Venice: September 1622, 21-24

Pages 422-463

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 17, 1621-1623. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.

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September 1622

Sept. 21.
Consiglio di X.
601. Order for the execution by hanging on the morning of the 22nd inst. of Girolamo Vano of Salò and Domenico son of Zuane of Venice, the bodies to remain between the pillars of St. Mark until sunset, in conformity with the sentence passed by this Council.
Sept. 21.
602. ALVISE CORNER, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
They have nominated the Junta for the marriage with England. They have appointed Don Baldassare, the Count of Gondomar, the king's confessor, the infanta's confessor, and two other divines. Although all feel doubtful about any conclusion, yet they meet frequently, and try to find opportunities for satisfying Digby. I think your Excellencies must have long since seen the articles drawn up in England and sent to Rome, but I send them in case you have not seen them before, and moreover I understand that there have been some changes. (fn. 1)
Madrid, the 21st September, 1622.
Sept. 21.
filza 17.
603. RELATION OF ENGLAND OF GIROLAMO LANDO, Venetian Ambassador. (fn. 2)
King James VI of Scotland and I of England, the oldest hereditary sovereign now reigning, being 56 years of age on June 19th, succeeded to the crown of Scotland while yet in the cradle, and to those of England and Ireland in 1603, in his thirty-seventh year. He has justly occasioned universal amazement, to pass over matters which concern him less, by his irresolute behaviour not only about the crown of Bohemia, which came to the Palatine Frederick, his son-in-law, and his son Henry Frederick, but also about the Palatinate, their hereditary dominions, with many tedious and costly negotiations, inflicting a grievous blow upon his friends, the religion he professes and his own dominions. Although these last have neither seen nor felt the point of the sword which has lacerated so many parts of the world, they have felt and experience more and more the sting and poison of insidious practices and are learning from experience that the scourge of corruption does nearly as much mischief as the open flames of war. One marvels the more at such conduct not only because of the condition to which it has reduced his only daughter Elizabeth and her dependants, but because at the same time it has estranged him from those with whom one would think he should have stood closest, both at home and abroad in such events, and joined him with those from whom he should have stood farthest apart. It may therefore prove interesting to examine the reasons which have guided him in this course, which should not be difficult to ascertain, when we consider that his opinions seem always to have had the same roots, although the latter never appeared so plainly as at the present time. Recent events have allowed us to penetrate to the bottom of the likes and dislikes of peoples, the wishes (fn. 3) and power of one and another, showing clearly that the power and spirit of nations do not always maintain the standard of ancient example and disclose at bottom the weakness generated by long and ill regulated ease, amid pleasure, wealth and display, results sometimes produced by an excessive desire for peace. It shows us that the proceedings of princes (fn. 4) must not be judged only by the maxims of states by nature immortal or by what they ought to be in the general opinion, but chiefly by the trend of their genius and that of the favourites and by the sequence of important events in this age, so many examples having appeared elsewhere.
All this would require lengthy treatment, as your Serenity has had no relation from those parts for a long while, but I have determined to study brevity before all things, although perfect knowledge depends upon a minute acquaintance with details. I will not overtax your curiosity about the affairs of the country, already somewhat faint if not altogether extinct. The exact and profound information which I have obtained may perhaps prove more useful and meet with greater acceptance in the present deplorable state of affairs, when this province finds itself shut off from every approach by land and compelled to look to the more remote parts of the world, as well as to those nearer, which by their very distance afford less occasion for disagreement or suspicion, more especially while the Spaniards by scattering gold, which enchains more than steel subdues, continue to separate them from you well knowing that in their proper and natural frame of mind they would be fully capable of helping others, having no needs of their own.
Although this king is the first who with the greatest good fortune (fn. 5) united the three sceptres, by joining the English and Scots, who constantly tore each other in fierce wars, although naturally united in a single island only divided by small streams and peaceful hills, and destined to live peacefully under a single government, he also happens to possess little dominion outside the limits of these kingdoms, and being split off from the land, has hardly any adjacent members except islands. Of the extensive possessions in France only the two little islands (fn. 6) of Jersey and Guernsey remain of the Duchy of Normandy from the time that duke William conquered England, and serve as a frontier in that direction, the scanty inhabitants being very skilled in arms and fond of them. He has no dominion on the mainland except the colony of Virginia in the West Indies. But the numerous islands in the neighbourhood prove very profitable, and they hope for even better results from improved cultivation of the soil and from the arts recently introduced, and they even sent some Muranese from London for glass work. In this connection I may mention that I succeeded by tact in taking away more than one of these workmen. In the west also there are the Bermudas, important for their situation and strength, although of small extent; Newfoundland, chiefly valuable for the whale fisheries and the oil of these and other fish, and Greenland, mother of ice, where the Dutch also claim dominion, and a dispute rages over these same fisheries for otherwise it is barren and useless. I omit Polaron, a small valueless island, their only possession in the East Indies, because it is good for little or nothing.
As his Majesty enjoys nothing of these ancient possessions beyond the title, the use of the three lilies on the crown and touching for the scrofula, like the Most Christian kings, so he has been born and brought up with a very humble spirit and cares little for the fume of these old claims. Thus contrary to the usage of his predecessors, who never gave the King of France any title but Most Christian, he has occasionally shown himself very liberal, and to the no small displeasure of the English, he caused his ambassadors to give way to the French in strict ceremonial upon some occasions. Thus he seems to aspire to nothing beyond the limits which the sea has set him although he has frequently been urged by his own subjects and the States to join fleets for the west and so strike at the most solid foundations of the Spanish monarchy, what one may call its very soul.
His inclinations on this point have always seemed opposed to those of his subjects and he has either discountenanced or stopped those who intended to go there, punishing by imprisonment and even death some who thought they rather deserved rewards. Yet it promised advantages and riches, the trade being one which does not swallow up money and often brings gold for goods of little value, without losing sailors while keeping the men in practice and further providing an outlet for the superabundant energies of these realms. Although he recently granted patents under his royal seal to Captain Roger North, who went to the shores of the Amazons for that purpose, yet at the opposition of the Spanish ambassador he commanded him to stop and when he did not obey, punished him on his return. He released him ultimately but with a threatening command never to meddle again with such affairs or correspond with the few persons there or with those who proposed to go thither by way of the Netherlands. Thus although that country is mainland it is not considered under him because he does not desire it. Nevertheless his restraint does not suffice to bridle completely so vehement a desire and some continue to attempt such voyages, but not being assisted by the public purse, only by those of private individuals incapable of doing much, and so without the means necessary to encounter the numerous difficulties, they find it hard to maintain themselves, let alone improve their position.
His Majesty has not shown the same sentiments about the East, as he has fallen out with the Dutch over the injuries his subjects have received from them, and has tried his utmost to secure for his people a share not only in the pearls and spices but in the forts and ports, acquired and settled at great cost of life. And yet it brings them nothing but vexation and hard knocks and absorbs a large quantity of gold, which does not return, in exchange for spices, and causes great waste among the sailors, eight dying out of every ten. They are defeated in the rivalry for that trade as they do not go with strong forces to match those of the Dutch, and the agreements arranged have never produced good results. From these circumstances important results have followed which are well known, to the advantage of the Spaniards, although it subsequently seemed, especially at the time of my departure, that his Majesty was trying more to benefit his affairs with them and elsewhere rather than to involve himself (fn. 7) seriously in the matter.
For many other reasons also the attitude he adopts is generally considered more adapted to the state to which he was born than to his present condition, although doubtless the thoughtful may perceive that it is based upon important interests and considerations for that also.
At first he had Scotland only, its 43 Hebrides and 31 Orkneys being stones (fn. 8) rather than rocks and rocks rather than islands, with a handful of people, very poor owing to the sterility and of no account for industry. The majority ply the trade of fishermen, a few voyage on the high seas; they are very wild, many scarcely know of God, (fn. 9) are rarely visited and resemble beasts more than men. They do not know the meaning of obedience to the king, who has not troubled to put restraint upon them, owing to their feeble condition. They therefore live practically free in their rough situation, and one may call them simply the hairs on the body of that kingdom.
The kingdom itself is populous, the women being prolific, showing how much more fruitful are the northern parts; moreover, since they wandered from the true religion they have no nuns or others professing virginity in any of those countries; the very bishops marry. Its wealth and power are not such however as to prevent his Majesty, although succeeding to other crowns, from trying to obtain them by peaceful methods rather than by force.
The revenues of that crown do not exceed 100,000 crowns, rather that of a private individual than of a king. The subjects, who also have limited incomes, indulge readily in pleasures. They has no trade of any consequence although they possess a number of good ports. These revenues have always had to suffice for the ordinary expenses of the royal household, (fn. 10) which are necessarily moderate, although the nation naturally inclines to magnificence, but for the extraordinary expenses also, for sending and receiving ambassadors, dowries for the daughters, buildings and everything else.
Their naval forces are in no way considerable, and since the days of James IV, over a hundred years ago, none of their kings has had men-of-war. He himself in his disputes with England had no more than fourteen, built and maintained by extraordinary contributions. On land they formed armies of 30,000, 50,000 men and more, when the country was not nearly so populous as now after a peace of sixty years, but they were never used except for defence and against the English, generally as a diversion in their wars with France with whom they always maintained a close alliance, many Scottish subjects enjoying the highest titles as naturalised Frenchmen and being appointed as the personal guard of the most Christian. That sovereign continues to keep many adherents there by pensions, although no longer paid after the universal fashion. He did this until recently with the king's own sons, who resigned them for their honour's sake.
All subjects being bound to serve at their own expense cannot long keep the field, but were accustomed to divide into four parts near the frontiers and only joined the main body in exceptional emergencies. In addition to their fortresses, their natural advantages saved them, the country being marshy, mountainous, full of precipices and woods and surrounded by the sea, so that when they were compelled to retreat they withdrew to their mountains and woods, and could with difficulty be found, let alone conquered. Thus the English even introduced dogs to follow their trail and hunt them like wild beasts, but could never subdue them although they claim to have sometimes made them tributary, after penetrating a certain distance. It is very true that the present king, if he has money ready to maintain them, can easily make levies for any design both in numbers and even more in quality as they are brave, tall, robust, less gluttonous and more capable of endurance than the English. In the south in particular they are cultivated, of high spirit, with subtle intellects capable of assimilating every sort of knowledge, but disorderly owing to the amplitude of their privileges, swollen by the poverty of their kings, and seditious out of all measure. Their royal house in particular, has constantly been the theatre of tragic events, and even after his coming to England, his Majesty only escaped dangerous and famous conspiracies by great good fortune. This has naturally rendered him suspicious and careful of his person, especially as his father and mother died by the sword and conspiracy.
Embittered factions exist among them, although now somewhat more covertly, but deathlessly engraved in their hearts. They are chiefly divided by religion which renders them less powerful than in past ages. The neighbourhood of England has encouraged freedom of thought, which has attracted the popular inclination like a calamity, showing clearly how important it is whether states are near or far from the infection of such a pestilence, the most lamentable of all and which spreads worse than the plague, its poison penetrating to every household. Although his Majesty was baptized a Catholic, yet being placed in his tender years under heretical tutors chosen by the people, he has hitherto professed their religion, although with more moderation. With policy and great prudence he has tried to assimilate the laws in his realms, the Scots governing themselves by communes, the English by municipalities, but especially in church matters, but he has always failed, for countless reasons, finding no means of reconciling such divers inclinations and opinions.
The Protestant religion in England is a mixture of the dogmas of Luther in particular and Calvin, although these sects are strongly opposed to each other, with some resemblance in ceremonies to Catholicism. In Scotland the generality lean to Calvinism, imitating Geneva and the Huguenots, claiming to base their worship upon the pure word of God, (fn. 11) from which they get the name of Puritans. They keep their eyes fixed upon liberty and popular government, are restless, anxious for reform and inculcate revolt, plots and a recourse to fire and sword. As the king might fear that after the death of Elizabeth the English also might think of asserting their liberty, owing to the numerous Puritans among them, embracing whole villages and towns, especially with the example of the neighbouring Netherlands, he began to hate the Puritans worse than the Catholics. The latter form rather less than a third of the kingdom; and in Ireland four fifths. It also gave birth to an idea which easily takes root in the minds of monarchs, who cannot bear to hear of people revolting and claiming authority, of hating all revolt, and not loving the Dutch or any other republic greatly, although he loves your Serenity more than any other, because born and not made free and founded upon peace, which he thinks she loves as much as himself. His devotion to his studies and the chase, which have always been his principal diversions, has rendered him the best scholar and hunter ever known among his equals. Though hating real war he loves the exercise which is its image. He aims at standing well with all and exciting the jealousy of none, satisfying the Scots and feeding the hopes of the English, Catholics, Protestants and Puritans alike, although they can never entirely agree in their affection towards him. The Puritans are not satisfied with his being a Protestant; the Protestants will not have him a Catholic or a Puritan, and the Catholics will not have him anythig but a Catholic.
