Venice: February 1627, 1-15

Pages 108-122

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 20, 1626-1628. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1914.

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February 1627

Feb. 1.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
128. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The news from Denmark has encouraged the States, who otherwise would be much cast down. Colonel Morgan is hastening his preparations for departure and is only waiting for a favourable wind and for some troops which are coming from England, to fill up his companies, and this cannot take long.
The Hague, the 1st February, 1626 [M.V.].
Feb. 3.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
129. MARC ANTONIO PADAVIN, Venetian Secretary in Germany, to the DOGE and SENATE.
No further negotiations have passed with Gabor since he signed the peace. Although he entered a league with England, Denmark and the Dutch, they attach no importance to that here, saying that with his natural duplicity, he will take the money and deceive every one, subsequently following the policy which he finds most advantageous for himself.
Vienna, the 3rd February, 1626 [M.V.].
[Italian; copy.]
Feb. 5.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives.
130. To the Ambassador at Rome and the like to the other Courts.
We enclose copies of our letters to France about the detention of a chamberlain of the French ambassador and a servant of the Savoyard for firing pistols in the streets. In your conversation you will point out the necessity of maintaining good government and the safety of our subjects, and this is not derogatory to the privileges of ambassadors. If the ministers of France and Savoy say anything on the subject you will speak with even more emphasis, trying to make them understand the custom of our city, which renders even the name of such arms hateful.
Ayes, 118. Noes, 1. Neutral, 1.
Feb. 5.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives.
131. To the Ambassador in England.
The service of the interpreter is an essential part of our service at that Court. With respect to your letter of the 27th December, as the present interpreter ought not to leave without some provision, we direct you to pay the increase of 100 ducats a year to the old man for life, as a recognition of his long service, and try to find some one else, without other interests, a good linguist and well qualified in other respects, assigning to him the usual initial salary of 100 ducats a year. A son of Pasini might do, as we hear well of him and his father's loyalty is well known, provided he is not too young or that his knowledge of the language is not too uncertain. We leave the decision to you, in the assurance that you will choose well.
Ayes, 118. Noes, 1. Neutral, 1.
Feb. 5.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives.
132. To the Ambassador in England and at the Hague.
The Prince of Transylvania in letters to the Count of Thurn states that he had promises of help from us, and as these were not fulfilled, he was forced to come to terms. We have written to our Proveditore General to tell the count that this is an invention, as we always put off every request of the prince, showing that all our efforts were directed to the Valtelline and elsewhere. The prince has made peace for his own interests. We have sent you word of this so that you may be fully informed if the matter is discussed. If you are provoked to speak, you will try to make the truth known, but you will aim at the same time at maintaining friendly relations with the prince, by bearing witness to our good will.
We enclose a copy of our advices from Germany this week, for your information.
Ayes, 138. Noes, 2. Neutral, 19.
Feb. 5.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
133. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Earl of Holland, one of the chief favourites of the duke and consequently of the king, came to see me, I having formed a confidential friendship with him in the Netherlands last year. He is a nobleman of sound political opinions, sincere, and one who knows not how to divide his affections among the multitude. In the course of ordinary conversation he proceeded to tell me of the present state of affairs with the Most Christian, of the extremity to which they are brought, and how strongly he advocates the union between the two crowns, which I believe, because he earnestly sought to obtain satisfaction for Bassompierre and because it coincides with his private interests because of the heavy assignment made to him on the residue of the queen's dowry with which to pay his debts. He said to me: Sir, I will speak confidentially with your Excellency. I can assure you that the king my master is very far removed from any ideas prejudicial to the common weal, and unless made to deviate from it by main force, he will prove his sentiments in proper form. His Majesty perceives that these seeds of offence with France can but produce fruit no less bitter for our party than sweet for the enemy, who cultivate them to the utmost. Germany will be lost, the United Provinces will make a truce or peace, the Spanish forces will meet with no opposition, and all will be in confusion. The king sees all these and perhaps worse disorders with an anxious eye, but what can he do? The French barricade the