BHO

Venice: June 1628, 21-25

Pages 133-148

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 21, 1628-1629. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1916.

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Citation:

June 1628

June 21.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
178. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
It has recently been declared from several quarters that this siege will prove the total ruin of the public cause and will not terminate without a lamentable and bloody tragedy between England and France. The reason why the Rochellese broke off the negotiations was an assurance from the Lieutenant di S. Michele, governor of Montauban, of the near approach of powerful assistance from England. He came from London for this alone, reached Niort by the posts, proceeded to the camp, where he observed the lines and forts, and then entered La Rochelle, without an impediment. Since then three leading men have left the town. Two, la Grossettiera and San Flori, have gone to England, to ask for help and to return with the succour at the high tides, about the middle of next month, and the third went to Rohan. (fn. 1)
Niort, the 21st June, 1628.
[Italian.]
June 21.
Collegio,
Secreta.
Esposizioni,
Principi.
Venetian
Archives.
179. The English ambassador was summoned to the Collegio and the Senate's deliberation of the 17th was read to him; he spoke as follow:
When a fortnight ago your Serenity informed me in general of your dissatisfaction about ships of our nation, I took pains to learn from the ship masters and other English officials and merchants here what had happened. It is true they assured me that they knew of nothing, but I am not bound to trust them utterly, especially in a matter concerning their own interests, and I issued the mandate whereof I sent a copy to your Serenity, and issued many others. I sent to Constantinople, Syria, Leghorn and elsewhere, so that our ships might receive the intimation, knowing full well my king's firm purpose that they should do no harm in the republic's ports and seas. Some of the ships may indeed have persuaded themselves that your Serenity's jurisdiction does not extend beyond the Gulf, and as I myself was doubtful about the meaning of the word 'channels,' I simply put it into my mandate. Our merchant ships are converted into ships of war and sail in fleets for their own safety; they have the power to attack and plunder the enemies of the crown. This power is given them by the king in their act of navigation, to serve for the open sea. Such powers are certainly of two kinds, one by letters of marque obliging them to attack ships of enemies of the crown; the other by more reserved patents, with power to search other ships and take the goods of enemies therefrom, even if the ships belong to friends. But neither confers such powers within the ports of any prince soever, except the States, who set the example by attacking Spanish ships in our ports, which moved us to do the same in theirs. When Sir [Thomas] Roe, who is returning to Constantinople as ambassador, reaches Zante I feel sure the necessary measures will be taken until precise orders can arrive from his Majesty. I will repeat what the Senate has said and I am sure that similar occasions will not recur, and it will only be necessary to allow time for the orders to arrive. If any other unfortunate event occurs in the meantime it will not be intentional, but merely because the king's orders have not arrived, for then I am sure your Serenity will be fully satisfied.
The doge replied, We could not expect a more favourable or appropriate reply from your Excellency. The circumstance of attacks by ships in sight of our islands and ports is important, it has never been permitted by the republic and might occasion inconvenience, accordingly his Majesty should put this right as you assure us and we expect. The ambassador again promised to see to this and said he would take a note of the office to do it better. He was sure that when Digby returned, who is not really a commander, but only has ordinary letters of marque, the king would make him render account of all he had done, especially against the ship Cantarella. With that the ambassador went out.
[Italian.]
June 22.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
180. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
All the advices state that the English are making notable preparations to succour La Rochelle. This has brought the king and cardinal back to the camp sooner than they proposed. The first news came from Holland. Letters from Flanders bring further particulars. They were sent by a barque which returned from England this week. The captain states that he himself saw more than 150 vessels sail from the Thames. They were all going to Plymouth to join others, and when all had assembled they would take the sea together at the proper moment. Public report stated that the fleet had 20 or 25,000 souls on board with 1,500 or 2,000 horses. Besides English, Scots and Germans, they even had some companies from the Orkneys. Buckingham was generalissimo. He proposed to land on either side of the channel and at the same time to force the mole with his ships, assisted by a sally of the Rochellese. The plan could not be finer, it only remains to see how skill and fortune will fill in the colours.
The French are working incessantly at the mole, and have redoubled their labours the last two days. Although well aware that if the enemy has courage and the will to act, their ships are ill calculated to cope with the adversary, yet in order to equalise forces the French are devising ways of multiplying defences and impediments. They have once again taken up one of Targoni's first devices, upon which they rely more than upon anything else. This consists of a construction of triple or quadruple trunks (tolpi). These being packed between one row and another, the middle being left empty, form a barricade both strong and difficult to break through. They strongly resemble the palisading or spurs used at the Lido, the only difference being that the latter float on the water, while these are fixed in the earth.
