagno, owing to contrary winds. On the 28th the wind changed and our ships set out to the attack, but they escaped, it is thought towards Brindisi, but it will soon be known, as they are being pursued. This is for information.
The like to Rome, Germany, France, Spain, Turin, Milan, Naples, Florence, Zurich, Coire, Mantua, the Hague, Constantinople.
Ayes 164.
Noes 2.
Neutral 4.
May 8. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives. 752. Zorzi Giustinian, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
A courier arrived recently from Ferdinand with news of the arrival of the Dutch troops in Istria and a pressing request for help. The Cardinal sent back the courier yesterday with the reply that the troops of His Majesty will be satisfied with the assignment made to Stodder; but there is no way of getting money, although the emperor is writing to Maximilian to obtain a subsidy from the diet at Vienna.
Prague, the 8th May, 1617. Copy.
May 9. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives. 753. Christoforo Surian, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
Aerssens has received letters from Bouincaster, councillor of the duke of Wirtemberg, saying with respect to the duke that Monthou got little from his offices, as all the princes and deputies were not agreed to assist before they saw what the king of Great Britain and the States would decide to do. Those who declared themselves most ready to help were the Palatine, Wirtemberg and the margrave of Baden, and that M, de Monthou left to come here.
The Hague, the 9th May, 1617.
May 11. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 754. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The news of the death of the Marshal of Ancre has been received here with extraordinary satisfaction, as if France being changed thereby the whole course of affairs in Europe would also be changed of necessity, and the career of the Spaniards be checked, who have been pursuing their way towards dominion for some years past. Among the men of greater weight it is thought certain that now the Catholic king has it in his power to decide for peace or for war, he will elect to settle all the differences in Italy in an immediate arrangement, as he got so little advantage out of them while he could depend upon France, and now he has less reason than ever to hope for anything after so notable a change has taken place in that kingdom to his prejudice.
The French ambassador had letters from the Most Christian King in conformity with these which have been sent everywhere else. As he was instructed to notify the court and the reasons for it to the king here, he has performed the office with Winwood, who has written to the king. So far we have not heard what the king said on hearing about it, but the Prince of Wales expressed great joy. The other day when he saw me in his gallery somewhat cast in thought he asked me laughingly if I was melancholy because of the death of the Marshal of Ancre, and if that was so whether he must believe that the news was ill received at Venice also. I replied that as the friendship between the republic and the crown of France was close and of long standing Venice always welcomed anything that the Most Christian King might decide and execute for the benefit of his kingdom, and that we were the more rejoiced at the present accident because the advantage to His Majesty is not an affair of words merely but touches essentials, as the life of that man was the conflagration of France and his death has brought an immediate and evident relief. His Highness agreed in the truth of this, and he was pleased to detain me a little to discuss the event with him and his secretary as well as the other current affairs of the world. He spoke with such prudence and intelligence that really seemed to me most unusual at his age.
Only the household of the Spanish ambassador and his dependents do not approve of the event, and since it is not possible to deny the demerits of the Marshal, they declare that they were not so excessive as the French represent, and even if they had been it was not right to slay him in that way to the peril of his soul, but they ought to have given him time to make his peace with God.
This news seems to have affected even those few affairs which remained alive. Thus Edmondes, who was about to start, will now wait until he receives fresh orders from the king, because he must have new instructions for his embassy. Sir [John] Digby, who was going to Spain, is doing the same after delaying his departure for a month. More important than all the rest, I know that this same Edmondes, who is very strongly opposed to the Spanish marriage, and is ambitious that an alliance should be concluded with France by his means, immediately went to call upon the French ambassador resident here, who is equally anxious to acquire the merit with his king. They discussed setting on foot negotiations for a French marriage in competition with the one with Spain. If they are joined, as I feel sure they will be, by the Secretary Winwood and Lord Hay (Eis), it will be no difficult matter to re-introduce the negotiations with better hope of success than before owing to the change in the opinions of those in the government on the other side. With regard to this I will keep a sharp look out. I ought to inform your Excellencies that Edmondes recently remarked to a person in my confidence with regard to Digby going to Spain, that he was not disturbed about that because even if he went he would do nothing, and that the king of England is really obliged to let him go because the Spaniards have sent such pressing invitations that he could not refuse to listen to them without causing great offence.