roads which lead to the common weal. The cardinal, who at first maintained a suitable policy, has now changed. On my two embassies in France I duly exalted his merits. He facilitated the marriage, gave assurance that the Most Christian would second the prospect of England for the liberty of Germany and for those ends which, suggested by the French themselves, induced my king to open war. Now his own private interests, the incentives of Rome and of ambition make him swerve from his original path. He thinks solely of extirpating the Huguenots, expecting in reward to be made legate a latere, superintendent of Avignon and the like. Father Berulle, who left here in dudgeon, has a bad influence on him, encouraging the views of the cardinal legate, and claiming the red hat for himself. Altogether they have shaken the credit of the Sorbonne by the last declaration in favour of the Jesuits, and to the king's detriment they have contrived the imprisonment of Barens, in short, everything seems suspicious (fn. 1). Yet on this individual the entire government of France depends. The treaty for the Valtelline, made with so much solemnity, the recent orders to Cœuvres, as I hear from my secretary who remained at the French Court, to acknowledge in conformity with the pope's interests, the doubt of some collusion with the Spaniards, the alarm which he seeks to cause us by the fleets are all very monstrous effects of the regard he has constantly protested for the common weal. As regards our interests, my king does not see how he can do more. The conventions between the two kingdoms speak clearly about shipping and they have been directly violated by the sequestrations of France. We have to answer this by reprisals on ships, considering that it would render the adjustment more easy. The vessels seized before these troubles, on which they apparently lay the onus of first offences, were taken merely on grounds of policy, which does not permit the grant to an enemy of commodities with which to attack us when we have the power to intercept them. The search of ships for victuals and ammunition is practised with the Dutch, the Hamburgers and every other nation. France instead of complaining, ought to facilitate these designs, which she herself urged on us for her own interests. It is true that we are bound to allow the queen's household to be entirely composed of French people, but if they conspired against the state, plotted with the Catholics, endeavoured to divide the kingdom into two parties and create distrust between the king and queen, what could he do but remove them? Yet at the intercession of his brother-in-law, of her mother and one may say of everybody, he ceded a great part of his own interest to M. de Bassompierre, who having obtained what he wanted and more, they promised him that the duke should go to adjust the shipping question as well as some business in favour of Germany and the common weal. On Bassompierre's return to France his negotiations are disapproved, the duke's embassy is opposed. Meanwhile the seizures continue and our traders are treated as badly as possible, so that the King of Spain himself, against whom we declared and prepared war, never went so far, but gave our merchants four months in which to dispose of their effects and capital. Shortly after this the cardinal makes the Duke of Chevreuse write to the Duke of Buckingham that if he likes they together will adjust the disputes, he merely wishes the addition of a master of the horse for the queen, that one of the two ladies lately conceded shall have the first place in the queen's court, now held by the Countess of Denbigh, the duke's sister, and similar trifles; that as regards the shipping a day should be fixed for mutual restitution, both points being intended merely as a blow against Bassompierre from private passion and for private interests. My king, after expressions of affection replied that he neither could nor would place reliance on the maintenance of fresh treaties proposed covertly and obliquely when those arranged by an official of the crown, an ambassador and a person of quality, remain disapproved and null. We are thus reduced to this plight which does not allow us to take further steps. No fresh mission of a minister can be effected, that of the duke having been rejected. We cannot believe that the French will send any embassy, and if they did no satisfaction could be given from fear of refusal as in the first case. The mutual assistance of ambassadors which scares the shadows of evil offices is interdicted. Here people state that the Most Christian and his brother are on bad terms with each other, the princes discontented, Savoy and Soissons intriguing, Epernon preparing, the people rising and so forth. In France they exaggerate our weakness, the want of money, disagreements with the people etc., which is extremely prejudicial for the common weal. There remains but one thing, that the friendly powers and their ministers shall speak out and dissipate these shadows once for all.
He then enquired of me who now represented your Serenity in France, so that I might request his good offices, adding that the Abbot Scaglia was considered too much in the confidence of England. Everything would help. He said nothing about writing to your Serenity and appeared to speak merely of his own accord as a mark of confidence and good will.