The cardinal portions out the troops, but everyone thinks he has done wrong in putting the Swiss on the ships at the mole, away from their proper element, as they have never taken part in naval fights.
Niort, the 22nd June, 1628.
[Italian.]
June 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
181. To the Ambassador in England.
We have had occasion to speak of the evil proceedings of divers English ships in our waters. We enclose copies of our office with Wake's secretary, his reply and the order he has issued. Owing to certain words therein but more because of serious events which occurred subsequently, we sent for the ambassador and passed a new office, of which we enclose a copy with his reply. We direct you to speak in conformity to the ministers and the king as well, with the urgence demanded by such a matter. We feel sure the orders will be given, as honour, duty and the law of nations require it. You will ask for them and colour your request with the considerations we advanced, urged on by your zeal to increase the good relations between that crown and our republic, which greatly profit both states and their subjects.
Letters have just reached us from our Commissioner Ciuran at Zante of the 1st and 3rd about new excesses of Digby, more serious than the last. We communicate the particulars to the ambassador here, and direct you to represent it in England, laying stress upon the matter and the need for redress as well as some punishment to prove his Majesty's upright intentions, since all that our commanders at sea may do will merely be in execution of their general instructions for such eventualities and the result of the excesses of the English ships and of Digby in particular.
Ayes, 154. Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
June 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
182. That when the French ambassador comes into the Collegio the following be read to him:
As soon as we heard of the attacks of certain English privateers against some small French tartane, we made remonstrance to the Ambassador Wake and the English Court, and we expect that proper provision will be made. Our naval commanders will execute the orders they hold against privateers which infest our channels and ports, with a special regard for subjects of the Most Christian.
Ayes, 154. Noes, 0. Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
June 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Venetian
Archives.
183. That a notary of the Ducal Chancery be sent to read the following to the English ambassador:
Since our office about the English ships, we are advised of fresh excesses committed by them. This is intolerable, and we inform you so that you may send word to his Majesty. Digby sent a tartana to surprise a French polaca sailing to Zante, and would have succeeded but for a fortunate wind. Further, sighting two ships off the town, he sent four of his bertons and a tartana against them. He also took all his ships to the mouth of the port of Zante as if to besiege it and to observe all the actions of our subjects, reconnoitre the fortress and make use of the bell that signals the coming and going of ships. Our representatives, for sanitary and other reasons, have refused him permission to unload. These circumstances greatly aggravate the previous ones which we mentioned and will certainly lead to some regrettable encounter with our fleets. We feel sure that his Majesty will learn of it with regret, which he will show by the orders he issues in the future and by the exemplary punishment which he will inflict.
Ayes, 125. Noes, 3. Neutral, 1.
[Italian.]
June 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Captanio delle
Galeazze.
Venetian
Archives.
184. ANTONIO CAPELLO, Captain of the Great Galeasses and GIOVANNI PAOLO GRADENIGO, Captain of the Galleons, to the DOGE and SENATE.
On the 21st inst. about the 17th hour four powerful ships were sighted coming this way, with a tartana. At that distance we supposed them to be merchantmen coming in company for the sake of safety. But when they got nearer their behaviour in waiting for each other and keeping in squadron, so different from merchantmen, made us doubtful of this, and somewhat suspicious. These feelings were increased by the news which I, the captain of the galeasses, received in Cyprus and here also from the bailo at Constantinople, that five Barbary ships of one Calil, a pirate, meant to try their strength upon these galleys and galleons. However, before moving, I wished to see further signs, and so I waited and watched, Finally, when they had come near enough to be observed, they confirmed our opinion by flying their battle flags, putting red cloth over the sides and beating the drum. As I did not wish to be caught at anchor, I made the galeasses slip their cables, and although there was a fresh wind against me, I got under the promontory which forms the mouth of the port, in order to prevent them from entering if they did not behave properly. I recognised the English colours but did not trust this, as they gave no signs of friendship, and because this coast has previously been raided by pirates under the same flag, used deceitfully, according to their habits, with notable hurt to all the nations.
When the ships got near me, with the tartana somewhat in advance, it sent a small boat to two very powerful English ships, which had arrived here previously with goods, but I, the captain of the galeasses, fired a culverin with shot, as I did not wish the ships to come on top of me before I was aware, so that they should stop, veil their topsails or take another tack. They took no notice, but kept on before the wind, standing towards us, making no sign of friendship except that each ship fired a gun, an action which did not help to remove my suspicion.