The negotiations about the war against the pirates continue to progress, and up to the present the merchants have found 160,000 crowns to start it. But there are difficulties which many consider insuperable; among them being this, that no power, however friendly to England, will grant their ports to so large a fleet, and it will not be safe or possible for it to remain continually on the high seas. The other is that if the pirates give in for the time being and remain in the ports of Africa while this fleet is at large, and then return to sea when it withdraws, the money will be thrown away and the undertaking will prove fruitless and ridiculous. This makes me believe that they intend here rather to enrich themselves upon the ships and country of the Turk, and my suspicions are increased by the ideas which circulate among the Levant merchants, who wish the recall of the English ambassador at Constantinople, who is chosen by them and is supported at their charges, since it is no longer necessary to keep him because they no longer have any trade in those parts. I understand that they have given him licence for the very time that this fleet will be at sea provided they continue to form it.
The king remains sixty miles from the frontiers of Scotland, and is staying at Newcastle longer than he intended, partly on account of the very bad weather which has rendered the roads impassable and also because a quantity of his baggage, which left a week ago in two ships, cannot arrive there at the appointed time. The parliament of that kingdom will meet in the middle of next month, and the people there have granted 80,000 crowns to His Majesty as a welcome to him.
I have received your Excellencies' letters of the 8th and 14th ult.
London, the 11th May, 1617.
May 11. Inquisitori di Stato. Dispacci dagli Ambasciatori in Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 755. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Inquisitors of State.
Having received your letters of 14 April I reported to Sir [William] Smith the conclusion of the matter of the loan. He was completely satisfied. The same day I received the sheet of the new testimonies adopted by Sig. Muscorno. With this despatch I send some sheets of the examination of Sig. Foscarini. I ask you to believe that the delay is due to the difficulty in obtaining the evidence rather than to my desire to shirk trouble. In the future I anticipate that this difficulty will increase, as it will be necessary to approach greater persons, who are not so easily dealt with.
From London, the 11 May, 1617.
May 13. Senato. Secreta. Dispacci. Costant. Venetian Archives. 756. Almoro Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador, accompanied by the English gentleman who recently came from their Court, has been to kiss the hands of His Majesty. They presented their king's letter upon the matters already reported. It had previously been arranged with the Pasha that they should read a document upon that occassion, in which they should state all their grievences. However, on the evening before the audience the Pasha sent for the ambassador and told him that he had come to the conclusion that it would be better not to read any document to His Majesty for fear lest the late Caimecam, against whom the complaints were directed, should be present and be provoked to say something to the prejudice of the cause, and which would displease the Grand Turk. He therefore advised him to put both the letter and the particulars of the affair in a bay and present them to His Majesty. The Pasha promised that they should be read and that his affair would succeed best in this way. The proposal did not satisfy the ambassador, who suspected that it was a device of the Caimecan to escape the scorn which would have fallen upon him if the information had been read in his presence. However he submitted to necessity, accepted the Pasha's proposal, and on the following day the ambassador and gentleman with two dragmons went to the king, all four being dressed alike. After they had kissed His Majesty's hand, a dragoman on behalf of the gentleman stated that he had been sent by his king with a letter, while the other dragoman explained the affair for which they had come. They then presented the letter and the particulars together and took leave. No sooner had they gone than the king sent the bag with the letter and particulars to the Pasha, charging him to return them with a translation. As a translation had already been made, he simply returned the bag as it was to the Grand Turk, who, after inspecting the contents, asked the Pasha to give his opinion, as ruled by justice and his greatness. The Pasha replied that the gentleman had been sent for other affairs but chiefly to complain about the money which the late Caimecam had made an English merchant pay, and that a great wrong had really been done to the merchant. This reply has not yet been reported to the king, because the Pasha does not think the moment favourable, owing to bad news of the Cossacks. All this tends to prejudice the affair, as when negotiations are allowed to grow cold they rarely result successfully.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 13th May, 1617.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 15. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives. 757. Piero Gritti, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
It is stated that eight of the galleys present with the fleet in the strait of Gibraltar have received orders to go and join the forces of Naples. However these reports are not believed, as the shipping in these seas is at present enormously infested by the pirates, and if they weakened the fleet more, it would remain entirely in the power of these buccaneers. Only recently ten pirate ships passed through the Strait in full view of the royal fleet, which never moved and did not even fire a shot at them.