In consequence I made a general reply, thanking him for the communication, assuring him that your Excellencies, being equally interested in the affairs of both crowns, wished to witness a profitable result through their union and not detriment through disagreements, especially when fomented by those who desire great profit therefrom. I urged him to speak similarly to the king, giving him the same advice, which showed me his great interest in the common weal. The prudence of a great king was known by the result of affairs, which could only be obtained by seconding the nature of the times and balancing the quality of the business with his own interests. This same axiom presumably actuates the Most Christian who foresees as well as others the general ruin unless the preponderance of a third party be counterbalanced by these two crowns. I laid much stress on the necessity of not listening to impassioned statements which I now clearly see to be the evil root of coming events. I said the irritation in France has hitherto shown itself merely by words and suspicions, which may be far from the facts unless the latter be encouraged here. The atmosphere of France being always variable it would not be wise to rest the universal ruin on such a basis. I instanced the way the republic upholds the common cause despite the late negotiations. I alluded to the manifold obligations of this crown, to defend itself against the Spaniards, to avenge the misfortunes of its relatives, to keep faith. I hinted at the fall of Germany, the alienation of the powers from the good cause, as they regulate their movements by these two crowns. I obeyed orders by touching on the interests of the United Provinces and the bias of the Dutch towards quiet. I assured him that the Ambassador Zorzi expressed the same views in France, as the ties of interest which bind your Excellencies to both of these friendly crowns and your affection towards them was known to both of us. I limited myself to generalities of this nature.
I acquainted Zorzi with the essential part of this colloquy. I cannot assert that the cavalier spoke to me by order rather than from zeal, and I did not encourage him, to avoid pledging myself to anything without knowing the Signory's will. But his repeating that the friendly powers ought to intervene, his asking me to recommend the affair to my colleague in France, and the exactness of the narrative, do not leave me without suspicion, as I understand the Dutch ambassador has written as of his own accord to their minister in France, perhaps from similar instigation. Meanwhile, as they show themselves well disposed here I fancy the negotiations with the Spaniards for an adjustment will prove neither hopeful nor speedily successful. It is possible, however, that by these conceits they may seek to gain time to further the negotiations set on foot by the duke alone, but as yet I have no corroboration, though I well know that in France they leave no stone unturned which can produce confusion, though I demonstrate the harmfulness of this policy on every occasion. Some tell me that at the French Court Bassompierre is negotiating the second visit of the duke, though I cannot say whether prompted from here or no. I am sure that should an enemy's fleet come into these parts the duke would wish to be far away because of the blame that would attach to him on account of the small provision for defence, which is the special care of his two offices of Lord High Admiral and Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports.
London, the 5th February, 1627.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 5.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
134. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Since Gerbier went to France nothing else of importance has happened there. Clerk has not yet departed, nor will he until Gerbier returns or answers are received from him. From my private watch on Clerk's movements I know that he passed a whole morning alone with the duke and a secretary, nothing else being discovered. Many think that should the Abbot Scaglia go to Brussels it will be mainly on account of English interests.
As yet there is no confirmation of the Catholic league beyond suspicion based more on appearances than facts, on intrigues rather than sound statements. I will keep on the watch and on the return of some of these lords of the Council, who are still in the county I shall try and obtain more certain particulars.
Besides the eight ships the squadron of twenty sail sent to the French coast has returned. They say that Pennington, the commander, on being reproached with having done nothing, said that besides instructions to seize French vessels he received sealed orders, not to be opened till he got to the mouth of the Garonne, where he found nothing but a blank sheet without any writing soever. I do not know if this is a malicious invention against the duke, as seems likely, but I do know the ships have returned as they went, without many prizes, and their cruise was meant to alarm rather than attack. They now require the city of London to victual them again for two months until the new fleet is fitted out, and as yet I do not hear of any further resolve.
The Spanish reinforcements become daily more powerful, and Lord Falkland, the Viceroy of Ireland, sent a special messenger with this news, urgently demanding instructions and the means of defence, expressing also doubts of an insurrection unless the fleet show itself off that island. Twice this week has the Council of State sat, together with the Council of War, and I believe they have already decided to fill up the ten regiments originally raised for the Cadiz fleet, their dismissal two months ago, as then decreed, having proved impossible either from lack of money or the fatality that retards all the affairs of this government. They want to bring these regiments up to 10,000 efficient soldiers, to be employed for home defence and for the most important positions; but they cannot do this without money, still less as all the officers are creditors for considerable arrears and the men have never received a farthing.