The last in their adherence to his Holiness and other princes, especially the Spaniards, the absolute possessors of their mind like the others, keep up secret correspondence with princes in France, with the Netherlands, Germany, Geneva and elsewhere. His Majesty fed similar hopes in foreign princes, chiefly to remove the opposition of those to whom the power of such realms might prove suspect, and who, to prevent their union, might wish to see any one else succeed. He especially cultivated the Catholic, owing to the absolute necessity at that time of making gifts to the ministers of England to secure their support. This has not only made him think less of ministers receiving pensions but sowed the seeds in him of fear and respect for that power beyond all others, largely owing to its following in England and Ireland, and by the facility it has of sending larger fleets to sea than the French, although the latter are nearer and have an abundance of forts. That power, in conjunction with the pope advanced its claims to these realms, under the banner of his spiritual authority, which with the adoration of a numerous fanatical herd would always suffice to cause him great anxiety and so he courted the benevolence of his Holiness himself. By such arts he not only secured his peaceful succession to the other crowns, which might have encountered serious obstacles in the passage from the house of Tudor to that of Stuart, but established himself firmly from the first, especially as he would not at once proclaim himself head of the Anglican church, in order not to offend the Catholics, against whom Elizabeth had been so bitter and whom he tried not to have against him, at the beginning of his reign. Any prudent ruler would do the same, at least until fairly in the saddle. Thus the king proceeded step by step, sometimes oppressing them and sometimes gracious as the exigencies of the time or the provocation he received suggested. The treasonable conspiracies induced him not to persecute them so much as to caress them so that they might become less discontented. He professed a desire to win them over by preaching and exhortation, not to violate their consciences by punishment.
He brought about peace between England and the Spaniards although urged by all his council to continue the war owing to the advantages of privateering; many hold the opinion that even while still in Scotland he gave some solemn (fn. 12) promise never to break with them. Although on the other hand he drew closer to those of his own religion, being recognised in some sort as its head he did so with moderation and advantage, holding the position rather as an ornament than a burden; at the same time he did not entirely abandon the States, having an eye to his own safety, for the same reason and because they serve as an outwork for his realms, though he did not protect them as Elizabeth did, aiming always at the glory of his own safety. Yet he allowed them and others to obtain munitions and ships in his dominions, while he permitted the Spaniards and other opponents to take a certain quantity. This is remarkable because these latter grants were either a pretence or he pretended they were a pretence, letting it be understood that he did not care for men to go to that service and was indifferent whether they were cut in pieces or sent back. Nevertheless this show of sentiment towards the Spaniards has produced more noise than results, as will always prove the case. If he risked and lost his own subjects, he may have considered the loss of men of this stamp a great advantage while disclosing their sympathies.
By thus favouring many he has proceeded in his own unbroken peace while handling various negotiations and mediations, with the appearance and profession of acting from his secure and powerful situation, out of mere favour, and from courtesy rather than his own interests or because of promises and declarations. He can do so more readily because these of themselves suffice without anything further and either serve to keep danger away from his dominions or to second the prosperity of fortune, in which he has great belief and which is his chief maxim. Thus when the affairs of the house of Austria were balanced, especially during the life of Henry IV of France, he did not seem so favourable to it, and he showed much less respect for the Holy See in his writings and publications, once he was thoroughly safe in his dominions, and was as anxious for reputation with his pen and tongue as reluctant now with the sword, to gain renown with the Protestants and the bulk of his own subjects, acting in his own interests, when he had nothing to fear and expected the success of his own party.
But after the death of that great king, when the Spaniards grew more and more prosperous and threatening and their opponents declined, he came to esteem them more and abstained from doing anything to displease them and thought it necessary to keep on their side and caress instead of fighting them, as they would be very difficult to defeat, in fact he thought them invincible. Thus although his good fortune rendered him master of the whole of the island of Great Britain, the largest yet known, and of Ireland, half as large and less than a day's journey away, which with all their natural advantages may seem strong and vigorous on the surface, yet when one penetrates to the marrow and examines the details he discovers infirmities which perhaps exceed the common measure.
England truly enjoys remarkable advantages with the sea as its wall and moat. It is shallow on one side (fn. 13) and full of obstacles, unfit for large ships. On the other there is a very strong tide compelling those who would attack it to await the second while remaining exposed to the caprices of fortune, which are very frequent there. This prevents the use of galleys, as the French have learned by experience, as the rivers and ports can only be used with a rising tide. These are few in number in proportion to the circuit of the country and almost all dangerous to enter and unfit for large fleets. Thus her kings have always been relieved of the necessity for keeping up numerous fortresses, which would have served more to appease those at home than to bridle foreigners. Accordingly one only sees very few, and now the wars have ceased these are left without garrisons and abandoned to the destruction of time. The coast is very strong in every direction and may be called a fortress for its whole extent, (fn. 14) and three ships in the most important ports with an adequate guard suffice for all ordinary requirements. In emergencies they only have guards at all the ports and at the mouths of the rivers.
Of the adjacent islands although some are rather nests for birds than habitations for men, others like Mona or (fn. 15) Anglesea are only separated by a small river, and it is considered an integral part, called the island of the Angles or Angels, the mother and nurse of many owing to its abundance of corn and cattle. Wight (fn. 16) in an important situation is only cut off by a channel which forms a good port for Hampton, a place of moderate size. I may call it not a relict but a trace of the former trade of the Italians and subjects of your Serenity, now so miserably reduced and in the hands of the English alone, who seem to guard and fortify it like so many teeth.
The kingdom does not possess many large towns, which may be estimated to number twenty-four, a small number for its size, but has very frequent and populous villages and small towns. Although art is not commonly used to render nature more perfect, in fact it often spoils, just as paint unskilfully used deforms rather than embellishes a woman, yet for the most part it is inter-sperced with small and pleasant hills, which set forth the labours of our common mother most fairly though showing little emulation on her part. Although so far north and though the sun rarely shines in its full splendour or a whole day, yet the air is temperate, fruitful and very pleasant, combining (fn. 17) equally utility and enjoyment. The area is covered with quantities of grain which generally make it almost another Apulia, and they have a superabundance not only for food but for drink.
On their pasture land they have immense flocks of animals of every kind, especially sheep, which may be called the veritable golden fleece. Besides their pleasure parks, their forests go uncultivated, and they are so numerous that they are estimated to cover one fourth of the country. The woods of Diana were never so numerous, beautiful or so well provided with hunting and fishing, without harmful beasts, and if there is poison it exists in the human species alone. The bowels of the earth are full of minerals, lead, tin and even iron, without counting the gold and silver which they announce exists both there and in Scotland, (fn. 18) because if really there in good quantity and quality, the avarice which found a way to seek it out at the bottom of the sea and in the centre of the earth certainly would not leave it unworked, especially considering the enormous necessities of the king, which would have aroused their ardour and overcome all difficulties.
But the true mines and the true Indies, as in other realms, are the harvest from the seas and rivers, in the fisheries for herrings and other fish, about which they have frequently quarreled with other nations, and at present chiefly with the Dutch, who claim that the fisheries are free and common like the high seas. They supply nutriment and keep countless numbers (fn. 19) exercised in seamanship. His Majesty however desires to be recognised as sovereign and to receive a certain tribute.
The country is as fruitful in commerce as by the gifts of nature, famous for its ships and for its great sea captains, especially Drake and Cavendish, (fn. 20) the first being the second to circumnavigate the world, and the second the third to do so. It possesses fleets of hundreds and thousands of ships together with all the material for building and arming them, except pitch, flax, tow and rope, which come in quantities from Muscovy and Danzig. It has abundance of sulphur and saltpetre with the means of providing artillery and every other kind of arms. Although it has not over 4,000 ships as some have written, it has quite 2,500 scattered up and down, and one might without trouble select 200 or more fit to render good service, if there was a way to maintain them, and by an effort as many as 400 with some foreign ones. Those belonging especially to the king, or to the crown, as the people claim, amount to about forty, some of notable size and build.
The land forces are very numerous and the number of men capable of serving may be called unlimited. For defence every one is bound to serve at the slightest sign, everything being excellently ordered, and to be armed and disciplined in modern evolutions. All the towns and counties have paid captains, and united they would have many thousands of men, very well disciplined, as has always been their reputation. That great soldier the prince of Orange told me he had found none better when they had got over the first hardships, being determined in battle, not despising death but fearing it less than others. To leave the country they could easily form a force of 50, 60 or 70,000 men, or rather of as many as they could pay. If the parliament consents to the expedition, it maintains it without the king having to spend a farthing, the captains authorised to make the levies having power to take all manner of persons, and even entering shops and houses, except men over sixty or under seventeen, clerks, students, titled gentlemen and officials of the court. They have power of life and death and may use force, a remarkable custom, peculiar to that kingdom.
With such a people and a flourishing and numerous nobility with considerable wealth, incomes up to 100,000 crowns and great numbers with 20 to 30,000, his Majesty should consider himself most fortunate and powerful. He holds in his hand alone every sort of jurisdiction, the gentry having nothing but the titles and the revenues; he also enjoys the supreme spiritual authority and is the sole patron and purveyor of honours and benefits. But one can easily see how the change in religion destroys such authority, which appears so all pervading. In this realm of England which supplies the main strength of the monarchy, his Majesty's finest jewel is ruined, although Elizabeth maintained it in vigour for the forty years of her reign, and in love and reverence towards the crown. Anciently the country was divided into numerous petty kingdoms which waged fierce internecine wars, there being as many sovereigns as counties; so it was always ready for revolt and uproar and accustomed to take the bit between its teeth, the people being fierce and proud, although they have no nobility more than 3 to 400 years old from the Conqueror. So he thought he could manage them better without arms, the use of which easily dies out in so fertile and pleasant a country, which outdoes the fame of the old fables, and being in a safe position he tried as hard to make them unwarlike as his predecessors tried the contrary.
His cavalry has never been considered except (fn. 21) for the defence of the country. It consists mainly of troops lightly armed, a few having the lance and wearing the cuirass. Yet they have countless horses mostly hackneys (fn. 22) for pleasure only noteworthy for convenience and speed. In Cornwall alone one finds some trace of large ones, but they are too clumsy and of poor spirit, and those are so few that it would be difficult to collect 400 of them.
The cavalry soldiers like the infantry do not readily support discomfort and like plenty of conveniences and pleasures, and they hate anything long drawn out, and so, following the example of their sovereign, they seem to make better huntsmen and falconers than soldiers. They could not easily assemble more than 3 or 4,000 of this ill-armed and undisciplined cavalry at one time.
The infantry with their captains, who serve more for appearance than use, care for little else than eating and drinking and smoking their infernal tobacco in the numerous taverns. They go to the musters more for sport and these delights than from a desire to gain experience. Accordingly out of a thousand scarce a hundred know how to manipulate the musket and pike with numerous other-faults and imperfections. As his Majesty has always allowed them to go and serve others, to avoid the danger of surfeit, there are usually from 13 to 14,000 in the Netherlands so near to them, serving as a cautery and sewer, (fn. 23) but as this rests entirely with their discretion, there are not so many as required, for unwilling and idle bodies do not transmit so much as sound and active ones.
His Majesty has gained this advantage, that with the disuse of arms, phlegm and quiet have increased among his subjects, so much so that throughout the whole time of my embassy in London, the centre, fount, treasury and diadem of the realm, only two men were slain out of 350,000 souls. But doubtless this must be attributed absolutely to the ordinary justice, which is punctually exercised in such cases, and the difficulty if not impossibility of escaping from an island like that.
