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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The present volume of this Calendar embraces a period of two years only, from September, 1615, to August, 1617, a shorter space than usual in a somewhat larger volume. The enlargement is due more to an increase in the materials consulted than to any special importance in the events narrated, although the volume contains many and various items of interest. Europe was indeed drifting in the direction of a great general war, but despite the outbreak of minor hostilities in various places, the great convulsion had not yet begun. But the nearer the approach to more modern times the fuller and richer do the Archives at the Frari at Venice become. It is true that the absence of an English ambassador at Venice for eight months of the time leaves a big gap in one important series of papers, but that is more than made up in other ways. The letters from and to the Inquisitors of State cited here are unusually numerous, relating for the most part to the Foscarini trial and other kindred subjects. An account of Rizzardo's letters in cipher to the Inquisitors was given in the preface to the preceding volume. The remaining fourteen of the letters are printed here. In the archives of the Inquisitors of State I was so fortunate as to discover a further series of documents upon the trials of Antonio Foscarini and Giulio Muscorno, comprising the articles of accusation, answers in defence and the depositions of witnesses. A short abstract of the most important portion of this material has been printed as an Appendix. These two series together, although dealing with the case of Foscarini and Muscorno, a subject only remotely connected with English history, contain incidentally a number of interesting details upon English habits and customs at the beginning of the seventeenth century, both in the Court and elsewhere.
Another series, the secret communications to the Senate from the Council of Ten, is unusually full owing to a perfect epidemic of plots, though the most interesting of all, for English readers, is contained in the ordinary despatches.
Upon the outbreak of the war with the Archduke Ferdinand in Istria and Friuli the Venetian Senate began to send regular reports of the course of events to all their representatives abroad, “to use as the service of the state might require.” These reports, though severely compressed, occupy a good deal of space. The activities of Ossuna, the Spanish Viceroy of Naples, cause the despatches of Spinelli, the Venetian resident there, to assume a fresh importance, and they have been drawn upon very largely. But the most important new series, which starts in this volume, is that of the despatches from Holland, known officially as Senato, Secreta, Dispacci, Signori Stati. The outbreak of the war with the Archduke Ferdinand led Venice to look about her for help in the most likely quarters. Towards the end of March, 1616, the Secretary Lionello was sent from England on a special mission to the States General, and in June of the same year the Signory sent Christofforo Surian from the Grisons to reside at the Hague as their regular representative. Surian's despatches, coming from a country in such close relationship with England and bound by such intimate ties, are only second in importance to those sent from London itself. As might be expected, they contain a great deal of matter bearing upon English affairs, independent in character and bearing a special value as an observation from outside, as compared with one from within.
It is not easy to present a clear and definite picture of the trend of European affairs during these two years. This is due to a lack of purpose and direction, which some great statesman might have supplied if he had possessed sufficient power to make his will felt. Unfortunately for the time, no such statesman appeared. In Spain the King was a superstitious weakling, the Government in the hands of those who sought only their private advantage. With so little control from home the great Viceroys at Naples and Milan did much as they pleased and ruled as independent princes. In a burst of confidence the Spanish ambassador in London, Sarmiento, unburdened himself on the subject to the Venetian Secretary Lionello. The preservation and increase of the country, he remarked, were due more to the grace of God than to the wisdom of the Council, which indeed worked wonders under the pressure of necessity, but for the most part was governed by so many private interests that serious mistakes were made (No. 785).
France, which Henry IV. had welded together with so much trouble, seemed in even worse case. The Queen Mother was entirely in the hands of Concini and his wife, who had nothing but selfish aggrandisement in view, which they hoped to obtain by leaning on Spanish support. The Princes of the Blood, enraged at being excluded from what they considered their fair share in the Government, raised the standard of revolt and appealed to all the forces of discontent in the kingdom. They spoke in the name of patriotism, but at bottom they were venal and selfish. In the midst of this civil strife the condition of the people was deplorable. Foscarini, who travelled through France on his way home, gives a lively picture of the state of the country (No. 152). The spirit of patriotism seemed dead. The Court party was quite willing to allow Sedan to fall into the hands of the Spaniards, if only Bouillon was despoiled (No. 655). In a remarkable passage Lionello exclaims that the French monarchy might easily be reduced to a number of separate provinces and free towns, as was the case in Germany (No. 741).
In the Empire the Princes of the Union showed themselves feeble and ineffective, fearful exceedingly of committing themselves to any line of action which might involve disagreeable consequences. Their leader, the Elector Palatine of the Rhine was too apt to look for light and leading to a father-in-law, ever prodigal in “good sentences and well pronounced,” but who had never been known to forget himself so far as to afford really effective help to anyone.
In John of Olden Barnevelt the Netherlands indeed possessed a statesman of long views and keen foresight, who in happier circumstances might have done much towards shaping the course of events. Although theirs was a new and diminutive state, the Dutch were not deterred by any craven fear of the Spanish might (No. 811). They would have welcomed, rather than otherwise, any opportunity of attacking Spain, and did everything in their power to assist and foment the enemies of the Hapsburgs in every quarter. By preference they would have chosen a war with Spain with the active assistance of France and England. Alone and unaided they did not feel equal to coping in every quarter at once with the great power that lay across Europe. Moreover they did not feel safe from other enemies. They well knew the hostility of Denmark, and the espisode of the siege of Brunswick led to a most dangerous situation. Fresh occasions for dispute seemed to be constantly cropping up with England, where the negotiations for a Spanish marriage caused them great uneasiness. France, which should have been their greatest source of strength, actually called upon them, under the terms of the alliance, to supply troops to quell her own civil disturbances. Thus Barnevelt, though probably the greatest statesman of his time, had not sufficient force behind him to direct a world-shaping policy. Worse than all, his country became involved in internal dissensions which eventually engulfed the Advocate himself, and the whole country was rent by the religious strife between the Armenians and Gomorrists.
Over against a Europe so distraught, a prey to so many conflicting interests and yet without any trusty leaders to indicate which way to follow, the ruler of Great Britain, now satisfactorily welded together and conscious of its strength, enjoyed a position of remarkable advantage, full of immense possibilities. From every part of the Continent men were looking to this favoured island for a lead. But the situation required a man of action, firm and resolute of purpose, and James proved himself singularly inadequate. He possessed sufficient acuteness to perceive the possibilities which lay before him, but was utterly incapable of taking advantage of them. His constitutional indolence grew upon him. He felt a growing distaste for the toils and cares of government and lived almost entirely in the country. The worthless favourites he kept about him did everything to foster this disposition (No. 456). If only the world could have been ruled by syllogisms, what an excellent arbiter of Europe he would have made! As it was, he cherished the ambition of being looked up to as the universal peace maker. He extended his efforts in this direction to Denmark, Sweden, Poland and Russia (No. 18). Nearer home the treaties of Xanten and Asti represented the outcome of his diplomatic efforts; in France he showed an equal activity in the same direction. His policy consisted in an endeavour to build up a league, the mere aspect of which would impose inaction upon the Hapsburgs, and by diplomatic machinery to arrange all disputes which arose in Europe. His mistake lay in supposing that these things would stand and impose of themselves without any real backing of force behind them. When the strain came and the structure began to give way, he made no sign of movement, and naturally, before long, his enemies came to count upon his inactivity. (See No. 715.) In these despatches we may trace the breakdown of this policy, ending in utter bankruptcy.
In Germany the treaty of Xanten so far succeeded that it brought about a suspension of hostilities at a time when the situation looked very threatening. But there its success ended. It had never been accepted either by the emperor or the archduke, and it speedily became apparent that its terms would never be carried out. The Spaniards and the Dutch mistrusted each other too thoroughly for either to be the first to make restitution of the places occupied. So Spinola clung to Wesel and strengthened its defences, while the Dutch never showed the slightest intention of evacuating Juliers. In his anxiety for peace James endeavoured to find some arrangement which would satisfy both the archduke and the Dutch, without much consideration for the treaty for which he was so largely responsible or the friendly power which guaranteed it jointly with him. Thus he went his own way without consulting the French, who looked on with mingled feelings of resentment and amusement, feeling sure that the efforts of the British Solomon would prove abortive. The plan suggested by James was engagingly simple. He wished the Dutch to give up Juliers and the other places they had occupied, upon which the Spaniards undertook to evacuate Wesel and their other conquests. He even asked the Dutch to subscribe to the undertaking required by the archduke, that they would never again invade Cleves unless it were openly attacked (No. 120). The Dutch did not place such implicit confidence in Spanish assurances. They felt sure that the Spaniards only wished to get possession of Juliers, and that accomplished they would find plenty of excuses for not restoring Wesel (No. 293). In May, 1616, James strongly urged the States to make restitution and threatened to wash his hands of the whole business if they refused. In a later despatch Lionello states that the king, in an interview with Caron, the Dutch ambassador, urged him to see that his masters restored Cleves to the margrave of Brandenburg, a point that was also being urged by the king of France (No. 330). Restitution to Brandenburg and co-operation with France are not mentioned elsewhere. This information is contained in one of Lionello's earliest despatches, and as it does not tally with the news previously sent by Barbarigo, we may conclude that he has made a mistake. The Dutch knew that to accept James's proposals would cause them grave prejudice, and they replied that they wished to abide by the treaty of Xanten under the guarantee of the two kings (No. 306). A rumour even got abroad that the Dutch had bought the margrave's claim to Cleves.
The reply greatly incensed James, and the attitude of the Dutch was expected to bring about war, for which both sides made active preparation. James, however, did not relinquish his efforts. Sir Dudley Carleton had gone to Holland in March, 1616, with special powers and a seat in the Council of State. On December 3 he made a long speech, urging the Dutch to make restitution. It appears that this action was due to Sarmiento, who had gone to James and represented how anxious Philip was to see the question satisfactorily settled. At the same time James wrote to the elector of Brandenburg begging him to persuade his son to restore Juliers (No. 549). In taking the action Carleton simply carried out his instructions. His private opinion was different. He said to Surian: “He was bound to confess that the Spaniards were crafty. They propose negotiations when it is not convenient to act, and he had observed that they begin negotiations in December and carry them on until March, when they take the field. They act during the summer. If their designs succeed, well and good, if not, they take up negotiations again” (No. 548).
The action of James placed the Dutch in a quandary. If they made a direct refusal they would offend the king, who was very eager for the success of his latest plan, while if they accepted they felt sure that the Spaniards would deceive them (No. 577). They deliberated for a long while without making any reply, so that Carleton pressed them for an answer. On December the 24th they delivered a cautious statement to the English ambassador that they thanked the king for his care for the general welfare. They wished Juliers and Cleves to remain under the governance of the princes possessioners, in accordance with the treaty of Xanten, but it was necessary to act cautiously owing to the proceedings of the Spaniards in Germany in violation of the treaty. They could not come to a final decision in the absence of some of their colleagues, while the opinion of the elector of Brandenburg and of the princes possessioners must be taken (No. 580).