By the last ships from Holland a number of officers have arrived belonging to the four English regiments for Denmark, in order to raise recruits and fill them up. It is said they require some 3,500 men. I fancy they will soon be ready, as, according to the last contract made with Burlamachi and Calandrini the money will be disbursed by merchants. I understand that the King of Denmark asks that they may go overland and not by sea, perhaps to save the cost of transports, but the Dutch, who well know the burden they would have to bear by giving them a cavalry escort, do not approve of the plan and advise against it under pretence of insecurity, and the Ambassador Joachim has spoken about this with the duke and Secretaries of State.
Some few of the lords of the Council have returned from the country, having done well in obtaining subscriptions for the subsidies. The persons in Nottinghamshire who refused were cited here before the Council, and two of them having presented themselves are already prisoners. (fn. 2) The duke in person and the Earl of Holland left together yesterday for Buckinghamshire for the same purpose. As it is near they will return in two days and all the other lords will soon do the like. Meanwhile their reports are good and indeed they hope to get some small sum, which divided among so many wants can serve but little, and the device for once only cannot serve as an example and be persisted in, the burden being too great for the people, and the difficulty with which they submit convinces me that the former poverty is nigh and any results favourable for the common cause will be thwarted. It is hoped that the levy of Scots for Denmark will proceed, the colonels having been already promised 30,000 florins.
I understand that the exchange of sailor prisoners between the English and the Dunkirkers is arranged, but as the latter hold more the former will have to pay some 15,000 florins. I do not find that this release contains any clause which will serve as an example for giving quarter and prove prejudicial for the future, but the exchange is to be free and general. It has not yet been communicated to the Dutch ambassador as promised. Some worthy man has offered to burn or otherwise destroy the Dunkirk ships in harbour. The Dutch ambassador details the scheme minutely, promising the help of his masters and asking for co-operation here and some pecuniary outlay. He spoke about it to the duke, who merely said he would discuss the matter and tell him the projector's demands. The ambassador is none too pleased at this.
Admiral Real having supplied his ten ships with victuals for six months, sailed on the 14th ult. from the Isle of Wight to the seas of Spain to try his luck, so as at least to pay the cost of his outfit. He has orders to watch the movements of the Spanish fleet and give notice of them. Certainly if it were to come straight to this country they might land where they liked without hindrance, but the best informed persons fear some descent on the shores of the Baltic or German Ocean, by reason of the greater profit to be derived thence by the Spaniards, who by securing supplies of timber, cordage and other stores, of which they have great need, would prevent the Dutch and English and other nations from doing the like, thus gaining double profit and advantage.
Notwithstanding all this the king has chosen to betake himself to his usual field sports and fowling. The queen remains here in London, whither the king will return at least every week to attend the chapel services of the approaching season of Lent.
During the last few days no letters of any sort have appeared from Italy, of which I give your Excellencies most respectful notice.
London, the 5th February, 1627.
[Italian: the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 5.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
135. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Giespier, a gentleman of Buckingham's chamber, returned here from England on Wednesday. He presented complimentary letters to many, but business ones to few, to the cardinal, Bassompierre and the Savoyard ambassador among others. I am told that the duke's reply to Bassompierre is brief and consists of remonstrances at the non-fulfilment of the promises made. The letters to Scaglia, after a lengthy statement of the circumstances, states that they cannot agree to a mutual restitution of the ships. I enclose the letter to the cardinal. As they will not agree to what Bassompierre arranged, the agreement between the crowns, which all good men desire, looks further off than ever.
A great personage informed me that in order to keep England in check, the cardinal not only proposes to assemble the ships and galleons ordered at Amsterdam and other places, but to make use of a certain number of Spanish ones, of which he has an absolute promise through the Ambassador Mirabel, so that if the aspect of things does not change, the English will risk a conflict in order not to allow a naval force to unite with the French, and so that they may remain more perplexed and anxious than ever.
