Venice: May 1631

Pages 500-508

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 22, 1629-1632. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1919.

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May 1631

May 1.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni, Corti. Venetian Archives.
650. To the Ambassador in England.
You will employ your offices usefully to prevent discord between that Crown and the States. New friendships do not force the dissolution of old ones. Great princes do not consent to this on the score of dignity. His Majesty himself made a declaration to this effect, and may see fit to renew it. You will not cease your representations if you see that they avail. You made a prudent reply to the secretary about our letter to his Majesty, and we are glad he was satisfied. The enclosed will inform you of the affairs of Italy. We hope you have recovered from your indisposition; your discharge of your office gives us complete satisfaction.
Ayes, 99. Noes, 1. Neutral, 7.
May 1.
Senato, Mar. Venetian Archives.
651. Decision to renew for four years the decree of the Council of the 25th August, 1626, prohibiting foreign ships from the West to lade currants in the islands of Zante and Cephalonia unless they have an attestation from the magistracy of the Five Savii sopra la Mercanzia, that they have brought their entire cargo to this city, and if they do not they shall pay 15 instead of 10 ducats the thousand for the new impost; a separate account being kept of the 5 additional ducats.
Ayes, 105. Noes, 1. Neutral, 4.
May 1.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
652. ALVISE MOCENIGO, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Ambassador Benavides, resident with your Serenity, is appointed ambassador to England, and they have sent him orders to proceed to that charge with speed. However, Donna Anna, his mother, is trying that he may first come to Court for the affairs of his house and his numerous children.
Madrid, 1st May, 1631.
May 9.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
653. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The ducal missives of the 28th March and the 3rd April have reached me these last days. The first charge me to confirm the friendliness which Lord Carleton has always shown towards the service of your Serenity. I have not yet been able to perform this office, because I only began to go out of the house two days ago, and I have had no chance of seeing him, as he is indisposed, but I will do it at the first opportunity.
The affair of the saetia has at length been disposed of, under the seals of the Council of the Admiralty. I have been able to procure through the merchants all the instructions necessary for the interested parties at Venice, and they should give precise instructions to their correspondents at Constantinople, in order to make the most of it. I am writing to the Bailo to this effect and I send your Excellencies a copy of the sentence obtained from the commissioners. This matter will need the support of the English ambassador at the Porte, and I fear that it will suffer prejudice from the unfriendly disposition of that minister. However, I will try and get effective commissions sent to him on the subject from here, because in any case one may justly complain here, as from the information supplied in the ducal missives of the 3rd ult., I gather that rather than favour a happy termination to this affair he will make trouble. So far as that incident is concerned, I will make use of the advice and in any case, if they speak to me about it, I will defend the action of the state as carried out by the Bailo, with remarkable ability.
The king has left London with all the Court. He will not return until the end of the usual progress; that will be towards the beginning of August. Because of this I have had no opportunity of going to see any minister, and consequently of obtaining any certain knowledge of what is taking place between them here and the States. I went yesterday to see the Dutch ambassador, who spoke to me in conformity, in his dissatisfaction. He told me that after the restitution of the last ship, he had worked hard to obtain the release of another, but had not succeeded. Such acts of injustice would drive private persons to desperation, and the state will have to consider some adjustment with the Spaniards, because if they cannot use the ports of England, it will be absolutely necessary for them to cease making reprisals, and if they do so, they will have to open trade by means of an agreement, because either the one or the other is necessary for their support. For this reason, it is easy to see that they act here with very slight reflection, even in matters which touch them to the quick, because if by chance the States should make a truce or peace, they would infallibly lose here all the advantage which they promised themselves by arranging their own. At present the trade is in the hands of England alone, and they gain doubly thereby, because indirectly they receive the benefit which the Spaniards would receive if the Dutch traded in Spain, and as the Dutch cannot go there they come here to take the goods, or these are sent to them from here. If Holland were opened, the English would not only lose this advantage, but in addition the trade would be divided among all the other parts where at present the English alone go. This would damage them the more, because the Dutch are more adapted for trade and have more ships, so that where the English send one, the Dutch can send twenty or thirty.