The sea forces, if we consider the royal ships, the chief bulwark of the island, formerly the strongest in Christendom, in the general langour and through incredible neglect, now resemble the tottering columns of some great ruin, being dismantled and derelict. They remain in port exposed to all weather with few repairs to the ravages of time. They were examined and perfunctorily repaired for the recent armament and the others which they profess to make probably with more show than reality. Three or four years ago they came to an agreement with the merchants, who by building two every year would have authority to dismantle the worst of the old ones. This is the utmost they have effected under his Majesty's government. He likes to say that true glories and trophies do not always consist in arms and fleets, but often much more in the works of peace, and the olive crown is even more estimable than the laurel. Accordingly they do not appoint the oldest or the most experienced to be their chief admirals, and one has to approach their venal ministers, who are usually especially well cultivated by the Spaniards, the latter like horses preferring to drink in troubled waters, as the clear would show their ugliness, and wherever they give their appetites scope they know no bounds. If we turn to the ships scattered up and down the kingdom, which were formerly employed in the most villainous piracies and by allowing subjects to remain armed kept war constantly going and made it probable that trade would be prevented everywhere, they have been notably diminished by his Majesty's prohibition of privateering, which he professes to hate extremely, to the immense benefit of all the nations.
In this way the old school of seamanship has declined, and it will be difficult without such an outlet to keep it for long in such a flourishing condition, as the people took to it most readily encouraged by the green memory of the benefits they derived for so many years, and were even invited to sell their patrimony to buy ships. Now they take to other occupations and bring up their sons to other employments, and they no longer keep up so many by official payments as was largely done in the time of Elizabeth. This has at the same time diminished their trade, which was much greater then with the predominance they enjoyed at sea, when they were encouraged rather than hindered by the other pirates, owing to agreements between them. Even now the ardour of their spirits cannot be completely quenched, though only a few remain who are most harmful with the advantage of their nests in Barbary and are especially bitter against their own countrymen, being embittered by the fleet which his Majesty recently decided to send against them. For this, or at least, under this pretext he joined the Spaniards, and involved himself and the merchants in heavy expenditure, in the attempt to clear the sea, and the failure through the impossibility of keeping it up owing to the great expense both public and private, was most damaging to his prestige. The crews being ill paid and ill disciplined, the majority driven to serve by force, perished in great numbers, while whole bands deserted to join the pirates. This shows how inadequate medicines only serve to increase the evil, and the Spaniards, who previously showed the utmost jealousy and suspicion at the slightest sign of the preparation of a fleet in England, now encourage it, feeling assured that they will suffer no harm but will rather benefit, as they will serve no purpose except to exhaust and bring shame upon those who maintain them.
This has also depressed all the trades, including that of cloth, to the immense disgust of countless artisans, who revolted recently for lack of food. The wars of Poland and Germany have also damaged them and severely affected the king also, in the customs, which though raised, do not augment his Majesty's revenue, as they do not sell so much merchandise as they used and therefore import less; as foreigners have to pay four times as much, many decide not to trade, and so business declines. Moreover, the burdens upon the townsmen, the difference in value with neighbouring countries, which absorb as much gold as the Indies, the introduction of worked gold and silk, taken there with the transport of money, the rise of the Dutch, who now eclipse the fame of all other nations and seem to draw all wealth to themselves, and finally the management of all business by companies, which limits trade to a few tyrannical hands, who, by arrangement among themselves, only place such goods as they think they can sell at very high prices, while taking out a larger quantity than they can sell proves detrimental, in addition to the things already noted. Although favoured by various privileges the companies are declining owing to the charges laid upon them by sovereigns, their expenses being very heavy, especially the Turkey Company, in keeping the ambassador at Constantinople and the consuls, and because, to maintain themselves, they are compelled to disburse great sums to the favourites, the lords of the council and other ministers, many being members of their society. Thus burdened and protected they are enabled and compelled to tyrannize over the sellers without and the buyers within the kingdom, and have to think more of economy than of the maintenance of their marts, not paying their crews and neglecting to furnish their ships well.
The revenues of the crown, which are practically all the king possesses, do not exceed a million and a half, derived from rents of land and real property, which have not grown for a hundred years. They are assigned for twenty or thirty years and more to various persons, and always renewed by ancient custom, the tenants owing so little that it resembles a fee rather than a rent, and as they claim to have them by privilege they would feel doubly aggrieved if the amounts were increased. The revenues of wards, no longer farmed out but recovered for his Majesty, are borne better by the subjects because of so little advantage to him. Customs, tenths, annates from the clergy, first fruits of inheritances are all uncertain revenue, like confiscations.
His Majesty also has the island of Ireland, where he has but few subjects, unworthy of consideration. It contains five provinces notable for their size and fairly populous, with many towns, various sites naturally very strong, mountains, woods, rivers, lakes and marshes. It is much better supplied with horses than Great Britain; they are somewhat small but stronger and more spirited. It has larger and more convenient sea ports for France, the Strait, Spain and elsewhere than either England or Holland. The people are generally tall and brave, some savage but some civilised, all are active and expose themselves to danger with frank courage and endure hardships in their desire for glory. In fact Ireland is such that it would be better for the king if it did not exist and the sea alone rolled there. The other two would be better without it. Only from the time of Henry VIII is the sovereign called king, previously he was lord. It provides a key for the acquisition of the rest owing to its nearness, and its ports which might prove too convenient for enemies, especially if the Spaniards, not more than three days distant, joined in concert with the French. (fn. 24) In my time the diplomatists of the two powers enjoyed an intimacy which might reasonably excite alarm. The fleets of the first, the ports of the second, the friends of the latter in Scotland and of the former everywhere might lead to great results if an opportunity occurred.
Until this last reign sparks of rebellion and sedition have always filled the air in that country, the people being divided into factions, owing to which they gave themselves to Henry II in 1175. Now they are divided at heart, especially over religion. They seem always disturbed in mind if not in deed, his Majesty tending to remain the enemy of all. Although it does not experience (fn. 25) such serious outbreaks as occurred under Elizabeth, and although the flight of Tyrone, the punishment of many of the rebel leaders, the forts erected, the goods confiscated, the assignments made to English and Scotch settlers introduced in great numbers to counterbalance the natives, the cutting down and opening of the woods, which rendered the rebels well nigh invincible, and the draining of the marshes have rendered the king more secure from rebellion than ever before, yet his Majesty can never feel confident, especially with the religion he professes, as he cannot reside there because the heart must be at the centre not at the extremities. Where nature is so strongly opposed severity only serves to exasperate the people, and it is even more impossible to punish than to please them. They are constant in affection, but irreconcileable in hate, extreme in all their passions. Accordingly his Majesty never advances them and gives them no employment at court or elsewhere, while the Spaniards always have some in Flanders, soldiers of long experience, retained not so much for the wars there as for other purposes.
At present that kingdom has no ships of its own fit for anything but fishing, and indeed it possesses little wealth, its trade and strength having decayed through war and the jealousy of the English, who do not allow them to build larger vessels. The rustics, although forbidden, have long been accustomed to ruin trees and cut down the newest ones. They have other ridiculous customs such as pulling not cutting the wool of sheep, drawing the plough by the tails of horses and the like, and they prefer to persist in paying fines rather than abandon their more than barbarous customs. Many also love ease and think it a sign of distinction. The island only supplies his Majesty with a revenue of 40,000 crowns.
This strong body possessing so many rotten humours and being in such disorder, and his Majesty having so small a revenue, he has not accumulated money, but rather debts; they say he owes 4 millions of gold and more, consuming all his revenues two or three years in advance. He may be called rich in jewels only, which mostly belong to the crown, in tapestries and other precious furnishings. When he came to England he found no money of Elizabeth, for it had been generously expended in maintaining her dignity and in so many generous employments, and he had no dowry worth mentioning with his wife; he spent a great deal on his journey to England in an outburst of joy and gratitude, to create a good impression and begin amid blessings. He has always been naturally splendid, although it is estimated that his ordinary expenses in the salary of fifty (fn. 26) gentlemen pensioners, his other guard of 200 to 300 archers, (fn. 27) his three (fn. 28) ships for the protection of the island, the ministers of his household, his stables, hunting, food, wardrobe and everything else do not amount to a million. However, his liberality and munificence flow like rivers and seas and continually fatten his favourites. His excessive donations, his expenditure in receiving and sending ambassadors consume mountains of gold, a single one costing 40,000 to 50,000l. sterling, and even more, such as that of Viscount Doncaster to Germany for a few months. The expense of providing for the Palatine, his wife and children, has consumed drop by drop as much oil as would have furnished a large lamp. They now claim to maintain 8,000 foot and 1,500 horse in the Palatinate, although actually they have not 2,000 for the maintenance of the few places which remain. These things leave the spring constantly dry. Thus he cannot find the salaries or ordinary provisions for his ministers and servants either at home or abroad, and all payments are delayed for years, making things very hard. The council usually discusses nothing else, and they cannot collect any considerable sum without a violent reform which inveterate habit would not suffer. They cannot obtain sufficient from the kingdoms to maintain the royal armies and fleets without delay and many difficulties and unpleasantness, indeed it is impossible until the wishes of the king and his people coincide. The difficulty is that the aims of his Majesty and of the parliament are diametrically opposite. The former leans to absolute monarchy, the latter lean to liberty, with constant commotion like mingled elements which contend to overcome each the other. The king has always endeavoured to reduce their authority, leaving them nothing but a form and a venerable name, and after some experiments which turned out badly only to summon them when absolutely compelled and to avoid doing so with all his might.
Parliament has exercised very great authority for many years; from the time of Edward III the kings began to limit it by successive restrictions, professing that under Henry I in 1116 they were simply summoned to consult the public weal upon what was laid before them and to provide for necessities, not to rule the kingdom. They, on the other hand claim to discuss regulate, and deal with anything which concerns the country's interests, although nothing is valid unless confirmed by his Majesty, who gives life to all resolutions, just as he alone summons and dismisses them. They claim that he himself cannot go beyond their laws and decisions, registered with his consent, and that they have the privilege of punishing any one soever, by deprivation of office and even death. Thus it happens that those who have uneasy consciences always agree against their meeting. In the lower house, of over 400 members, all less concerned in the court than those of the upper house and mostly unaccustomed to any authority, they use it when they possess it with great vainglory and rigour, playing the politician and desiring to order everything that comes into there heads. Thus one will hear a semi rustic oppose the king and government and make more noise than the others, claiming exemption for all of them and privilege for everything dealt with in the assembly as sacred and inviolable and only amenable to parliamentary jurisdiction, saying that they submitted and proclaimed as their kings those who ruled by confirming their ancient privileges and upon such conditions. That for the maintenance of authority in the realm the weal of the parliament is more important than an increase in the king's power, as he is mortal and may not always possess the same virtue and inclination. Although his Majesty has frequently punished some of them, yet as they are adored by the populace, they constantly multiply like the hydra's heads, with the object of leaving the king nothing more than his Majesty, as they like to have a splendid head to honour the nation. Thus on ceremonious occasions they serve him with adoration rather than obsequiousness and display the same reverence even for the throne and royal chamber.
Without a parliament, or great popularity among his subjects, or an accumulation of money, which would be obtained with difficulty, or some other power which would give the king courage to introduce impositions without an assembly, he would perhaps only harm himself seriously by so acting. (fn. 29) He can never really call himself king except in not acting. Without the consent of parliament he can impose no duties except upon superfluities and even that is disputed. If he asks for benevolences from rich persons or those reputed such, even as a simple loan, he must bind himself to repay, though this rarely happens except, as in the case of Elizabeth, to obtain a large quantity. Although the requests of princes amount to commands, yet he only obtains inconsiderable sums in this way, which can only serve for one occasion and not to supply his needs, whilst they only irritate his subjects, since they are only adopted to avoid the necessity of summoning parliaments.
When his Majesty, compelled by force of circumstances, finally brought himself to summon a parliament, although he tried to limit and restrain the liberty of the commoners in choosing their representatives, and succeeded in some towns and counties, he could not manage it as a general rule, the relations of the favourite and even his own councillors being rejected. (fn. 30) When at length the assembly met after the three months necessary for the elections and to allow the deputies to come from the more distant parts, it deliberated with great slowness, as delighting in its own authority, like an inexperienced republic, though making great claims and taking many holidays. It aimed more at obtaining satisfaction for itself than at rendering satisfaction to his Majesty, feeling that once he had what he wanted he would dissolve it. As a first point they aimed at depriving him of his principal favourites, who are usually the butts for accusations and universally hated, more especially because they are not intended by nature to rule, and many cannot endure to have a favourite over them, who is usually of low or scarcely noble birth, from whom they must expect all honours and fear all checks, regarded by the magistrates, the council and the king himself as a tool of the Spaniards.
