Venice: January 1616, 1-15

Pages 96-106

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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January 1616, 1–15

1616. Jan. 1. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 139. Antonio Foscarini, late Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The queen was pleased to receive me on the very day when I wrote my last dispatch jointly with Barbarigo. I found Her Majesty standing in the gallery at Greenwich alone, waiting for me. After I had made the usual obeisance and drawn near, Her Majesty turned towards the canopy, placed her hand on my arm as a mark of favour, moved towards the canopy and sitting down made me at the same time cover myself and do the like. She was most richly and extraordinarily arrayed, wearing jewels of inestimable price, and she kept me for an hour and more, most graciously discussing various topics, nor, as an additional compliment, did she choose anyone else to remain in the gallery save the Mistress of the Robes and the Secretary Rizzardo, who stood apart awaiting me. She asked me about the well-being of your Excellencies; whether I had any tidings of the election of the new doge and on whom I thought the election would fall. She added assurances of her especial affection for the republic, to which, she said, she was immensely obliged, not merely for the love borne towards herself and her consort, but also for the partiality extended to her brother, the king of Denmark, for which she charged me to thank your lordships, requesting me to back her letters with language of my own. She expressed herself in very affectionate terms and enquired of me in what she could aid and further the welfare and consequence of your Excellencies, of whose love I gave her the most vivid testimony in my power. Her Majesty next proceeded to utter divers conceits in proof of her satisfaction at my loving and respectful service, in terms of praise such as I dare not repeat, since I do not even know that I deserve them. She concluded very graciously by expressing regret at my approaching departure, and she was so kind and familiar at the same time as to defy expression.
When I deemed it time, which was after long and pleasing discourse, evidently agreeable to Her Majesty, I took leave, whereupon the Secretary Rizzardo, who was at the end of the gallery, drawing near, the queen got up from under the canopy and, leaning on me, moved to the centre of the platform, where he kissed her hand, adding a few but appropriate words, which were reciprocated by her in a complimentary strain, showing that she remembered his name and that of his family and that his conduct at the court had pleased her. She then again charged me to add my own verbal assurances to those contained in her letters. On my departure she added that she regretted its being so speedy, and she proved this by every mark of the greatest honour. After I had again kissed her hands I made my exit. Two days later she sent me the letters addressed to your Serenity, and as a mark of extraordinary favour her secretary presented me in Her Majesty's name with a large and handsome diamond in a ring. After two more days had passed the prince sent me his missives, and then on the morrow, when on the eve of quitting London, I was informed that the king did not consider that I had taken my final leave and wished to see me again. Anxious to disengage myself and to return home forthwith, I got into the carriage I may say instantaneously, and travelling a great part of that night and the whole of the following day, I reached Newmarket, being met by the royal coaches. I and my attendants were boarded and lodged and escorted to His Majesty by the Ambassador Carleton and a numerous train, well nigh as if it had been a first audience. The king received me very graciously, his good nature inducing him to say that he had not chosen me to depart without seeing him again and that by his letters and yet more through others the depth of his regard for me would be manifested. After this he charged me to assure your Excellencies of the consideration in which he holds and always will hold your convenience and service. He next spoke of French affairs, saying that the princes were gaining strength, and this he uttered with satisfaction. That, with regard to Italian politics, the Spaniards at Milan neither disarm nor restore what they have seized. That the powers of Italy should unite and ponder this.
To this I made answer that His Majesty and France likewise had pledged their words to the restitution, and for carrying into effect what had been agreed to; to which the king merely replied that time would show; and that he had already given orders to endeavour to obtain such a result, uttering this with more reserve. The Secretary Rizzardo then took his leave, the king embracing him once and again, accompanying the embrace with words of affection and honour, wishing him finally a good journey.
I speeded my way back, got to London late on Sunday, and in two days more was ready for departure. His Majesty favoured me with some silver plate, much less than usual but more than was received by the ambassador of the archduke, which augments the respect of your Excellencies. Although I find myself without the greater part of what my predecessors received, that matters little, my property and life appertaining to your Serenity, nor have I ever desired aught or aspired to any other subsidy than that which proceeds from the grace of my own Sovereign and my masters.