Meanwhile, by threatening the small boat, which pursued it course, with muskets, I, the captain of the galleons, forced it to turn back. Accompanied by a caique, one of the men from it came on board and presented me with a letter, from which I understood that the commander of those ships, styling himself general of English ships sent by his sovereign against the French, intended to employ his force to capture four French ships then at this port. I thought it a serious matter to suffer an attack to be made upon a friendly nation under the eyes of this squadron. I answered merely expressing the wish that they would not do me this wrong, as they would have plenty of opportunities of taking French ships elsewhere, and the friendship existing between his king and the republic made me count on this favour, and would not compel me to avenge an affront on the dignity of the republic and the honour of the galeasses and galleons. For the rest I would treat him as a friend. Without waiting for any answer he kept on his course and tried to pass the galleons under full sail in order to reach his prey. I considered this unbearable insolence and open hostility, and continued to fire shot, more to prevent him from carrying out his purpose than to do him injury, as we might have sunk more than one vessel. He still kept on his course, firing his guns, and the fight lasted from the 19th to the 23rd hour. During that time the galleons had done their best to get into position, though they were much embarrassed at the time owing to the bags they had taken on board that morning, and they showed their strength by several shots. Owing to this circumstance the English were prevented from achieving their plans of taking the French. In this action the Governors Navagier and Capello, our colleagues, displayed their zeal and valour by their quick manœuvring and most prudent dispositions.
The English viceconsul then intervened and urged me to terminate the action, promising that their general should leave this port. I therefore gave over, seeing that they also had ceased firing and had called back the tartana and caiques, which had pushed on in the interval and boarded the French ships, already abandoned by their defenders, and carried off what they could in such a short time, of the things the owners had left behind, which were of slight value. They let one of them drive on shore, but we could not prevent this, as we were engaged in fighting the ships, and we also had to keep an eye on the two English ships which had come first, of which we were very suspicious, as they had come out near two of our galleons, and on my stern, and because the French ships were a long way off us and of no size. In spit of all our disadvantages, the contrary wind, and the galleons being encumbered and without sails, as is the custom here, as they would suffer harm from the heavy dews in these parts, so that they could only use those pieces within range of which the English themselves came, yet those English by their own confession lost about eighteen men, killed and wounded, and their vessels were pierced in several places, the flagship and all the others suffering greatly in their rigging and masts. They spent a long time over the repairs and the rearguard had to change its foremast with the cage (trinchetto di cheba), which was supplied by one of the two ships of their country which had arrived first. We also did not escape without injury, the ensign of Sig. Navagiero being slain by a cannon shot and two soldiers severely wounded, while the ships received many shots, though non very serious, thank God. The bark of Sig. Cappello was sunk, but immediately recovered by his diligence.
The English are staying here. We have remonstrated with the captain and general for their behaviour when he is a dependant of a king so friendly to your Serenity. He seems to have been appeased by this compliment, but he shows no sign of going, and we do not know with what end he is staying. We have not thought it advisable to forbid him, as we are in strange waters, out of our own ports and jurisdiction. However, we shall be very vigilant and circumspect, as the galleons have their sails spread, and we are so well equipped with arms that we feel confident that we shall not receive any hurt, even if their intentions are bad, although we have heard that the other two ships of their nation here have declared that they will join them in a fight if occasion arises. We shall not take any steps unless we are absolutely forced, as while we desire to serve the State and uphold its dignity, we also consider the maintenance of the good understanding between his Majesty and your Serenity.
The Aga of this port heard of the event with great satisfaction, and probably the Grand Turk will also, being greatly obliged for the favour in defence of the port, so insulted by these ships. He sent a special messenger, who is the friend of our viceconsul at Marina, with special thanks for protecting the port, and saying that the Aga, his superior, would sing the praises of our nation to the Sultan, and he himself would have come to tender his thanks in person but for his fear of sea sickness. He subsequently sent for the English viceconsul and placed his office in his hands, telling him that the subjects of the Sultan for the future would have to apply to the viceconsul and not to him, the Aga. The affront involved the Sultan himself, who would require satisfaction. He then sent the messengers post to Aleppo with news of the incident, and it is expected that very serious steps will be taken against the English. The French consider it singularly fortunate that our ships were here at the time and have thanked us warmly. In our intercourse with the English, and in getting water for which the English also came, we have observed many subjects of your Serenity among them, especially from Zante and Cephalonia, where they touched and strengthened their complement. The enclosed copies of letters will show how moderately the affair has been conducted. (fn. 2)
The galeasse at Alexandretta, the 23rd June, 1628.