Although George Villiers, Marquis of Buckingham, (fn. 31) seems naturally modest, affable, kind and courteous, and deserving of the good fortune which he has enjoyed for the last six and a half years, with his beauty, grace and lightness of body, admirably disposed to all exercises at the age of thirty-three, and although the people might glory in seeing his Majesty perform a work more divine than royal in aggrandizing nothing yet they cannot endure that one born a simple gentlemen, a rank slightly esteemed there, should be the sole access to the Court, the sole means of favour, in fact one might say the king himself, with such authority that he sometimes annuls favours granted by the king, who has given him all his heart, who will not eat, sup or remain an hour without him and considers him his whole joy. Last year, as a recreation, the king composed some verses in his praise and read them at a public banquet. This caused more comment than if he had done some great wrong to his kingdom. Many are dissatisfied because if they wish to speak with him they encounter more difficulties than with the king himself, and it costs them money; that the means to his favour is one Porter, an Englishman, now become gentleman to the prince and the gateway to all favours, with whom nothing but money prevails and who has become most rich. He was brought up by his patron, mostly in Spain, and of his sentiments in that quarter I need only say that he recently challenged to a duel some one whom he heard speaking ill of the Spanish ambassador, Gondomar. They object that while torrents of wealth flow to him on every hand, he changes it into coin which he keeps in Spain, so thay say, under other names, while living very quietly and frugally. If he did otherwise they would put it down to vanity, pride and a heavier charge upon the country. In the general hatred against him, whatever he did would be wrong and would be praised with feigning rather than with cordiality, as he has become so great that he inspires everyone with fear. He makes family alliances as a support to form a great party, but this has rendered him even more hateful to the opposite faction and to the generality; as he associates with the Catholic and the Spaniard (fn. 32) and draws his followers from men of such sympathies, leading those who have any hopes from him to act in like manner. His wife, daughter of the Earl of Rutland, of the best blood, (fn. 33) is a Catholic; his mother recently declared herself as such, having always leaned that way, but finding herself estranged from the king thereby, through having arrogated too much to herself and meddled too far in favour of the Catholics at the instance of the Spanish ambassador, when she had won the highest authority by her address, for she is considered the chief architect and prop of her son's fortune, taking the burden of many appearances upon herself to exonerate him, she recently returned again to the Protestant church, to the satisfaction of his Majesty, and to the dissimulation which many practice.
For the reasons given above and to pursue his intentions the king was reduced to attempting to form a party in the assembly favourable to himself and the favourite, by creating new barons and other titles for his own needs and as a stimulus for the favourites. It has become the ordinary practice to sell honours and all charges, a regular tariff being established, and also selling the jointures (fn. 34) of some women related to them, which is not at all liked. He has thus raised to the highest rank men of the lowest birth, to the exasperation of the old nobility who, with reason, cannot endure to see some rich merchant or some simple gentleman, who may at one time have served them or their ancestors, become equal or superior to themselves. As the Protestants and Puritans for the most part support the parliament while the Catholics and the dependants of the Spaniards generally oppose them, this circumstance causes his Majesty to lean more towards them, while the Spaniards themselves design to come and support him against his own subjects.
The assembly afterwards entered upon disputes, prepared even before they met, about the prerogatives of themselves and of the crown, and to discuss the Spanish marriage, considering it poisonous to religion and the state, and to dissuade his Majesty, intending at the same time to repress the Catholics and make war on the Spaniards, simply as something which it was necessary to undertake, as without attacking the fleet and taking to privateering as in the days of Elizabeth they recognized that they could not obtain any advantage or maintain a long contest, for the kingdom does not possess so large a quantity of money as previously, more gold and silver being worked now for all the houses than coined into money; moreover the people like to make a show of prodigality and luxury and are loaded with debts, especially the nobles. The populace also are impoverished through the increase of costly habits, almost everybody spends more than he has in debauchery and clothing. The most costly thing not the most elegant is always considered the finest, and in every class men exceed their estate, the very peasants wearing gloves when tilling the ground.
As his Majesty would not agree to these things or come to any understanding with spirits so discordant from his own, determined not to yield one jot of his authority much less be ruled by his subjects, he determined to dissolve the parliament, as the warmer they became for his daughter and the Palatine, the colder he seemed to grow. (fn. 35) Accordingly he found himself unable to obtain the necessary provisions or to gain their minds except by giving them complete satisfaction in subversion of all the maxims which he has inculcated since his infancy, as they became more difficult the more they saw how necessary it was to satisfy them. Perhaps he came to no resolution at that time because he could not easily do so or carry it out if he did, as he might before the dissolution. He was dismayed at the necessity of sending armies to the Palatinate when his council of war calculated the expense of sending 15,000 foot and 5,000 horse, which amounted to a sum calculated to dishearten and dismay prudence and wealth itself. Thus if he sometimes appeared wrathful and disposed to draw the sword it was a fire of straw which quickly disappeared. Sometimes he spoke one way, sometimes another, now he seemed to take a step forward and speak very loud, but simply to alarm the enemy, not to hurt him; then he would take two steps back and invite him to treat, shutting his eyes to the snares spread for him, which undoubtedly he saw, for your Serenity may rest assured that he needs no spectacles and when he wishes to see he is like an Argus. He thought it a lesser evil to dissimulate than to break, although he is very acute and subtle in negotiation, but just as slow in execution, being inclined to ambiguity and delay. This does not arise from his natural disposition, as he is hot, choleric and very fiery, but because he wants to persuade himself that he will get what he wants from spinning out time, or will at least postpone trouble. His ingenious mind makes the most of all difficulties, which do not always arise. With these wrathful characteristics he unites mildness and good temper, rare qualities which have been twisted by the Spaniards and the ministers friendly to them to their own purposes. Subsequently the king threw himself absolutely into the hands of this party, who have always stuffed him with hopes of peace, as they could not advise war in their own interests, not being soldiers or willing to see men of that profession advanced, and they would not like the money to be spent on others than themselves. (fn. 36) Thus their advice has seconded his own natural inclination to keep away from affairs though there is probably no prince who excels him in aptitude for affairs if he will only give his mind to them. Nothing is easier than to divert him from doing anything and prevent him from resolving upon any point, or meeting the council than to propose hunting, during the fine weather, flying falcons and such things. The delay of an hour and a minute has frequently led to a halt for weeks and months reducing great affairs to nothing. His Majesty has long been accustomed to remain in retirement in remote places of which he is very fond, free and enjoying himself, without pomp or gravity, which are contrary to his nature, whither he does not wish ambassadors or others to follow him, and when they wish to, the council puts them off, which serves for nothing but a shadow, things resolved being brought before it, not for decision, but simply for ceremony, or to raise difficulties.
The actual government is confined to his Majesty alone and the favourite, the prince sharing in much but not everything, to keep him from discontent and prepare him for his future reign, and four or five of the cabinet, all well disposed to Spain, (fn. 37) to say no more. They keep the king informed after their fashion, as the senses inform our intellect, so affairs do not ordinarily reach his Majesty except through them. Some things are hung up while others are very speedily reported and amplified, and even an ambassador cannot rely upon them to report anything without alteration or mutilation and they even neglect to report. It is notorious that the eloquence and skill of numerous diplomats have missed their effect, and negotiations at that court have simply dried up, (fn. 38) while many have asked for replies and promises in writing and never considered any matter settled except after it has been carried into execution, with the ever present fear of variation and change.
The favourites also arranged that during their absence the ladies of their family should remain near his Majesty as witnesses of what he does and says and to make sure that others do not supplant them in his favour. Although formerly he did not care much for the conversation of ladies, they afforded him much pleasure, accompanying him in his carriage, at table, and hunting, in honourable fashion, making him pass his days pleasantly; although with the multiplication of affairs, as he knows and surmises the voices of the world and of his own subjects both at home and abroad, he frequently does not enjoy tranquillity, but experiences most serious and searching disquietude in the midst of what one might almost call his captivity. For he cannot utter a thing without the Spanish ambassador, Gondomar, knowing, who is undoubtedly more minutely and profoundly advised than his Majesty; he has access to the court at all hours, has audience without appointment like the king's own councillors and ministers, and finds wide open the doors which are usually shut or grudgingly opened to others. He has audaciously proceeded to combat these kingdoms by management and unimaginable corruption, observing and increasing (fn. 39) their infirmity and disorder. He has won good results from his jocular manner, which greatly pleases his Majesty, although it is purely affected and merely on the surface. By his correspondence with the Marquis of Bedmar, at Brussels so near at hand, he makes his advice penetrate that court, and keeps his eyes fixed upon the house and ministers of your Excellencies. He allows many to enjoy the benefit of his protection and causes others to fear his authority, never ceasing to pursue any who may have crossed his interests. Tongues and pens are either silent or speak and write as he desires, one may say that everyone is compelled to follow his steps to escape ruin, seeing their affairs crossed, their glory obscured and their honours cut short.
The ambassador has reduced his Majesty, out of simple suspicion, by making him consider as Puritans those who do not depend upon him, or even without this merely to do him pleasure, to deprive various persons of their charges and of his favour, although he really loved them, and to leave his presence, a severe punishment for innocence and honour. This happened to the Secretary Naunton, (fn. 40) a minister of singular integrity, excellently disposed towards your Excellencies, the ambassador going so far against him as to threaten the king openly that otherwise there would be no marriage or restitution of the Palatinate. Upon this ruin he built his own designs, and in place of the fallen raised persons not so rigorous against the Catholics, indifferent though about the church, but very jealous for his party. Thus the principal charges of the government, council, army, treasury, admiralty, ports, in fact everything have fallen into the hands of his dependants, who have rendered him great services even against the royal intentions, as in the case of the recent arrest of the Dutch ship from the East Indies.
From this it arises that the opposing ministers, persecuted or neglected, remain dumb in order not to serve as a butt. Some of the old ones, on the score of weakness or indisposition, have withdrawn to a distance in the country, although the king has always imitated the fashion of his predecessors in inducing the magnates to follow the court, so that being distant from the country, they may lose the love and esteem of the people, which made them capable of resisting and even of assuming the crown, while they impoverish themselves, under the guise of honour, in some charge which nowadays means little more than smoke, as they are not employed where they might increase their influence. Since this new style of absenting themselves his Majesty always keeps spies upon them. This is a novelty in those parts, though possibly very necessary in the pass to which things have come. It would be better if it were not necessary and if matters were not guided by those who think more of their passions, private interests and pleasing the Spaniards than of his Majesty.
The king has always endeavoured to uproot, pluck and damp the heads of faction. In this generation his people have been smitten to the heart about their religion, being troubled without in every quarter by the peril of the nation and the grave situation of the king's daughter, while they saw him joined to the Spaniards in hateful negotiations, even suspecting a change in religion. Yet though they were touched on the raw in so many ways, apparently they have not dared to do anything worse than speak, and the futility of it all even bridled that. But it is clear that if one hears of no disturbances, this is not because they lack the will, as they would flare up like straw the moment the slightest fire was applied, but partly because they have no leaders of royal blood, claiming the crown, as at previous times.
The prince, brought up so as to be always at one with his father, never moves a step without looking up to him. His Majesty being naturally most jealous after the case of his other son, keeps him constantly at his side, and takes the utmost care that he shall not move except by his rule, and shall imbibe his ideas.
The countess Palatine, by her generous spirit, resembles her dead brother Henry. She is most zealous in her religion, and it hangs on a single thread whether she and her children may not reign one day in those realms, she has a large party there of Germans and others, who would like to see her queen with her numerous offspring. This may have rendered her suspect not only to his Majesty but to his Highness also, and with all her misfortunes she has refrained from taking refuge with her father, and the most prudent have advised her not to, though some have urged it in her extreme need. There might be reason to fear that the king's hesitation and irresolution might be fed by such considerations. The seeds sown by the Spaniards and divers ministers and his Majesty's methods afford a clear index of this, especially when some individuals gave money to her ambassador, Dohna, (fn. 41) it became known that such readiness of the people did not please him.
There are no others of sufficient standing, although the king is not popular as he was to a high degree at the beginning of his reign. Yet he is full of (fn. 42) benignity and frankness, though his nature is incapable of those tactful actions which conduce to popularity and affection and which Elizabeth knew so well how to employ. He has little patience in listening to the requests and complaints of those who consider that they practically gave him his crown.