The Dutch could not understand the policy of James or what objects he had in view, and his action completely puzzled them (No. 582). The French ambassador at the Hague was also puzzled, and, commenting on the impropriety of James acting alone in a business entered upon jointly with France, he declared that this was simply an attempt to sow discord between England and the States. The Spanish ambassador in France declared that Sarmiento had no authority for his action, while the archduke suggested that Carleton, as a young man ambitious for distinction, had probably acted from excess of zeal without due authority (No. 614). James got no sympathy from any quarter. The Dutch persistently postponed giving any definite reply to Carleton's exposition, though the nature of their answer could hardly be doubtful. The French ambassador at the Hague remarked sardonically that he hoped James would find it satisfactory. Thus the treaty of Xanten left everything essential as unsettled as ever. The emperor and archduke refused to accept it; the Spaniards simply used it as a means to embroil England and Holland, while James was only hunting for an excuse to shuffle out of his responsibilities. The outbreak of the religious dissensions provided him with a task much better suited to his bent of mind. He was thoroughly in his element when writing a scolding letter rebuking the Dutch for their decline from grace, and in selecting English divines to help to put them in the right way again.
The other model of Jacobean diplomacy, the treaty of Asti, fared no better. Here the material question was not a restitution of fortresses, but mutual disarmament. Savoy began to disarm first and claimed to have carried out the terms of the treaty to the satisfaction of the French ambassador. The Marquis of Hinojosa, the governor of Milan, professed his readiness to carry out his share of the treaty and took steps to comply. But towards the end of the year Hinojosa was recalled and his place taken by Don Pedro of Toledo. The new governor soon showed that he had no intention of carrying out the disarmament, but rather meant to increase his forces.
Events in the north-east of Italy provided him with an excuse for this course. The Venetians had long suffered from the depredations of those “bold Illyrian pirates,” the Uscochi or Uscocks, who harboured along the coasts of Dalmatia. They made repeated remonstrances, but the Archduke Ferdinand did nothing effective towards suppressing the nuisance. The Uscocks therefore took courage to commit further outrages. Finally, in November, 1615, they goaded the Venetian Proveditore General in Istria into making reprisals, and from this regular hostilities ensued.
In the west, the action of Don Pedro and his demands from the duke of Savoy also led to hostilities. Charles Emanuel at once began to re-arm, in defence of his dominions, as he explained, and called upon the powers who had guaranteed the treaty of Asti to fulfil their obligations. Venice, being now definitely at war with the Hapsburgs and very suspicious of the hostile designs of Spain, did all in her power to support the duke, supplying him with funds to engage French mercenaries. Many Frenchmen crossed the Alps to assist, and officially France sent Philippe de Bethune to try and patch up a peace with the help of Cardinal Ludovisio, the papal emissary. The duke of Savoy, however, suspected the good faith of the envoys and thought them far too Spanish in their sympathies. He may have considered it a good opportunity for turning the Spaniards out of Italy. Venice at length, in spite of all her caution, was definitely engaged against the Hapsburgs, and was supplying him with the pecuniary assistance for which he had so often asked. He felt sure of obtaining numerous volunteers from France and especially counted upon Lesdiguières, who actually came to his assistance in December, 1616, with 7,500 men. (fn. 1) He expected help from the Netherlands, the Princes of the Union and the Swiss, and he reckoned that if once the Spaniards attacked him James would be bound to take his part.
War broke out in earnest in the autumn of 1616 with the invasion of Piedmont by Toledo in September. The duke attacked Montferrat, but at first he seemed in a sorry plight. Biondi, who arrived from England in December, strongly advised him to make peace on the best terms that he could obtain. He reported that nothing definite could be expected from England, no hopes could be based upon France, where a general revolt seemed impending, and it would be unwise to place much reliance upon the help afforded by Venice.
Before this advice was tended, however, the situation had assumed a different aspect. The arrival of Lesdiguières enabled the duke to take the offensive. The Spaniards had to look to the defence of the Milanese. One prize fell into their hands, the town of Vercelli, which capitulated after a short siege. The loss affected the duke deeply; he blamed the Venetians, who, by inducing him to listen to peace proposals, had caused him to leave the town insufficiently provisioned. He resolved to consent to no peace which did not provide for the restitution of the place, as if it remained in Spanish hands he felt sure that they would speedily become masters of the whole of Piedmont. Rather than this he would resist to the utter-most and die sword in hand (No. 904).
Meanwhile the war between Venice and the Archduke Ferdinand continued to rage in Friuli and Istria, mostly of a predatory and skirmishing character, without any decisive engagement. The Venetians indeed began the siege of Gradisca with good hopes of success, but abandoned the operations as a guarantee of their good faith in the peace negotiations. Upon the whole the fortunes of war inclined to the flag of St. Mark. The Venetians advanced some distance into the hostile country and in one of the actions the Austrian General was slain. But Venice desired peace far more than any success in arms. The heavy expenses in which she was involved were draining her resources. In addition to the cost of the operations in Friuli and Istria, she was obliged to keep a considerable force in Lombardy to defend her frontier against Milan. She was also supporting Savoy to the best of her ability, and the action of Ossuna at Naples compelled her to keep her fleet at full strength, ready for instant action, in which the very existence of the republic might be at stake. At the back of all was the fear that she might become involved in an open and avowed struggle with the whole Spanish power. She did not feel herself equal to a war with Spain, although the hostilities with Ferdinand, the tension with the governor of Milan and the undisguised enmity of Ossuna, almost amounted to a war with the power that was behind them all. Mr. Horatio Brown, in his recent work, has probably finally disposed of Daru's legend that Venice had conspired with Ossuna to make the latter an independent sovereign in Naples. (fn. 2) To anyone who has examined the Venetian archives for this period, the notion can only appear grotesque. Ossuna is the enemy most dreaded by the republic, the one whose designs give them the greatest cause for uneasiness, and who threatened them in the Adriatic itself. Hostilities began with the arrest of a Venetian ship from Candia by the governor of Lecce, in May, 1616. In the early months of 1617, Ossuna began to collect a fleet by putting the royal galleys in good trim, fitting out other galleys and detaining such foreign ships as he thought adapted to his purpose. Among the last were two English ships, the William and Ralph and the Delight, which he forced to unload in June, 1617. Lionello mentions the arrest of two called the Diamond and Latea (? Alethea) about the same time (No. 807). The object of this armament was pretended to be the Turks, but hardly any secret was made of the fact that Ossuna meant to enter the Adriatic to harass Venice and even worse. In March Spinello reported that the Viceroy had sent nine galleys to the Gulf to take ships and do all the harm they could to the republic. In May a considerable fleet assembled at Brindisi, comprising a number of light ships under the command of an English captain, who can be none other than Robert Elliot. In addition to these naval provisions, Ossuna was also busily engaged in collecting a considerable land army, as if for some great design. Among others an Irishman (unnamed) undertook to collect a force of 500 of his countrymen in Rome and Naples (No. 618), but he seems to have experienced great difficulty in enlisting even a tithe of that number.
The Venetians feared an attack in the lagoons themselves. Even in February Spinello speaks of a possible descent upon Malamocco. In June the Senate sent round word to their ambassadors that Ossuna was endeavouring to stir the Turks to attack Crete (No. 789), and had written to Philip on the subject. To propitiate the Grand Vizier, Ossuna presented him with some twenty slaves. In this endeavour, however, he met with no success. The Turks viewed the preparations at Naples with as much misgiving as the Venetians. Halil Pasha, the new Vizier, an old friend of the republic, went out of his way to tell Pindar, the English ambassador, that the Sultan was a good friend to Venice and would always be ready to lend her 100 of his armed galleys in case of need. It seemed as if some great design was on foot against Venice, and before long the Senate was in possession of the details of an alleged plot against the State. These were supplied by Jacques Pierre, a French adventurer, who had spoken on the subject to the Venetian representatives at Rome and Naples, and who had been sent by Spinelli to Venice to state what he knew. In a somewhat lengthy paper Jacques Pierre describes the details of an alleged plot between Ossuna, Bedmar the Spanish ambassador at Venice (acting, he says, for the archduke). Captain Robert Elliot and a Venetian named Domenico. 2,000 picked musketeers were to be brought to Malamocco concealed in four galleons ostensibly laden with wool. Elliot was to take them across the lagoons, while Domenico showed the way. 1,000 were to land in the piazza of San Marco and 1,000 at the Arsenal. They expected that about 300 citizens would join them. The nobles were to be bribed by a promise of the confirmation of their privileges. The king of Spain was to be proclaimed. Jacques Pierre and Captain Elliot were to go to the archduke's dominions to procure the light boats needed for the navigation of the lagoons and engage Uscocks to man them. The plan was to be carried out in March or else in October or November (No. 902). Only a few weeks before, Zorzi Giustinian, the republic's ambassador in Germany, had secretly sent word to the Council of Ten of the conspiracy of an Englishman named Gioan Achin (? John Hawkins), then staying in Venice, with a number of other adventurous spirits, mostly English, to seize some of the ships which had recently brought the Dutch mercenaries to Venice, and sail up and down the Adriatic preying upon Venetian commerce (No. 839). The receipt of this letter, and the arrival of the news that Elliot had joined Ossuna's fleet with a number of light ships, no doubt gave the greater weight to the information supplied by Jacques Pierre.
The situation was recognised by the Venetians as one fraught with grave peril to the independence of their State. Negotiations for peace had been opened at the Imperial Court soon after the outbreak of hostilities. But the Venetians soon perceived that nothing good was likely to result. The Austrians continued to make preparations for more active war, while Eggenburg, the minister sent by the Archduke Ferdinand, evidently came with the express intention of breaking up the negotiations. Accordingly no satisfactory results were achieved and hostilities continued as before.