Because of this question of trade, they are beginning to think here of the necessary provisions. The king went recently to see some rebuilt ships, and ordered them to be armed with all speed. There is much contradictory talk, the more so that it is whispered that the command of the first fleet that sails will be given to Sir Kenelm Digby, who has worked hard since his return from the sea to obtain some sort of employment, and he has devoted a considerable part of his plunder in presents to attain this end. It has also been said that a guard is necessary for the herring fisheries in Scotland, especially if the Dutch become sticklish about it. It is also believed that, seeing the scant hope of obtaining any satisfaction in Germany for the interests of the Palatine, the king has decided to attend in good time to put naval affairs in some order, so as to make good his cause in any event; but for my own part I believe that they will dissimulate and put up with anything that happens in that quarter. I fancy that those are nearest the mark who say that there is an extraordinary jealousy of the French here, and that, alarmed by the event and by their conscience, they imagine that now affairs in Italy are accommodated they will make some attempt in this direction. As yet the most suspicious speak of the islands of Garnasie, English possessions off Brittany. The Dutch ambassador himself spoke to me about it, marvelling that they treat the States so badly when they live in such fear here of attack from the French, as the Dutch could always give the victory to the side which they favoured. He spoke so warmly that I fancy, if the case should arise, that the States would declare against England. He told me in addition that he had noticed for some time past that they are jealous here of the greatness of the States. They are afraid that if they progress so fast they may in the end become rivals, as they observe that the States feel themselves strong at present, and do not show themselves so dependent as they did in the time of Queen Elizabeth in particular. These considerations were by no means new to me, because they were made to me by the Prince of Orange when I was in Holland. There is no doubt that they are somewhat puffed up, and in time it will be necessary to fear their strength, especially those who are neighbours by sea.
The French ambassador has not yet terminated his negotiations for the adjustment. A seizure has occurred at Rouen of English goods which the chamber of the Admiralty there declares to be prohibited. The matter is conducted by the Garde des Sceaux with some rigour, possibly with the beggarly object of prolonging these negotiations, as he does not like seeing them transferred to Fontane, with whom he is not on friendly terms.
The Abbot of Peron has arrived from France, destined by the Most Christian to be Grand Almoner of the queen. (fn. 1) He is a person of distinction and very worthy. He has not seen the queen, who has been overtaken by a slight indisposition. The ambassador is entertaining him until his apartments at Court are ready.
The Count of Scarnafis, ambassador of Savoy, continues here without any business. He has received letters from his master, for which he was waiting before he left. He says he has to wait for some armour which his Highness is sending to present to the king, worth 20,000 crowns. He has received a printed account of the capitulation of Chiarasco, and announces that his master is satisfied with it.
No certain advices have come about the King of Sweden. The last in the hands of the merchants are that he has taken Frankfort on Oder. The Marquis of Hamilton talks of going, but does not do so, indeed I am told that many old captains have refused to go with him, and so with the advance of the season added to this other important reason, I do not think there is any prospect of his leaving this year.
London, the 9th May, 1631.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure. 654. In the matter between Giovanni Maria Salvioni with other Venetians and the Company of English merchants trading in the Levant, concerning certain goods of the saethia Nostra Signora di Buon Viaggio of S. Olavia, taken by John Barker, captain of the Golden Cock, near Zante, from some Turks, we direct that the 2,659l. 9s. 11d. realised by the goods pertaining to the said Venetians, shall be deposited in the Admiralty Court for twelve months, during which time the said Venetians, with the assistance of his Majesty's ambassador, can endeavour to obtain a declaration from the Sultan that neither he nor his ministers, will make any claim by reason of the said goods, and if within that time they bring such a declaration attested by the said ambassador, the money shall be handed over to the Venetians, but failing this it shall be restored to the Company.
Dated in the Court at Whitehall, the 3rd March, 1630.
May 10.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
655. ALVISE MOCENIGO, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I hear that the President of Harienda has ordered Esau dal Borgo, a Florentine merchant, to have 8,000 ducats ready to give to the Abbot Scaglia for his journey to Flanders and Holland. He may be going to see the Most Christian's brother, besides the offers of peace to the Dutch. From the relations which the English have with these proceedings, it may reasonably be suspected that he will try for a closer union between that Crown and this, taking with him commissions about the Palatinate. From his knowledge of those Courts, the abbot has talked to the count of many things and filled him with hopes of troubling France and ruining the cardinal.