Madrid, the 15th May, 1617.
May 15. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives. 758. Antonio Donato, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the Doge and Senate.
From Germany, the Senator Montu writes that the free towns did not wish to take part in the diet of Embrun to help the duke, but the princes desired to do so and had sent to England and the States for this purpose.
News is hourly expected from Berne and of the effecting of the levies, but they say that they only wish to use them for defence.
The count of Scarnafis has arrived from England, but he brings nothing but the usual coldness and no imaginable hope or grounds to go upon.
Chieri, the 15th May, 1617.
May 16. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives. 759. Christoforo Surian, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
Two days after I sent my last I saw the English ambassador, who asked me if I had heard anything about a letter of Count John Ernest upon the authority of Don Giovanni de' Medici in the camp. Although I knew everything I pretended that I was not advised of all, in order to make him speak. He said he understood that some difficulties had arisen, but Prince Maurice had written a good letter to Count John Ernest. In discussing this dispute the same ambassador said I greatly fear that the general artifices of the Spaniards are more practicable in Italy than elsewhere, and I am afraid that M. de Leon, the French ambassador, who is very intimate with the Ambassador of Spain, has used some means of suggesting to the count the question of his honour and similar things.
The Hague, the 16th May, 1617.
May 16. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives. 760. Christoforo Surian, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
Sir [Thomas] Stodder has again asked Pasini to give him 200 ducats to make the journey. He promises to serve for his original pay. The duke of Parma is said to have made him liberal offers, but he replied as he had frequently done before, so that Stodder is simply anxious to carry out his offer, but I do not see how he can do anything without money.
The Hague, the 16th May, 1617.
May 16. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Signori Stati. Venetian Archives. 761. Christoforo Surian, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
The longer the delay in providing a remedy for the religious differences the greater becomes the folly of the fanatics in not recognising their own hurt. Delay becomes ever more dangerous. The people do not seem inclined to bear with it any longer. The deputies meet every day. Some agree with the opinion of the king of Great Britain about summoning a synod, but there are some, who do not wish to give an opening to the clergy, who are holding back. Finally it was proposed to invite four of the leading theologians from France, England, the Palatine, the Swiss and Grisons to deliberate with others of the country upon the subject, but it is not known if this will be done. His Highness thought of making a tour to review the troops of the country, but he will not leave because he fears that something serious may happen.
The Hague, the 16th May, 1617.
May 19. Collegio, Secreta. Lettere. Venetian Archives. 762. To the Ambassador at the Imperial Court.
The galleys of Naples are gathering at Brindisi. Our admiral is following them and on the 1st instant was within cannon shot of the port with flags flying and sails spread. Seeing that they did not accept his challenge to come out, he put to sea, going to provision the fleet and await reinforcements. We hear from Naples that 19 galleys have left for Sicily.
Some skirmishing has taken place in Istria.
The like to
Rome. Zurich.
France. Coire.
Spain. The Hague.
Turin. London.
Milan. Constantinople.
Florence. Naples.
Ayes 19.
Noes 0.
Neutral 0.
May 20. Senato, Terra. Venetian Archives. 763. To the Secretary Lionello in England.
We are entirely satisfied with your diligence, and in consideration of the expenses which you have to incur and as a sign how much we value your services, we have decided that 300 ducats be paid to you as a gift.
Ayes 136.
Noes 7.
Neutral 16.
On the 13th April in the Cabinet:
Ayes 17.
Noes 1.
Neutral 1.
May 21. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costant. Venetian Archives. 764. Almoro Nani, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Since the extraordinary naval preparations of the duke of Ossuna have become known here they have come to the conclusion that they are aimed against the Grand Turk or his friends. The Pasha sent for me the day before yesterday to say that he had given orders to the Captain of the sea to prevent that fleet from inflicting any damage upon their empire or upon the dominions of your Serenity. He showed me the orders. I thanked him warmly for this remarkable act of courtesy.
The Pasha recently told the English ambassador in some connection that his master is the good friend of the republic, and will always be ready to give them a hundred of his armed galleys if they wish it.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 21st May, 1617.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 23. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives. 765. Ottaviano Bon and Vincenzo Gussoni, Venetian Ambassadors in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Last Wednesday, after mid-day, the king gave us audience. We went to the Louvre and while awaiting our summons we followed the example of the nuncio and all the other ambassadors and went to visit M. Luynes, who is now the prime favourite at Court.