This double conflict in the north of Italy was too serious a matter to be regarded with unconcern by the European powers. Towards the end of 1616, Richelieu, but newly become Secretary of State, had written to Bethune at Rome suggesting that the contending parties should submit their differences to the arbitrament of the Most Christian King. (fn. 3) But more definite proposals came from a source which could not well be ignored. In February, 1617, the duke of Lerma suggested that peace negotiations should be opened at Madrid, and that the Venetians should obtain authority to treat in the name of the duke of Savoy, while he undertook to obtain a similar authority from the emperor and the archduke. When the report of these negotiations began to circulate, great umbrage was taken in both France and England, as it was thought that the Venetians had taken the first step. The Venetians strenuously denied this, but they were more than ready to enter upon negotiations. They obtained the consent of Savoy to treat and came to the understanding that neither would make peace without the other. The Venetians then sent full powers to treat to Piero Gritti, their ambassador in Spain. The negotiations thus begun proceeded by no means smoothly and the Venetians almost despaired of a satisfactory result, there were so many points on which it seemed impossible for the parties to agree. The Spaniards refused to consider the question of disarming in the Milanese and claimed that the Venetians by engaging Dutch mercenaries had absolved the king from his obligations, while the Archduke Ferdinand could not be brought to make satisfactory promises with regard to the extermination of the Uscocks. In despair of a settlement they resolved to send to ask their friends to move in their favour, and to prepare for the continuation of the war. On June 9th they sent word to Lionello to go straight to Scotland to the king, to urge him to make some declaration in favour of the republic, such as he had made spontaneously on the occasion of the dispute between Venice and Pope Paul V., and also to remind him of his obligations under the treaty of Asti. The Secretary Surian was to sound the Dutch to see if they would embrace any project for an alliance between the two republics. In the month of August, with which this volume closes, these questions remain undecided, nothing being settled one way or the other, although as a matter of fact the peace negotiations were destined to result successfully in the following month.
How did James face this situation in Italy? By the treaty of Asti he had bound himself to protect the duke of Savoy if the Spaniards attacked him after he had disarmed. When called upon to carry out his promises, he endeavoured to evade his responsibilities by a process of the most pitiful shuffling. When matters began to look serious owing to the refusal of the Spaniards to disarm and their manifest disinclination to carry out the treaty of Asti, the Count of Scarnafes, the Savoyard ambassador in London, immediately asked the king to fulfil his engagements. But the count soon discovered how little satisfaction he was likely to get. Every obstacle was thrown in his way. It was only with the utmost difficulty that he could even obtain audience; the king was away hunting, had hurt himself, was ill, or too busy with his multitudinous affairs. When at length he obtained admittance, he was put off by one excuse after another, the king had sent word to the ambassador in Spain to make strong representations and remonstrances about the treatment of Savoy. He cherished the most simple faith that any representations he might make would receive the most respectful attention and consideration at Madrid. In an audience at Windsor in September, 1616, James received Scarnafes most graciously, and told him he had sent word to his ambassador to tell the Spaniards that though he had no wish to break with them, yet he was bound by his obligations to the duke of Savoy. He would use his influence with the Dutch and the Princes of the Union to get them to join together to protect the common interests. He had plenty of men, but no money, and he suggested that Venice might supply the necessary funds out of her great wealth.
In spite of these fair words it soon became apparent that James did not really intend to do anything. Shortly after this audience he sent a written reply to Scarnafes's request for help, which revealed his true intentions. He stated that he was doing his best for the fulfilment of the treaty of Asti through the offices of his ministers both in France and in Spain. Lord Roos, who was shortly to go to Spain on a special mission, would have definite instructions to make representations on the subject. As Roos was not even ready to start and did not actually leave before the end of the month, this assistance would be of no value to the duke in his urgent necessities. Scarnafes at once sent in a request for immediate help in men, money and munitions of war. Winwood, on the king's behalf, told him that money there was none, men would take too long to send and the risk was too great, but he should have munitions, though even these were not to be given in the king's name, but consigned by a fictitious sale through the merchant Burlamacchi, in order not to give offence to Spain. Scarnafes pointed out how much his master suffered by the king's conduct, as he had in this way made known his weakness and desperate condition to the Spaniards, and yet derived no assistance whatever from England. The fruitlessness of his efforts would be patent to all the world. When the promised munitions of war were laid before him they proved so ridiculously inadequate that Scarnafes wrote another strong remonstrance. This, however, only led to a further shuffle on the part of James, who said it would be better to suspend this grant of munitions altogether, and when he returned to London he would lay the whole question of helping Savoy before the Council. When, after some weeks, the king sent for Scarnafes to inform him of the results of the deliberation of the Council, he only spoke in general terms and created such an impression that the ambassador wrote to Turin advising the duke to make the best terms he could with Spain (No. 523). Nevertheless he continued to press for assistance, though with very little hope of success. These further negotiations were carried on with Edmondes and Winwood. By successive delays they succeeded in procrastinating until in February, 1617, they told Scarnafes that the king had heard of the arrival of Lesdiguières in Piedmont, and he hoped this would bring the governor of Milan to reason. Accordingly he proposed not to send any help for the present until he saw what effect the marshal's presence produced. At this Scarnafes lost all patience. He remarked that the king's excuses to avoid the fulfilment of his obligations were judged to be due to want of faith rather than to lack of means, as he would not have promised his help at the treaty of Asti if he had known that he could not keep his word. Nothing had occurred since that time to weaken his power, nor had he spent an extraordinary quantity of money. Winwood became incensed at this plain speaking, but Edmondes intervened, saying that he would explain matters by telling what one in his position ought not to disclose. His Majesty had been so prodigal with his money in the past that his financial distress was even greater than was supposed, and they were absolutely compelled to dally thus in their negotiations until money reached His Majesty from some source. He hoped it would come within two months, but he did not indicate the grounds of his hopes or the expected source of supply. Scarnafes thanked him for this frankness, as although it dashed his hopes to a great extent it was better than constantly putting him off with frivolous, childish pretexts. He had been engaged upon these negotiations for twenty-two months without making the slightest progress. He suggested that in the meantime the king might make some advance upon the strength of these expectations of which Edmondes spoke, and so appease the duke's importunity. They promised to obtain audience for him in the following week (No. 621). This seems, however, to have been generally felt to be the end of the matter. Before the month was out Scarnafes had been recalled, and the interests of Savoy in England were entrusted to Giovanni Francesco Biondi, a Venetian subject pensioned by James, of whom the duke had no very high opinion, and who remained for weeks together without any news or instructions from Turin.
Throughout these negotiations Venice had given Savoy all the support in her power, asking James to join in securing the carrying out of the treaty of Asti, and making him realise the close understanding existing between the republic and the duke. In England, however, this connection appears to have been regarded with dislike, if not suspicion. Although James would do little or nothing himself he was very jealous of the interference of others. When apprised of the French offer of mediation through Bethune, suggested by Richelieu, he strongly disapproved, saying he fancied that the French wanted to have the negotiations all to themselves without allowing him his proper share (No. 648). When the news of the negotiations at Madrid reached him, before he had received any communication from either Venice or Savoy, he flew into a rage, rated Scarnafes soundly for having deceived him and declared that if it were true he would have nothing further to do with the Venetians or their affairs. The Venetians did their utmost to explain the matter, but the feeling seems to have rankled. When a hitch occurred in the earlier peace negotiations instituted by Bethune and the Cardinal Ludovisco, Winwood laid all the blame on the Venetians, because the two points of disagreement were about including Venice and disarming Milan, both of which concerned Venice. If England helped Savoy, it would really be assisting Venice. The king had previously proposed a league to Venice on more than one occasion, yet she had always declined. She could not expect assistance if she would not enter into obligations on her side. On the other hand when Lionello went to Scotland later on to ask for the king's support and a declaration, James freely promised assistance to Venice but markedly omitted all reference to Savoy, a fact that specially struck Lionello.
The utter ineffectiveness of James does not appear to have arisen from any failure to appreciate the exigencies of the situation, or from any cooling of his friendship towards Venice and Savoy. He viewed with apprehension any increase of the power of Spain, and learned with obvious concern of the fall of Vercelli and the great preparations of Ossuna. The central object of his foreign policy was to form a strong league of powers, excluding Spain, in order to check the aggressions of that country (No. 583). More than once he urged upon Savoy and Venice the necessity of making active war upon the state of Milan, and not to rest purely on the defensive, waiting to be attacked. He was anxious to see others doing something, if they acted under his instigation, and was constantly urging on the Dutch and the Princes of the Union. Upon one occasion when the resident of Florence went to audience the king asked him what the Grand Duke was doing and if he purposed to assist or resist the subjection of Italy to the Spaniards, adding that Cosimo wished to be styled a Grand Duke but was becoming a grand slave (No. 523).
One may well search for the reasons for his impotence in the face of these facts. They are succinctly stated by Lionello in a despatch of the 1st October, 1616. His increasing indolence and distaste for business; his inability to do anything without money, which he could only obtain by summoning a parliament, and his fear of a parliament lest it should provoke a revolution (No. 456). The lack of money paralysed everything and James once told Scarnafes that he could not possibly do what Venice was doing (No. 583A). The leading statesmen realised how much the king was losing in reputation by his conduct, and felt that something ought to be done, but when the conversation turned upon giving help or money all stood silent, as it was notorious that His Majesty was very short of it (No. 601). The only way out was to summon a parliament, and James was determined to resist that to the last extremity. By so doing he rendered himself impotent abroad, and was forced to excuse his inaction by shuffling. At the conclusion of his despatch of 5 January, 1617, Lionello exclaims, I am constantly confirmed in my belief that the greater part of the things which they say are simply introduced in order to excuse their coldness, as they cannot find any real reasons. These conditions cause us such mortification and distress that I would rather be in any part of the world than here (No. 583).
With all his loud professions and promises James only actually did two things to advance the interests of his friends on the continent. The first was the payment of 50,000 ducats to the duke of Mayenne to take troops to help the duke of Savoy. This money actually was paid, though in the most secret manner; indeed the fact was strenuously denied (No. 43). The difficulty of raising it must have been great and the money can hardly have left ere James repented and sent word to Edmondes not to pay anything unless there was open war in Piedmont without hope of accommodation and Mayenne was ready to start. However, the duke's agent, Fresia, obtained the money by trickery. He had false letters sent from Piedmont urging on Mayenne, as there was a complete rupture. He induced Mayenne to write to the ambassador, saying that he needed money and all the men were ready. Edmondes paid over the money and made Mayenne ante-date the receipt, so that he might be able to say that on the arrival of his instructions he had already paid away the money. Fresia pocketed a portion for himself, paid some to Mayenne and some to others, but none of it ever reached Savoy (No. 52). Such was the fate of the one sum of money that James diverted from his Court favourites to the help of his friends abroad.
The other achievement was the arrangement effected between the Bernese and Savoy. The credit of this belongs to Sir Isaac Wake, sometime Wotton's secretary at Venice and now promoted to be the English agent at Turin. The duke of Savoy wished to obtain a force of 4,000 men from the Bernese in return for a renunciation of the claims of his house upon the Pays du Vaud. He desired Wake to accompany Gabaleoni, who had charge of the negotiations. Wake actually brought the matter to a successful conclusion, by inducing the duke to moderate his demands. Not only did he bring the Bernese to consent to send 3,000 men to help the duke, at their own cost, but he laid the foundations of a definite league between them and Savoy. This success brought great credit to Wake and so indirectly to his master, though it committed James to nothing and did not cost him a penny in hard cash.