Scaglia will go to Lisbon and sail for England, where his operations will be directed with the object of procuring the quiet of Germany by the restitution of the Palatinate, of arranging peace with the Dutch and a league against France.
Madrid, the 10th May, 1631.
May 17.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni, Rettori. Venetian Archives.
656. To the Proveditore of Cephalonia.
Your letters of the 20th January about the misdeeds of the English Captain Previn (fn. 2) have only reached us this week. We are as much pleased by your diligence as incensed by his unpunished audacity. As you have not succeeded, you will at least try to discover who assisted the captain, informing the Proveditore General Pisani, whom we have directed to take the necessary steps.
Ayes, 84. Noes, 1. Neutral, 1.
May 17.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
657. To the Proveditore General of the Islands, PISANI.
We send you what the Proveditore of Cephalonia writes about the smuggling and other misdeeds of an English ship. You will go to that island and institute a thorough enquiry, severely punishing those who are found to be accomplices, and taking ships to prevent such proceedings in the future. You will not delay the construction of some defences at the port of Argostoli, the need for which becomes ever more apparent.
Ayes, 84. Noes, 1. Neutral, 1.
May 20.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
658. ALVISE CONTARINI, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I have called upon Wake, and he told me that he had advised Savoy to leave Pinarolo in the hands of the French, because they will serve as a guard and sentinel to preserve the peace, and the Spaniards will not venture upon any experiments so readily if the French are near. I think he said this in order to learn my opinion about securing the French a pass into Italy, which it is commonly thought that your Serenity desires. Without declaring myself, I asked what motive had induced him to speak of this to the duke, and supposed there had been some proposal. He said, No; but I fancy that some overtures were made to the duke on the subject, and he spoke to Wake about it.
Although Wake knows he is considered a thorough confidant of the House of Savoy, he cannot refrain from proclaiming it in every conversation. I also found him very firm about not giving the cardinal precedence; though I told him clearly that unless he treated with the cardinal he would never obtain any satisfaction. I cited the example of Carlisle and others, when they desired the glory of concluding the marriage and other affairs.
Paris, the 20th May, 1631.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
May 23.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
659. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
I have carried out my last commissions with the Secretary Carleton, who was very pleased. He asked me to thank your Excellencies and to assure you that your kindness always induced him to seize every opportunity of rendering a service. I also talked with him a long while about the interests of the States. I did so with the more emphasis, because the Ambassador Joachim has spoken to me much more heatedly than in the past. I certainly find things badly ordered, but I do not perceive that ill will which is suspected. I went thoroughly into the matter, so as to be able to speak to the ambassador on solid grounds. He is not a violent man, so I hope he will not despise the good counsels of friends. In the abstract the secretary replied to my remarks that the king continues in his friendly disposition towards the States, and they must not take alarm because of these last vessels seized, because the peace with Spain is new, and they have not yet been able to make satisfactory arrangements for carrying it out. Every one interprets the terms to his own advantage. In confidence he told me that the States would finally have their own way about the liberty and security of the ports here, which is really the principal point. He added that with the booty arriving here it was necessary to prevent everyone from having facilities to come and seize it, to cavil and deprive the interested parties of their advantage, as has occurred on this last occasion. I did not fail to commend in a suitable manner the propriety of such ideas, calculated to preserve for the States the favour of his Majesty, which they have never deserved to lose. His intentions are always good, and perhaps he may not shake himself free from continuing that favour and from preserving that friendship, which is proved to be most sincere, and from which, as I have been able to see, England may always promise herself great advantages.
From this subject I passed to that of the levies, quietly being made here for the Spaniards. I remarked, as of myself, that besides a regard for the interests of the States, it was not good for any realm that the same nation should serve two opposing princes, as that generated factions in the country itself, arising from regard for the two princes. He told me that the Catholics were already declared friends of the Spaniards, and it is true but no others were going to serve in that quarter. As a matter of fact the king could not issue an express prohibition in the matter. They try to prevent it by other means. Already those who go know full well that his Majesty does not like it, and so persons of account abstain, although some small bands cross.