Paris, the 5th February, 1627.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure. 136. Copy of letter written to the Cardinal. (fn. 3)
Monsieur. Non obstant tous les faux raportz, qu'on a faict de mes actions par dela, Jay appris par mes Amis que vous me voulez faire I'honneur d'avoir une correspondence plus particuliere avec moy, que par le passé, et pour mieux reussir en mes bonnes intentions Jay jugé a propos de vous representer l'estat des affaires, qui sont a desmeller entre ces deux Courones; Je confesse qu'a l'arrivée de Mons. le Mareschal de Bassompierre J'estois porté au restablissement des Francois aupres de la Reyne, toutesfois n'advouant pas que le Roy mon Maistre ait failly en renvoiant ceux qui y estoient, appres avoir descouvert leurs mauvais comportements; le Contract ne l'obligeant au contraire, mais ayant servy La France en ceste affaire avec passion non sans hazard, et ayant obtenu de mon Maistre non seulement tout ce qui estoit raisonable, mais tout ce que vostre Ambassadeur avoit charge de demander, et le voyant maintenant desasdvoue non obstant qu'il estoit Mareschal de France, Ministre publicq authorisé par sa commission autentique, je trouve qui le Roy mon Maistre ne croit pas estre maintenant obligé a l'observation d'aulcun des deux Traittez en ce qui touche les officiers de la Maison de la Royne, ma Maistresse, de sorte que je ne vois pas que je puisse prendre asseurance de traitter simplement par lettres, ou que ce qui est demandé puisse estre advoué desormais; quant a nos vaisseaux, nons avons faict que trop des instances desia, et quand il vous plaira de considerer tous les passages de cest' affaire, je ne doubte pas que par vostre judgement si clair voyant, vous ne trouverez a propos de commencer a faire restitution ayant failly le premier par la rupture des Traittez l'an mil six cens dix, qui a esté fraichement ratifié, et vous puis asseurer que le Roy mon Maistre ne desire rien tant que de vivre en bonne correspondance avec le Roy son frere, si vous ne le contraignez au contraire, et pour mon particulier je contribueray tout ce qui en depend, Comme, Monsieur,
Votre humble et bien affectioné serviteur.
[With Italian translation.]
Feb. 11.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
137. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The ministers were much disturbed here by the news that the cardinal nephew has taken the kingdoms of Aragon and Portugal under his protection. They drew up strong letters to Rome, but the cardinal nuncio induced them not to send them. They have sent instead to tell Cardinal Barberino that he must maintain his independence and neutrality, otherwise France will trust him no more.
They believe here that some treaty is on foot for an accommodation between England and Spain, though they think it will be difficult to effect. They suspect the Ambassador Scaglia of being the go-between. That minister has been constantly meeting Gierbier, Buckingham's gentleman, and this week the Spanish Ambassador Mirabel called upon him. I will try to gather further light, though I find no better grounds than the vulgar opinion. Some strictures are also current against the Duke of Chevreuse in this matter, who is connected with the English crown by affection and relationship. On the plea of joining his wife he went four days ago to Lorraine, where they assert that this affair has its roots.
Gierbier is returning to England to-morrow morning. He takes his message verbally, as the cardinal would not answer the Duke of Buckingham by letter, owing to a question of title. The reply is inconclusive, in order to gain time. Gierbier recognised the trick and stopped Clark, who was expected at any moment on the same business.
As the States of Holland refused the alliance offered by France with new and prejudicial stipulations against the English and the Rochellese, Cardinal Richelieu saw their Ambassador Langerach and told him that the Dutch would repent of this one day. The ambassador replied that both France and Holland would repent at thus advancing the Austrian monarchy, but the Dutch had resisted it before, unaided, and would do so again.
The Assembly of Notables, following the cardinal's views, has decided always to keep a war fleet of forty-five ships in the Ocean. The cardinal himself has charge of this. The English, Dutch and Rochellese are afraid that the naval force will be directed against La Rochelle. The English and Dutch are closely watching their movements here, and both are determined, if the town is attacked, to hasten to its relief and risk a conflict, rather than suffer those naval forces to unite and the town to fall.