Paris, the 23rd May, 1617.
May 23. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives. 766. Christoforo Surian, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador has been on purpose to recommend the consideration of giving help to Savoy to M. Barneveldt. In this matter he acted as far as possible in conjunction with the agent of the Prince Palatine. So far as can be ascertained, they will almost certainly help, but I gather that they will pay down at once a certain sum of money which will serve for provision, before deciding more at leisure upon some monthly subsidy. They wish to see if there is any likelihood of an accommodation, and they will decide according to events.
The Hague, the 23rd May, 1617.
May 23. Senato. Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives. 767. Christoforo Surian, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
The Ambassador Wotton writes to the Ambassador Carleton here that Count John Ernest had said he would obey Don Giovanni provided the orders, whether given by word of mouth or in writing, were so expressed that they should apparently come from the Senate or from the Generalissimo, but that so far nothing has been settled. Carleton himself explained this part of the letter to me.
The Hague, the 23rd May, 1617.
May 23. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Napoli. Venetian Archives. 768. Gasparo Spinelli, Venetian Secretary at Naples, to the Doge and Senate.
The Viceroy is sending troops to Apulia and continues to forward provisions to Brindisi; and it is said that he will increase his fleet by arming three or four English and Flemish ships which have arrived at this port; so it seems that they are bent upon war.
Naples, the 23rd May, 1617.
May 23. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Napoli. Venetian Archives. 769. Gasparo Spinelli, Venetian Secretary at Naples, to the Doge and Senate.
An English ship laden with munitions for Venice has been detained at Messina, although they say that they are for the service of the duke of Savoy.
Naples, the 23rd May, 1617.
May 24. Cons. di X. Parti Secrete. Venetian Archives. 770. That the Savii of the Cabinet be informed that it has come to the knowledge of our Council that on the 26th April last, an Englishman named Sebastian Pessicott, who used to write reports, was beaten and ill-treated at the house of the French ambassador by those of the household, of which he died on the 23rd inst., and it is believed that this took place by order of the said ambassador.
Ayes 11.
Noes 1.
Neutral 2.
May 25. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 771. Giovanni Battista Lionello, Venetian Secretary in England, to the Doge and Senate.
Three days ago the king was to enter Berwick, the first town of Scotland, and to-morrow or the day after he will enter Edinburgh, the capital, where he will pass the greater time of his stay, and thence forward we shall hear some news of what arises from his operations in that kingdom. The news of the death of the Marshal of Ancre reached him while he was at Newcastle, and about to dine. He heard it with the utmost satisfaction, imparted it to those who were present in some pregnant phrases, and ordered that all who were present should drink with him to the health of the Most Christian King and to the success of his glorious undertakings. He immediately sent a courier to the Council here, to inform them of the feelings with which he had heard the news, and he ordered the Secretary Winwood to reply to the office made with him by the French ambassador with expressions of great joy and to loudly praise the king of France for having come to a decision so profitable for his service. He also directed Sir [Thomas] Edmondes to leave immediately upon his destined journey to France, reducing the instructions which he previously had in favour of the princes to simple compliments, while exalting the king and encouraging him to continue in the same road and to endeavour, even if some difficulties still remained between His Majesty and the princes more troublesome to arrange, to smooth them away, so that the princes should remain secure, satisfied and re-established in their former charges and honours. At the same time the king instructed him to draw the attention of the Most Christian King to the perilous situation of the duke of Savoy, and to assist the interests of that prince with His Majesty as much as possible. I know this from Edmondes's own lips and from the Secretary Winwood. With the latter Biondi made an office that commissions of such a nature should be delivered to Edmondes and other instructions in favour of the affairs of His Highness to Digby, who is going to Spain. Winwood replied that so far as Edmondes was concerned he had already received in writing all that could be desired in this matter, and he knows that he will do it very well, because he is of our party, but with Digby it is useless to do so, because no matter what instructions might be given to him he certainly would do nothing that would not result to the advantage of the Spaniards. Winwood told him this in confidence, because it is actually the truth, the bias of Digby to the Spanish side being patent to all; and subsequently there has been some dispute between them on the question of the marriage; as Digby and the Spanish ambassador introduced the negotiations and they have so stuffed the king with hopes between them that the matter has been brought to the advanced state which your Excellencies are aware of.