My hasty journey to the king and the fatigue which it entailed kept me in bed during four days with pain in my chest and fear of something worse. On Tuesday I quitted London. On the 27th I embarked at Dover for Calais with a fair wind which lasted for two hours, when it freshened and veered in such wise that at great peril I was driven by night into Dunkirk, where, shattered as I was, it behoved me to stay the morrow. I subsequently proceeded towards Calais, where I arrived today much shaken in health. I shall, however, continue my journey in the direction of Paris to-morrow, so as to travel home by the straight and shortest route.
I left the most illustrious Barbarigo in extraordinary repute, both owing to an honourable name which preceded his arrival and by reason of the prudence and splendour which confirmed that repute. The king and queen and the whole court gave him the best possible reception, and your Excellencies may rely on receiving the most efficient service from his ability. I derived great comfort from the terms of praise in which their Majesties, the prince and several of the noblemen of the court spoke to me about him, and I most respectfully transmit it to your Excellencies. He is accompanied by three sons, who do honour to his person and to the Embassy, the Sig. Giovanni Francesco, who is the eldest and whose discretion exceeds his years, the Sig. Antonio who is the second in age rather than in merit, and the third, yet a child, gives the highest possible promise.
The Secretary Lionello exhibits a corresponding fitness and proves himself well deserving the favour of your Serenity and your Excellencies, and fully acquits his charge with every attribute of ability and prudence.
From Calais, the 1st January, 1616.
Jan. 1. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 140. Antonio Foscarini, late Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
The 4,000 Spanish soldiers who embarked in Portugal for Flanders and afterwards arrived at Dunkirk (Donchencher) have been reduced from forty companies to only seventeen, many having died from their sufferings at sea, and those which at first were less than a hundred have been doubled in numbers. They have been sent to various places. The three companies which were there are being provided with clothing and other necessities, as they are in an evil plight and almost naked. They will afterwards be employed elsewhere, and that fortress will remain with its customary garrison of 500. The archduke is enlisting a certain number of Walloons, but there are not many as yet. When passing through Gravelines, one of the best fortresses in Flanders, I heard no news. Here at Calais it is understood that the princes have built some forts upon the estuary towards Bordeaux. The country about here is harassed by the troops of Corbie and other places dependent on the princes and equally by the garrisons of the king.
The archduke Maximilian has been some days at Brussels with the archduke Albert, his brother; it is said that in their long interviews together they have discussed the election of the king of the Romans, but I hear no particulars.
I beg to congratulate your Serenity on your election. (fn. 1) On reaching home I will, please God, report the state in which I left England and what I found in France when passing through. I can do this briefly in the Cabinet, and subsequently more at length in the Senate.
Calais, the 1st January, 1616.
Jan. 2. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Roma. Venetian Archives. 141. Simon Contarini, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
The French ambassador, in speaking to me of the duke of Savoy, remarked: In order to regain this man it would possibly be a good thing to give the prince, his son, His Majesty's second sister. I thought it proper to say that that prince might possibly allow himself to be persuaded by such gentle means. The French ambassador seemed to agree, but the Spanish did not.
Rome, the 2nd January, 1616.
Jan. 3. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Zante. Venetian Archives. 142. Almoro Barbaro, Proveditore of Zante, to the Doge and Senate.
Dimitri Rucani, controller of the custom newly imposed upon raisins in this island and Cephalonia, had leave from the Senate that he and his followers, for their personal protection, might carry any kind of offensive or defensive weapon except pistols. But being a man of irregular and violent temper, he has abused this kindness, attacking and insulting now and again gentlemen and merchants of this city, and foreign merchants, especially those who live under the protection of your Serenity. I have therefore forbidden him the use of arquebuses at a time when he has no need of them, namely, by day. I have issued the enclosed order to restrain the proceedings of this fellow.
Zante, the 3 January, 1615. [M.V.]
Enclosed in the preceding Despatch. 143. The Order.
We, Almoro Barbaro, Proveditore of the town and island of Zante, for the peace of the subject and owing to numerous complaints about the treatment meted out by you Dimitri Rucani, controller of the new custom and your followers, to the gentlemen of the town and others, such as foreign merchants, English and Flemish, owing to the licence granted you to carry any kind of arms except pistols, ordain that neither you nor any of your followers shall carry arquebuses in the town in the day time, but shall only use the privilege granted to you in the interests of the said custom, upon pain of punishment in your person and goods.