[Italian.]
Enclosure. 185. KENELM DIGBY, General of the English Ships, to ANTONIO CAPELLO, Venetian Captain of the Galeasses.
Having heard that some galeasses and galleons with three other vessels of the republic of Venice are at the port of Scanderoon, I have thought it right to advise your lordship, as their commander, of my arrival, and the cause thereof, so that you may know that I have been sent by the King of Great Britain, whom I serve as a gentleman of his Privy Chamber, to attack his enemies, comprising the French whom I find in these parts. Your lordship may rest assured that my forces will be employed solely against them, and that I shall show you every respect, expecting a return from you, as is fitting between the subjects of two powers so closely united.
On board my flagship in the port of Scanderoon, the 21st June, 1628, new style.
[Italian; copy.]
Enclosure. 186. Reply of the Captain Capello to the General of the English ships.
I shall always be ready to oblige your lordship for your own sake and because of the friendship and good understanding existing between his Majesty and the republic, but I cannot suffer the ships here in my company to suffer hurt, and I do not believe that you will do me this wrong and affront, and still more my prince. If you wish to attack the enemies of your king you will have plenty of opportunities away from there. I therefore beg you to avoid all occasions from which the gravest accidents might arise, and for the rest you will find me ready to give you all the satisfaction that you can desire.
From the galeasse at Alexandretta, the 21st June, 1628.
[Italian; copy.]
Enclosure. 187. Second Letter from the English General to Capello, Captain of the Galeasses.
I have no time to make a long reply to yours. I can only say briefly that even if I risk sinking here I shall not fail to carry out the commands of my king and master. Be perfectly clear that even if your lordship had twice as many ships as you have, I shall not neglect my duty. There will be a time for discussing your behaviour towards me before superior judges, and I do not doubt that your lordship will realise that you have no right to behave in a hostile manner towards me. I therefore impute it to your gallantry that you desire to prove yourself against the subjects of my king, to whom the title of valour belongs of right, but in such case it will be more noble for you and more useful for our masters if we two try our strength against each other, and so avoid involving innocent persons in our honourable rivalry.
From my ship, the Eagle, the 21st June, 1628.
[Italian; copy.]
Enclosure. 188. Second Reply by the Captain of the Galeasses to the General of the English.
I greatly regret what has occurred to-day and assure your lordship sincerely that I was moved by nothing else than the grave affront to me and still more to my prince, in your desire to maltreat the ships which are with me at this port, as in other respects I should have shown your lordship all the honour that is due to your merit and to your king. You sent me letters, but did not wait for any answer, coming towards me under full sail with every sign of hostility, a course that amazed me. I should have taken the same steps to defend his Majesty's ships, now here, because honour requires it, and duty, and in so doing I should have considered I was showing my goodwill in protecting their interests. I know that if you will consider the matter dispassionately, you will, as an honourable man, recognise that I am right. With regard to the intention you express to have the enemy's ships, you must be content to suspend this intention while you stay in these waters, and to negotiate some compromise through your viceconsul, always saving my reputation, for which I feel sure you will have a due regard. I could injure your ships by a greater demonstration of the strength of these vessels, and could capture the tartana in particular. I renounce this because I do not desire to have other than friendly relations with you. My office does not permit me to indulge in private duels, but if I was free I would certainly give you every satisfaction becoming a gentleman. I did not sign my last, owing to haste, and I beg you to excuse the omission. I am always ready to show you my esteem, and to express the desire for the continuance of good relations between his Majesty and the republic. I ask you to consider that owing to this cause his Majesty's ships, now here, may suffer prejudice at Aleppo, and that rigorous proceedings may be taken against them by the Turks. You are a gentleman and I fully expect to receive from you nothing but actions which correspond with the character.
From the galeasse at Alexandretta, the 21st June, 1628.
It was sent at the third hour of the night.
[Italian; copy.]
Enclosure. 189. Third Letter from the General of the English to the Captain of the Galeasses.
If the late incident arose from my mistake, I should not hesitate to admit it. As you took my entry here as a personal injury and insult since you forbad it before I had committed any act of hostility against anyone, that cannot enter into consideration. Neither do I believe that you have received orders from your prince to defend the French against the English, since on such occasions every one must trust to his own strength and not expect help from a third, who, being the friend of both, is bound by the laws of all nations to remain neutral. The English would not desire or need such assistance, as they have always come off victorious in the fight, and therefore if I carry off the prizes it will not affect the reputation of your lordship, but if you try to hinder me I protest that it will amount to a definite breach of the peace between our masters. With regard to adjusting the business with the Sultan, I have already directed our viceconsul to take such a course so that neither shall suffer harm.