The magnates are mostly hated for their vain ostentation, better suited to their ancient power than their present condition. Thus the troop of malcontents do not know whom to approach. Many who have gone about cherishing ideas derived from the ancient spirit of the realm, have felt compelled to look after themselves, being alarmed by the fate of bolder spirits, struck down by the favourite under the very machinery erected against him; the uncertainty of the issue has arrested them, as they have no fortresses to take refuge in, no money to maintain themselves, and no powerful adherents abroad. Not being bound by chains of gold they do not thoroughly trust each other, and though they desire a change of government, they endure as long as possible, the most prudent feeling discouraged, recognising that whatever they did would ultimately merely provide trophies for the enemy and possibly a worse scourge for the country. The populace are indifferent, not knowing which way to go, except in following; they consider that the king is old, and though of good constitution, he has frequent attacks of the gout, has become very heavy, more and more irregular in his way of living and more fearful of death. They tell secretly of a dream his Majesty had some months ago, when his old tutor Buchanan (fn. 43) appeared to him and predicted his fate in verse, that soon afterwards he would fall into ice, and then into fire, that he would endure frequent pain, and die after two years. When the king awoke he had it put in writing by some of the most intimate gentlemen of his chamber. The two first accidents of water and fire have actually occurred, although the last, in his own chamber, has been kept a profound secret.
To return to serious matters, the people really fear his Majesty greatly, and he knows his flock well, understanding the humours and inclinations of each one. He also knows how to restrain passions probably better than any other prince, or as some think, because of the good order bequeathed by Elizabeth, which still maintains a respect for the crown. The preachers daily exhort the people to obedience, although recently some have expressed seditious and most dangerous opinions, offering the strongest opposition to the Spanish marriage, both privately and publicly, with supplication, advice and prediction.
Some are persuaded that his Majesty affects this marriage politically to have a pretext for not separating himself from the Spaniards these days, to show his desire that the prince, being now twenty-one, and an only son, should marry, but not to settle as yet, so as not to give his Highness too much advantage, such as might serve to arouse and foment passion. But every appearance indicates that he desires it greedily, as he thinks most highly of the greatness of that house, and does not see how he can marry the prince better, in the present scarcity of princesses everywhere, especially among Protestants. He was dissatisfied with the negotiations with France on the subject, and as he fears Spain more he prefers an alliance with her, as he contemplates it with one, in order to separate them so that both may not join to trouble him, as I suggested above. He is tired of the princes of Germany, considering that the action of his son-in-law was chiefly founded upon hopes of his power, through the marriage of his daughter. He thinks it better to ally with those who can provide him with money and even give it to his ministers and servants to supplement their needs so that they may not come to him so much, than with those who have to importune him all day long. This desire has increased with the needs of the Palatine, and the wish to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Spaniards (fn. 44) as he thinks he can obtain peace and quiet better alone and better secure his person in peace and quiet, to make himself safe from conspiracy by virtue of so many favours, and to establish himself in his dominions, where so many ill humours exist. He hopes by the alliance to give laws to all the world and to keep under the spirits he hates so thoroughly, who want to make targets of crowns and depose kings (fn. 45); that the example of his son-in-law may excite (fn. 46) others to similar revolts. Although the populace generally detests this union, a large portion desire it greatly, namely the Catholics and the poor courtiers especially, who hope for future pensions and offices about the princess, of which the Spanish ambassador has already filled more than can ever exist. The people persuade themselves that the Spaniards cannot be in earnest about an alliance with heretics and giving so much money, while risking the infanta's soul, even though they might trust to the daughter of such parents as regards her posterity, in order not to give any claim over their dominions to Protestants, and simply negotiate in order to settle or break off, as it suits their purpose, having always the Catholic cause as an excuse and the pope as a retreat. So it might not be difficult for them to throw the blame of a rupture at any time upon the King of Great Britain for not allowing something in the matter of religion in particular asked for not so much by them as by the pope, for the dispensation. Others, especially some prudent magnates, who had always been incredulous, were beginning, when I left, from many indications, to believe that the Spaniards really meant to conclude the alliance, even giving satisfaction about the Palatinate.
These affairs being related must be settled together, although some think that the king would be satisfied with the conclusion of the marriage alone and has allowed the palatine to be reduced to his present condition so that he may not spoil it, although each affair presents numerous difficulties, and together they are countless. They base their hopes, as the king does, upon the idea that the Spaniards fear that otherwise they may have war with his Majesty, and they do not wish on any account to give him cause to join the Dutch or their other enemies.
It does not concern me whether they really meant to satisfy him or not; I will merely state, on good authority, that the Spanish ambassador frequently laughed about it with his intimates, and has had little or no doubt for some time since about the king's intentions. But as the Spaniards had obtained so much by these means they might expect as much more after it was effected, especially for our religion.
Their ambassadors have constituted themselves the chiefs of our religion there for some time past, claiming the title of protectors, and may be styled as much apostolic as catholic legates. (fn. 47) All the Catholics follow and serve their house, and are not, one may assert, thought to deserve the name unless they devote themselves to their affairs. They consider our church their mother, but the Spanish king their father not their own. Even the French ambassadors seem to recognise their superiority in this, and they have interceded at court and even with the king for the French, though at times not so much from charity as to advance their own interests. They try to restrain the power of magistrates and officials and have really done great service to religion; thus we always had our chapels full, especially in holy week, no less so than the churches of this city, to the extreme wrath of the populace. Yet they abstained from any hostile action or even speech, a clear sign that the king's wishes prevail in the end and showing how easily the king's example led the majority to heresy and might readily bring them back to the right path, although their feeling and liberty strongly restrain them from this.
If the lay Catholics are not watched, the priests are not in prison unless they wish it, for age or other reasons, and then with so much liberty that they seem in college rather than in prison. Thus when I obtained the release of four I found only one who wanted it. The oath imposed upon them by the pope to return to their country every time they are banished and die there, which involves the trouble of travel, and the hope of some that through the Spaniards they will soon be able to travel freely about the kingdom restrains (fn. 48) them. An attempt was recently made by the favourite's mother, but did not succeed, as Valaresso recently wrote, is observed at present by the lay Catholics only, the ecclesiastics being indeed released with the customary obligation of departing. Some refrained from making use of my influence for fear of offending the Spaniards. These make religion serve their purpose, but in such a way as to divide rather than unite from their pretensions in those parts. They secure the advantage (fn. 49) of their own faction and have a visible and open kingdom, and another invisible one, possibly greater. At one and the same time they manage to enfeeble the state, to collect very great sums of money, not only for the expenses of the ambassador, but for other pretexts, not only for spies, to give pensions to many, both Catholics and courtiers and others of any religion who might prove useful, even though out and out Puritans, (fn. 50) but to send to Brussels, to the emperor and elsewhere. Many, hoping to see Catholicism restored by the marriage, have offered to contribute large sums for the infanta's dowry.
Some persuade themselves that his Majesty may not do so much for the Spaniards and our religion once the marriage is effected; accordingly many would rather see it accomplished than remain pending, especially if the Palatinate were restored or recovered they think they could destroy all this machinery in a couple of days. I also really think he has it in his mind, but it is not probable that they would make the alliance except under very stringent conditions which would rather serve to increase their authority, and which, if not observed, would supply them with an excuse for openly troubling this crown. Moreover their party has already struck such firm roots that the difficulty of cutting them out may easily give him pause, (fn. 51) having already restrained him so much before the corruption had spread so far, considering the character he has. Many are inclined to believe (fn. 52) that because he cannot accomplish his own intent and sees all hopes crushed, he will follow the advice of parliament and of the body of his subjects with the certainty of quieting immediately the universal feeling of exasperation in the kingdom against the Spaniards and those of their party. They promise a bad end to the leaders of that party, and that the king himself will ultimately abandon them to the fury of the populace. Though this notion allows men to cling desperately to this hope in him as their safety (fn. 53) depends upon it, yet it will hardly turn out so since in his present (fn. 54) negotiations he has gone so far as to induce his son-in-law to deprive himself of all other support, dismissing Mansfeld and his troops and to trust himself entirely to the discretion of his enemy, throwing himself upon his Majesty who has undertaken to restore him to his former state and pledged his word of honour, so one would think that he cannot withdraw. It would also seem that this affair and the marriage had reached a stage which made the invention of further delays impossible, the Ambassadors Weston and Digby (fn. 55) being sent to Brussels and Spain respectively with every appearance of a desire for conclusion. The latter ambassador even took powers to marry the infanta in the prince's name. The removal from that court of the Ambassador Gondomar, who had served his country so well, also seemed something, Colonna, his successor, being of a very different stamp; and one might consider these as signs that the malady was decreasing and that affairs might assume a different aspect. But although that ambassador has gone, the same interests and instruments remain, and they know well how to spin out the negotiations by fresh combinations and provide his Majesty with fresh pretexts for delay, which his own nature seemed to seek. In any case, the considerations which existed before only increased to restrain him from acting as the situation required, although the excuses disappeared; this will continue until the infirmities of the realm have reached a climax and until their affairs are better adjusted and in a healthier condition. As it is, the king, even if he would, cannot do what just wrath, the urgency of the situation and the safety of his monarchy require, and any medicines he might apply would not heal, but would rather hasten death.
Although it is impossible to predict infallibly any designs and ideas, especially those of a king, who has frequently falsified judgments upon his actions by not proceeding according to common notions, I think it certain, in spite of his professions and even if he again summons parliament, that he will never break his friendship with the Catholic, and will never do more than attempt at the very most to recover the Palatinate. This will prove impossible, for with Germany in its present condition he cannot get armies through. Whatever he might do by the Dutch or others would have this sole object in view, and he might accept disagreeable conditions and in favour of his grandchildren rather than his son-in-law. He might come to profess a less close friendship with the Catholic and be unwilling for him to exercise so much authority over him and his dominions, but in such a way as not to lead to a rupture. He would shut the door with dexterity rather than with vehemence, and might even remove the ministers, to the general relief of his subjects, employing their opponents instead. He would only act with his habitual phlegm and moderation, with greater fear than hitherto of finding enemies in his own house if he did otherwise, and of domestic plots against his own life, such as he has frequently escaped. Therefore he will spin out everything as much as he can. A clear index of this was afforded by the truce recently arranged at Brussels for nine months, when he waited for what fortune might bring, not aiming at giving, but at receiving an impulse from outside events, but always continuing his offices, though ever with less effect and sending feeble and tardy succour. He will never do enough or anything great without the parliament and even with it only late and for some time ill regulated and without vigour. If its calling is not absolutely impossible, as some think, it would be more than difficult and would occur rather for the internal necessities of the realm than for foreign affairs.
If he takes up other alliances he will see that he does not incur obligations to involve him in fresh troubles, though he will readily try to incite others, as he rejoices at a success which costs him nothing. If he saw the wheel really turn against the Spaniards he would undoubtedly put a hand to it at last and their overthrow would please him, as he bears them no affection but only respect. It is a discovery very damaging to his interests that to be his confidant one must threaten to become his enemy, and in order to obtain extraordinary favours from him one must make him fear trouble, as he never thinks so much of those from whom he can always promise himself all that he wishes. So much so that the Spanish ambassador, Gondomar, used to say laughingly to his intimates that he does not desire friends, but moderate enemies. In his firm opinion that fear alone guides the king, he recently remarked to the French ambassador that the more the heretics are beaten elsewhere the more he will yield on the point of religion. He now believes in two sacraments; if they are beaten in Germany he will accept three, if the Huguenots suffer defeat, in four, if the Dutch, in five and so forth. Some, however, persuade themselves that he will show more spirit upon this than in the rest, and will put not only the bridle but the yoke on the poor Catholics, as they consider him fundamentally ill disposed towards our church for many reasons; for the doctrine of the Jesuits in particular as the opponents (fn. 56) of the Spanish marriage and the exponents of revolt, God grant they do not prove his knife in that realm by having recource to violence as they are always contemplating inflammatory measures, because owing to the king's detestation they do not expect to be admitted to the kingdom in any other way. By inflaming the feelings of the people and puritans they may extinguish what light exists there. They endeavour, not without scandalous persecutions, to beat the other priests, with some of whom they wage bitter disputes about the oath of fealty to the king, which produce a bad effect; they also try to be the only ones to teach and to have all the credit, influence, benefit and glory. In order to drive away the others from the houses of the magnates, they have instituted an order of wandering ladies, who introduce themselves to the women to educate the sons and daughters and win their favour. The pope has never consented to declare these to be nuns, though asked, without the condition of the cloister. They have an abbess at Liège in Flanders who visits the kingdom every year, with very remarkable proceedings; she calls herself a Spanish lady, although English, and assumes the pomp of a princess rather than a nun. (fn. 57)
But even if no great change in religion takes place during his Majesty's lifetime, I believe that if he found himself relieved of his bonds and thought the moment opportune, he would try and bring about the balance in which they used to keep it, so that neither party should have much advantage. He could not suppress either without trouble, and without the suppression of one his power might always be called feeble. He would not favour the Catholics so much that they would gain strength and cause the Protestants the profound dissatisfaction which they now feel, but he would not oppress them so as to compel them to contemplate revolution, although they are bound to experience some feeling at any diminution of the liberties which they would never have claimed if they had not enjoyed them. The danger of these present conditions is that the more rigid protestants and puritans may use every effort to obtain a king some day after their own heart, and then one might fear the extirpation of the Catholic plant, the better known because at the moment dissimulation and connivance disclose many.