With all his condolence and impecuniosity it is doubtful whether James under any circumstances would have seriously interfered in continental affairs. But in order to make doubly sure the Spaniards endeavoured to keep him amused and inactive by negotiation for a marriage between Prince Charles and the second infanta. These negotiations had been originally started as a last chance of breaking off the proposed marriage between Charles and the Princess Christina of France, which seemed all but settled in 1613. That project had since fallen into abeyance, yet even in 1615 the duke of Savoy considered it practically an accomplished fact and lamented that he should be left isolated, with France, Spain and England all united. James himself categorically declared that the French negotiations must be settled one way or the other before he could even think of discussing the Spanish proposals. Later on he assured Scarnafes that if he did not marry the prince in France he would give him an infanta of Savoy. On the French side they were glad to keep the idea of an English marriage alive if only for the sake of the Huguenots, though Desmaretz, the French ambassador in London, declared that he would not introduce the subject unless he was spoken to first. When Lord Hay went over to France with so much display he had instructions to negotiate on this question For a while he seemed most successful, and a messenger sent by him to England wagered 4 to 1 that the marriage would be arranged (No. 410). But it all came to nothing. The Venetian ambassador at Paris reported that the negotiations had proceeded with great coldness on both sides. By October, 1616, the French court were proposing to wed the little princess to the count of Soissons, and it gave great offence to James that one who had been considered worthy of his son should be offered to a subject. Long before, Courtenay had asserted the existence of a secret clause in the contract for the double marriages with Spain, providing that Christina should not be given to Charles. At all events, the project seems to have fallen through from that moment.
The negotiations for a Spanish marriage proceeded with much more vigour but greater secrecy. Whether the Spaniards really desired the alliance may be open to question, but beyond a doubt Sarmiento considered the negotiations a useful move in the diplomatic game. When things were going smoothly he does not seem to have troubled, but when matters looked badly for the Spanish interests he came forward to give a fresh fillip to these negotiations. Thus, during the later months of 1615, the question seemed to be in abeyance. In the autumn of that year Barbarigo, the Venetian ambassador in London, thought that the Somerset scandal would utterly ruin the Spanish influence at court. How far he miscalculated appears from his report early in the following year, that the negotiations for a marriage were far advanced, the Spanish ambassador had had a secret interview with Viscount Fenton, and had frequent audiences of the queen, generally private, and upon one occasion one of his household had been seen to leave with a picture under his cloak (No. 206). The matter was very much discussed at the queen's court, and the Catholics of London based high hopes upon the alliance (No. 219). By June the whole kingdom was speaking of the marriage as a thing already accomplished (No. 306). But undoubtedly these rumours far outstripped the facts. Sarmiento and the Catholics circulated them to advance their own purposes. The queen assured the count of Scarnafes that nothing definite had been arranged and the king promised to inform his friends before he decided anything. When Lord Hay was preparing his sumptuous embassy to Paris, with definite instructions to negotiate for a French marriage, the extent of these misrepresentations became clear. Sarmiento then took another tack. He tried to discredit Hay, and said that the recent action of James in hanging a secular priest had broken off the negotiations, as it showed England so hostile to the Catholic religion that Philip could not possibly ally with him, and the Spaniards would not allow it even if he desired (No. 376). However, no sooner was Hay safely over in Paris than the negotiations were resumed with more vigour than ever and in open opposition to the French proposals. It was argued that a Spanish marriage would be preferable to a French one, with the existing Scotch reigning house, as France and Scotland were the hereditary enemies of England. This argument is said to have made an impression even upon the Puritans (No. 392). When Lord Roos went on his special embassy to Madrid it was generally expected that he would treat on the subject. However, he was expressly forbidden to touch it, and when Lerma tried to bring it forward he made no reply. In England Sarmiento carried on the negotiations with four leading councillors and with so much success that once again everything was reported to be practically settled. Digby was to go to Madrid to make the final arrangements. But Winwood assured Lionello that he knew Digby had no such definite instructions. He was simply to listen to the proposals made and negotiate superficially. As a matter of fact, the difficulties in the way were too great to admit of an easy settlement. The Spaniards desired that the whole of the Infanta's household should have the free exercise of their religion, but James did not wish to allow any Romanism outside her chamber (No. 498). Even in the Privy Council there was strong opposition in spite of the Spanish leanings of many and the free expenditure of Spanish gold. Edmondes and Hay preferred a French alliance, from which they hoped to win credit for themselves. Edmondes spoke very strongly, saying they were going the right way to lose all their old friends and allies. Abbot also, though he did not take a very active part in the discussions, was determined that this match should not take place, and reserved himself to raise difficulties on the point of religion. Winwood did not desire either a Spanish or a French alliance, but hoped the prince would marry a subject. There was good precedent for such a course, and the nation would supply a better dowry than any foreign prince (No. 771). In this the old statesman represented the general feeling of the English people, which abhorred the idea of a Spanish marriage and liked a French one but little better.
Apparently, however, everything portended a successful issue to Sarmiento's negotiations. The king seemed bent upon the match, the queen also favoured it and even the young prince, though by no means attracted at first, was being won over. Finally, the opposition leaders, Abbot, Winwood, Edmondes and Hay, with Lord Wotton, were excluded from the negotiations. It looked as if Sarmiento had won the day, the majority of the Council were in his pay and he announced that he had already obtained a papal bull of dispensation. He tempted James with the offer of a magnificent dower of a million and free trade with the Indies.
The progress of these negotiations caused dismay to James's continental friends. The duke of Savoy feared isolation and calculated that England would be estranged for at least three generations. To avert this evil he suggested the offer of a Savoyard princess, the Venetians lending him a dowry sufficient to tempt James, but Venice did not nibble (No. 468). The Dutch viewed the project with equal concern. “If this marriage takes place,” exclaimed Prince Maurice of Nassau, “we shall be hedged about on every side” (No. 509)
And yet it is uncertain whether either side was in earnest. Sarmiento found the negotiations useful to amuse James. They kept him from meddling in continental affairs, alarmed his friends and committed Spain to nothing, as the princess was too young for anything to be done immediately. James was moved by a variety of reasons, none of them very respectable It was said he only used the negotiations to make the French jealous, or to make a jest of the king of Spain, who was not serious on his side, or to keep both plans going so that if one failed the other might succeed. It was also said that he used them as a lever to obtain money from his own people, to induce them to give more than Spain offered. In any case, James was playing a double game. He gave the Dutch and Venetians more than one assurance that nothing would come of the negotiations. In June, 1617, Carleton told Surian that though the ambassador had gone to Spain to listen to what was proposed, this would not prevent the king from carrying out his policy, not to suffer the progress of the Spaniards and not to lose his good friends (No. 811). That this was official appears from the fact that James repeated practically the same thing to Lionello in Scotland (No. 837). The Venetians hoped that the king's numerous points of disagreement with the Hapsburgs might lead to the whole question being put aside, and that the Spaniards might presume too far upon the pacific nature of James (No. 807).
France remained in a very unsettled condition. The princes, under the leadership of Condé, were in open revolt and the royal forces under the Marshal Boisdauphin could do practically nothing to check them. With James the revolted princes kept up a steady correspondence. They urged him to intervene in France by armed force to prevent the marriages with Spain. It was reported in Rome that the governor of Calais had directed his brother to look out a suitable place where English troops might be landed (No. 21). James received their emissaries with every show of affection and honour, but told them he must await the report of his ambassador in France, who had instructions to make strong representations before taking any action. In spite of this the French government suspected James, and his messenger, Mr. Henry Herbert, was seized and stripped at Boulogne. Although they found nothing on him but letters to the ambassador and his passport, they detained him a prisoner, a course which led to a strong remonstrance from James. When the court left Paris for the frontier, Edmondes after some hesitation remained behind. He thought it best to stay away from the royal weddings against which he had protested. In the middle of October, however, he hurried after the king to urge him to come to terms with the princes. If not, he threatened that James would actually support Condé. If they introduced Spanish troops into France to defeat the malcontents he declared that his master would send English troops to France, as it would not suit his interests to have Spanish troops so near his kingdom (No. 85). Edmondes offered his mediation with the Hugenots, who were holding their assembly at Grenoble. The Queen Mother received him with reserve, as she suspected him of secret dealings with both Huguenots and princes. She haughtily asserted that the princes ought to come to sue for pardon, and deprecated the idea of foreign intervention. The papal nuncio also offered mediation, with the idea of cutting Edmondes out. Nevertheless, the ambassador persisted, and in spite of every discouragement achieved such success that the Queen Mother expressed her gratitude to him. This change in her sentiments was chiefly attributed to the discovery of an alleged plot to deprive her of her authority. Upon this revelation she sent for Edmondes and told him that she now recognised the prudence of his advice. Those about her had endeavoured to give her a bad opinion of him, but she had now come to appreciate his worth and she asked him to treat freely with her thenceforward (No. 193). Thus encouraged, Edmondes proceeded with his task unhampered. When the Huguenots expressed dissatisfaction with the terms accepted by Condé, he and the duke of Sully set out for la Rochelle and finally succeeded in talking them over. The treaty of Loudun, signed on the 3rd May, was chiefly due to his efforts, and the Venetian ambassador, Contarini, freely admitted as much (No. 284). The duke of Savoy, who would have liked to see the princes completely triumphant, declared that James had lost a great opportunity (No. 126).
By the treaty of Loudun, the royal party sacrificed the old ministers of Henry IV., whose places were filled by new men. The Ambassador Desmaretz, who was Sillery's son-in-law, felt his position to be so far compromised that he asked for his recall. This was not granted, although he did not possess the full confidence of the new government.
Condé was received with acclamation in Paris and the princes wished him to seize upon the reins of government. The Queen Mother took her courage in both hands, and on September 1st had him arrested and imprisoned in the Bastille. At the first shock the people took this very ill, but by degrees the feeling disappeared and gave place to a sensation of relief at the prospect of peace (No. 484). As James had guaranteed the treaty of Loudun his honour was concerned in this event, and he wrote to his ambassadors instructing them to make strong remonstrances. Stirred by the pressure of Condé's mother he spoke strongly to the French ambassadors in March, 1617, and promised the princess that he would do everything possible. With these efforts he satisfied his honour. The princes were in revolt again, but they could not do much without their natural leader, yet despite their weakness they neither sent to James to tell him of their plight nor to ask for help. With the fate of the treaties of Xanten and Asti before them, what could they expect? (No. 458).