I must clear up a point in the other part of my letter, namely that I did not desire to meet your lordship, sword in hand, out of any ill feeling. Such passions do not enter generous hearts. It was merely for a contest with your notable valour and ability, and I should have esteemed it highly to have had such an adversary. I should be even more delighted to gain such a friend, and I thought in that way to avoid the effusion of much innocent blood. I end by saying that if you forbid friendly relations between us, you will find me an enemy withour rancour or malevolence.
From my ship, the 21st June, 1628.
[Italian; copy.]
Enclosure. 190. Arz made by some Mussulmans to the Sultan.
On the 18th of this moon of Seval five English ships entered the port of Alexandretta, where the Venetian galeasses and galleons were, for trade. They sent to ask what the English wanted in the ports of the emperor, and, firing some shots, told them to go away. The English replied that they had nothing to do with them, and that they wished to take the four French ships in the port and burn them. They forced their way and an action began, in which 400 shots were fired, lasting from mid-day until the 22nd hour. The English were about to burn the French ships when the galeasses fired heavy guns, delivering the French and driving the English out of the port.
Dated in the moon of Seval, in the year of Mahomet 1037, that is, the month of June, 1628.
Misli Tendi Witnesses.
Hagi Mehemet
Mussa
Hassan Zendi
[Italian; translation from Turkish.]
Enclosure. 191. Document entered in a case between Ibraim Celebi and a French shipmaster.
I, Ibraim Celebi, agent for Riscan, at present Aga at Alexandretta, state that when the English ships came I thought them vessels of Malta, and knowing that the French are friends with these, I sent 12,000 reals to the ship of this Frenchman, on account of the duties, telling him to keep them for me. He took the money and put it in his ship. I now ask that he shall state what he has done. The master admitted having received the money, but said that the English and others had taken it, with all that he had hidden in the hold of the ship, and besides the money they had taken all his goods in that ship. Chiemanbassi, Suliman de Acmet, Hagi Ramasan, Demirli Becchir and other Mussulmen deposed that on the 18th of the moon of Seval between mid-day and vespers the English ships had attacked the port and fired on the French ships, so that the men in them fled precipitately to land, and the English plundered all the money and goods, leaving the ships bare. On receiving their testimony, the present was drawn up, to be handed to whoever might require to use it.
Dated in the moon of Seval, the year of Mahomet, 1037, that is June, 1628.
Musli Begh Witnesses.
Cara Han
Ibraim Celebi
Mahamut Celebi
Zaffer Begh
Dervis Begh
Calil Baba
[Italian; translated from Turkish.]
June 23.
Cinque Savii
alla
Mercanzia.
Risposte.
Venetian
Archives.
192. With respect to the petition of Captain William Ralph, an Englishman to go and lade currants at Zante, he brought his entire cargo to this city, we have examined his credit and find there is silk in his cargo, which is not a western but an eastern commodity, and we have refused the permit, as although he has a statement from the customers at Zante that he unladed caviare and cloth there, we do not accept this as legal, because he did not get it from the Rector, as he should. Moreover, the cloth may have been distributed a postrichio, (fn. 3) contrary to the law. Again, as he laded his silk and grain at Zante, he took this cargo away from Venetian ships.
We consider that such matters should not be conducted through private individuals, but all affidavits should be signed by the public representatives.
Alvise da Ponte Savii.
Vettor Pisani
Anzolo Zustinian
Paul Antonio Valaresso
[Italian.]
June 23.
Cinque Savii
alla
Mercanzia.
Risposte.
Venetian
Archives.
193. Gio. Battista Bentio petitions that as La Muda is approaching to send to Alexandria, he may hire two English ships to act as escort to a Venetian ship which he wishes to send to that port; seeing the order forbidding the hiring of foreign ships when there are Venetian ones, we sent for the owners of the latter. Rossi and Albanesi said they would willingly hire theirs for that voyage, and Albanesi promised to arm his fully, while Rossi will have to do the same. We therefore consider that the petition cannot be granted.
Alvise de Ponte Savii.
Vettor Pisani
Anzolo Zustinian
Pol Antonio Valaresso
[Italian.]
June 23.
Cinque Savii
alla
Mercanzia.
Risposte.
Venetian
Archives.
194. In response to the paper presented by the English ambassador at the request of the English merchants living at Zante and Cephalonia, containing ten articles, we reply article by article:
(1) They ask leave to export duty free what the Rectors may consider necessary for the use of their ships.