Zante, the 3 January, 1615. [M.V.]
Jan. 7. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 144. Gregorio Barbarigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Saturday evening His Majesty reached London without having experienced any relief from the pain in his foot; accordingly he has been unable to hear or receive anyone. On Christmas day he heard the sermon and took the sacrament in his room. The ambassador of Savoy is much aggrieved at not being able to send back the courier who reached him some days ago, because he has not yet spoken to His Majesty. The Spanish ambassador also has asked for an audience by reason of the courier who reached him from Flanders, and is waiting for it. As His Majesty's pain began to diminish two days ago, it is hoped that he will be ready to leave his room soon and see everyone. He has sent word to me that as soon as he comes out he will be very glad to see me.
The moment he reached London he proclaimed the earl of Pembroke, Lord Chamberlain, in place of the earl of Somerset. I hear that the privy seal will be given to the Master of the Horse and that Sir [Thomas] Lake (Lag) will be made Secretary conjointly with the present Secretary Winwood. They want to make a thorough regulation of the royal expenses and revenue, and to arrange everything in a better manner.
After the agreement made between the duke of Brunswick and the town Count Henry returned to the Hague with his troops on the 26th ult.; the duke has been induced the more readily to accept the agreement and dismiss his troops owing to the burden of maintaining them. It is said that some of them, after being dismissed, were enlisted by the duke of Saxony and the king of Denmark, which will serve to keep the Hanse towns still on the alert.
The States have decided to add a third colonel to the two who command the 4,000 Frenchmen paid by his Most Christian Majesty. They are taking this and other steps because they feel certain that they will have war soon and they are thinking of the safety of Juliers above everything else. There, in addition to the preparations made for the campaign, they have given instructions that there must be at least 4,000 soldiers in that town in case of siege.
The count of Bucquoi has arrived at Brussels with various commissions of the emperor. He has seen the archduke Maximilian there and it is considered certain that all their discussions will turn upon the arranging of the affairs of the empire and to create trouble in the country of Cleves or in other ways to attack the interests of the United Princes and the States. This must be done in the emperor's name like Spinola's move against Aix la Chapelle and Wesel under the imperial standards, and just as the Spaniards dragged in the Imperial authority after the treaty of Xanten. These suspicions of the States are become all the stronger as they expect that the archduke Maximilian and Spinola will go on towards Dusseldorf and there hold the court of the supreme government of those states in the emperor's name.
The ambassador of Berne, who has been under the treatment of Mayerne, the king's physician, to cure him of stricture of the urethra, has always followed the king during his absence from London and has had occasion to interview His Majesty at considerable length. The king asked him about the state of the affairs of your Serenity and of the duke of Savoy; he urged him to induce his masters to ask for the effectual opening of the pass of the Grisons and that they may speedily make a strong league with the duke. Since that event the ambassador has received word that the states of Berne wished to begin to negotiate with the duke, for securing peace and mutual tranquillity and they had decided to make advances to His Highness in the conference held in the Valais; but the duke did not listen to the first proposals and suggested a league, saying that it was unnecessary to treat for peace where there was no war. This did not satisfy the Lords of Berne, who wished first to secure themselves by a treaty of peace before they joined in a league. The ambassador imparted this to His Majesty. He has further received instructions from his masters to return to France with letters to his Most Christian Majesty who should welcome him and receive him graciously, as he must not stay with His Majesty except to advance their good understanding and union. The ambassador said that before he left he wished to show the king the instructions from his masters because the French ambassador resident here had told His Majesty that he was a seditious person of an evil nature and by what he has written to France he has remained in slight favour with his masters, and the ambassador of Berne wishes to acquaint His Majesty with the actual truth. He told me that in France he is persecuted by the chancellor, by M. de Reffugé, de Caumartin, Pasquale and all who are or have been ambassadors with the Swiss, because his embassy exposes and condemns their action in those countries, but he intends to demonstrate to His Majesty how badly the negotiations have been carried on by those ministers, and that his masters are resolved to have their special representative at the French court, and to have nothing to do with the French ambassadors in Switzerland, and that in his time they will not put up with the licence which those ministers have taken, who have laid hands on his letters.
London, the 7 January, 1615. [m.v.]