On receiving the news of Condé's arrest, the Ambassador Desmaretz wished himself to impart the news to the king at the earliest opportunity. James happened to be returning from an extended progress and was thirty-seven miles from London, yet Desmaretz set out to meet him. James had little taste for audiences at any time and hated being taken unexpectedly, while he personally disliked the French ambassador; so he gave him an appointment twelve days ahead at a place some distance away. Meanwhile the king had some inkling of the news and wished to learn all the particulars; but instead of sending for the ambassador, he sent Winwood to him. This offhand treatment infuriated Desmaretz. He swore he would never again go to audience of the king upon the matter, even if one were appointed for him, or upon any other matter either, unless he received express instructions from Paris. On hearing of his wrath the king sent the Lord Chamberlain to appease him, but Desmaretz refused to be cajoled (No. 426). Throughout the month of September he maintained this attitude, steadily refusing to go to audience and sending all his messages through Winwood. But at length he allowed himself to be mollified by the Master of the Ceremonies. In November he felt slighted once more, in not being invited to the ceremony of the installation of the Prince of Wales, an omission due to the ill offices of the Spanish ambassador, who had come to consider him his leading opponent.
By the change of ministers following the treaty of Loudun, Richelieu obtained his first introduction to official life, and on 25 November, 1616, he became Secretary of State. His energy and resolution at once made themselves felt, but his name only occurs once in connection with English affairs. In December Edmondes announced his intention of returning home, but said he would soon return. Despite his action at the treaty of Loudun, the Queen Mother and her party still suspected him of an understanding with the malcontents. Before he left Richelieu saw him and begged him not to induce James to take any steps prejudicial to the authority of the French king. The king of England ought not to do what he would not like France to do to him, namely, encourage his subjects to resist him. They were sorry for his departure at that particular juncture, as the king of England had been accustomed to labour for the quiet of France, and the fact that he had not wished Edmondes to intervene would excite the belief either that James did not cherish the same good will, or he believed the evils of the kingdom to be incurable. Edmondes replied that the French king would never experience any lack of good will, but in truth his king, owing to broken faith, did not see how he could interfere to advantage. If he could do anything, he would not fail, but if they could put things straight without outside help, he would rejoice (No. 564).
The imprisonment of Condé and the energetic measures of Richelieu seemed to place the Queen Mother in a very strong position. In reality it was most insecure. The malcontents were looking for help abroad while at home she could reply upon no one but Concini, and even suspected Guise (No. 651). The favourite, however, seemed to have everything his own way, though universally hated as an upstart and a foreigner. His fall came suddenly and unexpectedly. On April 24th, 1617, Concini was shot down when entering the Louvre by some of the king's gentlemen. The removal of this one man acted like magic. It seemed to resolve all difficulties, henceforward there was only one party in France, the king's. (fn. 4) The long regency of the queen mother had come to an end, with its subserviency to Spain and the abandonment of the old friends of the crown. In England the news created great satisfaction. Word reached James at New-castle when he was about to dine. The king announced the news to those present and called upon them to drink to the health of the Most Christian King and the success of his glorious undertakings (No. 771). Even young Prince Charles shewed his delight (No. 754). The event did not make so much difference as was expected, but the change was sensible. Luynes became chief favourite, but he was at least a Frenchman. France at once took a more active part in the pacification of Italy, in which England no longer had a share.
The representatives of the powers at Constantinople experienced an even more trying time than usual, owing chiefly to the action of the Vizier Mehemet and the Cadi Moro of Galata. The Sultan had become alarmed by a report that there were 20,000 Franks in Galata, and to reassure himself on this point he ordered a census to be taken (Sept. 1616); at the same time foreigners were forbidden to pass from one quarter of Constantinople to another. The Cadi Moro seized upon this opportunity to demand that all foreigners who had resided in Constantinople for more than a year should pay the harach or carazo, and that the ambassadors of France, England, the Netherlands and Venice should make a return of their households (No. 423). A similar attempt had been made before, but on this occasion it was more serious because of the Sultan's command behind it. The Cadi also sent to the ambassadors' houses to demand the carazo of the dragomans and threw those of France and England into prison. In Pindar's house, the dragoman ventured to pass before the Cadi telling him that there he had precedence. The infuriated official had him bastinadoed (No. 438). The ambassadors went to the Vizier to complain of the high-handed action of the Cadi, and how they were shut up like prisoners, being forbidden to leave the city on horseback. They threatened to inform their princes that the capitulations had been broken and it would not be possible for them to remain on. They obtained nothing more than a promise that the unmarried merchants should not pay. The Cadi, however, asserted that married merchants, who had resided for two years, were liable. “The rascal protests,” says Nani, “that matters shall not rest here, that he knows all our interests well and will make me sweat for it. He is the worst man who has been in Constantinople for 200 years, and even the Pasha is afraid of him” (No. 440). The situation was the worse because the Vizier, although he gave the ambassadors fair words, was really acting in collusion with the Cadi. Pindar went to the Cadi's house and delivered a long and heated speech without any effect, except to incense the Cadi, who threatened to cut out the dragoman's tongue, although he was only interpreting. He declared that all the merchants and dragomans should pay, whether they liked it or not. The ambassador went out in much perplexity, but finding that they had detained his dragoman, he returned and swore he would not leave the spot unless the dragoman accompanied him. Finding it hopeless to resist violence he bought off his servant by consenting to pay the carazo for all the merchants and dragomans (No. 452). This want of success seems to have discouraged Pindar. When asked to join with the other ambassadors in a formal protest, he declined, and he seems to have contemplated advising the king to withdraw his ambassador and trade altogether from Constantinople in order to bring the Turks to reason.
Fortunately for the foreign merchants the Vizier Mehemet was removed in January, 1617, and replaced by Halil Pasha, a good friend to all the Franks. The four ambassadors lost no time in presenting to him a joint memorial for the removal of the carazo. The mutual jealousies of France and England created some difficulties about the form, but ultimately the paper was drawn up and presented. For some time the new Vizier hesitated, but at the end of February he sent word that the carazo was removed. His personal enemies had offered strong opposition, and the anti-foreign party wished to make the Franks pay throughout the Sultan's dominions. The Venetian Bailo, not being satisfied with the form of the concession, which read as if the carazo had been removed by favour and not because of the capitulations, applied for and obtained an imperial decree, relieving not only the Venetians, but English, French and Dutch subjects as well. In recognition of the services of the Grand Vizier the four ambassadors made up a purse of 500 sequins each, which they quietly presented to him. The happy completion of this affair which had once seemed desperate gave an added joyfulness to the celebration of the opening of the new mosque, which all four ambassadors attended in state, as well as the envoys of the Emperor then present at Constantinople. There the foreign diplomatists fraternised in the most friendly way and each sent a present of vestments which were displayed in the new building. After the ceremony the Vizier sent a present of gorgeous raiment to each of the ambassadors, in fact, wrote Nani, his chief pre-occupation is to find some means of showing honour to the representatives of the powers (No. 795).
In addition to the affair of the carazo, Pindar had to handle a case of even greater difficulty. At the end of September, 1616, there arrived at Constantinople two English ships with a consignment of archenda from Zante to Arthur Garraway, the leading English merchant. This archenda is described as an herb reduced to powder, grown only at Alexandria and greatly consumed by the Turks. The bales bore Turkish marks and were directed to Turks and it was quite obvious that they had been taken from Turkish subjects by pirates and sent to Zante for sale. Nani at once realised the peril of the situation, in which he was like to be involved because the goods had been taken to Zante. He sent to Garraway, who promised to say nothing about where the goods came from if the Bailo would undertake to make the person pay who sold the archenda, supposing it was confiscated. Nani readily accepted this way out of his difficulties and left the Englishman to bear the whole brunt of the Turks' wrath. The storm soon burst. At first they laid the blame on the Venetians, but the Pasha (fn. 5) was disappointed to find them exonerated and that the Englishman accused himself, in his simplicity. But learning that Garraway was worth 100,000 ducats, he determined to fleece him, and declared that the Sultan had ordered the payment of 200,000 ducats, the value of the property on the ships from which the archenda had been taken (No. 453). He subsequently reduced the demand to 20,000 sequins but spurred his victim's desire for release by the use of torture. Pindar interceded, asking for a fair trial, and he would even have paid a considerable ransom but the Pasha's terms were too high. Finally, before the end of the year, Garraway obtained his release by the payment of over 30,000 crowns. His health was ruined by the sufferings he had undergone, and he had experienced other losses, including a cargo of sables, that went down with the galleon Naranzer (No. 563).
The report sent home by Pindar of the affair of the carazo and the archenda induced the merchants of the Levant Company to send out Martin Kentish as ambassador extraordinary with letters from the king to the Sultan, Vizier and others. When Kentish reached Constantinople in April the matter of the carazo was already settled. The Vizier lent a sympathetic ear and admitted that grave injustice had been done about the archenda, but he advised them not to present the king's letters to the Sultan, so as not to put the Caimecam (the culprit) to open shame. That worthy, though very uneasy, endeavoured to make things safe by bribing freely in the seraglio. He hoped, by repeated delays, to avoid restitution altogether, as a change in the government might easily bring him into power again. Finally, in July, Garraway accompanied Kentish back to England without having obtained a penny. He did not even get the guarantee promised by the Venetian bailo. That astute individual, while admitting the obligation, raised all manner of excuses to delay payment, and haggled over the amount due. He hoped to avoid payment altogether if he could keep the matter going long enough, and he breathed a pious rejoicing when Garraway departed without having obtained any satisfaction (No. 844).
Gregorio Barbarigo, the new Venetian ambassador, arrived in England on Michaelmas Day, 1615, and had his first ceremonial audience on Nov. 11, the ceremony being delayed owing to the king's absence in the country. The same reason delayed the leave-taking of Foscarini, who may not have objected to an excuse for not returning at once to Venice. He took formal leave of the king, queen aud prince almost immediately after, but when he was making his final preparations the king sent for him again to Newmarket. This and a bad cold delayed his departure until December 22nd. Gregorio Barbarigo then remained in sole charge. Immediately upon his arrival he complained of a severe disorder, for which he was under treatment (No. 89) and apparently his health remained indifferent. On May 28th he fell seriously ill and on June 6th he died, leaving his secretary Lionello in charge of the embassy. Lionello was an able and capable man, whose despatches compare favourably with those of the best of his fellows, though he stumbled across a mare's nest now and then. He had already enjoyed some independent diplomatic experience in his embassy to Holland.