News has just arrived, though unconfirmed, that the English ships have sunk near Dieppe a large ship, with a special cargo and 300 men on board. The ship belonged to Cardinal Richelieu.
Paris, the 11th February, 1627.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 11.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Zante. Venetian Archives.
138. ALVISE TRIPOLO, Proveditore of Zante, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Yesterday an English ship arrived here from Tunis to take away currants to the west. I took the deposition of a gunner of the ship, interpreter for the captain, which I enclose. I have made every preparation for defence against the pirates.
Zante, the 1st February, 1626, old style.
Enclosed in the preceding despatch. 139. The 30th January, 1626.
Deposition of John Comberfort, gunner of the English ship William John, captain Thomas Otelmi, which arrived from Tunis yesterday morning. Left at midnight and came straight without touching anywhere. Had stayed there 20 days. Three of the largest ships there had sailed, the captain of one being an English renegade named Gud, and eleven others also sailed, three or four at a time, for the Levant, so they announced publicly. Some were of Algiers and some of Tunis; some carried quite 36 guns. They captured an English ship, Captain Brum, which had left Tunis to come here; but it was subsequently given back to their king and they only detained two or three men and took its guns, cables and other tackle. They wanted to take another English ship laden with stock-fish, which was going from the Newland to Marseilles, but it escaped by night. They took the captain, who was afterwards released by the efforts of the consul, and he came on in this ship. The ship came to this port with three others for refuge. Three other English ships have taken refuge at Marseilles. Rumours that the King of Algiers meant to wage war on the King of Tunis, but did not know the reason. Some four months ago when he left England 130 or 140 ships of that place put out against the King of Spain.
Feb. 12.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
140. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I have nothing to add about the affairs of France which ought to be the most important at this Court. Some three weeks ago Moulins, the Most Christian king's secretary, despatched the replies, in conformity with which Gerbier departed soon after, but as yet nothing has been heard from him and they remain without further rejoinder. From this delay some infer that they are trying to avoid a rupture. Meanwhile, news arrives of disturbances in France and of fear that they will continue and the flame grow greater, intelligence by no means regretted here as they think these troubles may prove advantageous for the present negotiations, nor do I doubt their having been suggested and encouraged. M. de Soubise is here, lodged and boarded by the king, of which the French partisans complain, whilst England resents the union and good understanding between France and Spain.
Some difficulty having arisen about compelling the city of London to revictual the twenty men-of-war for two months, the king chose ten of them to be selected from among the best for his own service, and the same is being done by many others. 30,000l. from the first moneys paid into the treasury have been assigned for the supplies of victuals, but this having been delayed beyond the season, no great good can be expected thence. I may assure your Excellencies that for the coast and defence of the sea some twenty or thirty ships may be fitted out, so I believe it to be impossible for them this year to get together an efficient fleet for offensive operations, considering the great confusion in the Council, in the government and their manner of conducting their affairs. On this same account of an imaginary fleet, which the ministry still pictures to itself as numerous, all the ships already laded for Venice, Leghorn and other ports in the Levant were seized, though I understand some were dismissed. It is surmised that the duke, as Lord High Admiral made a profit out of this, as one of the chief accusations brought against him heretofore stated that on another occasion when a similar seizure of ships bound to the West Indies was ordered, they were shortly afterwards released for a present of 20l.
The sailors have returned for the third time, claiming their arrears in much greater numbers than on the two former occasions, so that besides the guards placed at the Court and at the houses of the duke and the Lord Treasurer they insult the coaches of such personages as they suppose to be dependent on the favourite and many of those subject to such assault give money to rid themselves of it. The merchants are urged to assist so that the rioters may receive a certain portion of their due without delay, but many decline the venture, the incredible want of money being such that the Palatine's agent, who took his leave several weeks ago, is unable to depart, owing to delay about the usual present, the entire value of which does not exceed 2,000 florins
The duke has returned from his province (fn. 4) perfectly satisfied, only one individual out of the entire population having refused to pay the subsidy. Had he not been assured beforehand of this good result he would not have made the attempt, and it is said that he covertly supplied the means for consenting to many who were resisting, without their having to pay, rather than take a refusal from them (et vogliono che a molti renitenti habbia sotto mono somministrato il modo d'assentire senza discapito, più tosto che incontrar la loro negativa).