We have never heard of this being allowed anywhere. It would seriously affect the revenues and give facilities for fraud. It would also afford an opportunity for evading the prohibition to export oil.
(2) As many vessels come to lade currants, that the rectors may send several overseers.
The request seems reasonable, but may be insidious. By law they can only lade at two places, Argostoli and Vald' Alessandria, and it would cost too much to send several officials, while it would be dangerous to allow the Rectors to appoint natives. The ministers must act jointly, but it might be conceded that one only should assist at the weighing and checking in case of need; care, however, must be taken, as reliance cannot be placed in the customer alone.
(3) That the customer may always be present when requested, for the unlading.
This is just, but discretion is necessary, and he must be given breathing time. Probably the best remedy for all the ills and frauds would be to set up a single large balance or weighing machine in one place only, large enough to weigh any cask. This would prevent the customer from tyrannising over the merchants, the ministers could superintend and fraud would be prevented, while everything would be quickly despatched. It would seem desirable that all the currants should be taken to the magazines of Argostoli or those of the resident English merchants.
(4) That the casks may be sealed and stamped before the ships arrive, so that they may be despatched more quickly.
This would be reasonable if there was also an obligation to lade as many casks as had been stamped, but this could not be done without knowing how many the ships would take.
(5) That they may lade in any place in the island.
The laws only permit this at Val d'Alessandria and Argostoli, and at Ithaca for one ship. It seems unnecessary to change this unless to have all the lading done at Argostoli.
(6) That they may not be held responsible for smuggling committed by their ships.
This would be most harmful, as there is no other way of controlling the ships. The sailors only think of their own gain, and fear no punishment, owing to the strength of their ships. It is not unreasonable to make the merchants responsible as they are interested in the ships. No smuggling is ever committed that does not originate with the merchants.
(7) That persons accused of smuggling may be sent for trial to Venice.
This is a matter for the doge; but we think it would be injurious for foreigners to enjoy greater advantages than natives, and it might provide an opening for licence.
(8) That the new impost be levied at Argostoli, as there is doubt about the safety of the way to the chamber.
This cannot be granted without hurt to the state, as it would be necessary to set up a new chamber and officials.
(9) That they may be free to pay the tenth on currants together with the new impost.
They say this causes many brawls with the islanders. We think the attempt is made by means of the islanders, who used to pay little or nothing, who try to evade this just tax. The English merchant does not suffer from making this payment, as before paying for the currants he can deduct the tenth, and the merchants trading in the islands know what they are about. Your Serenity might perhaps decree that the amount of the tenth shall always be made good to the merchant who buys, whether expressed in the contract or no, as he is always bound to pay it, as is everyone who lades for Venice also.
(10) That they may bring from the Morea to Venice on their ships all the property purchased by them, whether in oil, silk or other goods.
The object of this is to destroy the laws, absorb the trade of Venetian subjects and destroy the few ships built for the trade in the islands and consequently the few sailors that remain, as it is beyond a doubt that if this was granted everyone would lade on an English ship in preference to our Marciliane.
Alvise de Ponte Savii.
Vettor Pisani
Anzolo Zustignan
Pol Antonio Valaresso
[Italian.]
June 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Costantinopoli.
Venetian
Archives.
195. SEBASTIANO VENIERO, Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The English ambassador, being unable to have public audience of the king with his successor soon enough and in order not to lose the chance of going by a good ship, had a private audience alone at Scutari, chiefly to take leave. However, he spoke at length of the damage done to the trade of his merchants here, urging many reasons against the meta imposed on their cloth, and speaking of numerous other things introduced to their prejudice, which would cause an equal prejudice to the empire, leaving nothing undone to get something out of this last audience.
Immediately afterwards he came to take leave of me and told me about it. He told me the king listened attentively, and when he was going out the Bustanghi Pasha and other leading men detained him, showing him great honour, until his Majesty had pondered the arz he presented. The king sent word to him soon after that he had decided to give him satisfaction and that he might go to the Caimecan the next day. He felt absolutely certain of satisfaction, but actually got nothing but fair words. They really seem determined to choke trade, in spite of their crying need for money, as they never think of moderating the exorbitant duties or any other injustice, which would bring immediate relief.
The ambassador left here very ill pleased. He will go to Leghorn in his ship, and travel thence incognito to Venice, so he told me, to satisfy his great curiosity to see it. He has certainly shown me the extreme of courtesy and good will. He is a good Englishman and seems very friendly to the republic.