In this affair they finally excluded, by the royal command, the archbishop of Canterbury, Winwood, Edmondes and Lord Hay (Es) because they were all opposed to it, and they also excluded Lord Wotton, brother of the ambassador, although he depends absolutely upon the Spanish party. The other day a dispute arose in the Council, in which high words passed between Edmondes and Digby upon these affairs, arising out of the recent events in France, which were greatly condemned by Digby. After they left the Council the quarrel grew warmer, sharp words passing between them, but they were afterwards appeased, chiefly by the departure of Edmondes. (fn. 2) This took place on Monday, and it is to be hoped that he has crossed the sea safely by now.
I find that the Secretary Winwood, although strongly opposed to the Spanish marriage, is nevertheless not in favour of one with France, and in general all the English abhor the idea, in memory of their ancient enmity with that nation. He would prefer the prince to take a subject, for which he advances the example of other English kings who have contracted alliances with the most noble families of England. He says that neither Spain nor France can give so large a dower to the prince in ready money as this people will provide if he takes one of themselves, and in this way the door will be shut upon all the disadvantages which may arise to these states by the introduction of a foreign woman (vado scoprendo che il Secretario Vinut anchorchè contrariissimo al matrimonio Spagnnolo, non inclina punto però a quello con Francia, si come in General l'abhorriscono tutti li Inglesi, memori delle antiche inimicitie che hanno harnto con quella natione, ma rorrebbe egli più tosto, che il Prencipe si appigliasse ad una sudlita, adducendo l'essempio d'altri Re Inglesi che si sonno apparentati con famiglie nobilissime dell' Inghilterra, dicendo che ne Spagna ne Franza potra dar tanta dotte al Prencipe in contanti quanta ne darà questo populo se prende una de sue, et cosi si tenera chiusa la porta a tutti quei inconvenienti che con donna straniera potessero introdursi in questi stati).
Upon this point Winwood himself said the other day that although he took no part in the negotiations and the mission of Digby, yet the king had told him all the particulars about it, and certainly Digby had no authority to conclude but only to listen, and to negotiate superficially and then return to England, and he hoped he would possess sufficient judgment not to overstep his authority.
The king has sent to ask for money, as since his departure he has spent about 400,000 crowns up to now the greater part in presents to the lords who are accompanying him, to put themselves in trim, 10,000 to one, 20,000 to another, 30,000 to a third and 40,000 to a fourth. Edmondes received 25,000 to go to France and Digby 30,000 in money and about 100,000 in land. He is going with a very great company of cavaliers and other people.
The negotiations for a war against the pirates have almost entirely fallen through, chiefly upon the point that the merchants will not incur the expense unless they have facilities for obtaining men and ships which the king will not grant, as he wishes the disposition to remain in the hands of himself and his ministers.
I have received your Serenity's letters of the 21st and 28th April and the 5th May with the news of current affairs concerning your Serenity and the duke of Savoy. Here they never speak about them except out of curiosity, and it is unlikely that there will be any opportunity of treating about them to any advantage for some time to come, at any rate before September next when the king will return to England. I am bound to humbly represent to your Excellencies how much it will assist your interests if His Majesty meets with an ambassador of yours here on his return, just as he would be dissatisfied at not finding one after an interval of sixteen months. I have already heard some murmurs that so great a delay is not taken in good part, especially in such times and while His Majesty is keeping an ambassador at Venice.
London, the 25th May, 1617.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 28. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Svizzeri. Venetian Archives. 772. Pietro Vico, Venetian Secretary with the Swiss, to the Doge and Senate.
The Bernese have replied to the English ambassador that if the duke of Savoy will renounce his pretensions to the Vaud, they will help him with 3,000 men, to be paid for four months, and do whatever else they are able. The ambassador has hitherto refused to entertain the offer, and is waiting to hear from His Highness, but he is allowing the captains to be nominated. He has also suggested a league between the duke and the Bernese, and the articles presented have mostly been agreed upon. There is one, however, in which His Highness asks that the league shall be offensive and defensive, and that they shall assist him until he has recovered all his places which are in the hands of the Spaniards; but the Bernese will not agree, saying that they were occupied before the confederation was concluded to maintain Savoy and Piedmont, and the places which he has taken in Montferrat are also excepted. This is the only point which presents a difficulty in the formation of a league.