Jan. 7. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra Venetian Archives. 145. Gregorio Barbarigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
On Saturday M. de Courtenay arrived here, considered to be of the blood royal of France, although for some time his claims have not been admitted. He is sent to the king by the prince of Condé and the other princes to report the state of their affairs and to negotiate for some help from this kingdom, but owing to the indisposition of His Majesty he has not yet been able to obtain audience. Meanwhile he maintains a great reserve in speaking before he has seen the king, but, in spite of this, I have discovered that he brings word that all hope of an accommodation has disappeared; that the prince of Condé and the others are not in a position either to wish or to trust to any composition unless they see matters not only promised but carried out in accordance with their wishes, and especially unless they are satisfied by proceedings being taken against those whom they consider guilty of the late king's death and of the disorders in the realm, above all against the Chancellor. It is now considered certain that the entire body of the Huguenots will declare for the princes, and although the duke of Bouillon wrote about this some days ago, His Majesty is still anxious to hear further particulars. This news causes a great stir here in the minds of all, and affords His Majesty a fresh opportunity of ventilating in his Council the question of helping the princes and of discussing the matter further, as by this action the princes will increase their following and reputation, they will have a number of very strong places at their service, namely those held by the Huguenots as a security, and it will afford an inducement and a pretext to many other Protestant princes, who are considered as the natural allies of the French crown.
It is said that at first this declaration was carried in the assembly by only two votes and that those who did not concur with the majority registered a protest, but after the matter had been more thoroughly discussed they agreed to join with the others to unite with the princes, saying that as faithful subjects of the king and in consideration of the present disorders and for the benefit of the kingdom, they could not do otherwise than serve His Majesty in this manner. For these reasons they have arranged with the princes to demand and obtain four principal things: that the acceptation of the decisions of the Council of Trent be repudiated for those things prejudicial to the crown, for which they were never admitted in France in times past. That every provision be made so that the harm that might be feared from the effectuation of the marriages to the crown may be avoided. That the Council be re-arranged. That enquiry be made concerning the death of the late king, and the guilty punished.
There is a great feeling of expectancy on all accounts, but chiefly with regard to Italy and the duke of Savoy, as to what decision the marshal of Lesdiguières will take, as on the one side the last letters show that he is very much inclined to the side of the queen, an attitude greatly fostered by the marchioness, the queen's favourite. On the other side they do not believe that he would dissociate himself from the decision taken by the whole body of the Huguenots, and he had always allowed it to be freely understood that he was at one with them in all their decisions.
At present all agree that the party and army of the princes is very strong and receives very little harm from the marshal Boisdauphin, and it is not known whether they have anything to fear from the duke of Guise. With regard to the numbers of their forces it said that the prince of Condé has with him 18,000 foot and 4,000 horse, the duke of Rohan 12,000 and as many as 8,000 horse, and that the duke of Longueville is coming to Picardy with 6,000 foot to keep that district in obedience.
London, the 7 January, 1616.
Jan. 12. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci. Francia. Venetian Archives. 146. Pietro Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The duke of Nevers and the English ambassador after their first journey will return again to the prince; they have been here ten days. I have seen both, in order to learn the results of their labours. The duke told me that the prince desired him to thank me for my representations to the queen. The first difficulties which they encountered do not seem likely to prolong the negotiations. The king is willing to admit the Huguenots to take their part in the settlement, but he will not recognise their assembly at Nimes as legitimate.
Poitiers, the 12th January, 1616.
Jan. 14. Consiglio dei Dieci. Notatorio. Venetian Archives. 147. Licence to print a book entitled 'Regola di Perfettione,' by Fra Benedetto, an English Capuchin, in which there is nothing contrary to the laws.
Jan. 14. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 148. Gregorio Barbarigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
I have received the letters of your Serenity of the 15th ult. with regard to the reported attacks of the archduke's subjects upon Istria and the encouragement given to the Uscochi. I will use this information to prove the justice of our cause and to show the vanity of the distinctions made by the Imperial ministers between the brigands and the peaceful inhabitants. I have no doubt I shall be able to give the information to everyone at the court that is necessary. I shall have audience of His Majesty this evening, and will execute the other instructions of your Serenity.