On learning of Barbarigo's death the Senate lost no time in selecting his successor. Their choice lighted upon Antonio Donato, quite a young man, a kinsman of the famous doge Lionardo Donato, who had withstood Paul V. At the time, however, Donato was serving as ambassador at Turin, where important events kept him busily employed. Lionello had expected to be relieved soon, but as month after month passed away he grew restive. The serious state of affairs in Italy required the presence of a fully equipped ambassador in London. King James took the long delay very ill; even the queen, when Scarnafes took leave, remarked how strange it was that Italy should be involved in serious war and yet take no account of a kingdom that could do so much (No. 806). Carleton in the Netherlands and Wake in Savoy both hinted that the Senate should send an ambassador without delay. Donato himself wrote in April, 1617, imploring that he might be allowed to go at once (No. 746). At length, when the pressure of events induced the Senate to send Lionello after the king to Scotland, a definite promise was given that an ambassador from Venice should be in London to meet the king on his return from Scotland, about September. On August 16th the Senate chose Lunardo Moro to act as ambassador in Savoy and relieve Donato, who was to proceed to England at once. Moro excused himself and said it was already impossible for Donato to reach England in time. The Senate thereupon decided to choose an ambassador extraordinary, to act until Donato could leave. They first proposed Ottaviano Bon, who was then ambassador in France, and who could reach England without loss of time. (fn. 6) This proposal was not carried by the requisite majority, and they eventually selected Piero Contarini, but recently returned from his embassy in France, who received instructions to proceed to England without further loss of time.
Changes also took place in the English embassy at Venice. Carleton, who had already made one start for home, did not remain long after the completion of his negotiations in Savoy. On October 15th he took formal leave and announced that Sir Henry Wotton would succeed him, while Gregorio di Monti would remain in charge in the meantime. Two days later the Senate voted him a gold chain worth 1,000 crowns and indicted letters in his praise to the king.
Wotton did not leave England until March 28th and travelled out in very leisurely fashion, spending some time at Heidelberg and at Turin. The slowness of his journey at so critical a time excited remark and displeased Winwood (No. 300). At Turin he proposed to the duke a general league between England, the Netherlands, the Union, the Swiss, Venice and Savoy. The duke expressed his willingness, but said he must await the decision of Venice (No. 298). Wotton did not reach Venice before the middle of June, making his formal entry on the 19th and his first appearance in the College on the 27th. He did not settle down very readily and seems to have moved his quarters more than once. In October, 1616, he says that he is changing his house (No. 466), and in August, 1617, leave was granted to Gieronimo Venier to confer with him about letting his house (No. 848). (fn. 7)
In spite of the troubled affairs of Italy Wotton had no matters of great importance to handle. One of his very first acts was to propose such a league as he had already suggested to Savoy. The Senate returned a cautious, non-committal reply, which amounted to a refusal. They were very anxious to know how James would take it, and there can be little doubt but that he took it very ill. His resentment appeared later on, when Venice was asking him for a declaration in her favour. Failing in his efforts for a league Wotton urged the Senate to send a regular ambassador to the princes of the Union (No. 849).
The war between Venice and the Archduke Ferdinand brought numerous adventurers to offer their services to the republic. Several of these, both English and foreign, Wotton introduced, including Prince Francis Julius of Saxony, the duke of Holstein, the earl of Oxford, Lord Dingwall, Sir Thomas Gates and Captain Bell. He was also very anxious that Venice should employ English troops.
Among other matters Wotton took charge of the recovery of a debt of Giulio Muscorno for Sir William Smith. Before Muscorno left England he appears to have received a commission from the earl of Somerset to make certain purchases. To effect these he borrowed 150l. of his friend Smith (No. 712) Owing to the quarrel with Foscarini and the sudden departure of Muscorno for Venice these purchases were never made and the debt remained undischarged. Smith, who had information upon a leakage in Venetian secrets, used his knowledge as a lever to obtain repayment. He asked Lionello to keep the affair secret, as the discovery would ruin him, and Wotton was going to Venice with the intention to penetrate further into the matter (No. 341). Muscorno never made any attempt to evade his responsibility, and with every assistance afforded by the Venetian authorities, the only question was as to the precise means of payment. Smith appointed as his agent Henry Parvis, a well-known English merchant at Venice. Wotton, however, had come to know of the matter and desired that the money should be paid to him and Smith himself wrote finally asking that this might be done (No. 711).
Wotton also had a hand in another mysterious affair. In the spring of 1617 he received a letter asking him to send his secretary to Milan, where he should ask for a certain person who would conduct him to the writer, who had important information nearly concerning the king of England. Wotton sent to Milan his secretary Richard Seamer, who met the person indicated and was conducted by him to the principal of the Jesuit College of San Fedele. This worthy told him that although a Catholic yet he was a man and evil deeds grieved him. So when he heard of a plot against the king's life, he wished to disclose it. He proposed that the secretary should accompany him to England for this purpose, but asked him to wait three days, as he could not leave at once. When Seamer returned the Jesuit asked him to wait another ten days, but the secretary suspected a trap and returned instead to Venice. Shortly after his return another letter arrived from Milan, regretting that the secretary had been so impatient, and asking him to meet the writer at Basel, with sufficient money to proceed to England. Wotton sent Seamer to Basel, whence he wrote back that he had met the Jesuit all right. Thereupon Wotton despatched a special courier to go straight to James in Scotland and announce the coming of the Jesuit. Wotton also wrote to his agent in London, who very imprudently let out enough to excite the liveliest curiosity and excitement in the capital (No. 807). The Jesuit reached London towards the end of June, accompanied by Seamer and a young English student from Milan, whom he brought on the pretext that he would be employed to advance the Catholic religion in England (No. 814). James, rendered cautious by much experience, refused to give the Jesuit private audience, and appointed four persons to hear what he had to say. The Jesuit at first refused to tell anyone but the king, and remained at Greenwich, where he lived in the strictest seclusion by his own desire. Eventually, in August, he told his story, of a plot concocted in the lifetime of the Marshal of Ancre, in which the pope, the king of Spain and the queen of France had a share. (fn. 8) The details of this plot belong to the following volume of this Calendar. Lionello seems to have thought seriously of the matter at first, and the Senate sent to Milan for information. Their resident reported that the Jesuit was suspected of a desire to change his religion and was considered a fugitive. The Jesuits at Milan were trying to hush the matter up (No. 867). The affair can hardly have done Wotton any good, and his enemies openly mocked at him.
It is difficult to form a just estimate of the standing of Wotton at this time either in England or in Venice. At his first audience he announced his intention of living more like a philosopher than a courtier, remaining quiet, without giving scandal or offence, at peace with every one (No. 335). Yet within six months the pope complained that he was seducing away Catholics, and instanced the archbishop of Spalato. The Senate replied that Wotton lived very quietly, both from his own nature and from hints which they had previously given him, and he was in no way responsible for the archbishop's behaviour (No. 546). It was possibly a misfortune for Wotton that Winwood, the secretary of state, was none too well disposed towards him. At the very outset he had commented on the slowness of Wotton's journey. Wotton made the king angry by not writing frequently enough, and he once left him without letters for seven weeks (No. 477). When he did write he fared little better, supplying too little matter with too much art. Winwood often left his letters two or three days unread, and then after perusing them, tossed them contemptuously aside (No. 862).
In Venice Wotton excited suspicion by a sudden intimacy with the Spanish ambassador Bedmar, whom he had not visited for a year (No. 812). (fn. 9) Only a few weeks later Winwood privately spoke to Lionello about Wotton, saying that reports of the worst nature reached his ears daily charging him with bad faith and venality. Lionello made a guarded reply, saying he had heard nothing definite, though similar reports had reached his ears from Venice. By his subsequent remarks Lionello shows that he had the very poorest opinion of Wotton, and he adds that the king and Court shared the same views. He thought Wotton's failings were largely due to his poverty. He had only 800 crowns a year and was obliged to leave England because of his debts. He would do anything for money, and the Dutch thought he had sold himself to the Spaniards at the treaty of Xanten. He had grudges against both Savoy and Venice. The merchant Burlamacchi had refused to advance him any more money and he had appropriated the money paid to discharge Muscorno's debt (fn. 10) (No. 864). Lionello probably exaggerates, although we can hardly explain away all the facts of the indictment and attribute it purely to malice, imagination and prejudice. The standard of honour among the public men of that day was not high, and Wotton appears to have been no better than his fellows.
Since his accession to the English throne James had never re-visited his native land. In the autumn of 1616 he began to consider a journey thither, to carry out certain changes with the idea of assimilating Scotland to England as much as possible in laws, customs, and church matters, and to introduce a better feeling between the English and Scotch. The ill-feeling between the two nations still ran very high Lionello noticed how large tracts of the country on either side of the border were waste and desert, owing to the constant fighting that had gone on there (No. 831). The Venetian ambassadors refer more than once to the mutual jealousy existing between the two races.
The king's project was not viewed with favour on either side of the Tweed. The treasury was empty and could not meet the slightest additional charge, while the Council dreaded the king's absence far away, with the continent in such a distracted state. The Scots feared the expense of entertaining the king and his following, which they understood would amount to some 5,000 persons. (fn. 11) They also looked very unfavourably upon James's proposed alterations, of which they already had a taste. Some of the leading Scottish noblemen and gentlemen crossed the sea on various pretexts, thinking it would be easier to destroy what had been done, after his Majesty's departure, than dispute with him when there (No. 718).
In religious matters the opposition was even more outspoken, especially on the part of the women, who cried out that they were trying to introduce popery. In some churches, where James had introduced organs, the people, unused to the music, began to dance, out of derision (No. 709). But the stronger the opposition the more James seemed determined upon his project. A strong party at court, joined by Edmondes on his return from France, tried to persuade the king not to go, but without the slightest effect. James sent to prison a man who said he would not go, and one day he drew his sword, cried out that they were traitors who said he would not go, and threatened to cut their heads off (No. 648). Although the whole Council went on their knees to beg him to stay, James started off on March 25th, 1617, the day originally appointed, in spite too of a letter from the earl of Mar saying that they could not possibly be ready in time.
It had proved most difficult to raise money for the journey. They estimated the expenses at half a million. To meet them they raised loans, sold lands and anticipated the customs revenue. James tried to induce the Dutch to advance money on the crown jewels, but they refused unless the jewels were sent across the sea, and the Council forbade that. The king hoped the citizens of London might guarantee the loan, but they were not eager to respond (No. 622). But money was raised somehow, and the funds augmented by the sale of dignities on the road (No. 741). Probably owing to these difficulties, the king only took with him a comparatively small train, not amounting to 500 persons (No. 709). Before he crossed the border he sent back for more money. He had already spent some 400,000 crowns chiefly in gifts to various persons (No. 771).
James intended to make four great changes in Scotland: to introduce the Anglican form of worship; to recover the wardship of minors, which he had sold; to assimilate the system of the administration of justice to the English model, and to look into the kingdom's finances, as he had received practically no revenue from Scotland since his accession to the English throne.