Prince Charles of Wales, born the 29th December, 1601, has developed with his years, has a truly royal presence, a grave brow, and much grace in his eyes and the movements of his body, showing a prudent temperance. Such qualities make him more than a prince, just as his qualities of mind surpass his age. His admirable opinions and customs earn him the universal goodwill and affection of the people. If they are in some parts lukewarm or not very zealous for him, it is because some would like to see him more bold and independent with (fn. 58) his father, more zealous for his brother-in-law and sister, but these are possibly guided more by their own passions than by a regard for the interests and welfare of his Highness. He, as one born to command, seems to scorn obedience to lust and the vices, his self control at his age causing amazement; he shows no immoderate or vast (fn. 59) appetites, but stands fast to virtue, either subduing or not feeling the promptings of sense. So far as one knows he has not tasted certain youthful pleasures and apparently has not felt love except by some show of poetry; he even blushes like a modest maiden if he hears any scandalous conversation. So the women do not tempt him as they did his brother, who prized beauty so highly and was followed and robbed by all of them. Although of choleric disposition he generally shows great moderation, and the king gives him much to do in the government, having declared him of the Council. Recently his Majesty said something about resigning the kingdom like Charles V, out of his affection for quiet and to avoid the present troubles which constantly become more intricate, and to make the prince viceroy to govern the three kingdoms with the Council, reserving to himself the prerogative of his pleasure in any case soever. But this is not likely, human nature hardly being capable of such action, while rule introduces some mistrust even in the natural affection between father and son. His Majesty has frequently shown that he does not wish others to touch the helm even if he abandoned it, and perhaps his desire to rule prevails over his wish for rest.
His Highness does not clearly disclose his opinions, so it would be presumptious to give a judgment upon them. He moves like a planet in its sphere, so naturally and quietly that one does not remark it. In speech he shows good sense, his replies are prudent, he grasps things with quick judgment and leans to the better opinion. But if he hears his father or the favourite say anything to the contrary, he immediately changes, although at bottom he hates the latter and he has shown his teeth several times. (fn. 60) Generally, to please his Majesty, he caresses him like a brother, or rather behaves as if the favourite were prince and himself less than a favourite. On this account he has occasionally put up with rebuffs from him and worse. Sometimes he has left the Court for a while on this account, but has returned soon, fearing to lose the daily blessing according to the admirable custom of the country, well worthy of imitation for every child on first meeting his parents each day to kneel and ask their blessing. This happens in the public streets and in the most frequented and conspicuous places of the city, no matter what their age.
Owing to this facility in his Highness for imbibing his father's ideas one fears that he is being brought up with too much dissimulation and being always pleasant he may find it difficult to throw it off. However, like coral, which is soft and pliable under water he may grow hard in the air of absolute government and prove the jewel that his other qualities seem to promise. (fn. 61) His special maxim is to adopt silence and sobriety of speech in affairs of state, so he proves most exemplary in that very worthy quality, especially with the Spaniards, who never speak with his suite although he behaves in a friendly manner to them, willingly turning the conversation.
He is methodical and most regular in his affairs and in the conduct of his household, for which he has more money together than his father, although he has not more than 40,000l. to spend yearly. Although this may also be ascribed to the diligence of his good officials, who wish to acquire merit for the future, no doubt it chiefly depends upon his personal application, as he wishes to know and manage everything economically. This would be desirable and remarkable even in a private individual and will prove of great service to him when he ascends the throne in the disorder in which he will find it. He never extends the time of his old leases, but when they fall in he increases them with great advantage. He wishes his servants to be paid justly at the proper times, but not to bother him with their demands. Of his own accord he gladly procures for them advantages and honours.
As a rule he dresses absolutely without jewels, more modestly than any gentleman soever, and even in this shows the maturity and prudence (fn. 62) of his ideas. In all corporal exercises he is admirable, not resting content with mediocrity. He excels at tilting (fn. 63) and indulges in every other kind of horsemanship, and even if he were not prince one would have to confess that he surpassed the others. In dancing he surpasses his condition. He delights in archery and in manipulating guns, the arquebus, the pike and sword. He loves old paintings, especially those of our province and city. He has a school of arms which belonged to his brother and frequently works there upon out of the way mathematics and methods of encamping, being very interested in inventions. He is as ardent a huntsman as his father, who is accustomed to say that in this also he shows himself a true and worthy son. He conducts himself with more decorum than the king, while equally gracious. He punctually observes his promises, but promises little.
He likes sometimes to pick up a book of history or poetry, but has not the grounded knowledge of his Majesty and does not apply himself so much to study. The king has made him learn Spanish with a view to the marriage. He also speaks French and Latin fluently and has learned a little Italian recently. He knows a little German, but does not speak it, having some impediment through the size and length of his tongue which prevents him from expressing himself freely. This may be called his only defect, as nature grants all her graces to few, even among princes. He seems indifferent about the said religion, especially at present, in imitation of his father and with a view to the marriage. He does not disclose himself. (fn. 64)
In the parliament, in his Majesty's absence, he not only opposed the Puritans vehemently, who were aiming against the Catholics, but also interposed to punish their ardour with remarkable prudence and the sign of an old wit although it is more than certain that he had his orders and thesis from the king. The Catholics generally hope well of him. He punctually observes his word and they believe he will keep the promises made to the Spaniards, as his mother, who was thought to have been a Catholic for many years, had a great deal to do with his education. He is naturally composed and inclined to the best and so gentle and easy that they hope he will yield readily to the advice, prayers and pressure of his wife, who by constant insistance at the prince's ear would at least serve as an apparent chief and keep the Spanish party united and strong. They have equal hopes of his offspring under their mother's education, who would find it easy to instil suspicion and jealousy of the Palatine's children, as competitors for the crown with the help of heretics, and facilitate the conversion of the kingdom wherein (fn. 65) the public exercise of the princess alone, not to speak of the queen and her household, would serve as a great example and undoubtedly win over many souls, while it would weaken the Protestant offshoots in France, Flanders and every-where else. But the people of the kingdom hope the contrary, and the wisest think the same, considering him very firm on this subject, his Majesty's other children having proved so. The agents and ministers who now hold secret correspondence with his Highness, although with great caution and reserve, as the king only wishes him to admit his favourites to confidence, are among the leading Puritans, and there are very few Hispanophiles in his court, who may easily be pointed out; they have been recently introduced by his Majesty, under the influence of the Spanish ambassador, and the favourite. In these he has removed his secretary and some others, although they were rewarded in other ways, his Highness desiring to favour them as old servants (fn. 66) greatly esteemed and loved by him.
Various persons have told me that he is not really well disposed towards the Spaniards; in the conversations with which he has honoured me very fully he always has indicated this very clearly. But with his great reserve and the precepts he receives from his Majesty he promises to love moderation more than decision; chiefly owing to the necessity in which he found himself of either following the same way or encountering difficulty and trouble. He cannot regulate the disorders which have taken possession of the realm except by very extraordinary means and long and skilful application, and he will be well advised to attend to this before anything else. At first he seemed to detest this marriage; afterwards, whether to please his father or because he was really attracted, he seemed to desire it, and the Spaniards adopted every means to attract him. I heard on good authority that not long ago he said laughingly to a few intimates after regarding a portrait of the infanta not being able to contain himself entirely, after having praised her highly, that if it were not a sin princes ought to have two wives, one for reasons of state (fn. 67) and the other to please themselves.
Many of his suite and others have always told me that they never heard him speak with anything but praise and esteem for your Serenity. I always tried to cherish this excellent disposition, and received striking indications of it. As Duke of York he was brought up with the idea of becoming a soldier of the most serene republic and being admitted to her nobility, so he may be counted upon as his father's heir in cordial affection for your Excellencies. His father has declared for Venice both publicly and privately on several occasions, and has really done more for the republic than for his own grandchildren. The ministers say as much frequently. If he has not come forward more of late, it was solely from fear of offending the Spaniards, while he has abstained from his own affairs which ought to weigh with him more on every account. However, he declared himself in the difficulties with the Turks and the Spaniards, being carried by natural affection as far as ever he was, although he spoke temperately and allowed his ambassador here to remain dumb for a long while out of consideration for them and their partisans who surround him. As one of their first aims they hope to turn him away from the Dutch and the princes of Germany, and as a second, to estrange him from your Excellencies and make him suspect your good faith.
Under specious appearances the Spaniards pretend to submit their differences with your Serenity to his Majesty's judgment to prevent him from becoming a partisan. It would be prudent to avoid all occasions for offence the more others seek them and try and gain time, passing by matters which might give them arms. I always observed that when I obtained anything from the king it served as a pretext for the Spanish ambassador to ask for some advantage for himself. Thus when I obtained levies of men he got them for Brussels, backing his request by the grant specially made to your Excellencies. You would probably do better not to ask for such things unless you mean to avail yourselves of them, and with constant information, the nature of that court, with the slowness and variableness of its procedure, requires that you should generally trust to your representatives without ordering frequent audiences.
Possibly in no other court is it more necessary to adapt oneself to circumstances and to the king's pleasure, which sometimes occurs unseasonably. One should avoid negotiating anything with ministers, and the greatest dexterity is required amid so many divers humours, so that hardly any instructions fit exactly. It is above all necessary to make a distinction between the ministers, of whom those not well disposed to your Serenity are, in one word, all the dependants of the Spaniards, who always follow their faction however much they may be bound to others for honours and favours. Some show the utmost confidence and call themselves Venetians at heart, though they do little real good except in matters of small moment, in show and compliments, though useful where the pope and the Spaniards are not in question, and against the Turks they would probably show themselves openly favourable. Even now they refrain from openly opposing and frequently keep silent. This is an evident if not an essential advantage. I have given information upon all this to Sig. Valaresso, though he would soon discover it for himself with his remarkable abilities.
Sobriety in giving confidences is also most necessary at that court when one does not wish the Spaniards to know, as when they cannot learn a thing otherwise, they are accustomed to seek it where your Serenity is wont to show confidence. Sometimes even his Majesty traffics with them, being naturally rather fluent (fn. 68) in speaking, though he studies to keep most secret the matters negotiated with them; but the same reasons which induce him to use such secrecy with them incite him to tell them the secrets of others. On the other hand various magnates, like the generality of the populace, have grown much more friendly towards your Excellencies, especially on seeing you move in conformity with their sympathies in present events. Apparently this feeling will strengthen and will doubtless prove very useful, for in these difficult times your interests have remained more steadfast and in repute than those of any other power. This is doubly estimable because your Serenity has no party of your own there; many expressed themselves thus to me, mostly at the end of my embassy, being animated by his Majesty's words and deeds, which caused me to leave in a very pleasant frame of mind. His Majesty feels assured that he will always have the support of our republic on all occasions, and the naval forces of the two powers may prove valuable on many occasions. This does not please some notably those who would like your Serenity to be without confidential friends, and forced to depend on them. Although that power will always be better for her own defence than that of others or other actions and more for the shield than the sword, and the question of her own safety may always divert her from troubling others and for others, yet she must be valued not so much for what she is as for what she may become and has already been, when she may provide an important counterpoise in the scale. Although the people do not possess the same virtue as anciently, yet the roots are there, and the life of states is not short like that of men, while his Majesty's successors may have notions different from his. Even now he can grant levies of grain, saltpetre, ordnance, lead, (fn. 69) soldiers and ships, although the voyage by sea is difficult, doubtful and uncertain. It will always be best to send orders in good time, especially for grain before they issue the licences for Spain or elsewhere, and for men also, although you can always get as many of these as you want, despite the fact that the execution of some men of good birth in the fleet (fn. 70) cooled the ardour of some, great as it was. The people are perfectly ready, feeling sure of prompt payment, and in the assurance of not going against the enemies of that crown. The Spaniards, however, even without the influence which they now exercise, will always find a thousand ways of thwarting us, by delaying the departure or rendering it useless or by attempting to bribe the person in charge, especially at present when the king and his favourites recommend some Hispanophile person, as they have done, to spoil the good service of your Serenity and render the expense useless. I could give further particulars but will simply note that whereas the Protestants are always opposed on religious grounds, the Catholics, and especially the Irish, will always fall easy victims to their suggestions and corruption.
