Venice: July 1631

Pages 521-529

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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July 1631

July 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
678. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The king has returned from the journey he made to inspect a portion of his ships. He was followed by all the ministers, who announce that he found everything in good order, and that in a few days, should occasion require it, he could send to sea a numerous and powerful fleet. Besides this, the commissioners of the Admiralty, among whom is the Lord Treasurer, have required a full and detailed account from the merchants of all the ships which are in the ports and harbours of the kingdom, and of these also it is stated that in quantity and quality there are enough to add a considerable number to the royal vessels. (fn. 1) Recently, in confirmation of the above, the Secretary of State told me that the king could have a greater force at sea than any of his predecessors, not excepting Queen Elizabeth herself, and the basis upon which they make this calculation is the increase of trade, and because during the last differences with Spain the merchants adapted all their ships for fighting. There is no comment upon the motives which may have led his Majesty to think of arming in advance thus at the present time. The general belief is that more than anything else he wishes to prepare the guard for the fisheries of Scotland, because the Dutch are respected and to some extent feared. The Ambassador Joachim, however, betrays no uneasiness in his talk. This might arise from excessive confidence, as it is most certain that if the two nations both betake themselves to the same place for their profit, the danger of some unfortunate incident will be very present.
While they were waiting for the reply from France about the settlement of the things in negotiation, the Ambassador Fontane told me that they have some suspicion here that the French may decide to attempt the recovery of Canada by arms, and that is why they have made this provision, so as not to be taken altogether unawares. The reason for this is past, because the reply has come, whereby they agree that the merchant, Burlamacchi, shall go to Court, taking with him the commissions for the restitution, while they promise to give assignments for the payment of the dowry. This affair may therefore be considered as settled with mutual satisfaction, and it is to be hoped that in the future the confidence between the two crowns will continually grow more intimate.
Amid this ambiguity of opinions it has been communicated to me in confidence that Cottington, now back from Spain, has assured the king and the ministers most inclined to the Spanish party and consequently unfriendly to the States, that the Cardinal Infant is about to go to Brussels, and that at the Court, when he left, they held many consultations to decide about sending him, not only with full powers, but to assign to him the seventeen provinces as an appanage. If this occurs, they think here of making a good union with him to balance the forces of the States, supposing that in such case it will no longer be a question of dealing for the advantage of the Catholic king. I believe that the worst may be feared, since they are of opinion here that the Dutch take away a great part of their trade, and with the increase of their forces, seeing they are so near, the jealousy becomes greater every day. I know that these are merely conjectures, possibly on slight grounds, and if there were matters of greater consequence and more authentic they would not deserve to be reported to the Senate; but I have to fasten on these, so that I may not be altogether fruitless.
The levies of the Marquis of Hamilton continue; but though the king assists with all his authority, having commanded the governors throughout the realm to favour them, yet they do not prove easy. The advanced stage of the season stands in their way, because many do not wish to enrol themselves for that reason. There are others who remember the ill treatment they received under Mansfelt; for although so far as the commander is concerned, there is a great difference, yet many believe that the enterprise will not prove very unlike it, because they do not know where they are to be led or how they will be employed, while in addition to this, the English, who constituted the bulk of the force, do not like serving under a Scottish commander. In spite of these considerations, the Marquis announces that he will start on the 20th inst. He proposes at present to enter the mouth of the Elbe, and according to the advices which he receives from the King of Sweden, he will make a diversion or try to unite with him.
Nothing of importance is known about the progress of that king since the loss of Magdeburg. News has come of the declaration in his favour of the Duke of Saxony. The abstract of advices which has reached the Court is as yet held in suspicion. I enclose a copy given me by the Secretary of State. The last advices come from Anstruther are about his arrival at Leipsig. By a coincidence he happened to be there at the time of the declaration of Saxony, aforesaid, so they are afraid here that this may cause the emperor to suspect that he had a share in this somehow. Nevertheless they hold fast to their determination to look for satisfactory results, and two days ago, when I saw a leading minister, he told me that if they did not at least move the imperial ban from the Palatine, the king would never trust the promises of the Spaniards or Imperialists again.
Some days ago two Scottish gentlemen were arrested at Greenwich, where the Court now is, and another person of the same nation was also laid hands on before them. (fn. 2) Commissioners, one of whom is the Earl of Carlisle, who is a Scot, have been deputed to draw up the process against them. The incident has excited remark, because the whole affair has been carried out with the most extreme and extraordinary secrecy. The general opinion here is quite positive that as France has a strong party in Scotland, founded upon the confidential relations with that nation before these realms were united, the suspicions about the French fleet may have made them uneasy about that quarter. Those who have been arrested may fare badly if they were concerned therein.