The king, although still rather weak, has recovered from the pain in his feet and yesterday evening he gave audience to the Spanish ambassador. Of this I have not yet obtained any particulars. The day before yesterday he gave audience to the ambassador of Savoy, for which he has been waiting for so many days. The ambassador informed His Majesty of the condition of the duke's affairs; that no attempt was being made to execute the treaty, that Don Pedro of Toledo had suspended disarming on his side and all the other subjects with which he was charged and which I have reported at other times. The king showed great friendship and said he was quite ready to do what was right to secure the carrying out of the articles of the treaty. He promised that he would not abandon His Highness in any particular; that moved simply by his friendly feeling he had interested himself in the duke's affairs and done what he had and in the future he would do more after having gone so far and bound himself by such strong promises (il Ri si è dimostrato pieno di affetto et paratissimo di fare quanto gli convenga perche l'essecutione delle cose accordate non resti inespedita. Ha detto che non sara per abbandonarc S.A. in alcuna parte et che se mosso dalla sua propria et sola buona volunta si è interessato et ha fatto tanto in servitio del Duca, che tanto maggiormente lo fara nell' avrenire doppo esser caminato tant'oltre, et haversi gia obbligato con promissione cosi strette). He had written recently to Spain, to the governor of Milan and to the duke of Mantua not to delay the carrying out of the treaty, and a secretary of the Council, (fn. 2) who left the day before yesterday for the court of Spain, carries instructions upon this point among his other commissions. He has been sent to his Catholic Majesty so that the ambassador Digby (Diglini) may return, and to remain there as agent. The ambassador is wanted to supply certain particulars upon the present affairs in the courts. As that place will thus be left without an ambassador for the time being, it will not be surprising if his Catholic Majesty follows the example and does the like, as every day they discover fresh evidence of the ill offices performed by the Spanish ambassador resident here. With respect to this Sir [Robert] Cotton was arrested on Saturday on the charge of having given some document of state to the present ambassador.
In place of the earl of Worcester (Uster) to whom His Majesty has given the privy seal, he has made Sir [George] Villiers, Master of the Horse; he has created the same person Viscount Leicester, as at present he is very high in His Majesty's favour. Sir [Thomas] Lake has been nominated secretary, as was proposed, and has entered upon his duties. It is thought that the affairs of the kingdom will be entrusted to him, leaving foreign affairs to the aged Winwood (è stato nominato anco il Cavr. Lag per Segretario, come era deliberato, et comincia ad essercitare il carico, et si crede a lui saranno destinati i negotii del Regno, restando quelli di Principi al Vinut vecchio).
London, the 14 January, 1616.
Jan. 14. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 149. Gregorio Barbarigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
There is no news from France, but they still hear that the forces of the Princes are very strong. It is said that the ambassador Edmondes (Edemont), who is resident with his Most Christian Majesty, is no favourite at that Court, and the French ambassador here complains of his negotiations as well as of the negotiations received here in the name of the princes. He has spoken to His Majesty asking him not to listen to MM. de Courteney, who have recently arrived.
Yesterday this ambassador called upon me and took the opportunity of making a long statement. He said that the princes under the pretext of reducing to order the affairs of France are disturbing them by their personal ambition and that all those who dread the overweening greatness of Spain ought to see that the forces of the Most Christian King were united, as they were the only ones which could act as a counterpoise to and stop the progress of the Spanish monarchy. He expressed other ideas of the same nature, but what I have reported is the most worthy of the notice of your Excellencies. He complained that the rebels against the king of France are received here and warmly welcomed; that the English ambassador in France urges his Most Christian Majesty to send deputies to negotiate with the deputies of the prince of Condé, which is not seemly between a sovereign and a subject, that the marriages with Spain will not lead to the abandonment of any of the old friends and allies of the crown of France but will provide that the Spaniards shall not plot with the discontented spirits and rebels of that kingdom, as they have done at other times. That it is an extraordinary thing that so great a king as the Most Christian should be told that he may not marry as he pleases. He knew that at the very time that the king here is complaining about the marriage of the king of France, he is negotiating to marry his son in Spain. That His Majesty here is a good prince, but he is too ready to believe things that are not true from those who wish to advance the reputation of their own faction. Among other things he informed me that the partisans of the princes go about saying that they have received money from your Serenity. That the king, when last he saw him, asked him whom he reported to be his enemies; he replied: Those who are not friends and are not with them. He said that all the Protestants were dissatisfied with the peace of the duke of Savoy, because they hoped that they would be compelled in France by that step, to declare for one side or the other, either to side with the duke and break the alliance with Spain, if the king of Spain did not fulfil his promises to the duke, but that the prudence of the government had found a middle way by procuring an arrangement which protected the duke of Savoy without breaking the alliance with Spain, their neighbours; that they wished to be considered the warmest of the allies of France and expected to receive security from their troubles, and they did not do what they ought to stop them, but nevertheless they might soon come to see that they had made a mistake and damaged themselves.