Under the present king, especially when the Catholic is not concerned, you will always find the utmost readiness against the Turk, whom he does not fear, because so far off, but hates and wishes to conquer in conjunction with other powers. He keeps an ambassador at that court merely to satisfy the merchants, his subjects. He told me that he felt inclined to remove him and break up that trade and recently some of the merchants leaned that way also, as I reported. We have recently seen his action against the Turk for the King of Poland, although certainly at the instance of the Spaniards. He even pledged his jewels to give the promised money and would have done more if he had been able, although many, in order not to favour the emperor's brother-in-law, who professes such affection for the house of Austria and such a strong Catholic, and not to injure the Palatine, opposed it with the Levant Company (who feared reprisals in Constantinople) (fn. 71) with all their might, trying to undeceive his Majesty in his hope that that king would use his influence with the emperor for the restitution of the Palatinate, as he has little relation with the kingdom and as a pupil of the Jesuits rather hates it than otherwise.
For the same reason he does not love his Imperial Majesty, though he esteems his dignity and his connection with Spain, and flatters him to obtain his ends, and because he would find it difficult to injure him seriously. Actually he considers that Caesar acted quite rightly towards the commotions of Bohemia and Germany, but he did not approve of his rigour and cruelty, his double dealing and his intention to destroy the Protestants. For the same reason he hates the Catholic electors, Leopold and Bavaria, but above all the present pope for his activity against his son-in-law with the emperor and other princes, for inciting the Most Christian against the Huguenots and the Spaniards against the Dutch, with designs even against his own realms, for he well sees how badly they would stand if both the others were beaten, upon which the crowns of France and Spain seem intent. Although he cares little about his Holiness, as being so far off, he hates and detests him both on temporal and spiritual grounds, but fears him for his following in his own dominions and for his connection with Spain, (fn. 72) and intended to feed him with hopes, owing to the very marked indications he has shown of a desire for the dispensation in particular. (fn. 73)
For the same reasons he hates the King of France equally, and because he thinks the Jesuits guide him, while his interposition has not that influence with him that he desires. In his desire for others to act, it displeases him that Louis does not follow his father's example and maintain the balance to relieve the world and so remove his own trouble and danger. He was also offended by the king's desire to get rid of the Scotch guard, for not receiving satisfaction for his creatures in certain instances, by the recent arrest of his subjects' ships at Bordeaux and by various things of daily occurrence between neighbouring states, although the presence of the sea brings fresh matter. Although related to that crown and a Scot, yet he is stirred up by the English, their bitter enemies, and even more by the Spaniards, who do not want to see a good understanding between those crowns, which is certainly fragile and very vacillating, so some think that his Majesty may not only grant levies of men and ships to the Huguenots, but may even openly help them. But with his disapproval of people contending against their king, his fear of reprisals, the shrinking of many to place arms in their hands make it more probable, seeing how little he does for his children, that they will not go beyond the grant of levies.
As regards the Infanta of Brabant the same considerations apply as with the Spaniards. He admires and cultivates her for his negotiations about the Palatinate, but really he has no good feeling for that state as being the home of Jesuit seminaries and of other priests who come to his realms and where they are always forging weapons to fight him.
He bears no true affection towards the States for the reasons given, though grateful to them for harbouring his daughter, and their fall could not please him, as the fire would burn him also. He would not wish them stronger, but rejoices when they inflict some blow on the Spaniards, as recently when he heard of their raid almost to the walls of Brussels. (fn. 74) Although he does not like republics, especially those formed like theirs, because of the example they afford to his Protestant subjects, they are better as friends, being more constant and safe and less dangerous as enemies than powerful monarchies. He has no other place to land on save their territory. It suits him better that they should be masters of those seaports and forces, and that the provinces should remain separated rather than all united, as they show him more respect than the Spaniards would, veiling their topsails to his ships. If they were masters of the whole they would at once claim absolute dominion over the sea and the realms. Even now the Spaniards try to keep the king and the Dutch apart, suggesting to him that the sea should be clear, with free trade with the infanta's places and safety for his ships in those waters, trying to excite his jealousy against the Dutch. They keep a fleet of 100 ships in this war time and remain affective masters of all, and they may make further claims than they do at present, saying that they have received promises that their entire fleets may put into his Majesty's ports, not merely for the repairing of the ships. In this, however, they go far beyond the facts. The flame of ill feeling has been kindled several times, but would be quickly extinguished by the Dutch as the mere appearance of differences injures them so much and helps the Spaniards, the business being one that exasperates (fn. 75) even well disposed ministers, owing to the rivalry existing, the English being unwilling to suffer their ascendancy, though they desire their subsistence. But in spite of the appearance of disturbance and continued fluctuation, while confidence lasts and the negotiations continue with the Catholic and while the present ministers remain in favour, it is hardly likely that they will come to open war even if some hostilities ensue to bring them to the state of mind desired, or that the king will withdraw his subjects, who serve there and keep them alive, even though he threatened this for his purposes and to help his negotiations with Spain and Rome. So to all appearance the natural consequences will not ensue.
Through his wife his Majesty is related to practically all the Protestants, and keeps up relations with them, except Saxony, who always seems so strongly on the other side; but these have cooled owing to his recent behaviour. His closest relations are with the King of Denmark, his brother-in-law, that crown having abandoned its claims to the Orkneys, which it possessed for 160 years until Alexander III recovered them, and finally Christian I of Norway and Denmark freely surrendered his rights when he married his daughter to James III. However, in the absence of negotiations, they do not keep ordinary ambassadors or agents. So with Sweden, though his Majesty recently sent to blame the king for seizing the opportunity of the Turk to attack Poland.
In Italy he has a superficial regard for the Grand Duke because of his relationship through the house of Lorraine, which he esteems highly, but he greatly dislikes the alliance of both with the emperor. He keeps no agent there as at Turin, that important site sufficing for the affairs of the world, for Geneva and the Swiss of his religion whom he has always cultivated through that minister. In the case of the unfortunate Grisons, however, being unable to help them, with his hands full, he acted with great reserve, to keep himself free and not embarrass his own affairs, especially as the Most Christian did not actively intervene. In such case he might have strained a point to give some heat (fn. 76) to the affair, especially if his own were arranged or desperate, and seeing the interdependence of the two concerns he attached more importance to them, though he did not wish to act out of consideration for the Spaniards.
He thinks highly of the Duke of Savoy, though he disapproves of his hot-headedness and his supposed designs upon his Protestant neighbours; although he considers the diversions to which he may be brought useful for his interests. But all these relations are feeble and slight. His Majesty well knows that his distaste for foreign affairs makes foreign powers slow and cold in cultivating relations with him. This really disturbs him, not without some jealousy of your Serenity. So much for this relation.
For my own personal experiences I attribute all the good done and the ill escaped to the grace of God and the protection of the Virgin. Your Serenity's remarkable favour has consoled me for my labours, expenses and troubles. I have not tried to glorify my services but to write the plain truth, especially here. I am glad to be back, especially as I am relieved of intolerable expenses, which my zeal has incurred, leading me to abuse the courtesy of those who are more than relations. These were occasioned by a time of universal scarcity owing to exceptional weather, the meeting of parliament and a thousand other circumstances, some of great public moment. It was necessary for me to keep up my dignity, especially as the French and Spanish ambassadors maintained the credit of their sovereigns at that Court with more than ordinary display. This has made inroads upon the fortune of our house. This will receive the king's present, increased beyond the ordinary by 200 ounces of silver, more as a sign of the public satisfaction than to repair the damage done.
For one year I was accompanied by Sig. Giovanni Mocenigo son of Sig. Marc Antonio, who displayed great prudence and ability. I need not speak of the qualities of Sig. Francesco Grimani son of Sig. Piero, who accompanies my successor. I also had the enjoyment of his society in the same house in London for some days. My brother Antonio remained with me all the time. Messer Pier Antonio Zon, son of Sig. Girolamo, sometime secretary of this council, whom I secured as my secretary, first proved his abilities in Friuli. After serving on the main land at Bergamo and at Zara, he left nothing to desire, showing modesty, diligence and ability in every way, earning the commendation of that Court. Owing to the necessity for heavy expenditure there he has made inroads upon his slender fortune and the possessions of his numerous family. He is more than worthy of every honour and that his modest request may be heard, which I heartily second.
1622, the 20th and 21st September, presented and read in the Senate.
Sept. 23.
604. ALVISE VALARESSO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
A friend of mine asked me for a copy of that Italian edition of the king's speech to the parliament, falsely called a translation from the English, which I notified in my last. I made no difficulty in obliging him, thinking that it might be of advantage and quite safe from error, seeing it was published in the press, and that I might let nature work through another without interfering.
I hear on excellent authority that some of the leading nobles, possibly with the prince's support, have made a very free and pitiful remonstrance to the king about the grave injury done to his reputation and the imminent peril to the kingdom by the fraudulent negotiations, evil actions and formidable progress of the Spaniards. At the warmth of the office and the truth of the ideas, the king could not restrain his tears. Overcome at one and the same time by indignation and fear, he remarked among other things that if war broke out with the Spaniards he would no longer have any security for his life. Doncaster, whose name is well known, and Holderness, who saved the king in the Scotch conspiracy, both spoke like worthy men who had the public weal at heart; so did the favourite Marquis, I am told, though perhaps he did not speak sincerely unless perchance in the universal ruin which is dreaded he foresaw his own involved and so for the sake of his own safety recommended what would also profit the state. Finally the Lord Treasurer also spoke, for though he is thought to have some leaning to the Spaniards, he also may have been stirred by his private interests, especially as he paved the way to his appointment with liberal promises to find money for the royal needs; but in its exercise he finds himself so cramped by the constant need for money, as the ordinary revenues do not nearly suffice, that he recognises the chance of war as the sole remedy to obtain extraordinary contributions from the people. I may tell your Lordships that matters have reached such a pass here that it might possibly prove less difficult to get the king to decide for war than to induce his subjects to believe the decision. They have been rendered incredulous by past events, and would fear that the pretexts were raised merely as a device for obtaining money, without a thought of doing anything serious. These same noblemen considered this as an essential point and it was suggested that the king, once the decision was made and to ensure its being carried out, should stand aside and leave to the state alone the control of the money and the war. The difficulty of obtaining this is fully recognised, as it means depriving the king of his kingship. They considered the proposal of the Lord Treasurer a better one, to find some means of paying 30,000 soldiers for three months. Once the machine of the royal decision had started satisfactorily on these first wheels with sufficient security for its further progress, they might go on to obtain the greater assistance required, to which the kingdom would then agree with all its strength and the utmost willingness. There is not, indeed, the smallest doubt of the intense eagerness of the whole people for war with the Spaniards. Some of them, seeing the king forced and as it were dragged by the hair, rejoice as the behaviour of the Spaniards grows worse, and would grieve at the restoration of the Palatinate as it might force the king to peace. But there are only too many inducements and most powerful occasions for a rupture, even for one who is only half disposed to take them up. (Tengo da ottima parte che alcuni di questi signori principali forse con la sponda del Sig. Prencipe, habbino passata col Sua Maestà una molto libera e patetica rimostranza sopra le gravi ingiurie inferite alla Regia riputatione et i gran pericoli imminenti al Regno a causa di queste fraudolenti trattationi male attioni e formidabili progressi de' Spagnoli. Al calor dell' offitio el alla verityà dei concetti il Re non puote contener le lagrime; e pieno in un tempo di sdegno e di timore tra le altre cose disse che rotta la guerra con Spagnoli non gli rimaneva alcuna sicurezza della sua vita. Palarono Doncaster, di nome ben conosciuto, et Oldernest liberatore del Re nella congiura di Scotia, ambi certo in opinione di buoni Signori et d'Amatori del ben publico. Il favorito Marchese come mi si dice ma forse non parlò con sincerityà se però non fosse che nella temuta universal rouvina egli prevedendo insieme la propria non habbi consigliato a suo particolar salute, quel che giova ancora al publico. Per ultimo e' il Gran. Tesoriero. che seben viene tenuto di qualche inclinatione a Spagnoli tuttavia può esser eccitato anc'egli dal interesse proprio mentre che massime condottosi a questa carica con gran promesse di suplire a bisogni regii, nel maneggio dessa, si trova di modo angustiato dalle continoue necessityà di denaro che non bastando a gran lunga le rendite ordinarie conosca solo rimedio l'occasione della guerra per trarre da popoli estraordinarie contributioni. Ma Serenissimo Prencipi, Eccmi Signori sono qui ridotte le cose a tal segno che non riusciria forse men difficile il risolversi del Re alla guerra che il credersi da sudditi la rissolutione; perche fatti increduli dalli accidenti passati temeriano che senza pensiero d'effettuarsi cosa alcuna fossero pretesti di solo artificio per cavare denari. A questo punto come essentiale s'hebbe tra quei signori riguardo e fu discorso che il Re stabilita la deliberatione, per assicurar dell' effetto, si segregasse in modo, che rimanesse sol allo stato l'amministratione del denaro e della guerra. Il che ben si conosce quanto fosse difficile a riuscire mentre sarebbe un disfare il Re di Re. Ma per migliore sentirono la proposta che fece il Gran Tesoriero di trovar modo a pagare 30msoldati per tre mesi; onde sopra queste prime ruote incaminatasi la machina della risolutione Regia con sodisfattione et sicurezza bastevole del progresso, si potrebbe poi consequire gl' aiuti maggiori e necessarii a quali concorrerebbe allora il Regno con tutte le forze e con singolar prontezza. E certo non si può dubitare che non sia grandissimo il desiderio della guerra con Spagnuoli nel universale di questi sudditi. Alcuni de' quali per vedervi necessitato et per cosi dire terrato a capigli il Re godono quanto sono peggiori i trattamenti usati da Spagnoli e la restitutione del Palatinato riuscira a lor molesta come se potesse obligar il Re alla pace. Ma ben troppo vi sariano gl' eccitamenti e le occasioni potentissime alla rottura per chi si trovasse disposto anco mezzanamente a riceverli.)