To facilitate the carrying out of these projects, James summoned a parliament to meet at Edinburgh at the end of May. The badness of the roads and the weather caused some delay, but in June the king entered Edinburgh amid great rejoicing, and the people granted him 80,000 crowns as an offering of welcome. The English were astonished at the display, as they thought the country had been much too poor to afford it. The English and Scots outwardly fraternised exceedingly well, but at heart they hated each other as cordially as ever.
The opposition in the country to James's proposals was so strong that even he hesitated. He thought at one time of abandoning the parliament altogether, but he judged it better to relinquish his designs. He duly opened parliament in state on the 27th June and began the proceedings with an eloquent address. He attended every day until the session ended on July 8th. He tried to secure the adoption of the Anglican ecclesiastical system and asked the nobles to restore to the bishops their goods, which the nobles had enjoyed for fifty years. Both these projects failed, though the parliament agreed to find some better livelihood for the clergy and consented to the bishops having seats in their body. In civil affairs some compromise was arranged, but nothing substantial was effected and the parliament broke up with feelings of mutual dissatisfaction (No. 831). Almost immediately afterwards James left Edinburgh for Falkland and spent the rest of his time in Scotland in travelling from place to place. By the end of August he had re-entered England and was travelling southwards to London. For all that he effected, says Lionello, he might as well have stayed at home.
During these years Ireland is described as quiet. The parliament there, before dissolving, made a grant to the king. There were indications, however, that if the surface might be quiet, simmering was going on beneath. At the beginning of 1617 a gentleman there hanged in his garden some officials who came with orders from the Viceroy to hang a priest living secretly in his house (No. 610).
Despite much discouragement from James the old Elizabethan spirit of adventure was still strong in the nation. Many still yearned to strike a blow at Spain as in the good days of yore. In answer to enquires by the Senate as to the cost of hiring ships in England, Lionello states that if they bought or hired ships they would probably obtain but poor results at considerable outlay. If, on the other hand, they simply allowed privateers to use their flag, and permitted them to enter Venetian ports to sell their plunder, so many would offer their services that they would inflict great damage upon Spain, without the expenditure of a penny. The English plan was to divide the expenses into three parts and distribute the profits accordingly. “This is the way that England has become rich, and in which she would desire to continue to fight against the Spaniards, as private individuals are continually offering themselves to make war on the king of Spain” (No. 532). Although the count of Scarnafes obtained so little from James he succeeded in getting some service from the adventurers. He gave leave to an English pirate to take any Spanish ships he might capture to Villefranche to sell. Lord Rich obtained the same privilege and sent out three ships. The count did all this with the utmost secrecy, as the slightest suspicion of the truth would have greatly incensed the king (No. 631).
English soldiers were not so much valued as English sailors, as though valiant enough they objected to discomfort and were intemperate in their habits (No. 192). In the Friulian war several Englishmen offered their services, though only one or two were actually engaged. The earl of Oxford offered, and is mentioned as having won great sums at play from the count of Nassau. The Venetians negotiated with Sir Thomas Stodder, an Englishman serving with the Austrians. Venice did not engage any force of Englishmen as such; they preferred to employ the Dutch. In March, 1617, they hired a force of 3,200 men under Count John Ernest of Nassau. With these, under the command of Sir John Vere, came a number of Englishmen of those who had been serving in the Netherlands. Wotton estimated them as 600, but as the list of captains only contains the names of two Englishmen and one Scot, this is probably an exaggeration (No. 679). The men reached Venice in April in very good condition and were forthwith sent up to the seat of war. There, despite some unruliness, attributable to the sudden change from small beer to wine (No. 740), they soon distinguished themselves.
The last of the great Elizabethan seamen had at length escaped from prison on the understanding that he should go to find a gold mine which he knew of in Guiana. Raleigh's heart never was in this undertaking, which he only accepted as a means of escape from the Tower. As early as May, 1616, he told Barbarigo that he would willingly go to serve Venice if he could obtain the king's permission (No. 295). At the beginning of 1617 he suggested to Scarnafes the remarkable scheme for striking a sudden blow at the Spanish power in Italy by seizing Genoa. (fn. 12) The plan was elaborated in all its details and obviously attracted James, who told off Winwood and Edmondes to discuss the subject with Scarnafes. Very characteristically he wished to make sure that the risks were slight and that he should have his share of the booty. But after a few weeks the whole plan was abandoned. James felt he could not entrust a large force to the man he had treated so shamefully. Accordingly the preparations for the Guiana expedition were steadily pushed forward. Sarmiento went twice to the Council to enter a protest. He said it would deeply offend his king to see his subjects illtreated by Raleigh; he produced a book describing two other voyages of Raleigh in the Indies, full of alleged cruelties committed by him. The Council replied the first time that Raleigh was going with limited commissions and the Catholic king should have no cause to complain. On the second occasion they got Winwood to tell the ambassador privately that he would do well to rest content with the first reply, as the king was set upon Raleigh making the voyage and if he overstepped his instructions his head would pay for his disobedience (No. 631). Lerma also made complaint in Spain, and Lord Roos on returning from his embassy was charged to make strong representations. In fact the Spaniards were greatly alarmed at the prospect of their old enemy getting loose upon the sea. Raleigh was not in love with his enterprise and would willingly have exchanged it for another, and his feelings were no secret (No. 726). In addition to his sailors he had 700 soldiers picked from the nobles and others who flocked to him. It was said that an equal number of ships was waiting to join him outside. “If that is true,” says Lionello, “there is scarcely any project which he might not undertake with good hope of success” (No. 718). A very widespread impression existed that once he got well away to sea he would abandon the Guiana voyage and turn pirate on his own account; accordingly, when he sailed down the Thames in the spring of 1617, he left behind him a general curiosity as to what course he would pursue.
One of the most alarming features of the time was the great increase in the numbers of the Barbary pirates, who infested the Mediterranean and preyed upon all the commerce there. In December, 1615, an English ship which had sailed from London to Naples reported that there were 120 bertons between Algiers, Tunis and Bizerta (No. 123). English and Dutch captains trading in the Archipelago declared that it was impossible to voyage alone as they used on account of these pirates (No 160) The English losses were so severe that in March Pindar went to see the Captain of the Sea at Constantinople and spoke to him very plainly. He told him that 100 English ships had been taken near the Strait of Gibraltar in one year. Although he had frequently complained and received many promises it had done no good. They would have to take redress into their own hands and join with the French and Dutch, who suffered equally, and seize some place on the Turkish seaboard (No. 238). Some three months later the Dutch made a similar protest with a threat of reprisals (No. 312). However, these pirates were not by any means the only ones and the Turks could make a good case out of the damage inflicted on them by Frankish buccaneers. In November. 1616, the Vizier sent for Pindar at Constantinople and threatened to make him personally responsible for certain losses suffered by Turkish subjects (No. 514). We read also of an English pirate in the Downs and French and Spanish ones off the coast of Scotland.
In the absence of large, well-organised fleets the governments of the time could not cope with this evil. In May, 1617, ten pirate ships passed through the Strait of Gibraltar in full view of the royal fleet, entirely unmolested (No. 757). Shortly afterwards Cottington went to complain to Philip that although English merchants paid a very heavy custom for the protection of their shipping, they never obtained anything for it. His king had frequently thought of sending a fleet to those waters to check the audacity of the pirates and had only refrained out of consideration for his Catholic Majesty (No. 794). Some time later the Spaniards even asked that the English ships in the port of Cadiz should accompany their fleet to the Indies to protect it from assault (No. 834).
The English merchants felt it incumbent upon them to do something to put a stop to this evil, and about October, 1615, the two principal companies decided with the help of the admiral to arm ships to extirpate the pirates. They proposed to arm from twelve to fifteen ships, with auxiliary craft, to scour the home waters, the coast of Spain and the western Mediterranean. They also desired privateers to join them, and suggested that former pirates who would assist should receive a free pardon. The king and Council agreed to the scheme, the necessary money was subscribed and all seemed satisfactorily arranged, but it fell through because the king of Spain would not grant the use of his ports to so large a foreign fleet, and because of the danger that the privateers might turn pirate on their own account (Nos. 73, 77).
In spite of this failure the scheme was revived in 1617 The merchants presented a memorial to the king showing that owing to the swarms of pirates trade in the east and south was almost ruined, and the mischief might easily spread to the Atlantic. They were willing to bear the brunt of the cost of a fleet, but they asked His Majesty to give them six of the ships of his fleet, munitions and other facilities. The merchants found a sum of 160,000 crowns to start with, and designated the earl of Southampton as their chosen commander. Lionello believed that they intended to prey generally upon the dominions and commerce of the Turks, as they contemplated the recall of their ambassador at Constantinople. Primarily, however, the expedition would have proceeded against Algiers and other haunts of the pirates on the north coast of Africa and would thus have anticipated by almost exactly 200 years the work of Lord Exmouth. The Council debated the question very thoroughly, and it was hoped that the Dutch would join in. The whole thing broke down, however, partly because no power would admit so large a fleet to its ports, but chiefly because the merchants would not incur the expense unless they had facilities for obtaining men and ships, which the king would not grant, as he wished to keep the control for himself and his ministers, and he did not wish to entrust so large a force to Southampton (Nos. 741, 754, 771).
The royal navy by itself was in no condition to cope with the mischief. For practical purposes it remained useless, though some signs of activity appear from time to time. At the end of December, 1615, the captains of the royal navy received orders to remain with their ships (No. 137). In July, 1616, three ships were fitted out to put an end to the piracies off the Scottish coasts (No. 355). At the end of 1616 they paid 120,000 ducats to the men of the fleet, and orders were given for the equipment of the ships, so that they expected at least twenty would be ready by Easter (No. 530). But the money proved quite inadequate for the purpose, and in the exhausted state of the treasury it was not possible to find more (No. 601). Only shortly before Winwood had told Lionello that it would be very difficult to have the royal ships ready by the spring (No. 523). Only four or five ships were kept habitually armed for the various requirements of the king and kingdom (No. 581).
The real naval strength of England lay in her merchant fleets and the bold and experienced seamen who manned them. This power was fully recognised both at home and abroad. During the embassy of Roos at Madrid Lerma told him that if the king of Spain chose he could keep a force in the Strait of Gibraltar which would prevent James from sending help to Savoy. Roos answered that his king was so powerful at sea that it would not be so easy to prevent the passage of his forces wherever he wished, and wars are also made by diversions (No. 650). Lerma was much annoyed, the more so because he felt the truth of the retort. When threatened by Ossuna's preparations at Naples the Venetians thought of obtaining ships from England, and sent word to their ambassador to make enquiries about probable cost and other particulars. Lionello recommended the employment of privateers or else to buy ships right out instead of hiring them. They could, however, be more cheaply obtained at Amsterdam. where the English themselves were accustomed to buy them. He added, “the English ships are better for the Mediterranean and more adapted for those other services for which your Excellencies may require them. The vessels of the more northern parts are excellent, as they stand higher out of the water than the others and they need nothing but artillery to fit them for the voyage and to be raised a little in the part above deck” (No. 624).