The advices from Holland report the retirement of the army, as the enterprise of Bruges did not succeed. They are not altogether sorry for this here, for reasons which I have already given. For this reason it is considered certain that they will not go any further. I had a long conversation about this with the Ambassador Joachim, and had this confirmed by his own lips.
The merchants of the Levant Company have given me a great deal to do these last days, because, without my knowledge, they have obtained permission from the commissioners of the Admiralty to take away the money realised upon the goods of Venetians found in the saetia captured by the ship Golden Cock, which by virtue of the sentence passed has to remain on deposit in the office until the final adjustment of the matter at Constantinople. I have tried by every means to get these letters withdrawn, and I hope to obtain it, although I have not succeeded as yet.
These last days I have received your Serenity's letters of the 23rd and 30th May, and those of the 6th ult. have just reached me.
London, the 4th July, 1631.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
Enclosure. 679. Advices of Germany of the 3rd June, 1631.
Saxony has decided to join with Nurenburg and the Protestants, and has urged them to press on with the resolutions taken at Leipsig. He has offered the emperor his mediation with Sweden, but tells him that while things are as at present he and his allies cannot do less than they are doing. This has encouraged the Protestants, there being little hope from the diet to open at Frankfort on the 11th July, as the Protestant forces are but little feared by their enemies since the loss of Magdeburg. This was due to the Hamburgers allowing munitions and food to reach Tilly. The king has sent troops to Silesia, where the Imperialists are besieging Crossen. Brandenburg will be proscribed for giving Spandau and Crustin to the king.
[Italian; translated from the English.]
July 4.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
680. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Mali, merchants and natives of Vicenza are at Antwerp, where they have always shown great diligence in forwarding letters and other things for your Serenity's service. I now hear that they are molested at the office of the Three Savii sopra gl'Offitii for some debts of their predecessors. At their request, I commend their cause to your Serenity.
London, the 4th July, 1631.
July 7.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
681. VICENZO GUSSONI, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Ven, who has recently been appointed ambassador to Sweden, writes to Carleton that before he goes to his post he must come to this Court to stay a few days. The news pleases the advocates of the truce, who know that the return of this minister to the Hague is not without mystery and the clear desire of England to act as the instrument of some composition with Spain. The journey of Scaglia from Spain to London may have the same object, and although the French have intimated to the English that if the five places which the Spaniards hold are restored to the Palatine, as provided by the treaty, France will undertake to keep them for him and to make Bavaria mind his affairs, yet the Palatine told me in confidence that the offer of France was useless and inopportune, because the Spaniards did not lack excuses for showing reluctance to make restitution, and France would be better employed if she so worked with Bavaria as to make him withdraw his opposition to the good intention which the emperor might have for his relief. He told me he had letters from Vienna advising him of the arrival of Anstruther, who had already had his first audience, at which Rusdorf was present, although the emperor had never admitted him before.
The Hague, the 7th July, 1631.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
July 14.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
682. VICENZO GUSSONI, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Admiral Quast has arrived here unexpectedly, and had secret audience of the States, who sent him back with all speed to his post. I find this visit was due to the expected passage of the Cardinal Infant to Flanders with a number of armed ships. After some difference of opinion, they decided to instruct the admiral that if, as is suspected with universal regret, the English accompany the Spanish ships, he shall give them battle, not taking any, but if possible sending them to the bottom by furious gun fire. For this purpose, Quast's fleet, numbering 26 powerful ships, has posted itself opposite Schevellino, to be joined by the squadrons of Zeeland, Rotterdam, Schiedan and others, so as, if possible, to have a fleet of seventy ships of war.
The Prince Palatine came here to take leave before going to Rhenes. He told me in confidence that he had that day received two despatches, one from London and the other from Vienna. The first advised him of the departure of the Marquis of Hamilton with his levies, which would take place this month, when he would take his troops to Germany to serve the King of Sweden. The other related that Anstruther received every courtesy at the imperial court, and they gave him fair words, and had appointed commissioners to treat with him, so things looked more hopeful.
The Hague, the 14th July, 1631.
July 17.
Senato, Mar. Venetian Archives.
683. That on the first day the Council meets, an ambassador shall be chosen for Great Britain to succeed Giovanni Soranzo, who has served for two years, subject to the penalties of those who refuse such embassies and with the usual commissions. He shall have 300 gold ducats a month for his expenses, for which he need render no account. He shall have 300 ducats for horses, trappings and chests, and 1,000 gold ducats as a gift; 40 crowns a month shall be assigned to him for all his expenses except for couriers and letters. The secretary shall have 100 ducats to fit himself out, and two couriers 20 ducats each. The chaplain and interpreter shall have for salary and table expenses 186 and 100 ducats a year respectively. The interpreter shall also have 100 ducats of current money a year.