The same thing did not happen in Lincolnshire whence the Lord Lieutenant, the Earl of Rutland, returned hurriedly two days ago. He brings back word, although the county is a large one, that only three persons in it consented to the loan, all the rest having tumultuously joined in the refusal, giving signs of almost open rebellion, venting their rage on the house in which the Royal Commissioners were assembled to obtain the signatures and assent of the inhabitants. No decision has yet been issued concerning this matter which from its importance deserves great consideration, it being supposed that for this purpose the king came back from the country, whither he went, as reported. I fancy they already intend to ask the United Provinces for three companies of cavalry, for use in these and similar disturbances. The ambassador has elicited this and confided it to me, but no demand has been made to him, as the ministers here prefer to avoid conferences with the foreign envoys, who are well acquainted with the fluctuations of this government, but prefer to communicate directly with their courts, imagining that they are less known there.
I understand that the Scots, for the release of the church property etc., as reported, offer a contribution of 600,000 marks of that country, equal to about 60,000l. I hear that a good part of this sum is already assigned to the Earl of Nithsdale, a favourite of the duke's, another portion being destined for the Lord Treasurer, that he may cede the post to the Earl of Morton, a very leading personage in that kingdom, whose son (fn. 5) lately married a niece of the duke's, daughter of his brother who died the other day, treasurer of Ireland. I am told that a third part is also made over to the Chancellor of Scotland, who is still here, having in the course of a few weeks, allowed himself to be gained by the favourite, notwithstanding his having been hitherto considered a person of integrity and good character; the chief charge brought against the duke universally being that he employs money to multiply his adherents thus relieving the wants of private individuals to the burden and detriment of the state.
Some of the Dutch vessels which were captured heretofore have been declared free and not fair prizes. But as the proceeds of their cargoes, which were sold long ago under pretext of deterioration and loss, have been spent, the owners are promised restitution when the finances of this kingdom are in a more prosperous state. The ambassador has not chosen to send this reply to his masters as in the present democratic state of that country, in whose government the persons interested in these vessels are concerned, it would certainly produce very serious irritation.
The ambassador is also dissatisfied at the indecision which still prevails about the individual I wrote of as having offered some time ago to destroy the shipping at Dunkirk. From all these premises and consequences speculators infer that to preserve his personal authority the duke purposes to rely on the Spaniards, especially as he has been twice repulsed by the French. This is proved both by facts and appearances, many persons being now taken into favour who were formerly known to be decidedly Spanish, their inclination and bias being venal, as is still notorious.
I have received simultaneously the ducal missives of the 2nd and 14th January, and I only regret that the same thing should occur with my despatches to Venice, owing to the growing tediousness of reading such a mass of correspondence, which profits little owing to the rapid progress of events and the orders they entail. I am enlightened by the instructions about Denmark and Wake, although from what I hear the latter's negotiations proceed from general commissions rather than from recent ones. Nothing was said to me on the subject, and, as commanded, I will not discuss it unless provoked. At any rate I assure you that many of the ministry are satisfied with what your Excellencies have done. Others who do not choose or are unable to understand, hold to their resolve of not moving father in a matter beyond the Alps. Others again, who are beyond comparison the most numerous of all, think nothing or little about the matter.
In accordance with what your Excellencies tell me, you have heard nothing whatever from other quarters about a truce with the Dutch being in negotiation here, though it is likely that the United Provinces being maltreated, not to say deluded by the kings, their allies, who by failing to pay the contributions burden the people beyond measure, are by violence and of necessity carried to do that to which from self interest and state policy they are averse, nor do I believe that the Spaniards ever made a greater step towards predominance than by breaking the treaties, promises and oaths, setting the fashion and example for other powers likewise in such sort that no one either can or may trust them any longer, each party remaining isolated with the disadvantages of unequal vigour and force.
London, the 12th February, 1627.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Feb. 13.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni. Venetian Archives.