English trade at Constantinople suffered severely owing to the tyrannical action of the officials and the losses by pirates, so much so that the Levant Company thought of abandoning it altogether, at least for a time. They also suspected that the jealousy of the Frankish merchants increased their difficulties and that one of the ambassadors at least was secretly working against them (No. 745). (fn. 13) By a return made in February, 1617, of the Franks at Constantinople subject to the carazo, i.e., who had resided for a year or more, they found there were 92 Venetians, 18 French, 20 English, and 12 Dutch (No. 636). The trade was lucrative, as we see from the large fortune possessed by Garraway, whose sudden ruin also illustrates the uncertain tenure by which it was held.
English trade in the Mediterranean was undoubtedly growing, the chief centre being Zante, where nearly everything was in the hands of the English and Dutch. At Zante a considerable contraband re-export trade had grown up, in oil, cheese, cordovan leather and wool bought in the Morea and Corfu. The Senate wished these commodities to be brought first to Venice, and they therefore proposed to impose a heavy export duty to prevent ships from taking them to the west (No. 713). A severe outbreak of the plague at Zante in the middle of 1617 nearly brought all trade there to a complete standstill. But not absolutely, as it was in English ships that Venice sent help to the stricken island, and in August we find Richard Beresford and John Wild appointed to look after the interests of the Levant Company there (No. 880).
Trade actually in Venetian hands was disappearing. The exemption granted to Venetian ships from the custom of wine was abolished because the Venetian ships could not cope with the work in the ports of the Levant, and nothing would be gained by diverting them to the west to the detriment of the customs (No. 3). In London only one Venetian merchant survived, Federici, and he was a discredited bankrupt. Almost all Venetian affairs in England were in the hands of Flemings (p. 603). Some Englishmen did well out of it, however, as we find it stated that Thomas Heale, of Devon, traded at Venice for the sum of over 100,000l. yearly (No. 587).
Largely, no doubt, owing to the constant difficulties with Turkey, English merchants listened with great interest to a proposal of Sir Thomas Roe, then envoy in India, to bring silk direct to England by sea from Persia. The chief difficulty would be in providing the three or four millions necessary to purchase the silk for the first year, but the king of Persia offered to advance that sum for a year on sufficient security (No. 622). Pindar, however, ridiculed the whole idea as a chimera of Roe's brain, since the difficulties of collecting the silk, which could only be obtained in small quantities, would prove too great (No. 745).
The main particulars of the dispute with the Dutch about dyed cloth are fully given by Professor Gardiner. (fn. 14) These despatches add a few details. By November, 1616, the distress occasioned by the measures taken by the two governments had become acute, and there was a great outcry from those who had been thrown out of work. The Council looked about for remedies and suggested a prohibition of silk. They also looked for a place on the continent to serve as a mart for English goods, as Middelburg had been before the dispute. Their eyes turned towards Villefranche or Nice. Lionello greatly feared that Savoy might be tempted and so forfeit the sympathy of the Dutch. Sarmiento, who perceived an excellent opportunity for embroiling the English and Dutch, suggested that Flanders should be open to receive English cloth (No. 577). The Dutch appointed commissioners to discuss this and other matters in England, but there the pinch had been too cruelly felt, and it was thought prudent to yield. The new company was dissolved and the old one reinstated, although the proclamation for the latter was not issued till August (No. 602 and note). The commissioners did not come over (No. 607).
The Autumn of 1615 witnessed the fall of the favourite Carr. The Venetian ambassadors did not obtain information till late. The first intimation is in October, when Foscarini speaks of serious disputes in the Council, the earl of Somerset and the Treasurer against all the rest, backed by the queen (No. 63). They do not add much to our knowledge of this cause celebre. On November 13 Lord Wotton waited on Somerset and in the king's name demanded of him the seals of his office and the Lord Chamberlain's staff. Somerset gave him the seals and told him to take the staff, which stood in a corner of the room. Wotton insisted that Somerset should hand him the staff in accordance with the king's command (No. 95). After the trial and sentence Barbarigo believed that neither the earl nor countess would receive any grace except the axe instead of the rope. The sentences were, however, remitted, and Lionello suggests that they might not even have to spend the rest of their lives in the Tower. The king received an anonymous letter moralising on Somerset's fall and saying he had been sacrificed to Arundel, Pembroke and Southampton (No. 340).
Throughout the trial Barbarigo was convinced that something more important than Overbury's murder lay behind it all. One of the leading councillors told him that the most important documents had found their way into Philip's hands (No. 90). Digby, in 1614, had told the king that all his most intimate secrets were revealed at Madrid, but he had not then ventured to accuse the favourite (No. 119). In January, Barbarigo speaks of a second trial upon the treasonable relations with Spain (No. 163). After the final sentence Lionello states that although there were other important matters, such as treason and betrayal, yet they preferred to condemn Somerset for the murder alone, in order not to publish secrets to the people at a time when negotiations were proceeding for a marriage with Spain (No. 306). The Venetians hoped that these disclosures and the fall of Somerset would destroy Spanish influence in England. But a man like Sarmiento never gave up hope. He exercised a great influence with the king and spent money freely among the courtiers. Somerset had been in his pay. He brought 90,000l. to England with him. In 1615 he received 30,000l. from home, followed by another 20,000l. (No. 137). He spent 150,000 crowns a year in pensions at the Court (No. 312), and when Roos went to Spain he borrowed 16,000 crowns of him for the purpose of bribery (No. 524). It is remarkable that he refused to pay the pensions of those Catholics who took the oath of allegiance (No. 458).
The place vacated by Carr was soon filled by George Villiers, who rose even more rapidly in the king's favour. In January, 1616, he became Master of the Horse and Viscount Leicester; in May he received the Garter; in January, 1617. he was created earl of Buckingham. In February he entered the English Privy Council and in June the Scottish, the first Englishman to receive the honour. He was the one infallible means of obtaining anything from the king (No. 828). After a year of the king's favour he had acquired an income of 80,000 crowns a year, an immense quantity of money and jewels and the highest offices and dignities of the realm (No. 567). So far he received no great administrative office. After Somerset's fall the office of Secretary of State was shared by Lake and Winwood, the former for home and the latter for foreign affairs. Lake was secretly a Catholic, a strong adherent of the Spanish party and in the confidence of Sarmiento (No. 330). Winwood was a sturdy Protestant and strongly anti-Spanish. In a moment of impatience Lionello calls him ignorant and obstinate (No. 556), but he admits him to be the chief hope of the opponents of Spain (No. 816).
Although Sarmiento thought it worth his while to court the queen, she possessed no influence. Upon the Spanish marriage she blew alternately hot and cold. She hated the Dutch and was much incensed by a caricature of the king of Denmark published in the Netherlands. She liked to receive the ambassadors, but her constant ill-health often interfered with audiences. When the king left for Scotland she was nominated one of the Council to govern England, but she never attended.
Prince Charles comes more and more into public notice. In July, 1616, he was admitted to the Privy Council and in November he was created Prince of Wales with great ceremony. He cultivated the habit of talking with the diplomatists and usually gave the king a written account of the interview (No. 483). The king did not like him to leave his side or to run into the slightest danger, and even objected to his attending a review (No. 54).
The king's financial difficulties continued to increase in spite of various attempts to raise money. The unpopular sale of the Cautionary towns was simply for the sake of the ready money, and it served to raise his credit for a while, though most of the money was squandered. There was only one effective way out of the difficulty and that was to summon a parliament. In October, 1616, James actually proposed this to the Council (No. 53). It met with the usual opposition from interested parties, but after the fall of Somerset, Barbarigo thought a parliament certain, and by December 25th the Council had actually issued orders for one to assemble. The people, said Barbarigo, would never refuse money for purposes honourable to the country (No 129). However, when James returned from Newmarket to London, the subject dropped and nothing more was heard of it (No. 163). The subject was not revived till August, 1617, when the king's debts amounted to three millions, and he hoped to use the threat of a Spanish marriage to obtain a liberal grant (No. 862). But James really dreaded a parliament more and more. Though it pleased him to boast of the loyalty of his people, he was sensible of the growing discontent with his proceedings, and that a high-spirited people might only need leaders to break into open revolt (No. 456). Even in Scotland it seemed that only the absence of powerful nobles to act as leaders prevented a rising (No. 709), and a rebellion actually broke out in the Highlands.
The case of Antonio Foscarini and Giulio Muscorno excited a good deal of interest in England. The news of Muscorno's arrest created quite a stir at Court. Foscarini busily accumulated evidence against him, but he does not appear to have felt his own danger, though he thought it strange that he received no additional honour from home after so long a service. By degrees he came to realise that he must expect a reception of quite another character. Before he left, James showed him considerable attention, but he must have travelled with a mind full of misgiving. He passed through France and Savoy, but avoided Milan, where the governor might preserve too lively a recollection of a certain kicking along a corridor (fn. 15) On reaching Venice he was immediately arrested. An indictment of more than 80 counts was drawn up against him. Many of the charges are preposterous and utterly incredible, and at the worst they leave the impression that if he was indiscreet he was guilty of no serious crimes. His case must have suffered serious prejudice for a time by the discovery that copies of his despatches had got into the hands of the ambassadors of France and Spain. When this was cleared up. however, it appeared that he was in no wise to blame.
There only remains space to briefly indicate a number of other subjects calling for remark: the disgrace of Coke and its causes; the death of Arabella Stuart; the coming to England of the archbishop of Spalato; the outbreak of an Englishman at Rome, who smashed the pope's portrait; the objection of the pope to the decision of Venice to allow a doctor to grant degrees at Padua without requiring a profession of faith; two cases of private war, one in England and one in Scotland (Nos. 458, 726); a brawl in the city against the French ambassador; the vindication by Digby of the right of asylum at his embassy at Madrid; the fear of a Spanish invasion of England during the king's absence in Scotland; the present to the queen of ten mares in foal from Denmark, to improve the breed of horses in England, and so forth. We learn that the Venetian Ambassador Giustinian attended a performance of Pericles in London, accompanied by the ambassadors of France and Florence, and that the entertainment cost him more than 20 crowns. Foscarini only went three or four times to the play, but then he did not understand a word of English. To judge by his spelling of French proper names his acquaintance with that language was hardly more extensive.
I am indebted to my friend, Dr. Arnold Meyer, of the Prussian School at Rome, for the names and titles of the nuncios mentioned in the volume. I must also thank Commendatore Malagola and his staff at the Archives at Venice for their never-failing courtesy and attention.