Ayes, 99. Noes, 4. Neutral, 2.
July 18.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni, Corti. Venetian Archives.
684. To the Ambassador in England.
Appreciation of his services in Holland and England. In answer to his request, have chosen as his successor Vicenzo Gussoni, who will enter upon his charge in due time. Sure of receiving full satisfaction from him. Send copy of letters to the Hague for his information.
Ayes, 104. Noes, 0. Neutral, 3.
July 18.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
685. GIOVANNI SORANZO, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the DOGE and SENATE.
Sir Henry Ven has been selected by his Majesty to be ambassador extraordinary to the King of Sweden. This unexpected choice, apparently where there was little need, with the secrecy observed about the commissions to be given to him, makes one fear prejudice much more than hope for advantage although, owing to the virtue and prudence of that king, one may believe that harmful counsels will not make an impression. It is murmured that Ven is going to suggest some accommodation with the emperor, especially if they receive good news from Anstruther about Cæsar's disposition to relieve the Palatine. On the other hand, if difficulties arise over the negotiations of that minister, in that case Ven will have to encourage the war, and it is also believed that he will have letters of credence for this purpose for the other princes of Germany of that party. He says he is to leave at the end of the present month, according to their reckoning here, which will be about the 10th of August, but there are some who believe that amid these delays some occasion may arise to suspend the mission altogether.
The Marquis of Hamilton is hastening his levies with all his might, so that he may start on the appointed date, the 20th inst., or may at least embark the greater part, so that greater difficulties may not be encountered through delay in getting under way owing to the time of year or other considerations of even greater consequence, as it has been noticed that the Spaniards in particular have not hesitated to attempt the most violent and unlawful means to prevent this help for the King of Sweden.
The Scots who were arrested bore testimony against the marquis that he had designs and practices against the king and prince, to make himself king of Scotland. They based their calumny upon his followers in that kingdom and his near blood relationship to the Crown. They suggested in particular that these levies were with that intent, and that his last journey to Scotland had no other object. The king, who always desired to be present at the drawing up of the process, for the sake of decorum and to secure secrecy, was the one who adjudged the marquis innocent. He recently declared him so before the majority of the Lords of the Council assembled, to the general satisfaction, the more so as there are strong indications that the first origin of this violent attempt came from Brussels. As they did not attain the end they expected, they are now trying to create the impression, and they have already published it everywhere, that the Pole has again opened war on the King of Sweden, so that the affairs of that monarch are in the worst possible condition, the idea being to cool the ardour of those who might be disposed to follow the marquis.
It seems that in France they have conceived some jealousy of these levies, as if they were not to serve for the King of Sweden, but as if that was a pretext to conceal the true design. However, the Ambassador Fontane has always seen and believed that there is no artifice, and I have not failed to assure the Ambassador Contarini of this, so that he may be able to remove all suspicion. The unfriendly disposition of the Ambassador Wake, as your Serenity will hear from the spot, cannot serve for any good end, and I fancy if private interests were not involved at this Court it would not be difficult to have him removed. If Scaglia comes here, as the letters from Spain seem to suggest, his offices cannot fail to make further trouble, because he has some credit at this Court, although I consider that with the Duke of Buckingham dead, who served as a very influential support for him with the king, his intrigues will not be taken up, because the Treasurer, who to some extent has the direction of affairs, is not of so enterprising a spirit as willingly to take up fresh quarrels and incur greater expenditure upon uncertain foundations.
The Cavalier di Giar (fn. 3) has recently left here, a Frenchman who took refuge here when the plots of the Marshal d'Ornano and Sciales were discovered. He has been staying here all this time. He was a favourite at Court, being a man of great vivacity. He has no great fortune, but he makes one for himself by play, and with this introduction he has frequently won several thousands of crowns from the king. When Castelnovo was here, he became most intimate with him, and they planned the party at Court of the Earl of Holland, of Montagu and others of inferior rank, all supported by the queen, who interested herself so far that she tried to bring about the fall of the Treasurer. After the departure of Castelnovo, this division still went on at the Court, and this Cavalier di Giar, by sending the most secret intelligence, procured his pardon from the king, with which he is returning. He ought to go with a feeling of obligation, owing to the benefits which he takes back, but the suspicions which have always been conceived about him, especially in these last months, in which he had hopes of pardon, make men doubt some ill turn.
The merchant Burlamacchi has not yet started for France; but that business is practically settled, and it only requires his journey to finish it altogether. Your Serenity's letters of the 13th ult. have reached me with the office made with the French ambassador enclosed. This serves to inform me of the last negotiations of Charasco, of which I have had occasion to make use these last days to confirm the advices which have reached the Court from other parts.