Weston keeps writing from Brussels that he considers the negotiations in extremis and asks to return. The emperor's ambassador is about to leave. More certain news has arrived of the attack on Heidelberg and the designs upon Franchendal.
A closer investigation of the dispensation from Rome appears to have diminished the hopes for the marriage. Amid so many things and in the present commotion my representations at the last audience should not prove useless. In any case, as the utmost the king could do a gentleman of Digby (fn. 77) was sent back to Spain with letters charging him to ask for despatch in that business. His Majesty also sent for the Spanish ambassador and remonstrated with him about the new events in the Palatinate, they say with some amount of choler. The ambassador resorted to his usual arts which might rather be called incantations. He promised that the attack on Heidelberg should be stopped at once and soon after they should have the armistice and the other satisfactions that his Majesty desired. At the same time he did not neglect to make a counter complaint about the actions of Mansfeld on his passage. Thus the affair was smoothed over and possibly the king believed that a remedy had been applied sufficient for every ill. The Spaniards will not remove their forces far from the Palatinate, so that they can always return with safety whenever they please, and meanwhile I imagine they mean to use them for the needs of Flanders.
In his last letter about leaving Sedan and joining his wife the Palatine also suggested coming here. They sent back the bearer with particular speed not only dissuading but forbidding him to come. Although it is not difficult to understand the reasons for this reply, it is thought that the Palatine of himself would prove incapable of improving his affairs at this Court.
In a sermon at St. Pauls, the preacher neglecting the rules prescribed, inveighed against the Holy Roman Church before a large congregation (fn. 78)
Soubise on leaving here went to Plymouth, one of the last ports of the realm, and there awaited the embarcation of about 700 soldiers, including many French of the religion, who had withdrawn from the neighbouring provinces of France. When they were under sail a tempest arose, so violent that four of the ships were wrecked and more than 100 soldiers perished. Some, as usual, attribute this event to a miracle, with the customary apparition thrown in.
Various opinions are current here about the loss or preservation of Bergen op Zoom. Bets are made on both events, but some one has wagered six to one against the loss happening within three months. One who comes from Spinola's camp tells me that they are very short of supplies, which they can only obtain from Antwerp under strong escort, but having recently made some forts on the road they required smaller convoys and had more supplies. He told me that the Spaniards had a great quantity of fascines for the fortifications, which the Dutch lacked.
The wheat this year throughout the kingdom corresponds so ill with the mills that flour has recently doubled in price.
The recent event under Montpellier is attributed the French ambassador here to the faithlessness of the Huguenots.
London, the 23rd September, 1622.
Sept. 24.
Misc. Cod.,
No. 61.
605. MARC ANTONIO PADAVIN, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the DOGE and SENATE.
They write from Brussels that while the English ambassador was despairing about his negotiations, letters arrived from Spain from Lord Digby and the Catholic for the infanta and the emperor also, begging for a speedy decision, and Digby has written to Bedmar recommending to his protection the English ambassador's negotiations, all shows of giving satisfaction indicating that from Spain there will be no lack of irresolution and difficulty.
Vienna, the 24th September, 1622. Copy.


  • 1. The enclosure is wanting.
  • 2. This relazione is printed by the editors Barozzi and Berchet in their Relazioni Venete, Serie iv, vol. unico, Inghilterra, pages 219–277, referred to hereafter as B. and B.
  • 3. Volere; B. and B. read valore.
  • 4. delle attioni dei Prencipi; B. and B. give delle razioni e dei principi.
  • 5. felicità; B. and B. read facilità.
  • 6. isolette; B. and B. give isole.
  • 7. che d'imbaracciarsene; B. and B. read, che di interessarsene.
  • 8. sassi; banchi in B. and B.
  • 9. This clause is displaced in B. and B.
  • 10. della casa reggia; B. and B. give della sua reggia.
  • 11. nella pura parola di Dio; B. and B. give alla vera parola di Dio.
  • 12. The adjective stretta is not given by B. and B.
  • 13. ad una parte; B. and B. read ad ogni parte.
  • 14. tutta fortezza, the adjective omitted in B. and B.
  • 15. Mona o omitted by B. and B.
  • 16. The words o d'Angeli per l'abbondanza di grani et Animali, madre et nutrice di molti, et Guith, omitted by B. and B.
  • 17. concorrendo, not non correndo, as in B. and B.
  • 18. esservi come anco in Scotia; B. and B. omit come anco.
  • 19. infinita gente, not infima as in B. and B.
  • 20. Drago et Candish; B. and B. give Blake e Sandwich; the reference is to Thomas Cavendish, who sailed round the world 1586–8, imitating what Drake had done in 1577–9.
  • 21. che omitted by B. and B.
  • 22. Achinee; B. and B. give chinee.
  • 23. The words specialmente, che le è gran cauterio e cloaca, omitted by B. and B.
  • 24. quando massime passassero di concerto Spagnoli, non più lontani di 3 giornate in circa con Francesi; B. and B. give quando mai passassero di concerto gli Spagnuoli non più lontani di 3 giornate co' Francesi.
  • 25. Benche non provi; B. and B. give benche non possa.
  • 26. B. and B. give 56.
  • 27. arcieri omitted by B. and B.
  • 28. The numeral omitted by B. and B.
  • 29. B. and B. for the words o un amor particolare dei Sudditi, o un cumulo di danari, che difficilmente si puo dare o altre forze, che potessero ad un re read non potra un re; for dar core give darsi chore, and omit senza Assemblea after impositioni, and forse before con suo danno maggiore.
  • 30. B. and B. give impedito dalle parenti instead of rifiutati dalli parenti; and dai consiglicri di suoi instead of dei consiglieri di lei.
  • 31. Marchese Bucquyngham omitted by B. and B.
  • 32. quanto che va con il Cattolico et Spagnolo; B. and B. give quanto che con il Cattolico.
  • 33. del maggior sangue omitted by B. and B.
  • 34. la gionta instead of la giunta of B. and B.
  • 35. The clause quanto più caldi per la figliùola e per il Palatino, tanto più fors' anche intepidendosi ella omitted by B. and B.
  • 36. The clause come haver caro che il danaro sia speso in altro che in loro omitted by B. and B.
  • 37. a Spagna omitted by B. and B.
  • 38. risecando; B. and B. give riedificando.
  • 39. cspiando et accrescendo; B. and B. give evidentemente accrescendo.
  • 40. Nanton; B. and B. give Hampton.
  • 41. The name omitted by B. and B.
  • 42. piena di; B. and B. read priva di.
  • 43. il Bucanano qual fu suo precettore; B. and B. give l'antico suo precettore. There is a reference to this dream in a letter of Rev. Joseph Mead to Sir Martin Stuteville of the 30 March, 1622. Birch: Court and Times of James I, ii. page 301,.
  • 44. The clause di detto Palatino; dallo stare ben' unita con essi Spagnoli, giudicando semper maggiormente omitted by B. and B.
  • 45. The clause di bolci di Corone et depositioni di Re omitted by B. and B.
  • 46. eccitare B. and B. give evitare.
  • 47. legati omitted by B. and B.
  • 48. ritenendoli; B. and B. give ritenendosi.
  • 49. cavando; B. and B. give curando.
  • 50. ben che Puritani finissimi omitted by B. and B.
  • 51. arrestarla instead of the arrestarsi of B. and B.
  • 52. natura che tiene. Si danno a credere; B. and B. give natura che tiene di donna a credere.
  • 53. salute B. and B. read calate.
  • 54. correnti omitted by B. and B.
  • 55. The names omitted by B. and B.
  • 56. oppugnatori; B. and B give propugnatori.
  • 57. The lady referred to is Mary Ward, who came of a Yorkshire family. She went over to St. Omer in 1606 and thought of setting up an English convent there of poor Clares. The idea when more fully developed led to an establishment under Jesuit auspices, the sisters, though under strict discipline, not being confined to the cloister. They were known as the Engish Virgins or English Ladies, and devoted themselves to the education of children, mostly of noble and rich houses. By obtaining exemption from seclusion they hoped to render services to their country, which were more or less incompatible with the usual routine. A petition was made to Paul V for institution in 1616; the order grew and prospered. Another house was set up at Gravelines; the one at Liège was established in 1617. Chambers: Life of Mary Ward. At the end of 1621 they went to Rome to petition the pope for a society like the Jesuits. Wotton refers to them in a letter to Carleton of the 11/21 Jan., 162½: "The five English-women arrived in Rome out of the Low Provinces... yield much wonder there at their habits and here at their purpose. About which one writes me in a pleasant passion, al corpo del mondo questa è galante. Haveremo un nuovo ordine di Giesuitesse for that seems a branch of their vows that they will catechise girls in the Roman faith as fast as the masculine Jesuits do boys. Their particular names I yet know not, but I should imagine my Lady Lovel to be the leader, who hath been hatching some such thing a long while in her elevated thoughts."State Papers. Foreign: Venice. This letter is published in part by Mr. Pearsall-Smith: Life and Letters of Sir Henry Wotton, ii, 224.
  • 58. col; B. and B. give nel.
  • 59. Vasti; B. and B. give guasti.
  • 60. come na ha mostrato il dente; B. and B. give come ha dimostrato.
  • 61. che le altre radicci sui pare li promettino omitted by B. and B.
  • 62. assignatezza; B. and B. give assennatezza.
  • 63. B. and B. omit these words.
  • 64. Nov si scuopre omitted by B. and B.
  • 65. a cui facile potrebbe riuscire l'apportarsi ombre e gelonie dei figliuoli del Palatino, come competitori di quella Corona co'l mezzo di heretici, con facilitare la conversione del Regno, nel quale, omitted by B. and B., who substitute e nel regno.
  • 66. Vecchi servitori; B. and B. read servitori fedeli.
  • 67. ragione di stato; B. and B. give cagione di stato.
  • 68. labrica; B. and B. give facile.
  • 69. piombi; B. and B. read pronti.
  • 70. See Vol. XV of this Calendar, pages 266, 267.
  • 71. per la vendetta che ne temeva a Costantinopoli, omitted by B. and B.
  • 72. per la dependenza con Spagna; B. and B. give per l'aderenze con Spagna.
  • 73. alli Segni altissimi che si sono veduti sopra il desiderio specialmente della dispensa; B. and B. merely give sul desiderio specialmente della dispensa.
  • 74. See No. 474 at page 330 and No. 480 at page 334 above for this raid.
  • 75. essacerba, B. and B. give esausta.
  • 76. callore ella anchora, B. and B. give colore anche ella.
  • 77. Mr. Walsingham Gresly, who reached Madrid on the 26th Sept., old style. See Digby's despatch of the 28th Sept., old style. State Papers. Foreign: Spain.
  • 78. "Dr. Donne preaches at St. Paul's to-morrow, either to that purpose, to give satisfaction, or, as the Londoners talk, to teach men how to preach there hereafter; because the two last, Mr. Clayton, of Fulham, and Dr. Sheldon, went beyond the usual limits, as was thought; for which Clayton is in prison, but Sheldon was only checked." Mead to Stuteville, the 14th September, old style. Birch: Court and Times of James I, ii, page 329.