He pressed me hard to allow the English ship hired by Arrigoni to be laded for Venice, pointing out how his countrymen's interests would suffer, but I told him I must obey the public will. It seems that to escape their obligations the Venetians think of getting the ship hired to Jews, Greeks or others, who are not subjects of your Serenity. I do not think they will manage this as the hirers would have to go to Venice and risk punishment.
Ortachiuui, on the Channel of the Black Sea, the 24th June, 1628.
[Italian.]
June 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
196. AGOSTINO VIANUOL, Venetian Secretary at Florence, to the DOGE and SENATE.
With regard to English and Flemish ships, I hear from my friend at Leghorn that at present there are three Flemish ones there, large and well armed. There are no English at present. Three left recently for trade, one for Syria and the others to cruise, for which they have patents from their king, to attack the Spaniards and the French, although they may afterwards attack everybody. In this cause my informant writes that at the instance of the Florentine merchants the Court required surety from the English nation that those which left recently should not attack any Christian ships except those of the two nations hostile to their king. In spite of this, they recently found on the coast some headless dead bodies and they concluded that the English had plundered some ships and treated the sailors in this way, so that they might not tell tales.
Florence, the 24th June, 1628.
[Italian.]
June 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Capitanio
delle
Galeasse.
Venetian
Archives.
197. ANTONIO CAPELLO, Captain of the Galeasses, and GIOVANNI PAOLO GRADENIGO, Captain of the Galleons, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Since we sent the account of the action with the English, the Aga of this port has sent a special messenger, asking to come and speak with us. But as we wished to avoid giving the English here any suspicion that we might be dealing with the Turks against them, we excused ourselves with that reason, with which he remained satisfied. He sent word, however, that what he intended was to come and thank us, and to commend to us the protection of this port, which had been preserved from harm by our forces. We have also just received letters from the Pasha of Aleppo, begging us earnestly to continue our good disposition towards this port, and not to abandon the protection of the French ships, which has been such an advantage to him and the Sultan, and expressing his obligation for preserving the reputation of the Sultan, insulted by the English. For this action of theirs very serious steps would be taken against them at Aleppo and the Porte. Pesaro advises us of the same. We shall guide our conduct according to circumstances, and shall not hesitate to venture life itself, as we have done, where we think we shall do what the state desires.
The English General, who is still here, is trying his hardest to cover the excess he has committed, as your Serenity may see from the letter to the Aga here, but the facts are understood here and everywhere else. We understand that the English consul has been imprisoned at Aleppo, and ordered to cause the ships here to leave, so that matters are proceeding altogether in our honour. We are sorry that this accident postpones the lading of the goods, and, as a consequence, our despatch from here; but as soon as this business is settled we shall attend to that with all energy. We have also informed the Bailo at Constantinople of everything.
From the galleon at Alexandretta, the 24th June, 1628, at the first hour of the night.
[Italian.]
Enclosure. 198. Copy of Letter from the General of the English Ships to the Aga of the Port of Alexandretta.
My respect for the ministers of the Sultan, as the servant of his close friend the King of Great Britain, prevent me from sending on shore to arrange about the things which cause my coming here, until I have informed your lordship and am assured that you will not take it ill, especially after what has happened to-day, when the Venetian galeasses and galleons attacked me without cause that I know of. All that I could gather from them was that they acted so merely because I was coming to the port, and after I had told them who I was and assured them that I had no intention of interrupting trade here, they sent to tell me very rudely that if I did not leave here at once, they would sink my ships. I therefore ask your lordship if I cannot remain here two or three days under the protection of the Sultan to take some necessary provisions, or if the Venetians have the right of lordship here, since their galeasses are so stationed as to prevent me from supplying myself without their leave. My respect for the Sultan has so far prevented me from doing anything, and will do so until I receive your reply.
From the ship, the 23rd June, 1628.
[Italian; copy.]
June 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Consule in
Aleppo.
Venetian
Archives.