London, the 18th July, 1631.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
July 19.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Germania. Venetian Archives.
686. SEBASTIANO VENIER, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the DOGE and SENATE.
It appears that Bavaria will not consent to give up the part of the Palatinate which he holds. So far they have given no reply to the English ambassador, excusing the delay on the plea of the death of Pistemberg, who was deputed to treat with him upon this matter. He has told me this much, our communications passing through a third person, as he seems to prefer that we shall not meet in order not to prejudice his negotiations, as he says he knows full well the suspicion and jealousy of this Court. He has to speak on solid ground, as he is constantly treating with the Spaniards, and with those dependent upon them, and he adopts a style very different from what he was willing that we should adopt at Ratisbon, although in essentials he is not found wanting.
Vienna, the 19th July, 1631.
[Italian; copy.]
July 20.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Costantinopoli. Venetian Archives.
687. GIOVANNI CAPPELLO, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Jews concerned in the bankruptcy of the English merchant have asked me to arbitrate upon their differences, the merchants being willing to agree to this; but I refused courteously, as I do not wish to meddle in a matter which has no concern with your Serenity and may involve one in further consequences.
The Vigne of Pera, the 20th July, 1631.
July 20.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Francia. Venetian Archives.
688. GIROLAMO CAVAZZA, Venetian Secretary in France, to the DOGE and SENATE.
In response to Servien's remonstrances with the Duke of Savoy about the journey of Scaglia to England, the duke answered that it was not undertaken with such bad intentions against France as was stated. The only object of the Spaniards was to have a good understanding with the English about the employment of their naval forces, to which the English were inclined, owing to their strained relations with the Dutch, and because they observed the efforts of France to make herself strong at sea. From fear that France would join with the Dutch and lay down the law to England, the latter country had thought of associating with Spain to strengthen her side.
Casale, the 20th July, 1631.
July 21.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Signori Stati. Venetian Archives.
689. VICENZO GUSSONI, Venetian Ambassador in the Netherlands, to the DOGE and SENATE.
The Ambassador Camerarius complains bitterly of the long delay of Hamilton's levy. By his king's orders, he tells the ministers here, they have sent munitions and arms here to the amount of 70,000 florins. The troops are to go straight to Germany, to operate under the flag of Sweden and in his name. They propose here to ask France to assist these troops. The Marquis of Hamilton writes that he will come to the Hague so soon as he has finished the business of embarking the troops.
The Hague, the 21st July, 1631.
July 23.
Senato, Mar. Venetian Archives.
690. That 1,200 gold ducats be paid to the agents of Vicenzo Gussoni, who is to go as ambassador to the King of Great Britain, for his expenses for four months in advance. That the other sums provided in the decision of this Council of the 17th inst. be also paid.
Ayes, 102. Noes, 1. Neutral, 2.
July 26.
Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Spagna. Venetian Archives.
691. ALVISE MOCENIGO, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the DOGE and SENATE.
We hear of naval preparations in Biscay and Portugal. They also think of gathering armed ships in the ports of Seville. It is not yet known whether this is to put a stop to the horrible depredations of the pirates or from some understanding with England, which has also arranged for a naval force. Both projects may prove correct.
Madrid, the 26th July, 1631.
July 31.
Senato, Secreta. Deliberazioni, Corti. Venetian Archives.
692. To the Ambassador in England.
We send what Venier writes about the Palatinate, so that you may use it for the service of the state. We have already chosen your successor, but no one has been selected for here since Wake's departure. You will prudently call attention to the advisability of keeping up a mutual correspondence for the sake of appearances and because of what might happen.
Ayes, 70. Noes, 1. Neutral, 2.


  • 1. There is a list dated 22 June, o.s., containing the names of all merchant ships which were furnished with ordnance out of the founders' store by warrant from the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty since Jan., 1628. Totals: new ships, 59; old ships, 39; ordnance, 1,477 pieces. Cal. S.P. Dom., 1625–1649, Add., page 412.
  • 2. The persons arrested were Lords Reay and Ochiltree, with one Meldrum, another Scot. They had brought a false charge of treason against the Marquis of Hamilton. See Birch: Court and Times of Charles I, vol. ii, pages 125, 126, 145–7, 151; Burnet: Memoirs of the Dukes of Hamilton, pages 14–18; Gardiner; Hist of Eng., vol. vii, pages 182, 183.
  • 3. Francois de Rochechouart, commandeur de Jars, knight of Malta. His arrival in England in September, 1626, is mentioned in a despatch of Alvise Contarini who calls him Suar or Sciar, vol. xix. of this Calendar, pages 561, 566. He won 3,000l. off Charles at tennis Birch: Court and Times of Charles I, vol. ii, page 123.