141. To the Ambassador at Rome and the like to the other Courts.
We have received a reply from Turin to-day about the arrest of the ambassadors' servants. The duke released the two members of the Ambassador Moresini's household and apologised to him. He condemned the excess of his own ambassador's servant, but asked for the culprit's pardon as a favour to him, promising that his ministers should never cause similar scandals in the future. As we have thus obtained our purpose, we have released the prisoner and sent word to the ambassador.
We have sent you these particulars so that you may make the truth known to our advantage.
Ayes, 106. Noes, 2. Neutral, 9.
Feb. 13.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
142. ZORZI GIUSTINIAN, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The English ambassador has just sent his secretary to inform me that he has received letters from his king directing him urgently to assist the operations of Prince Gabor, and to act thus jointly with the Bailo of the most serene republic, as his sovereign was resolved to assist those operations with all his power. He told me he also had letters from the Ambassador Wake, who by order of his king had passed an office with your Serenity for some contribution to the prince, and you had made a favourable but general reply. He thought this arose from your doubts of the prince's sincerity, though he could assure me of it. I told the secretary to report to the ambassador that I had never failed in my good offices here for the prince, and I would do the same in the future. I had not received any news as yet from your Serenity of Wake's office, but I knew your Serenity was helping the cause by your efforts and Gabor himself recognised that you could not be expected to do more.
The Vigne of Pera, the 13th February, 1626 [M.V.].
[Italian; deciphered.]
Feb. 14.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Savoia. Venetian Archives.
143. MARC ANTONIO MORESINI, Venetian Ambassador in Savoy, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Two very rich carracks from the East Indies became separated from the fleet on the way to Lisbon. One ran ashore on the coast of Medoc; the other is at large and may fall into the hands of the English. This would be a lucky stroke for them, as its value is estimated at four millions.
English ships have been scouring the French seas, treating all French ships and merchants as enemies. They have made reprisals upon the English ships in Gascony.
Negotiations continue for the reconciliation of the two kings, and so do the rumours that Buckingham may go to France. Abbot Scaglia writes very hopefully about it to the duke. Clerch and Montague, gentlemen of Buckingham, have made the journey between London and Paris several times, since Bassompierre's return. That minister is working hard to get what he negotiated confirmed, being opposed by the cardinal, who gains ever greater influence and favour with the king.
Turin, the 14th February, 1626 [M.V.].
Feb. 15.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
144. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The King of Bohemia fears that Denmark is inclined to come to terms. He expressed his regret to me at the replies given by your Serenity to his agent and the agents of Gabor and Baden. I replied as instructed. This prince is living here in great ease and does not seem sensible of his misfortunes. He has recalled Rusdot hitherto his agent in England. The motive is not apparent; some say he had too much understanding with princes, certainly his master made him give back a pension he received from France. Others say he was not liked in England from suspicion that he delved into the most secret affairs. But I have heard recently that the Palatine intends to send him to Germany on his affairs.
The Hague, the 15th February, 1626 [M.V.].
[Italian; deciphered.]


  • 1. The first reference is to the book of the Jesuit Santarelli "Tractatus de hacresi, schismate. et de potestate Romani pontificis in his dilectis puniendis," condemned to be burned by the Parliament of Paris. Both the Parliament and the Sorbonne were forbidden to deal with the matter by successive decrees of the 4th and 25th January. Lavisse: Hist. de France, vol. vi, pt. ii, pages 259, 260. Mercure Francais, ed. Richer, vol. xii, pages 29, 30. The second reference appears to be to the fall of the favourite Francois de Barradas on the 2nd Dec. Bazin: Hist. de France sous Louis xiii., vol. ii, page 154.
  • 2. This seems to be a mistake for Northamptonshire. The two arrested were Sir Erasmus Dryden and a Mr. Knightley. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1627–8, page 15, Birch: Court and Times of Charles I, vol. i, pages 184, 188, 189, 191.
  • 3. There is a copy, also undated, at the Public Record Office, State Papers Foreign, France, inserted before a letter of the 21st March.
  • 4. Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire. Birch: Court and Times of Charles I, vol. i, page 188.
  • 5. Robert Douglas, afterwards seventh Earl of Morton, married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Edward Villiers.