I have had occasion to deal with these affairs, but I have contented myself with listening rather than in anything else. I enlarged upon the reverence of your Excellencies for the crown of France, and the king in particular, the mature deliberations of the senate and how all the actions of your Serenity and your candour were open to all the world so that they might easily be seen by his Most Christian Majesty and his Ministers, with much else that I thought suitable.
The ambassador replied that he certainly had not believed what he had heard, adding that he trusted, owing to the prudence of your Excellencies, that it would not take place. To this I made a suitable reply and he seemed satisfied.
With regard to the marriage which he said was being negotiated with Spain, I cannot, for the moment, tell your Excellencies any more, except that I understand that the Spanish ambassador will discuss this matter shortly with someone who may be trusted to negotiate what is really being arranged with His Majesty, but at present the time appears very inopportune for such negotiations, as owing to the changes in the Court any favourable dispositions towards Spanish affairs are suffering from a severe set back.
London, the 14 January, 1616.
Jan. 14. Inquisitori di Stato. Dispacci dagli Ambasciatori in Inghilterra. Venetian Archives. 150. Gregorio Barbarigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Inquisitors of State.
Some days ago the ambassador of Savoy told me that when he went to visit the ambassador of France, the latter made the most emphatic complaints to him because in the name of His Highness he had urged the king to help the princes of France. He denied this absolutely, because he had not performed this office, but had simply endeavoured to find out the king's intentions from himself. He went on to tell me that even if he had been inclined to do this he had not had any opportunity, he had never had letters, had never urged the king and had received no instructions, with many other reasons, which he adduced to prove that he had not done this. The French ambassador replied that he would readily have believed all this if he had not too precise information to the contrary, and this was contained in letters of the Ambassador Foscarini, though he did not know how they had been seen. The ambassador of Savoy again, replied with the most emphatic negatives that he could think of, but without success, as he could not shake the opinion of the French ambassador. He therefore begged me to find an opportunity if possible to remove this opinion from the French ambassador's head, because he said that it was founded upon the letters of the Ambassador Foscarini.
Accordingly I judged it expedient to see the French ambassador, telling him that the ambassador of Savoy had complained strongly to me, because His Excellency had taxed him with urging the king to help the princes of France, saying that he had learned this from letters of the ambassador, my predecessor. This was extremely disagreeable for me because the ambassador of Savoy expressed or simulated great concern at being charged with any such office, except to discover the king's attitude, and whatever he might have elicited he would have communicated to the Ambassador Foscarini just as the ambassadors generally tell affairs and try to procure information from each other; but what upset me more than anything else was that this advice, for which not the slightest grounds existed, was accredited by attributing it to the letters of my predecessor, and I did not know how that could have happened.
The ambassador replied that the ambassador of Savoy ought to be careful what he did, especially when it involved what others had said, but that Sig. Foscarini really had written it, and to the Signory. He did not know how it had happened; possibly the letters had been intercepted; if he had known more he would have told me, and if he learned anything further he would let me know. He did not know when this had happened, but he thought it must have been at the audience at Theobalds, and if so that points to the letters thus seen being those written jointly by Sig. Foscarini and myself on the 16th October. If it has happened in this case it may well have done so in others. I will not spare any vigilance or labour in going into this affair. It does not seem to me that the letters can have been opened anywhere but in Flanders, and the French ambassador receives the information he speaks of from those parts. I have thought it right to communicate this matter to your Excellencies, and as it was of importance I have put it in cipher. I have also sent the present letters by another way than the ordinary one through Antwerp.
London, the 14th January, 1616.
[Italian; deciphered.]


  • 1. Giovanni Bembo elected Doge on Dec. 2, 1615.
  • 2. Francis Cottington.