For the support of the matter of the saetia at Constantinople, I have already got them to write to the English ambassador to act in thorough unison with the Bailo to obtain every possible advantage. If for some private passion of his own he should refuse to obey, I will, if I am informed, repeat my offices for a renewal of the commissions.
They continue to attend to the fitting out of the royal ships. Nothing more is known about their objects beyond what I wrote last. The ministers here say that it is usual to make such a revision every five years, and that the king has not thought any more about it since his accession. Time will render their real intentions more clear.
The Secretary of State spoke to me about the delays interposed in France to giving the Ambassador Wake his first audience. He told me that the king was very displeased about it, but that Wake himself had written recently to say that he had obtained it, and the Ambassador Contarini had assured him that the long delay proceeded from no other cause than the circumstance of the absence of the Court. It has caused great satisfaction here to see the way in which your Serenity's ministers devote themselves for their gratification here. From what I have learned, Wake complains of the Garde des Sceaux for not letting him see him yet. That minister cherishes an unfriendly feeling towards England, of which they are quite well aware here. Wake himself is very resentful about him. When he sent his secretary here on his affairs, he told him to come and pay his respects to me. The secretary told me in conversation that his master would always try to encourage confidential relations between the two Crowns, but he would never forget the wrongs he had received from the Garde des Sceaux, hinting that while he was here he spoke of Wake with scant respect. I did not fail to play my proper part, assuring the secretary that on the numerous occasions when I had treated with Castelnovo here and had spoken about Wake, I had always heard him refer to his master with the greatest respect and regard. I imagine that the quarrel began with the offices performed here by Castelnovo when instructed to try and prevent Wake being sent to France, as one suspect because of the devotion he professed to Savoy. He will not treat with Cardinal Richelieu, owing to the question of precedence, and no compromise can be found. Thus being unfriendly with one and not admitted by the other, he will not have much intimacy at that Court.
The French ambassador is trying to despatch all his business, though the conclusion is always delayed. He was to have met the Council two days ago, but I think that the Court being far away leads to delay.
The Ambassador of Savoy took leave of the king last Sunday. Before he departs he is waiting for a present of silver to be prepared. This is rendered difficult by the exigencies of the Court, which become ever greater. He leaves some hope that Scaglia will come. From what I can gather, it will be more as the minister of Spain than of Savoy, his hopes being much dashed by the death of the duke. From a conversation I have had with an intimate of the Count of Scarnafis, it seems that his business will be to try for a closer union between them here and the Spaniards, who use every artifice to win over the leading men here and to create mistrust between the king and the States, so perhaps they will try to obtain greater advantages for themselves at the expense of their High Mightinesses.
The capture of Frankfort on Oder by the King of Sweden is confirmed, as well as that of Lamstergh. We hear by the last advices that his cavalry has entered Silesia and pushed as far as Sagan on the River Boter, while he is at Crossen on the Oder, ready to enter that province. Some one has also said that the Imperialists have raised the siege of Magdeburg, but this is not confirmed. The Dutch ambassador told me that the merchants were in possession of news that the Electors of Saxony and Brandenburg were at Hamburg in person with the deputies of the Hanse towns to establish and carry out the resolutions taken at the Diet of Leipsig, which were sufficiently vigorous to stop the contributions and hinder the restitution of ecclesiastical goods. It is said they have offered the command of the array to the King of Denmark, but many do not believe it, owing to the scant success that the arms of that prince have had in the past.
The Marquis of Hamilton has gone to Scotland, and should be back in a few days. There are various opinions about his going; yet it seems that there is some fear of it in Germany, because the Ambassador Joachim told me that the ecclesiastical electors have begged the States to respect their neutrality, and not to allow the passage of any English troops who might wish to pass to the hurt of the empire. The States made a very vigorous reply, without any promise, indeed they took the opportunity to complain of the passage which is always afforded to the German troops which are going to Flanders. Possibly they wished to free themselves by this pretext.
The ducal missives of the 10th ult. have not reached me.
London, the 23rd May, 1631.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]


  • 1. Jacques le Noel, nephew of Cardinal du Perron, whose name he assumed. He was abbot of St. Taurin and of Notre Dame de Lyre.
  • 2. Captain William Driver. See page 461 above.