Zurich, the 28th May, 1617.
May 30. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Costant. Venetian Archives. 773. Almoro Nani, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Your Serenity has previously heard from me about the 30,000 crowns wrongfully levied of an English merchant and the complaints laid about it, and that the Grand Vizier, when asked his opinion, gave it in favour of the Englishman. His Majesty accordingly gave orders for justice to be done; nevertheless nearly a fortnight has passed, since this order was issued and the ambassador has asked the Pasha to carry it out, but so far not a sign of its execution has appeared. This arises partly from the coldness of the coldness of the Pasha, as he is not warmed to it by the interested. parties, as he should be, and partly from the fear of the dragomans of the ambassador, lest one day the Caimccam should obtain authority and influence and pour all the water over their backs. Accordingly the affair is postponed from day to day. However, the ambassador and the dragomans pressed strongly this morning in the Divan for their cause to be dealt with. The Pasha turned towards the Caimccam and told him that the king recognised the justice of the complaint and that he must obey, so he must make up his mind. He therefore told the dragomans to get the ambassador to come to his house, when he would give him satisfaction. It is thought that this is an artifice to gain time, as he hopes either to silence the affair or to postpone it until the Grand Vizier proceeds to Asia, when he hopes to be declared lieutenant and then he can make the world move to suit himself.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, the 30th May, 1617.
[Italian; deciphered.]
May 30. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Arohives. 774. Christoforo Surian, Venetian Secretary in the Netherlands, to the Doge and Senate.
The Extraordinary English ambassador (fn. 3) has tried to obtain from Their Highnesses the punishment of Puteanus (Potiano), who wrote the famous libel against the king, or else to ask that he might be delivered up. It is said that he will negotiate some point about the affair of Cleves, and Juliers; but it is expected that he will obtain very little satisfaction upon either point and fine words and liberal promises are worth nothing since Puteanus (Potriano) has fled, and as for Wesel it will not apparently be given up so easily as was thought, since the Marquis Spinola in his travels about may go to see that place and give orders for the perfecting of the works for its defence.
The Hague, the 30th May, 1617.
May 30. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Napoli. Venetian Archives. 775. Gasparo Spinelli, Venetian Secretary at Naples, to the Doge and Senate.
His Excellency has given orders for the preparation [in Sicily] of six ships and six companies of infantry. But only one ship is ready. Orders have been issued to detain all the ships now in that kingdom in order to select the best, but a great many immediately escaped to be free from such a design. Confirmatory reports reach me from my correspondents at Messina and the Consul Burcelloni at Palermo, who advises me weekly of what is taking place. Meanwhile I can assure your Serenity that this armament of Sicily, even if it takes place, will be of little consequence because the ships now there are all Flemish and English bertons under the usual size, and Don Francesco de Castro has not the means to supply them with bronze artillery.
Naples, the 30th May, 1617.
May 30. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Napoli. Venetian Archives. 776. Gasparo Spinelli, Venetian Secretary at Naples, to the Doge and Senate.
The nineteen galleys of Don Pedro di Leva reached Brindisi on the 22nd inst. On the following day, seeing a sail at sea, they set out to reconnoitre and fight it, but as they did not return to port that night my informant could not tell me what ship it was. From another source I learn that it was an English ship, laden with salt and other things at Corfu for Venice. However, I expect to hear more fully.
The four fustarelle or long barques will leave with the four feluccas and a smaller one under the command of a certain Captain Robert, an Englishman. It is said that they are certainly going to Brindisi. A large ship is lading biscuits and other munitions for the same place.
Naples, the 30th May, 1617.


  • 1. The original French text of this letter is printed in the Letters from and to Sir Dudley Carleton at page 122.
  • 2. Mr. Comptroller [Edmondes]. sets out this day towards France carrying letters of congratulation from the king for the good issues of the late blow there [the murder of Concini], which is so generally allowed that he is held for more than half Spanish that doth any way contradict it, and so much in a manner in plain terms, did Mr Comptroller tell Mr. Vice Chamberlain [Digby] in good company, as they were in dispute of it, and but for Mr. Secretary, it was doubted they had proceeded further Chamberlain to Carleton, May 10, 1617 o.s. Birch; Court and Times of James I., ii. pp. 9, 10.
  • 3. Sir John Bennet.