199. ALVISE DA CA DA PESARO, Venetian Consul at Aleppo, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Letters have reached me from Scanderoon relating that on the 21st four armed ships with a tartana entered the port of Alexandretta. It was not known if they were Maltese or from Tunis or other rascals. They came on under full sail, having first sent a letter to the Captain of the Galeasses, openly declaring themselves to be pirates. Although they used the name of the King of Great Britain, it was not reasonable to trust them. Captain Capello told them they must not use violence in the Sultan's port. They took no notice and putting on more sail they came towards the galeasses. These shipped anchor and fired to show that they must not come further. They answered with shot and a fight took place which lasted until night, when the English anchored under the mountain. There they found two French ships abandoned by their crews, without offering the least defence. The ships launched their boats and put eighty men on board. The commanders were unable to prevent this, as they were far off, and intent on the fight and on defending themselves. The galleons were much encumbered, being laden with bales of refusadoes (colli alla rifusa), (fn. 4) yet they cleared themselves and defended so gallantly that the English, who despised the arms of your Serenity, had to withdraw and leave off firing first. These English pretended that they did not wish to fight the galleys, but only to take away four French vessels which were there. Captain Capello protested against this, but said he would not have molested the English if they had not shown a hostile disposition. Thus both parties remained until the 22nd, sounding drums and trumpets, the captains expecting fresh provocation and to have to defend themselves.
The moment the news reached me, at daybreak on the 23rd, I went to the Pasha to inform him, so that others might not precede me and our merchants suffer owing to incorrect information. My quickness was justified, as at the very moment of my audience the Aga of Scanderoon arrived, and seeing me very warm, he had to pass the same office of complaint as myself. Otherwise he might have put heads together with the Pasha and arranged serious trouble for your Serenity both here and at Constantinople. But, thank God, after the Pasha had heard me, he gave me letters to our captains asking them to defend the port and the ships there, while he ordered all the Sanzachi of the neighbourhood to assist them. He also sent for the English consul and had him put in prison by the Aga of Scanderoon, with the firm resolve to profit from this affair so that he should no longer be short of money. I hope that no trouble will arise with the Turkish minister here.
For the rest I believe this man is nothing but a thief and a pirate, who wrongfully uses his Majesty's name, and I am sure that monarch will be indebted to your Serenity for resisting his attempt. If he had succeeded it would have meant the total extinction of all the merchants here and of their goods both here and at Constantinople. The French ministers also ought to thank your Serenity, although their consul here, who is incapable of any civility, has made no sign. The Sultan also ought to be grateful for the defence of his ports and subjects. The action has greatly increased the reputation of the republic and of your commanders, and the Turks here will always remember it. The commanders could not have behaved more courageously against the sudden and powerful attack of five very large ships of war. I hope they will leave without doing anything and will be badly treated.
I thought it my duty to inform the Bailo at the Porte at once, so that he might pass the necessary offices, while I merely defend the reputation of the republic and my merchants. I have refrained from accusing the consul here or his nation, and have rather spoken in their defence than otherwise. But the French consul has made such strong representations that all the ruin that will fall upon those poor merchants will be due to his offices and the greed of the Pasha here.
This incident detains me from laying down my charge. I will see that Salamon has everything necessary for taking it on. The full particulars of the fight have not yet reached me.
Aleppo, the 24th June, 1628.
[Italian.]
June 25.
Senato.
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
200. ZORZI ZORZI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Many vessels from Britanny have arrived in the port to strengthen the fleet, bringing divers provisions. Yesterday the Cardinal selected 20 or 25 of the most powerful. These, well provided with troops but destitute of guns, are going to defend the passage of the mole, supposing the English have more heart at the next new moon than they showed at the last. They are waiting here without fear. Three thousand gentlemen at least have arrived in the camp since the announcement that the English were about to appear.
The royal pinnaces scouring the coast between the Sables d'Olona and the islands of Ré and Oleron have captured five small boats and some Englishmen, who hung about here with nets and tackle, as if they were fishermen, and took word from La Rochelle to London and from London to La Rochelle. I hear that they got nothing out of them beyond the confirmation of the approaching start of the fleet and the imprisonment of the admiral of the last one. But this is enought to prove the excellent disposition of the King of Great Britain towards the beleaguered town. If the English had come a week ago, as was stated, they would have found the troops here so short of shot, powder and rope that they could not have fired eight shots. The scarcity is very great, and every day they grow shorter of the materials of which England used heretofore to supply the greater part.
Niort, the 25th June, 1628.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

  • 1. Four left the town on the 21st May, the Sieur de la Grossetiere, the cadet of Raillac called Champfleury, the brother of La Forêt called le Linger and another. Mervault: Journal des Choses les plus memorables qui se sont passées au dernier Siege de la Rochelle, page 343.
  • 2. For Digby's account of the affair see Journal of the Voyage to the Mediterranean by Sir Kenelm Digby (Camden Soc.), pages 38–40.
  • 3. By sureties given in advance. See vol. xviii of this Calendar, no. 497.
  • 4. Refusadoes are the commonest king of velvet. See Florio: Italian Dictionary, sub voce, Refusa.